Getting Ready for an Old-Fashioned July 4th

This year, I decided to take my very own parenting blog’s advice and host an old-fashioned Fourth of July for my family. I reprioritized my to-do list and put my family and America’s birthday at the top of the list.

The kids and I started our day off making lightning bug-catching jars, to harness nature’s fireworks. (I posted a link to an easy craft for this on the homepage, and I’ll link to it here as well.) Fortunately, I was able to find an extra pair of nylons for the cover and I had a few jars that once held Buckwheat Farm’s homemade strawberry jam from over the last few years, so we had the supplies covered. The kids customized their jars by applying letter stickers to spell their names.

My crafty daughter decided to recycle small rectangular blocks of wood from under our deck, leftover from a fence my husband just finished building, and paint Old Glory on them. She made two adorable wooden flags we can put out every July 4.

She also liked the “Uncle Same Hat Treat Holders” craft from Kaboose.com, but instead of using styrofoam cups, she used an abandoned terra cotta plant holder and painted red and white stripes around the bottom, and blue with white stars around the rim (okay, the stars were actually little white dots). We decided it would make a perfect centerpiece candle holder.

Finally, she and I made sugar cookies and cut out stars and rectangles to make star- and flag-shaped cookies. Tomorrow, all three kids will ice the cookies with red, white and blue frosting.

My husband covered the dining room table with puzzles: 3-hour puzzles, 10-minute puzzles and pull-your-hair out puzzles. This will (hopefully) provide a calming activity for the kids after their bug-catching adventures are over. (Still no electronics on the agenda!)

Tommorrow, we’ll add rice krispie treats to the schedule after icing the cookies, and for dinner, we’ll feast on burgers, dogs, grilled salmon, pasta salad, watermelon, cherry pie and, of course, ice cream. (Not homemade, but believe me, if I had an icecream churn … )

No July 4th is complete without sparklers and a few legal fireworks. Ahem.

I don’t often get to slow down enough to celebrate a holiday the way it should be celebrated. Many are jampacked with activities and visitors. But this year, on our great nation’s birthday, it’s just me, my husband, my kids and a few friends celebrating the joy of being American. It’s something we will never take for granted, no matter how the world changes around us — or tries to change us.

Happy birthday, USA!

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