10 Delicious 4th of July Recipes Sure to Please EVERYONE!

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(*Warning~ I use a few “cuss” words in this post. I can’t help it.)

Fun Facts about Independence Day:

  1. The Declaration of Independence began as a letter to King George to explain why the Continental Congress voted to declare independence from Great Britain.
  2. The Declaration of Independence has five parts. They are: the Preamble, the Statement of Human Rights, Charges Against Human Rights, Charges Against the King and Parliament, and the Statement of Separation and Signatures.
  3. July 4 was officially declared a holiday in 1870, nearly one hundred years after the Declaration of Independence was written.
  4. Currently, the oldest Independence Day celebration in the U.S. is held in Bristol, Rhode Island.

Yesterday, I provided y’all with a great selection of 10 Easy, Quick, Simply Sweet Recipes for the 4th of July! What can I say? Sometimes I like to eat my dessert before my dinner. Most Americans do one thing in celebration of our Independence Day. Throw a kick-ass BBQ and invite EVERYONE.

These 10 Delicious 4th of July Recipes are Sure to Please EVERYONE!!! Some require marinating overnight, some require in-depth prep work, but they ALL will be more than worth the effort to feed your family and friends, and to be praised for being the “Best Damn Cook” in the world!!!

4th of July Firecracker Dogs @ Handmade in the Heartland

Y’all, these are easy and amazingly patriotic. I LOVE the addition of the colby cheese stars on the top. Perfect for children, or as an appetizer for hungry adults waiting on the grill to heat up!

Marinated Greek Chicken Skewers @ A Hint of Honey

How about a little protein and veggies for your 4th of July BBQ? These chicken skewers are quick to marinate, and are cooked up within 20 minutes on the grill. Less time cooking = happy eaters!

Firecracker Ribs @ A Cork, Fork, & Passport

A little bit of sweet, a little bit of spice, a lotta bit of OMGosh. My family loves ribs. My dad has an old family rub recipe that I am proud to know and use weekly on ribs and other things. But THESE babies look delicious! And it’s a staple in American 4th of July celebrations!

Grilled Shrimp @ The Little Kitchen

Are you feeling a little, shellfish? (haha, you see what I did there…even though shrimp are not shellfish…oh well, I tried!) Some people want to cook something different for a cookout. Look no farther. These simple and quick grilled shrimp are sure to be a hit!

Aloha BBQ Sliders @ Tidy Mom

These bad boys look amazing. Of course I would take the pineapple off of my burger, but if that is your forte, more to ya! And with smaller patties and Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, talk about MMMMM, good!

Ham & Cheese Sliders @ The Girl Who Ate Everything

I’ve seen this around the blogging world quite a lot, and I’ve made them a few times. The only thing I can say is, UMgaaaaaa!!! These babies are delicious and PERFECT for a pre-BBQ snack or to hold over those slightly inebriated friends of yours!

Heidi’s Famous Baked Beans @ The Girl Who Ate Everything

This recipe looks pretty easy and straight forward. As a girl who tends to buy a can of baked beans, put it in a pan, and add a little bacon and brown sugar, this recipe looks like something I might enjoy even more. And what’s a cookout without some good baked beans?

Fully Loaded Baked Potato Salad @ This is My Key West

I’m not big on potato salad, but this is like a twice baked potato, but BETTER. You can serve this hot or cold (I prefer hot, personally), and this is sure to be a favorite at your celebration!

Mac ‘N Cheese Cupcakes @ Nessa Makes

This is just pure genius! Everyone I know LOVES mac ‘n cheese. And what better way to eat it at a cookout…then with your HANDS?! Perfect for kids, as an appetizer, or as a side dish!

Patriotic Deviled Eggs @ Plain Chicken

Deviled eggs are one of my biggest food weaknesses. I could seriously eat the entire plate of them. THESE deviled eggs are beyond adorable and wonderfully patriotic. All it requires is water, boiled eggs (de-shelled), and food coloring. It does take a couple of hours to dye the eggs, so plan accordingly!

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And there you go! 10 Delicious 4th of July Recipes Sure to Please EVERYONE! We are planning a big cookout at my uncle’s pool this weekend, so I’ll be sure to pass on a few of these to my family so we can try some new recipes!

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Daily Inspiration ~ 6.30.2015 (Humor Break)

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Sometimes inspiration needs to make you laugh. I hope you enjoy some of these inspirational, and hilarious quotes!

Dalai Lama

If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.

Sydney Harris

When I hear somebody sigh, ‘Life is hard,’ I am always tempted to ask, ‘Compared to what?’

Tom Hirshfield

If you hit the target every time it’s too near or too big.

And there you have it. Instead of blasting my thoughts and daily inspiration, I decided to let the experts handle it today. Hope you enjoyed!

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10 Easy, Quick, Simply Sweet Recipes for the 4th of July!

