Summer Party 7 Way Drink Station

Friday, August 14, 2015



I love to entertain, and I've spent the last couple of decades learning from my party planning mistakes. Especially when it comes to cocktails. One of the most surprising lessons I learned is that, when a party guest asks for a drink, you should never just point at a stocked bar and say "help yourself!"

And not for the reason you'd think. Turns out, the average party goer offered free reign will, surprisingly often, opt for a glass of water.  Reasons are all over the place, but in general it's just too overwhelming.

After many years of leftover party beverages and wondering what on earth I was doing wrong, I finally figured out that my guests enthusiastically consumed beverage selections limited in scope, mixed ahead of time and carefully coordinated with the party's theme and menu.  The whole time I'd been trying very hard not to tell them what they had to drink, and apparently what they wanted was for me to tell them what to drink.

Which brings me to this 7 way summertime drink station. I recently threw a casual summer cookout and wanted to offer several refreshing options for both kids and adults with a minimum of fuss, counter space and ingredients. This is what I came up with!

Drink Station Features
Large dispenser of lemonade
Large dispenser of iced tea (unsweetened, brewed fresh)
Squeeze bottle of simple syrup (I do a more saturated 1.5 c sugar / 1 c water)
Bottle of Bushmills Irish Honey (it has to be exactly this)
Bottle of vodka (your preferred brand, not pictured)
Ice bucket (not pictured)

I should also note that I froze portions of the iced tea and lemonade in bundt pans overnight to float in the dispensers. This helped keep it cold much longer, and greatly reduced the constant hassle of restocking the ice bucket.

When I do this again, I'll label the containers and post a list of the combinations above the station to eliminate the need to repeat the explanation as new guests arrive. Because apparently I'm the only one nutty enough to think this is self explanatory.

Drink Combinations
1) Iced tea (unsweetened)
2) Sweet tea (sweetened to taste by guests with simple syrup)
3) Arnold Palmer (half tea, half lemonade)
4) Lemonade
5) Vodka & Lemonade
6) Bushmills & Lemonade (a current favorite)
7) Arnold Palmer & Bushmills*

*I've spent the better part of the last decade in search of the elusive spirit to mix with an Arnold Palmer without tasking like blech. The tea is a tough taste to blend. So when I tried the Bushmills Honey...  it was like a choir of angels singing the Hallelujah Chorus.

As cocktails go, the possibilities are endless. Personally, if I hadn't run out of gin the day before I'd also have added that to the station because gin & lemonade is delightful.

It's no secret that I come from rednecks, so sweet tea and Arnold Palmers are my summertime raison d'etre. But if that isn't your style, just use the concept as a springboard for your own station.

Have you ever done a multi-mix drink station? I'd love to hear what combinations you featured!


Socials
I pinned this post to my Entertaining Inspiration board.

Autism Acceptance And Understanding: Actually Autistic

Monday, April 27, 2015

This wraps up the April 2015 series of informational graphics created to help promote public awareness, acceptance and understanding of autism.


These infomemes were written by an author and autism parent advocate (that would be me). They were then reviewed and contributed to by a number of adults who are #ActuallyAutistic, as well as a number of fellow autism parents (some of whom are also autistic).

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Sharing these information images is encouraged as we all work to raise visibility, foster acceptance and promote understanding for our loved ones during Autism Awareness Month.

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Autism Acceptance and Understanding: Meltdown 101

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

This is part of a series of informational graphics created to help promote public awareness, acceptance and understanding of autism.

These infomemes were written by an author and autism parent advocate (that would be me). They were then reviewed and contributed to by a number of adults who are #ActuallyAutistic, as well as a number of fellow autism parents (some of whom are also autistic).

Image Sharing
Sharing these information images is encouraged as we all work to raise visibility, foster acceptance and promote understanding for our loved ones during Autism Awareness Month.

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From a blog - Save the image from this post, and post unaltered to your site. Please include an author credit (Michelle Wood of ShesAlwaysWrite.com) and/or a link to this site for appropriate attribution.

Autism Acceptance and Understanding: Listen Better

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

This is part of a series of informational graphics created to help promote public awareness, acceptance and understanding of autism.



These infomemes were written by an author and autism parent advocate (that would be me). They were then reviewed and contributed to by a number of adults who are #ActuallyAutistic, as well as a number of fellow autism parents (some of whom are also autistic).

Image Sharing
Sharing these information images is encouraged as we all work to raise visibility, foster acceptance and promote understanding for our loved ones during Autism Awareness Month.

From Facebook
Use the share function from my Facebook page for this image post.

From Pinterest
Repin this pin.

From Twitter
Retweet this tweet.

From a blog - Save the image from this post, and post unaltered to your site. Please include an author credit (Michelle Wood of ShesAlwaysWrite.com) and/or a link to this site for appropriate attribution.

