orange soda cocktail with stir stick on top of glass
Mother’s Day Cocktail ~ Clementine Ginny

A Mother’s Day cocktail that is quick and easy- and perfect for any occasion or celebration, actually! Enjoy this refreshing drink anytime and often! The idea for this cocktail started with the gift of acrylic stir sticks from Giddy Paperie and a quarantine limitation on available mixers. Making the best of the shelter-in-place means being creative with what we had! I liked it so much, I wanted to share…

silver tray with flowers acrylic stir sticks shot glass and pink square napkin

The acrylic stir sticks are a party all on their own, aren’t they? They are so cute and pretty. What a great way to mix your drink and to be able to tell whose drink is whose! I love the useful ways and the beautiful details they provide.

silver tray with gin orange soda lime slices and flowers

I loaded my silver serving tray with all of the ingredients and supplies and headed to my front porch to create this simple and tasty treat. All you need are a few ingredients…this recipe yields one drink made in an 8 oz. glass.

Clementine Ginny Cocktail

2 oz Gin (you can also substitute vodka)

5-6 oz. Izze Clementine Soda

Lime slices

Fill 8 oz. glass with ice.

Measure 2 oz. of gin and pour over ice.

Top with chilled Izze Clementine Soda

Add lime slices and stir.


clementine ginny cocktail with orange soda and gin topped with limes and a stir stick

The stir sticks dress up an otherwise really simple drink. I love the orange color of the cocktail combined with the blue and white chinoiserie designs on the stir sticks. Giddy Paperie hand painted each design and then the designs were made into acrylic stir sticks. It is such a brilliant little party detail- I would love to have them in so many designs! From coffee to cocktails, a stir stick comes in handy!

orange ranunculus blooms and snapdragons in white vase with floral design

My favorite way to serve cocktails to a small group is on a decorative tray. With a few simple touches, you can have a beautiful display in no time. Start with a small vase of flowers- I used this small vintage Herend vase and loaded it with ranunculus and snapdragons. Remember to add limes, napkins, glasses, stir sticks, Izze, and gin. I used a shot glass to measure the alcohol.

tray with gin orange soda limes flowers and pink napkins

If you have festive glasses, those are always fun to use. If you don’t, your drink will still be pretty and festive with the orange color and the stir sticks and limes. I added several lime slices to mine because I like the flavor. You can decide what you think, but I love the slight tang that it adds.

tray of mother's day cocktail ingredients and cocktail with lime slices in it

Sweet and simple and easy to enjoy! I hope you love this cocktail- and I think every perfect drink deserves to have a fun name, don’t you?? 🙂 Here’s to you and the friends and moms that you celebrate!

orange soda cocktail with stir stick on top of glass

Cheers xo,


chocolate butterscotch candy on red and white striped paper with red and white striped ribbon
Chocolate Peanut Butter Butterscotch Candy

Hello Friends,

I have been playing around with a few simple ingredients to make a butterscotch candy. This recipe uses simple ingredients that I hope you are able to find easily.

corn flakes sugar butterscotch chips chocolate chips peanut butter light corn syrup on counter

Chocolate Butterscotch Candy

1 cup sugar

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup Karo light corn syrup

5 cups Corn Flakes cereal

12 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips

12 oz. butterscotch chips

  1. In a large saucepan, heat sugar, peanut butter, and light corn syrup over medium heat until smooth.
  2. Turn off heat and add in butterscotch chips. Stir continuously to melt the butterscotch into the warm mixture.
  3. Add Corn Flakes, and mix to coat the cereal evenly.
  4. Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spread mixture evenly on pan.
  5. Heat oven to 400 degrees (F).
  6. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly on top of mixture and bake until chocolate chips begin to melt. This takes 15 minutes in my oven. Stay close and watch carefully so that the chocolate does not scorch.
  7. When chocolate chips begin to melt and sides begin to bubble, remove from oven and spread chocolate evenly across candy.
  8. Let set (about an hour) and then slice into pieces. Enjoy!
chocolate butterscotch candy on red and white striped paper with red and white striped ribbon

I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine does! This recipe combines the old-fashioned recipe of Corn Flake Candy with butterscotch and chocolate. I literally could make this each week and my kids and husband wouldn’t get tired of it. Lol! I love adapting older recipes and making them a little bit new. If you have a recipe that you would like to share, please do! You can always email it to me. I will also share a video of this recipe on my Instagram.

