GET YOUR FRESH SQUEEZED LEMONADE!!!!
I'm all about creating and re-creating childhood dreams. I feel children need to take back their childhood. They are worked to death by teachers and then to add to the stress, forced into being stellar athletes by their competitive parents before they even get a chance to simply be a child. With that said, while our children are still young, I will do everything in my power so that they get the best of both worlds. My greatest memories of summer were magical, colorful, hot, refreshing, sweet and scrumdilliumptious! I was barefoot, rolling in the grass, chasing the good humor man, running through the sprinkler, in and out of the pool, on and off the beach and boardwalk, riding my bike for miles without a thought, spinning around a hoola hoop and dancing around to summertime classics. Over the past several summers of my boys childhood, I have made it an annual tradition to kick-off the summer by selling fresh lemonade at the foot of our very own driveway.
So what does it take to create the sweetest lemonade stand on the block? A DIY stand that is made with love, some ice cold lemonade, enticing props, fun snacks and flavored pops! Don't forget an attention getting bell or horn to alert drivers that you are open for business.
WHERE TO BEGIN
The Gottschalls asked their carpenter to build their lemonade stand. We asked that it be functional and cost conscious, made of simple plywood that we could paint ourselves. In addition, I ensured my carpenter drilled a hole that would house a tiki umbrella and that it needed a shelf or two for storage. I then discussed the idea with our boys and sketched a photo of exactly what we wanted it to look like. My carpenter came back with a fair price and it was ready within a week. It was originally constructed for our son JP's birthday party, which you can read more about in my blog (found under the "entertaining" category).
1-When the stand was finished and delivered, my boys and I sat on a tarp and began painting our lemonade stand. I did the main portion which was spray painted (the quickest fix for anything in need of color), and the boys hand painted the finer details such as the word lemonade along with the giant lemon on the front. It took maybe an hour tops to dry.
2-later that day we began shopping for gallons of lemonade and small Dixie cups at the grocery store and then hit the local candy store for some sweet treats.
Below: back stock of lemonade A fully stocked stand!
Below: straws and cups
Below: sweets and snacks (watermelon lollipops, popcorn and Pirates Booty fill an old Coca-Cola crate and are adorned with some beautiful faux lemons for a pop-off sour sensation).
Below: Spinning Dizzy Pops are a huge hit
3-Next we went to our local dollar store and found string lights that looked like they had beach ball covers on them (to string up the umbrella pole), found some fancy bendy straws and with great luck, some long plastic thermometers that we nailed to the two posts which suspended the lemonade stand.
4-At home, we dug up many a treasure to use as props for our stand. We found an old Coco-Cola crate and placed it right on top of our stand, filled it will bags of popcorn, boxes of cracker jacks and stacked some faux lemons in the back corner (Local craft store). You can even fill it will authentic lemons. We found red and white gingham baskets that we used to house our cups, straws and lollipops we purchased. Then, we placed an old hotel-style bell I found at Marshall's/Homegoods, to help attract customers.
5-The best and most personalized part? Yellow aprons that I ordered from www.orientaltrading.com. When they arrived in the mail, I gave them my magical creative touch, I brought them to my local monogram shop and had them personalized for my boys.
6-With a plastic food storage container to hold our loose change, the Gottschalls were ready for business.
A Special Tip: Save this idea for a hot day, when people are more likely to be traveling. I have found that mid-day, people are off to the pool, at their parties or already involved with their busy days. Mornings when landscapers are working, people are gardening, jogging or walking their dogs is prime time, along with after dinner hours when people are going for their family walks, children are finished up at the pool and cruising the neighborhood.
BIG TIP: Avoid windy days at all costs, I can't tell you how many times my stand came crashing down due to wind, especially with an umbrella to catch the wind, not fun! And finally, grab a tall stool, sit and wait! A good salesman is not a shy salesman and keep in mind the old adage, patience is a virtue.
LEMONADE FOR A CAUSE
Let's not forget to teach our children what is important is to give back to the community, it's simple and virtually effortless. Go to the Alex's Lemonade Stand website (www.alexslemonadestand.org) and print one of their templates. Print it in color if possible and placed it on a bucket to hold the donations. At the end of the summer, you should have a nice gift to present to a worthy cause. WHAT IF I CAN'T AFFORD ANY OF THIS? Well, if you are thinking really really low maintenance, then my best suggestion is a simple folding table. This too could look fabulous with a little know how. Just hit your local fabric store for a summer inspired tablecloth such as, gingham, lemons, clouds, beach balls or even candy. Even simpler, use one you have, pick one up at your local thrift store. Be sure though to first measure your table and add a few inches in all directions so that you have a nice drop. You must decide if you want it floor length or short, so be sure to account for that. Hot glue a hem all around and voilà, a beautiful stand. Bring over a weighted beach umbrella, your ice cold lemonade, cups and coin bowl.
Good Luck and always feel free to share comments or ask for free advice!!