How to Create the Perfect Bar Set Up

Recently, we had a get together with most of the people my husband works with.  The party started with a navy, white, and burlap theme, but because my husband is in the military, the theme really started to reflect that.  The biggest reflection was in our bar set up.

I was so excited as it started coming together because we were using things we hadn’t used before to entertain with.  I love using things around the house to entertain that normally aren’t for entertaining.  Options are great!  I want to show you in just a few steps how you can set up your own bar.

Create the perfect bar set up. Click here for step by step instructions.Step 1-A Great Location

Here is where we went a little wrong with our set up.  You want your bar to be in a central location so your guests can have quick access to refill their drink.  Typically, the best central location is going to be where your guests are hanging out.

During our party we had our garage set up with heaters and an outdoor couch so everyone congregated there, but our bar was inside.  Needless to say, not many people made a drink at the bar.  Don’t worry though, they had beer within an arms reach!

Create the perfect bar set up. Click here for step by step instructions.Step 2- Provide the Liquor

I recommend having a good variety of liquor becuase everyone’s tastes are so different.  Some people like gin, others hate it.  A good mix is to include two clear liquors (vodka, gin, or tequila), a rum, and a whiskey.  If you have four different kinds you’ll cover all of your bases.

Step 3- Provide the Mixers

There are a few things that are required when it comes to mixers in my opinion.  You need something fruity/sweet, something bubbly, and something interesting.  So for our bar set up I provided a variety of sodas (sweet and bubbly), club soda and tonic (bubbly), juice (fruity/sweet), and ginger beer (interesting).

Here’s where thinking outside of the entertaining box comes into play.  I used this completely versatile cart from Ikea as a drink station to hold all of our mixers.  It helped to ensure there was plenty of room on the bar to mix up a drink.  You just have to look around your house to find things that will work.  This cart is normally in my office holding my sewing machine, but transformed into the perfect bar accessory for our party.

Create the perfect bar set up. Click here for step by step instructions.Create the perfect bar set up. Click here for step by step instructions.Step 4-Provide all the Tools

Be sure to include all the tools necessary to mix up a great cocktail.  Things like a shot measuring cup, something to stir with, shakers, strainers, and bottle openers.  Plus you’ll want to be sure your bar is fully stocked with plenty of cups.

It may say something about my husband, but most of our bar gear was received as a gift for my husband’s 30th birthday a few years ago.  Either way, they’ve been great gifts that we use regularly.

Create the perfect bar set up. Click here for step by step instructions.Step 5- Provide Ice

One thing that is critical to making a cocktail is having plenty of ice to chill it.  We were able to fit a small ice bucket on our bar so ice was always accessible for our party.  Putting the ice in a convenient spot to cocktail making eases the cocktail making process.  You know so when you’re feeling lazy and don’t want to walk across the room to get ice it’s right where you need it!  Just be sure as the hostess to check it regularly in case it needs a refill.

Step 6-Provide the Garnish

Adding a garnish to your homemade cocktail really elevates it.  I recommend a couple simple garnishes that will work for almost any cocktail and make a great addition to your bar.  Cut up a lime and lemon, place in a little bowl or dish and you’ve instantly rounded out your bar set up.  Other options are oranges, maraschino cherries, or mint (hello mojitos!).  Adding a few garnishes adds some life and color to your bar too.

Create the perfect bar set up. Click here for step by step instructions.Create the perfect bar set up. Click here for step by step instructions.Six easy steps to setting up a great bar ready for any party and any cocktail.  What are your must have bar staples?  Who’s ready to mix up a cocktail and celebrate the weekend?  I hope you enjoy yourself this weekend!

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FREE Printable Christmas Bucket List

Happy December everyone!  Around here we are in full Christmas celebrating mode.  Decorating, gifting, lights, and baking, it’s all happening now that we’re 25 days away from Christmas!  Let’s all try and make the most out of the season this year and really celebrate it.  To help, I’ve put together a great list of things to get you in the holiday spirit.  Scroll down to see the 2016 Christmas Bucket List.

