4th of July Fireworks Safety Tips

fireworks safety tips4th of July Fireworks Safety Tips

It’s time to celebrate the Fourth of July with some of the holiday’s most popular activities: lighting fireworks, backyard grilling, swimming, and having some fun in the sun.

Fireworks are beautiful and fun to watch; however, they can also be incredibly dangerous if not used properly. If you will be setting off fireworks at home, follow these fireworks safety tips to ensure that you and your family have a safe holiday:

  1. Never allow small children to play with fireworks.
  2. Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities — even sparklers.
  3. Before using fireworks, read all of the labels and directions on the packaging — and follow the instructions!
  4. Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  5. Make sure the person lighting fireworks wears eye protection.
  6. Make sure that you and your families are watching firework shows from a safe distance.
  7. Never attempt to relight “a dud.”
  8. Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  9. Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.
  10. Obey your local city and state laws. If fireworks are illegal where you live, don’t buy or use them.
  11. Call 911 immediately if someone is injured from fireworks.

Sources: cdc.gov and fireworkssafety.org.

Body Image: Nutrition for Life


Your Body Image: Nutrition for Life!

Guest Blog by Lisa Marsal

We are bombarded daily by the media to look a certain way. Most women in the USA feel this continuous subtle pressure to conform, and as a result, many of us suffer from low body image.

There are many ways to overcome this negative sense of self and good nutrition is one of the key factors in this movement. We all want to look our best but being that best person should only be achieved through good nutrition and healthy living. Practicing a healthy lifestyle will enhance positivity, mood, and encourage good body image.

Good nutrition will result in healthy skin, hair, and nails.

Exercise will result in an overall feeling of wellness and positivity.

Good rest and sleep will help keep a handle on stress.

Developing positive relationships with food and healthy eating habits is the key to wellness. Time management around buying, preparing, and eating food is another key to the overall consumption of healthy meals, and preparing your own meals at home is a must.

Tips for grocery shopping:

  1. Plan your meals beforehand. Alternate between a couple of easy lunches and suppers each week substituting chicken, fish or meat. 
  2. Aim to have enough time to think through your menu plan, and purchase all that you need in one shopping trip avoiding last minute dashes to the grocery store. Rushing around the store leads to impulse purchases and grabbing quick on the go grocery items.
  3. Buy store brands and stock up on items such as tuna, cheese, or frozen veggies when they go on sale.
  4. Buy fresh local fruit and veg that are in season.
  5. Always make a list before heading to the grocery store and stick to it.

Tips for meal preparation:

  1. nutritionBegin every meal you prepare with a salad. That way you will fill up on healthier foods and will eat less of the main course.
  2. Avoid fast food at all costs. These foods are full of unhealthy sugar, salt, and fats. This increases the risk for heart disease, elevated blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and increased insulin.
  3. Try to include a legume (beans, lentils, split peas, hummus) with every main meal. Research has shown that people who consume one cup of legumes three times a week live a longer, healthier life.
  4. Exclude meat at least once a week from your menu plan.
  5. Drink an iced cold glass of water with every meal to aid digestion.

Tips for eating:

  1. Be mindful of what you are eating and focus on how you feel after each meal. Understanding the nourishment that you are giving your body, and taking time to enjoy your meals will leave you feeling satisfied sooner.
  2. Make the right changes. Aim to replace each unhealthy food you remove from your diet with a healthy replacement. Try switching from butter to olive oil, make your own salad dressing or swap a bagel for whole-grain toast.
  3. Eat all the colors of the rainbow. Great natural nutrition rich in minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins is found in dark green, orange, and red fruits and vegetables.
  4. Make sure that your whole grains are just that and not partial whole grains. Foods that contain white flour, sugar and rice have zero nutrients. Rather pass on bread, pasta, and breakfast cereal and replace them with brown rice and whole wheat pasta.
  5. Eat with others whenever the opportunity presents itself. Be a good role model to your kids and family. Avoid eating in front of the TV as this leads to mindless eating which can result in over eating.

Lisa Marsal is a certified Pilates mat and reformer instructor. She is a co-owner of Pilates on Hilton.

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Red Cross Blood Donation Opportunities

American Red Cross logo

Red Cross urges blood donations to maintain summer blood supply

The American Red Cross urges eligible donors to give blood in the weeks surrounding Independence Day to help ensure a sufficient blood supply now and throughout the summer.

Many summer activities, such as vacations and travel, cause frequent blood donors to be less available to give during the summer. However, hospital patients still depend on volunteer donors to receive lifesaving transfusions – the need for blood does not get a vacation.

To encourage more people to donate around Independence Day, all those who come out to donate blood July 2-6, 2015, will receive a Red Cross embroidered hat, while supplies last.

