Planning your 4th of July Celebration!

Growing up the 4th of July was always a big celebration for our family. It was my Dad’s birthday and the park nearby had a wonderful firework show that we were able to enjoy from our front yard.

My sister’s and I were able to continue that tradition for years with our kids. I’m now looking for new ways to celebrate with my husband and our younger daughters. I have some great memories of celebrating the 4th of July and I hope that I give them the same. With that in mind, I’m looking for ways to step up our 4th of July celebration and thought I’d share my ideas with you.

This week I’ll be posting some yummy recipes, tips,  and things to remember while celebrating the 4th of July.

First off we need Fireworks. Here are some links for Fireworks shows in Los Angeles County, the Inland Empire from Pomona to Temecula and San Diego County.

Here is great list of 4th of July Celebrations in Orange County from kidsguidemagazine.com

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This weekend while visiting family in San Diego, we got a 4th of July warm up. We went to Mission Bay and viewed the firework show from Sea World. It was such a wonderful evening out. I hope some of the events on these lists will help you plan your 4th of July too.

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Fullerton Arbortetum

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Last Saturday we visited the Fullerton Arboretum, this very tranquil place is located  just off the 57 frwy in Fullerton on the Cal State University Fullerton campus.

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 As we walked  along the dirt path we were greeted by glorious sunflowers and a waterfall. The waterfall leads to a stream that flows throughout one side of the arboretum and into two ponds. The ponds are hosts to ducks, fish, turtles and cranes. The stream instantly inspired my daughter to draw and write in her journal.

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There is a small nature center for the kids (with binoculars for the kids to use during their visit), a fruit orchard, a children’s garden, a community garden, walking trails (one with redwood trees) and a plant store called the “Potting Shed” that sells plants which reflect the Arboretum’s Garden Collections: Cultivated, Desert, Mediterranean, and Woodland.

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They have guided tours of the Heritage House. This Eastlake style home was the home of Dr. Clark, one of the most highly regarded individuals in early Fullerton. The home was relocated to the Arboretum in 1972. The interior is fully restored and refurbished with furniture and medical equipment of that era. A suggested donation of $3.00 is encouraged be not required.

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The Farm Stand is open every Sunday and sells vegetable grown at the arboretum. They offer educational opportunities for adults such as Yoga in the Garden, Composting and an Eating in the Yard Series. They also hold an ongoing children’s series called Bug-Safaris, There are plenty of walking trails and benches to sit and enjoy the views and a quick snack.

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Bring your water and be advised that picnicking is not allowed inside the Arboretum, there are however picnic tables just before the entrance. Parking is free on a dirt lot. A  donation of $5.00 to visit the arboretum is suggested but not required. For a complete list of events check their calendar. In addition to the Family Fun to be had here, places like this are a great addition to your Summer Educational Series. Here’s a list of botanical gardens and arboretums in the United States.

Girl Scout Brownie meeting – end of year celebration

Last night was our end of year celebration for my Brownie troop. The majority of the of my Brownies voted on having a “candy” party at the park. They wanted to eat candy,  play games, to have no parents or siblings in attendance, have music to eat pizza and have more candy.

I went to target and bought brightly colored plates, napkins, tablecloths and cutlery that all went in line with their “candy” theme. I bought popcorn, cookies and of course, candy. My head was spinning walking through the candy aisle. I had text my co-leader to refocus. I kept walking through the aisle, I couldn’t  think anymore. Not only is this stuff unhealthy, it’s expensive.
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Thanks to her, I was able to refocus and complete the shopping. I ordered 2 pizzas from Costco and (for my sanity) bought a veggie and fruit tray, which almost all the girls ate.

Here’s my agenda for the party:

Pre-meeting: 15 minutes/6:15-6:30

Playtime at the playground

Opening: 5 minutes/6:30-6:35

Flag, Promise and Law

Snack/Dinner: 30 minutes/6:35-7:05

Pizza time/Candy time

Games/crafts: 25 minutes/7:05-7:30

Make Felt Pipe Cleaner bubble wands and have some bubble time

Balloon Games

Frisbee Golf

Family/Closing Time: 15 minutes/7:30-7:45

Pass out Badge Bags

Special Thank You’s to parents who went above and beyond

Here’s how the party actually went:

Bubble time (without the pipe cleaner bubble wand craft) playtime at the park, eat, playtime at the park, get badge bags, special thank you’s and it was over.

