Posts

classic swaddle single radiant red product

When your little ones are too young to wave a flag on the 4th of July, show their love for the good ol’ USA with gorgeous stars & stripes patterns from aden + anais! From their signature muslin swaddles to blankets, towels, and bibs, aden + anais offers so many great ways for babies and kids to welcome Independence Day.

Mom” has been a fan of this line of swaddles, blankets, bibs & burp cloths and more since her first child was born. Their breathable 100% cotton muslin swaddles, bamboo swaddles, and merino wool swaddles are a must-have for any new or expectant momma, and will quickly become a family favorite. For snuggles, naps, playtime and long rides in the car – taking along a treasured blanket from aden + anais will ensure your child is comfy and cozy, anywhere!

classic swaddle 4 pack twinkle

To provide your little one with an extra layer as they take in the fireworks for the first time this year, the various stars and stripes patterns from aden + anais will definitely add to the festivities! Easy to place over a stroller to provide a light, breathable cover or underneath tiny bottoms on the grass, the swaddles are so versatile! Available in a wide variety of patterns and designs, for the 4th of July we are especially fond of Radiant Red, Brilliant Blue or Twinkle Pink in the Classic Swaddle. You can see all of the designs and products for babies and children at aden + anais.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this article.*

Top 5 Family-Friendly Fourth of July Activities

The Fourth of July is a wonderful time for families to get together and celebrate. There are a wide variety of things to do for this holiday and there are several that are great family friendly activities.

Picnic Time

One of the first things that comes to mind for many people when they think about Fourth of July would be having a family picnic. With this, there are many options depending on what the family is looking to do. This can be a simple family picnic at home or can be a large community gathering where multiple families get to together.

Grand Fireworks

In addition to the picnic, seeing a fireworks display is often on the agenda. Depending on the area, there may be different options for fireworks viewing. Some locations may be free public events, while others may be private and require an admission fee. With most events, having lawn chairs or blankets for the family to sit on are ideal.

Surf, Sun and Fun

Since many families will have vacations or holiday time around this date, getting away is a great idea. The beach is a wonderful family getaway for the Fourth of July. Whether this is renting a beach house for several days or simply going to the beach for a day, children and families will always have a great time.

Rides, Games and More

Depending on the age of the children and the family, a trip to the amusement park is a great family activity. Many parks will have special promotions and activities for this holiday. There may even be a fireworks celebration. When taking a family trip to an amusement park, there are two main considerations that will make it more enjoyable. The first would be to get group tickets or family bundled tickets. This will often be the easiest and most economical way to have family members enjoying all of the rides and attractions. Secondly, the park should be one that is appropriate for every family member. This includes the youngest child and the adults as well.

The Great Outdoors

If looking for something on the more rustic side of things, a family camping trip for the holiday is a great idea. This can be as simple as pitching a tent in the backyard or can include a trip to a National Park in a large RV. To ensure a great time for all family members, there should be activities and options for entertainment for all of the children.

The Fourth of July is a great for families to spend time together. No matter what activity is chosen, the family will hopefully have a wonderful and memorable time.

About the Author

This article was contributed by Jennifer Bell from Health Training Guide. Check out her site to learn more about medical billing and coding training and other exciting health careers.

*Image: Felixco, Inc. / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

Organic summer snacking at its’ sweetest this 4th of July! For those seeking healthier alternatives to traditional pies, ice cream, and other goodies this holiday, pair gluten-free, vegetarian Organicville Ice Cream with Dairy-Free Pumpkin Pie from Wholly Wholesome! These two desserts will satisfy your sweet tooth after all of the corn on the cob and other grilled foods you may be enjoying over the holiday weekend.

Organicville’s new line of certified organic, creamy ice creams is made with skim milk and cream from small organic dairy farms. Available in vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and mint, all four varieties are gluten- free, egg-free, vegetarian and kosher. “Mom” can’t believe how rich and full of flavor the vanilla ice cream tastes – hard to believe it is made from skim milk!

Organicville’s new organic ice cream products are available in pint size (473mL) containers at major supermarket chains nationwide, or online at www.OrganicvilleFoods.com.

