How to Make Grownup Friends

How to Make Grownup FriendsIt took me a long time as a grownup to make real friends. A lack of real friendship left a gaping hole in my life and a huge stress on my marriage. It’s just too much to ask one person to be everything you need. Then I met Fairy Tale Mom, and everything changed.

A year later, Gotcha Baby and I crossed the line from friendish to all out friends. And last year, Hoosier Party Girl went from barely an acquaintance to one of my dearest friends. A few months — and one disastrous craft night later — Indy With Kids was added to the fold.

So, I spent more than a decade of adulthood with zero real friends, and added four of the best ones a girl could have in under four years. And, then I read a book that explained exactly how that happened. Yeah, sometimes I work backwards. MWF Seeking BFF is the memoir of one woman’s search for a true friend.

Rachel Bertsche writes the story of her yearlong commitment to 52 friend-dates, along with a healthy dose of research on friendship, attachment, and the science behind relationships. As I read, I picked out a bit of a formula for best friends. One that I could see in each of the relationships I had developed through the last few years. I think if you have two out of the four, you’d be well on your way to a serious friendship.

So, here you go! How to make your very own grownup friend:

  1. Spend time together at least twice a month for three months. This one is key — regular contact builds a strong bond. Ours started with the occasional girls’ night out, but our friendships grew and really progressed when we added a monthly Margarita Monday. We were seeing each other for other activities at least once a month, and the addition of a 2nd, dedicated night for friends catapulted us to best friend level.
  2. Do something together that’s out of your comfort zone (physical activity is great for bonding.) None of us are really very good at moving outside of our comfort zone (well, except for FTM anyway), but circumstances did offer opportunities to push our boundaries together — rock climbing, ziplining, terror-filled near-misses on a road trip. Apparently, adrenaline increases attachment. (And I’m an ardent abuser of alliteration.)
  3. A common enemy is more binding than common interests. We came together through our shared love of blogging and children, but were bonded by our shared hatred of spam, social media douchebags, and the stupidity of the men around us. Talking about what you don’t like in addition to what you do like can build stronger bonds. The trick is to keep a good balance so your interactions don’t become negative.
  4. Laugh together. Our girls’ nights include plenty of complaining and drinking, with a healthy dose of laughter. Real, live laughing out loud increases endorphins and lowers the production of stress-inducing hormones. Laughter is an actual, physical release that everyone needs daily. That’s science, you guys. Getting a healthy dose of laughter and endorphins every month on 3rd Monday has become an addiction, and these friends I’ve built as a result are a necessary part of my daily life.

Pitch-In, Level Up: A Modern Day Commune

Pitch-In Level Up - A Modern Day CommuneThe Cosmo Moms pitch-in on girls’ night every month — whoever already has chips and salsa on hand will call dibs, and the others are left to grab cheese, chicken, and whatever we’re drinking that night. That’s dinner and drinks, with minimal effort.

We do the same thing for our monthly cookouts — I’ll provide hot dogs and buns, everyone else brings what they’ve got on hand to complete the meal. And then we took the pitch-in to a whole new level.

It started small. “Hey, does anyone have a punch bowl I can borrow?” The answer was yes so often, we began to rely on one another. Then, it snowballed. “I’m planning a party for the kids — who’s on crafts?” “I’m at the store, does anyone need anything?”

Now we basically view everyone’s belongings as community property. I’m often lugging the Rug Doctor to 3rd Monday for someone’s carpet 911. I usually bring home something else in exchange — last month it was an extra DVD player for our road trip.

Now, I don’t buy anything major, without checking to see if someone already owns it. There are plenty of everyday items that you don’t really use every day — ladders, tools, luggage racks, party supplies. Why should all of us store these items when we can just pitch-in when they’re needed.

We’ve taken the pitch-in to a whole new level. Because the Cosmo Moms are more than just friends. We’re also a bit of a commune — and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Family of Farmers AmbassadorI received a box of pitch-in themed goodies to facilitate this post as part of the Indiana Family of Farmers Table Talk Ambassadors program, but all opinions are 100% mine. You can read more conversation about Picnics, Pitch-Ins, and Potlucks from other bloggers on the Indiana Family of Farmers blog and on Twitter through the #FarmsMatter hashtag.

