Allspice Chronicles

Entertain like a Queen, Think Lean and Live Green! A personal collection of recipes,anecdotes,and good old fashioned advice…

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Nifty Napkin Folds: The Crown Fold

by Danica Waters

 

What is it?  A red banana? “

Ummmm….No.  This is the Crown Fold.  If you need something regal or royal, this is one way to pull out all the stops and embellish your table setting (in a royal banana sort of way).

Just about the time you think it’s “stuffy”, think again!  This is a terrific fold for a kids’ party; use reversible patterned napkins for fun results.

 

Don’t panic if you have to practice this one a few times.  And note: an iron and some spray starch work wonders… if you’re going to the trouble, go all the way!

 

Enjoy!

 

The Crown Fold

 

Step 1:

Lay the napkin face-down in front of you.

Step 2:

Fold the napkin in half diagonally, and orient it so that the open ends face away from you.

Step 3:

Fold the right corner up so that the point rests directly on top of the middle corner and the fold creates a center line.

Step 4:

Repeat Step 3 with the other side, and create a diamond shape with all points facing away from you.

Step 5:

Turn napkin over carefully so that the new open seam lies face down.

Step 6:

Fold the bottom corner closest to you up about 2/3rds of the way up and press down well.

Step 7:

Now take the top of the inner triangle and fold it down, bringing the point to rest on the near edge of the napkin, and exactly on the center line.  Press well.  (This is a good time for an iron!)

 

Step 8:

Curl the right and left sides of the napkin up and around, tucking one inside the other so that they securely meet and hold in the middle.

Step 9:

Now stand the napkin up and tug at the sides, molding and shaping where needed to make sure it’s even and well-rounded in appearance.

Voila!

Posted November 28th, 2011.

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Etiquette and the Birthday Bash

by Danica Waters

If ever there was a hotbed for potential etiquette nightmares, the birthday party is IT.  Here’s what you need to know about Etiquette and the Birthday Bash:

 

(Oh, and BTW:  most of this information is directed towards children’s parties, as they are sadly, but typically, the most politically-charged.  All of the information will easily carry forward to adults’ parties, as well…)

 

On the subject of Invitations:

 

How many people should I invite?  Of course, when it comes to a birthday celebration, most kids want to invite everyone they know.  This will never be a comfortable situation, as you, the parent, are put in the unenviable position of needing to balance your sanity, your budget, and the feelings of the 20 other friends or schoolmates who may or may not receive an invitation.  Here are some things to think about:

    • Age:  A good way to avoid an overwhelming situation (for both you and your child!) is to invite as many children as your child’s age – plus one.  So if your child is turning six, invite seven children to the party.  This way the small child will not be overwhelmed, and with every passing year they’ll learn to handle bigger and bigger crowds.
    • Budget:  Do yourself and your child a favor, and get real about your budget.  It’s really easy to feel like you need to “Keep up with the Joneses” – and the peer pressure can be brutal.  But giving in to that kind of mentality ties your child’s esteem to things that are unreal, and sets a potentially dangerous precedent in their future approach to money management.  Respect your budget, get creative, and remember that sometimes the simplest approach is the most effective.
    • Location:  Lots of guests in a tiny indoor living space is a recipe for disaster, no matter what their age.  It will be much easier to host a larger crowd in a larger space such as a park, gymnasium, or large back yard.
    • Your Time and Energy Level:  Don’t. Underestimate.  Anything.  Ever.  Sure you’re going to meet that drop-dead work deadline, be back in time to clean the house, do the shopping, put up the decorations, bake a cake, prep the party fare, actually take a shower and look like June Cleaver by the time the guests arrive 24 hours from now.  Mmmmm-hmmmm…..  Be kind to yourself; save your sanity and understand that there are many ways to make a celebration special.  Look for the solution that allows you to gracefully get to the point of it all:  celebrating the birthday boy/girl.

