11 SUPER EASY 4th of July Snacks And #DIY Party Ideas

Need some 4th of July Inspiration?
Check out a few of my favorite Yummy Snack and #DIY ideas.


Red, White and BLEU sliders!
I love bleu cheese. love it!
Add blue food coloring to mustard to make
Red (ketchup), White (Mayo) and Blue (Mustard) Hotdogs! 

For the kids... Firework Dogs!

so easy!
I bet you could make a bunch and pile them high and still have the flag look.
You could do two types of cheeses,
and even have strawberries as the middle red stripe!
Use the left over watermelon to make adult beverages or popsicles! 
Tip: Freeze a few stars for fun drink chillers
Yes, Pls

#DIY Crafts

This is great to have if you have an annual party. 
This could be tedious, but easy enough

Red, white and Blue Rice tea lights!  Find citronella tea lights too!

The more I stare at this, the more I think I can do it. What do you think? Super easy, or super opportunity for a Pinterest "nailed It" moment?

For more fun ideas, check out my 4th of July Pinterest Board! 


Red White And Blue SHOTS!

Red White And Blue SANGRIA!!!

For many, many more super awesome ideas, check out my July 4th Independence Day Pinterest board.

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Firework Facts and Tips For A Safe 4th of July Celebration

Now, what kind of a paranoid first-time mom would I be if I didn't post a bunch of safety facts about Fireworks? Crappy.

 So, here goes...

Fireworks by the numbers: According to a 2014 Study Conducted by U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”)

Of the fireworks-related injuries sustained, 74 percent were to males, and 26 percent were to females.
  • Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for 35 percent of the estimated 2014 injuries. Nearly half of the estimated emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries were to individuals younger than 20 years of age.
  • Children 5 to 9 years of age had the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated fireworks-related injuries (5.2 injuries per 100,000 people).
  • There were an estimated 1,400 emergency department-treated injuries associated with sparklers and 100 with bottle rockets.
  • There were an estimated 1,400 emergency department-treated injuries associated with firecrackers. Of these, an estimated 26 percent were associated with small firecrackers, an estimated 28 percent with illegal firecrackers, and an estimated 46 percent with firecrackers for which there was no specific information.
  • The parts of the body most often injured were hands and fingers (an estimated 36 percent); head, face, and ears (an estimated 19 percent); eyes (an estimated 19 percent); legs (an estimated 10 percent); and arms (an estimated 5 percent).
  • Fifty-four percent of the emergency department-treated injuries were burns. Burns were the most common injury to all parts of the body, except the eyes, where contusions, lacerations, and foreign bodies in the eyes occurred more frequently.
  • Approximately 83 percent of the victims were treated at the hospital emergency department and then released. An estimated 14 percent of patients were treated and transferred to another hospital or admitted to the hospital. 

In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires, including 1,200 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported civilian deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage.
Source: National Council On Firework Safety 
On July 4th, in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.

In 2013, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 11,400 people for fireworks related injuries; 55% of those injuries were to the extremities and 38% were to the head.

Source: National Council On Firework Safety 
The risk of fireworks injury is highest for young people ages 0-4, followed by children 10-14.

Here are a few tips to keep you and your family from being one of those statistics...

Sparklers are the leading cause of injuries to children.
  • Parents and caretakers should always closely supervise teens if they are using fireworks.
  • Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.
  • Fireworks should only be used outdoors.
  • Always have water ready if you are using fireworks.(I have the hose on and a bucket of water close by.)
  • Know your fireworks; Read the caution label before igniting.
  • Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
  • Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.
  • Only light one firework at a time.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Avoid using homemade fireworks or illegal explosives: They can kill you!
  • Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.
  • Lastly, soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor, fire resistant garbage can away from buildings and flammable materials.
  • For more information on Fire Work Safety visit the, National Council On Firework Safety. 

