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I love summer, and so does my family. My fifteen-year-old, John, has been an especially big fan of summer since he made his high school’s drum line a year ago. Why? Band Camp. Two months of long days during the hottest, most humid days of the summer . . . and he loves it. He spends time with his friends, learns a lot, and the band director and his staff take good care of all the students. They monitor the heat index and take the band indoors when necessary, schedule frequent breaks, and even provide hot meals during the twelve-hour days. The kids bring their own “bubba jugs” (individual coolers with spouts) for hydration as well, and John usually likes a beverage tastier than water to have with his meals.
Enter Kool-Aid, with their vast array of flavors and multiple preparation options. In addition to the classics – the packet and the pre-sweetened powder – there’s also the little container of concentrated drops (so everyone can have the exact flavor intensity they prefer) and the newest addition: the 96 oz. Ready-To-Drink Kool-Aid bottle! Some stores may have larger, more elaborate displays, but my Walmart had a selection just inside the front door – the bottle was the first thing to hit my cart
My husband, Michael, was shopping with me, and insisted we had to get the Lemonade flavor. His excuse was that John loved lemonade, but I happen to know after more than two decades of marriage that it’s Michael’s favorite flavor, too As we browsed we found Kool-Aid in multiple places around the store: with other juices and drink mixes, in the ready-to-eat section of the deli (brilliant marketing idea!), and at the checkout. We ended up adding both Black Cherry (John’s actual favorite) and Tropical Punch (the flavor that just tastes like Summer to me) to the cart before we were finished. I meant to pick up some Watermelon, which I’ve never tried, but I forgot. It’s on my grocery list for the next trip.
We were shopping late in the day and as I unloaded groceries I remember thinking, “Oh, I’ll just get my pictures in the morning.” Not my best plan, because if you look closely you can see that the Ready-To-Drink Lemonade was already halfway gone by then!
So I made a pitcher of Black Cherry and a pitcher of Tropical Punch and let everything chill in the fridge until John got home from school. I suggested he try some combinations and see if he could make a designer flavor of his own. This is Black Cherry and Lemonade, and we both thought it was pretty spectacular – the perfect balance between sweet and tart.
I’d noticed a couple of special things about the Kool-Aid Ready-To-Drink bottle itself along the way. Its shape makes it easier to grip securely, which means fewer spills for the klutz in the family (that would be me). It also has a larger opening than a regular soda bottle. This came in handy when I wanted a pitcher of tea and both my pitchers still had Kool-Aid in them. I just rinsed out the empty Lemonade container and poured my tea in. Not a drop spilled. I’ll be keeping a few of these empties on hand to take to summer pot-lucks. I can fill them with our own Kool-Aid mixtures or tea, giving everyone an option other than the usual sodas.
Most important of all, though, I’ll keep a stockpile of Kool-Aid ready for John’s band camp this summer. These kids burn a lot of calories and sweat out a lot of fluids. With both my sons it’s been a battle to keep them from losing too much weight during marching season, and to keep them hydrated. I know the parents of football players, field hockey players, and cross-country runners are facing the same challenges at the same time of year and we all plan meals and snacks accordingly. Plus, a big glass of Kool-Aid tastes pretty fabulous to the moms and dads helping with practices. Sometimes we all look like this:
Jim Dillard, pro fisherman, could be coming to your local Walmart to help promote the new 96oz Kool-Aid bottles! There will be product giveaways, t-shirts, games, and more fun activities!
Friday May 30th 5-7pm:
13675 Highway 43 Russellville, AL WM Supercenter
Saturday May 31st 3-5pm:
3100 Hough Rd Florence, AL WM Supercenter
Saturday May 31st 6-8pm:
517 Avalon Ave Muscle Shoals, AL WM Supercenter
Friday June 20th 5-7pm:
1210 Mineral Wells Ave Paris, TN WM Supercenter
Saturday June 21st 3-5pm:
1225 Paris Rd Murray, KY WM Supercenter
Saturday June 21st 6-8pm:
809 N 12th St Murray, KY WM Supercenter
Friday August 8th 5-7pm:
360 Harbison Blvd Columbia, SC WM Supercenter
Saturday August 9th 3-5pm:
1326 Bush River Rd Columbia, SC WM Supercenter
Saturday August 9th 6-8pm:
2401 Augusta Rd West Columbia, SC WM Supercenter