4th of July Treat: Sweet & Salty Sparklers

Looking for a Fourth of July treat that is festive and everyone will enjoy? Family Fun magazine shared these sweet and salty “sparklers” with me and I just had to share them with you all! Layered with white chocolate and studded with sprinkles and M&M’s, these pretzel treats add flare to any party spread.

Directions: Cover a baking sheet with waxed paper. Melt 1 cup of white chocolate chips in a medium, heat-safe bowl according to the package directions. Use a spoon to drizzle 1pretzel rod at a time with chocolate (you’ll have enough chocolate to make a dozen), then lay the rod on the prepared sheet and scatter it with red and blue sprinkles and M&M’s. Chill the pretzels in the refrigerator until the chocolate sets, about 15 minutes.

4th of July 2013

We spent the morning at a McDonald’s play place so the boys could play while I caught up on some work.  After a nap {for everyone!}, the late afternoon was spent outside in our backyard. It was a little chilly but the boys had fun on the slip n’ slide. Once Sinisa got home he grilled some steak for fajitas and after a delicious dinner we headed over to our Church for their 4th of July event. They had music playing, food, and glow in the dark fun for the kids. At 9:30 we watched the fireworks set to music. It was a nice evening. Here are a few of my favorite pictures :)

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How did your family celebrate the 4th of July? I’d love to hear from you :)

Have A Red, White & Cool 4th of July!

Happy Independence Day! Hope you all have a red, white, and cool 4th of July :)

Looking for some 4th of July ideas? Here are some of my favorite roundups!

4th of July Breakfasts

4th of July Treats and Desserts

4th of July Decorations

4th of July Crafts for Kids

Happy 4th Of July {Cute Pictures Inside!!}

We hope you have a wonderful Fourth of July!! Love, Jacob & Lucas

It took about 15 tries to get this shot. Here are some of the other cute ones…

Crafting With DIY Network’s Jeanne Benedict And OFF!

On Thursday, June 21, I co-hosted an event for OFF!® at the Lincoln Park Conservatory & Gardens in Chicago. DIY Network’s Jeanne Benedict was on hand to share some easy ways to spruce up the backyard for Fourth of July parties and get the family offline and outdoors this summer!

The space was absolutely beautiful amidst the wonderful city views! Jeanne demonstrated the decorations we will be working on and we kicked things off by creating a floral masterpiece with red, white and blue flowers and spiced them up with additional decorations such as patriotic pinwheels and our own personalized flags we created. It was a blast! We also worked on these great table decorations filled with sand and seashells and chatted about our upcoming Fourth of July plans as well as how to help keep mosquitos as bay during the holiday.

Here are some pictures from the event:

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Decorated Table

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Gardening Table

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Pot decorating table

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Our Special Guest, DIY Network’s Jeanne Benedict

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Finished Centerpieces {Photo Courtesy: Edelman}

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Jeanne also shared ways that we can “log off” and enjoy the summer with our families. Here are some of her top tips for logging OFF!® while on vacation:

As I shared in my last post, OFF!® Clip-On™ Insect Repellent is a product that is fairly new to me. I have used OFF!® products since I was in grade school and am definitely loving the fact that I can get the same mosquito protection that I always did with the added bonus of convenience. I used the OFF!® Clip-On™ Insect Repellent the other day while sitting outside on my patio. I liked that, although it is a fan, the sound wasn’t that loud and didn’t bother me while I was watching my children run around the yard. The clip-on’s last up to 12 hours so I know that I can take them with me whether I’m gardening, fishing, camping or relaxing in the backyard.

(Disclosure: I was compensated for hosting an event and writing about OFF!® but all thoughts are my own.)

Fourth of July Breakfast Ideas

Make 4th of July extra special with a patriotic breakfast!
{Click on the pictures to be taken to the sites they are from}

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Enjoy Fourth Of July Fun This Summer With OFF!

There is nothing my family loves more in summer than spending every second we can outside. After shopping a few weeks ago, my outdoor oasis is finally complete and perfect for night-time relaxing. It appears perfect but then I remember that summer nights also include mosquitoes that make my evenings end in lots of scratching. I need to make sure I have plenty of OFF!® on hand to help keep mosquitoes at bay. I used to use the OFF!® spray but recently learned about their new clip-on product – OFF!® Clip-On™ Mosquito Repellent, which has a quiet, battery powered fan that circulates an odorless repellent, and within minutes creates head-to-toe protection for up to 12 hours. This is perfect for activities such as sitting on the patio enjoying a book or magazine. Plus 12 hours of protection is a lot of outdoor time! This product comes in four decorative covers that I can choose from so I can get the boys a camouflage print and myself a flowery design. (I will be sharing my thoughts on this new product soon!)

