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#BoMaLiving / family fun

We're gonna party like it's the Fourth of July

We're gonna party like it's the Fourth of July

We still aren’t sure how “4th of July” is even in our vocabulary right now, considering it was just March a few weeks ago (or at least that’s how it feels). But here we are. Summer has officially begun, and it's time to celebrate. That means a couple of days off of work, a sunny day, and all of the tips you need to host the ultimate 4th of July party.

Drinks

Popsicle Cocktails

Let’s really get back to the basics of summer. Namely, those weirdly delicious red, white, and blue Bomb Pops that made us a sticky mess in summers past. That’s right, we’re stocking our freezers with the old favorite, but we’re upping the ante this time around with champagne. This is the easiest of the cocktails we’re whipping up for our patriotic party, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be the most Insta-worthy.

  • Box of Bomb Pops
  • Bottle of Champagne

1. Put the popsicles in a glass with the stick facing out.

2. Fill the glasses with bubbly. Voilà!

Firecracker Jell-O Shots

No good party is complete without some good old-fashioned Jell-O shots. Or at least, that’s what we thought in college, but the second we saw these cuties we knew we couldn't pass them up. They’re a bit more involved since you have to make them layer by layer, but the effort will be worth it since they double as a sweet treat after dinner. Plus, you can also make a booze-free batch for the littles. 

  • 3 c. vodka
  • 1 box blue Jell-O
  • 1 box red Jell-O
  • 3 envelopes of unflavored gelatin
  • 3 c. boiling water
  • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 jar maraschino cherries, drained

Blue Layer

  1. Pour 1 cup of vodka into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle ½ of an envelope of unflavored gelatin on top, then let it sit for 2 minutes. 
  2. Add in the blue Jell-O, pour in 1 cup of boiling water, and whisk together until the gelatin is dissolved.
  3. Let it cool for 5 minutes, then pour the mixture into small shooter glasses until each is ⅓ of the way full.
  4. Chill for 1 hour. 

White Layer

  1. Pour 1 cup of vodka into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle 2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin on top, then let it sit for 2 minutes. 
  2. Pour in 1 cup of boiling water, and whisk together until the gelatin is dissolved.
  3. Pour in the sweetened condensed milk and stir until it’s fully mixed.
  4. Let it cool for 5 minutes, then pour the mixture on top of the blue layer until the glasses are ⅔ of the way full.
  5. Chill for 1 hour. 

Red Layer

  1. Pour 1 cup of vodka into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle ½ of an envelope of unflavored gelatin on top, then let it sit for 2 minutes. 
  2. Add in the red Jell-O, pour in 1 cup of boiling water, and whisk together until the gelatin is dissolved.
  3. Let it cool for 5 minutes, then fill the rest of each glass with the mixture.
  4. Chill for 1 hour. 

When all of the Jell-O shots have set, add a cherry on top for decoration and get to celebrating!

Watermelon Keg

We’ve all seen this modern marvel on Pinterest, but if you’re anything like us, you took one look, thought “I don't have 10 hours to dedicate to carving watermelons,” and moved on. Lucky for you, we’ve done the research and we can tell you that it’s super easy and you can be sure it'll be the star of the event. The only real prep work you’ll have to do is ordering a spigot so you can easily dispense the drinks, but of course, Amazon has your back.

  • 1 seedless watermelon
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) of your favorite rosé
  • 1 ½ c. orange vodka
  1. Cut a thin slice from the bottom of the watermelon rind, without cutting into the flesh, to give it a flat bottom to keep it sitting upright.
  2. Carve out a circle in the top to create a lid.
  3. Remove the lid, and then using an electric hand mixer or immersion blender, blend up all of the insides until completely pureed. 
  4. Pour the watermelon puree into a separate cup, straining out pulp and seeds first. 
  5. Insert the spigot, then pour the watermelon juice, wine, and vodka back into the watermelon.
  6. Refrigerate for 2 hours and then serve.

Snacks

We all know that the entire purpose of the 4th of July is to enjoy as many hot dogs and handfuls of potato chips as you possibly can, so we aren’t here to tell you otherwise. All we’re saying is that you can also include some America-themed appetizers and desserts to the lineup. 


Berry Kabobs

This is another fun Pinterest-style treat, but considering how simple and quick it is to make, we couldn’t leave it out. They’re bursting with summer flavor and will be perfect to pass around before the rest of the snacks are ready to be served. The kiddos will love that they get some marshmallows out of the deal, and who doesn't love eating off of a skewer? We love serving them up with the American flag design, but you can also alternate berries and marshmallows for a simpler red, white, and blue design.

