Beach Punch and Margaritaville

Katie Sluiter

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There were whitecaps on the waves, the wind whipped the towels around on our beach chairs, and the sun warmed our faces. It was exactly what you think of when you think of a day at the beach. The ladies were in beach chairs with cups of juice or water, the kids were jumping waves and digging in the sand. I had a baby on my lap under an umbrella.

beach-babyThis is why we stay in Michigan–days like this. It makes us forget the blizzards and icy roads of the winter.

A week before my friend asked us and another family to come out to her cottage for the day. She would have lunch for us if we would bring something for the kids; I volunteered to bring a kid-friendly summery non-alcoholic punch since I have a sweet Margaritaville Glass Beverage Dispenser with a stand.

It was an easy grab from the Margaritaville section on HSN.

Back to the lake…

After lunch, we would all head down the steps to their beach on Lake Michigan.

Beach day lunches are the best because no matter who you are with, lunch is almost always snacks or small portions of many things. So you know, snacks. The kinds of things kids can grab without needing the help of an adult. We had some pasta salads and chicken salad and hummus and veggies and fruit and chips and cheeses. Everyone sitting around in their bathing suit trying not to get too full, but just full enough that they would have the energy to jump and dive and dig.

We sipped water and helped ourselves to more punch all while trying hydrate before baking our bodies in the sun and wind.

There was chatting and laughing and stories until finally, one of the children tugged on someone’s arm and said, “when do we get to go down to the beach?” and we looked at each other and decided, now. Now we will go.

The flurry of getting ready then began. Making sure all children had on bathing suits and had a towel. Did we have enough life jackets for the littles? Who wants what snacks on the beach? Fill up the large cups with a beverage to take down! Adults getting bathing suits on and lotioning up the smaller people. Where did I set the bag with the beach hats?

Eventually, a trickle of excited kids ran down the steps with an adult and began to drag chairs and umbrellas and toys down to the shore. Here, hold the baby. Set down your cup and carry this. No one goes empty-handed!


Eventually, all eleven of us made it down to where the sand and water meet and set up camp, if you will. And then we were there. Everything is slower on beach time. The baby got passed around. She napped; she woke; she ate. Kids were in and out of the water and waves. Holes were dug and caved in. Castles were erected and smashed down. There was laughter and chatting and a release of some sort.

Then a child whined, and we realized it’s been hours. No wonder we felt like taking a nap. Another child started to cry that he wanted the green goggles, not the blue ones because the blue ones have sand in them. Everything has sand in it.

We began the packing up process. It is the bring-out process, but in reverse. Complete with no one taking one step up the stairs with empty arms. And no, your towel does not count.

Spray off your feet. Sling the wet things on the deck. Do NOT enter the house with wetness or sand! Stay RIGHT THERE, MISTER!

Somehow new snacks of cheeses and crackers and grapes were out. Greedy hands dug in and sun-kissed cheeks smile at the refreshment of the food. The punch in the beverage dispenser was still cold and tasted good on lips that forgot to reapply the SPF lip balm. In fact, I almost left the dispenser at the cottage because it looked so perfect in a lake-front house, but I knew there would be more beach days and more gatherings and I would want to use it again.

Before long, our car was packed up and we were giving hugs goodbye and thanking our friend for the much-needed day at the beach.

We drove all the way home with the special kind of exhaustion that only beach-living can bring.

Recipe for Beach Punch

– one can of thawed frozen OJ concentrate
– one can of pineapple juice
– one-two bottles of lemon-lime soda
– Ice to chill