Last Minute Ideas for your 4th of July Party

Stars and Stripes Streamers

This is almost as fun as popping bubble wrap. Just buy a star hole-punch and GO TO TOWN on these guys. You could definitely keep a 5-year-old occupied for about 10 hours.

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C/O BuzzFeed

 

Sparklers That Don’t Burn Your Eyes Out

Paper is safer.

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C/O BuzzFeed

 

Pack an Independence Punch

We all know day-drinking can be a bit of a production. Instead of hitting it hard, consider some of these refreshing mocktails to keep the whole family on the same level.

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C/O BuzzFeed

 

Don’t forget that you can take 30% off Amy Michelle bags with free shipping!

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4th of July Fashion

It’s 4th of July weekend and that means we have lots of parties and BBQ’s to attend/host. We’ve figured out the menu, but now it’s time to plan the most important. That’s right–your outfit! Now, I know when we were kids it was perfectly acceptable, not to mention totally adorable, to wear clothes like this…or this. Unfortunately, I think if we showed up in outfits like that as mature adults, we would probably get some odd looks. But hey, if you can pull it off then the more power to you! You rock those short-alls!

If you’re like me though, you might need a little help finding something cute, but still age-appropriate. So here are some of my favorite finds to show your patriotism while still being totally comfortable.

Image c/o lulus.com
Image c/o urbanoutfitters.com

On now! $19.99

Image c/o nordstrom.com
Image c/o jcrew.com
Image c/o lulus.com
Image c/o lulus.com
Image c/o lulus.com

Remember, you can click on any of these images for more information or to purchase online!

Of course, if dresses aren’t really your style, you can always go for a simple look by pairing some white shorts or jeans with a simple tank. Try this navy and white striped one from American Eagle. Accessorize with some red bangles or headband and you’re ready to go. And don’t forget to throw on your Amy Michelle Sweet Pea Tote or Poppy Clutch for a complete head-to-toe look!

Kids Eat Free at Qdoba this Weekend!

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This weekend kids 12 and under will receive a free kids meal – with the purchase of any adult entree at Qdoba! This offer is valid July 3rd – 5th – no coupon necessary!

Kids can choose from a Lil’ Chicken Naked Burrito® (served in a bowl without a tortilla), Lil’ Chicken Quesadilla, a single taco, a Lil’ Cheese Quesadilla or a vegetarian Naked Burrito®. Each meal includes a choice of one side item (applesauce, vegetarian beans or handmade tortilla chips) and one beverage (100% juice, 1% milk or a small fountain drink).

Click here to find a location near you!

4th of July Favorites

4709fried_chicken2251Patriotic Picnic Fare

Whether grilling or chilling, these delicious recipes will light up any 4th of July celebration.

Fee, Fie, Faux Fried Chicken

Fee, Fie, Foh Yum! I smell the scent of chicken with crumbs! If you love fried chicken but hate all the fat, our healthier rendition is a giant step in the right direction.

RECIPE INGREDIENTS:

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. each dried thyme, paprika and salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder and black pepper
1 1/2 cups crushed cornflake cereal
2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup buttermilk
3 lbs. skinless chicken thighs and drumsticks (about 12 pieces)

1. Spray a large roasting pan with non-stick spray and set aside.

2. In a shallow bowl or pie plate, combine flour, oregano, thyme, paprika, salt, garlic powder and pepper. In a separate bowl or pie plate, combine cornflake crumbs and cheese. Pour buttermilk into another bowl.

3. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Working one at a time, dip chicken pieces in buttermilk and moisten all sides. Place chicken in bowl with flour mixture and turn to coat. Dip in buttermilk again, then coat with cornflake mixture. Arrange chicken in roasting pan, leaving some space between pieces. This process can get a bit messy, but hang in there.

4. Bake, uncovered, at 425 degrees for 40 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

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Patriotic Drink

With a steady hand and some colorful drinks, you can create a tasty, multilayered concoction. The secret is in selecting liquids with varying amounts of sugar, since those that contain more (such as soda) are denser than those with less (such as diet drinks). And that makes it possible to actually stack one on top of another (for a little while, anyway — then they’ll start to blend).

