It’s summertime–and we’ve got gear to make the entertaining easy (even with the kids).
Earn Your Stripes
Vibrant colors and a long, modern shape distinguish this rectangular serving tray from the plainer ones in your cabinet. Plus, the fab-looking oversize flower handles are easy for kids to grasp, so they can pass the hors d’oeuvres to Auntie Liz without dropping them in her lap. Also available in additional designs.
Acrylic Rectangular Tray, $12.99; homegoods.com for stores
Sugary-sweet, dripping down your chin, snow cones are a quintessential summertime delight. The gang will go bananas when you churn out your own with this super-simple appliance. Top the ice bits with maple or chocolate syrup, or choose from cherry, watermelon, or blue raspberry flavors (cups and flavors sold separately).
Back to Basics Ice Shaver, $19.99; Target stores
A sturdy, long-handled basting brush is a must-have for any cookout you’re hosting. This two-pronged, pine-inspired silicone version will quickly smear marinades and sauces over everything from large steaks to fish, veggies to kebabs, and the easy-clean, dishwasher-safe bristles wash up in no time. Come and get it!
Fred and Friends Twiggy Basting Brush, $10; amazon.com
Cuts the Mustard
This adorable condiment caddy, modeled on classic kettle grills, will be all the rage on your outdoor buffet table. Fill it up with ketchup, mustard, mayo, chopped onions, sauerkraut, the list goes on. It comes with three small spoons for scooping and its own little serving trolley. Best of all, the lids keep bugs at bay.
BBQ Condiment Server, $34.95; Pier 1 Imports stores
When life Hands You Lemons…
You’ll have more time to mingle because the kids can grab their own drinks from this pretty, and BPA-free, three-gallon cold-beverage urn. The no-drip spout is a snap for little hands to pull. Fill the base with ice and your drinks will stay cold without getting watered down.
Creative-ware Acrylic 3-Gallon Beverage Dispenser, $31.99; amazon.com
Fire up this smart-looking, space-saving barbie (as they say Down Under) and impress your guests with your grilling prowess. The Patio Bistro boasts the features and adds the cooking flavor of expensive gourmet models. Its porcelain-coated grilling surface holds up to 12 burgers and is super easy to clean. Available in gas and electric.
Patio Bistro Infrared Grill, $179.95; charbroil.com
Ditch those banged-up metal spoons and gummy tongs and update your table with this clever, boldly colored serving set. The eye-popping graphics mean they’ll stand out at the next potluck (so you won’t forget to take them home!), and the flat shape is perfect for sliding burgers, grilled veggies, or wedges of sheet cake onto plates.
French Bull Candy Stripe Serving Set, $12; amazon.com
Amazingly unbreakable yet beautiful to behold, acrylic dishes are a modern-day miracle for which all moms are thankful. Go ahead and treat yourself to a set of these fun and kid-friendly summer plates and bowls (they’re a real steal!). Besides, the bright designs are so cheery, you’ll want to use them all year long.
Acrylic Dinnerware, $2.99 to $5.99; homegoods.com for stores