Get in the holiday spirit with this FREE Christmas Bucket List Printable. Click here for the download!My family has already crossed a few of these fun things off of our list.  Thanks to our cute little town, we’ve attended a tree lighting ceremony and did a carriage ride down Main Street.  Both were so fun and got our holiday season off to a great start!

This bucket list is a great way to make the season not about the “stuff” but about the experiences and memories for you and your kids.  Sitting around and listening to my husband and his siblings talk about their childhood is one of my favorite things.  It was chock full of memories and experiences, traditions and most of all love.  This is the time of year to make those memories with your own kids.

How great will it be in 10, 15, or 20 years from now to hear your kids talk about how every Christmas your family did X,Y, and Z.  They will love having the tradition and doing the same thing every year.

I hope this bucket list will get you excited for the season and give you ideas of traditions to start with your own family.  There are 16 ideas listed and plenty of time to do them all.  Even if you have to combine a few.  Make hot chocolate, then go around the neighborhood and look at Christmas lights.  Or, put a puzzle together while watching a Christmas movie.  There are a lot of ways to cross all of these off throughout the season.

To download and print out your bucket list, click on the photo above.  What things would you add to your Christmas Bucket List?  What holiday traditions do you have?  Merry Christmas!

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How to Create a Signature Thanksgiving Cocktail

A couple weeks ago I was “stranded” on an airplane for over five hours without wifi, ahhhhhhhhhh! Total definition of #firstworldproblems. I really don’t mean to complain, but I had planned to get a lot of work done and couldn’t, so when reality didn’t meet my expectations it was a bit of a let down.

Needless to say, since I couldn’t work, I started watching a free show on the in flight entertainment. I had heard of the show “Dinner at Tiffani’s” but had never watched it, so I indulged. The show takes place in Tiffani Thiessen’s house where she cooks for all of her celebrity friends. Who knew Kelly Kapowski was such a good cook and has so many interesting, cool friends. I really enjoyed the show, specifically her cocktail concoctions.

I was majorly impressed with her ability to just come up with cocktail combinations that not only sound delicious, but are beautiful and easy to do. I’ve always had to kind of follow a drink recipe for fun cocktails or only drink basic combinations, but not anymore.

Click here for a light, refreshing, and delicious cocktail perfect for Thanksgiving! Plus a FREE recipe card!Tiffani demonstrated a very easy way to mix up new cocktails with interesting flavors. In multiple episodes she infused simple syrups to create different cocktails. Genius! All you need is sugar, water, and herbs, fruit, or even candies like peppermints.   There are so many combinations.

Click here for a light, refreshing, and delicious cocktail perfect for Thanksgiving! Plus a FREE recipe card!Today, I created a special Thanksgiving cocktail using this genius method of infusing simple syrups. Try this cocktail to wash down turkey, cranberry sauce, or just to deal with your family on Thanksgiving.

Thyme Infused Cranberry Vodka Soda

Cocktail Ingredients:

1 oz. Thyme infused simple syrup
1 oz. Vodka
3-5 oz. Club Soda
Splash of Cranberry Juice
Garnish with a sprig of thyme and a few frozen cranberries. It will be so pretty and stay cold because of the frozen cranberries.

Steps:

  1. Make a simple syrup by combining 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of water in a pot and heating until clear, and the sugar is dissolved.  Be sure to stir periodically.
  2. Add a handful of chopped up thyme leaves to the simple syrup, and heat for a minute or two.
  3. Remove simple syrup from the stove and let it cool, while the thyme steeps for about 20 minutes.
  4. After 20 minutes, strain thyme leaves out of syrup.
  5. Combine cocktail ingredients over ice and stir.
  6. Garnish cocktail with a sprig of thyme and a few frozen cranberries

Click here for a light, refreshing, and delicious cocktail perfect for Thanksgiving! Plus a FREE recipe card!Click here for a light, refreshing, and delicious cocktail perfect for Thanksgiving! Plus a FREE recipe card!This cocktail is quite refreshing which is a change of pace with rich Thanksgiving food. Plus, it’s pretty light in calories (especially with sugar free cranberry juice) and flavors for all of those heavy dishes.

