Tag Archives: july

It Was All Good

First of all, let me just say having a 4 day weekend is one of the best things! I actually felt like I had time to do things and not being left to feel rushed and find “poof” the weekend is over.

Thursday we kept it low-key and went to enjoy our lake. Some friends showed up to keep us company. The girls were able to occupy each other and the moms got to chat and catch up. (one of the nice things about the girls growing up.) Sitting and looking out over the lake as blue skies soar above is so peaceful and is one of the aspects that makes living here in the summer wonderful.

That evening we mounted up and headed to the next town to enjoy their firework festivities for the first time. They did an awesome job! Rock on Denville! When we arrived a fantastic cover band was playing hits from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. People were dancing and letting their fourth of July flag fly! It was an interesting site, this park lawn. Some people must arrive way early, because they had mini tailgating set ups going on. Their were people working on their embroidery, one woman was spinning yarn, others playing board games. If it wasn’t in the middle of an open field with not one lick of shade to be had, you might have convinced me. My daughter went and made a friend with another little girl with a beach ball. It was nice that she was occupied, saving us from the litany of “when are they going to staaaart?” And miracle of miracles, some friends found us (!) and we had some enjoyable company for the show. Denville even had an orchestra that accompanied the fireworks. It was a really nice touch. My only complaint was that the fireworks were short. But doesn’t everyone feel that way?

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Little Miss Firecracker

On Friday I sent Bean to camp for half a day and ran errands. We were hosting a “drinks and desert” party that evening. I figured drinks and desert was much less work than BBQing. With the obscene heat we are having, I’m glad we opted not to BBQ. It’s too hot to stand in front of a grill!

Drinks and desert is the perfect combo. Cold drinks always feel good on a hot night. And I did most of the desert as “finger type food”, or stick type food, because everything is better on a stick. This also makes it easier for guests to sample a wide variety (and it cut down on the amount of paper products).

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Everything seems fancier on a stick

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The kids station. Juice boxes, silly string, bubbles, glow in the dark headbands and masks, light up balloons.

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Not a party without cupcakes!

When it comes to party planning with kids involved, you cannot go wrong with 2 things: silly string and glow sticks. I need to figure out how to buy silly string in bulk. The howls of laughter and glee from spraying friends (and more importantly, being allowed to!) is awesome to hear. For those worried, it disintegrates pretty quickly from your arms and clothes, you just have to brush yourself off. I think the backyard looks pretty cool with all these bright-colored streamers everywhere after they are done. Once it rains, it’s gone.

We also used glow in the dark balloons. They have a little battery-powered light in them that pulses different colors and at different speeds. Also a big hit with the kids. You can purchase the Illooms brand at your local Wal Mart or order them online.

Besides the silly string and glow things, I think the real highlight was our purchase of a snow cone machine. My daughter was beyond excited about it and was telling everyone she got a snow cone machine. The kids were so jazzed they were practically on top of me when I was making them. And the adults figured out we could make mommy versions by pouring the mai tai’s over them. I love creative friends! The machine we purchased isn’t super huge, and can easily be taken to parties. I think we might be popular party guests 🙂

The rest of the weekend we spent chillin in our backyard. I have to say, finding a misting fan has gone up on my list of things to do. Because dang its hot in Jersey!

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TASTY THURSDAY: Bake and Decorate Flag Cupcakes

By Julie Williams – taken from Education.com

There’s something irresistible about cupcakes, both to parents and children alike. Sweet, creamy, and portable, they make a delightful addition to any picnic table. Well any kind of table, for that matter.

And if you’ve got a curious kid at home, cupcakes also happen to be a great chance to expand upon skills he’s learning at school while you’re baking and decorating! After all, recipes call for reading, measurement, and number calculation. This Fourth of July, bake some festive cupcakes with your third grader to celebrate the holiday and keep his mind active during those long summer days. The results will be fruitful and delicious!

What You Need:

  • Cake (for 12 cupcakes):
  • 1 egg, plus 1 egg white
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/3 cups flour

Decorations:

  • 1 packet of red licorice ropes
  • 1 can of vanilla cake frosting
  • Blue decorative sugar
  • Index card
  • Scissors

What You Do:

  1. Star by preheating your oven to 350°, and have your child place paper or foil cupcake liners into a muffin tin (usually 12 muffins per tin—while you’re working, you can remind remind your child how 12 equals a dozen!).
  2. Using a wire whisk or an egg beater, beat the eggs in a mixing bowl until they are light yellow and slightly thick. (Note: you can use electric mixers, but for building kids’ dexterity, as well as for honoring our colonial ancestors, there’s nothing like doing the mixing by hand!)
  3. Add the sugar, vanilla, oil, and baking powder and blend thoroughly.
  4. Help your child slowly add the flour and milk, alternating between the two, making sure to completely mix in each addition before adding the next, until the mixture is smooth.
  5. Fill each muffin tin about 2/3 full, and bake about 12-15 minutes, or until the cake tops are golden brown and spring back to the touch. Be careful not to overcook your cupcakes!
  6. Cool the muffins completely, and then get ready to decorate! Start by helping your child cover each cupcake with a layer of white frosting, spread as smoothly as possible.
  7. Now pull out your index card, and have your child use the scissors to cut a rectangle in the center, 1/3”x1/2”. This will be your sugar “stencil.” Hold the hole over the top left side of your cupcake, close to the frosting, and then sprinkle on a layer of the blue sugar. Pull the stencil off, and you should see a nice, crisp blue sugar rectangle!
  8. Now finish your “flag” by laying on strips of red licorice in the rest of the space on top of the cupcake, following the model in our photograph.

Note: this activity is great for young minds learning fractions and measurement, and for little hands building coordination so you can try making this recipe with younger children as well. Either way, you’ll end up with some deliciously festive treats to serve at your next Fourth of July get together!

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