Rebecca Reviewed It: Hometown 4th

I live in a rural farming area. But I have always considered St. Johns, Michigan my hometown. When I was younger, I spent a lot of my childhood in town. Naturally, when the 4th of July celebration was announced I made plans to go. I am glad I did.

First, I must admit, I am a fan of community events, fairs, and festivals. The celebration in St. Johns did not disappoint. Before heading to the park, we (my cousin and I) stopped at Little Caesars for pizza. The young man that waited on me was polite and professional (a trait, I value in customer service). 

My cousin and I met the rest of our family at St. Johns City Park. The Performance Shell area has plenty of room to watch concerts or other events. Many people bring blankets or lawn chairs along. The area also has a small pavilion. 

Closer to the road leading into the park are picnic tables for public use. We were lucky enough to find one in the shade. Yes, the 4th of July was a hot day for us in Michigan. Luckily the area is close to restrooms and the playground. 

The music, performed by Stone Street Revival, began around 7 pm. I enjoyed listening to the older songs. I found myself singing along to a few of the songs including Sweet Caroline. Yes, I am sorry for anyone who could hear my voice. 

Prior to the start of the fireworks, our group moved toward the other end outside of the St. Johns Redwings football field. We had a perfect view of the fireworks display. I do not know if the show impressed me because I had not seen fireworks in years. Or I was simply happy to be out after everything was canceled in 2020. The Rotary Club of St. Johns hosted a wonderful family-friendly evening.

Will I Go Again? 

In my opinion, if you can spend an evening with family, eat pizza, listen to music, and watch fireworks, do it. Yes, I plan on attending the 4th of July celebration in St. Johns again. In fact, The Clinton County Arts Council will host different music events throughout the summer at 7 pm on Wednesday nights. I am hoping to attend a few more concerts in the park.  

July 4th, 2021…a beautiful night


31 Days of Photo Inspiration for July

The warm summer weather is finally here. Grab your camera or cell phone and make July memorable. Do you need some inspiration? Check out the following photo prompts for July.

  1. Selfie (Always, start the month with a new selfie)
  2. Flag
  3. Red-White-Blue
  4. Happy Independence Day, USA! Fireworks
  5. Skyline
  6. Water
  7. Circles
  8. Low Light
  9. Ball
  10. Textures
  11. Beach or Pool
  12. Flowers
  13. Sunset or Sunrise
  14. Comfy
  15. Beverage
  16. Favorite Food
  17. Love
  18. Animal
  19. Smooth
  20. Nature
  21. Wildlife or Stuffed Animals
  22. Distance
  23. Up Close
  24. Black and White
  25. Lines
  26. Clouds
  27. Motivation
  28. Street
  29. Dirt or Mud
  30. Peace
  31. Complex

Enjoy July!

31 Self-Care Ideas for July

Self-care is being aware of your own needs and taking the necessary steps to meet them. The demands of work, parenthood, and other commitments often lead to stress. With the added health crisis, social media, and daily news, you may quickly be overwhelmed. Take a step back, breath, and remember to take time for yourself. Do you need ideas for self-care? Check out the following list for July.

