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Fourth Fireworks, Family, Fun, Friends & Food

It’s not a 4th of July celebration without……

What makes the 4th of July a celebration? For me, it’s all about my favorite “F’s”: Family, Fun, Friends and Food. Oh, and let’s not forget the Fireworks.

As I prepare for our 4th of July celebration this year, I enlist the details that make it a celebration.

To start off, I select just the perfect way to let my friends and family know they’re invited with this fun invitation. By creating an image for my invitation, I can Facebook, text message or email it. I can even do things the old-fashion way and print it.

4th of July Party Invitation

1. Food

Some of my favorite 4th of July recipes can be found here, like my Herb-Marinated Flank Steak and Red, White & Blue Potato Salad:

 

4th July Steak

Herb Marinated Flank Steak Recipe

 

Potato Salad Recipe

Red, White & Blue Potato Salad Recipe

 

2. Fun

I always have something fun for the kids to do. This year we’re making our Lemonade Stand again so the kids can entertain themselves and guests.

Kids Lemonade Stand

“A Family Tradition”- Kids Lemonade Stand, read more here

 

3. Fancy

It’s time to decorate! With a few special touches, it’s simple to create a celebration your guests will not soon forget in my “4th of July Fun in Retro Blue & Red”.

4th July Decor

4th of July Decorating, read more here

 

 

4. Fireworks

We’re fortunate to have a jaw-dropping aerial fireworks show each year (thanks to some awesome neighbors), but I it’s not the 4th of July without sparklers. Here’s last year’s celebration redone in 1960’s Picasa:

2012 4th of July Celebration in 1960’s Picasa

 

 

 5. reFreshments

For a party, I love to make my Homemade Summer Sangria. Some non-alcoholic favorites, I make a simple punch with fresh blueberries and strawberrries.

Homemade Sangria

Summer Sangria Recipe

 

Pomegranate Crystal Light with fresh blueberries and strawberries

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Homemade Granola- Heart-Healthy Valentine Treat

Homemade Granola- A Heart-Healthy Valentine Treat

Valentine’s Day shares the month of February with American Heart Awareness Month.  Although chocolate would be divine this Valentine’s Day, what tasty treat could we give that combines aesthetic sweetness with being heart-healthy?

How about something containing heart-healthy ingredients like flaxseed, almonds and cinnamon?  Something like, let’s say- homemade granola!  I’ll call this recipe, “I Heart Homemade Granola”, and instead of giving candy for Valentine treats this year, I’m giving a little “heart” instead.

Homemade Granola

 

I Heart Homemade Granola Recipe

Ingredients:

Homemade granola ingredients

I Heart Homemade Granola Ingredients

  1. 5 cups rolled oats
  2. 1/2 cup flaxseed
  3. 2 cups sliced almonds
  4. 1 cup brown sugar
  5. 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  6. 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  7. 1 teaspoon salt
  8. 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  9. 1 cup honey
  10. 1/2 cup apple juice
  11. 2 cups dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. mix together oats, flaxseed, almonds, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt
  2. in another bowl mix together oil, honey and apple juice
  3. pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix well
  4. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  5. spread mixture out onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet
  6. bake for 40 minutes
  7. add cranberries and let cool

mix together dry and wet ingredients

bake at 300 degrees for 40 minutes

Homemade Granola Heart-Healthy Valentine's Day Treat

my supplies: heart papercraft from Reflection, scrapbook paper, ribbon all from Michaels

 

heart healthy valentine's day treat

Teacher Valentine's Day Gift

Teacher Valentine's Gift

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Toni’s DIY Holiday Spice Sangria

Homemade Sangria Recipe

Have a holiday drink on hand for last-minute entertaining, or to give away as a Christmas gift.  I love homemade sangria, and here’s my recipe with a twist of holiday spice.

Homemade Holiday Sangria recipe

 

Toni’s DIY Holiday Spice Sangria

Toni’s DIY Holiday Spice Sangria

Ingredients

  • Basic Red Table Wine- I use a gallon of a basic red wine that I find in bulk at Costco. Trader Joe’s also has great deals for basic red table wine over the holidays.
  • Cranberry Juice- 1 bottle
  • Brandy- a little more than half a bottle (save some for your eggnog!)
  • Oranges- 3 or 4 large; sliced and halved (into half-moon shapes)
  • Pears- 3 or 4 large; sliced
  • Cinnamon Sticks- 4 or 5 whole
  • Cranberries, fresh- 12 oz.
  • Whole Cloves- put into a tea bag

Instructions

  1. Combine ingredients in large mason or Sangria Jar
  2. Let this mixture “steep” for a 2-3 days in a cool place. If you live someplace cold, you can just leave it outside, unless it will freeze.
http://tonispilsbury.com/tonis-holiday-spice-sangria/

 

Eat, drink and be thrifty!

If you enjoy serving wine to guests for the holidays, at anywhere from $20 to $100’s per bottle, the money you spend can certainly add up.  Having a batch of this holiday wine elixir on hand is not only affordable, it makes a visually stunning holiday presentation and it’s absolutely delicious.

homemade holiday sangria recipe

 

The Gift of Wine

Many of my friends like to give and receive wine for the holidays, and this too can get costly.  Get creative with ribbons, tags and metallic pens by bottling your own Holiday-Spice Sangria.

 

Toni’s Holiday Spice Sangria Recipe

You will need a big pitcher, mason or sangria jar.  I don’t like sugar in my sangria even though so many recipes call for it; I can’t even drink it.  Instead I use fruit juice.

Combine:

  1. Red Table Wine- I use 2 gallons of a basic red wine that I found in bulk.  Trader Joe’s also has great deals for basic red table wine over the holidays.
  2. Cranberry Juice-  1 bottle
  3. Brandy- a little more than half a bottle (save some for your eggnog!)
  4. Oranges- 3 or 4 large; sliced and halved
  5. Pears- 3 or 4 large; sliced
  6. Cinnamon Sticks- 4 or 5 whole
  7. Cranberries- 1 12oz. bag
  8. Whole Cloves- put into a tea bag

Let this mixture “steep” for a few days in a cool place.  If you live someplace cold, you can just leave it outside, unless it will freeze.

Serve and enjoy.

Happy Holidays!

 

Chardonnay Cake Recipe:

Chardonnay Cake

Easy Chardonnay Cake Recipe

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I’m Getting Minted For The Holidays

Christmas cards are but one item on my long list of things to do each holiday season. In past years, I’ve endured hours at my local portrait studio, sweating and chasing after toddlers before turning cartwheels to get them all to smile in one photo. I considered it well worth the effort because after all, I MUST have the best cards each year. I mean, don’t we all? This is our once-a-year opportunity to show off our adorable family!

Recently I’ve discovered that candid photography shoots outside of the studio create some of the best photos for Christmas cards. I’ve even shot some great photos on my iPhone to use this year.

So, what took me hours to create before, will take me just minutes this year with Minted.com. The best part is that I’ll definitely have the best Christmas cards this year (again)!

Here’s just one of my idea inspiration boards from Minted.com for this year’s Christmas cards:

Sparkle & Snow Christmas by Toni, see more Minted.com

Sparkle & Snow Christmas board by Toni. See more Minted.com

Get $25 off your order of $50 or more by joining Minted.com now, click here.

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