Category Archives: Summer

Save Money by Making the Most of Your Local Community This Summer

Summer is here and it’s the perfect time to explore and make the most of your neighborhood. Whether you’re looking for fun activities, delicious food, or unique shopping experiences, your community has a lot to offer. Not only is it a great way to support local businesses, but it can also save you money. Here are a few ways to make the most of your local community this summer while staying on budget.

Shop local: Supporting local businesses is a great way to keep money in the community. Many local merchants offer unique products and personalized service that you won’t find at big-box stores. Additionally, many local merchants offer discounts, promotions, and special deals that can save you money. And don’t forget your neighborhood farmer’s markets. Delicious fresh food and supporting local vendors is a win-win!

Take a class: Many communities offer classes and workshops for a low cost, making it a great way to learn a new skill, hobby, or meet new people. You can find classes on photography, cooking, pottery, and more at local community centers. And, if you prefer the comfort of your own home, you’re in luck – many classes are now available virtually! Attend these exciting opportunities all while rocking your favorite pajamas or loungewear, adding a touch of coziness to your learning experience.

Take in local sports games. Cheer on your local teams, be it baseball, soccer, or basketball, and feel the electrifying atmosphere as you join fellow fans in supporting the home team. From the crack of the bat to the roar of the crowd, these games offer an unforgettable experience right in your own backyard. So, put on your town and get ready for a summer of exciting local sports!

Discover weeknight and weekend community events: Elevate your summer evenings with a calendar full of exciting weeknight and weekend events right in your own backyard. From lively fairs and festivals to toe-tapping concerts in the park, car shows and enchanting outdoor movie screenings under the stars, there’s no shortage of entertainment options to suit every taste. Best of all, many of these events are low-cost or even free, making them the perfect way to create cherished memories without straining your budget.

Visit local museums and historical sites: Many communities have museums and historical sites that offer educational and cultural experiences at a low cost or for free. These are great places to learn about the history and culture of where you live and make for an excellent family-friendly activity.

Visit local museums and historical sites: Many communities have museums and historical sites that offer educational and cultural experiences at a low cost or for free. These are great places to learn about the history and culture of where you live and make for an excellent family-friendly activity.

Volunteer: Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community and it’s also a lot of fun. You can volunteer at a local charity, school, or community organization. Not only does it make a positive impact on others, but it also helps you learn about the various organizations and causes in your area.

By taking advantage of these budget-friendly activities and supporting local businesses, you can make the most of your local community this summer while also saving money. So, get out there and explore all that your community has to offer and have a great summer!

Unleash the Fun with the Ultimate Sleepover Handbook

Are you ready for a night of unforgettable adventures and giggles galore? It’s time to dive into the ultimate sleepover experience! Whether you’re a seasoned host or a newbie to the slumber party scene, we’ve got you covered with this comprehensive guide. Get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime!

Plan the Perfect Guest List: Choose your sleepover squad wisely. Invite friends who get along well and have a similar energy level. A mix of personalities can make the night even more exciting!

Create a Theme: Turn your sleepover into a magical event by choosing a fun theme. Whether it’s a pajama party, a movie night, or a tropical paradise, let your imagination run wild. Decorate the party space accordingly for an immersive experience.

Set up a Cozy Camp: Create a comfortable sleepover space by setting up sleeping bags, blankets, and pillows. Add twinkling fairy lights or colorful lanterns to set the mood. Don’t forget to provide extra blankets for those who might get chilly during the night.

Snacks and Treats: Keep the hunger at bay with a variety of delicious snacks and treats. Set up a snack station with popcorn, chips, and a mix of sweet and savory treats. Consider dietary restrictions and have options for everyone to enjoy.

DIY Pizza Party: Take the culinary fun up a notch by having a DIY pizza party. Prepare dough and an assortment of toppings, and let each guest create their own culinary masterpiece. Bake the pizzas together and savor the delicious creations.