Click here for a light, refreshing, and delicious cocktail perfect for Thanksgiving! Plus a FREE recipe card!Click here for a light, refreshing, and delicious cocktail perfect for Thanksgiving! Plus a FREE recipe card!Click here for a light, refreshing, and delicious cocktail perfect for Thanksgiving! Plus a FREE recipe card!The options are endless. Try an orange and lemon infused simple syrup with bourbon for an updated take on an Old Fashioned. Or how about rosemary and lemon gin and tonic? Use the peppermint infused simple syrup for a festive Christmas cocktail.

Click the photo below to get your Thanksgiving cocktail recipe card. Print it off and keep it handy all season long. Or print it out on some nice paper and tie it to a jar of simple syrup for a homemade hostess gift or party favor. Perfect for the person that loves a delicious cocktail.

Click here for a light, refreshing, and delicious cocktail perfect for Thanksgiving! Plus a FREE recipe card!I’m in love with the idea of making a ton of different infused syrups putting them in canning jars with some cute labels and having them ready to go for gifts or every day use.

Did I convince you to join the infused simple syrup bandwagon?  If not, maybe Tiffani Thiessen can.  Her show airs on The Cooking Channel.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with good food, friends, and family.  Take some time to reflect on what you’re grateful for then enjoying celebrating the day.  I’ll be back next week to start the Christmas celebrating!  Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

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2016 Thanksgiving Hostess Gift Guide

It’s that time of year again, the gift giving time.  Why don’t we feel the need to give gifts all year long?  Either way, it’s a great idea to give a hostess gift to the person hosting you for Thanksgiving, even if it’s your mom.  Your Thanksgiving hostess goes through a lot of work and preparation to feed you.  Showing your appreciation is easy with this Thanksgiving hostess gift guide.

There is something for every kind of host here, and they all will make Thanksgiving so much easier for your hostess.

  1. Help with the Clean Up

Gifting your hostess with this very practical dish soap set on Thanksgiving will make clean up a breeze.  Bonus that the soap and cleaner smells divine.  An even better gift is doing the dishes for your hostess.  It’s the least you can do since they cooked everything!

2. Help Set Their Table

Bring your hostess this cute vintage turkey table runner and they will be set for this Thanksgiving and all Thanksgiving’s from now on.  Who knows they may even want to clear the table and lay Mr. Turkey down before you eat.

3. Help with Entertaining the Guests

Bringing a football to the Thanksgiving celebration will help your hostess more than you think.  You will help get all the guests outside for a quick game while leaving the kitchen available for the cook to finish up without people right under foot.  That’s kind of priceless with all of the cooking that goes on for Thanksgiving dinner.

4. Help with the Planning

Help your hostess plan for Thanksgiving, and weekly groceries by gifting this simple categorized shopping list.  Add a nice pen and tie it up with ribbon for an easy gift presentation.  I can’t talk enough about how amazing categorized grocery lists are.  #lifechanger

5. Help with the Drinks

Give these really practical wine glass markers to your host to help keep everyone’s glass from getting mixed up.  There’s nothing worse than pouring a drink, taking a sip, setting it down, then not remembering where it is or whose it is.  These would also be fun for kids to draw on their cups!

6. Help Display the Pie

This is a top notch hostess gift.  Although a little more expensive, this is great for the host that goes above and beyond, you know, like your mom.  This makes a great display for whatever pie you have on Thanksgiving.  Plus it will be used throughout the year with the simple, classic design.

7. Help Decorate for Fall

I’ve seen these velvet pumpkins on other blogs for several years and have never bought them, but love the texture they add to any Fall decor.  They aren’t super cheap, but they are just so cute.  Give your host these pumpkins and they’ll be able to decorate for fall for years to come and will always think of you when displaying them.

