How I spend my 4th of July nearly every year...
I thought I'd blog about this so I can always remember what makes me happy from year to year on this fun summer holiday! Hopefully something here may interest you. However, don't save these ideas for ONLY the 4th of July holiday. They can easily be used for any day of the year that you want to be memorable.
Three ways to make a day outstanding!
1) Give service to others
2) Surround yourself with fun, kind, happy, positive people at least part of the day
3) Get outside and enjoy nature
It doesn't matter how...
1) hot or cold the weather is
2) much money you have
3) many people you know...
the 4th of July can always be a great day with many long lasting traditions if you plan a little in advance.
1. Go on a scooter or bike ride
Example: In the evening when it cools down, Dave and I ride our scooters to watch our local fireworks.
If there are no fireworks near you, just ride to a local big grassy area i.e. a park and play frisbee until it gets dark.
If you don't have a scooter, ride a bike or just enjoy a nice walk!
2. Go hiking
Invite someone to go on a fun hike that you have discovered. This will take some preparation but will be SO worth it! Find a LESS-POPULAR beautiful hike to do, which there are many of here in Utah! If you are lazy and don't plan a head, you'll find yourself hiking with 300 other people who are just as lazy as you are! You'll all be on the same super-busy trail and it won't be nearly as fun as it could be if you planned ahead.
Example: I am a hiking guide year round and I know where the most AND least popular trails are that are extremely beautiful. I have no desire to take anyone on a trail with a boatload of other people, especially on a holiday. This year, 2012, I took friends to the Silver Fork, Honeycomb Canyon area of Big Cottonwood Canyon. We were the only ones on the trail and it was fantastic!! There are plenty of hiking books out there and websites to go to for ideas. If you live in the Salt Lake area, follow me on meetup.com OR my website, liveandthrive.com, to see where I take people each week, so you can get a lot of great ideas.
3. Design a Patriotic T-shirt
Let each member of your family, who is able, design their own custom-made patriot T-shirt. Example: Trevor and Monica, my son and daughter in law are great examples in this area. Each year they buy an inexpensive white shirt and create their own patriotic design! This year, Monica designed Summer Jane's first 4th of July T-shirt, since she is just 11 months old! This is a great tradition that will for sure last a lifetime! Use glitter, fabric paint, spray paint, iron on decals, tie dye, etc. for this project.
4. Patriotic Movie and Popcorn
In the afternoon, make a big batch of popcorn and invite someone to watch "Independence Day" with you. Don'[t spring this or most of these activities on people at the last minute or you will be disappointed if they have made other plans. Plan a head with a time frame in mind. Example: This is a tradition my husband, Dave, especially loves to do, but it's easy to keep this tradition going since we all love this show, "Independence Day". It's part of our video library. However, we can't watch this show without having a big bowl of popcorn nearby. We have our own family popcorn tradition. This POPCORN RECIPE is the only way our family has eaten popcorn for over 33 years, so this is already a serious tradition for many events.
5. Play or sing patriotic tunes
I love playing patriotic tunes on the piano. I have also done many singing gigs for groups of seniors, nursing homes, hospitals and Care Centers over the years, but even if you don't sing or play the piano, locate patriot music a head of time on Pandora.com or download a bunch of patriotic tunes and enjoy listening to some great music throughout the day.
6. Fruit Smoothies
In a blender create a delicious fruit smoothie of your choice. Once you have a concoction that is really delicious, share it with others around you! Example: This year I used my Vita Mix Blender to make a peach, apricot, orange smoothie that was to die for!!
7. Grill salmon, chicken, steak or veggies
Prepare your favorite meat the day before in a marinade of your choice. Serve it with a baked potato and veggies OR grill some veggies if you prefer! No matter what the food, it always tastes great when it's grilled!
8. Do a service project
Do something kind for someone by planning a meaningful service project a head of time. This generally takes a little preparation but it will be so worth it! Example: This year Dave and I took care of 11 month old Summer Jane while Trevor and Monica could have fun at Seven Peaks Waterpark!
9. Throw a ball
Example: It sounds so simple but it is actually one of the favorite things our family likes to do often. Eleven month old Summer Jane and I sat on a blanket on the grass in the front yard and watched my husband, Dave, and our son, Trevor, throw a football back and forth to each other for a while in the evening. It was relaxing for everyone and Summer Jane was so fascinated watching them play!
10. Make and share a healthy, delicious dessert
Make your favorite, healthy "Red, White and Blue" fruit pastry. Example: Monica always makes the BEST "Patriotic Pastry" each year! Even if you are spending the 4th of July by yourself, DON'T keep this delicious treat to yourself! Make a large batch of it, enough to serve to a few neighbors, friends or family. Invite someone over OR plan to take a treat to them at a certain time. If you don't want anyone in your home, find out a head of time who may be in need in your neighborhood or workplace and make some for them as well.
11. Enjoy a nap
Take a nap outside on a hammock, on a trampoline, on a bed or couch with a fan blowing on your feet or anywhere else you can think of! Example: Our family has been known to sleep on one of our 3 trampolines in the backyard or a hammock or anywhere else that is relaxing. On a hot summer afternoon after hiking, it feels great to relax and take a little nap. Often I'll lay down with my IPad and turn on Pandora for some favorite music or other tunes I've downloaded just to help me relax and fall asleep even quicker!
12. Water and a cool damp towel
Example: When I am in my home without central air and need to cool down, I keep plenty of cold drinking water nearby. If we are watching a movie on a hot afternoon, just dampen a towel with cold water, set it on your legs, and relax! It feels awesome!
13. Mini campfire with smores at the end of the day.
Example: We love our fire pit in our backyard, especially on cool nights after it cools down. In advance, buy some ingredients for Smores and top off a perfect day with a little chocolate, graham cracker and marshmallow as you roast yourself a Smore and look at the fire! This is the perfect way to melt away any stress or problems you have.