The 4th of July is right around the corner, and that means it’s time to break out those summer activities! Whether you plan to celebrate on the 4th this year or the weekend before, there are tons of cheap and fun options for making the most out of our independence day.
So, without further ado, here are seven cheap and exciting things you can do to celebrate our country this summer!
Just because you’re hosting a party doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money. Make your 4th of July BBQ a potluck. You provide the backyard and make the burgers and have your friends and family handle the rest! What better way to celebrate than to spend time with those closest to you?
You could go out and buy your own fireworks, or you could just attend one of the many free firework displays taking place nearby. Not only is it much cheaper to go to a local display but chances are that their fireworks will also be much more impressive. Get there early with your blankets and chairs and spend time soaking up the summer before the show starts. You can turn this into a double activity by getting there early and…
Whether you are bringing a dinner picnic to your local fireworks display or packing a lunch picnic for a nearby festival (see #5!), picnics are always a great option for celebrating the summer. Pack some sandwiches and maybe even mix up some sangria and hit the road!
What summer would be complete without taking part in a festival or two? Luckily, the 4th of July is a prime chance to attend free festivals all over the country. Hop on Google and search for 4th of July celebrations near you, chances are you will find at least a few fun excursions the weekend before this great holiday.
The 4th of July is a prime time to get to watch local brass bands, symphonies, and philharmonics for free. See what instrument groups are performing nearby and take a trip to your local bandshell to take in the show (picnics are often a great option for these concerts as well)!
Are you reading through all of these choices and just thinking, “eww. I don’t want to deal with all those crowds”? If so, what about hosting your very own Patriotic Movie Marathon in your own wonderfully air-conditioned home? Pick out some of your favorite patriotic movies, pop some red, white, and blue popcorn and settle in for a quiet celebration at home. Stumped on where to begin? Here are some movies to get you started: National Treasure, Saving Private Ryan, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Glory, or Capitan America.
Regardless of how you choose to spend your 4th of July this year, I hope that you celebrate by enjoying the things that you hold most dear and remember all of those who have fought to keep us free.
Today I want to inspire you to become happier. Everyone needs a little pick up every once and a while and today I am sharing with you 100 ways to make your day full of a little more happiness.
So, without further ado, let’s get happy!
If all of these happiness-inducing ideas aren’t enough, I have decided to start giving you something a little extra each time I write a new post.
Did you know that there are almost 1,500 National Days throughout the year? Some of them inspire conversation, others promote change, and still others just make you laugh. Here are the National Days that fall on April 25, 2017:
I don’t know about you, but when it comes to thinking of the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for my husband (or even the perfect things to do on Valentine’s Day), it often feels impossible.
First, there is the question of if I even want to attempt to brave the crazy world of reservations and official activities. Then it’s the question of if I want to celebrate on Valentine’s Day or if I want to celebrate the previous or following weekend. By that point, thinking of an actual gift is absolutely exhausting. It seems as if we’ve done everything already. Romantic dinner? Check. Flowers? Check. Chocolates? Check. By the time you are in the midst of midlife it often feels like the day is hardly worth it and (usually) pretty unsurprising. But, with the right commitment and a little time, you can create the perfect DIY Valentine’s Day present to show your significant other exactly how much you appreciate them – regardless of the day of the year (which brings me to today’s post).
Today I am going to bring you four DIY Valentine’s gifts for him (although, these gifts would also be perfect for her). My inspiration? The DIY Valentine’s Day gifts I created for my husband five years ago (to this day, this is my favorite DIY Valentine’s Day gift I have ever made).
Take a look at my assembled gift below, and then I’ll go through all of the DIY ideas you can choose to re-create!
I’m going to start with the easiest and quickest parts of my gift and work my way up to the more complicated/time-consuming ideas. Pick and choose the ideas that you like the most and then make them your own!
As I mentioned above, these are the easiest part of the gift. All you need is paper, scissors, and glue! Quickly fold the fortune cookies, write whatever fortunes you would like about the love of your life and your future together, and slide your fortunes into the cookies. Voila! You have cute little fortunes to share with your significant other!