Get Creative: Spark the creativity of your guests with arts and crafts activities. Set up a crafting station with supplies for making friendship bracelets, painting mini canvases, or creating personalized dream catchers. Encourage everyone to unleash their inner artist!

Epic Games Night: Plan an epic games extravaganza to keep the energy high. From classic board games to lively dance-offs or karaoke competitions, let the games begin! Provide a selection of games suitable for different interests and group sizes.

Movie Marathon Madness: Create a cozy cinema experience with a movie marathon. Take a vote on which movies to watch or have a themed movie night. Set up a comfy viewing area with bean bags, blankets, and dim lighting. Don’t forget the popcorn and refreshing drinks!

Midnight Snack Adventures: Elevate the midnight snacking experience with a DIY sundae bar or a make-your-own waffle station. Let the guests unleash their culinary creativity and indulge in delicious treats. It’s the perfect way to satisfy those late-night cravings.

Capture the Memories: Don’t forget to document the fun! Set up a photo booth area with props and costumes, or encourage guests to take candid shots throughout the night. Create a digital album or print out the photos as a keepsake for each guest to cherish.

Remember, the most important ingredient for a successful sleepover is a positive and inclusive atmosphere. Encourage kindness, respect, and friendship among all guests. Embrace the laughter, silliness, and late-night chats. With this ultimate sleepover handbook, you’re bound to create a night that will be talked about for years to come. So get ready to unleash the fun and make your sleepover an experience to remember!

How to Throw the Ultimate 4th of July Celebration

Celebrate America’s independence in style with a memorable 4th of July gathering. This is more than just a party—it’s a chance to embrace the true spirit of America! Get ready to ignite the patriotic energy and make memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue or a picnic at the park, it’s the good old-fashioned American spirit that makes this holiday so special!

From creative decorations that set the stage for a patriotic paradise to mouthwatering dishes that will have everyone reaching for seconds, these ideas will make your 4th of July party as vibrant as the fireworks in the night sky. Get ready to celebrate America’s independence in style with these unique party tips. Let the festivities begin!

Creative Decorations: Set the stage for a festive atmosphere by going beyond the basics. Think outside the box with DIY crafts like handmade paper firework garlands, painted mason jar lanterns, or even a patriotic-themed photo booth area for capturing memorable moments.

Mouthwatering Menu: Elevate your food game with a mix of classic and innovative dishes. Offer a build-your-own burger bar with gourmet toppings, serve up a refreshing watermelon feta salad with a tangy twist, or surprise your guests with delicious grilled pineapple and shrimp skewers for a tropical flair. Get creative and infuse your menu with flavors that will leave your guests craving more.

Signature Sips: Quench everyone’s thirst with refreshing and patriotic beverages. Create a self-serve drink station with flavored lemonades, fruity iced teas, and a selection of craft beers. For an extra special touch, mix up a signature cocktail like a sparkling berry spritzer or a patriotic layered smoothie that will wow your guests.

Unique Entertainment: Go beyond the typical party games and offer unique entertainment options that will keep everyone engaged. Have your guests change into their pajamas, set up a DIY outdoor movie theater and screen classic patriotic films under the stars. Alternatively, organize a friendly cornhole tournament with custom-designed boards featuring patriotic themes. Let your imagination run wild and tailor the entertainment to suit your guests’ interests.

Organized Planning: Stay organized and stress-free by creating a party checklist. Plan ahead and make sure you have all the essentials, from the decorations and food to the activities and supplies. Having a well-thought-out plan will help you stay on top of everything and ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for both you and your guests.

Collaborative Celebration: Encourage your guests to participate in the patriotic fun by inviting them to bring their own creative decorations or dress up in their most patriotic attire. Foster a sense of camaraderie by organizing friendly competitions like a best-dressed contest or a homemade dessert bake-off. Engaging your guests in the celebration will create a lively and memorable atmosphere.

