Friday, May 20, 2016

4th of July Events in St. Petersburg, FL

If you find yourself in the Tampa Bay Area this 4th of July, the local St. Pete Pier Fireworks Show is surely a must-see event. However, if you are already planning to attend the fireworks, St. Petersburg is hosting a few other events, running the gamut from music to food, which you may want to take advantage of.

The main event of the evening, of course, will be the fireworks, held at 9 p.m. at 800 Second Ave. N.E., St. Petersburg, FL 33701. This location, being the Pier itself, will be open to the public, but with several vendors serving alcohol and the usual bands playing, the building and the approach leading up to it can get quite crowded. If you are looking for a more family friendly venue, I would recommend Demens Landing Park at the intersection of Bayshore Dr. & 2nd Ave. S St. Petersburg, FL 33701. The additional space and an unobstructed view of both the fireworks and the Bay make it quite the excellent alternative.

In any case, whether you choose the Pier, the park, or some other location, you will inevitably have to find a metered parking space. With people streaming in from all over the county, many of the more desirable parking spaces are filled up, so it may be wise to prepare for a short walk.

With this in mind, there is certainly good reason to arrive early and partake of all the other events that the city will be offering, especially as this will allow you to obtain both a desirable parking space and a complete Independence Day experience.

One of the primary events in the offing will occur at North Straub Park, 500 5th Avenue North, St. Petersburg, FL, where SOCOM paratroopers will be landing at 7:30 p.m. and the Trailer Choir performs at 8 p.m. Both of these events are free, and the Pier fireworks will be visible from this location as well at 9. Also, if you are interested in sand sculpture, a 40-ton work of art will be constructed by the World Championship team beginning on July 2nd. Local charities will have their fun at tabletop sand sculpture contest with judging occurring on July 4th at 3:30 p.m.

While concessions will be offered at these events, taking a stroll into the downtown area will lead you to a diverse assortment of food offerings, with restaurants serving everything from gelato to gourmet hot dogs. If you are on a budget, the Lucky Dill Deli, 277 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, might be a nice option, as it offers very tasty sandwiches at quite reasonable prices.

Throughout all of this, the Pier itself will be hosting live music, with groups ranging from “Solid Core” to the River City Banjo Band. A full listing of bands, locations, and times can be found at

As if all this wasn’t enough to fill up your day, the area’s various museums will be holding their own local Independence Day themed events. The Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Dr. N.E, will be hosting music, art and food, with tickets selling for $10 a person. Latin music will be a prominent player. More information can be found at

If you’re in the mood for folk music and more family-themed activities, the St. Petersburg Museum of History’s “I Heart Freedom Festival” might be more to your taste. Check out for more information. In any case, whatever events you choose, I hope that you will fully enjoy your July 4th.

Additional information on parking, road closures, and a few of the events can be found at

Tags:4th of July Events in St. Petersburg, FL

4th of July Activities for Kids

Children love to celebrate holidays, especially the 4th of July! It’s fun to dress up in red, white, and blue and take part in the fun activities. So why not plan something fun for them to do to celebrate? Of course you may be planning the traditional cook-out. While cook-outs are a lot of fun, you do not have to limit your activities to just that. There are plenty of activities to plan out for children to do on this holiday. This can range from crafts to parades. Here are a few ideas for 4th of July activities for kids.

Baking 4th of July Cookies!
Baking holiday themed cookies is not something that can only be done in the fall or winter. You and your child can actually bake 4th of July themed cookies! You can find cookie cutters for this holiday in stores. Bake cookies shaped as the American flag, eagles, the Liberty Bell, and stars. Decorate the cookies with red, white, and blue icing and sprinkles (as well as sprinkles shaped like stars). If you cannot find the cookie cutters you need, you can just bake round cookies and decorate them in red, white, and blue.

