Last week was my daughter's first week back at school. On Thursday morning, as she ate her breakfast, she asked if she could have some friends over after school to jump in our bounce house. Yes, we have a bounce house...and not one of those little ones that will fit in the basement. It's a good size. Lots of screaming little bouncers will fit inside. My husband bought it a couple of years ago from a store that was going out of business. Apparently it was quite a bargain. He was so excited about his purchase. I love that he's such a kid at heart sometimes. It totally balances out the "Type A Mom" in me. But ever the practical (and frugal) person that I am, I was like, "Do we really need a bounce house?" As it turns out, this bounce was an excellent investment. Sorry that I doubted you, honey. It's not difficult to set up and the kids will play in it for hours. We set it up at cook outs, birthday parties, or just whenever the mood strikes and the kids want to jump.
I told my daughter that we could put out the bounce house the next day...after she picked up her toys that were scattered around the backyard. She agreed to clean up and I agreed to tell the other moms about the playdate. Then we shook on it.
As the neighborhood moms gathered to walk our kiddos home that afternoon, I told them that our bounce house would be up the next day after school and that I'd probably put out some snacks to celebrate our first week back to school if anyone wanted to stop by.
After my daughter got on the bus the next day, I ran to the store to grab some ingredients for punch. I returned home and looked around the kitchen for snack food. I had ripe bananas, salsa, chips, and all of the ingredients for caramel corn. I quickly formed a plan and two hours later, when it was time to pick up my daughter, I had the bounce house in place and snacks on the table.
Here's a closer look at the snacks.
I served Banana Bars. Such a quick, easy, and delicious snack, made with ingredients that I usually have around the house.
And my Grandma's Caramel Puff Corn. It's always a crowd pleaser, you can make it in the microwave in minutes...and it's addictive!
Then I just opened a bag of chips and popped open a jar of my Home Canned Salsa. Here's my tip: add some freshly chopped red onion and cilantro and it will taste like you just made it! This works with store bought jarred salsa too!
Lastly, I stirred together this kid-friendly Sangria Punch. For a fun touch, I served the drink in cups garnished with colorful paper umbrellas leftover from my daughter's Little Mermaid birthday party. They make any drink special. : ) Kids will guzzle this punch like it's candy.
I found this recipe a few years back in Kraft Food and Family magazine.
Sangria Punch adapted from Kraft Food and Family
1 qt. (4 cups) cold cranberry juice cocktail
1 cup cold orange juice
1 Tbsp. Fresh lime juice
3/4 cup powdered Lemonade (or pink lemonade) Drink Mix
3 cups cold club soda (or Sprite...or Ginger Ale)
2 Oranges, sliced
2 Limes, sliced
ADD cranberry juice cocktail, orange juice and lime juice to drink mix in large pitcher; stir until mix is dissolved.
REFRIGERATE until ready to serve.
STIR in soda and fruit. Serve over ice cubes.
About 3 years ago, my sister Karla and I made this punch for our youngest sister Angie's baby shower. While we prepped for the shower, we decided to make an alternate version of the punch just for us non-pregnant sisters. The secret ingredient: Coconut Yum..errr...I mean RUM.
I like to add half a bottle of coconut rum per punch recipe. I have to tell you, the sweet coconut rum makes this drink amazing! Irresistible. I served the rum-enhanced version of this punch to the 7 moms in attendance at the after school party. After all, it was Friday...AND happy hour.
Our little unplanned party was a big success. You may remember the phrase, "If you build it, they will come" from the movie Field of Dreams. Well...if you put up a bounce house in your lawn and drop the words, "Sangria Punch" to a group of hard working mommies, you WILL draw a crowd. Between 4 and 6 p.m. last Friday, there were over 20 people in my backyard. This may just become a Back to School tradition!
I hope that you all have a wonderful long weekend!