Remember, the key to a successful 4th of July celebration is to infuse your own personal touch and make it an unforgettable experience for everyone. Embrace these unique ideas and let your creativity shine as you celebrate the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Happy 4th of July!

Packing Tips for your Summer Vacation

Preparing for a summer vacation is an exciting endeavor as it presents an opportunity to escape the daily grind and unwind in beautiful destinations. However, to fully savor the experience, it is essential to master the art of packing. Properly packing everything you will need not only makes for a comfortable and stress-free trip, but also allows you to make the most of your time away.

With that in mind, here are some valuable tips to consider before embarking on your summer adventure:

Make a list. This will help you to avoid overpacking and ensure you don’t forget anything important. It’s also a good idea to plan out your outfits for each day of your trip, so you can be sure you have the right clothing for each occasion.

Pack versatile clothing. Make sure you bring a mix of casual and dressy clothing so you’ll be ready for any occasion. Avoid packing items that are too specific for one particular event or activity. Instead, opt for items that can be mixed and matched and worn in multiple ways. This includes you pajamas. Pack a couple pairs of comfortable pajamas so you’ll have something cozy to wear at night and can choose the right option for the temperatures.

Check the weather forecast for your destination. Knowing the forecast helps you prepare for unexpected weather changes, such as carrying a light rain jacket or umbrella. By focusing on versatile and comfortable clothing and accessories, you can enjoy your vacation to the fullest, prepared for whatever Mother Nature may bring.

Bring your essentials. These include your passport, ID, credit cards, and cash, which are vital for smooth travel and transactions. Don’t forget to pack any necessary medications and keep them alongside a copy of your insurance card. To ensure their safety and easy accessibility, consider utilizing a secure and convenient storage option like a money belt or a small cross-body bag.

Plan for medical needs. Band-aids, pain relievers, and other over-the-counter medications can come in handy when you are in an unfamiliar place. You should also pack any prescription medication you may need, as well as any other health-related items such as allergy medication or insect repellent.

Don’t forget your pets. When traveling with pets, ensure their comfort and well-being by packing their essentials such as food, water, bowls, toys, and bedding. Remember to bring identification tags, vaccination records, and travel documents. If traveling by car, secure them with a carrier or restraint, and if flying, check airline regulations for pet carriers. Research pet-friendly accommodations in advance and keep their supplies in one dedicated bag. If your pets are staying home, plan for their care with a trusted pet sitter or boarding facility, ensuring they have enough food, medication, and attention during your absence.

Take a reusable water bottle. It will come in handy for staying hydrated throughout the day. Not only is it better for the environment, but it will also save you money on expensive bottled water.

Include a smaller bag for day trips. A compact bag is perfect for carrying essential items such as sunscreen, a hat, and a water bottle and ensures you have everything you need for a day of exploration. Think about a lightweight bag that can be worn as a backpack or a shoulder bag, and one with multiple pockets or compartments, allowing you to keep your belongings organized and easily accessible.

Carry a book or a journal. This is a great way to pass the time on long journeys or to relax on the beach or campground. A good book can be a great way to unwind and escape and if you want to reflect on your adventure, a journal is a must to document your adventures, thoughts, and memorable moments.

Embrace the opportunity to escape the ordinary and immerse yourself in the beauty and relaxation that await. By thoughtfully packing your essentials and considering the unique experiences that lie ahead, you can embark on a journey filled with comfort, style, and delightful surprises. So, get ready to bask in the sun, explore new horizons, and cherish the moments that make your summer vacation truly unforgettable. Bon voyage!