Vegans’ rejoice! This Dairy-Free Pumpkin Pie from Wholly Wholesome features all of the spices and smooth pumpkin flavor you want in a pumpkin pie, but is made without eggs & dairy. Instead, tofu puree is blended with for the same consistency. For those who shun the use of tofu – give this pie a chance! You won’t even notice that the eggs and milk are missing!

To learn more about Wholly Wholesome’s line of delectable, healthy desserts & breads, or to locate a store near you, visit whollywholesome.com.

*Companies generously provided samples and images for this review.*

Games and Activities to Throw a Great 4th of July Party

Independence Day is a great time to hang out with friends and family, grill some food, and have tons of fun. Throwing a 4th of July party can be a great way to combine all of these things, and in addition to great food, a successful party also needs great party games for everyone to play. Here are a few ideas for Independence Day themed fun for all ages.

1. Pin the Hat on Uncle Sam

If you know how to play “pin the tail on the donkey,” you’ll know what type of game this is. Take some large pieces of construction paper, and fashion yourself a hatless version of the famous bearded icon of America, Uncle Sam. Then create a red, white and blue hat separately that can then be pinned on the old man. Tape Uncle Sam to a wall, and blindfold each player one at a time. Send them over to pin (or tape if you don’t want to risk ruining your wall) the hat on Uncle Sam as best they can without looking. For added fun, spin the contestant after blindfolding him or her. Just be sure to point them in the right direction afterward.

2. Photo Recreations of History

From the signing of the Declaration of Independence, to the Boston Tea Party, there are many historic moments in America’s history. Be creative and have your guests pose as if they were taking part in such historic events. You can look up artists’ depictions of said events, or recreate them from your imagination. Use props, costumes, or anything you can to complete the look. If that’s too much, just have each friend do their best impression of Ben Franklin or George Washington by creatively using whatever props are available. Take plenty of pictures that you can later send to your friends!

3. Roast Marshmallows: American Style

Roasting marshmallows on a grill or fire pit is a great way to have fun, socialize, and have a tasty treat all at the same time. Instead of roasting just plain old marshmallows, you’ll want to use food coloring to dye some of the marshmallows red and blue. Place one of each color on a stick or other roasting skewer, and you’re ready for toasting American’s independence with a toasty snack. You can get more creative by placing red and blue marshmallows on a piece of white chocolate. Add a graham cracker, and you have a unique twist on an old favorite.

4. Fireworks

While most states have restrictions on what kind of fireworks you can set off, a Fourth of July party just doesn’t seem complete without at least some kind of fireworks. Purchase sparklers, poppers, and whatever else you can legally get and take turns firing them off. Always use good judgment when handling fireworks around children, and follow all safety precautions to insure you and your guests do not get injured. If your area prohibits all fireworks, find out when your city sets off their public fireworks and huddle up and watch them together.

Hosting a great party can be easy with great food, fun games, and memorable stories. Don’t just follow these tips, though. Get creative and make your party truly unique. Also remember that what really makes a great party are the people you invite.

About the Author

Nicole Rodgers has been blogging for three years; she is constantly finding new ways to entertain her kids and her most recent success was to make funny t-shirts together. After running around with the kids all day, she also likes to spend a little time and money on herself by going out and buying designer eyeglasses.

*Image: nixxphotography / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

4th of July Fireworks Off the Beaten Path

The Fourth of July makes you think of watermelon, Uncle Sam, and the glittering sparkle of fireworks. Maybe you traditionally spent the day at a family picnic or on the beach; either way, you were always excited for the sun to set and the fireworks display to begin. Now that you have a family of your own, you get to share the excitement with your kids. This year, why not do something really unique and make this holiday your most memorable?

The Capital Sidelines

While the National Mall in Washington, D. C. swarms with people on Independence Day, you can drive just across the Potomac for a more relaxed celebration. A trail runs along the Potomac all the way to Mount Vernon. Various parking areas along the trail allow you to park and sit by the river to watch the fireworks. Gravelly Point is one of the most popular areas to watch the fireworks, and since it’s close to Reagan National Airport, you’ll see airplanes landing and taking off under the glow of the lights.