  1. Hydrate: Staying hydrated is essential for your health, especially in the summer. No, you don’t need to give up your morning coffee, just remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  2. Don’t Forget Your Fruits and Veggies: Often, in the summertime, quick meals lead to unhealthy choices. Remember to get your daily intake of fruits and vegetables.
  3. Go Outdoors: Yes, social distancing and other restrictions are still in place but even get outside. Go for a hike, walk around the block, stroll through the city park, or take an extra trip to the dog park. Being outdoors, even for an additional hour, is good for your well-being.
  4. Happy Independence Day, USA! Watch the fireworks. Due to the coronavirus, many events have restrictions or canceled. Watching fireworks from your own vehicle is a safe way to enjoy the holiday. If you do not want to leave home, many PBS stations host 4th of July concerts with fireworks. Enjoy the show from your own couch.
  5. Make a Summer Playlist of Your Favorite Songs
  6. Start a Journal
  7. Create a Vision Board: Fill your board with anything that personally inspires or motivates you. Then, take the necessary steps to transform your goals into reality.
  8. Unplug: Step away from your computer, cell phone, or other electronic devices. Turn off the news. Unplugging for an hour, an afternoon, or a day can positively impact your mood.
  9. Buy Yourself Flowers
  10. Declutter Your Closet
  11. Take a Long Bubble Bath
  12. Give Yourself an In-Home Spa Treatment
  13. Make Your Favorite Meal: Yes, it can be a dessert.
  14. Call a Friend
  15. Meditate or Pray
  16. Do Morning Yoga or Stretching Exercises
  17. Watch the Sunrise or Sunset
  18. Take a Long Afternoon Nap
  19. Go on a Picnic: If the weather is uncooperative, host a picnic in your living room.
  20. Read a Book
  21. Go to the Farmer’s Market: Great place to get your fruits and veggies while supporting your community.
  22. Go for a Ride: Fill up your car and just drive.
  23. Set Goals for the Second Half of 2020
  24. Do Crafts on a Rainy Day
  25. Learn to Say, “No”: Too many commitments can lead to added stress.
  26. Spend an Evening (or Entire Weekend) Binge-Watching: Re-watch your favorite television series or discover something new.
  27. Paint or Draw: Bringing out your inner artists does not have to break the bank. Head to your local dollar store and buy some necessary supplies.
  28. Listen to a New Podcast
  29. Buy Yourself Something New: Treating yourself can be as simple as trying a new type of cracker to purchasing an entire outfit. Just do something new for yourself.
  30. Send a Friend or Family Member a Letter: Or join a pen pal organization and write to someone new.
  31. Make a Goal List for August

4th of July Craft Table

Are you hosting a 4th of July party or BBQ? Do you want to keep the children busy? Many children love to socialize, swim, and play various outdoor activities. Others may need a quiet space to relax. Setting up a crafting table is a great way to keep children entertained during a family event. If your party experiences rain, you will be prepared.

Ideas for a 4th of July Crafting Table

Children’s imagination is limitless. Setting up a variety of options will help keep children engaged. Use the 4th of July as a theme for your art and craft activities.

Painting Fireworks

Roll out long pieces of butcher paper or set out black poster boards. Supply red, white, and blue paint to create fireworks. When painting the fireworks, offer different options. Paint brushes, straws, pipe cleaners, and sponges create unique textures. The fireworks will look unique to each child’s preference.

Paint Rocks

Rock painting is a popular craft choice. Line a table with varying sizes of rocks. Supply paints and brushes. Allow the children to create their own personal masterpieces.

Paint Clay Planters

When preparing for your party, pick up some clay planters to paint. A planter is the perfect take-home item.

Tie-Dye Shirts

Older children and adults love to tie-dye t-shirts. Ask parents to bring white shirts or supply different sizes for everyone. Use a tie-dye kit or traditional dye to make the shirts. Supply rubber bands and marbles to help create designs. The shirt may turn into a lasting memory.

Beading

Red, white, and blue pony beads are an inexpensive way to create necklaces and bracelets. Stringing the beads in a variety of designs allows each child to create a unique jewelry accessory.

Collages

Using construction paper or poster board allow children to create collages. Set out different art supplies including:

  • Red, white, and blue paint
  • Glitter
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Pom-pons
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Sequins
  • Pieces of material
  • Tissue paper

Drawing 

A craft table does not need to be elaborate for children to enjoy. Set out paper, crayons, markers, colored pencils. Children will use the materials to draw and create.

While engaging with others, a craft table is a great way for children to make art. Being able to take home a project instantly creates a memory of the event.

Happy 4th!

Tips on Helping Your Dog Stay Calm During Fireworks

Fireworks are a normal part of the 4th of July celebration. Many communities host large scale firework displays. For firework goers, the loud noises are simply part of the night’s activities.  When the vibrant colors begin to light up the sky, does your dog get upset?