Planning for Post-School Adventures: Maximizing Your Summer Break

We can’t believe the school year is almost over. It’s time to start thinking about all the incredible things you can do during your summer break. Picture this: long sunny days, endless possibilities, and a chance to have some serious fun. In this blog post, we’re going to explore a bunch of cool ideas to help you design the ultimate summer experience—full of adventure, learning, and unforgettable memories. Summer break is like a blank canvas, just waiting for you to fill it with excitement and new experiences.
It’s the perfect opportunity to take a break from textbooks and dive headfirst into a world of endless possibilities. Whether you’re a student itching for some thrills or a parent looking for engaging activities for your children, planning ahead is the key to creating a summer break that will leave you feeling fulfilled and ready for the next chapter. So, let’s get started and discover some awesome ideas to make
this summer break one for the books!

Rediscover Your Local Area. A staycation allows you to explore and appreciate the attractions in your local area. Discover hidden gems, visit museums or parks, and plan day trips to nearby towns. Engage in outdoor activities like backyard camping, biking, hiking, or picnicking. By staying close to home, you can save on travel expenses while still enjoying new experiences and creating lasting memories.

Gain Experience and Earn Money Consider. Encouraging your children to seek part-time job opportunities over the summer. It not only provides them with valuable work experience but also allows them to earn some extra money. Whether it’s babysitting, dog walking, or assisting at a local business, part-time jobs teach important skills such as responsibility, time management, and customer service.

Make a Difference in Your Community. Summer break is an ideal time to give back to your community by volunteering. Find local organizations or initiatives that align with your interests and contribute your time and skills. Help out at a food bank, participate in environmental cleanups, or volunteer at a local animal shelter. Volunteering not only benefits others but also nurtures personal growth, empathy, and a sense of gratitude.

Expand Your Knowledge. Summer break provides an opportunity to pursue educational workshops or courses that interest you. Look for online or in-person programs in areas like photography, coding, creative writing, or cooking. Not only will you learn new skills, but you’ll also engage with like-minded individuals and broaden your horizons.

Uncover Hidden Treasures. Fuel up your wanderlust and get ready for freedom and excitement by taking short road trips to nearby destinations. Whether it’s a charming town, the scenic countryside, or a hidden natural gem, these mini getaways offer the perfect opportunity to escape the daily routine and explore new horizons. Pack your essentials and let the open road guide you to breathtaking sights, local attractions, and unexpected surprises.

It’s important to start planning for an enriching and enjoyable summer break. Consider your interests, passions, and aspirations when deciding how to make the most of this time. Whether it’s exploring new hobbies, engaging in meaningful community activities, embarking on personal projects, or simply taking time to relax and recharge, the possibilities are endless. So take the initiative now, plan ahead, and get ready for a fantastic summer ahead!

Stretching Summer into Fall

Just because the calendar says Labor Day doesn’t mean we have to say goodbye to summer just like that. In most areas the weather can remain warm well into the fall, and just because kids are back to school, and the days are getting a little shorter it doesn’t mean the fun is done.

We like to drag out summer as long as possible and there are plenty of things for you to do that will make You feel like the happy summer days have not faded quite yet.

Fall PJ Party

Plan a backyard sleepover. You can do this for either adults or kids. There’s nothing better than setting up the backyard with lots of food, drink, and even an outdoor movie screen. Everybody can wear their favorite pajamas and enjoy the early fall evenings.

Farmers Market

Visit a farmer’s market. The summer bounty is at its height and getting picked and brought to your local market right now. Pick up an array of fresh fruits and vegetables and fill your table with all the amazing flavors of summer. Think about canning some of this wonderful produce for the sweet taste of summer all winter long.


Go to the zoo. Believe it or not, this is the time of the year when the animals are most active. It’s not quite as hot but days can still get into the temperatures where they are out, roaming around, and showing off for all their visitors.


Go to a drive-in for dinner. Most places where you can order and eat dinner right from your car stay open well into October because they know there is plenty of good weather yet to be had. Hop in your car and head to your local drive-in with the family and enjoy your dinner outdoors.