 

What about the kids who didn’t get invited?

Lots of parents worry about making children feel “left out” if they don’t receive an invitation to the celebration.  On the flip side, it is easy to feel like you or your child will have some explaining to do to all the other folks who were not on the list of invitees.  This is not fun for anybody, and sadly, it can turn into a political tit-for-tat on the part of children and parents alike.  But there are ways you can minimize or avoid these situations:

Bring treats to the classroom / team.  Approach your child’s teacher/coach and ask if you can bring a special treat for the whole class/team to share.  Sometimes a couple of pizzas and some juice go a long, long way towards making everyone feel included, and it teaches your child that giving is usually even more fun than receiving.

Be discreet.  If you’re having a smaller party, teach your child the art of discretion and consideration for others’ feelings.  Some children will see their party- or their invitation to a party – as an opportunity for a power play; teach them early-on that this isn’t the right approach.

 

What information should be included on the invitations?

Online services like www.evite.com make sending invitations paperless and easy.  Should you choose to send invitations through the mail, they should include the following information;

–         The type of party being given;

–         For whom the party is being given;

–         Date (include the day of the week and the date!);

–         Time (give both a specific start time and end time, and if your event requires a very specific start or pickup time, such as at a theater, include the word “sharp” after the times.  If you’d prefer parents not to stay for the party, simply insert the words “drop-off” and “pick-up”prior to the requested times;

–         Location (include the complete address, name of the facility, if applicable, and directions or cross-streets if there’s room);

–         Contact telephone number at your home or at the venue, and your cell number.

–         Suggested attire:  Will their child need a swimsuit and towel?  A paint smock?  Clothes for muddy or messy activities?

–         Food provided:  This is really helpful for parents to know, especially if the party time is close to a normal mealtime.  If you’re just doing cake, specify that.  It’s also prudent to ask parents to notify you of any food allergies or other special needs their child may have when they RSVP.  Better safe than sorry!

–         Specify how you’d like your guests to RSVP, and do include a deadline of no later than about a week before the party.  The most common RSVP formats include:

      • RSVP to Dinah at [phone number] or [email].
      • RSVP by June 1 to Dinah at [phone number].
      • Kindly respond to Dinah Johnson at [phone number].
      • Please reply to Dinah Johnson at [phone number].
      • Regrets only, to Dinah at [phone number]. (Please note that “regrets only” means that you only want people to call if they cannot attend. You assume everyone else is coming.)

How to handle RSVP’s:

Most parents will RSVP by the requested date; however, sometimes things fall through the cracks and folks forget.  Don’t hesitate to call potential guests to see if they’re coming;  never assume their child won’t attend simply because you haven’t heard back.

If you’re the guest, be sure to RSVP promptly.  Your host/ess will need an accurate head count to make appropriate plans.

In the event your child has food allergies or special needs, let the host/ess know ASAP, and kindly offer to bring something to accommodate your child.  Be sure to bring enough for others to sample!

 

What is the best time for a children’s party, and how long should it last?

”For babies and toddlers up to three years old, when naptime is still a consideration, a one-hour party is long enough. When children are four to seven years old, plan on one and a half hours for the party. By the time children are eight to eleven years old, they can easily handle a two-hour party. Children twelve and up can entertain themselves to some extent, so they will likely want an evening party or sleepover.

The best time of day to have a baby or toddler party is probably 10:00am–11:00am. This lets you work around nap time, and is long enough for some free play and cake. As children get older, parties are usually from 1:30pm–3:00pm or 2:00pm–4:00pm. This gives plenty of time for games, snacks, and cake.” (http://www.birthdayinabox.com/)


If you would like parents to stay at the party as chaperones:

The general rule of thumb is that parents should stay to chaperone their child if they are under the age of five. Feel free to make your need for assistance clear by adding wording on the invitations asking that the invited child come with one parent. Be sure to confirm the parent’s attendance when he/she RSVP’s.
How to address the invitations/envelopes:   Address each invitation to the person being invited. If you’d rather little Mary attend without her brothers and sisters, simply address the envelope to Mary Johnson.   If you look forward to having an entire family attend, address the invitation to “Mary Johnson and Family”, or to “The Johnson Family”.  The words “Siblings Welcome” inside the body of the invitation works, as well.