The booming noises are scary for some dogs (and cats). Dogs may bark, try to hide, or get sick over the continuous loud booms. Taking precautions before the start of the fireworks may help ease your pets’ nerves.

Tips on Keeping Your Dog Calm During Fireworks

Being prepared is the best way to help your dog through the firework celebrations. Check your community’s page on social media or website to learn about the time and dates of the fireworks in your area. Keep in mind, some communities host fireworks more than one night. Do not forget, your neighbors may host BBQs with added fireworks in the evening. Whistles and popping noises may be just as scary for your dog as the booming fireworks displays.

Consult Your Vet

If you are aware of the negative effects fireworks have on your dog, voice your concerns with your vet. Under some circumstances, your vet may prescribe a light sedative to help your dog get through the evening’s festivities. A sedative relaxes your dog. When prescribing medication, staying with your dog is essential.

Stay Home 

The 4th of July is a time for numerous activities and celebrations. When your pet gets upset over fireworks, staying home in a familiar environment may help. Plan to spend the night at home with your favorite furry companion.

  • Close any open windows.
  • Remember to secure doggy dog entrances
  • Lock doors to prevent running away.
  • Cuddle together on the sofa
  • Go to an area in your home where outdoor noises are muted.
  • Constantly reassure your dog that everything is good

Taking small precautions may ease your dog’s nerves.

Create a Safe Environment 

If you are away from home, keep your pet with you during the fireworks presentation. Being by your side reassures your dog that everything is fine. Offer your pet a special treat, bone, toy, or a blanket for additional comfort.

If you must leave your pet home alone, take steps to muffle the loud noises. For example turn on a radio or the television, leave a fan running. Familiar noises add comfort.  When putting your dog in the crate, add his or her favorite toy.

Go Outdoors Before the Fireworks Begin

Prior to the evening’s fireworks presentation, go outdoors. Go for an additional walk or spend extra time at the dog park. Exercising may reduce stress.

Be Sympathetic

Your dog may require extra attention on the 4th of July, be sympathetic. Fireworks are loud and scary for animals. Helping your dog get through the night should be your main priority.

 

 

 

 

 

 

July Journal Writing Prompts

Warm weather, the 4th of July holiday, and relaxing summer events are perfect for being outdoors. Take a few moments out of your day to write. Journal writing is a chance to document daily events or explore your emotions. Consider the following prompts to help with your journal writing.

31 Journal Writing Prompts for July

  1. What does the 4th of July and freedom mean to you?
  2. Do you have any family members past or present who served in the military?
  3. What are your 4th of July plans? Are you ready?
  4. Happy 4th! What is your favorite Independence Day memory?
  5. I want to…
  6. What is your idea of a relaxing Saturday afternoon?
  7. What 5 movies would you like to see? At the movies? On Netflix? Or Other streaming services? Why do you want to see these movies?
  8. What was your favorite song from childhood? Teenage years? Now? What do you like about these songs?
  9. What one trait do you dislike about yourself? What steps can you take to improve yourself?
  10. Write about your driver’s training experience?
  11. List 10 things to accomplish by the end of the month.
  12. What is your current biggest obstacle?
  13. Write about your favorite trip as a child? Teenager? Adult?
  14. What’s your current relationship status? Are you happy with your status?
  15. What is something from your past do you miss?
  16. is music important to you?
  17. Do you believe it is important to follow trends? In fashion? For your home? Technology?
  18. If you could learn a new language, what would you pick? Why?
  19. What would you like to do this weekend? Relax? Go on an adventure? Stay home? Why is this choice important to you?
  20. What local tourist spot would you like to revisit? Why? If there’s not one to revisit, what one would you like to view for the first time? Why?
  21. What does your week ahead look like? How busy is your schedule?
  22. It’s Independent Retailers Month. What local shop or service do you like? Why?
  23. What obstacle did you overcome in the past 6 months? Year? Five years?
  24. Make a new playlist. Why are these songs important to you?
  25. What hobby or recipe would you like to try? Why?
  26. What are your favorite summer memories from childhood?
  27. Describe a summer vacation experience.
  28. What was your best idea this week? Why?
  29. What steps did you take to improve yourself this month?
  30. I never…
  31. What are you looking forward to in the month of August?

