This week has been packed with prep work: planning, cooking, and freezing lunches to carry M and I through camp, and finalizing registrations, schedules, and musical numbers, and learning choreography at work. Punc has come in to the office almost every day as we squeeze in as much time with her as possible. Luckily, our roommates’ work schedules are fairly light over the summer, so she will spend a lot of time with people in spite of M’s and my long days. She’ll also get at least one trip to Grandma’s house to play with the other dogs for a few days. Luckily, with such diligence during the week, I’ve been able to keep these final weekends mostly clear for some fun before camp begins. Tomorrow, M and I will probably go out to a local wine festival after a trip to the Farmer’s Market, and on Sunday I plan to do a little more prep cooking and some final cleaning, but should still be pretty relaxing.
Last weekend, M was wrapped up in work, but I was able to spend Saturday going up to see E and watch roller derby and also to attend a bridal shower for A, one of my close friends from high school. A was one of the first people I met at HHS, several weeks before the start of freshman year during color guard camp. She and I can spend months apart, and pick right up where we left off whenever we do get together. Her fiancé actually went to high school with M (out of my close friends-group, 3 of us have ended up with RHS boys, to our amusement). I am exceedingly excited for their wedding in the fall, where there reception will be on A’s fiancé’s boat (yes, he is a captain). It should be very fun, indeed. Intentionally or not, I’ve made all of A’s engagement milestones–we happened to get the old crowd together for David’s birthday dinner just a few days after A’s fiancé proposed, and were among the first to marvel at the ring. I also made a mad dash, defying several traffic jams, to see her pick out the dress. And I’ve been avidly following her wedding boards on Pinterest. Needless to say, I was so happy to make it to her shower and catch up with old friends between bridal bingo and toilet-paper-dress competitions (I partnered up with A’s niece-to-be and we ran a strong game, let me tell you. Competition beware!)
I wanted to do something fun for A’s bridal shower gift. While her ModCloth wedding registry was full of amazing items–can we pause and appreciate that ModCloth does wedding registries?! I had no idea!–I had been ruminating over some kind of “kit”. I turned to Pinterest, and discovered all sorts of baking kits and kitchen towel cakes. But, I knew A was living in a fairly-furnished house (she probably had oven mitts), and I knew that, at this point in time, she probably did not want 27 kitchen towels. Plus, I wanted a little more pizzazz. She did have a few pitchers on her registries, and while I was perusing the kitchen items in the store, I came up with an idea: A Sangria Starter Kit. A pitcher, a nice big spoon, a citrus juicer, some wine charms, a bottle of wine, and other fun accouterments. Perfect!
I found the largest pitcher that I could, but it still took a little bit of wheedling and careful adjustments to get most of the kit to fit inside of the pitcher.
In addition to the pitcher, I picked up a really nice wooden spoon, a nice ceramic citrus juicer/reamer, the most adorable kitchen towel, a bottle of red with a cute label, and a wine stopper with removable wine-glass-markers. I also found a tiny, fun lantern and citronella tea lights. Since sangria makes me think of outside patios, decks, balconies, etc, I decided to add those in, too. I also wrote up three recipe cards for sangria: a red sangria, a white sangria, and an unusual sangria–in this case a cucumber-based batch that sounded super refreshing.
To start, I removed the tea lights from their packaging and filled up the lantern. Then I started seeing how I could fit the items together inside the pitcher. I wanted to keep the wine stopper-marker combo in its packaging for the directions, but I would have had a bit more room if I had removed that packaging as well. Ultimately, I found that if I placed the wine stopper box and the juicer in the pitcher, I could tilt the pitcher and/or use the spoon to push them against the side while I slid the wine bottle inside the pitcher. The bottle does take up a fair amount of space within the bowl of the pitcher. Then I could wedge the towel in to cushion the bottle and keep everything stable. Finally, the spoon could just fit in the spout of the pitcher. I tied the recipes around the outside. I thought about trying to tie the lantern as well, but everything was more stable with it staying separate. I also didn’t want anything to catch while she was trying to remove the wrapping.
All in all, I was quite happy with this little kit. The biggest advice I can offer is to find the largest pitcher possible: more room to pack up the kit, and, ultimately, more sangria. I also liked that I could pass on handwritten recipes. This would also make a very cute hostess gift. It could easily be modified into a margarita kit: replace the wine with margarita mix (and tequila, if you can fit both bottles) and the wine stopper with a package of flavored salt or sugar for rimming the glasses.
Sangria Starter Kit
- large pitcher
- bottle of wine
- citrus juicer/reamer
- wine stopper
- wine glass charms/markers
- wooden spoon
- kitchen towel(s)
- lantern (optional)
- candles (optional)
- recipe cards
Assemble as many items into pitcher. Secure remaining items, or package together. Write sangria recipes on cards and secure around pitcher. Let the party begin!