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So much for all the planning. It was their party, they re-planned it and had fun. One girl said “this is the best party ever”. This party was definitely girl led!

TedX Teen Challenge

TedX OrangeCoast’s mission is “To help turn inspiring ideas into actions”. TedXOrangeCoast  is  holding a contest to celebrate the work of teens while focusing on STEAM projects, the contest is open to all teens ages 13-19 years old.

Teens are challenged to come up with an “Idea Worth Doing”. They should submit their idea along with a their plan of action by August 31, 2014. Winners of the TedX Teen Challenge will receive exposure for their project, cash prizes and mentorship for a year. Winners be announced at the 4th annual TEDxOrangeCoast event to be held September 19-20, 2014 at Soka Performing Arts Center in Aliso Viejo, CA.

The Keys of interest for the projects should include one or more of the following: 

  • Innovative: Existing or new project with a novel approach of addressing existing problems

  • Collaborative: Talent and passion win games, teamwork win championships

  • Social Impact: Positive and  measurable impact affecting our community and beyond

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To learn more visit TedXTeenChallenge

“Ella” chemotherapy Barbies

Talk about Taking Action –  Melissa Bumstead did just that when she petitioned Mattel to produce more of the “Ella” Chemo Barbies.

Melissa’s four year old daughter Grace has has a rare form of leukemia and will receive chemotherapy treatments over the next year and half. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles had only six of the barbies to give out and Grace received one of them. Melissa took action by creating a petition to ask Mattel to make enough “Ella” Barbies for all kids with cancer.

Within 3 months she collected 100,000 signatures! Because of Melissa’s action, Mattel has agreed to make more and distribute the “Ella” Barbie to hospitals through out the country beginning in August.

This is her post from her change.org petition site in May 2014:

Victory – Melissa Grace’s Mom: Mattel called…they will annually make more Ella Barbies! That means that every year hospitals and foundations will receive a fresh supply of dolls, so there will be more Ellas for kids with cancer like Grace!

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Melissa, children around the country will have you to thank for your selfless efforts. Thank you and God bless you for taking action and helping other children!

Inspire your Girls to be “Pretty Brilliant”

A new ad from Verizon sends the exact message I try give my girls daily, this ad sends the message to tell our girls they are “pretty brilliant” too.

Verizon has a campaign called “Inspire her Mind”. This campaign focuses on inspiring parents and girls to stay engaged with all things STEM. Research shows there is a significant drop-off in women interested in these fields between childhood and adulthood, from 72% to 55%. Women make up half the workforce in the US. Yet, as far as STEM jobs go, we only hold 25% of the jobs.

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Our words have a huge impact on our girls. Inspire their future by telling them how smart they are and how imaginative they are. Encourage them to get dirty, to look for bugs, go camping, let her find out how things work and let her build things. Through play time and family time we can spark our girls imagination in subjects like science, technology, engineering, astronomy and physics.

Verizon website dedicated to this campaign includes various videos and facts with in-depth insight, facts and figures from research studies. It also features women who are established in stem jobs.

We need to work together to be make a significant change in the lives of our girls.

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Marjoram – doTERRA Essential Oil

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Marjoram is most well known as a culinary herb, but has some valuable medicinal uses.

It is closely related to Oregano, and has similar properties.  Marjoram is often thought of to address sore muscles, joints, sprains, and back pain as it is a natural muscle relaxant.

It also has respiratory and digestive uses.  It is also often used for tension headaches or migraines.

Similarly Marjoram is effective relieving stress and helping insomnia.

dōTerra Marjoram Essential Oil is steam distilled from the flower and leaf of the plant.  The plant is grown in Hungary.

Picture from doTERRAblog.com/information from neweverythingessentials.me