Ok, and for those out there that need a scare tactic to keep them from being a dumbass with a firework: (Source: "CPSC")

On July 4, a 44-year-old male from Michigan was killed when a mortar shell firework exploded. According to witnesses, the victim and his friends had a barbecue and set off fireworks during the evening. The victim initially set the launching tube on the cement ground and launched three shells successfully. Then the victim decided to launch the fourth shell while holding the launch tube with his arms extended and the tube pointed in an upward angle. The tube blew up from the back and hit the victim directly in the chest. The victim was knocked backward about 8 to 10 feet and flew into the fence, and he died shortly after the explosion. The medical examiner’s office found the base plug from the tube deep inside the victim’s chest. The plug appeared to be made of clay and measured 1- 7/8" in diameter and was 2-1/8" tall. The officials were unable to determine if a consumer mortar shell or a display shell was used. 


And last, GREAT news for the environmentally conscious, (Which is hopefully everyone): 

Some groups have already found substitutes for barium compounds and potassium perchlorate. By replacing chlorine with iodine, a team at the U.S. Army’s Pyrotechnics Technology and Prototyping Division found that sodium and potassium periodate are both safe and effective oxidizers. The same group also found success replacing barium with boron. The work is aimed at making more environmentally friendly flares for military use, but could also be applied to civilian fireworks. Some fireworks that use nitrogen-rich compounds in place of perchlorates have been used in small displays, but the challenge is making eco-friendly products as cheap as alternatives.

From my family to yours, we wish you a safe and wonderful Independence Day!

OH! And if you don't already follow us on Instagram, you might want to start, FTD is Obsessed with Fireworks, and constantly making me record his "reviews" of various fireworks.  To say it's funny is an understatement!  Follow us  Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | YouTube | Google+ | LinkedIn

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5 Essential Summer Safety Tips That WILL Save Your Child's Life

YAY!  It's finally here... Summer! The warm beautiful weather, outdoor activities and family fun are plentiful this time of year. Unfortunately, so are the opportunities for sunburns, heat rashes, bug bites, water dangers and many more summer activity hazards. Below are five important summer safety tips to help ensure a super spectacular summer!

Why yes, that is Ollie and Professor "The Bloody Cat" playing at the beach!
1. Avoid sunburns like the plague: According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, getting one blistering sunburn when you are a kid doubles your chances of developing melanoma. It goes without saying the best way to avoid a sunburn is to avoid the sun, but during the warm summer months that is near impossible, so always apply at least an SPF 15 sunscreen to exposed skin 30 minutes before exposure. Also, whenever possible try to provide shade for your child in the form of umbrellas, loose clothing, long-sleeves, light pants and wide-brimmed hats.

For children under 6 months old, consult your physician before using any sunscreen. For children over 6 months old, but under 2 years old, visit The Environmental Working Group’s website (EWG.org) for an extensive list of safe sunscreens for sensitive skin.  (To read my complete post on the BEST and WORST sunscreens for the little ones Click Here.)

*If sunburn occurs and your child starts to feel ill, consult your pediatrician – seek immediate medical attention if your little one’s temperature reaches 105f.

For squirmy faces I LOVE the Honest Company Sunblock Stick, because it works great on squirmy faces, and the EWG gives it it's top safety rating! 

To get it now, click here.

2. Swim Smart- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 800 children drown every year. That number is scary and beyond heart breaking. For that reason, when around any body of water with young children and poor swimmers, stay within arm's reach.

Here are a few top tips from the Red Cross on pool/water safety-
  • Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone. 
  • Do not trust a child’s life to another child 
  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
    This is what I have Ollie in this Summer--They are called Puddle Jumpers.
  • Establish rules for your family and enforce them without fail. 
  •  Safety covers and pool alarms should be added as additional layers of protection.
  • Teach children to always ask permission to go near water!
  • If you are around water and your child is missing ALWAYS check the water first. Seconds count. 
* Secondary drowning occurs after a child has struggled in the water. It is rare and accounts for only 1-2% of drowning cases, but still be aware that if your child has struggled in the water, and swallowed water as a result, secondary drowning is possible. Look for these warning signs:
  • Trouble Breathing, chest pain, or cough
  • Sudden change in behavior 
  • Extreme Fatigue
The bottom line is that you know your child, after a near drowning incident or long day of swimming,  Be aware of any sudden changes from the norm.

