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We’re T-Minus 5 days until the Fourth of July, when we celebrate our nation’s Independence! My house is fairly patriotic year-round, but even more so on holidays like this one, Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day and Patriot Day (September 11). Red, white and blue fill the house and the yard, and there’s always a reading of the Declaration of Independence.

I have a plethora of small flags in two different sizes. The larger ones are perfect for lining the driveway and sidewalk, the smaller ones really jazz up potted plants and smaller spaces. Big Lots and the Dollar Tree usually carry packages of soft mints, wrapped in the colors of Old Glory, Tootsie Roll puts out a patriotic Tootsie Pop, and if you’re lucky, you can find red, white and blue – and even camouflage-patterned M&Ms (swear it).

Of course you can also whip up a few all-American treats of your own. While I’m off to try my hand at some red, white and blue candle holders (made from tin cans, no less), here are two super-simple ideas to keep your crowd smiling on the Fourth!

Snow Cone/Shaved Ice Syrup:

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 (0.13 ounce) packages unsweetened, fruit-flavored drink mix – any flavor

Stir together the sugar and water in saucepan. Bring to a boil, and boil for about 1 minute. Remove from heat, and stir in the drink mix. Allow to cool, and store in a container for pouring (those plastic ketchup/mustard/oil bottles are perfect). Pour over crushed or shaved ice. If you don’t have an ice-crusher,  you can buy pre-bagged ice pellets from Sonic (perfect!).

Kettle Corn:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat (you may want to make sure pot has a snug fitting lid :-). Add popcorn kernels and sugar, cover and shake pan constantly so the sugar doesn’t burn. Remove from heat when popping slows to 2-3 seconds between pops. Continue shaking for a bit longer to allow those stragglers to pop. Pour into bowl, add a bit of salt, if you’re crazy like we are, and stir gently to break up any clumps. Pop beforehand and take a bag along to your town’s 4th of July parade. You’ll have a great go-to snack for the family and save yourself a few bucks while you’re at it.



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