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In Season July 2013

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

Kristan Morley

Red, White, and Blue Strawberries

This Fourth of July, spice up your average fruit salad with Revolutionary Berries, which are strawberries turned into the colors of the American flag. For more Fourth of July ideas and recipes visit www.spoonful.com/4th-of-july.

What you’ll need: •12 oz. white chocolate chips •Strawberries •Blue sugar or edible glitter.

How to make it: Melt 12 oz. of white chocolate chips in a microwave according to the package directions (make sure the container is dry; even a little moisture will alter the texture of the candy). One at a time, dip clean and dry strawberries into the chocolate and then into the blue sugar or edible glitter. Set them to harden on waxed paper. Makes 35-45 decorated strawberries.

Ice Cream Month

Befitting the hottest summer month, July is National Ice Cream Month. If you don’t have a local ice cream parlor, stay home and make Easy Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream with your family. Visit www.allrecipes.com to see other homemade ice cream flavors.

What you’ll need: •2 c. 2-percent milk •2 c. heavy cream •1 c. sugar •½ tsp. salt •1 tsp. vanilla extract •1 tsp. peppermint extract •3 drops green food coloring (optional) •1 c. miniature, semisweet chocolate chips.

How to make it: In a large bowl, stir together the milk, cream, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract until the sugar has dissolved. Tint to your liking with the green food coloring. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. After about 10 minutes into the freezing, add the chocolate chips. After the ice cream has thickened, about 30 minutes later, spoon into a container, and freeze for two hours before serving.

Balloon Rockets

Try out this fun and exciting craft with the kids.

What you’ll need: •Balloons •Ribbon •Dried lentils

How to make it: To make each rocket, use a kitchen funnel to pour ⅓ c. of dried lentils into a round balloon. Then, have an adult blow up the balloon so it’s about 16 inches around and knot it. For the finishing touch, tie several long ribbon streamers around the neck. When the crafts are complete, head outside to see who can throw the longest pass with the newly made rockets. Balloon rockets are also great to use for a children’s party. Have guests form a circle and see how many balloon rockets can be kept in the air at once, or just form two lines and see which pair of kids can throw the longest pass. For more balloon rocket ideas, visit www.spoonful.com/crafts/rocket-balloons.

National Parents’ Day

Mark your calendar on Sunday, July 28, for National Parents’ Day. Since 1994, the fourth Sunday of every July has been dedicated to honoring all parents. This day helps recognize the importance parental figures play in their children’s lives. Remember to celebrate the special bond. Spend the day how you want whether on a date with your spouse or an outing with your entire family.

Blueberry Month

Blueberries are a staple of summer, and July happens to be National Blueberry Month. Instead of purchasing a carton of them at the store, take a family trip to harvest some. Check out www.pickyourown.org to learn more about blueberries, picking tips, and to find a farm near you.

Fourth of July Wreath

Let your children decorate your house for this Fourth of July with a patriotic wreath. For more Fourth of July ideas and recipes, visit www.allkidsnetwork.com.

What you’ll need: •Paper plate •Blue, 3-D paint •Craft foam, pre-cut, 6-in. stars in red, white, and blue •Scissors •Glue •Tape

How To Make It:To make a wreath cut the center out of the paper plate and save the outer rim. Use a generous amount of glue around the paper plate rim. Next, glue on the stars, overlapping them slightly and alternating colors. After the glue has set, flip the flag wreath over and use tape for extra support. Lastly, use the blue paint to write “USA” on one of the stars.

Hot Dog Month

Happy National Hot Dog Month. Fun fact: Americans eat approximately 150 million hot dogs on the Fourth of July. July is known for barbecues, and barbecues are known for hot dogs. Remember to grab a hot dog at the next backyard shindig, or baseball game you attend to help celebrate this holiday. Look into more fun facts at www.hot-dog.org.

Red, White, and Blue Juice

Quench your thirst this July 4 with a patriotic red, white, and blue drink. Visit www.food.com to find other ways to keep your family cool and hydrated this summer.

What you’ll need: •Cranberry juice or fruit punch •Gatorade sports drink (blue) •Sugar-free 7Up or Sprite •Ice cubes

How To Make It: Place the ice cubes in the bottom third of a tall, 12-oz., clear cup. Pour cranberry juice or fruit punch in next. Place a few more cubes into the middle section, and pour in the blue Gatorade. Top off the drink with another handful of ice followed by the 7Up or Sprite. Drink and enjoy!

This column appeared in the July 2013 issue.