Take to The Hills

The fireworks in downtown Austin, Texas, are popular, but the area is swirling with crowds. But just off of Interstate 35 on Woodland Avenue is a church on a hill overlooking the city. Bring a picnic blanket and chairs and sprawl out in the field in front of the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. Although some other people know about the spot, it won’t be crowded. You can also see fireworks bursting in the sky above several other towns from that vantage point.

A Small Town Celebration

Celebrating the Fourth of July in Corbett, Oregon, is like attending a family reunion. A huge celebration in a small town, the Fourth of July Corbett Fun Festival has live music, a fun zone for kids, its very own Elvis impersonator, and some of the best fireworks in the Portland area. Join this friendly community for a spectacular parade and a roaring fireworks display.

Up on The Roof

In Tempe, Arizona, the stadium and other areas downtown get swamped with people celebrating Independence Day. Instead of paying admission fees for the official fireworks, treat the night like a drive-in movie and watch the excitement from a nearby parking garage. One of the secret spots to watch the fireworks is Mesa’s Fiesta Mall. Its parking garage gives onlookers an explosive view of the fireworks that take place at Mesa Community College’s stadium.

The parking structures at Arizona State University are also a popular place to stake out a spot to watch the fireworks. You can see a few different fireworks displays from these parking structures, whether you drive on or simply walk on.

An Island State of Mind

Just a 30-minute ferry ride from downtown Seattle is Bainbridge Island, a rustic, artsy community where you can view both of Seattle’s Fourth of July fireworks shows. If you catch it at the right time, you can even watch the fireworks from the ferry. You’ll see the glittering colors reflect off the tall buildings of Seattle’s skyline, and you can snuggle up under a blanket in the cool night air.

Even though so many people watch fireworks displays on Independence Day, getting off the beaten path ensures you don’t have to wait in long lines of traffic or shuffle with the crowds. You’ll have more room to spread out and more time to enjoy the summer night air. If you’re looking for a unique place to watch the fireworks in your hometown, look for a hill with an open view of the area. If you’re traveling in a new city, do some exploring before the big day, and you might make it an Independence Day to remember.

About the Author

Author Michael Thomson is an insurance consultant and recommends an online auto insurance comparison if you are contemplating a move. For instance, if you live in Florida you can instantly request a Maryland auto insurance quote online.

Healthy Options for Your July 4th Celebration

One of the mainstays of our all-American, July 4th celebrations is the picnic or barbecue with family and friends. Like similar holiday celebrations, it might be difficult to stay on track when it comes to eating healthy.
Instead of surrendering to recipes full of extra calories and fat, use these tips to provide healthier options for your Independence Day celebration!

Go With Your Gut
Favorite recipes for your July 4th celebration may be difficult to change, especially as they’ve been passed down through families. However, this is a wonderful opportunity to experiment with old favorites. Instead of following recipes to the letter, focus instead on flavor. If the pasta salad recipe calls for green peppers but these aren’t your favorite, substitute vegetables that you’ll actually enjoy in the final dish. Instead of using full-fat mayonnaise, try for a similar texture and less fat and calories using a nonfat plain yogurt, including Greek-style yogurt, which offers a slightly different but rich flavor.

Don’t forget to add some much-needed green into these festive dishes of red, white and blue for your July 4th Celebration. Jazz up a bowl of spinach leaves or cut green leaf lettuce with slices of strawberries and a handful or two of blueberries, along with a flavorful shredded parmesan or asiago cheese. Pair this patriotic salad with a strawberry vinaigrette that will dazzle your family and friends.

Keep It Lean
Eating meat fresh from the grill is as American as apple pie, especially for your traditional July 4th celebration. Keep the meat choices healthier by choosing to use lean cuts of meat. Instead of pre-made hamburger patties, use ground beef that is 90% or 93% lean. Make your own works of hamburger art by adding spinach, mushrooms, and cheese before forming patties and cooking them up on the grill. Ground turkey is a wonderful alternative to lean ground beef, as well as ground chicken.