Autism Acceptance and Understanding: Respect the Stim

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

This is part of a series of informational graphics created to help promote public awareness, acceptance and understanding of autism.
 

These infomemes were written by an author and autism parent advocate (that would be me). They were then reviewed and contributed to by a number of adults who are #ActuallyAutistic, as well as a number of fellow autism parents (some of whom are also autistic).

Image Sharing
Sharing these information images is encouraged as we all work to raise visibility, foster acceptance and promote understanding for our loved ones during Autism Awareness Month.

From Facebook
Use the share function from my Facebook page for this image post.

From Pinterest
Repin this pin

From Twitter
Retweet this tweet

From a blog - Save the image from this post, and post unaltered to your site. Please include an author credit (Michelle Wood of ShesAlwaysWrite.com) and/or a link to this site for appropriate attribution.

Kid Friendly Upcycled Paper Bag Easter Basket Craft

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


When the stores fill with plastic eggs, chocolate bunnies and overpriced baskets emblazoned with the latest Disney characters, I cringe and imagine what a pastel nightmare next month's landfill layer is going to look like. I just can't bring myself to buy single use items like that.

I'm always looking for hands-on crafty stuff to do with the kids, and I compulsively hoard sturdy paper shopping bags with handles. It occurred to me therein lies the two birds / one stone solution to the Easter basket problem. I'm sharing it with y'all, because I can't be the only one who would happily slip a forgotten Easter basket into the recycling bin after hiding in the garage to eat the last of the Jelly Bellies.

Kid Friendly Upcycled Paper Bag Easter Basket Craft

1) Rummage around in the back of your pantry for some paper bags. Hopefully ones that don't smell like old Chinese takeout.

2) Prep the kids to paint. Take autism break to allow plenty of time for crucial paint bottle arranging.

3) Have the kids cut top of the bags off at the crease. Save upper sections for the handle step.

4) Nope, still not quite right...

5) Distract boychild from lack of access to paint with a cookie while explaining that his brother is autistic just like he is, and we will wait for little brother to arrange the paint bottles because it makes him happy, just like we wait for big brother arrange the kitchen stools because it makes him happy.

6) Finally start painting... *sigh* That's ok little Dude, the Easter Bunny doesn't really care if your basket is painted. You do you.

7) Try not to cry as you think about how far your sweet little guy has come and how much hard work and occupational therapy and social coaching it took for him to get to a point where he spontaneously painted a picture of his family next to a house.

8) Let the painted bags dry, preferable overnight. Try not to forget that you sat them on top of the fridge and drop another pile of stuff you needed out of the way on the wet paint.

9) Cut the handle sections so the width is just slightly smaller than the interior width of the painted bag.

10) Cut the height of the handle section so it's just shorter than the depth of the painted bag.

11) Glue time! AKA stealth squeezy sensory break time!

12) Glue the crap out of 'em so they'll hopefully hold the weight of the Easter stuff. I set the glue covered pieces in place for the kids because I'd rather not be scraping dried glue off my counter through Memorial Day. Then I have them press it all over to get good contact. I recommend letting it dry on its side overnight so they don't slide around.

13) Voila! Adorable, guilt free, customized Easter baskets! If you're feeling ambitious and looking for another sensory activity, instead of buying Easter grass you can have the kids make their own.  I always have scraps of construction paper in the craft bin and the little one loves to play with scissors. (Fine motor skills!)  You could also have them crumple or tear up tissue paper.



Any Size
The great thing is that this craft can be done with any size paper bag that suits your family's Easter traditions. A standard brown paper lunch bag is the perfect size for a reasonable amount of candy. For bags without built in handles, simply hole punch and use ribbon or yarn to create the handle. They'll still achieve a basket look, though probably won't be sturdy enough to carry it once filled.

I use fairly big bags because our Easter bunny doesn't bring much candy. He doesn't need to - we've still got at least a bag or two still left over from Halloween. What he does bring is a moderate size toy, maybe a DVD, with some token "bunny beans" (adorably dubbed so by Dude last Easter, and not an error we're keen to correct) and a Reese's egg (because I'm only human).

The things is, spring is when work starts going nuts for me after the typically quiet winter. So I go from a near total focus on the kids to spending tons of time in the office. Easter has become an opportunity to assuage some of the Working Mommy Guilt associated with my seasonal disappearance, so until I'm able to level up in my career I'll probably continue using the big bags.



I wasn't kidding about the Working Mommy guilt. Wonderful Husband has requested that I ask the Easter Bunny to take his enthusiasm down a notch next year...


Socials
This paper bag Easter Basket craft is pinned to my crafting board.

Halloween Pumpking Carving - Crack in the Universe

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Every night I watch the stars, because I just know the raggedy man in the blue box will come back some day.

I hope he comes soon, I keep seeing this crack everywhere I go and it's starting to freak me out...


Socials
This Doctor Who crack in the universe craft pumpkin is pinned to my Halloween Pumpkin Carving board.
 
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