 

On the subject of party games and activities:

The biggest rule of thumb here is to let the children set the pace of the party.  You may have a lineup of the most fantastic games the world has ever known, but the fastest way to ruin a good party is to force kids to play them.  More often than not, you’ll find party-goers completely engrossed in simply playing together.  However, it’s always good to have some planned activities or crafts ready to go in the event of an impending meltdown.
What about competitive party games?

“Laurie Wrigley, founder of Birthday in a Box, adds this great advice:

“On the subject of competition, I think that children four and under are probably too young for competitive games in which there is a single winner or players are eliminated. While most may be able to handle it, there may be one or two who cannot. Instead, I would advise that each young child be given a participation prize or be made to feel like a winner. For instance, with a musical game, the adult can ensure everyone wins by stopping the music appropriately. Or, if there is a broad range of ages, you may want to pair younger children with an older partner or an adult who can share in the win or loss.”

    • When planning party activities, always add two more games or crafts than you think you will need. These extra ideas will rescue you on the party day if the children finish a game more quickly than you expected. For a toddler party, it is generally accepted to let the kids play freely most of the time, so one or two games are all you will need.
    • For other age groups, plan 3-5 crafts or games if your party will last one-and-a-half hours. For a two-hour party, you will need 4-6 activities.

Don’t push the children to finish a game that they are enjoying. If you’ve hit upon a winner, the kids may want to play it again! Forget about getting through your entire list of games, and let the party flow at its own pace.” (http://www.birthdayinabox.com/)

 

On the topic of behavior – and misbehavior:

Set clear expectations without being “preachy”: 

Communication and preparation based on kindness and empathy are worth their weight in gold.  Let’s face it:  kids don’t know  good party manners from a hill of beans until they’re taught.  Be a good parent: talk to your child before the party about your basic expectations, rather than chiding them for poor manners in front of their guests.  Good things to start out with include:

–         Saying hello to each guest as they arrive, even if you’re playing with someone else;

–         Being friendly to everyone;

–         Saying “Thank You” to each guest for the gift they brought;

–         Saying “Thank You” and “Goodbye” to each departing guest.

 

A great way to prepare children for social success is to play-act with them.  Like anyone, children learn more from and are better able to appropriately react to situations or personalities they’ve previously been exposed to. Try to teach through illustration; turn into the infamously evil Nelly Olson from Little House On The Prarie for a few minutes.  Then turn into the much more kind Laura Ingalls, and let your child decide which personality she would prefer to emulate.  This is a fun way to offer a gentle behavioral reminder during the party, too.  If your child shows signs of veering in the wrong direction, all you have to do is ask, “My, did I hear Nelly in the room?”  No one else will have a clue as to what you’re talking about, and your child will get the message without feeling put on the spot.  Furthermore, if your child happens to have unwittingly invited a “Nelly” to the party, that little code word can go a long way to let them know that you are seeing the offending behavior from the guest and that your child is not alone.

 

Managing the Meltdown:

Birthday parties are huge, overwhelming things for children.  The excitement and anticipation builds up for weeks beforehand. On the day of the event, sugar mixes with all that adrenaline like a powder keg waiting for the opportunity to explode all over the place and the chance of a complete emotional meltdown is drastically increased for child and parent alike.  Just remember:

 

–         Keep your cool.  Your job is to calm your child down and get him/her back to the party as quickly as possible.  Sometimes that may entail your needing to move them to a quiet, secluded area for a bit until they calm down.  Just explain to the other party goers that Mary needs a quiet minute and quickly divert their attention by starting up a new activity or game.  Mary will come around quickly enough, and when she does, welcome her back and get her into the activity quickly and seamlessly.

