Keep it Simple; Keep it fun! A Collection of Ideas for Your 4th of July Celebration.

Don’t panic. You can throw together a great holiday celebration for friends and family on short notice with these easy ideas for decor, recipes, and fun activities.

Anything red, white, or blue that you have around the house is fair game for decorating. Look through your rag bag and cut colorful strips to tie to rope to make a garland. This one is made from ribbon, but you can adapt with fabric strips, tissue paper, or streamers. http://createandbabble.com/red-white-blue-ribbon-garland/  

ribbon garland_createandbabble.com

     http://catscraftroom.blogspot.com/

Got paint and clothespins? This wreath would welcome your guests in style. Consider attaching the clothespins to a photo frame or matte and add some graphics. Dreamsicle Sisters off this free graphic download here:

Pin image

http://dreamsiclesisters.com/posts/free-fourth-of-july-fonts#_a5y_p=600682

Outdoor tablescapes get no less fanfare even though paper and plastic are often the order of Independence Day. Try covering a table with a white plastic cloth and weaving red and blue ribbon. I had this one on my Pinterest board and the colors could be easily adapted with patriotic co

I love the green and white. And the ribbon is soo cool.

Or, get the kids involved. A roll of white or brown Kraft paper, some stars cut out of sponges, a little paint…well, you know the drill. Kids could help with the centerpieces, as well. Here are a few suggestions and links to the DIY directions.

 

These are actually bicycle handlebar parade decor but could easily be adapted to table decor.

Patriotic Parade Streamers

http://alphamom.com/family-fun/holidays/4th-of-july-craft-parade-streamers-for-bicycles-and-scooters/

This is an easy and inexpensive centerpiece idea. And what’s more American than baseball…

Table Setting: Flag Centerpiece From BHG

 

hot dogs…how about these rocket dogs? They would do double duty as a centerpiece and menu item.

            Fourth of July...Red, white and blue lanterns From Martha Stewart

There are other cute ideas at this blog, so please pay Karen a visit.

Food or fireworks? Which takes center stage at your celebration? I vote food, but again, I say keep it simple. This berry, angel food cake trifle has been my go-to Fourth of July dessert for at least 25 years.

 

Berry Trifle with store bought angel food cake. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/sunny-anderson/patriotic-berry-trifle-recipe/index.html

This image is from my Pinterest board, and I use a slightly different recipe:

1 Angel Food Cake torn into bite sized pieces (I like pound cake better, but often use a sugar free angel food)

1 medium can crushed pineapple-drained well

3 bananas-sliced

2 cups strawberries-halved

2 cups blueberries

1 large instant vanilla pudding (prepared according to directions)

1 8oz tub Cool Whip.

Pecan halves (optional)

Begin with cake bits and layer other ingredients in any order you wish, ending with cool whip or berries.

This makes a huge dessert!

Here are other fun and interesting food ideas I found:

starpop

http://thedomesticrebel.com/2013/06/24/star-sparkler-cookie-pops/

Stars_and_Stripes_Cookies

http://stlcooks.com/2013/06/stars-and-stripes-cookies/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://grinandbakeit.com/firecracker-rice-krispies-snap-crackle-pop-this-fourth-of-july

 

Simply shred red and blue tissue paper and duct tape to sparklers, wad into glass votives…you can’t go wrong with good ole red, white, and blue. Hope some of these suggestions have been helpful, and that you have a flag-waving Independence Day. God Bless America!

On Being Helpful

Being the quirky unique individual that I am, I love that both our kids decided upon small, intimate weddings that reflect their personalities. I posted about our daughter’s home grown wedding here. https://thymelesssageandrandomrants.wordpress.com/2012/10/21/647/

So, our son’s idea was to (a) go directly to the Justice of the Peace, (b) beach wedding with five people in attendance, or (c) Eureka Springs B&B with ten people attending. I am confident pretty sure that he’s glad Shannon’s friends family members okay, WE wanted something we could be a part of. Like Kris, I don’t love weddings. I do like planning events and helping with them. I asked offered pestered Shannon until she finally delegated a few tasks to me.

When she emailed me a few pictures so I would have a general idea of the ambiance they hoped to create, I was ecstatic! It was exactly what I thought Shannon would like and perfectly suited to things I like. Vintage. Shabby chic. Country church.

She asked me to make ribbon wands for guests to wave as the couple came out of the church. I went to my go-to source for DIY everything; Pinterest. Most of the wands I found used dowel rods and satin ribbon. Saint had a few dowel rods, so he cut some in thirds, I bought some ribbon, and practiced a few different ways. I didn’t care for the way things turned out, so I contacted Shannon with more questions…mostly about the colors because I still wasn’t clear on that. She directed me to a web site where her mother ordered the ribbon for making the beautifully crafted invitations. (I knew I was in big trouble when I saw her handiwork.) I ordered the very last package of mochadoodle ribbon they had. Again, I knew I was in big trouble because there was no way to make 75-100 wands with that amount of ribbon. But I did like the way the crinkled ribbon looked on the wands. I went on a quest to make my own. I found a great youtube video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vO5oW2vTnTY

And the process really works…but good luck finding RAYON seam binding in our area. I made a bit using cotton binding and it did okay. Then, I had to get resourceful and start cutting some fabric strips, lace, rafia, etc.  I found a spool of satin rose trim and cut the roses apart to add to the top of the wand. I had bookmarked a crinoline and paper garland that I loved, and made a few of the paper flowers to add to some of the wands. (I heart paper flowers and this lady’s blog.)

http://houserevivals.blogspot.com/2011/04/nature-inspired-vintage-style-garland.html

With every wand I made, I worried more and more that, perhaps, this was not what Shannon had in mind…despite the fact that I had asked her two or three a few okay, several questions already, and she had told me she was sure whatever I made would be fine.

