I think things are going well considering there are 10 people sleeping in my house. Everyone has made it to the beach and/or pool every day. Kids are going to bed at roughly the correct bedtimes, and I have not had to visit the grocery store more than once a day.
Current damages are minimal. Only 4 of Mr. Star Wars’ Lego men have missing hands; about a dozen have rearranged body parts. I don’t think the toddler ate the hands, but it is a possibility. Miss Priss slammed her foot in the car door while we were loading up the crew, and one niece got sick resulting in a late night visit to the 24-hour pharmacy.
Even though we have not had any major catastrophes or arguments, it was time for an adult beverage. Aunt B and I scrolled through my Yummy Drinks Pinterest Board for inspiration and created a Strawberry Peach Vodka Sparkler last night. We highly recommend.
Is this a normal coping strategy when family visits? Can anyone else relate?
12 strawberries (~10 for the fruit vodka and extra for garnish)
2 c. vodka
1 c. simple syrup (see the notes)
1 c. fresh lemon juice
Prosecco (or other sparkling wine)
fresh mint for garnish
Cut 10 strawberries into bite sizes and place in a pitcher. Cut the peach into bite sizes and add to the pitcher. Pour vodka over the fruit and let steep in the refrigerator 3+ hours.
Make simple syrup and let cool (see notes below).
After the vodka finishes steeping, strain the fruit from the vodka.
Mix equal parts fruit vodka, simple syrup, and lemon juice. I mixed 1 cup each of fruit vodka, simple syrup, and fresh lemon juice, which yielded about 4 cocktails. You can double or triple (or reduce) as needed.
Fill a glass about 2/3 full with crushed ice. Pour the drink mix over the ice; top with a splash of Prosecco (~2 oz.).
Garnish with a mint sprig and a slice of strawberry and serve.
The color of the fruit leeches out while sitting in the vodka, so it is not very pretty to leave the soaked fruit in your cocktail, but you certainly can.
We think the strawberries and peach could be replaced with different berries (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries) but have not tested our theory yet.
To make simple syrup, Put equal parts water and sugar in a pot and heat on the stove until sugar is dissolved. Swirl the mixture a few times while heating. Remove from heat and let cool. If you only need a few cocktails, mix 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar. If you are mixing cocktails for a large group, double or triple. Leftover simple syrup can be kept in a container with a lid in the refrigerator for a long time.
Aunt B arrived yesterday with her two boys. Sewing Sister arrives tomorrow with her girls. I will have a full house for the next few weeks. Since I live near the beach, we have houseguests during the summer fairly regularly. I have systems and procedures for everything much to the frustration of TheRoomDad. In order to get ready for any friends and family who may be visiting, there are a few houseguest preparatory measures I follow.
I collect hotel shampoos and lotions throughout the year, travel toothpastes from dentist visits, and Christmas toothbrushes and keep them in a special “guest” drawer in our bathroom that people can use when they visit. Guests are welcome to use any of the toiletries. I also keep an extra hair dryer in the bathroom for guests.
I have a secret addiction to junky magazines like Us and In Touch. After reading an issue, I will keep a stack in our spare room. Guests are welcome to read them when they visit. I keep a stack of paperback beach reads in the room too.
I stock the refrigerator with “group food”, so people can serve themselves a little bite at any time. Some of my favorite items to have on hand are DILL DIP and BLACK BEAN SALSA DIP. I thrive on party food and love to make it. I am not sure why it is so different from the day to day monotony of preparing family meals (which I dread), but it is. I find that food preparation and kitchen maintenance are the hardest pieces to manage when guests are in town.
For this particular family visit, I baked a pound cake, which is one of Aunt B’s favorites. I think this is kind of a traditional version of pound cake because if you Google “cream cheese pound cake” you get many results with the exact recipe that I use. I have been having problems with my Bundt pan, but I finally just threw the thing away and bought a new cake pan. Success! The pound cake turned out perfectly.
Most recent baking attempt with the old Bundt pan. This should have been a glazed lemon cake.
3 sticks butter, softened (1 1/2 cups)
1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
3 c. sugar
2 t. vanilla
3 c. flour, sifted
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Blend butter and cream cheese.
Add sugar until well mixed.
Add eggs one at a time and then vanilla.
Add sifted flour slowly.
Put mixture in greased and floured Bundt or tube pan.
Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven and let sit for ~5 minutes.
After the cake rests for a few minutes, hold a cake plate on top of the Bundt pan and turn over, so the cake will drop into the middle of the cake plate. Let the Bundt pan stay on the top of the cake until you can see that the cake has dropped onto the cake plate.
To grease and flour a Bundt pan, cover the inside of the pan completely with Crisco. Scoop about 1/4 c. flour into the bottom of the pan. Holding the pan over a sink, roll (and tap) the pan around on its side letting the flour stick to all parts of the Crisco.
Make sure that you turn the cake out of the pan while it is warm. This will help make the layer that sits on the cake plate squish down a little and be crispy and moist at the same time. That bottom portion of each slice is TheRoomMom family’s favorite bite of cake.
What strategies do you have for overnight guests, or do you just book a hotel room?
I am not saying these two things are related, but my houseguests have been here for 3 days, and I mixed up a lot of cocktails last night. I originally found this pin on Pinterest, and I would like to thank the people at We Are Not Martha for one great drink.
Place cranberries, sugar, and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Then lower the heat to medium-low and continue to cook for about 10 minutes before the berries start bursting. Remove from heat.
Once the berry mixture has cooled some, strain the cranberry syrup into a bowl and set the cranberries aside to use as garnish. If you prefer, you can keep the mixture in the fridge for a couple hours or overnight before straining (we couldn’t wait that long).
Put about 10 mint leaves and a tablespoon of lime juice in each glass. With the back of a wooden spoon or a muddler mash the mint.
Put crushed ice in each glass and pour 2 oz. (~2 shots) of the cranberry syrup and 2 oz. (~2 shots) of rum into each glass.
Top off each glass with soda water. Sprinkle some of the saved cranberries on top for garnish.
*The original recipe made 2 cocktails (clearly not enough), so my simple syrup recipe above has been altered and makes 5-6 cocktails.