–         Master the art of redirection. Sometimes your guests will be the ones with the behavior issues.  It’s always a good idea to have another adult at any party to help out; if the misbehaving child’s parent is in attendance, feel free to ask him/her to help the offending child through their issue.  If you’re the one who has to step in, try to stay positive.  Try not to make the child feel as though you’re attacking him/her; simply say something like, ‘It’s been a big day, hasn’t it?  Why don’t you come with me and we’ll get you something cool to drink?”  At this point, offer something sugar-free, like a glass of milk or water.

If wild and unruly behavior is the problem, try enlisting the child’s assistance in helping you set up for the next activity.  Usually a newfound sense of purpose will turn even the most out-of-control kid into a prince/ss.  However, if the child is just being plain mean to others, do not hesitate to contact his/her parents if the situation seems to be beyond your control.

 

On the subject of Gifts:

 

Should gifts be opened during or after the party?

The debate rages on as to whether it’s best to open gifts during the party or leave them until after the guests have departed.  A good rule of thumb is to base your decision on the size of the party; if you have fewer than ten, it’s a good idea to open them during your event.  However, during larger gatherings, the process of opening gifts can be a bit boring for the guests.  Follow your gut.

 

There is a chance that your child might be crushed if they don’t have the chance to see the recipient open their carefully-chosen gift.  If you think this is the case, general consensus says you should speak up, and ask if the host/ess would mind if the recipient opened the gift prior to your child’s departure.

 

Sometimes, simply structuring the party so that gift-opening is left for last ensures that everyone has a great time, and all the bases are covered.

 

No matter which direction you go, be sure to make a list of all the gifts and note who they came from so that Thank You Notes can be sent accordingly.

 

What if the invitation requests “no gifts”?  Shouldn’t I still bring something?

“No gifts” means NO GIFTS.  To bring something to the event might embarrass the host and the other guests, alike.  If you feel you must give the birthday boy/girl a special something, do it at another time and place.

 

 

And, finally, on the subject of Thank You Notes:

 

Yes, they are absolutely, 100% necessary.  Explain to your child how his/her friend took the time to choose a nice gift, and, even if the gift wasn’t a favorite, or was a duplicate, the friend should still get a “thank you” for his time and consideration.  The note doesn’t have to be long; it should, however, thank the giver for coming to the party, mention the gift and say something nice about it.  Thank you notes are best written right after the event; however, try to send them no later than two weeks after the party.

 

Here’s to many happy Birthday  Bashes for years and years to come!

Posted July 19th, 2011.

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Top Ten Ideas for a “Kinder and Gentler” Childrens’ Party

By Danica Waters

 

Today marks the beginning of Birthday Season at my house.  As strange as it may sound, my three children were born exactly two weeks apart beginning in mid July.  While they’re all much older now, and their idea of what makes a party memorable is far, far away from the rousing game of Pin-The-Tail-On-Tigger, I find myself looking back wistfully upon the days of decorations and party themes, goodie bags and games.

 

And then reality kicks in and I remember what those parties were really like.  Ah, yes.  The gift dilemmas, the meltdowns, the jealousy, and that helpless, nasty feeling you get when your child comes crying to you after having been told that her goodie-bags weren’t as good as the ones at another, more “popular” friend’s party last week.

 

And then I shudder when I think about all the wasted money and paper and dyes and plastic party favors and party hats and plates and utensils… the list goes on and on.

If I had little kids, how would I do it differently?  Smarter?  “Kinder and gentler”?