4th of July Crafts.
Children love to be creative, and 4th of July crafts will be a big hit with them! There are a few crafts to choose from. Let children draw a picture or color 4th of July themed pictures. 4th of July coloring pages can include fireworks, the American flag, and the Liberty Bell. Another popular craft would be to have children create their own American flag! You can also do something different and help children design their own 4th of July tote bag or pencil holder.

Attending a 4th of July Parade.
Children love to attend parades, especially holiday parades. They love the floats, costumes, and music! So why not take them to a 4th of July parade? You can dress them up in their red, white, and blue apparel and accessories! You can even let them paint their faces or put wash out dye in their hair! Check around your local area to find upcoming parades. It is recommended that you check the weather in advance and have some indoor activities planned should it rain.

Watching The Fireworks.
Firework shows are very popular among both children and adults. It’s fun to sit back, listen to the music, and watch the fireworks in the sky! Most firework shows are done in a few locations and last about thirty to forty-five minutes. Some firework shows do end up being longer or shorter. Check around your local area to find upcoming firework shows for the 4th of July. You should also check the weather in advance and have indoor activities planned should it rain, as children may be disappointed if the traditional fireworks show is postponed.

These 4th of July activities for kids are going to be a big hit! Not only are they fun, but they will help children learn a little about the holiday they are celebrating. You can plan just one or two activities, or see if you have time to plan all of them! You can see a parade during the day, work on a craft while the cookies bake, and see the fireworks at night! If you are planning to have a cook-out that day, you can always move the cookie baking to July 3rd and serve the cookies at the cook-out! You can still try to plan the other activities around your cook-out. Children will love celebrating all day and even the day before. Have fun and Happy 4th of July!

Tags:4th of July Activities for Kids

4th of July 2010 in Berkley, CA

There is only one place to be in Berkeley this 4th of July, and that’s at 4th of July at the Berkeley Marina. 4th of July at the Berkeley Marina, the biggest and best party on the South Shore, starts at noon and ends at 10:00pm after the Fantastic Fireworks Show at the end of the pier!

The kids and the rest of the family will not run out things to keep them entertained. There will be music, dancers, jugglers, Adventure Playground: open from 11am – 8pm, face painting, and playing at the beach. For the grownups, stroll around the Marina and check out the arts and crafts booths. Take a break from the crowds, relax, and enjoy a message. Sailboat rides are available from 1-4pm, dragon boat rides from 2-6pm, pony rides, and more; all for free.

4th of July at Berkeley has live entertainment scattered all over the Marina. There’s something to entertain the entire family everywhere you look!

On the main stage from noon – 9:30pm, Troupe Tangiers & Sharifa’s Habibis, the Allman Step Brothers Band, Sadza Marimb, and Incendio will be performing.

From noon-9pm at the Food Court Amphitheatre, enjoy a vast variety of entertainment including: Patrick Prescod ­ Steel Drums, Coventry & Kaluza ­ Clowns, Fred Anderson Comedy Explosion, Frank Beau Davis ­ Jazzy Flugelhorn, and UCA Capoeira.

Other entertainers include: Afro Cuban Rumba Drumming, Audette Sophia­ Stilt Walker, The Aji Show­ Juggler, and much, much more.

The Fireworks Spectacular begins at 9:30pm at the end of the Berkeley Pier, and is one of the biggest fireworks displays in the Bay Area!

You will be hungry at this event, and if you don’t pack a picnic lunch, there are over 20 concession vendors to choose from: Vegetarian Wraps, Thai, BBQ Pork, Tri-tip, Roasted Corn on the Cob, Subs, Cajun Calamari, and that’s just the top of the list. Your taste buds will be satisfied!

With all the great fun to be had at 4th of July at the Berkeley Marina, it is important that we work to keep the marina clean and free of trash. There are many ways to keep the marina green. Bring your own dishes (many discount stores carry reusable plastic dishes and utensils). Keep a bandanna handy to use as a napkin instead of using paper napkins. Take a water bottle with you and refill as needed. When you need to throw something away, make sure you use the recycling stations located throughout the marina for your disposables.

