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The Fourth of July is fast approaching! Are you ready for firework festivites? Is the grill all gassed up for BBQ, burgers and hot dogs? Is the cooler filled with ice and stocked? 

Well, luckily there's still some time to prepare. Incorporate these tip during your holiday party to ensure the night goes off with a BANG! 

Red, White and Blue Cupcakes and Strawberries 

Cupcakes

  • Red velvet cake mix (and ingredients listed on packaging)
  • White frosting
  • Blue sprinkles/Pop Rocks candy

Bring your sweet tooth to the table! 

Make red velvet cupcake mix as directed on the packaging (make sure to pick up all necessary ingredients for the cake mix.) Once the cupcakes cool down sufficiently, proceed with frosting the tops with white frosting, i.e. cream cheese frosting, vanilla or even whipped cream. Finish them off with a light dusting of blue sprinkles or blue Pop Rocks for a pop of flavor!

Strawberries

  • Strawberries
  • Melting white chocolate
  • Blue sprinkles/Pop Rocks candy

This healthy, colorful snack is an alternative to the desert heavy holiday. Melt the white chocolate candy. Dip the starwberries in the melted chocolate coating the lower two-thirds.  While the chocolate has not yet hardened dip it in blue sprinkles or pop rocks covering about half of the area covered in the white chocolate. Repeat until finished. Sneak in this sinless sweet in between the BBQ'd meats for a fresh break!

 

 

Patriotic Punch for Kids and Adults

  • Fruit punch
  • Blue Gatorade
  • Soda water
  • Cranberry, optional
  • Dry white wine, for adults
  • Fruit garnish (blueberries, strawberries, limes, etc...)
  • Blue Pop Rocks candy 
  • Twizzlers

Stay refreshed during your holiday soiree with Patriotic Punch good for kids and adults alike! 

Assembling this mocktail is easy and perfect for everyone! Take a glass and coat the rim with lime juice. Rim the glass by dipping into the blue Pop Rocks candy. 

For kids, get started by layering the drinks in order of most sugary dense first. In most cases this will be the fruit punch, pour a third of a glass (refer to nutrition labels for correct order.) Pour in the blue gatorade slowly in the glass another third portion. At this point is when I'd recommend adding ice, again add slowly and a few at a time. Avoid splashing. Next, top the drink with a splash of your favorite clear soda or preferably soda water, as the drink will already be plenty sugary. Bite of the ends of a Twizzler rod for an edible straw to sip on this mocktail.

Adults dont get to skip the fun either this holiday! Flip this recipe into a cocktail with a couple easy substitutions for something truly sip worthy. Pucker up with cranberry juice as your red base and spike it up with dry white wine. Give a sparkling boost with soda water, garnish with fresh mint and even float a shot of your favorite vodka, white rum or preferred liqueur.

Dish out drinks sure to keep any party happy for more than hour, sip of the rim for the crackling fun of Fourth of July.

Crafty Fire-free-works

Fourth of July just isnt complete without the fireworks, it's the stuff childhoods are made of! We've got something to keep those eager eyes excited until after the sun goes down for the sky-rocketing spectacular...

While you wait, grab the kids and try out these "fire-free" fireworks for fearless fun during the day.

#DIY Sparklers

  • Aluminum foil
  • Cellophane sheets, assorted colors
  • Straws
  • Tape
  • Scissors

Not only will this help hold the kids over until the night but it's also a safe alternative for younger kids, toddlers, even babies to get in on the explosion of excitement!

Begin by choosing the color scheme for your "firework." For one sparkler pick two colors of cellophane.

Cut aluminum foil to the same size as a sheet of cellophane and place foil inbetween the cellophane. Next, lengthways fold layers nearly in half. This will give different lengths to the "sparks."

Next, from the open end cut strips toward the fold (avoid cutting through the fold.) Continue doing so all along the length of the sheets. 

After, tightly wrap the sheets around the end of the straw using bits of tape to secure it. Continue rolling until all material is around the end of the straw. 

Gently fan out the individual strips and apply any additional tape, if neccesary.

Repeat, try out dozens of color combinations! Kids are sure to enjoy the crackling effect of the foil while seeing thier very own crafty firecracker!

Salt Firework Painting 

  • Paper, preferrably black or darker colors
  • Table salt 
  • White glue 
  • Watercolor paints 
  • Paint brushes
  • Tray

Place a sheet of paper on the tray. This is ensure clean-up is hassle free and with ease. 

Get started by designing the shape of your fireworks. Remember you want to capture the image of explosions. Draw out your design with a white-colored pencil or white crayon prior to laying down glue. Doing this will make sure youre satisfied with your overall shape, before beginning. Trace over your original markings with a thick coating of the white glue.

Immediately, sprinkle salt over the glue before it dries! Make sure the entire surface of the glued areas are covered in salt. Shake any excess off into tray. 

Ready your brushes and paints! Amply water the paint, and lighlty apply onto the salt. Avoid pressing or dragging the brush into the salt/glue. 

Allow the project to completely dry before handling. Since the project may chip or flake off, you can optionally lightly spray the surface with hairspray to make it last a little longer. 

Addtionally play around with colors! Blend the colors to create awesome fusions. Also attempt different shape and sizes. Include glitter for extra shimmer or add a silhouette of a cityscape below the dazzling displays.

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Kristopher Yanez is the proud father of 1-year-old daughter Kennedy, a journalism student at Pima Community College and is also the first-ever Bear Essential News Summer Reporting Intern. When Yanez is not doing school work, he is off doing daddy duties for young Kennedy.