Here’s how to serve up a thirst quencher with two, three, or even more layers. Our recipe is for a red, white, and blue version for your Fourth of July celebrations. See how your favorite beverages literally stack up!

RECIPE INGREDIENTS:

Ice cubes
Cranberry juice
Wild Berry flavor Gatorade Fierce
Diet 7-Up

1. Fill a clear glass with ice cubes. Pour the drink with the most sugar (check the nutrition label) into the glass. For our red, white, and blue recipe, start with the cranberry juice.

2. Very slowly add a beverage that contains less sugar — in this case, Wild Berry flavor Gatorade Fierce. Be careful to pour it onto an ice cube — not directly into the other drink — to keep them from mixing.

3. Use the same technique to add a layer of Diet 7-Up.

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Deviled Egg Boats

These cleverly engineered eggs with a mustardy zip and colorful sails are sure to become an instant favorite with your crew.

RECIPE INGREDIENTS:

12 hard-boiled eggs
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons vinegar (white or cider)
1/4 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 red, orange, yellow, or green bell peppers
Paprika

1. Peel the eggs, then slice each one in half to make boats. Place the yolks in a medium-sized bowl and mash them with a fork. Add the mustard and the vinegar, then add the mayonnaise, stirring until the consistency is smooth but not soupy.

2. Next, make the sails. To do this, cut each pepper into 1-inch-wide strips, then cut the strips into 1-inch squares and slice each square in half diagonally.

3. Fill the egg-white halves with the yolk mixture. Stick the sail upright into the filling and sprinkle with paprika. Makes two dozen.

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Patriotic Potato Salad

Made with red, white, and blue spuds, this potato salad is as American as apple pie. Blue potatoes (also called purple potatoes) have a texture similar to that of russet potatoes, but a nuttier flavor; they can be found in most supermarkets or in specialty produce stores.

RECIPE INGREDIENTS:

1 pound each of small red-skinned potatoes, round white potatoes, and purple potatoes, scrubbed but unpeeled
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 rounded tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 1/4 teaspoons celery seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped green onions
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Place the red-skinned and white potatoes in one large pot and the purple potatoes in a separate pot (to keep them from tinting the others). Cover both batches with lightly salted cold water. Bring each pot to a boil.

2. Reduce the heat and simmer the potatoes, partially covered, until they are fork tender, about 12 to 15 minutes.

3. Drain the potatoes and let them cool, then cut them into 3/4- to 1-inch chunks.

4. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, and celery seeds. Add all of the potatoes, the green onions, and the salt and pepper, tossing gently to coat. Serves about 8.

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Strawberry-Blueberry Shortcake

Summer is berry-picking season, and this recipe mixes up the best of the red and the blue — fresh strawberries and blueberries spooned over tasty shortcake biscuits and topped with a dollop of whipped cream.

RECIPE INGREDIENTS:

SHORTCAKES
5 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine or shortening
2 cups milk
STRAWBERRIES IN SYRUP
2 qt. fresh strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup sugar
WHIPPED CREAM
1 pt. whipping cream
2 tbsp. maple syrup
Fresh blueberries for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and sugar together in a large bowl.

2. Slice the margarine sticks into pats and add to the dry mixture. Using a handheld pastry cutter or your fingertips, mix the margarine and dry ingredients until they resemble a coarse meal. Avoid overmixing.

3. Make a small well in the center and pour the milk into it. Stir just until the mixture holds together. If the dough appears too sticky, sprinkle in a little more flour.

4. Turn the shortcake dough onto a lightly floured countertop or pastry cloth and pat into a 1-inch-thick circle, handling it as little as possible. Do not knead the dough; doing so will make the shortcake biscuits heavy.

5. Use a biscuit cutter or inverted cup to cut out the shortcakes, and arrange about 1 1/2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool before serving. Makes 10 to 12 shortcake biscuits.

6. To make the strawberries in syrup, wash and hull the strawberries and slice them into a glass bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar. Stir a few times, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. The strawberries will release some juice and make a light syrup. Stir once again before spooning the berries on top of the shortcakes.