This July 4th barbecue doesn’t have to be limited to hamburgers. Grill up chicken pieces, removing the skin before cooking, or lean cuts of beef. Offer your guests a variety of barbecue sauces for dipping, or combine chunks of meat with vegetables or fruit on skewers for additional flavors and textures.

The Spice Advantage
Spices aren’t just about adding salt and pepper. There are many kinds of herbs and spices available that can punch up the flavor of any dish without added fat or calories. Some of these options include:

• Parsley
• Chives
• Dill
• Cilantro
• Rosemary
• Nutmeg
• Cinnamon
• Chili Powder
• Lemon peel

Experiment with using these herbs and spices in your favorite recipes for your July 4th celebration, choosing your favorite flavor combinations. For example, fresh sprigs of cilantro can give a refreshing zing to a pasta salad that contains halved cherry tomatoes, cubes of fresh mozzarella, and spinach.

There are many other useful options that are probably already in the kitchen. Try lemon juice and nonfat condiments like Dijon mustard to add flavor to your favorite dishes. These flavor explosions will provide extra fun for your July 4th celebration with family and friends!

About the Author

Kelly Wilson is a busy mom and freelance writer. Contact Dr. Todd Beck, a dentist in Portland, Oregon for more information about how eating healthy can keep your smile strong and white.

*Image: manostphoto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

4th of July Condiments get a “RAW-Some” Makeover

Serve up some healthy alternatives to your favorite condiments this 4th of July – the following 3 recipes from The Juice Lady’s Living Foods Revolution are brimming with nutrition, and can all be made in a flash in the blender!

Healthy Raw Ketchup

Ingredients

1 cup chopped tomato

1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked for 30 minutes, drained, and chopped

1 Tbsp. fresh garlic, minced

10 fresh basil leaves

3 dates, pitted

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp. shoyu or 1 tsp. Celtic sea salt

1-2 Tbsp. Bragg’s raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar

Preparation

Blend all ingredients together until it forms a paste. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

Image: cjansuebsri / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Cashew Mayonnaise

Ingredients

1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tsp. Celtic sea salt

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp dill weed

Water, as needed

Preparation

Put all ingredients in blender with water just barely covering the cashews. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Image: Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Creamy Green Dressing

Ingredients

1 tsp. honey or pure maple syrup

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup purified water

1 cup parsley, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/3 cup cashews (not soaked)

1 tsp. Celtic sea salt

Juice of 1/2 small orange

Preparation

Place all ingredients in a blender and process until well combined. Makes about 1 cup.

*Recipes courtesy of Cherie Calbom, author of The Juice Lady’s Living Food Revolution. Top image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net*

5 Fabulous Tips for an Eco-Friendly 4th of July Celebration

The 4th of July is a great time to declare your independence from landfill waste, pesticides, and foreign fuel sources while celebrating in eco-friendly style with your family and friends. Here are some tips and ideas for making your 4th of July celebration festive and eco-friendly:

1. Have a BYOB neighborhood block party.

Invite your neighbors and friends to a ‘Bring Your Own Bike’ party. Instead of driving gas guzzling SUV’s, have everyone decorate their bikes and ride them to your party. Give prizes for the ‘most eco-friendly’ decorated bike and the ‘most patriotic’ bike design. Award prizes for children and adults. Celebrate the holiday in grand style by having a neighborhood bike parade down your street. Don’t forget to bring the tots out in strollers. Invite parade spectators to waive the flag, or other eco-friendly streamers as your riders pass by.

2. Go on a ‘Fruits and Berry Happy 4th of July’ outing.

Grab your gang and car pool out to a local farm to pick all kinds of seasonal patriotic berries, like strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. Gather an assortment to be used as party decorations for your table, and to top off all of your Yankee Doodle desserts. Don’t forget the watermelon!

3. Host an eco-friendly BBQ.

Cut your lawn with a push mower or an electric mower so that your friends and family can smell your fresh cut grass. Serve veggie burgers or burgers made from grass fed organic beef. Expand your menu offerings with fresh corn on the cob, tomatoes, spinach, carrots, peaches, and other local favorites from your nearby farmer’s market. If your BBQ goes toward dusk or into the evening, have on hand DEET-free bug spray or patriotic citronella lanterns, available at many natural food stores. These handy, dandy lanterns are just the thing to chase away the skeeters and the no-see-ums, who might decide to crash your red, white, and blue extravaganza.

