melted snowflakesThe dog days of summer are upon us, and  you won’t find too many Minnesotans complaining about it. With heat indexes reaching over 100 degrees yesterday, however, it was a wee bit uncomfortable for a lot of people. From the time we woke up in the morning until we went to bed, a singular message was coming across loud and clear: DRINK YOUR WATER!

Sorry there, didn’t mean to shout, but it is actually very important to stay well hydrated during the really hot and humid days. Even if you don’t drink very much on other days, and maybe more so in that case, don’t be a slacker today on the life giving, life saving properties of H2O. It’s easier than you  might think especially if you get a little creative.

pony tail holdersIf you’re into just plain water, a good system to get all 8-10 glasses of water down is to have something to count and keep track. Some of the ladies can use pony tail bands, or they can join the guys and use pennies. This is how it works: take 10 pony tail holders and put them around one of your wrists.  Every time you drink 1 glass of water, transfer one of the pony tail holders to the other wrist! When using pennies, put them into one pocket and transfer them to the other pocket. If you do it gradually throughout the day, you won’t necessarily be running to the bathroom all the time. And, having the colorful pony tail holders on  your wrist acts as a good reminder to chug away. Plus they look kinda like jewelry. :)

refreshing waterIf you want to make your water a bit more interesting, put a little fruit in the bottom. A single strawberry will look so pretty, and the fruit will gently flavor the water. You could do it sangria style too (minus the alcohol of course!), and add frozen berries or cherries or whatever fruit is your favorite. The frozen fruit will not only flavor the water, but it’ll also keep it nice and cold.

Or you can do like one creative person did and just fill a big jug of water with ice and put a sticker on the jug “Melted Snowflakes.” Merry Christmas in July!

 

Photo credit:  Melted snowflakes,  pony tail holders, strawberry water

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One of the things I am loving the most about this crazy mid year holiday called Christmas in July is that it sparks all kinds of very creative ideas, games, parties, y0u name it! Combining the 4th of July with Christmas is just one theme. There is certainly A LOT we can do with just that, and make it last all month long, but why limit ourselves like that?

anytime snowballsToday I ran across these sn sn sno snowballs (it’s just really hard to say in the summer in Minnesota!), and what I would have given to have had these when my boys were little! Or even as they got bigger!

In fact, I may pick up several bags of these and send them for Christmas….they are never too old for a good ol’ fashioned snowball fight, and now its possible any time of year.

These babies are made out of a soft material that the manufacturer says

“feels like snow, no slush, no mess”!

Now, granted, part of the fun IS the slush and mess and being outside, invigorated by the cold. But, think of the smaller kids who get too cold out there. Or in places where it really is too cold to be out for very long. These snowballs make it possible, yes, to enjoy a snowball fight even in the middle of July, but think about the hours of fun (and exercise!) when the weather turns less than desirable. I think these little guys are total winners.

They are washable too. I bet the really handy folks among us could make them pretty easily, no? Here’s a pattern just in case you are inspired!

Photo credit

 

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puerto ricoDo you know anyone who either lives some place tropical or their weather is just warm and sunny year round? We have some friends who, a couple of years ago, packed up their household and moved to Puerto Rico! They were both born and raised in the northern part of the U.S. so this was no small adjustment, although they don’t look like they’re suffering too much!

One way we stay in touch is via Facebook, and they seem to love snapping pictures of the beach and the beautiful Caribbean sunsets, making the rest of us oh so jealous of their delightful scenery and weather. Wanting of course to visit them, I immediately entered a google alert for good airfares between Minneapolis and there…thinking maybe somewhere around January or February? ;)

beachy ornamentsTurns out that some of the raw materials for Christmas ornaments and decorations that we make are much more plentiful and found naturally in the summer…unless of course you live in paradise, then you can skip this post, haha.

I like the idea of collecting sea shells from the beach, a little sand, maybe even tiny splinters of driftwood, and making these delightful glass ornaments. While you are enjoying vacation why not get your Christmas in July on at the same time?