7. Before whipping the cream, place a stainless steel bowl in the freezer for a little while to chill. Pour the whipping cream into the chilled mixing bowl. Add the maple syrup (you can substitute a teaspoon of vanilla extract or a couple of tablespoons of sugar) and whip with an electric mixer or a whisk until stiff. Keep refrigerated until you’re ready to serve the dessert.

8. To serve the shortcake, split the biscuits into halves. Spoon some of the strawberries and syrup onto the bottom halves. Cover with the remaining shortcake halves and spoon more of the strawberries on top. Top with the whipped cream and garnish with fresh blueberries.

Coupons as of 06/30:

$1.00 off any gallon or half gallon of Organic Valley Milk

$1.00 off any one 6, 12, or 18 pack of Organic Valley Eggs

$1.00 off any one 4oz., 6oz. or 8oz Organic Valley Cheese

$1.00 off any one Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Cream

$1.00 off Healthy Balance Reduced-Sugar Juice Blends

$1.00 off Northland Cranberry Blends

$1.00 off Ocean Spray Cranergy

4th of July Crafts

Pasta stamp shirt

Pasta-Stamp Fireworks T-Shirt

Turn a handful of noodles into super-simple stamps that add patriotic punch to your holiday tees. This project is easy enough for preschoolers –and fun for older kids– making it an ideal craft for a weekend gathering of extended family.

CRAFT MATERIALS:

Pasta shapes
Corrugated cardboard
Tacky glue
Scissors
Waxed paper
T-shirt
1-inch flat foam brush
Washable fabric glue (we used Aleene’s OK To Wash-It)
Washable glitter (we used Tulip Fashion Glitter)
Time needed: About 2 to 3 Hours

1. To make each firework burst, arrange a single type of pasta on the cardboard. Affix the pieces with tacky glue. Let the glue dry, then trim the excess cardboard.

Pasta-Stamp Fireworks - Step 22. Insert a sheet of waxed paper into the shirt to prevent bleed-through. Using the foam brush, generously coat the surface of the pasta with the fabric glue, then press the stamp firmly onto the shirt.

3. Sprinkle glitter over the stamped area, then shake off the excess (doing this over a piece of creased paper makes it easy to funnel the loose glitter back into the bottle).

4. Repeat the process to make more bursts. Let the shirt dry completely, then give it a final shake. Follow the package directions for setting and curing the glue.

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4th of July Salt Dough Pins

Show your love for the USA by making one of these fun and patriotic pins to wear on your shirt or hat.

What you’ll need:

  • ½ cup salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup water
  • Acrylic paint: red, white and blue
  • Pin backs
  • White craft glue
  • Small cookie cutters: heart, star, number 4
  • Acrylic sealer spray

How to make it:

  1. Mix together the salt, flour, and water. If dough is sticky, add additional tablespoons of flour one at a time until the mixture is smooth a pliable. Be careful not to add too much or your projects will crack.
  2. Roll out or press dough with your hand and use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. (See photo.)
  3. Place shapes on cookie sheet and heat oven to 250 degrees F. (See photo.)
  4. Place cookie sheet in oven and bake for 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours, or until items are dry. Remove from oven and let cool.
  5. Paint all the shapes white and let dry. (See photo.)
  6. Use a small paintbrush to ad red stripes and a medium paintbrush to add solid blue to the heart and the star. You may need a second coat of blue. Let dry. (See photo.)
  7. Use a toothpick dipped in paint to write “JULY” down the side of the number 4 pin. Write “I love (draw a heart share) USA) on the heart pin. Use the handle end of a paintbrush dipped in paint to add polka dots onto the number 4 and the top of the star. (See photos 1, 2.)
  8. Let them all dry and have an adult spray them with acrylic sealer.
  9. Turn pins over and glue on pin backs. Use a generous amount of glue and let them dry completely before wearing.

Tips:

  • Salt dough can be kept in a covered container for a couple of days.
  • It is not necessary to dry out salt dough in the oven, you can air dry it, but the oven is faster.
  • Personalize a pin by writing your name instead of a suggested phrase.
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