I love the summer, but let’s face it, months of having the kids out of school can be quite challenging! Finding them new and exciting activities that don’t break the bank can be an even bigger task! A few years ago, our family started having movie night to help end the dog days of summer. To ramp up the fun, we decided to bring the movies outside and have “Drive-in-Movie” nights at the pool! It became the ultimate movie night. It is the perfect way to cool off and spend time with family and friends.
For a new and fun way to celebrate the summer and create your own “Drive-In” experience, here are some tips:
- You don’t have a big screen to project a movie onto-no problem! A garage door can make a great screen and so can a sheet. We attach a large white sheet to our Gazebo or back porch using clothes pins. A sheet can also be attached to a chain link fence in the same way. If you have a block wall or backyard shed, attach the sheet using bricks or rocks as weights.
- Did you know many party supplies companies will rent projectors and screens? Consult your local directory to find them. You may also consider bringing out your television set and placing it on a table for some night time fun. If you want to keep the movies inside, plan an intermission and let the kids take a run through the sprinklers or a dip in the pool.
- Invite guests to bring their own raft to float in the pool while watching the movie. If you do not have a pool, guests can still lounge on the raft and get comfy in the grass. Consider setting up a kiddy pool to soak your feet and enjoy a Popsicle!
- Treat your guests like stars! Roll out the red carpet, or rather a plastic tablecloth from a party store. Take pictures of your guests as they arrive for a fun keepsake. Provide fun props like sunglasses, a Hawaiian lei, or any other fun summer costumes.
- Serve food you would find at the drive-in. Hot Dogs, popcorn, and some special treats help to create the mood. Make them ahead of time and get the kids involved. To help you out with the menu, I have included two perfect recipes to make your night a success.
Mini Dogs with Butter Buns
24 Mini Dogs
- 12 frozen yeast dinner rolls (thawed according to directions on package)
- 4 Tablespoons Challenge Butter, melted
- Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or dried herbs for garnish
- 24 cocktail sausages
- Ketchup, to taste
- Mustard, to taste
1Using kitchen shears cut each roll in half. Place onto a greased baking sheet. Spray tops with cooking spray and lightly cover with plastic wrap. Let rolls rise at room temperature until doubled in size. Brush the top of each roll with melted butter. Lightly sprinkle the rolls with desired seeds or herbs. Place into a preheated 350 oven for 12-15 minutes or until rolls are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool.
2Place sausage into a skillet over medium high heat. Cook until sausages are heated through, adding water to pan if necessary to prevent sticking.
3To assemble, cut a slit on top of each roll with a serrated knife to create a mini hotdog bun. Place sausages inside each bun. Serve with ketchup and mustard.
Butter Toffee “Popcorn” Cupcakes
- 1 package (15.25 oz) Golden Butter Recipe cake mix
- 1 cup water
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup (1 stick) Challenge Butter, softened
- 1 package (3.4 oz) instant French Vanilla Pudding
- 8 oz English Toffee Bits
- 24 cupcake liners
- 1 cup (2 sticks) Challenge Butter, softened
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1-2 Tablespoons milk
Decoration and Extra Supplies
- 16 ounces mini marshmallows
- Kitchen shears
- ⅛ cup water
- Food safe paint brush
- Yellow food coloring
- Red and white striped scrapbooking paper
- Scissors or paper cutter
- Glue stick
1Preheat oven to 350°F degrees.
2Using a mixture, combine cake mix, water, eggs, butter and pudding mix until moistened. Beat for two minutes on medium speed. Stir in toffee bits.
3Place cupcake liners in 2 two cupcake tins and fill each well with batter. Bake for 19-23 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and come out clean. Let cakes cool.
4To create frosting, place butter and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with mixer until smooth. Slowly add powdered sugar and one tablespoon of milk. Continue beating until smooth and creamy, add additional tablespoon of milk if needed.
5To prepare marshmallows to look like popcorn, dip kitchen shears into cornstarch to prevent sticking. Make two slits on each side of marshmallow with shears, and one in the middle. Experiment with different cuts to create interesting shapes. When shears get sticky, dip again into cornstarch.
6To assemble cupcakes, cover each cupcake with frosting creating a mound on top of each cake. Cover frosting with marshmallows. Fill a small bowl with water. Add enough yellow food coloring to create the color of melted butter. Brush the tops of the marshmallows with colored water, let dry.
7Measure the height of the cupcake liners. Using that dimension, cut strips of paper. Wrap paper around the base of the cupcake and glue with glue stick to create a popcorn bucket.