Photo credit:  Beach, Ornament

 

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caviar banner

Did you know that today is National Caviar Day? It’s true, July 18th has been declared by the powers that be to be the day we celebrate caviar. It sounds funny to me. You too? Nonetheless, let’s dig in. It’ll be an adventure for sure.

It may be hard to believe, but at one time this expensive delicacy that we know today as caviar was served in bars much like peanuts are now. Like a freebie appetizer! It was pretty cheap to make, and was abundant for a period of time. Basically, caviar is sturgeon fish eggs, and because the eggs were harvested with such gusto, the sturgeon became in danger of going extinct. And, that is when the price began to climb. Interesting, isn’t it?

Scrambled eggs with caviar

So, I thought, why not feature this crazy national holiday with a simple but elegant albeit pricey recipe for Christmas breakfast. I don’t know what things are like in your house on Christmas morning, but many families find that cooking is not their top priority.

This recipe that comes from none other than the Barefoot Contessa herself, is simple, elegant and fitting for a holiday like Christmas. I suggest that if you children inquire about what the black things are on their eggs that you avoid the question until they have fallen in love with the taste.

You can find the recipe here.

Photo courtesy: Caviar, Breakfast

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Christmas in July beach

The more I read about Christmas in July, the more I am seeing that there is a great emphasis on the combination of 2 holidays. I think this is really great news! One of the toughest parts about Christmas, I think, is when it’s time to take it all down for yet another year. But, if we can get another whole “season” out of it before December 25th rolls around again, that’s just a beautiful thing.

Christmas in July ornamentEnter this lovely, patriotic, Christmas-in-July ornament. I think it could pull double duty, no? Especially if you are a military family! Now this particular ornament is actually for sale, but I have a sneaky little tip on how you could make one almost identical. You wouldn’t end up with that symmetrical white star in the center, but it would still be just so charming I think!

The trick is to check out the ribbon department at your local sewing or craft store, especially in late June or July….there will be an abundance of patriotic themed ribbon to choose from. The one used in this ornament is fabric, and it is lovely isn’t it? Wrap the ribbon around a foam ball and secure with map pins or just straight pins with red, white or blue heads. So easy, so sweet looking!

So, here’s to Christmas in July, the holiday that helps us make double duty out of some fabulous decorations that otherwise are just a December tradition.

Photo credit: Beach, Ornament

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Popsicle sticks are one of the quintessential craft supplies that, if you’re into hand-crafting at all, you’ll usually have on hand. There really is no end to what you can do with these simple little pieces of wood.

Being the purist that I am, however, you can’t really call it a Popsicle stick if there wasn’t, at one time, a Popsicle on the end of it, right? I love the idea of recycling too, so anytime I can take what would otherwise be thrown in the garbage (and eventually the landfill) and make something beautiful from it, I’m just all over that. Plus using the REAL Popsicle sticks means you have yet another excuse to buy Popsicles, no?

Ah, rationalization. It’s so practical sometimes. :)

christmas in july popsicle stick snowflakesBut, don’t these look great?!  They fit in perfectly also with our Christmas in July theme these first couple of weeks in July. Painted red, they definitely fit in, but if you were to paint them a variety of colors including some sparkly silver or gold, they could almost pass for fireworks!

To make these fun little things, follow the instructions here.

Snowflakes in July. Why not?

 Photo credit

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Christmas in July the movieIf you are still having a hard time warming up to the idea of Christmas in July, you’ll get a kick out of today’s post. Beyond all the festivities during this time warp is an actual movie by the same name!

The movie was made in 1940, and tells the story about a $20-a-week clerk who hopes to win a slogan contest that has a prize kitty of a whopping $25,000.  The whole story is nothing more than a comedy of all the things he does when he is deluded into thinking he has actually won it.