  • 1 package blueberries
  • 1 package raspberries
  • 1 bag mini marshmallows
  • Skewers
  1. On the first 5 skewers, put 4 blueberries, one mini marshmallow, one raspberry, one more mini marshmallow, and one more raspberry. 
  2. On the next 7 skewers, alternate 4 raspberries and 3 marshmallows, to create a striped effect. 
  3. Line them up with the blueberries in the top left corner (hello, stars!) and then finish the flag with the raspberry/marshmallow skewers.
  4. Add the rest of the berries and 'mallows to the remaining kabobs so you have plenty of extras. 

Watermelon Salad

We are all about a good watermelon salad, especially since we usually only get them when we are spending way too much money at a nice restaurant. But that's not the case any longer! This refreshing summer salad is as easy as it is delicious, and allows for customization so all of your guests are happy.

  • 1 baby watermelon
  • ½ c. fresh mint, chopped
  • ¼ c. red onion, thinly sliced
  • 12 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. pure honey
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Crumbled feta
  1. Cut the watermelon into bite-size chunks, and top with the fresh mint, onion, and tomatoes. 
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, honey, salt, and pepper. 
  3. Toss watermelon mixture with the dressing, and sprinkle the crumbled feta on top. 
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Baked Brie

 

Surprise, surprise — in case you didn't yet realize it, we love bringing in that red, white, and blue scheme wherever we possibly can. And we also love including cheese in every meal we eat. And when we bring those two passions together, we get ourselves a fun little wheel of baked brie and fruit. 

  • 1 wheel of brie
  • 6 strawberries, sliced
  • ½ c. blueberries
  • ¼ c. orange juice
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • Crackers for dipping (we love pretzel crackers most, but you can also sweeten things up with graham crackers)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°, and cut off the top rind of the brie. 
  2. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the brie is completely melted and bubbling.
  3. While the brie is baking, place the strawberries and blueberries in separate bowls, divide the orange juice and honey evenly between the bowls, and toss until all of the berries are coated. 
  4. When the brie is done baking, immediately arrange the fruit in an American flag design on top and serve.
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Spring Break Adventures for the Whole Family

As much as we want to shout it from the rooftops that spring has officially sprung, we’re still holding our breath for one last snowfall or polar vortex, because the sun seems too good to be true. But alas, the sun is shining, the snow is melting, and spring break season is upon us. Some of you may be lucky enough to cross one of our favorite destinations off of your bucket list this spring, but for the rest of us who are relieved enough to just enjoy the weather, we’ve come up with some easy adventures to make the most of the kids’ week off (and treat yourself to a night out, while you’re at it). Of course, make sure to keep it a photo-worthy adventure by picking out a Mommy 'N' Me outfit to sweeten things up even more. 

Next-Level Staycation

Take a walking tour or other Airbnb Experience for a fun spring break activity  

We’re all about a staycation that means never changing out of PJs and checking off all of the movies you’ve been wanting to see, but if you’re needing a change of scenery, Airbnb Experiences are the perfect solution. They give you such a fun way to experience your city in a completely different way, whether you check out a cooking class, take a walking tour of a new area, or you get to spend some time with a mini pig (yeah, we’re serious). You can even filter the experiences by ages, so you can make sure that the kids are in for a blast as well.

Take it to New Heights

Bouldering is a fun family-friendly spring break activity

In case you’ve somehow avoided hearing the news, the entire world is revolving around bouldering right now. It may sound daunting, what with climbing a rock wall without any harness or ropes, but once you try it you’ll never look back. A lot of bouldering gyms have special areas for the kids, and you might even find some climbing classes offered during spring break. Besides being an easy (and fun) way to keep the family active, everyone will be beaming with pride once they get to the top of their first climb. Who knows, you might just find your new weekend tradition.

Keep it Educational

Visit a museum for a kid-friendly spring break activity

With a week off and summer so close you can taste it, it’s always a good idea to keep the littles flexing their minds (and it won’t hurt for you, either). We’ve all been guilty of claiming that we’ll check out our city’s best museums “one day,” so now's the time to follow through. Whether you’re more of an artsy family, you like to keep things scientific, or the kids want to bring some bizarre tales back to the classroom after visiting a spot on the list of “America’s Most Unusual Museums,” you’ll all love spending a day wandering, learning, and chatting.

Treat Yourself

Take a crafting and drinking class with friends

You’ve endured a long, cold winter, too, so why should the kids get to have all of the fun? Take a night out with your besties and find a crafting class to giggle your way through. With DIY workshops taking over every city (most of which offering drinks to accompany your artsy endeavors), all you have to do is settle on a day and make it happen. Plus, you get to walk away with a new addition to your decor lineup, so it’s about as win-win of a situation as you can find.