3. Stings and Bites-With lovely warm weather comes evil pesky bugs. Unfortunately, bright colors and floral prints (summer colors!) attract bees and wasps, as do those sweet sticky faces and hands. If you are going to a park or area that you know will have a high concentration of bugs, bees and wasps, stick to clothing with muted light solid colors.

If your child is stung, don't pull out the stinger with fingers or tweezers. Scrape gently with a credit card to push the stinger out in the direction in which it entered. Once the stinger is out, make a paste out of baking soda and water, or a 0.5 percent hydrocortisone cream can provide relief.

As for insect repellents… DEET can be toxic! Repellents with 10 to 30 percent concentrations of DEET can be used on exposed skin, clothing and shoes but do not apply it too little faces or hands. If you want to avoid DEET, the (CDC) recommends repellents that are made up with picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus, both are non-toxic and work just as well as formulas with low levels of DEET.

*The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the CDC recommend that for children older than 2 months of age use 10% to 30% DEET. DEET should never be used on children younger than 2 months of age.

*Combination sunscreen/insect repellent products should be avoided because sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours, but the insect repellent should not be reapplied.

We LOVE and use the Honest Company All Natural Bug Spray and their sunblock stick for squirmy little faces...

To buy it now, click here! 

4. Over Heating/dehydration/and heat rashes- The key to avoiding overheating is to stay hydrated. Always have cool drinks, preferably water or sports drinks readily available to your children. Never wait for your child to tell you he is thirsty. According to the AAP, your child is already dehydrated when he asks for something to drink, so offer lots of fluids both before going outside, and once your child is outside playing.   

* Hot, humid weather can lead to blocked sweat glands that lead to nasty rashes in the folds of your child’s skin. If this occurs, place your child in a cool, soapless bath.  Dry him completely then apply cornstarch powder to the rash, and avoid unnecessary clothing.  The rash should clear up in two to three days.

5. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR CHILD UNATTENDED IN THE CAR FOR A MINUTE! Next time you are alone in your car, turn it off and count to 60 - Not very comfortable is it?  Within one minute your car can increase by ten degrees Fahrenheit!  TEN! Under no circumstance should your child be left in a car. 

*Even the very best parents and caregivers have been known to forget about a sleeping child in the backseat. A good rule of thumb is to keep a small stuffed animal in the car and every time you get in place the small stuffed animal in your lap to remind you that your child is in the car. Or place your purse/laptop bag in the backseat with your child, so you have to get in the backseat before leaving your car. (Thanks for the tip, Mel!) This is especially useful in the mornings.  This may save your child’s life.  

If you have any experiences or tips that you would like to share...please leave a comment below.  Have a happy and safe summer!

And last, a bonus, and something near to my heart, proper eye care during the summer season, and all year long... you don't want crows feet right?  The follow infographic will blow your mind!

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20 Defining MOMents of Motherhood. A.k.a. You Know You're a Mom When...

    Hearing your newborn baby's first cry is no doubt one of the most amazing and profound moments in a woman's life. But what about all of the other unforgettable MOMents of motherhood?  
    Like that MOMent when...
  1. You get your baby home from the hospital and realize, you have no clue what you are doing.
  2. It's clear that breastfeeding is anything but, "Plug and Chug"
  3. You realize you can survive off zero sleep for six months straight.
  4. You're standing in the store and realize everyone is staring at you because have spit up all over you. As usual, you didn't bother looking in the mirror before leaving the house.
  5. You find yourself in the shower at 4am because you have just been pooped, puked and peed on simultaneously during a "routine" diaper change.
  6. Thanks to your lack of sleep and inability to get out in the sun, your dark circles and pasty skin have caused you to be mistaken for the beginning of the Zombie Apocalypse.
  7. You try to summon the devil in the wee hours of morning in an attempt to trade your soul to get ONE more hour of sleep.  
  8. You can smell a loaded diaper from across the playground, and have no doubt it belongs to your child. It's true... you can smell your own.
  9. You realize just how important the 'free cookie' at the grocery store is. 
  10. You learn just how dangerous a quiet toddler is. 
  11. Your make-up has been used to color on the wall and carpet. 
  12. It's undeniable that there's a hidden sensor in your couch that alerts your spouse and child you have sat down.
  13. You don't even bother closing the door when you go into the bathroom anymore. 
  14. Your child said "Shit", because so did you.
  15. Your phone is in the toilet, because all you wanted was three minutes of peace and quiet when you handed it over..
  16. You are certain you a better chance of winning the lottery, than cleaning the house with a toddler around.
  17. You stop caring what other people think, and raise your child like a BOSS!
  18. You think you are going to lose your sanity if your child does not stop throwing food, screaming for no reason, unloading every drawer in the house, trowing everything in his path, climbing on the coffee table and refusing to take a nap... ALL BEFORE NOON... but some how don't... DEFINING!
  19.  Motherhood has turned you into one badass warrior woman... 
  20. That MOMent you realize being a mother is the best thing that's ever happened to you.