You know, magical thinking, just like the best of us kids have at Christmas time! This would be a fun movie to watch at Christmas time as well as, well, right now during the weeks of Christmas in July!  I highly recommend it. It’s in black and white of course, and the sound effects and graphics won’t be as sophisticated as today’s films, but it’s really great anyway. 

Here’s a clip for you to whet your appetite:

Christmas In July Movie Clip

 

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Melted SnowmenAfter all the hoopla yesterday involved with celebrating the 4th of July, riding home in the car with the windows down was the perfect way to end it all. It was a perfect 75 degrees and breezy, traffic was practically non-existent, and I thought about how much I’m going to miss all this warmness when winter comes again lol!

Granted, there is something fun about having snow at Christmas, and in order for snow to happen it must be cold. But, I’m just not missing it right now. Nonetheless, I’m attempting to get into the spirit of Christmas in July, but it don’t come easy for this warm-weather loving girl. If you, on the other hand, are participating, I’ve got a very fun idea for a picnic treat!

Aren’t they adorable, these melted snowmen? These would be great little buddies to your s’mores around the campfire and will help you use up all the marshmallows that are left. Combine those fluffy spheres with a plain sugar cookie and some icing and you’ll definitely put a smile on a bunch of faces. Promise.

While I am not wishing for cold weather today, this is one snowy treat I can sign on for. How about you?

Photo credit

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July 4th partyIt’s set to be a lovely day here in Minneapolis, a perfect day really for celebrating our nation’s independence. The sun’ll be out, the temperature will climb to a comfortable 80 degrees, and you can bet there will be no lack of partying going on later tonight. It’s always so much fun when July 4th falls on a Friday. It means we won’t have to put on an extra pot of coffee for the next morning just to get ourselves to work.

Peppermint Ice CreamWith the heat increasing in most parts of our country, ice cream is always a favorite treat. One of our absolute favorite flavors around the holidays….okay, let’s be real, absolutely any day, week or month of the year….is peppermint ice cream. And, what do ya know, it is both very holiday-ish and July 4th, all wrapped into one.

Mint Chocolate Ice Cream

Now, we’ve never been too successful at finding our brand in the store in the summer, but that hasn’t stopped us from enjoying the flavor of candy canes in the off season. I turn to none other than the Pioneer Woman for a homemade peppermint ice cream recipe! And, if you are more of a mint chocolate kind of ice cream eater, she’s got you covered there too. You can find both recipes here.

Here’s wishing you all a blessed time with family and friends today, celebrating our freedom!

Photo Credit:  Picnic, Ice Cream

 

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Lady LibertyHere in the states we are, of course, getting ready to celebrate Independence Day. Summer here in Minnesota seems to have finally arrived, albeit a much cooler version than we’re used to. Some of my southern friends are always shocked when they hear me say that it got into the 90′s, even low 100′s, as if in Minnesota we are in a perpetual winter. Hahahaaa, well, many of us here wonder sometimes if the thermometer will revive again, but it always does even if it’s a bit lazy like this year.

Snowball Water BalloonsI’m intrigued by this idea of celebrating Christmas in July. Apparently some people miss the snow and cold (clearly they live some place that doesn’t get much!), and when it’s really hot outside, celebrating Christmas brings relief.

While I don’t think I’ll be looking for any relief from the warm weather anytime soon, I have to admit that throwing a Christmas in July party is a pretty interesting idea, and could be lots of fun. Think picnic, badminton, and “snowball” fights. :)

Hallmark gets in on the action too. What started out as a way to promote their new ornaments turned into a movie marathon that families around the world look forward to! Truth is, Christmas in July is pretty much a marketers dream come true. :)

So, if you are in the states, however you celebrate the 4th of July tomorrow, go ahead and add a little Christmas to it. Throw a Santa hat over the back of the chair, decorate a tree with the red, white and blue, and if you want to take it to the limits, plan a gift exchange. If you hail from another land, you can get in on the action too since Christmas in July goes clear to the middle of the month.

Merry Christmas in July!

Photo Credit:  Lady Liberty, Water Balloons

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