Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fourth of July Family Fun

Fourth of July means, picnics, barbecues, pool or beach fun, enjoy the fireworks and just all around great family time. Here are some great ideas for things to do with your children to celebrate the fourth.

Children’s Crafts:

Every barbecue could use some great 4th of July napkin rings! This is a great project for a patriotic holiday picnic. Have kids sit at the table and make the napkin rings while you man the barbecue grill!

What you'll need:

• 24" elastic cord, cut into 3 even pieces
• 20 red pony beads
• 12 white pony beads
• 8 miniature white pony beads
• 4 red miniature pony beads
• 5 blue star pony beads
• White craft glue

How to make it:

1. Thread one white pony bead onto a piece of elastic cord. Run the other two pieces of elastic cord through the bead as well. With all three elastic cords lined up evenly, thread them around and back through the bead a second time.

2. Pull ends to tighten so the beads don't fall off. You will remove this knot later.

3. Thread five red pony beads onto one of the elastic cords. Thread four white pony beads onto the middle piece of elastic, and five red pony beads onto the last elastic cord.

4. Add two miniature white pony beads to the cord that has the red pony beads. Repeat for the other cord with red beads. Add two miniature red pony beads to the cord with the white beads.

5. Add a blue star bead to each of the three elastic cords.

6. Next, reverse the pattern. Thread two miniature white beads, then five red regular beads. On the center cord, thread on two miniature red beads and four white beads. Finally, add two miniature white beads and five red beads to the last cord.

7. To complete, thread all 3 elastic cords through two white beads.

8. Carefully undo the temporary knot you created in step one. Add one more white bead.

9. Gather both ends of the cords together and tie them into a knot.

10. Thread a blue star bead on each end of the knot and loop the ends back through each bead as you did in step one.

11. Add some white glue to the holes of the blue star beads and let dry.

12. When dry, trim the ends of the elastic.


1. You can purchase specialty packs of "patriotic" colored beads that include everything needed here, including the miniature beads and the star beads.

2. Convert this project into a bracelet by simply using longer pieces of elastic and more beads.

3. Elastic cord is available in the sewing department.

Another great decoration for your table this Fourth of July are these adorable treat holders made to look like Uncle Sam’s hat. Fill with your favorite treats and give away as party favors at the end of the party!

What you'll need:

• Styrofoam cup
• Red and blue felt
• Red paint
• Paintbrush
• Silver chenille stem
• Scissors
• White craft glue
• Black marker

How to make it:

1. Place cup, open end down, on top of the red felt and trace with a marker.

2. Cut around the traced circle leaving a ¾” border around it.

3. Fold the circle and cut a slit in the center of the circle to allow your scissors to get in. Cut out the inside circle, leaving about a ¼” border around the inside of the trace line. Set felt circle aside.

4. Paint red stripes all the way around the outside of the cup, stripes should run up and down. Let dry completely.

5. Cut a strip of blue felt about 1.5” wide. It should be long enough to wrap around the brim of the cup.

6. Glue felt strip around the outside of the top of the cup.

7. Lay red felt circle on to work surface, black trace line should be facing up.

8. Line the lip of the cup with white glue and press down onto black trace line. Let dry.

9. Turn cup over and place on work surface.

10. Use silver chenille to bend into star shapes, trim where needed. Glue onto the blue hat band.

11. When everything is dry, fill with treats.


• To make our treat cups sturdier, especially if using outside, glue a heavy washer to the bottom of the cup.
• You can add handles to your cup by twisting to chenille stems together and poking through the sides of the cup and running over the top. This step should be done before adding the blue brim.
• You may also use white paper or plastic cups for this project.

*the above activities and photos are from Kaboose

Fun Recipes:

Red, White and Blue Salad

Tossed in fresh lime juice and garnished with mint, this combination of juicy strawberries, diced apples, and fresh blueberries makes a refreshing treat on its own. Spoon it over vanilla ice cream, and you've got an instant and irresistible dessert.


• 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
• 1/4 cup honey
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
• 3 cups fresh blueberries
• 1 quart fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
• 3 medium apples, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks


1. In a large bowl, whisk together the lime juice, honey, and mint. Add all of the fruit and toss to combine. Let the fruit salad set for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Serves about 8.

