June 21, 2014

10 Must Do Activities to celebrate America

The 4th of July is my favorite holiday.  My dad is a vet, and I lived abroad for long enough to want to kiss the ground when I returned.  Truly I cannot tell you how thankful I am to live in this country, even with all it's ills.  I love other countries as well, but the USofA is home, and that is where my heart is!

So it makes sense that around here we get patriotic early on. Here are my best ideas for having a fantastic 4th!

1. Decorate your home, so all can see!
Even if I am dirt cheap, I can still afford to decorate for the 4th of Joo-lye.  
Try this:

I'm going for just the fire crackers, as I already have an old table that's busted up and needs re-purposing.  I love that there's an old red cooler out too, giving kudos to the picnic month.
Visit here to see how she up-cycles a wooden post for those firecrackers!

2.  Make a shirt!  The kids get in on this and it becomes a favorite item to wear through the whole year.  Here are some that I love:

This one is from Sugar Bee.  That baby is so darling!

Crafty Erin did those ones; brilliant and simple.

Did you like that they're 10 minute?  Visit this site for more info.  When I did one like these a few years back, I just sewed around each square and they held up well.  Kids got to pick their patterns, so they loved them.

3. Get yourself up early and go see the balloon launch event (if you have one near).

Beautiful image by Bluecreek Photography

I know it's ridiculous to get up at 6AM, but it's worth it!
Launches are fun and foster a sense of community.  And if you have kids, they'll love seeing the huge balloons pump up from the ground.  They come in all shapes, and the crowds are usually pleasant to be with (which isn't always the story later in the day).

4. Make a fan and go to a parade!

The parade is such a great way to teach your kids about which groups do what for our country.   From the military to the Native American Band performers, each part represents a bit of history and America.  Take the opportunity to teach your kiddos gratitude for them.

And you'll need one of these:

Take along this fan to beat the heat!  See how to make this flag fan here.  Thanks Paging Super Mom!  

5. Make some delicious fixins' to share with friends or family.  Feast your eyes on these:

BHG does a great party here.

Of course Lil'Luna put these brilliant treats together, and even made some herself.

Try these simple beauties from my recipes.  Simple means a lot when you're already planning so much in one day. We don't want the break down of every good patriot in this country because we're overdoing the holiday love.

6. Attend a small town celebration

Most small towns have neither forgotten that they love America, nor have they given up their celebrations or the funds to keep them alive!  I've been to a greased pole race, where the climbers work together to get the 100 dollars 25 feet up.  It's hilarious to watch.  Some still have a livestock chase, where you take home any animal you can catch (domesticated, of course.  Not that the chickens don't bite their pursuers).  They are amazing fun.

7. Thank a vet

Because the things they do are not easy.  And they serves us.

8.  Call or write to thank the Police or Highway Patrol, or other civil servant.  

cool article about these guys here

I did that once after the Highway patrol slowed me down in traffic to avoid a fallen ladder spanning 2 lanes of traffic.  I thought the patrol man was crazy, careening across all 3 lanes of traffic with his lights on.  But when I saw what was just a quarter mile ahead of me, I went pale thinking of what would've happened otherwise.  When I called later to thank the captain, he was so surprised that I wasn't complaining he was almost speechless.  It really is a thankless job, but shouldn't be.

One last thing - our police force was one of the things that I missed most when living abroad.  There were some crazy nights where we were caught in riots (twice), and even a time when we hid a woman and two daughters from an angry, drunk, abusive man.  There was no 911 to call in those moments.  I thank my lucky stars that I have an honest police force to call if needed.

9. Enjoy the fireworks!

And learn how to photograph them here!

10. Do something kind for your fellow Americans

 This blogger did!  Bring a few extra water bottles to share at the events of the day, or go early to the parade and reserve a little extra room for some of the late comers with small kids who otherwise wouldn't be able to see.  Or just be polite and don't rage at the traffic coming home from the parade or fireworks.  That's good enough.

I might add that there is probably no way you can do all of these activities (especially with kids or introverted husband along) in one day.  Pick what you can handle, and 

Enjoy your Independence Day!

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