Fall Gardening

Do some gardening. Fall mums, cold crops, and next year’s bulbs can all be planted now and will continue to grow until it freezes.  Did you know that many vegetables can be grown between now and the end of October because they like the cooler weather? You can be eating fresh produce right up until the snow flies

Am Park

Visit an amusement park. Nothing says summer like rides, concession stands, and shows. The great thing about visiting an amusement park at this time of year is that you’ll likely save all kinds of money throughout the park. You might even find an all-inclusive package deal because they are anxious to keep people coming until they close for the season.


Go to the beach. On a warm sunny day pack up the family and head on down to the beach. The wonderful part about going this time of year is that you won’t have the crowds you have during the summer months.


Hang your laundry out to dry. The fresh scents of summer can hang with you for just a little longer if you put your laundry outside to dry instead of using the dryer. There’s something about pulling out a line-dried piece of clothing or towel in the middle of November that will put a smile on your face.

Enjoy every moment of what we have left of summer and have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!


Keeping Cool on Hot Summer Days

Many of us love, appreciate, and want to take advantage of all that summer has to offer, but sometimes the one thing stopping us from enjoying the season is oppressive heat. Scorching hot days are inevitably going to happen, but there are tons of ways to stay comfortable both outdoors and indoors when the ridiculously high temperatures hit.


Too much fun in the sun can indeed lead to health issues like heat stroke and dehydration, but if you play it smart you can enjoy being outside even on the hottest summer days.


Keep hydrated: Dehydration can cause health problems, including heat stroke and heat exhaustion, and puts additional stress on the body, which can lead to headaches, fatigue, and a reduced ability to cool itself down. If you are extremely active on hot days, consider adding hydration packs to your outdoor activities.  They’re a convenient way to carry water and stay hydrated when exercising, working outside, or simply hanging out.

Cooling Tools

Use cooling tools: When it comes to staying cool, a mister is an indispensable tool. The mist it produces cools the body and provides a refreshing blast of water whenever you’re feeling hot. To keep the water from getting warm, put some ice in it, or better yet, plan ahead and put the bottle in the freezer for an hour before you head out. The slush will melt and keep the mist cooler longer. Cooling towels are also great for providing instant relief as they continue to cool as the water evaporates.


Avoid full sun: Try staying out of the sun as much as possible or alternate your activities by heading indoors to an air-conditioned building to stay cool from time to time. That way, you don’t have to give up all your outdoor fun without overheating. You can also plan to go places that have enough shade so that you aren’t constantly in direct sunlight.


Get wet: Take advantage of opportunities to keep cool in various community locations like public pools, splash pads, and beaches. Spending time in the water cools down your entire body and it feels oh so good!


If you have air conditioning then staying cool in your home is quite easy. If you don’t however, you want to make every effort to stay comfortable while you wait out the heat wave. These tips will definitely help.

Close Blinds

Close your blinds and curtains: Blocking the sun from shining in the house can keep the temperature indoors much lower. Heat rises so pay specific attention to upstairs rooms. Especially the bedrooms as you want to be comfortable when you sleep.

lazyone twotirednight


Wear the right clothing. Light and breathable fabrics are the way to go when the temps hit record highs. Your skin needs to be able to sweat and then dry quickly to keep your internal cooling system at its best. This includes bedtime. Wear light summertime pajamas or even better a nightshirt that is loose fitting and non-restricting.

Eat the right foods. Hot days are not the right times to eat heavy meals of foods loaded with fat and sugar. Instead, eat hydrating meals with plenty of vegetables (that are loaded with water) and fruits. Include lean proteins as well to keep up your energy levels.

Dog water

Don’t forget the pets. Animals can suffer from heat stroke and exhaustion as well so make sure your furry friends have access to plenty of water and shade.  Don’t take them along in the car when the temperatures are skyrocketing. It only takes minutes in a hot vehicle for them to become ill.

Remember that it IS summer and in no time many will be complaining about the cold and snow. Embrace the season, enjoy all that summer has to offer, just be careful not to overdo it.