Flavored Ice:

One way to make a splash this Fourth of July is by treating your kids to tall glasses of Patriot's Punch. Simply fill an ice cube tray with a red or blue fruit-flavored beverage (such as Powerade, Gatorade, or Kool-Aid) and let the cubes freeze solid. Then drop three or four colored cubes into each glass, pour in flavored seltzer water or clear soda, and watch the special effects. As the cubes melt, colored bubbles will swirl through the seltzer.


• Red or blue fruit-flavored beverage

Summer Berry Triffle:
This is heaven in a a dish!

Serving this traditional English dessert in a glass pedestal bowl shows off its impressive layers of ladyfingers, pudding, and colorful fruits. If you don't have one, a regular glass bowl will also do the trick.


• 1 package (3.4-ounce) instant vanilla pudding
• 4 cups fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries), washed and hulled, plus extra for garnish
• 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
• 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
• 1 cup whipping cream
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 24 to 36 ladyfingers


1. To make the fillings, prepare the pudding according to the package directions and chill it.

2. Slice the strawberries, if you're using them, then toss all of the berries with the lemon juice and the 1/4 cup of sugar. Set aside for 30 minutes to allow the berries to release their juices.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, whip the cream, vanilla extract, and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar until soft peaks form. Set aside.

4. To make the layers, set a layer of ladyfingers (around 7 or 8) on the bottom of a large, clear serving bowl (ours was 4 quarts). Top with the berries with half of the pudding.

5. Add another layer of ladyfingers, another third of the berries and juice, and the rest of the pudding. Add a final layer of ladyfingers and berries. Top with the whipped cream and a berry garnish.

6. Refrigerate until you're ready to serve. Serves 8 to 10.

*the above recipes and photos are from Family Fun

Fruited Cheesecake Flag

Strategically placed berries make this rich, creamy, and indulgent dessert even more memorable. Cut into diminutive squares, the patriotic cake affords guests equal opportunity in their pursuit of the perfect summer sweet.

Makes 48 squares

• Vegetable-oil cooking spray
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• Coarse salt
• 12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
• 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons light-brown sugar
• 32 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
• 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
• 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
• 4 large eggs, room temperature
• 6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) blackberries
• 8 3/4 ounces (2 cups) blueberries
• 1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced lengthwise into thirds (optional)
• Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
• 12 ounces (3 cups) raspberries


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Coat a 13-by-18-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Line with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the long sides. Coat parchment with spray.

2. Sift flour and 1 3/4 teaspoons salt into a bowl. Cream butter with a mixer on medium-high speed, occasionally scraping bowl, until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. With the mixer running, slowly add light-brown sugar, beating until very pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture all at once, and beat on low speed until just incorporated.

3. Transfer dough to sheet. Use a large piece of plastic wrap to press dough into an even layer that covers the bottom of the sheet. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.

4. Bake dough until entire surface is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Let cool completely in sheet on a wire rack. Raise oven temperature to 350.

5. In a clean bowl, beat cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed, occasionally scraping bowl, until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and add granulated sugar in a slow, steady stream. Scrape bowl, then mix in lemon zest, vanilla and almond extracts, and a pinch of salt until well combined. Scrape bowl, then beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until incorporated. The mixture should be very smooth; scrape bowl as necessary. Pour over crust, and spread into an even layer.

6. Bake until filling is set, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely in sheet on rack. Refrigerate until firm and cold, about 4 hours (or overnight).

7. Run a sharp knife along short sides of sheet, and use parchment to lift out cheesecake. Run knife under hot water and dry well. Use it to cut cheesecake into 48 squares, wiping knife clean between cuts.

8. Transfer squares to a serving platter, reforming the rectangle. Decorate top left squares (3 down and 4 across), placing a blackberry in the center of each square and mounding blueberries around it. Using a long offset spatula, slide out 4 squares from bottom row. Top each square with 3 strawberry slices, dust with confectioners' sugar, and return to rectangle. Repeat with remaining 4 squares on bottom row and then squares on alternating rows. Alternatively, omit strawberries and dust alternating rows generously with confectioners' sugar. Place raspberries on every unadorned row, beginning with top row. Serve immediately (or refrigerate overnight).

*the above recipe and photo from martha stewart

Great Etsy finds:

Fourth of July Pinwheels

Fourth of July tutu

Fourth of July Wreath

And for those who were born on the 4th of July a great gift

So how did you and yours celebrate the holiday? Hope it was great! Now go out and PLAY!
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