In Season July 2012

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

Samantha Chan

Patriotic Pinwheels

Line your driveway with these holiday decorations or hand them out to children to make your Fourth of July one to remember. This craft is courtesy of Kaboose.

Materials: •Household sponge •White printer paper •Blue and red craft paint •Gold paint pen •Ruler •Pencil •Thumbtack •Pony bead •Scissors •Wooden dowel

What To Do: Cut the white paper to a 7-inch square. Cut a star shape out of a household sponge. Squeeze blue paint onto a paper plate. Dip sponge into paint, dab off excess and press onto paper in several places. Clean out the sponge and repeat with red paint. Use a gold paint pen to draw dots and curly lines on the paper to decorate it further. Let dry and then turn over. Decorate the other side. Use a ruler and a pencil to lightly mark the paper with diagonal lines toward the center, stopping roughly an inch from the center of the paper. See www.kaboose.com for a template. Poke holes in the left hand corner of each triangle with a pencil. Insert the thumbtack into the wooden dowel to create a hole. Remove thumbtack. Fold one of the corners (with a hole) toward the center of the paper. Bring the next corner up and under the first one. Repeat for all four, then push the thumbtack through the center hole. Holding the tack and the paper together with one hand, turn over and slide the pony bead onto the thumbtack. Then, insert the thumbtack into the dowel. This adds space between the paper pinwheel and the dowel.

Sugar and Spice

Driscoll’s healthy berry smoothie, available at Driscolls.com, has the right amount of spice from crystallized ginger to create a tasty treat.

Ingredients: •1 c. Driscoll’s organic blueberries •1 c. Driscoll’s organic raspberries or blackberries •1 c. Driscoll’s organic strawberries, halved •1 c. vanilla yogurt •½ c. orange juice •1 Tbs. finely chopped crystallized ginger •2 ice cubes •Berries for garnish

Instructions: Blend berries, yogurt, juice, ginger and ice until smooth. Garnish with additional berries and serve immediately.

Getting It Done

While kids are off from school, do the things you’ve been putting off. For some inspiration, pick up a copy of David Hoffman’s The Sand Bucket List: 366 Things to Do With Your Kids Before They Grow Up (Running Press). Try things like number ten— go to an ice cream shop and try every flavor— or number 49, which suggests riding a zip line.

Nature’s Gifts

The warm weather allows for outdoor exploration. Take a walk through your backyard, local parks and playgrounds to gather materials for a nature mobile, courtesy of www.greencraftkids.com.

Materials: •A branch of a tree (the length is up to you, but the rest of the materials hang from this branch) •Bits of nature: cones, acorns, small twigs with leaves, moss, feathers and anything else you find •String

What To Do: Sort your findings into different groups. Plan your mobile according to a theme, or by the shapes and sizes. Tie different lengths of string to your branch. Connect two longer strings at the ends of the branch to hang from your ceiling or awning. At the ends of the various lengths of string, attach your different materials. Hold it up and see how it looks. You might find you need to adjust the length or order of objects.

Proud Parents

Bring family together on July 22 to celebrate Parents’ Day. If your children are old enough, let them make sandwiches and pick snacks and drinks to take along on a picnic. Most importantly, spend some quality time together remembering the joys of parenthood.

Your Own Secret Garden

Get your kids out into the family or local community garden. Even if you can’t plant and grow on your own terrain, there are plenty of local places that offer the opportunity for developing little green thumbs. For ideas, including growing catnip to make a cat toy as well as creating a fairy garden, log onto www.chocolatecakemoments.com.

This column appeared in the July 2012 issue.