Get ready for summer with these classic movies

We think summer is the best time of year. We love the longer days, warm weather, activities with family and friends, beach vacations, and everything else that comes with it.

So with Memorial Day just around the corner, it’s no doubt that your schedule will be full of activities and social events. Now is the perfect time to take one last day to relax, and get into summer mode. We can’t think of a better way to do that than to put on your favorite summery pajamas, grab a snack, and binge-watch classic summer-themed movies. For some, these flicks will be full of nostalgia and for others unfamiliar with the titles, it’s a peek into simpler times. Here are 8 of our favorite classic summer movies that are sure to get you ready for all the fun the next few months are sure to bring.


Grease (1978) – Danny and Sandy. Need we say more? This American classic will bring back so many memories and have you singing along with all your favorite characters from Rydell High.

Summer School

Summer School (1987) – Freddy Shoop (Mark Harmon)is a gym teacher ready for his summer vacation in Hawaii. When he is told he can either teach summer-school English or lose his job, he ends up teaching a group of less than motivated kids not only their curriculum but also a little something about life.


Meatballs (1979) – This movie, about a not-so-typical summer camp stars Bill Murray as Tripper Harrison, Camp North Star’s head counselor. If you’ve ever been to a summer camp, you’ll probably be able to relate to some of the craziness and hijinks the campers and counselors take part in.


The Sandlot (1993) – A perfect ‘for all ages’ summer sports movie, this coming-of-age story is centered around Shy Scotty (Tom Guiry) who moves to a new town and how a little league baseball team helps him adapt.


Caddyshack (1980) – You’ve never seen a country club like Bushwood. The all-star cast including Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray, and Ted Knight will keep you laughing through the entire film and you might even think about taking up golf!


Jaws (1975) – Ok so maybe not the best movie to watch if you’re taking a beach vacation this year but Jaws is one of those classic movies you can watch over and over and it will teach you that when someone says get out of the water they mean it!

Dirty Dancing

Dirty Dancing (1987) – Ahh the memories. You’ll have the time of your life singing and couch dancing along with this summer classic. And don’t forget “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.”


National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983) – Hit the road with the Griswolds for their mishap-filled summer vacation. It will make you realize that the little hiccups we may encounter on a road trip aren’t so bad after all.

Dazed and Confused

Dazed and Confused (1993) – Before they were A-listers, Ben Affleck and Matthew McConaughey star in this coming-of–age comedy about what the last day of school might have looked like in the 70’s.

Endless Summer (1)

The Endless Summer (1966) – This is one of the earliest surfing movies and is sure to become one of your favorites. If you’re not traveling this summer this film is the perfect substitute as it takes you all around the world looking for the perfect wave. The scenery is amazing!

The list could go on and on, but if we named all our picks you’d never leave the couch. Instead, take a day, watch to your heart’s content, and then go enjoy the best season of the year!


Girls Night – Host a Christmas in July Slumber Party

Looking for a different kind of get-together to mix it up between the summer barbecues, weddings, graduations, and birthday parties? Make plans to get your hubby and kids out of the house for the night, and get the ladies together for a good old-fashioned slumber party – adult style. Add to it a theme like ‘Christmas in July,’ and you’ve got the makings for a super fun evening that may become a tradition within your inner circle.

It’s hot outside and this is no time to think about sweaters, snow, or Santa. Instead, adapt what you would traditionally do for the December holiday to something that’s all about summer. We’ll get you started with some awesome ideas for your party, but don’t be afraid to let your creativity take over and make the sleepover all yours!

banner averie

Matching Pajamas for All: In December it’s a fun family tradition to all dress up in matching PJ’s to celebrate the season. Why not do the same thing for girl’s night? Cool cottons, Japanese satins, sassy short sets, or tropical prints are all perfect for your summer sleepover.