4. Host an organic beer and fruity drink tasting event.

If you want to raise a glass in honor of the 4th, consider stocking up on organic beer. Make apple or watermelon martinis and vodka watermelon for the ladies. For those patriots, who prefer non-alcoholic beverages; offer them a simple, yet tasty, 4th of July cooler which is a real thirst quencher. In a gallon pitcher combine, 2 parts purple grape juice to 1 part lemonade. This drink looks great in a punch bowl with an ice ring.

5. Have a beach blanket blowout.

If it’s too far to head to the beach, save the ozone, and host a beach party. Invite your guests to bring their beach blankets to spread out on your lawn. They will agree there is nothing which says, ‘Americana,’ more than old Frankie Valley/Annette Funicello, and Elvis beach movies projected onto an outdoor screen or your outdoor flat screen. When the time arrives, switch over to the Boston Pops, or watch the night sky to catch a glimpse of local fireworks displays in your area. End the evening by gathering around your fire pit to start a ‘sing along’ of your favorite patriotic songs such as, America the Beautiful, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, God Bless America, and I’m Proud to Be an American.

Our country has a proud heritage of independence, hard work, and family values. No matter how you decide to celebrate the 4th, encourage your family and friends to celebrate the earth at the same time by being eco conscious. So whatever you do, have an environmentally friendly, happy, 4th of July!

About the Author

Susan Singleton is a freelance writer and executive coach. She is also a staff writer for rangehoodhq.com, a site with advice and reviews on Bertazzoni Range Hoods and Thermador Range Hoods.

Yes, you read correctly! All-natural soda! Just in time for your 4th of July celebration, stock up on zero-calorie, all-natural and effervescent soda sweetened with nature’s sweetener, Stevia! With a flavor to rival any store bought sugary brand (Mountain Zevia or Lemon Lime Twist, anyone?), Zevia is a welcome and refreshing drink this summer. No more sugar blues after drinking regular soda, or feeling guilty over the artificial sweeteners you are consuming by choosing to drink diet soda. The company touts Zevia as “what soda should always have been” and “Mom” could not agree more! Now, you can let yourself and your family enjoy a soda without worry, and have that root beer float with organic vanilla ice cream as a special treat to stay cool!

Zevia is available in 12 flavors, including Black Cherry, Caffeine Free Cola, Cola, Cream Soda, Dr. Zevia, Ginger Ale, Ginger Root Beer, Grape, Grapefruit, Citrus, Lemon Lime Twist, Mountain Zevia, and Orange. “Mom’s” favorites are the Dr. Zevia and Orange – both are simply delightful with just the right amount of carbonation. Plus, the Orange is not artificially colored, and is actually clear in color, so if you have children, this is a big plus when it comes to spills!

To locate a retailer near you, visit Zevia.com.

*Company geneorusly provided images and samples for this review.*

Lively and fresh, this summer-inspired salad includes apples, celery, grapes, blueberries and more to create a cool mix you can enjoy in the middle of the day! This is perfect picnic fare for any upcoming 4th of July celebration you may be attending.

Summer Apple Salad

Ingredients

• 3 cups Apples, chopped
• 3/4 cup Pineapple Tidbits in 100% Juice
• 1 1/2 cups Celery
• 1 cup Grapes
• 1/4 cup Shelled Almonds
• 3/4 cup Light Sour Cream
• 3/4 cup Sour Cream
• 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
• 1/2 cup Organic Baby Carrots
• 1/2 cup Blueberries
• 1 Tbsp Sugar

Preparation

Drain the pineapple; set aside.
Shred the carrots; set aside.

In a large salad bowl, combine the apples, pineapple, celery, grapes, carrot, blueberries and almonds. In a small bowl, combine sour cream, sugar and lemon juice. Add to apple mixture and toss to coat. Chill.

Serves: 12

*Recipe and image courtesy of LiveStrong.com.*