Pinterest Inspired Firecrackers for the Fourth

As I was walking through Home Depot with my husband Saturday evening he informed me that I am frequently the topic of conversation on Monday mornings in the office.
How exciting!
Visions of all the fabulous things he might say immediately ran through my head.
Like the fact that I’m a outstanding cook, or an ace at managing our three teenagers without stressing, or a dynamite wife that can’t be beat…..
Alas, those are not the conversations.
His conversations start out more like this:
“So Chris, how much did Pinterest cost you this weekend?”
“Audley, we made “x” amount of trips to Home Depot”
“I feel ya.  Jen had us at Michaels 3 times this weekend!”
So much for the romantic husband who has so much more he could brag about.
Truth be told, we only went to Michael’s and Home Depot once (in the same trip) this weekend.
And I only spent $20 on my Pinterest project…. saving a little because I already had a little paint & used Michael’s 40% off coupons.
The project?
These super cute firecrackers for a little Fourth of July decorating.
There were several variations of these on Pinterest; from tabletop versions to this porch display.
I personally liked the porch display, so that was the direction I went.
Here is a list of supplies for this little project:
1- 4x4x8 (cut into 27, 30 & 33 inch pieces… Home Depot will cut this for free!)
3- 2×6 pieces of wood
(Check the scrap bin at Home Depot …. they may give you these for free or very cheap)
White Primer
Red, White & Blue glossy spray paint
24-inches of thick rope
White & Red paint pens (or acrylic paint & brushes)
drill bit (for drilling holes for the rope)
Screws or long nails to assemble the bases and posts
1. Attach your 6-inch square pieces of wood to the 4×4 posts to create a base for your firecracker to stand on.  2. In the top of your 4×4 post, drill a 1-inch hole the diameter of your rope for it to sit down in.  3. Prime your wood.  4. Spray paint the “firecrackers” red, white & blue.
After all of the painting is finished, write out which ever words you would like on your firecrackers.
I wanted mine to say “Snap, Crackle & Pop.”
Audley said that was a cereal, so I used “boom” to replace “snap”.
I do recommend that if you don’t have a steady hand with a paint brush to definitely use a paint pen.  You can really tell a difference in writing with a brush and writing with a pen.
The last step is to place the wicks into your firecrackers.  Audley cut the rope into even pieces and secured them to the base with clear silicone (and rubbed a little on the top to keep it from unraveling).
And now we have a colorful welcome at our front door!
Have a fabulous Tuesday!

Last Minute Ideas for the Fourth

Our teenage nephews are staying with us this week, bringing the total amount of teenagers to our home to five!  It’s been an interesting week planning meals because they seem to want to eat around the clock!
We didn’t make big plans for the July 4th holiday other than relaxing at home, but I did want to make it a fun day as we cook-out and attempt to satisfy their ravenous appetites!
Little patriotic touches help set the mood and make a great backdrop for our cook-out dishes.


Decorating for a cook-out doesn’t have to be expensive or over-the-top.  A simple pinwheel made from scrapbook paper tucked in a pot of geraniums or colored rice in jars make for inexpensive and festive accessories.
Battery powered tea lights last longer than their traditional counterparts.  I found these at Party City.
Serve drinks up in Mason jars with straws that mimic fireworks. Scraps of red, white and blue material tied around them continue this colorful theme.
You can find these cute straws at Hobby Lobby
Then there is always the option of letting the food serve as your centerpiece.
I made this cake for an earlier celebration, but placed on a pedestal plate, it is perfect for a cook-out centerpiece.
For dessert tomorrow, I made “Cup” cakes for the teens.
{Audley & I have to pass}
I used the same recipe as I did for the cake above, but cut it into rounds and layered it in jars, using buttercream icing to separate the layers.
Each “cake” was topped with red, white, and blue sprinkles and cute little pinwheels.
The Pinwheels are from Wilton & purchased on clearance at Michaels last year.
I love individual desserts. I always feel like I am making them special for each person who will be dining with us.
Right now these colorful desserts are sitting in my refrigerator getting much attention.   I’ll be lucky if they even make it to lunch tomorrow!
I hope your plans for the Fourth make for many happy memories!
And, from our home in the sultry south, wishing you all a very safe and Happy Fourth of July!

Red, White & Blue

Despite the heat and Southern humidity, it’s absolutely my favorite time of the year: picnics, pool parties, cook-outs, and relaxing fun as we mingle with family and friends!  
The Fourth of July holiday is the highlight of the summer for me.  It’s a full day (or weekend) for us, but a day spent with the grandest of friends and the craziest of family as we stop in for a variety of parties, bringing in festive food and scrumptious treats to add to the celebration.
A patriotic welcome to our front entrance!
Come on in y’all!

While I love to visit and share our holiday with those dearest to our hearts, I also love to throw my own festive summer soiree’ for my little fam.  After all, some of best (and often most entertaining moments) occur around our dinner table!  Family time is most important to me and treasured so much as my babies are growing up and getting involved with so many other things.  I took a little time this year to set the mood around the house and fix a menu loaded with family favorites for our early July 4th party.

Who knows, maybe you will find a little inspiration for your holiday weekend!

Nothing is better in the sizzling’ summer months than a grilled burger!  Don’t settle for just beef; ground lamb is absolutely amazing.  Pepperidge Farm makes slider buns which add a new twist to cooking out at home!  Make sure you have an assortment of condiments to dress up your burgers.
Personally I love a fresh caprese salad on a hot summer day!  Not only are the ingredients simple (tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper), but it is easy to layer and assemble as well.
Can’t you just taste a fresh garden tomato?
The basil leaves I used here came from my “boxwood” basil plant which adds a little variety to my herb collection.


When I plan dinner for my family, I try to think of the things everyone likes.  Chips & salsa top the list of must haves for an evening cook-out, no matter what we are grilling.



I found these festive chips at the Fresh Market and bought a couple of bags to share throughout the holiday weekend.
Fix a basket full and let everyone snack and dip while waiting on supper to finish!


white chip basket from HomeGoods, patriotic napkin Hobby Lobby ($1.29)
And no holiday meal is complete without dessert!


These Mason jars make the perfect size for serving individual desserts.  No more “she got more than me!”, the kids all have the same.  Mason jars also make it easier to take dessert to go, and just look so cute!
For our simple dessert, I whipped up a little cream and layered fresh blueberries and strawberries for the cool treat.  My kiddos would rather have berries and cream than cake or pie any day of the week!



Don’t forget to make your drinks fit the occasion as well!
Mason jars filled with iced tea!
 What could possible be more Southern than that?!?!  


basket from HomeGoods ($9.99) & straws from Hobby Lobby (20 for $1.99)


And if you need an easy centerpiece for you table, color (and dry) a bit of rice and layer in a vase.  I made pinwheels from scrapbook paper & dowel rods to put in my vase, but you can also use it as a candle holder or fill it with silk flowers.
It’s super easy and really so cute!
“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness.  You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.”  
~Erma Bombeck
So, what are you serving up for the July 4th holiday on Monday?  How will you celebrate this defining summer holiday?
I’m adding this to Foodie Friday this week.  Stop over at Designs By Gollum for some more inspiration for your holiday weekend!