For other simple candy recipes, you can also try one of these…

My Aunt’s Chocolate Pecan Candy

Quick Cracker Candy

Puppy Chow

If you prefer to pin for future reference…

chocolate butterscotch candy pin


Lydia xo

chocolate easter cake with edible green grass and chocolate bird nest on top with easter plates gold forks pink napkins
Triple Chocolate Cake~ Recipe Shortcut

Sometimes we all need a shortcut when we need a dessert for something special. This recipe was one that my sister used to make when I was younger~ and even though I am more of a frosting girl when it comes to cake, this cake recipe won me over. It is really simple because it starts from a boxed cake mix!

triple chocolate cake with powdered sugar from the top

By baking the cake in a bundt pan, it gives the cake some decoration. I love the simplicity of the chocolate cake with the white powdered sugar, but I often dress up this cake a little more. Depending on the occasion, I decorate the cake in different ways. It is perfect for birthdays and holidays- and for when you just have a chocolate craving. It is rich, and the powdered sugar is the perfect complement to all of the chocolate.

For Easter, I had a little fun decorating the cake with a spring theme…

chocolate easter cake with edible green grass and chocolate bird nest on top with easter plates gold forks pink napkins

After the cake had cooled, I added powdered sugar. Next, I added edible green grass (I found it at Target) and a chocolate bird nest with jelly beans in the center opening of the cake.

triple chocolate bundt cake with edible green grass and chocolate bird nest with jelly bean eggs

Here is the quick and easy recipe…

Triple Chocolate Cake Recipe


Devil’s Food Cake Mix

Small box of Jell-O Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup sherry

8 oz. sour cream

4 eggs

1 package of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Powdered Sugar (Confectioner’s Sugar) for sprinkling on top of cake


In a large bowl, combine cake mix and pudding mix.

Next, add oil, sherry, sour cream, and eggs.

Mix by hand for 5 minutes.

After you have mixed the ingredients, add in the chocolate chips. Stir to combine.

Grease/Oil a Bundt pan.

Pour cake mixture evenly into pan.

Bake at 350 degrees (F) for 45-50 minutes.

To create the nest on top of cake…

Use edible green grass and roll a section of the grass into a circle.

Top with a chocolate bird nest (find recipe for chocolate bird nests here).


I hope you love this easy shortcut dessert! It is one of our family favorites. Let me know if you try it and how you like it!


Lydia xo

triple chocolate cake with chocolate bird nest and three easter bunny plates with gold forks and pink napkins
rack of ribs baked in oven
Weekly Meal Planning~ Dinner Recipes for the Week

Mealtime is happening around the clock with all of our families home during quarantine, and I wanted to share a few of our family dinners with you. I usually take photos of the recipes, but I am skipping that step on most and just trying to get the recipes to you with hopes it will help a little. If you would like more dinner recipes click here.

1. Ron’s Ribs

rack of ribs baked in oven

Rack of Pork Ribs (or beef ribs)

Bar-b-que Sauce for Ribs

12 oz tomato paste

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

4 tsp salt

2 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/2 cup packed of brown sugar

24 oz. apple cider vinegar

Whisk under low heat


1/4 cup brown sugar

2tsp salt

2 cloves garlic diced finely

1/2 to 1 tsp pepper

Pull membrane off back sides of ribs. Cover ribs with the rub. Place ribs on baking sheet and place aluminum foil loosely over top of ribs. Cook at 225 degrees (F) for 9 to 10 hours. 

2. Stuffed Chicken

This recipe is one from my friend Rebecca Lang. Rebecca suggests using ham, but we substitute bacon. Either one is really good!

4 strips of bacon

4 oz. goat cheese, softened

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

4 chicken breasts (with skin)

1 tablespoon olive oil


Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F)

Cook the bacon and crumble.