 

After doing a little light reading into the world of the modern childrens’ party, I came away flooded with environmentally and socially friendly ideas.  Here’s my Top Ten Ideas for a “Kinder and Gentler” Childrens’ Party:

 

1.  E-Mail Your InvitationsSave the paper and send your party invitations via email.  Check out www.evite.com – with tons of hip, colorful and hilarious designs to choose from, evite.com makes it super-easy to create and send the perfect invitation, and for busy moms and dads to RSVP right from their in-box!

 

2.  Skip the Birthday CardOn your invitation, kindly ask that guests forego the birthday card.  Instead, provide a special birthday “scrapbook” that guests can sign and personalize with multi-colored markers or gel-pens (try a decorated Composition notebook or art pad).  For little bitsies, a “signature” could be something as simple as creating a handprint from tempera paint; older kids might enjoy embellishing their messages with stickers or glitter pens.

 

Or, for zero-impact, have older, more computer-literate guests create a personalized message using different font styles and colors in either a simple Word Document or a more sophisticated Power-Point slide.  Images from the birthday party can be easily inserted into the presentation for a completely paper-free and easy-to share (and easy to store!) virtual scrapbook.

 

3.  Focus on the activity, not the stuff.  If you added up all the money you’d spend on party decorations, favors, and the like, chances are you could take that same amount and do something really cool, like bring a few choice friends to a planetarium or a local museum, or even support local talent and hire a puppeteer.

 

4.  Make an heirloom birthday tableclothRather than invest in (and throw away) lots of vinyl, plastic, or even paper party tablecloths, make your own heirloom party cloth.  Using something as simple as an old sheet, choose a special color dye and go to town!  Embellish with patchwork, fabric paints, beads and sequins to create a one-of-a-kind cloth for all your family’s birthday bashes.

 

5. Ban the paper napkins!  For a fun assortment of party napkins, keep an eye out at all your favorite home stores for cloth napkins on sale.  Chances are you’ll find some super-fun colors and prints you can use (and re-use) for years to come.

 

6.  Keep food finger-friendlyEliminate the need for lots of plates and utensils by basing your party fare on finger-friendly foods.  Miniature tacos/taquitos, fresh fruit sections, and wild and colorful veggies (pick up some purple carrots and some brocco-flower at your local farmer’s market!) make for a fun and festive party menu.  Finish it off with a tower teeming with succulent cupcakes and your guests will be thrilled!

 

7.  Eliminate the juice-boxBuy re-useable stainless steel water bottles in bright colors, and have kids label theirs with an adhesive sticker-style label or tag affixed with ribbon or yarn.  Kids can take them home as a party-favor afterwards.

 

Fill a large beverage dispenser or thermos with homemade lemonade, juice, water, or milk.  Label the contents per the party theme:  “Poly-Juice Potion”, “Fairy Juice”, “Gas Tank”, “Zombie Water”, etc.  Add to the fun by setting out a few dishes filled with colored sugar (think Pixie Stix), and call it “Fairy Dust” that kids can sprinkle into their beverage.  Or, for a more healthful alternative, set out small dishes of sliced berries or fresh mint that they can add to their drink to customize their personal concoction.

 

8.  Never underestimate the attraction of a large refrigerator box.  Though you might have to make special arrangements to get your hands on one, the refrigerator box is possibly the cheapest and easiest party activity EVER.  Kids will turn them into forts, skyscrapers, giant caves… several large boxes in a back yard will become play cities that will provide hours of fun.

 

Large boxes make for great stage and backdrop surfaces, as well.  Nothing gets kids going faster than the idea of putting on a variety show.

 

The best part?  It all breaks down into a recyclable pile easily removed by the weekly recycling truck.

 

9.  Bypass the Great Gift Dilemma and eliminate wrapping paper in the process!

Avoid collecting unwanted or duplicate gifts and the embarrassment that accompanies them by shifting the focus of your party towards having everyone work together to make the world a better place.  Here’s some ideas:

 

Donate gently-used toys and clothes to children in need.  Decorate a large box (or have the kids do it!) to hold donated items brought in lieu of birthday gifts.  Then get on with the party!

