I don’t know if I admire or pity parents who let their kids stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve. Frankly, about 9:30pm, I just tell my kids, “close enough,” and have them head to bed. It’s not that I’m a party pooper—well, maybe it is—but the kids don’t really care whether it’s midnight or ten as long as they get to stay up a little later. And my kids get a bad case of the crankies (and yeah, maybe I do too) if they stay up too late, so I keep to a decent bedtime, even on New Year’s Eve.
That’s not to say I don’t celebrate the passing of another year with my kids. We love to hang out with friends, play games and watch movies. This year, I’m even putting my kids in charge of a few of the drinks to share with friends. I have a drink for each of my kids to mix up. For the youngest, it’s something really simple—a pitcher and a big spoon is all the equipment she’ll need. My middle child can handle something a bit more complex, so she’ll get to break out the mixer. And my oldest, she’ll need to taste-test her concoction to get it just right. So if you’re looking to get your kids more involved in the New Year’s Eve preparations, why not let them mix up one of these three drinks. I’ve listed them from easiest to hardest. Tell me which one was your favorite!
Easy Sparkling Fruit Drink
3 to 4, 8-ounce cans fruit drink (my favorite is the Jumex kind, Strawberry & pineapple make an excellent combo)
1 2-liter bottle seltzer water (NOT tonic water)
Frozen fruit, optional
In a large pitcher (preferably plastic) mix the fruit drinks and the seltzer. Let your child use a wooden spoon to mix. To add a decorative twist (and so that the drink doesn’t get watered down) I use whole, frozen fruit as ice cubes. You can have your child put a couple of fruit pieces in each cup.
1 half gallon heavy cream or whipping cream
1 carton purple, seedless grapes (NOT red grapes)
*Other fruit can be substituted
A good neighbor made this drink for me once and my youngest child has requested it ever since. The only ingredients are fresh fruit and cream—what’s not to like?! She purchased the large, purple grapes at Sam’s Club, but if you can’t find them, no worries. Any fruit will do, even a combination. You can even throw ice cubes into the blender if you want the drink icy and thick. Personally, the intense purple color is unusual—not to mention tasty, so I highly recommend the grapes. You can toss ‘em in whole. Also, thin the drink with some regular milk for a lighter taste. If you like your drinks a little sweeter, you might even need to add a bit of sugar.
2 cans coconut milk
1 10-ounce bag frozen strawberries (or fresh!)
1 10-ounce can pineapple chunks
honey (about 2 Tablespoons)
cinnamon (about 1 ½ teaspoons)
My husband came back from a business trip and described this amazing drink he’d had. He asked the waiter for the ingredients so we could try it at home. The waiter mentioned it’s a traditional Argentine drink. I have no idea of the drink’s origins, just that the unusual combination of coconut milk, cinnamon, honey and fruit is a hit with my kids. (You can use light coconut milk too.) All of the ingredients listed are really up to your taste preferences—not a real pineapple fan? Don’t add ‘em. Love cinnamon? Add plenty. Want a chunkier mixture? Add more strawberries. The final combination is amazing and surprisingly satisfying. Put all the ingredients in a sturdy blender and give it a whirl. Tweak the honey and cinnamon at the end.