Red, White, and Booze: 10 Patriotic Cocktails for the 4th of July

Red, White, and Booze: 10 Patriotic Cocktails for the 4th of JulyYou guys, 4th of July is seriously one of my favorite holidays. There’s no pressure, no gifts, no expectations. It’s just pure fun — and booze.

Lots and lots of booze.

The day will start with mimosas or bloody marys, lunch will include beer and wine, and the evening cocktails will be consumed in mass quantity. Because nothing says “Happy Birthday, America!” quite like drunken fireworks. I’m kidding! Mostly.

This holiday is about kicking back, relaxing, and enjoy family and summer food. And drinks. Did I mention the drinks? Here are 10 festively patriotic drinks for your 4th of July celebration:

  • 4th of July Stained Glass Jello Shots: Red, white, and blue Jello shots? Absolutely! But, this stained glass-inspired version is almost too beautiful to eat. (Drink?)
  • Yankee Doodle Cocktail: This recipe combines grape vodka and soda with fresh fruit. I may try blueberries, strawberries, and blueberry vodka myself.
  • 4th of July Citrus Splash: I was all in with rum and blue Curaçao, but then she went and added Pop Rocks!
  • Red, White, and Blue Daiquiris: This is a delicious recipe for make-ahead daiquiris in a jar. You can customize for any occasion, and the patriotic version is absolutely gorgeous with the addition of fresh fruit!
  • Explosive Raspado: If you’re looking for a tequila drink, try this patriotic-inspired margarita with raspberries and blueberries.
  • Brazilian Firecracker: This drink is made with VeeV Açai Spirit, which is new to me and created from the Brazilian fruit. I hope they don’t mind if we put it good use for our own country’s celebration.
  • Roman Candle: Berry vodka and cranberry juice layered with grenadine and blue curacao create this lovely version of our signature cosmo.
  • Skinnygirl Firecracker: This twist on the traditional Bloody Mary includes cucumber vodka. The spicy cocktail definitely lives up to its name!
  • Frozen Firecracker: Here’s a great drink to cool you down after the last firecracker. Layering Daily’s frozen daiquiris (are these not the greatest invention EVER?), creates a fun look and a fabulous blend of flavors.
  • Red, White, and Blue Sangria: We’ll be posting our summer sangria recipe later this month, but this one is perfect for the 4th and features berry vodka, Triple Sec, and plenty of fresh fruit!

12 Fabulous Cocktails for Your Summer Party

Summer Cocktail Recipes from TheCosmoMoms.comSummer is upon us, and we are looking forward to months without carpool and packing lunches. The Cosmo Kids will get together regularly for amazing summer fun, play dates, and sleepovers. And the Cosmo Moms will continue 3rd Monday, 1st Monday, and the occasional Cosmo Cookout.

Our margaritas will be frozen, our wine will be poured over fresh fruit, and our rum punch recipe will make a regular appearance. It’s been my favorite summer drink since the very beginning, but Pinterest is tempting me to branch out a little.

Here are 12 fabulous cocktail recipes to try on your next summer gathering:

  • Frozen Boozy Bomb Pop: Remember summers filled with ice cream trucks and drippy bomb pops? Try this grownup version, featuring 3 flavors of vodka.
  • Firecracker Cocktail: Here’s a real firecracker of a cocktail for your 4th of July celebration! It blends vodka, blue curaçao, and grenadine for a patriotic drink.
  • Vodka Root Beer Floats: You guys! It’s a root beer float. With vodka. Root beer. Ice cream. Vodka. Done!
  • Citroen Summer Sunset: How pretty is this sunset cocktail? This reminds me of warm summer days, outside watching the sunset — cocktail in hand.
  • Wine Slushie: Summer simply begs for slushies. And after a long summer day with 4 kids, I’m just begging for wine. It’s a match made in heaven.
  • Sneaky Beach Cocktail: With 3 different liquors, this one will definitely sneak up on you! It looks like a fun, refreshing drink for a day at the beach.
  • Pink Lemonade Champagne: If the neighborhood lemonade stand could sell these, I’m pretty sure the line would be around the block.
  • Red Rooster Slushies: Here’s another summer slushie. This time with vodka — bam!
  • Tequila Melon Ballers: Is there anything more perfect for summer than watermelon? Apparently, only if you add tequila.
  • Indian Summer Cocktail: How gorgeous is this summer cocktail? It features peach schnapps, mango puree and champagne which sounds as delicious as it looks.
  • Champagne Popsicles: Pour champagne over cocktails for a simple and tasty summer drink. We are definitely trying this one!
  • S’mores Martini: Campfire s’mores were the star of our 1st Cosmo Cookout. Next time? We’ll add liquor.