 

Make a Giving Tree.  Create a large cardboard “tree”, and instruct guests to bring one-dollar bills (in whatever amount is comfortable for their budget) in lieu of gifts.  Using paper clips, poke a small hole in each dollar bill and “attach” to the tree to make ‘leaves’.  The cash can either be donated to a charity of choice, or it can be given to the birthday boy/girl to buy something really special.  Be sure to emphasize your positive impact on the planet by eliminating packaging and gift wrap, as well!

 

Throw an EchoAge party and have the proceeds go to a cause of your choice!  www.echoage.com is an outstanding resource that makes it easy for your child to choose a charity of his/her choice.  “Keeping an eye and ear on your ECHOage Party is easy and inspirational: you will be able to organize your entire party, from guests to child allergies, important parent contact information to online payments. The ECHOage Tracker provides you with everything you need to keep your party organized, safe and fun.

Once all of your guests have responded and contributed online, ECHOage sends you the funds that have been collected so that you can choose ONE GIFT for your child to cherish from all his/her friends. ECHOage makes the payment to the charity you have chosen for you, and you receive an official tax receipt.”  Check them out here.

10.  Don’t forget the party hats!

Oh, heavens.  If this little video series by party hat expert Ginny Larson doesn’t get your creative juices flowing, I don’t know what will.  Imagine hosting a “fashion show” party where guests construct fabulous frocks and hats from newsprint and paper bags, or jewelry from cut-up paper towel rings and the like…  mmmm-hmmmmm….  Sounds like the making of some historic – and hysterical – Kodak Moments, for sure.  Here’s the how-to:

http://www.ehow.com/videos-on_129_make-party-hats.html

Posted July 18th, 2011.

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Fruit & Yogurt-Filled Croissants

by Danica Waters

Out of everything I’ve learned over years’ of camping with kids in tow, when it comes to cooking in the great outdoors, there are two rules that should be made into giant neon signs:

1)  Keep it simple. Doing a million dishes in the wild does not make for happy times.

2) Simple doesn’t mean processed, high-sugar anything. Yep.  You actually have to live with your kids.  Happily.

In an effort to dodge the “Mom-We-Want-Donuts” requests prior to one of our camping excursions, I brought along some croissants and an assortment of yogurt. The kids were happy enough with it – but then my youngest daughter (the foodie)  asked me to split her croissant down the middle so she could smear all of her yogurt on the inside.  We all looked at her like she was crazy, but she insisted it tasted like a cream filled donut and made each of us take a bite.   She was right.  It was like a cream-filled bite of heaven –  with no sugar crash afterwards.  An instant family favorite.

Since then we have had loads of fun  “perfecting” the filled croissant:

Take your croissant and hold it so that it looks like a smile (two ends facing up).  Create a “pocket”; carefully split the croissant from one end to the other, being sure not to cut all the way through.  Spoon in your favorite flavored yogurt and spread evenly inside the pocket.  Then, add slices of your favorite fruit or berries.  Grab a napkin –  and enjoy!

If you like your croissants warm and crispy on those chilly mountain mornings, simply skewer your croissant lengthwise and hold over your campfire or camp stove for a minute or two to toast it.

Please note that the only dishes required for this early-morning deliciousness are a knife to split the croissants (and maybe to slice the fruit, if you didn’t pre-slice it at home) and a spoon to spread your yogurt.  Now that’s a great way to start the day!

Here’s some great flavor combinations:

*  Vanilla yogurt with any kind of fruit

*  Peach yogurt with fresh blueberries

*  Strawberry yogurt with sliced banana

*  Banana yogurt with fresh sliced pineapple and shredded coconut

*  Strawberry yogurt with fresh sliced mango

*  Greek-style plain yogurt drizzled with honey, stuffed with fresh blueberries and walnuts

I should note that the filled croissant works beautifully for other occasions, as well.   Miniature filled croissants make an unusual and very decadent add to a breakfast buffet – they’re easy to eat and never fail to wow everyone who wraps their mouth around them.

