In Season July 2011

Warm and creative ways to celebrate the month's holidays.

Samantha Chan

Cascading Stars
Your family will be seeing stars after doing this decorative Stars and Stripes Forever craft from www.familyfun.go.com.
Materials: •Craft foam in red, white and blue •Scissors •Tacky glue •Hole punch •Ribbons
What to Do: Draw and cut out a bunch of craft foam stars that measure about 5 inches across. Next cut out smaller stars of contrasting colors, making sure that the stars can be layered on top of the larger stars without obstructing the view. Use tacky glue to attach each small star to a larger star. To finish, use a hole punch to put two holes in each glued pair, one hole atop and one at the bottom of the stars. Thread lengths of ribbon through to tie the stars in a cascading arrangement.

Celebrating Family
National Parents’ Day on July 24 provides the perfect excuse to spend time with your kin without technology and distraction. What few people know about July 24 is that it’s also National Cousins Day. If possible, ask cousins to join your clan for an activity, game or an outing that doesn’t require being plugged in and out of touch. Besides that, the nature of the activities don’t matter as long as participants are enjoying this time with the ones they love.

Berry Cool
Great for outdoor get-togethers, these berry-yogurt pops from Petit Appetit: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry (Penguin Group) are sure to take the heat down a notch.
Ingredients: •1½ c. organic plain low-fat yogurt • ¾ c. fresh or frozen organic berries, thawed •1 Tbsp. honey
Directions: Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or processor until smooth. Carefully spoon the mixture into ice-pop molds filling almost to the top. Gently bang molds two or three times to rid the mixture of air bubbles. Insert popsicle sticks and transfer to the freezer on a flat shelf and freeze for about three hours or until solid. Helpful hint: For easy popsicle removal, place the molds in a bowl of cold water for one to two minutes. The recipe makes about eight popsicles.

Honoring Dr. Seuss
Commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first publication of Dr. Suess’s Sneetch stories with Sneetches on Beaches (Random House). The new interactive book has Seussian stuff to pull, scratch, sniff, fluff and more as the star-bellied Sneetches play with the plain-bellied Sneetches all along the beaches. The title is available at bookstores and online at www.randomhouse.com beginning July 26.

Good to Be Blue
In May 1999, the United States Department of Agriculture declared July National Blueberry Month. Did you know that blueberries are native to North America and currently produced in 35 states? For additional facts, as well as activities, recipes and history, involving blueberries, log onto www.blueberrycouncil.com.

Picnic Packing
July 10 brings Teddy Bear Picnic Day. Round up the kids, choose some beloved bears to share a meal with, then pack up drinks, sandwiches, animal crackers and treats like honey cakes since bears seem to love sweets. Gather the picnic fare in a basket for a jovial afternoon with the family, stuffed siblings included.

Ocean in a Bottle
If you can’t get to the beach, make the beach at home with this cool craft from www.activitiesforkids.com.
Materials: •Water bottle •Rubbing alcohol •Blue food coloring •Mineral oil •Glitter •Small plastic items inspired by the sea, such as star fish and shells •White craft glue •Hot glue
What to Do: Fill half of the bottle with rubbing alcohol. Put two to three drops of food coloring in the bottle and shake. Fill remainder of the bottle with mineral oil. Next add the glitter and sea objects. Replace the top of the bottle and seal with white glue, then seal again with the hot glue. Do not shake the bottle. Instead, hold the bottle horizontally until clear, and raise and lower ends to create waves that you would see at the beach.

Daytime Fireworks
Independence Day fireworks may take place after children’s bedtime. However, kids can still enjoy the bright colors and blasts with balloon fireworks from www.marthastewart.com.
Materials: •Red, white and blue balloons •Funnel •Ribbon •Independence Day-themed confetti and glitter
What to Do: Pull the mouth of a deflated balloon over the mouth of a funnel and fill ¼ of the way up with the confetti and glitter. Cautiously blow up the balloon, being sure to not inhale any glitter, or use a hand pump to inflate the balloon. Tie a ribbon to the end of the balloon and suspend from your porch awning or even an indoor ceiling. Repeat with remaining balloons. Use a sharp pencil to pop the balloons, and watch explosions of color and reflected light to celebrate the Fourth of July.

This column appeared in the July 2011 issue.