Eligible donors are encouraged to choose their day to make a difference. Donors of all blood types – especially those with types O negative, A negative and B negative – are needed. To make an appointment to give blood, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Upcoming blood donation opportunities

7/1/2015: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., St Luke United Methodist Church, 1104 2nd Ave. Columbus
7/1/2015: 1:30 – 6:30 p.m., Columbus Fire Fighters Association, 6655 Lynch Road Columbus
7/2/2015: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., St Luke United Methodist Church, 1104 2nd Ave. Columbus
7/2/2015: 12 – 6:45 p.m., Columbus Blood Donation Center, 7490 Veterans Parkway Columbus
7/2/2015: 1:30 – 6:30 p.m., Columbus Fire Fighters Association, 6655 Lynch Road Columbus
7/3/2015: 8 a.m. – 1:45 p.m., Columbus Blood Donation Center, 7490 Veterans Parkway Columbus
7/4/2015: 7:15 a.m. – 1:45 p.m., Columbus Blood Donation Center, 7490 Veterans Parkway Columbus
7/6/2015: 11 a.m. – 6:45 p.m., Columbus Blood Donation Center, 7490 Veterans Parkway Columbus
7/7/2015: 11 a.m. – 6:45 p.m., Columbus Blood Donation Center, 7490 Veterans Parkway Columbus
7/7/2015: 12:30 – 6 p.m., First United Methodist Church, 401 Broad St. Lagrange
7/8/2015: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., West Georgia Technical College, One College Circle Lagrange
7/9/2015: 12 – 6:45 p.m., Columbus Blood Donation Center, 7490 Veterans Parkway Columbus
7/10/2015: 8 a.m. – 1:45 p.m., Columbus Blood Donation Center, 7490 Veterans Parkway Columbus
7/11/2015: 7:15 a.m. – 1:45 p.m., Columbus Blood Donation Center, 7490 Veterans Parkway Columbus
7/13/2015: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Columbus State University, 4225 University Ave. Columbus
7/13/2015: 11 a.m. – 6:45 p.m., Columbus Blood Donation Center, 7490 Veterans Parkway Columbus
7/14/2015: 11 a.m. – 6:45 p.m., Columbus Blood Donation Center, 7490 Veterans Parkway Columbus

How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

Tasty Cooking ~ 4 Treats for the 4th of July

Four casual and colorful desserts made easy

Everyone will be bringing something to the 4th of July picnic, but you can bring the grand finale. Each of these tasty sweet treats captures the flair of the 4th without the fuss. In just a little time, you can add patriotic color and fun flavor to classics like cupcakes, ice cream cones and cookies.

Dipped Ice Cream Cones

Yield: 12 ice cream cones

treats for the 4th of July
Dipped Ice Cream Cones

Add color and crunch to your cones with a dip in red, white or blue melted Candy Melts candy and a variety of patriotic sprinkles. The Cone Cakes baking rack holds the cones for drying and serving.

  • 1 bag (12 ounces) Bright White Candy Melts Candy
    Sugar ice cream cones
    Jimmies 6-Mix Sprinkle Assortment
    Rainbow Jimmies

Melt candy in microwave safe bowl. Dip cones about 1 inch deep around opening of cone. Cut small hole in tip of bag and drizzle melted candy 1 inch deep around opening of cone. Tap cone lightly to smooth, and sprinkle with jimmies. Position cone in cone rack. Let chill, about 10-15 minutes.

Add ice cream scoops at party and serve in cone rack.

Red, White and Blue Swirled Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Red, White and Blue Swirled Cupcakes

Everyone loves picnic treats they can grab and eat, and these July 4th cupcakes also bring pyrotechnics to the plate. Each is topped with an explosive three-color swirl of icing, easily created with a color swirl decorating set.

  • Favorite cupcake recipe or mix
    1 4.5-pound tub White Ready-To-Use Decorator Icing
    Color Right Performance Color System

Icing Colors

  • Red (formula 186): 2 cups icing + 40 R
    White: Reserve 2 cups icing
    Deep Blue (formula 647): 2 cups icing + 26 B + 8 R + 4 P

Bake cupcakes according to package directions in red, white and blue standard baking cups.

Tint icing following color formulas above. Prepare Color Swirl 3-Color Coupler according to package directions, filling one decorating bag each with red, white and blue icing and fitting with tip 1M. Pipe a swirl on each cooled cupcake top.

S’mores Crispy Cereal Treats

Yield: 20 servings

S’mores Crispy Cereal Treats

These crunchy cereal bars pack the flavor of traditional s’mores while being much neater to eat.