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One of America’s greatest days to celebrate is fast approaching. Next Saturday, July 4, 2015, the good ole’ US of A celebrates 239 years of Independence from Great Britain. Despite the many negative events, emotions, and actions taking place within our country, the 4th of July is a day of celebration for ALL Americans.

I figured what better way to lead up to this momentous celebration by dedicating a post every day this week to Independence Day! Americans celebrate this day with good food, crafts, bbq’s, and fireworks!

Today, I give you 10 Easy, Quick, Simply Sweet Recipes for the 4th of July! Between Pinterest and just browsing the Internet, I literally found THOUSANDS of posts about this topic. Some posts had WAY too many links. This caused the page to load slow, and all the pop up advertisements got VERY annoying. So I spent a few hours looking through everything and picked my Top 10 recipes I am going to try this year.

Patriotic Oreo Pops @ Happiness is Homemade

These are so patriotic, and SO easy to make. Seriously, all it takes is candy melts, Oreo cookies, lollipop sticks, sprinkles, and the bowls/utensils/bags to create these masterpieces. That’s it!

4th of July Firecracker Jello Cups @ Cincy Shopper

These are so adorable! Just layer jello in plastic shot glasses, add the cherry, and let it cool completely. And for adults, add a little vodka to “spice” it up!!!

Red, White, and Blue Pinwheel Icebox Cookies @ Just a Taste

These require a LITTLE more effort, but they are fun and perfect for 4th of July. They are soft, chewy, and oh so yummy (I’ve tried these before and they were amazing!). **These require about 5-6 hours in the fridge, but you can make these a few days ahead of the party and pop them in the oven when you need them!**

Patriotic Pretzels @ The 36th AVENUE

And again, a quick, easy recipe that can be whipped up in minutes! This salty, sweet, delicious treat is sure to be a crowd pleaser at any 4th of July celebration!!

Red, White, and Blue Brownies @ Rumbly in My Tumbly

I think of everything I’m posting, THESE are the easiest (only if you use boxed brownies). Feel free to use boxed or homemade brownies. Then add a little melted chocolate and sprinkles, and voila! Instant patriotic and delicious brownies!

Patriotic Pretzel Bites @ Two Sisters Crafting

If you are feeling more like bite-sized snacks as opposed to large sticks, these Patriotic Pretzel Bites are just for you. These are VERY easy to make, and the mixture between the salty and sweetness is perfect. The best part? The mini-M&M’s add a great flavor!

4th of July Rice Krispies Treats @ A Southern Fairytale

As an American, you can’t go wrong with rice krispie treats in celebration of, well, being American! Just whip up each layer individually, and then layer in a baking dish. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

4th of July Bark @ Life with the Crust Cut Off

I’ve always wanted to try “bark,” but I’ve never gotten around to it. THIS recipe is so simple, I think I’m going to try it out this week! Just melt some chocolate and toss in some patriotic M&M’ and sprinkles.

4th of July Snack Mix @ Glorious Treats

I love, I repeat, LOVE, snack mixes. Homemade ones of course. It is such a versatile treat that you can add anything you want to it. So of course, why not make it patriotic?!

4th of July Fruit Kabobs @ The Frugal Girls

Hey, I HAD to include something somewhat healthy! These are easy to put together, and offer a variety most partiers won’t be able to resist. Both children and adults will love this tasty, sweet treat (and of course, use caution with children).

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And there you have it. 10 Easy, Quick, Simply Sweet Recipes for the 4th of July! All can be made relatively quick, require few ingredients, and are almost guaranteed to please any picky or hungry crowd/party goers.

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Parenting: Does the Age Gap Between Children Really Matter?

This post strikes close to my heart. First some background information.

I met my husband in November 2005. We started dating December 5, 2005, found out I was pregnant in January 2006, and got married May 2006. Within 6 MONTHS of meeting my husband, we were expecting a child and married. Not exactly the “traditional” start to a lasting relationship or marriage. Not to mention I had been told by 3 different doctors that I would never be able to have children because of medical issues. Well, I got knocked up quick! (Maybe it was meant to happen. I still think this is true).

On October 6, 2006 our beautiful princess was born.

Lexi

She completely changed our lives. My husband got his GED and then joined the military. Not to get into details, but our marriage struggled through these years. He deployed from 2009-2010 and it was HARD. Within 3-4 months of his unit getting back, almost half of the spouses were pregnant (it’s a military joke thing). Me, on the other hand, suffered many miscarriages and letdowns.

Starting in September 2010, my husband and I tried to have another baby. We were financially secure, and our daughter, who was 4 at the time, kept asking for a baby brother or sister. Month after month we had letdowns. I had 3 miscarriages and had basically given up on having another child. Let’s just say my emotions weren’t too pretty…and neither was my marriage.

Then in December 2011, I started feeling weird…Yep, I WAS PREGNANT. We were all so incredibly happy. I cried on the phone with my parents, friends, and military spouses who knew how much we wanted a second child. On August 9, 2012, our handsome son was born (FUN FACT: my husband and son share birthdays!).