Finally, I had most of them made, and was expecting Shannon to bring Elle over for a Pinterest party visit the next day so I rounded up a vintage french laundry basket left over from my flea market adventures. I added a burlap bow and a few of the satin roses, stuffed it half full of walmart bags, covered them with some brocade fabric, and voila!

DSC00204

I hoped she liked it. She said she liked it. A lot. And then, when I took it to the church, I felt comfortable that it fit with the wedding theme very well.

My other task was to help with the “sweets table.” I volunteered to make an assortment of cake pops and truffles. Elle and I experimented with these lemon shortbread truffles I found here:

http://www.munchkinmunchies.com/2011/03/lemon-shortbread-truffles.html

I do recommend them. In fact, they were my favorites, but, you need to add about a cup more cookie crumbs to the recipe. Otherwise, they are a bit sticky. I also made almond cake pops, double chocolate cake pops, mini pecan pie tarts, white chocolate, peppermint popcorn…DSC00254

DSC00260DSC00263 DSC00262And my other favorite, and by far the easiest, Pistachio Wedding Cookies. I’m sharing the recipe with you because I’m just helpful like that you need to file this away as your go-to dessert. This recipe takes so little time, so little work, and so little money, and yet tastes delightfully light and looks wonderful.

Ingredients:

2 sticks softened butter

1 cup powdered sugar (divided into half cups)

2 tsp vanilla

1 and 3/4 cup flour

1 small pistachio pudding mix (dry)

dash of salt

Instructions:

Cream butter and half the sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla and set aside. Mix together flour, pudding mix, and salt. Gradually mix into the sugar mixture until combined. Divide dough in half to form two balls of dough, wrap each half in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove dough from refrigerator and make teaspoon sized balls. Space them a couple of inches apart and flatten them slightly.

Bake 9-10 minutes and let stand on baking sheet an additional 5 minutes. (Do not over bake) As you remove cookies from parchment, roll in the other half cup of powdered sugar and place on rack to cool.

How easy is that?

Here are some pics of the sweet stations at the wedding.

DSC00069

DSC00083And a few other pictures from the wedding.

DSC00063Using the wands!

DSC00096Eating cake.

DSC00105One of the photo op vignettes.

DSC00110Kris’ other pride and joy…classic 67 Camaro.

It was a sweet, sweet wedding. And I hay-elped! (Most of you are way too young to remember that commercial and it would probably be, somehow, politically incorrect today.) 🙂

 

 

Berry Rosemary Scones

DSC00245

A deck, a devotion, and a heavenly scone = a lovely Saturday morning.

I made these in honor of my friend, Pat Reynolds, who loves scones, and who told me last week that she is going home to heaven soon. I wanted to argue with her. We have not done all the fun things we had planned; antique shops, tea rooms, flea markets, but Pat is in her eighties and has been very ill for the past few weeks. And all the enjoyable times we have had or could have had are but a speck of dust compared to what our Father has in store. Who am I to argue? I’m thankful for the time we have had, the friendship that developed, and all I learned from Pat. I promised to make her some scones. So, here they are, Pat. At least you can enjoy the picture and know that I keep my promises.

Scones are not as daunting as most people think. I created this recipe for the freshness of spring’s first fruits, and I’ll share the recipe with you.

DSC00240A great thing about scones is that you almost always have the ingredients on hand.

Berry Rosemary Scones

2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

dash of salt

1/2 to 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

6 tablespoons butter (no substitute)

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup fresh strawberries (diced)

Extra flour for dusting and patting

 

Glaze-

1 cup powdered sugar

juice from 1/2  lemon

2 tablespoons jam (I used raspberry because that’s what I had)

Water to make the glaze the desired consistency (Add few drops at a time, stirring)

 

Directions: Preheat oven to 375. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Place a long piece of parchment, foil, or waxed paper on your counter top and sprinkle generously with flour.

In a large mixing bowl, mix  dry ingredients and rosemary. Add cold butter by cutting it into small pieces. Use pastry blender (you could use the pulse mode on your food processor) and cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Cut in until the mixture looks kind of like corn meal with tiny peas in it. Gradually add the cream and stir until you have a sticky mixture. Divide it into two halves and turn one half out onto your floured sheet. When it is coated with flour, turn it over and coat the other side. If the flour is too thick, brush it off. You just want it dusted so that you can pat it out a little. Do the same to the other. You will have two medium circles to transfer to your cookie sheet. Using a knife dipped in flour, cut each circle into wedges (6 or so) being careful to NOT cut all the way through. You just want an indentation when the scones bake.

They should look like this when you take them out of the oven.

DSC00241

As they cool, make the glaze. Drizzle the glaze over slightly warm scones.

Placed on a glass dish with a sprig of fresh rosemary and a luscious strawberry and a vintage doily…who could resist?  Saint and I couldn’t!

DSC00246

I’m putting the rest in the freezer because they are “almost” as good reheated. I don’t think Lance, Tiffany, and Carley will mind one bit next weekend.

Pat, should the Lord have plans for you to stay around a few more years, I’m making you pumpkin scones, gingerbread scones, key lime scones, and these little jewels. Blessings!