This card is a little more complicated than the fortune cookies, but not much. You will need paper, scissors, and glue like the last craft, as well as a ruler, pencil, and stencil knife (and of course a pen to write your own love letter inside). My tip? Use a light pencil and have a good eraser on hand so that you can erase all of your lines you made to know where to cut your great pop-up design. Also, pay attention to the colors you use (for example, I had to create paper cut-outs of the letters for the front of my card because pen didn’t show up very well on the red background. So, start thinking about what you want to write because you will be done with this craft before you know it!
This is my favorite part of my gift to this day! This rose is still wrapped around the edge of our standing mirror in our bedroom today. That being said, this is also the gift that caused me the most stress. I carefully picked out pages from an old dictionary where words like “love” and “kiss” were defined and then carefully cut out the petals to make sure the right words were visible…and then I completely failed my first attempt making the flower. Turns out, it’s pretty hard to make a rose out of nothing but paper, hot glue, ribbon, wire, and scissors. That being said, after a few failed attempts, I finally got it right and I still find it absolutely gorgeous. If you’re ready to put in some time and effort, I can guarantee that this gift is something that you significant other will cherish for years to come. Plus, it lasts much longer than regular roses!
This gift idea is the most time-consuming, and the most personal. This is a box that you make from scratch and is actually almost like 3 boxes in one. As your significant other opens the box, they will be unfolding the story of your life together. On each side of the box, I put a story or a picture of me and my husband and as he unfolded the box more and more, he went further and further back into our past together. It is a thoughtful gift that takes so much time to make simply because you are putting so much time into picking the right moments of your life together to remember.
So, there you go! Four DIY ideas for making your Valentine’s Day gifts extra special this year!
However, if you’re reading through these ideas and you’re saying to yourself, “I don’t have time for this,” don’t fear, below are a couple easy Valentine’s Day gift ideas for him (and gift ideas for her) that you can complete in an instant (no shipping required)!
As we were settling in into our new condo, Darrell and I decided to buy a little corner bar. One of those cool pieces that look built in, only they’re not.
Purchasing most of the other furniture came easy: we researched, found what we wanted, and bought it.
After two months of relentless searching for the right one, it was nowhere to be found. We spent hours searching online. We looked at several dozen different models. We went to stores and talked to salespeople. Nothing worked. Nothing came close to what we thought would be perfect.
I was resigned that we wouldn’t find the perfect piece. Darrell was frustrated that nothing we saw was good enough. Actually, truth be told, Darrell is a bit less particular than me, and could have been satisfied with a lot of these earlier options. I’m more of a stickler for the exact fit.
Last week while taking an evening walk, we talked about our seeming inability to find just the right bar.
I said, with an intention to make us feel better, “It’s ok. I always thought that the bar would be hard to find, and that it could take a lot of time and be pretty expensive.” That was true – deep in my mind I was always convinced that finding the perfect bar would be a difficult and time-consuming project.
Darrell paused…and said, “Do you know, with that belief, it is no wonder we can’t find anything that will work for you…”
In that moment, I got it. He was right. In my mind, I created an idea that the perfect bar would be hard to find and expensive. Therefore, the Universe was proving me right: it was. With that mindset, no wonder we couldn’t find what we wanted.
“Would you be willing to give up the idea that it will be hard to find?”, Darrell continued. Convinced as I was in the rarity of the item in question, I was willing. I do enjoy a good game of mind control and miraculous manifestation.
That night, after his regular few minutes per day of searching for a perfect bar, Darrell showed me a picture of something that looked ideal – a perfect fit, and at a fraction of the price I had expected to pay. Although it was about an hour drive from our home, we decided to call them up and discuss it.
With what sounded like a description matching the picture of perfect fit, we gambled with renting a truck and drove up the next day.
It turned out to be true: the only bar in two months that came even close to what we wanted.
As soon as I gave up my (very unhelpful) mental idea, we found a perfect piece…easily and somewhat effortlessly.
This gave me another perfect opportunity: to look where else is my mindset in the way of my getting what I want in my Back Forty, my second half/best half of life.
Do you find yourself still searching for the perfect holiday gifts? Are you realizing that Christmas is less than a week away and getting worried?
Don’t fear, I’ve taken the time to do a little research for you. I found something for everyone on your list. Look through the list below and find your perfect gift!