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Sometimes the summer months can be agonizingly exhausting and stressful for us mamas. Between the heat, missed naps, longer days and no school: it can get a little crazy! Keeping your kids, not only busy but occupied for longer than 20 minutes, often seems like a mighty task. Never fear: we have some special and fun ideas for you and your brood to try out this summer. Creating lasting and meaningful memories with your kids is typically on the top of every mama's life to-do list. With these exciting options, you'll be well on your way. Camp In The Backyard Sometimes summer vacations can be stressful with little ones. If you have kids in a wide age range, this is a good substitute for packing multiple outfits, snacks, toiletries and all the essentials, to lug kids out of town. Instead, you have an entirely new and different setting with the comforts of home just a few feet away. Pitch a tent, have a picnic dinner, tell stories, snuggle in sleeping bags. You can even add a glow in the dark craft or two. It's also perfect because the weather is so much nicer in the evenings and the blaring hot sun isn't up to drain you. Interview a Relative Cultivating the interpersonal skills of our children is so incredibly crucial. One of the best ways to do this is to get them interested in others. To help foster a naturally inquisitive brain, encourage your child to interview a member of the family, preferably someone older. This helps your child get to know aspects of the family tree, and life itself, that may not have dawned on them yet. Though it may sound a bit like schoolwork, your child will likely come to find it fascinating. Photoshoot In this incessant social media age, there isn't any shortage of documentation and photographs. However, there is something to be said for the physicality of an image. Photos are the very best keepsakes of our lives and memories. Make it a summer tradition to let the kids dress up and have a photo shoot. Using a Polaroid camera is ideal because you have instant access to your pictures. Put them on your fridge, in the car or around the house as little reminders of your fun summer. Visit The Library With our fast paced and ceaselessly digital lives, we can sometimes forget that a library is a beautiful place filled with books of countless stories. Spend an afternoon going through different books with your children. Interact with them, read with them, ask them questions. Even though school's out, they should always be learning and growing. It's a much slower pace than the games they're used to playing on their iPad's, but it also helps them cultivate patience and critical thinking. Water Balloon Fight Some things should never go out of style. Certain aspects of childhood, like hide and seek and water balloon fights, should live eternally. Lather the kids up with sunscreen and head out to the backyard. Added fun bonus if the sprinklers are on. Fill a giant bucket with water balloons for each kid and let them run wild. A perk of this suggestion is after a couple of hours, they'll be passed out on the couch from an overdose of sun and laughter. Family Game Night We know the electronic devices get to be all consuming, but a little family time is still one of the most fundamentally vital aspects a kid needs. Pull out the old fashioned games, whether it be board games or a deck of cards. Try to play something new each week. This not only helps exercise their analytical and logical minds but also teaches them valuable life skills. A good game allows for great family bonding and requires enough concentration to have your kids hooked. Organize and Donate Old Toys It's important to give your children context for how to treat their belongings and how to treat others. Telling them it's time to donate old and gently used toys to children less fortunate should be an activity that becomes consistent. Donating items at least twice a year keeps play spaces less cluttered and also teaches your kids valuable lessons about giving, empathy and being of service to others. Let them choose between the toys they want to keep and ones they want to donate. Make gentle suggestions of specific toys you know they no longer play with. Cooking Class Get your kids involved in the kitchen. Unfortunately, the gendered notion that cooking is something that women predominately do is still very much engrained in many people. Whether you have sons or daughters, helping them learn how to cook is essential as a life skill. Whether you use some of your favorite recipes or enjoy a meal cooking service, familiarizing your kids with the kitchen is one of the best uses of their extra summer time. Scavenger Hunt What you don't want is for your child's entire summer vacation to consist of video games and cheesy puffs. Though there's nothing wrong with those things, having a bit of variety is exactly where that sweet spot lies. There are numerous ways you can orchestrate a fun hour or two of your kids roaming around the house looking for clues. You can try an A to Z scavenger hunt where they must locate an item that begins with each letter. You can also hide little rewards near the object itself. Put on a Show Kids and their creativity and imagination know no bounds. Tap into that by allowing them to put on a show. They can perform a dance number, do magic tricks, tell jokes or any other type of display. Set it up like a talent show complete with costume changes and interesting little tidbits. You can act as the host or an enthused audience member. Children constantly need validation and praise. This is the perfect way for them to get that while also demonstrating their flair and knack for what they have an interest in.

Images via Earthy Andy, HippieWild, DailyDoseofStuf, and Pinterest

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Talking, listening and playing with your children is a wonderful way to make a meaningful connection.
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