Frozen Cocoa

Frozen Hot Chocolate: The idea of a warm comforting beverage is probably the farthest thing from your mind when it’s 90 degrees outside, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a rich creamy drink in the middle of July.  Make a batch of hot cocoa and pour it into ice trays. Then use the cubes with your favorite Irish cream, coffee liquor, or rum. If it’s a free day on the calorie counter, top the drinks off with some whipped cream!

Beach Gift

Gift Exchange: We aren’t talking hats and gloves, perfume, or picture frames here… think summer. Exchange gifts that are perfect for the season you’re in. A beach gift basket (sunscreen, flip flops, a good book, and a bright towel for instance), floral candles, a park or zoo pass, a pedicure kit, or seashell jewelry (we LOVE ankle bracelets) are all great ideas for your best gal pals.

Tiki Buffet

Tiki Buffet: Get yourself some thatched grass, Christmas twinkle lights, and fiesta-ware to set the mood, and then put out a spread made with light, delicious summer ingredients and refreshing drinks (think Sangria). Have a handy husband? Have him build you a tiki bar for the occasion!


Watch a movie – NOT kid-friendly:  It’s your night to get away and enjoy the company of your besties. We do holiday movie night with the family, so instead, for your Christmas in July girls night watch a movie you’ve wanted to see but can’t because it isn’t appropriate for kids.  There are lots of great ones out there so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.

CIJ Karaoke

Sing Karaoke: Once the alcohol kicks in, the inhibitions tend to disappear so let loose and sing! If you’ve never sung karaoke, you’re missing out and if you have, you know how fun it is. It’s just you ladies so have fun with it and you can even sing Christmas songs!


Play Adult Games: If you’re tired of Monopoly or Candy Land and want to laugh, laugh, laugh play games that are just for adults. We like Cards Against Humanity, Social Sabotage, or For The Girls. All of these options can be played with additional rules that you make up (like you must use the word “elf), so you can customize them for your Christmas in July theme.

These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to planning your mid-summer pajama party. Let your imagination run wild because Christmas in July only comes once a year. You and the other ladies deserve to let loose!

5 Red, White, and Blue Recipes for your 4th of July Celebration

It’s the Fourth of July weekend and time to celebrate the USA! That means cookouts, picnics, parades, and parties. Great food makes for great gatherings and Independence Day gives us the opportunity to show our patriotism through the food we make. It’s all about the red, white and blue and we’ve got 5 recipes that are a must for your celebration.

American Flag Caprese Salad with Blueberry-Balsamic Vinaigrette

Caprese Appetizer

A perfect starter, this Caprese salad from has cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and blueberries with a sweet yet tangy dressing on the side. The American Flag presentation is a perfect way to show your patriotism!


  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages mini mozzarella balls
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries, divided
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh shallot
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish
  1. Trim the stem end off each tomato, so they sit flat on their cut sides.
  2. Arranging one row of 10 tomatoes, cut-side down, on a large platter or cutting board. Arrange a row of 10 mozzarella balls directly below the tomatoes, and repeat with another row of tomatoes, another row of mozzarella balls, and another row of tomatoes. On the third row of mozzarella balls, add 5 more to extend the row to the left. Repeat with tomatoes and mozzarella balls two more times, ending with tomatoes.
  3. Set aside 1/4 cup blueberries. Arrange the remaining blueberries in a square to the right of the shorter rows of tomatoes and mozzarella balls.
  4. Slice mozzarella into 4 pieces, then cut each piece into quarters. Using a paring knife, cut a star from each quarter, creating 16 stars total. (Alternatively, use a small star cookie cutter.) Gently arrange the mozzarella stars on top of the blueberries.
  5. Combine the reserved 1/4 cup blueberries, oil, vinegar, honey, shallot, salt and pepper in a blender; blend until smooth. Scatter basil leaves around the flag, if desired, and serve with the dressing on the side.

Red White and Blue Burgers

RWB Burger

No summer holiday celebration is complete until you add the burgers! This delicious twist on the basic cheeseburger is courtesy of It’s topped with mozzarella cheese, roasted red peppers, and blue cheese. Perfect for the 4th of July!


  • 2lbs ground beef
  • 8hamburger buns
  • 8oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 2 red peppers, roasted and peeled
  • 4oz blue cheese crumbles
  • Salt and pepper
  1. For roasted red peppers, place peppers on grill over over gas burner on high for about five minutes, turning occasionally until the pepper skin is very charred. Remove peppers and place in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let steam for ten minutes. Remove peppers and peel off skin. It should come off pretty easily and it’s okay if some skin is left on. Slice stems off of peppers and remove seeds, then slice.
  2. Form burgers into quarter pound rounds and make a small indent in each burger with your thumb. Season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Grill burgers over high heat for 3-4 minutes. Flip burgers, cook for another 2 minutes or so and then add a slice of fresh mozzarella to each burger. Close the lid on the grill to help the cheese melt. Let cheese melt for a minute, then add pepper slices and blue cheese. Cook for another minute. That should leave you with about a medium burger. Cook longer if you want your burger more done.
  4. Serve burger on a toasted bun.

Easy and Sweet Honeyed Quinoa Fruit Salad

Quinoa Salad

A sweet, delicious, and healthy salad is the perfect accompaniment to you celebration meal. This beautiful side dish from will bring out the oooh’s and aaah’s from everyone at the party.


  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • ½ lb strawberries
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ½ cup blackberries
  • 1 stem fresh mint
  • ½ lemon
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  1. Cut strawberries into bite size pieces, mix with 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup blackberries, 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, and chopped fresh mint.
  2. Sweet dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together juice from 1/2 lemon and 3 Tablespoons honey; mix with fruit and quinoa and serve.

Sparkling Red, White & Blue Sangria


No party is complete without a cocktail and this Sangria recipe from is the perfect libation to toast America with! Fresh fruit and summer flavors will also cool you off on a hot summer day.


  • White wine: One bottle of any kind of (still, not sparkling)
  • Sparkling white wine: We will also add in a bottle of sparkling white wine (such as cava or champagne) just before serving to make the sangria “sparkle.”
  • Berries: Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries
  • Apples: Thinly slice some crisp apples to serve as our “white.” Use a small star cookie cutter or cut the apple slices into star shapes.
  • Liqueur: Brandy is the liqueur that is most traditionally added to sangria. But you’re welcome to add cognac, orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier, Cointreau or Triple Sec), white vermouth, or whatever sounds good.
  • Ice: For serving.
  1. Mix together the base ingredients. Stir together white wine, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and orange in a large pitcher.
  2. Cover and refrigerate. Pop the pitcher in the refrigerator for anywhere from 1-4 hours, so that the drink can chill and all of those fruity flavors can meld.
  3. Stir in the “sparkles.” Once you’re ready to serve the sangria, stir in the sparkling white wine, apples and a handful of ice.
  4. Serve! Then pour the sangria over ice, serve and enjoy!

Berry-Patch Brownie Pizza


Don’t forget the dessert. This patriotic pizza from is a decadent way to round out your amazing meal. Chocolate and fresh berries will create your own fireworks when your guests get a taste of it.


  • 1 package fudge brownie mix (13×9-inch pan size)
  • 1/3 cup chopped unblanched almonds
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 cups whipped topping
  • Assorted fresh berries
  • Optional: Fresh mint leaves and coarse sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare brownie batter according to package directions for fudgelike brownies, adding almonds and almond extract. Spread into a greased 14-in. pizza pan.
  2. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 15-18 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. Beat next 4 ingredients until smooth; fold in whipped topping. Spread over crust to within 1/2 in. of edges; refrigerate, loosely covered, 2 hours.
  4. To serve, cut into 12 pieces; top with berries of choice. If desired, top with mint and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

We hope you have a wonderful 4th of July celebration. This year more than ever it will be wonderful to celebrate with family and friends!