That's my boy! 

What are your favorite MOMents?

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Super-Healthy Homemade Popsicles For Picky Eaters

Last summer, when my toddler, then three, was eating so many popsicles his poop turned bright green, I quickly realized I needed to take control of the situation. Not to mention, the sugar overload from the store bought popsicles were making him a crazy person. I grabbed the box of popsicles and read the ingredients. Not one ingredient included fruit of any kind. The again, what did I expect, I was buying what was on sale.  Sometimes, like two-bucks a box!

Hello, RED FLAG!

After reading the ingredients and finding there was NOTHING healthy in the cheap-o popsicles, I went to the store to find "healthy" popsicles.

It turns out, they don't exist. Every single brand of popsicle started with sugar. Most, had at least one or two fillers/preservatives that I had no interest pumping into my kid. 

Knowing that cutting out popsicles was going to be impossible, I turned to the Internet and Googled, "Homemade Popsicles." I was blown away by how many recipes for healthy homemade popsicles were available. From two ingredient popsicles, to boozy "pop-tails", to chocolate covered goodness.

It took less than five minutes to realize, not only was I going to start making my own popsicles, I was going to save a ton of money!

For those of you just entering into the world of homemade popsicles, do I have good news for you, most allt kid-friendly popsicles are made with ingredients you already have in your kitchen! If you have yogurt, fresh or frozen fruit and juice you have AWESOME popsicles waiting to be made.

Probably one of my favorite things about making my own popsicles is being able to clean out my refrigerator. I open my produce drawer and start grabbing the things that need to be used; spinach, kale, apples, oranges, strawberries, bananas... 

Now that you have the ingredients, next is the molds. So where to get them? Paper cups and popsicles sicks work well...

However, if you want real molds, good news, you can find them anywhere! Your local grocery, drugstore, kid's store or boutique, and kitchen stores like Bed Bath & Beyond and William-Sonoma.  I got one of our molds on super clearance from Pottery Barn Kids.

They come in every shape and size too!

Pretty much, the next store you walk into, look for popsicle molds. And if you don't find them, opt for small Dixie cups and craft popsicle sticks.

I will say, moms swear by the silicone popsicle tubes. In fact, I've heard so many great things about them being mess free, I just ordered a pack of 6 from Amazon, since I couldn't find them in any of m y local shops.

You can buy the one's shown above here: Silicone Popsicle Molds - Set of 6 Reusable Molds with Attached Lids - 50 Recipes E book

OK, now that the molds are covered, it's time to move on to the super-duper easy part, making the popsicles!

It's a four step process; Blend. Pour. Freeze. Eat

Seriously, it's SO easy! Throw the ingredients into the blender, and blend until smooth. Then pour into popsicle molds and freeze. No Blender? Mash and mix the crap out of what every your using. Pour mixture into molds, freeze and eat! It's REALLY that simple.
VoilàYou're a popsicle pro.