  • 6 tablespoons butter
    1 bag (16 ounces) regular-sized marshmallows
    1/4 teaspoon Warm Cinnamon Graham Treatology Flavor Concentrate
    10 drops Creamy Vanilla Custard Treatology Flavor Concentrate
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    10 cups crisped rice cereal
    1 bag (10 ounces) mini marshmallows, divided
    1 1/4 cups Light Cocoa Candy Melts candy, divided

Prepare 13-by-9-inch baking pan with vegetable spray.

In very large saucepan, melt butter over medium high heat until it smells nutty and browns slightly. Reduce heat to medium low; stir in regular marshmallows, warm cinnamon graham and creamy vanilla custard flavors, and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth.

Remove from heat; stir in cereal, 3 cups mini marshmallows and 3/4 cup light cocoa candy. Press into prepared pan. Sprinkle with remaining mini marshmallows and press lightly to adhere.

In small microwave-safe bowl, microwave remaining 1/2 cup candy on 50 percent power in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until candy is almost melted. Stir thoroughly until smooth and drizzle over treats. Let cool completely.

Creamy Coconut Cookie Flag

Yield: About 3 dozen 3-inch cookies

Creamy Coconut Cookie Flag

Give the day a flag-waving finish with red, white and blue royal iced cookies that hold up to the heat. The tropical taste combination of toasted coconut and creamy vanilla is just right for summer.


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
    1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    1 egg
    1/4 teaspoon Toasted Coconut Treatology Flavor Concentrate
    8 drops Creamy Vanilla Custard Treatology Flavor Concentrate
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt


  • 3/4 cup + 3 teaspoons water
    12 cups (about 3 pounds) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
    6 tablespoons Color Flow Mix
    Color Right Performance Color System (see colors tinted below)

Icing Colors

  • Red (formula 32): 1 1/2 cups icing + 62 R + 8 O
    Deep Blue (formula 647): 1/2 cup icing + 27 B + 5 P + 6 R
    White: Reserve 2 cups icing

Note: Make and decorate cookies 1 day in advance to allow for drying time.
Heat oven to 350∞F.

In large bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and flavors. Mix flour, baking powder and salt; add to butter mixture 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Do not chill dough. Divide dough into 2 balls.

On floured surface with rolling pin, roll each ball into a circle approximately 12 inches in diameter by 1/8 inch thick. Cut cookies with star nesting metal cookie cutter. Dip cutter in flour before each use.

Bake cookies on ungreased cookie sheet 8-11 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned.

Prepare Color Flow icing. Tint icing following color formulas above. Use tip 3, a parchment bag and full-strength icing to outline cookies: 32 in red, 21 in white and 16 in blue. Let cookies dry 1-2 hours.

Thin 1 cup red, 1/4 cup blue and 1 cup white icing. Use thinned icing and disposable decorating bag to fill in cookies. Fill in 8 of blue outlined cookies with white icing and remaining cookies with matching outline color. Let dry 8-12 hours.

To serve, arrange cookies on tray in stars and stripes design.

Source: Wilton.com

Star-Studded Crafts for July Fourth

Patriotic Decorative Table Linens

Star-Studded Crafts for July Fourth

Celebrate your independence from another ho-hum summer gathering. Grab your family and friends for an evening of fireworks and a brilliant display of stylish crafts that give pops of red, white and blue.

Patriotic gatherings are a great way to get in some extra bonding time with those closest to you. Whether you opt for a traditional picnic, backyard barbecue or al fresco dinner party, step it up with patriotic themed food bars and chic buffets.

Patriotic Decorative Table Linens

Crafting time: Under 1 hour
Skill level: Some experience necessary

Supplies and Tools:

Fabric for table coverings:

  • Toweling
  • Quilting cotton
  • Linen
  • Burlap


  • Ric-rac
  • Lace
  • Pom-poms

Iron and pressing surface
Sewing machine
Basic sewing supplies


1. Determine desired size for table linens and cut fabric to size, leaving 1-inch excess on each side for hemming.

2. For neatly finished edge (on toweling, for example), hem each raw edge by turning fabric toward wrong side 1/2 inch, iron flat, and then turn 1/2 inch again. Press well with an iron. Sew across turned edge, approximately 3/8 inch from edge, to secure hem in place.

3. To add decorative trim to edge of fabric, match right side and raw edge of trim to right side and raw edge of fabric. Stitch using 1/4-inch seam allowance. Turn and press under raw edge of fabric so that remaining portion of trim extends out. Topstitch along edge of fabric to secure trim in place.

4. Use hemmed and decorative edge linens as tablecloths and table runners to stage food and beverage tables. Add height to table by stacking books and then draping with decorative table linens. Place cake stands or food trays on top.

Source: Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts