Want to entertain but out of energy? No problem! Here are some tips for the perfect, easy backyard BBQ>
Whether you plan to serve steaks or hot dogs, having friends over for an evening of fun in your backyard doesn't have to be overwhelming. Here are seven quick tips to entertaining outside without the fuss.Lisa Copen is the founder of Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week held annually in Sept and featuring a free 5-day virtual conference w/ 20 seminars w/ 20 speakers. Follow Invisible Illness Week on Twitter for cool prizes and info. Blog about invisible illness on your site, be a featured guest blogger, meet others, read articles and lots more. Make a difference!
 Try using an invitation service that is online to invite all your guests. You can send them out in a few minutes and you can receive fast responses right back to see who is coming. Guests can see who else is coming and they can leave a comment. Great tip: you can have a list of things that would be helpful for people to volunteer to bring. It can be anything from food items to games, music, even paper plates or extra chairs.
 Concentrate on the outside. Blow all the dirt off the patio and wipe down the tables and then keep everyone outside. If you can, help lead people around the side of the house but stringing twinkle lights and adding some solar-powered tiki torches. Then toss any indoor junk piles into a back bedroom, clean up the kitchen and wipe the bathroom down. Add room fragrances that give off beach scents and dim the lights. Battery-powered tea lights are perfect for atmosphere, even in the bathroom.
 Bring the inside out. Pull out blankets, pillows, lamps with extension cords, and table cloths to make your deck or patio comforting. If you can do it easily, choose a theme.
 Purchase some food items pre-made, like potato salad or baked beans. Add your own ingredients, like add celery and boiled eggs, and sprinkle it with paprika to potato salad or add big chunks of bacon to your beans. When choosing what to grill, make it easy. Consider asking a spouse or friend to help. You may even want to grill some food in advance and then warm it in foil at the last minute. Or wrap up salmon with herbs and butter in foil and just steam it on the grill. Grill with smoking wooden chips and the scent will keep everyone eager to eat.
 Go for paper plates and utensils. You can find bright colorful items at most discount stores.
 Find a teenager who will work for cheap to be in charge of all entertainment the children. Set up the kids table for activities, like making home-made ice cream and then letting everyone add their own sundae toppings. A sprinkler or a simple craft like sand art can keep kids hands busy. If someone is adventurous, tell them they are in charge of setting up a treasure hunt.
 Skip fancy drinks, and provide a variety of sodas (don't forget root beer and orange cream soda) and sparkling water. Have juice boxes for the kids. Throw a plastic table cloth over a wheel barrow or other bucket, dump in ice and arrange. Sit out a large self-serve container of unsweetened ice tea with some ice cubes pre-made with black berries and mint leaves inside for a fancy effect.
Lastly, don't forget to sit and have a bit of conversation. Have fun! Don't attempt to be the perfect hostess that no one sees. Relax and leave the clean up until the next day.