My Patriotic Extravaganza

The 4th of July is tomorrow! As one of my favorite holidays, I thought I would share with y’all a little bit on how I’m celebrating, with decorations, food, and a game.

Decorations: Red, White, and Blue Banner

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  • Red, White, and Blue Bandannas
  • Twine
  • Hot Glue


1. Cut the bandannas into triangles or rectangles (whatever shape you desire).

2. Hot glue the tops of the shapes onto the twine and hang inside or outside.

Food: Red, White, and Blue Parfaits

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Red layer:

  • 1 (3 oz) package of strawberry gelatin
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries

White layer:

  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 1 tablespoon (1 envelope) of unflavored gelatin powder
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream, liquefied

Blue layer:

  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 1 tablespoon (1 envelope) of unflavored gelatin powder
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ cups blueberries
  • 6 Mason Jars
  • Whipped Cream


Strawberry layer: Stir 1 cup of boiling water into the strawberry gelatin until gelatin is fully dissolved. Add in ½ cup of cold water and the chopped strawberries.

1. Arrange the jars at an angle in a muffin tin.

2. Put flour or uncooked rice in the wells to hold the jars in place. Gently spoon equal amounts of the strawberry gelatin mixture into each of the jars. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes.

White layer: Once the strawberry gelatin is firm, begin making the white ice cream layer. In a medium bowl, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the unflavored gelatin evenly over 1/4 cup of cold water (allow the gelatin to absorb the water for 2 minutes). Then, stir in ½ cup of boiling water until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Mix in ½ cup of sugar, then stir in 1 cup of the melted ice cream until smooth

1. With the jars still at an angle in the muffin tin, spoon equal amounts of the ice cream mixture into each of the jars.

2. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Blueberry layer: Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of unflavored gelatin evenly over 1/4 cup of cold water in a bowl. Wait 2 minutes to allow the gelatin to absorb the water. Add in ½ cup of boiling water. Stir until the gelatin is dissolved and then mix in ½ cup of sugar. Lastly, add the 1 ½ cup of blueberries.

1. Refrigerate the blueberry mixture in the bowl until it thickens to the consistency of a gel .

2. Take the jars out of the muffin tin and set them upright.

3. Spoon equal amounts of the blueberry mixture into each of the jars. Refrigerate until firm.

4. Garnish with whipped cream and serve.



Game: Test Your Patriotic Knowledge! 

Quiz your friends on their Patriotic Knowledge. Person to get the most right wins. (Answers below.) 

1. What is the capital of Colorado?

2. The Mardi Gras celebration is held in the French Quarter of where?

3. Which state became the 50th state, admitted on August 21, 1959?

4. Name the six states that make up New England.

5. Coca-Cola was founded in which capital city?

6. Which state capital name means “protected bay?”

7. Which state is famous for earthquakes?

8. What state is known for having crocodiles?

9. Also known as Mary Hayes McCauley, what woman carried water to men in the Battle of Monmouth during the Revolutionary War in 1778?

10. Who was the leader of the Underground Railroad, which brought many slaves to freedom?

Answers: 1. Denver 2. New Orleans 3. Hawaii 4. Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island 5. Atlanta, Georgia 6. Honolulu, Hawaii 7. California 8. Florida 9. Molly Pitcher 10. Harriet Tubman 



Memorial Day


After several days of packing, moving, and unpacking, it is nice to relax by the pool and enjoy some BBQ on this Memorial Day. However, there is one thing not to be missed: the real reason for the holiday.

Today isn’t about the fireworks, opening of pools, or ringing in the summer season. It’s about remembering the military members who gave the ultimate price for our country’s freedom. You can probably tell by now that I bleed red, white, and blue. Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and Veteran’s Day are a few of my favorite days of the year.

Let us not forget to remember our fallen soldiers today and everyday. Add a new tradition to your backyard BBQ this year with a few of the ideas below.

1: Raise your American flag outside your home.

2: Visit a veteran’s home and capture their story.

3: Share a picture of a beloved fallen military member on social media.

4: Write thank you notes to our troops serving throughout the world.

5: Watch or listen to the National Memorial Day Concert.



Why Milk and Bread?

We all know the predicted snow tradition–run to the grocery store and grab milk and bread, before they’re all gone. On my snow shopping list is fruit, pizza, wine, and chips, but I also make sure I get the two foods listed above. So, why is milk and bread a staple during winter weather?

After doing a little research, I discovered these foods are actually terrible survival foods, due to one (milk) being non-perishable and the other’s (bread) short shelf life; however, they represent something. They represent life’s simplicity and comfort. An article in the Washington Post states “Symbolically, they’re easy to decode. Bread is the host, the staff of life, a palpable object of survival. Milk is … the sustenance that a mother provides an infant, a biblical promise (‘a land flowing with milk and honey’).” Knowing that food resources may soon be limited, it is part of our human nature to stock up on items needed for survival, especially if the items help put you at ease. This dairy and grain represent times in history where knowing if you had these two items, you were going to be okay–kinda like the comfort we need to feel when a snowstorm is on its way.