Here’s to happy camping and little foodies everywhere!  Enjoy!

Posted June 29th, 2011.

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“Happily-Ever-After” Punch

by Danica Waters / source photo courtesy of www.myrecipes.com

It’s coming on springtime, which brings Easter and Dance Recitals,  Baseball and Graduation Parties…  Magical times call for magical beverages!  And this one has proved itself to be good for kids of all ages.

I found this recipe when I was 22 years old.  I had decided to throw a very large, very stylish birthday party for my eldest daughter, who was turning 3.  I was on a mission.  I had people to impress.  Having become her mom less than a year before, I’d never organized anything like that EVER, I had no idea how the whole birthday-party-thing worked, I was a bit intimidated by the thought of a roomful of screaming children, and even more intimidated by not knowing what on earth to do with their parents?  An awkward dilemma was magnified by the fact that I was half the age of most of the parents whose children I would be inviting, and several mothers at the Preschool went out of their way to make sure it was a far less-than-comfortable experience for me to show up to collect my little girl.  I’ve always been one to deal with these things head-on, and so I sent the invitations to EVERY SINGLE PARENT in the school.   Needless to say, EVERY SINGLE ONE RSVP’d.  (Oh, Lordy.)

My daughter had wished for a Beauty and the Beast-themed party, so, armed with my two awesome sisters and the latest issue of the Oriental Trading Company novelty catalog (www.orientaltrading.com), I ordered games, art supplies, a million pink balloons, miles of paper streamers, and loads of party favors.  The menu for the kids was simple: Pigs In a Blanket, Chicken Fingers, little double-decker PB-B&J finger sandwiches, grapes, berries, and melon balls.  And Cheetos.  Lots of Cheetos.  I did a separate table for the adults, a more sophisticated spread including two kinds of quiche and a curried chicken salad.  I figured I’d spare them the Cheetos, as we would have enough day-glo orange fingers to manage that afternoon.  The tables looked beautiful.  My sisters had done a smashing job of decorating the place.  We were ready.  And we had a secret weapon.

Food, decorations, and bravado aside, the secret weapon was this punch.  Not only did the kids love it, especially with the fruit kebabs that they could eat right out of their glass, but my husband discovered it to be an excellent mixer with a bit of light rum in each of the adult’s glasses.  We were unsure of how the parents would react to the offering of alcohol at a children’s party.  I was personally prepared for anything.  Condemnation.  Hellfire and brimstone.  What I wasn’t prepared for was the sheer delight and enthusiasm with which the offer of a wee nip was met.  It was like magic.  Voila!  No more mean moms!  Parents were beaming from ear to ear, the game Pin the Tail on the Donkey became an uproarious affair, and the kids had so much fun they didn’t want to leave.  So my first offering to the Great Libation shall be what I call Happily- Ever- After Punch.  May it work magic for you, too!

Happily-Ever-After Punch (aka Sparkling Pink Lemonade)

(Adapted from the Land O’ LakesTreasury of Country Recipes)

1-1/2 C sugar (or substitute stevia to taste, for a much healthier alternative!)

1-1/2 C freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 6 lemons)

1 qt club soda, chilled

4 tsp grenadine syrup

6” wooden skewers

Assorted fresh fruit pieces (strawberries, melon, pineapple chunks, etc.)

In a 2 – quart pitcher combine sugar and lemon juice; stir well.  Refrigerate at least half an hour.  Just before serving, add club soda.  Stir in grenadine syrup.

On 6” wooden skewers, thread fruit pieces to make kebobs.  Place kebobs in glasses, add ice, and pour in lemonade.

Note:  this only makes 1-1/2 quarts, so be sure to make enough for your gathering!  And in emergency situations, remember the rum.

Posted April 21st, 2011.

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