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    Kick Off 4th of July with a Bang!

    There's nothing sweeter than freedom, so it's only fitting to celebrate our great country in style! Make your Fourth of July celebration a memorable homage for friends and family by hosting your very own ultimate backyard BBQ! From creative do-it-yourself decorations and new twists to barbeque classics, check out these fun ideas to throw a rockin’ good party.

    Before your guests arrive, you’ll want to set the stage for your patriotic bash. There are plenty of fun and creative do-it-yourself decorating ideas you can do right at home. The options are endless, but listed below are a few simple red, white and blue decoration ideas:

    Create a red, white and blue bandana table runner. Simply press your bandanas and neatly arrange them down the center of your picnic table.

    Arrange red, white and blue pinwheels in a tall glass vessel as a fun center piece that you can give away to your guests later!

    Create a dramatic patriotic welcome on your front lawn. Create a large star stencil out of cardboard, lightly spray your grass with water, place the stencil and sift flour over the stencil.

    Craft your own door decoration with a festive flag wreath. Using a Styrofoam wreath and toothpick flags, push the toothpicks into the Styrofoam & push in flags until full.

    Decorate 12-inch white paper lanterns with any red and blue pattern for a cute lighting option.

    Using red and white striped cloth, create your own buntings by running it along your porch and tying it off with blue string.

    Creativity doesn’t need to end with decorations; bring some into the kitchen before your guests arrive. Instead of reaching for the traditional hot dogs and hamburgers, impress your family and friends with some modern American fare that still echoes the comfort of classic barbeque dishes:

    Dazzle your guests with a festive cocktail shooter, appropriately named the 4th of July. The layered drink is as beautiful as the American flag and simple to make. Layer equal amounts of the following, in this order: grenadine, blue curacao and then top off with cream or vodka.

    Help your guests cool off with some Frosty Fireworks in a glass. Make this fun and simple drink ahead of time by freezing red juice and blue juice in ice trays. Once frozen, take a tall tumbler & add five clear ice cubes, two red ice cubes and two blue ice cubes, then pour any clear carbonated beverage into the glass. As the ice cubes melt, your guests will enjoy a little fireworks show right in their glass!

    Guests will go crazy for a Red, White and Blue Slaw. Here's what you'll need:

    o 12 slices of cooked and crumbled bacon
    o 6 cups shredded cabbage
    o 1 cup coleslaw dressing
    o ½ cup blue cheese crumbles
    o 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

    Mix the bacon, cabbage and dressing well. Sprinkle blue cheese and cherry tomatoes on top for a festive and delicious side dish!

    Serve up a red, white and blue dessert to your guests with an easy-to-eat Crispy Star Pop:
    o 8 cups marshmallows
    o 6 tablespoons butter
    o 12 cups Rice Krispies
    o 1 cup white chocolate baking chips
    o ½ teaspoon of shortening

    In a large pot, heat the marshmallows and butter. Once melted, stir in the Rice Krispies. Mix well and press mixture into a greased 15x10x1 baking pan.

    Use a 3-inch star-shaped cookie cutter to cut out your pop, and then insert a wooden stick into the side of each star.

    Place stars on wax paper. In the microwave, melt the white chocolate baking chips and shortening. Stir frequently. Once the chocolate is smooth, spread it over your stars and decorate with your favorite red and blue sprinkles to complete this tasty treat!

    After your guests have eaten, keep the fun going with a few group-friendly activities planned until the fireworks start:

    There's nothing like America’s pastime. Start a backyard baseball game!

    Dust off the karaoke machine and belt out your favorite American tunes all night long.

    Swap out the traditional numbers on your bingo card with Fourth of July themed photos and play a rousing game of Independence Day bingo, with small trinkets as prizes. Download free premade cards at http://www.dltk-cards.com, or bust out the construction paper, markers and stickers to create your own!

    Keep your visitors guessing with a Fourth of July jar. Fill the jar with jellybeans and give away a prize for the best guess!

    Whether you end up throwing a small get together or a huge patriotic bash, wave your flag this Independence Day and be proud to be a citizen of the good ol’ U.S. of A, and be sure to follow us on Facebook® and Twitter® for special Fourth of July promotions!

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