My personal favorite go-to popsicle flavors, using ingredients (always) in my kitchen are:

  • Frozen tropical fruit and coconut water-I ALWAYS have both, so it's my go-to
  • Strawberry and Cantaloupe- so easy and so good.
  • Orange juice and yogurt; Think Dreamsicle.  SO YUM!
  • Coconut cream or coconut water and mango is mind blowing good.
  • Peanut butter, bananas and yogurt-Ollie Fave
  • Sweet tea and peaches-My fave!
  • Speaking of tea- a boozy favorite is Long Island Ice Tea pop-tails
  • Bananas and Nutella-So wrong, it's so right 
  • Root Beer and low-fat vanilla ice cream--Root Beer Float goodness!
  • Snickers and ice-cream make an awesome summer backyard party dessert! (make heaps with Dixie cups)
Tip: To make those fancy layers, pour one or two layers in at a time then freeze. Repeat. 

To see step-by-step recipes for each of my favorites and recipes, and for quite a few more, including boozy Pop-tails; Check out my Homemade Popsicle Heaven Pinterest Board, Here!

What's your favorite homemade popsicle?
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The 2016 TOP RATED Best and Worst Sunscreens For Children

When it comes to protecting our Little's delicate skin, providing the safest "broad spectrum" sunscreen is essential. What you may not know,is some of the top makers of sunscreen are the absolute worst, and that most of the safest sunscreen are inexpensive, you just have to know what you are looking for! Below is a list of the Environmental working group's Best and Worst sunscreens for children in 2016, and what to avoid and look for.

A few things to know before buying ANY sunscreen.

  • Spray sunscreens can be inhaled, and they don’t cover skin completely. NOTE: The FDA has expressed doubts about their safety and effectiveness but hasn’t banned them. 
  • SPF values above 50+ try to trick you into believing they’ll prevent sun damage. Don’t trust them. SPF protection tops out at 30 to 50.
  • Oxybenzone can disrupt the hormone system.
  • Retinyl palmitate may trigger damage, possibly cancer.
THE 2016 BEST Sunscreen For Children:

Twenty-Two made the list!
Adorable Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30+
All Good Kid’s Sunscreen, SPF 33
All Terrain KidSport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
ATTITUDE Little Ones 100% Mineral Sunscreen, Fragrance Free, SPF 30
babyhampton beach*bum sunscreen, SPF 30
Badger Kids Sunscreen Cream, SPF 30
Bare Belly Organics Baby Sunscreen, SPF 30
Belly Buttons & Babies Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen, Baby, SPF 30+
BurnOut Kids Physical Sunscreen, SPF 35
California Baby Super Sensitive Sunscreen, SPF 30+
COOLA Suncare Baby Mineral Sunscreen Unscented Moisturizer, SPF 50
Goddess Garden Kids Sport Natural Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
Hampton Sun Sunscreen Lotion For Baby, SPF 45
Jersey Kids Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
Kiss My Face Organics Kids Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 30
Nurture My Body Baby Organic Sunscreen, SPF 32
Substance Baby Natural Sun Care Creme, SPF 30
Sunology Natural Sunscreen, Kids, SPF 50
Sunumbra Sunkids Natural Sunscreen, SPF 40
Thinksport for Kids Sunscreen, SPF 50+
TruKid Sunny Days Sport Sunscreen, SPF 30
THE 2016 WORST Sunscreens For Children in 2016

These 13 kids’ and baby sunscreens have at least three strikes against them: oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate and SPFs above 50+. Four have an additional strike: they’re aerosol sprays that can expose sensitive young lungs to potentially hazardous chemicals. Convenient? Yes. Good for kids? Absolutely not.

2016 products

TIP: When using a sunscreen for the first time on your child, apply in a small area and monitor for allergic reaction, before slathering it on. Little ones can easily get a chemical burn from the stronger, unsafe, lotions.

**Disclaimer from the Environmental Working Group: Sunscreen manufacturers frequently reformulate their ingredients and packaging. EWG’s 2016 sunscreen database gathers information from sunscreen companies directly and by reviewing products sold by major retailers. When purchasing a sunscreen you should check the ingredients to make sure it matches the product listed in the database.
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