Combine cheese, lemon juice, and sage in small bowl. Add in crumbled bacon.

Place chicken breasts in baking dish and stuff an even amount of goat cheese mixture under the skin of each chicken breast.

Rub olive oil on top of the skin.

Bake at 425 degrees (F) for 25 minutes, or until skin is browned.

3. Veggie Meatloaf

2-3 carrots

1 small-medium chopped onion

2 ribs of celery

2 cloves garlic

2 lbs. ground beef

2 eggs

3/4 cup oats

1/4 cup milk

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon thyme

1/2 cup ketchup


Heat oven to 375 degrees (F).

Place first 4 ingredients in a food processor and finely chop.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Combine but do not over mix.

In a 9×13 pan lined with foil, shape mixture into a loaf.

Bake 1 hour, 15 mins.

Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

4. Pork Carnitas

This is my husband’s recipe in his own words…cook this in Crock Pot on low setting.

Pork tenderloin

Add salt, pepper, clove of garlic diced to tenderloin

Add 1/4 cup white wine to pork in Crock Pot.

Cook 6 hours or until meat is done. Cut into smaller pieces during cooking. Shred the pork with forks or knives near end of cooking process. 


1/2 head of red cabbage diced finely

Mix ingredients below then stir into cabbage:

1/4 cup mayonnaise 

1/8 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

Crushed red pepper to taste. 

Put cabbage and pork into warmed corn or flour tortillas. (You may want to make a little bit of extra sauce to add to carnita.)

Eat and repeat. 

5. Easy Greek Chicken Thighs

This recipe is quick and tasty! You can use drumsticks and/or thighs. I make it often because of how fast I can make it and how much my kids enjoy it. The recipe is Greek Marinated Chicken from Budget Bytes.

easy disco ball decorations for new years eve chandelier decoration
Quick & Easy New Year’s Eve Party Ideas
new year's eve party ideas disco ball decorations hanging from chandelier with ribbon

Starting fresh in a new year always feels exciting and worth celebrating, right? There is something special about the end of one moment in time and the immediate beginning of something all new. Although I love a big party, I also love quick and easy ideas to mark a special occasion! Here are some of my favorite quick and easy New Year’s Eve party ideas that I enjoy putting together for my family…

easy disco ball decorations for new years eve chandelier decoration

Set the scene with disco ball ornaments. This is an easy New Year’s Eve party idea that can also be used for other parties (such as dance party ideas and pop-star party ideas) or re-used from year to year. The ornaments shown differ in size and have mirrored glass around them-but sequined versions are lighter and may be easier to find. Either way, they are festive and fun!

easy new years eve party ideas with disco ball chandelier

Group them together for impact and hang them from a chandelier with your choice of ribbon. Simply tie each individual ornament with a measured amount of ribbon so that the disco balls hang where you would like for them to hang (being sure not to go too low and risk being bumped constantly). The color of ribbon can coordinate with your party colors or you can opt for a monochromatic look and hang with silver or white ribbon.

new years eve party ideas disco ball chandelier with ribbon

New Year’s Eve Party Food Ideas

It is always fun to add a little sparkle everywhere on New Year’s Eve, and the drink and food ideas for your party are no exception! 🙂 When you are ready to pour the bubbly for your guests, treat them to a star-shaped cookie decorating the glass…

easy new years eve party ideas star cookie on champagne glass

To keep this New Year’s Eve party idea easy, only decorate the points of the star cookies. This also keeps it from being too sweet with the champagne. I used a sugar cookie recipe from Jenny Cookies, a dot of frosting on each tip, and a pink pearl sprinkle. The small star cookie cutter has been in my collection for awhile and so I don’t remember where I found it. If the sugar cookie is too large for the champagne flute, lay the cookie flat on top of the glass instead. Your guests will still love the thought!