My advice to you: next time, it is supposed to snow, buy some milk and bread.




Winter Thoughts from a Beach Bum

“Ok, got my hat, gloves, scarf…” This has been my mental to-do list every morning for the past few days as I head out to the door and into the cold. Yes, I do end up looking somewhat like Randy from A Christmas Story, but, hey, I’m a Southern girl who doesn’t do cold weather.

Like most of the United States, the South was hugely hit by the winter storm. Green grass is currently covered in snow and ice, and won’t be going away anytime soon. The high temperature for today is 16 degrees Fahrenheit. Yes, you read that right–16. Also, more winter weather is expected for tomorrow and Saturday. If I think we have it bad down here, I keep reassuring myself, saying at least it’s not Boston (bless their hearts).

Dealing with the winter weather can be stressful, and tiring, especially since I’m a beach bum. Trust me, I could live at the beach! To help ease this stress, I handle the frigid temperatures with these five tricks:

1. Wear tights or leggings underneath pants, to replace long johns–this helps me stay warmer!

2. Fix hat hair by spraying dry shampoo into my hair, after removing my hat.

3. Park my car facing east–this allows for the rising sun to melt the ice and snow off my car before I have to leave in the morning.

4. Make snow cream with fresh snow–all you need is snow, milk, sugar, and vanilla (I do turn into a 5 year old when the snow starts falling, but after a day or so, I’m done).

5. Dream of summer and picture myself sitting on a beach somewhere.

Stay warm!



Simpler Times

“The good ole days.” This phrase means something different to everyone. To me, it means reminiscing about valued memories and simpler times, but what exactly are simpler times?

Sure, there were times when there wasn’t much technology or times when you spent most of the day outdoors. Throughout the decades, simpler times took on new meanings as people changed and ideas developed. My definition of simpler times is perfectly described in country music singer Miranda Lambert’s ‘Automatic.’ Lambert sings about doing things all by hand, not relying so much on technology, and life before everything became automatic–the simpler times.

Growing up, I remember shaking pictures to get them to develop, writing letters and putting a stamp on them for people to get them three days later, and recording movies and films on VHS tapes. There are benefits of technology and getting things at high speed, but there are also down falls.

Call me old-fashioned, but I would give anything to live in earlier decades. Don’t get me wrong, I love living in the time I do now, but there are something things I would like to change, such as going back to the old ways and doing a little bit more by hand. My goal-incorporate the lessons, technology, and moments of today with the lessons and memories of the past.



To Those Who Serve, Thank You

I have always had a soft spot for military members and veterans. I guess this comes from being the granddaughter of a World War II veteran and a daughter of an Army soldier, or it just might from my deep love for this country and those who serve. However, there is one thing we can agree on-that everyone who serves in the military deserves to be thanked for their bravery and sacrifice.

Earlier on Facebook, I saw a video about Joe Bell, a 95-year old World War II veteran who stood outside his house to cheer on runners during a local charity race, but quickly got a surprise when the runners began cheering him on instead.

The San Jose Mercury News reports Bell, dressed in his  full Army uniform, was spotted on the sidelines by runners. Many, then, began diverting off course to honor him by shaking his hand. One runner even panted “Thank you for your service.”

I encourage you to take the time today and everyday to thank a veteran for their service, because without their service and bravery, the United States could be a very different place. Also, take the time to listen to their stories about their experiences and time(s) serving in the military. Trust me, you will never forget them.

For ideas on how to thank those who are serving or have served, visit:







Fighting for a Cause

For the past few nights, I have been glued to the History channel, watching Sons of Liberty. This three part mini-series tells the story of our founding fathers coming together, fighting British rule, and creating the Declaration of Independence. Even though, I knew the outcome of these events and the Revolutionary War, I sat there in suspense as the years 1775-1776 played out on the t.v. screen.

Early American history has always been a favorite of mine. What caught my eye about this mini-series was that Sam Adams, John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, George Washington, and Paul Revere all knew their actions could cost them their lives, but yet, they believed so strongly in a cause, these men risked it all.

Have you ever believed so strongly in a cause, you were willing to risk it all? Not many of us probably have. Those men saw the advantages of creating a new nation and the advantages for generations to come. Think about some of the causes you are passionate about. How would fighting for those causes make it better for generations to come?

Country singer Dierks Bentley’s ‘Home’ describes just how America was born and the bravery our founding fathers and the colonists had to “chase that dream across the sea…sign their names for something they believed”…and go to war.

239 years later, this is still the place we all call home. In 2254, 239 years from today, will you be remembered for fighting for a cause?