Rum Punch and Full Contact Badminton

Full Contact Badminton - It's a Real ThingTonight, 4/5 of the Cosmo Moms gathered for a cookout. Our phones were used as cameras. We avoided screen time. We watched our kids play, mostly beautifully, together while we chatted and drank Rum Punch. It was bliss.

The backyard was set up with games and the kids played full contact badminton (it is too a thing), there was little crying and much laughing and I was completely relaxed. This doesn’t happen very often, so I took note right away. You see, this gathering was not just a celebraton of the beginning of summer, it was our way of bringing the kids together that signified the start of a summer filled with activities together. Because, that’s how we do things – together.

Now for the important stuff. We are revealing the recipe for our rum punch.

Rum Punch Recipe from The Cosmo MomsYou need a large container that you can put in the freezer. We generally use a gallon size ice cream container. You need the entire container – it will be full.

Add 1 bottle of pina colada mix.
1 40 ounce can of pineapple juice
8 oz grapefruit juice
1 can frozen lemonade, thawed

Mix all of that together, then add RUM!

I use Dark Rum and Malibu Coconut Rum. Its about half a bottle of Malibu and 1/3 bottle of Dark Rum. Unless I’ve had a really bad day, then I add more. The answer is usually MORE RUM!

Really, add rum to taste. Freeze for at least 24 hours. Scoop into super fun glasses and top with a splash of 7-UP. (I could have said Lemon Lime Soda, but I really like 7-UP more than the others.) It’s thick, you’ll need a straw.


Friends, Really

The Cosmo Moms - Friends, ReallyThe word “friends” is over used. We use it as a verb. We call everyone we meet a friend. And, yet all of these people cant be actual friends. Being a friend requires something more than just meeting a few times and more than a general interest in spending time with someone more than once.

Being a real friend requires giving something of yourself – it’s more than sharing a story or two. Friendship requires a sacred space for this other person in your being. That a part of them dwell in your heart and on your mind  – so much so that you plan for their needs along with yours.

And, you would lend them the good dishes without hesitation.

These friends are the ones who get to see your house (and your person) in every state of disarray and don’t worry about any impending judgement. Real friends wouldn’t judge your messy house or your messy life or your messy situation in any way. Because your real friends helped you create the mess in the first place, or they are more interested in your story than your messy existence.

Before JH, I forgot to make real grownup friends. I knew people. I had acquaintances, but none of these people were friends. None of these people got to see the upstairs in my house or my messy hair when I work out or my real crying face (you know the one – the ugly crying face). These internet friends, or old friends from high school that you may be internet stalking on social media, aren’t the people that you count on to be there when life gets hairy. Those relationships have to be cultivated and built over time. These very special people that are friends, deserve and demand your actual time and attention.

I’m lucky to have this group of friends now. But, it started with just one – JH. We knew each other for over a year before we were real friends. It took a few conversations about a book and an invitation to dance class before we really cemented this relationship. We shared a lot of vodka and a lot of stories and a lot of vodka to build this friendship. It took work and time, but it was totally worth it (and really fun).

As our group grew to include GB (although she doesn’t remember the near death experience that brought us together) and HPG (whose journey to motherhood broke our hearts often) and IWK (when she said “Bam! – you’re a princess,” she was part of our tribe), I knew I’d found the people I would gladly run to in the middle of the night if they called.

These ladies – my lighthouses – my safe harbor – are my balance. If the phone rings in the middle of the night, I will answer for them. And, because we spent the time to know each other WELL, sometimes we know to reach out even before being asked. That’s where friendship differs from acquaintanceship.

I don’t discount the people that I’m friendish with or my acquaintances. Maybe one day they will be actual friends. Until then, I’ll be squeezing more limes on all the #3rdMondays for these ladies – my friends.