Jaxon

There is 5 years and 10 months between my kids, so basically 6 years. I’m not even joking when people (mostly older individuals and young moms) ask me why we waited so long to have a second kid. It used to bother me VERY much, especially considering how many losses we had and the struggles we endured. BUT, I let go of that anger and decided to start responding with, “6 years is a perfect age gap.” And it is.

Now, I’m not saying people who have kids back to back to back are in the wrong. I’ve seen this many times and it works great for those families. I have also seen friends wait 10+ years in between their kids, because that is what they felt like doing.

Let me tell you something. There is NO “right” age gap between children. Whether you pop out a kid and immediately get pregnant again, or wait years in between, it is important to focus on individualizing your children versus rebutting any snarky comments about their age difference.

I’ve seen people be cruel over siblings less than a year apart or more than 5 years apart. My cousin, who is in her early 40s, has all teenagers…and a 2 year old. She didn’t plan on getting pregnant so late in life, but it happened, and it’s worked wonderfully for her.

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The point of this post is for all you parents out there who have criticized or questioned another parent’s age gap between his or her kids, or for those parents who have been on the receiving end of that criticism, the fact of the matter is an age gap has absolutely ZERO impact on relationship developments and parental guidance. If you are gifted a child, make the most out of loving, cherishing, and teaching him or her. Don’t waste your time trying to figure out if you waited long enough or whether you waited too long.

I truly think things happen when they are supposed to happen. So how can anyone judge an age gap between children when there is absolutely NO way of controlling it, other than abstaining or using protection?

So quit being judgmental, quit trying to find reasons to argue and critique other parents, and just celebrate with parents around the world that we have one of the best jobs on the planet…raising and loving our children.

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Daily Inspiration ~ 6.29.2015

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Oh how true this is. People are always stressing over what happened in the past, and what is going to happen in the future. They never stop to examine the main point of our lives…WHO WE ARE.

What lies inside of us is what created our past, and what determines our future. Stop and think about that for a minute. Everything we do, everything we want, everything we think, is BECAUSE of who we are and what’s inside us.

So what does that mean? That means if you want to learn from your past and shape your future, you need to truly learn who you are. You can do this many ways.

  1. Take 5 minutes every night to think of the decisions you made that day, whether or not you would/should have made a different choice, and figure out why you made that choice.
  2. Examine your life so far. Look for constant reactions or opinions. Do you often react in anger, confusion, optimism, or any other specific way?
  3. Grab a small notebook and write down everything you can think of that makes you happy, sad, angry, confused, optimistic, pessimistic, or any other feeling.
  4. ALWAYS actively observe your own actions and reactions. This is the absolute best way to figure out who you are.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve done all of the above, and I’m still not sure who exactly I am. And to tell you the truth, I’m different today than I was this time last year. The differences may be small, but the fact is we are always in a state of constant change because of our experiences.

But if you learn the foundation of who you are, you can predict and shape your current self, and thus learn from your past to make your future what it should be. Or can be.

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Pasta Dough

What a quick, simple, HOMEMADE alternative to boxed pasta!

ilivingwell

Ingredients

2 cups of flour

3 eggs

1 teaspoon olive oil

pinch of salt
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Begin this recipe by mounding the flour on a clean working surface. Next, hollow out the center of the flour creating a bowl. Break the eggs in a separate dish and whisk together. Poor the eggs into the center of the flour bowl.

WARNING if this is your first time do all of this in a bowl! If you are not careful and break the sides of the flour wall the eggs will spill out everywhere !  ( I learned the hard way ) haha.

Now add the salt and olive oil to the center where your eggs are. Begin to gently mix the flour in with the eggs, olive oil and salt. Pull the flour into the mixture from the sides of the flour wall. Soon the dough will get thick and eventually you will…

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Daily Inspiration ~ 6.28.2015

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Ronald Reagan was on to something. You know the saying, “You can’t save the world.” That may be true, just like you can’t help everyone. BUT, if everyone were to help someone, everyone could get help.

You see, that’s the problem with the world today. Everyone is so caught up in THEIR problems, THEIR beliefs, THEIR lives. Everything is one-sided. Is it our fault? NO. We have turned into a world obsessed with new technology, social media, and biased news reporting.

I have NEVER in my entire life seen a society so torn apart like America is today. Racism is prevalent. Hate is everywhere. And humanity seems like a past fantasy.

But we can change. We can turn that racism into acceptance. That hate into love. All you have to do is turn to someone in need. Help that person. Help others. If America and the world wants to save humanity and move forward, we need to help each other.

So I challenge you to help one person every day. You can open a door into a business or restaurant. Or take someone’s grocery cart to the holding station or back into the store. Help with groceries. Do someone’s yard work. PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE.

Just remember to not expect anything in return. Help someone because you WANT to, not because you HAVE to. That is how humanity will persevere and return once more to our formal glory.

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