8. Help Decorate the Christmas Tree

Help jump start your hostess’ Christmas decorating with these letter ornaments for their Christmas tree. I always recommend buying ornaments in pairs.  It’s just something I always do, I think my mom told me this a long time ago.  Buy a bunch of different letters for people you know always host a holiday party and you’re set for every occasion.

There you go!  Eight great ideas for any hostess, especially whoever is cooking your Thanksgiving meal.  Which gift do you think works the best for your hostess?  Tell me in the comments.

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How to Create a Thanksgiving Kids Table

We’re less than a week away from the big day!  Thanksgiving that is!  What will you be doing this weekend to get ready?  Use my planning printables to help you get the turkey on the table in time.  I know I’ll be making my grocery and shopping lists!  Plus, I’m breaking tradition and probably going to be putting the tree up before Thanksgiving this weekend.  I’m just feeling in the spirit I guess.  Maybe because it snowed yesterday, so it feels like Christmas already.

If you need some more Thanksgiving inspiration, look no further.  Especially if you have kids that will be partaking in your feast.  Did anyone else grow up with a kids table on Thanksgiving day?  I didn’t really, but I’d love to sit at the kids table I put together for you today!

Click here for ideas on setting up a kids Thanksgiving Table so cute you'll want to sit there too!You’ll need a few key things to keep the kids entertained while hopefully eating turkey and not just dessert.  First, if you have a table that is just the right height for little guests, they’ll feel more comfortable in their space.  Plus you won’t have to worry about them falling off of tall chairs.

Next, I highly suggest putting some butcher paper or kraft paper down as a base.  It creates an easy clean-up and allows kids to color away while they wait to eat.

Click here for ideas on setting up a kids Thanksgiving Table so cute you'll want to sit there too!Then, be sure to use paper plates.  There is no need to have to risk your china or even casual plates getting broken, chipped, or drawn on.  I also recommend paper or plastic cups.  They are so much lighter for little hands to pick up.  Cocktail sized plastic cups are the perfect size for my two year old.

Plastic flatware is also a great choice since little hands barely use them anyway.  Why use a perfectly good fork when you have your hands?!

Click here for ideas on setting up a kids Thanksgiving Table so cute you'll want to sit there too!

Click here for ideas on setting up a kids Thanksgiving Table so cute you'll want to sit there too!Now, I’m pretty sure restaurants are on to something with the coloring sheets and crayons they have to keep kids occupied.  So incorporate that into your Thanksgiving kids table.  Add a jar, basket, or individual boxes of crayons to the table and let the kids go wild.  They’ve got a great spot to color on the butcher paper.

Click here for ideas on setting up a kids Thanksgiving Table so cute you'll want to sit there too!Or provide some themed coloring sheets for them to decorate.  It’s pretty easy to find a Thanksgiving coloring book that you can tear a few pages out of, or just print some off after a quick Pinterest search.  Better yet, Pier 1 has these great Thanksgiving activity placemats.

Click here for ideas on setting up a kids Thanksgiving Table so cute you'll want to sit there too!If your kids get tired of coloring, I mean their attention spans barely exist, try an activity.  I purchased these turkey headbands at Hobby Lobby.  They will let the kids at your Thanksgiving spend a few minutes sticking feathers and turkey faces onto squishy foam.  I’d recommend tying the elastic strap for them, but once they’re done, it will be so fun for them to wear while eating.

Click here for ideas on setting up a kids Thanksgiving Table so cute you'll want to sit there too!There you have it.  A few things to help keep the kids entertained so you can enjoy your wine, or second helping of turkey and gravy.  Do you plan on having a kids table on Thanksgiving?  Try to incorporate a few of these ideas to make your kids table so cute and even more functional!

There’s more Thanksgiving inspiration next week too!  Hostess gifts and cocktail recipes are coming at you.  Between the planning guide and everything next week, you’ll be set for a great Thanksgiving!

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Celebrating everyday!