Yay! July is here! Once July arrives I settle into my summer break with my family! I kick back and enjoy beach time, reading, and fresh summer vegetables. July is the halfway mark for the year. While January is a time of setting goals for the new year, July is a great time to evaluate how I'm progressing with my goals. When I am on vacation, I have time to think about things that a busy week work sometimes doesn't afford me time to do. It's time for me to cross things off the list that I have accomplished and red letter those things that I haven't tackled that are super important and need to be completed to meet my goals. Often things left undone are simply procrastinated because I'm nervous about committing to a plan. I one thing in mind that is getting my utmost attention once I'm back in the studio. I'll share that with you later. What I do want to share is a fun month of tips! Since July is my time of vacation, I am going to simply the blog this month and post a daily tip for you! My tips might only be a couple of sentences on some days, but I promise they will be worthy! I hope you enjoy! Happy Summer! I'm off to hang my flag and kick my toes in the sand!
Only 3 more days til the 4th!!! Are you ready? If not, here are 4 ways to get ready fast!
1. Plan Your Menu!
What does your family like to eat on the 4th?
My favorite menu is KISS!
Yep...keep it simple stupid(pardon my southern, but it's true!) Festive occasions are successful through preparation and thoughtful execution. Hotdogs & Burgers with all the trimmings, Watermelon, Pasta salad and lemonade ice tea are favorites at my house. Looking for a special cocktail? How about a 4th of July Daiquiris? Click on the hyperlinks (each word) to go to great recipes for each!
2. Set a Pretty Table
Again, keeping things simple is key! It isn't necessary to go out and spend a fortune to set a pretty table. Be creative! White napkins with red & blue ribbon can make things festive in a snap!
3. Just Add Flowers
A simple bouquet of flowers can do wonders for creating a festive table. Geraniums, carnations, daisies, sunflowers, or whatever is available from your local grocer will do. Flowers don't have to be red,white or blue. For example ribbon tied around a mason jar filled with sunflowers screams the 4th of July! Add miniature flags to any arrangement and voila you have created the perfect decoration for the 4th. No time to buy anything? Fill a jar or vase with colored sand and add flags, sparkers, pinwheels made from construction paper and you are in the game! My favorite decoration is.....
Make a star stencil and use flour to create a star covered picnic area!
4. Sparklers & Fireworks
My absolute favorite activity on 4th of July is fireworks and sparklers. I love to sit on our dock and watch the sky light up with fireworks. There is something about hearing the crack of fireworks that sounds like freedom ringing to me. Sometimes we take a boat ride down to Surf City to watch the fireworks in the park. Other times, we are content with watching the kids wave sparklers on the lawn.
Quoted from USA Today here are the best cities for fireworks in the US:
These are some of the best US destinations for "ooh-ing" and "ahh-ing" over America's fireworks displays:
Leading the way in true patriotic tradition, the nation's capital will host a fireworks extravaganza to properly honor Independence Day on the national Mall. Glittering, luminous fireworks will be launched high into the sky from the reflecting pool area in front of the Washington Monument – visible from multiple locations. This eagerly anticipated sensory-overloading event will be televised nationally, and is one of the most popular in the land, so those wishing to celebrate in person are encouraged to arrive early for optimal vantage points.
New York City's fireworks have returned once again to the East River and the city is celebrating big time with the Macy's 38th annual display that promises to brighten up the Big Apple with plenty of evening sky sparklers. Residents and tourists alike have a plethora of great viewing options along the river, and even from boats sailing in New York harbor. The Brooklyn Bridge will serve as a dramatic backdrop for the show of sound and light that promises to be dazzling.
The city's annual free Boston Pops concert and fireworks event draws an audience of over a half million visitors and tourists who flock to the banks of the Charles River to display their patriotic pride. Enhanced by guest performances by major recording artists, the show takes place on two nights (July 3 and 4th), beginning at 7:30 p.m. starting with the national anthem – and culminating with Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, a fitting finale featuring authentic cannon fire. (Unfortunately, the show will not be broadcast nationally this year).
It's no surprise that the cradle of liberty throws one of America's biggest birthday parties. The city's "Welcome America" celebration features the Fourth of July Jam and Fireworks concert on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway against the backdrop of the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art. Across town, the festivities continue on July 5 along the Delaware River waterfront. With views from the Marina, Penn's Landing or Wiggins Park in Camden, NJ, both sides of the river can enjoy the Adventure Aquarium's Waterfront Fireworks celebration's massive pyrotechnics display, featuring an accompanying soundtrack that pays tribute to America and the Armed Forces.
With major fireworks displays taking place all summer long throughout the city, Chicago residents and visitors have the chance to view the evening shows from a variety of locations. A favorite spot is Navy Pier, where the best firework views are from the shoreline – as well from aboard cruise boats on Lake Michigan. The sky will certainly be illuminated, with the accompaniment of synchronized music and sound enhancing the aesthetically impressive display.
This Southern California city celebrates Independence Day with a variety of big celebrations throughout the entire county. The island of Coronado hosts two-hour parade followed by a family concert and spectacular fireworks over Glorietta Bay. The Port of San Diego celebrates with its Big Bay Boom fireworks extravaganza over San Diego Bay. The LEGOLAND Resort in Carlsbad celebrates July Fourth with Red, White and Boom, with special family activities throughout the day and fireworks starting at 8:30 p.m. Finally, La Jolla's popular Fourth of July gathering features fireworks over La Jolla Cove beginning at 9:00 p.m.
Portland has plenty of nighttime skyrockets and celebratory events throughout the entire Fourth of July weekend, and the city offers an array of viewing spots around town. For music fans, Portland's Safeway Waterfront Blues festival is the place to be for Independence Day – and for enjoying a splendid vantage point for fireworks, too. With over 125 performers on four stages, this four-day event July 3-6 is one of the largest blues festivals in the nation with major recording artists including: Gregg Allman, Los Lobos, Maceo Parker and more. An added bonus? Fort Vancouver in Vancouver, Washington hosts a fireworks show just on the other side of the Columbia River – about 15 minutes from downtown Portland.
The Atlantic City fireworks festival, "We the People, By the People, For the People Fourth of July Fireworks" electrifies the sky above the Atlantic Ocean. This free event attracts more than 250,000 people who enjoy the views from along the world famous seaside boardwalk, as well as Steel Pier and many of the area's beachfront venues. Most of the casino resorts also have select locations for optimal fireworks viewing. The dazzling display does not disappoint; the show's fireworks are launched from three locations and it takes two ocean barges and one marina platform to light up the island's entire sky.
Stars and Stripes over San Antonio is the city's largest and longest Fourth of July fireworks display. This family-friendly event is held downtown each year, celebrating those who are serving the US armed forces. Located at the Alamodome, the event will include a "kids zone," as well as live music and plenty of food, too. Fireworks start bursting in air at 9:30 p.m. and are set to a patriotic medley of synchronized songs broadcasted on the local radio station Q101.9 FM. (Free admission for children and military families, and adults pay a nominal fee).
A beachfront bash under the stars is Fort Lauderdale's specialty, and this town's Fourth of July Spectacular will not only include the bright glow and loud roar of a fireworks show, but will also feature music from exciting live bands, culinary specialties and games. This event also hosts a family "fun zone" all day long – from 12:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.. The explosive rainbow of flashing color starts at 9 p.m. and is conveniently located near the main drag – off the intersection of A1A.
What are you doing for the 4th? Did I get you in the mood to get your holiday planned? I'm off to buy sparklers!