Yeah, this is all tied together, but it might be a bit of a ramble.
So! I just want to preface by saying that I really do think about serious issues. I mostly post fluff because it gives me a mental break from how awful the world can be. I'm irritated with stupid people on FB, I'm disgusted with gun culture, and when I get ragey about discrimination, I freeze up and often can't articulate a coherent response. It's frustrating, so now I'm distracting myself and anyone else who cares to join with this.
When we left Alaska for Texas, my husband hadn't gotten a job, so we were unsure where we would end up. Austin didn't pan out, most of you know we ended up in Houston. My dad gave us a big wad of cash (almost every week when I talk to him, he asks if we need anything, love him) to help us out and it turned out to be an amazing help. Because of that, we were able to hire a real estate agent to find us a place to rent since we knew nothing about the area. The agent was able to find us an independently owned house to rent, I have and intense dislike for apartment property management companies. Our house is pretty small, without the garage, it's less than 800sf, but the garage is semi-finished and we use it as storage/laundry/computer room and there's a spare foam couch bed in there for guests. It also has a back yard! Not huge, but big enough to play and entertain in with the right equipment. When we moved in, the landlords had recently finished remodeling the interior. It's not professional work, but it's nice enough for us. The back yard had been neglected though, and was pretty much overgrown weeds and patchy hard dirt. Last spring I had the brilliant idea of fixing it up myself, but after 2 hours and dozens of mosquito bites I had only gotten a 5x5 ft patch clear and I gave up.
A few weeks ago, I asked the landlords if they would be up for having professional landscapers come do the yard. I offered to contribute toward it since it will bring up property value and we just renewed our lease for another year. They're paying the bulk though, whew. After getting quotes and being a go-between with landscapers and landlord, the final decision is for a simple concrete walkway and patio with grass in the rest. Nothing fancy, but it will have a useable yard! I'm so excited!
They start tomorrow, and we're planning on having our friends over on Sunday. Maybe invite the helpful neighbors to the left over for a beer as well.
The question is: what could I make for food for everyone that is fairly easy, relatively inexpensive, and good for 7 adults and 5-6 kids? Also, if anyone has good methods for keeping wasps and mosquitoes out of my yard, please enlighten me!