OFF!® Clip-On™ Mosquito Repellent also has a new Facebook application that I’m excited about. I shared a week or two ago about how last summer my family spent so much time indoors because I was working on my computer so much and how this summer I was going to spend more time offline. I created a summer bucket list of all the fun activities I hoped to do and places I wanted to take my children to. One of the items on our summer fun list is to go watch fireworks which I’d like to do on the 4th of July. I am going to use the OFF!® “Log OFF!®, Clip-On™” Facebook application to make sure I check “watch fireworks together” off of our bucket list.

OFF!® is encouraging people to “log off” their computers and smartphones for a whole day on the Fourth of July. They have a pledge that people can take saying they will be offline and outside. Once you take the pledge, the application will let you know the time you spent on Facebook on the Fourth of July and e-mail a report shortly after. I think it would be fun to make it a competition between friends and family to see who could spend the most time offline.

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I’m also happy to share that I have teamed up with OFF!® to host a blogger event in Chicago this month. Just in time for Fourth of July parties and summertime backyard bashes, we will learn outdoor entertaining tips from DIY Network’s Jeanne Benedict while we enjoy yummy food and drinks. The event is being hosted at a Chicago garden so we will also be doing gardening activities and some crafting. I am so excited and I can’t wait to share all the great tips I learn at the event!

To learn more about OFF!®, visit KeepBugsOFF.com and make sure to tune in tomorrow, June 21, on my Twitter and Facebook pages to get updates on my evening with OFF!®

(Disclosure: I am being compensated for my time but all thoughts are my own.)

Fourth Of July Decor {Roundup Of My Favorites}

Here are some of my favorite Fourth of July decor I’ve found online.

{Click on the pictures to be taken to the posts they belong to}

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Fourth Of July Crafts For Children

Here are some of my favorite Fourth of July crafts for kids!

Make sure to click on the pictures to be taken to the sites they come from!

Confetti Popper Rockets from alphamom

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Handprint Fireworks from No Time For Flashcards

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Star Spangled Welcome from FamilyFun

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Pipe Cleaner Flag from Children’s Learning Activities

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Uncle Sam Paper Plate from Kaboose

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Tin Can Flag Windsock from Under The Table and Dreaming

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Red, White, and Blue Container from Motherhood on a Dime

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Flag Print from Art With Mrs. Smith

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Fireworks in a Bottle from No Twiddle Twaddle

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Star Prints from The Masked Mommy

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Tissue Paper Stars from Preschool Crafts for Kids

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Doilies Fireworks from Preschool Playbook

Fourth Of July Dessert Roundup

Here are some of my favorite Fourth of July desserts I have found around the web.

{To get the recipes- click on the pictures to be taken to the posts they come from.}

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Wordless Wednesday- Watching Fireworks

I have linked this post to: Wordless Wednesday Home

5 Minutes for Mom ~ Go Graham Go! ~ Jolly Mom

Mom of 3 Girls ~MomStart ~ Two of a Kind…

Momma Findings ~ Mom Knows It All

A Daily Dose of Toni

The Divine Miss Mommy

Grammy Mouse Tails

Happy 4th Of July!

Buzzed Driving IS Drunk Driving

With one of the biggest Holiday weekends upon us, it’s time to plan now for a safe and sober way home.

Many of us will be on the road this weekend traveling from family parties, viewing the fireworks, or barbecuing with our friends. Many adults will be drinking during the course of the Holiday weekend and there are a few things that you can do to protect your loved ones and other people’s loved ones who will be on the road this weekend:

  1. Designate a sober driver BEFORE you leave for your Fourth of July events.
  2. Be ready to take alternate transportation such as a bus or taxi.
  3. Have the phone number of a taxi service stored in your phone before you leave.
  4. Call 9-1-1 if you see an impaired driver on the road.

Even if you will not be drinking alcoholic beverages this Fourth of July, keep in mind that over the course of 2008, 1,179 people in other vehicles were killed in crashes involving drivers who had been drinking. Over the Fourth of July Holiday period alone (Thursday, July 3rd at 6pm to Monday, July 7th at 6am) there were a total of 491 traffic fatalities.

I am sure that all of those people that got into their cars after drinking did not plan to kill anyone. I’m sure many of them said, “I am just a little buzzed. I’m not drunk.” Sadly, even though some of them didn’t plan on over-indulging, a buzzed driving crash looks the same as a drunk driving crash.

Remember: BUZZED DRIVING IS DRUNK DRIVING!

(Disclosure: I am participating in a campaign to get the word out that Buzzed Driving IS Drunk Driving and may be compensated for this post. Like always, all opinions are my own. I truly feel that this campaign being run by the Ad Council is an important one!)