Happy July! Happy Writing!

July Photo Prompts

Summer is now in full swing. Are you enjoying the warm summer days? Grab your camera and go outdoors. Try the following list of different July photo prompts for your inspiration.

31 Photo Prompts for July

  1. Selfie (A new month deserves a new selfie)
  2. Red, White, and Blue theme
  3. Fireworks
  4. Independence Day, USA theme
  5. Friday Fun
  6. Outside
  7. Relaxation
  8. Landscape/Waterscape
  9. Vivid
  10. Meal
  11. Beach/Lake/Pond/Water
  12. Wildlife
  13. Stuffed Animal
  14. Sunset/Sunrise
  15. Friendship
  16. Small
  17. Large
  18. Current View
  19. Cold Beverage
  20. Flowers
  21. Green
  22. Ice Cream
  23. Street
  24. Black and White
  25. Up-Close
  26. Signs
  27. Movement
  28. Music
  29. Clouds
  30. Summer Vibes
  31. Memories

Have fun with the July photo prompts. Get your family members or friends to join in. Create a tag or a social media page to share the photos with each other.

 

Last Minute 4th of July Outfit Ideas

Did you get a last minute invitation to a 4th of July event? Or perhaps, you have been procrastinating all weekend on finding the perfect, comfortable outfit to wear. Do not worry; you still have time for creating a last minute 4th of July outfit. Under most circumstances, you may already have the accessories in your closet. If not, with a little creativity, last minute deals or a quick trip to a local dollar store is all you may need.

Fun 4th of July Outfits

BBQ, an evening bonfire, fireworks or hanging out with friends, the 4th of July should be a memorable occasion. Worrying how you look should be the last thing on your mind. Pick out some comfortable clothing and have fun. Life is short. Celebrate it.

Can’t Go Wrong with Red, White, and Blue

Picking out red, white and blue clothing to mix and match is the perfect 4th of July outfit. For example, a red t-shirt, blue jean cut-off shorts, and a white bandana is the perfect, easy combination. Or you can simply get a little creative.

  • Paint a T-Shirt: Grab a white t-shirt. Using fabric paint, add patriotic sayings to the shirt. “God Bless the USA” or a simply “Happy 4th of July” instantly transforms your shirt. Get creative, along with sayings; add stars, the US flag and more.
  • Customize a T-Shirt: Many local department stores have 4th of July themed t-shirts for minimal costs. In order to stand out in the crowd, customize your shirt. For example, cutting fringe around the sleeves or bottom of the t-shirt will make yours stand out from others with the same one.
  • Add Beads: If you decide to add fringe to your t-shirt, consider adding beads too. Pony beads have a large opening to pass the fabric through with ease. Securely tying red, white or blue Pony beads to the end of the fringe is the perfect addition. Pony beads are an inexpensive accessory.
  • Grab the Sharpies: Coming in a broad spectrum of colors, permanent Sharpie Markers are fantastic. For added fun with your 4th of July t-shirt, grab a couple of your favorite colors. Ask friends or family members to sign your shirt. At the end of the evening, the shirt full of signatures instantly becomes a memorable keepsake.
  • More Beads: Pony beads make excellent necklaces, bracelets, and ankle bracelets. The large colors will stand out bold on a sunny 4th of July day.
  • Ribbon: Grab some red, white or blue ribbon out of your craft box. If you are wearing your hair up, consider a braid or two. Intertwine the patriotic colors through the braid for extra flare.
  • Scarves and Bandanas: Inexpensive scarves or bandanas from your local dollar store are the perfect accessories for your outfit. Wearing a patriotic scarf around your neck or pulling your hair back with a bandana, helps complete your outfit.

When creating your 4th of July outfit, have fun. The outfit is about you. Allow your individual personality to shine brightly on this patriotic holiday.