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Celebrating In the Heart of Your Home

By Meagan Russell
In Bayou Kidz
Jun 30th, 2021

Make Memories with Your Children this July 4th

article by Cindy G. Foust

Happy July readers as I report in from my back porch, listening to birds chirping and you guessed it, donkey watching. Just kidding, I’m reporting in, but I’m sitting at my kitchen table because it feels like it is 120 degrees outside and we are in Arizona. That only means one thing… summer is finally here… and it came in with a bang. And it came in just in time to celebrate National Bikini Day on July 5th. I’ll tell you right now, I am absolutely not participating in this national and treasured holiday, because, well, my bikini doesn’t fit and hasn’t since 1995. Or before. I really don’t think I have ever been a bikini person…maybe that one time in college when I succumbed to peer pressure.  No, I’ve always been a one-piece swimsuit kind of gal.
Well, except that one other time when I wore a “tank-ini” and the “shorts” part of my beach ensemble came off after I shot through the waterpark tunnel at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. 

It was, as my family likes to remember, one of my finest Edith Bunker moments. And traumatized my son (now 23 and still in therapy over it) because he shot out of the tunnel right next to me. Except his swim trunks stayed on. I had to wait, however, for the lifeguard to retrieve mine from the “skimmer” or wherever swimsuit bottoms go when they come off. He was most apologetic, you know, like Disney World deliberately causes their guests to lose their bottoms and graciously said “Don’t worry, mam…this happens all the time.” Yeah. Right. So that promptly ended any two-piece of anything swimsuit ideas I had all the way to this swimsuit season. 

But is this column really about my swimsuit choices? Nah, I’ll leave that for the beautiful models we use every month and I’ll move right to this month’s hot, right off the press topic… getting into the kitchen with your children to celebrate July 4th. If you are a grandparent, don’t stop reading and flip to the next page because I am talking to you, too!

I don’t think I write nearly enough in this column on the value of teaching our kids to cook and what a joy it is for me, now, that my son is the resident Bobby Flay. I love watching him get creative; I love taking his calls when he wants to know if he should use peppers or onions; and should he use butter or cooking oil. Butter, son, always butter.

Anyway, there is no better time than now, when the kids are all home for the summer, and probably a little bored, to dive into the kitchen or gather around the island to start the culinary juices flowing. There are so many elementary ways to start this process, so don’t make this harder than it has to be.

  For example, you can start with Rice Krispie treats, and use red, white and blue food coloring in your marshmallow mixture. It might take three batches, but they are super simple to make and the kids can help with most every stage of the process. They will be proud when their tray of patriotic squares are served as dessert!

Another cool idea is using two of your jelly roll pans (I do have friends who I would have to describe what a jelly roll pan is, so if you are that friend, just email me… I’ll direct you to them in the store) and mix up two bowls of Jell-O. And, you guessed it, use cherry or strawberry and blue raspberry. Pour into your pans and let them “set” in the fridge. The fun part will be cutting them into squares or blocks and mixing in your glass bowl. It literally looks like a stained glass dessert and kids love it. I might also throw some sliced strawberries and blueberries in the mix because a little fruit never hurt anyone, right?

Next, I am obsessed with all things charcuterie right now, and this would be a fun adventure if you have the kids in the grocery store with you, right? Because anytime you have your kids with you in ANY store, it’s fun, right? But let them help you decide on fruits for your tray, which might include cutting your watermelon with a “star” cookie cutter.  There are so many options with strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, cheeses, crackers and pre-made desserts. I think you might be surprised how much fun it is to involve them in the process. You only need a large tray and a “little” patience when putting it all together. 

So what do you say, readers? Think you can make it happen for a great start in the kitchen with your kiddos? Don’t forget how simple and easy it is to decorate sugar cookies, make cupcakes or dip pretzels into colored candy chocolate. In other words, you don’t have to go all Bobby Flay and grill pineapple or make loaded baked beans.
As I typically try to encourage you, just make it fun and involve everyone in the process. I know there might be times where it would be easier to move than clean up the mess, but it’s so worth it hear and see the excitement from your children. I always say our best memories start in our kitchens, so get to it readers, making those memories and starting or continuing traditions from the heart of your home.

Cindy G. Foust is a wife, mom, author and blogger. You can find her blog at the alphabetmom.com for weekly columns about home life,  parenting, small business stories and insight with a smidgen of literacy. Give her a like or follow on Facebook and Instagram.