new years eve party ideas star cookies on champagne glasses

If you are like I am and often have kids (or teens) around on New Year’s Eve, remember to have some kid-friendly items to serve as you celebrate the new year. This party idea is a hit throughout the year and works well for birthday parties and celebrations, too! It is so easy but so fun! Buy your favorite mini doughnuts and stack them on a cake stand. Add party hat picks to the doughnuts in random places and you are all ready to serve!

easy new years eve party ideas doughnuts with party hats and disco balls

Another of my favorite party ideas for easy kids’ party food is dipped pretzel rods. We name these “Sparklers” at New Year’s Eve parties- in honor of the only fireworks my parents would let us use as kids! 🙂

easy new years eve party ideas pretzel sparklers

See below for a quick video of how I make them…

I hope these simple, quick New Year’s Eve party ideas are helpful for making your celebrations a little more fun! If you are looking for a few more ideas to add to your list, see this disco party for more!

new year's eve disco ball drinks with blue straws

And, I wish you the best in the coming year!

Cheers xo,


Recipe for Monster Cookies

Mmmm…peanut butter, M&M’s, chocolate chips, and oats combine to make the richest and most satisfying cookies you have ever had! Monster Cookies get their name from the large size of the cookie and the massive amount of deliciousness in each one! I keep this recipe in strong rotation, and I am always asked if I will share the recipe.

Recipe for Monster Cookies

You can serve a crowd with this recipe and so I often make these monster cookies for potluck gatherings, tailgate parties, summer get-togethers with friends, and as treat to share with teachers or family and friends. The oatmeal and peanut butter make them a hearty sweet treat- they seem almost like a meal in itself! :). I definitely suggest a glass of milk to go with it! These cookies are fully-loaded and so, so good!

Recipe for Monster Cookies

I actually just made these as a “Back to School” treat for my kids- they will be a great pick-me-up to pack in their lunches for school. A special little perk to look forward to and enjoy while they are also trying to get their school groove back in gear. My kids always seem to have a little bit of an adjustment from the summer freedom of eating when you’re hungry to the school year scheduled eating times. My son, especially, eats so much more during the days at home than he can when he’s at school. I am glad this is filling- it will help him get through that first week!

Recipe for Monster Cookies

I love being able to share the recipe for these super-popular cookies! My friend, Heather, introduced me to them so long ago~ and they have been a staple in our house ever since. I hope you enjoy them, too!! Here is a quick photo of the ingredients that we gather before we start (my kids love helping me make these- and now can actually make them all on their own).

Recipe for Monster Cookies


Lydia Menzies


  • 1 CUP BUTTER (Softened)
  • 4 teaspoons BAKING SODA
  • 1/4 teaspoon SALT
  • 2 teaspoons VANILLA
  • 6 EGGS
  • 8-10 CUPS OATS I suggest Quaker Old Fashioned Oats instead of Quick Oats
  • 12 OZ. M &M s


  • Scoop 1/4 cup for each cookie and drop on cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Depending on your oven, you may need to cook longer. The tops and edges should be golden brown when the cookies are done. Don’t overcook – the cookies will be dry.
  • Enjoy!

Here are a couple of other photos that I took when I served them- I have these small and really great wicker trays from Society Social that I use when I want to serve the kids something and make it a little more special. Anything works- but I also love these trays because they can bring all of the dishes to the sink and dishwasher at once when it is time to clean up! That way, nothing is “accidentally” forgotten when they put away their dishes. 🙂 I used flowers and lots of colors for my daughter and then used red, blue, and yellow for my son. He probably doesn’t notice that I change it for him, because the cookies are all he really cares about! Ha! I can’t blame him!

Recipe for Monster Cookies

You can also see how I used this recipe for a Fourth of July picnic here. It was one of my very first recipes I shared when I started blogging- so beware…it is equal parts funny and cringe -y (as my kids would say) to see the original posts on my blog. I love to see the progress this little blog has made over the years. Lol! Thank you for being here and for helping me grow! I really hope you love what you find here at The Party Wagon!

Recipe for Monster Cookies

Also, these cookies freeze well! If you make more than you need, or if you just want to save some for later…you can freeze these for a few months. Just take out to thaw and then enjoy all over again! Cheers, Friends!

Recipe for Monster Cookies