You can also reduce your carbon foot print by riding your bike over the Berkeley Bicycle Overpass and park for free near Adventure Playground, or take AC transit from the downtown Berkeley BART Station.

4th of July at the Berkeley Marina is a family-friendly alcohol-free event. No cars after 7pm.

For more information and event details checkout the event website . 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Tags:4th of July 2010 in Berkley, CA

4th of July Cocktail Recipes with Vodka

This Fourth of July my friends and I will get together and celebrate with a festive party filled with fabulous food and festive drinks. We have decided that there is no better way to celebrate Fourth of July then with a festive cocktail party. Every good host knows that when having a cocktail party, festive drinks are a must. At my Fourth of July cocktail party you will find a mixture of old favorites with a festive twist, and new and unique cocktails.

I will begin with a True Blue Martini, my Strawberry Martini, and a White Martini, which my friend Michelle has given me the recipe for. For these I took Fourth of July flexible star garland that I found at the dollar store and wound them around the stem. There is no need to attach them to the glass because they are made of wire and will stay in place.

True Blue Martini

3 shots Vodka

1 shot Blue Curacao

Blueberries to garnish

Fill a cocktail shaker, or glass if you don’t have one, ¾ full of ice. Add Vodka & Blue Curacao. Shake well, and pour into a martini glass. Garnish with blueberries.

Strawberry Martini

3 shots Vodka

1 shot dry vermouth

1 pint strawberries

1/8 cup sugar

To begin you must make a strawberry syrup. (syrup is enough for the whole party) place ½ of your strawberries and all of the sugar in a blender. Blend on medium until you are left with a liquid. Pour into a container with a lid and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. When ready to serve your drinks fill a cocktail shaker ¾ full of ice. Add 2 Tbsp. of the strawberry syrup, Vodka & dry vermouth. Shake well, and pour into a martini glass. Garnish with remaining strawberries.

White Martini

1 ½ oz vanilla Vodka

1 ½ oz cream liquor

1 oz butterscotch schnapps

Fill a cocktail shaker ¾ full of ice. Add Vodka, cream liquor, and schnapps. Shake well, and pour into a martini glass. Garnish with blueberries or strawberries.

For those who do not like martinis I have decided to make a red, white, and blue, Vodka slushy. I was very excited about these because I have found red, white, and blue drink stirrers that light up. You may be able to find these in a local store but I bought mine online.

Red, White, & Blue Vodka Slushy

¾ cups Vodka

¼ cup frozen lemon juice concentrate

¼ cup frozen strawberry juice concentrate (or frozen daiquiri mix)

¼ cup frozen blue raspberry juice concentrate

¾ cup sugar

6 cups ice

In a blender combine ¼ cup Vodka, lemon juice, ¼ cup sugar, and 2 cups of ice. Blend until smooth. Pour into a container and place in freezer. Do the same for the blue raspberry and the strawberry juice separately. In a large glass pour the blue raspberry juice in 1/3 of the glass. Layer the lemon slushy mixture next and top off with the strawberry. Serve immediately. You could also serve each slushy mix separately.

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4th of July Celebrations and Events in Tampa, FL

If you’re looking for a fun way to celebrate the Fourth of July in the Tampa Bay, Florida area, there are many events to choose from. Keep in mind that the weather doesn’t always cooperate, so any of the following events listed could be canceled at the last moment due to severe weather. When this occurs, most of the events are rescheduled. As always, when you attend any outdoor event in July in Florida, remember to bring your sunblock for daytime hours and mosquito repellent for after sundown.

The first event, which includes a fireworks show at night, is called “Sparklebration”, and is held in Dade City, Fl. The physical address is 36722 state Road 52, in Dade City. You can reach an event spokesperson by phone, at 352-567-6678. The first event for Sparklebration begins on July 3rd. It features the Mostly Pops Orchestra, with
Robert Romanski as the conductor. It will be a night of patriotic music and song, featuring John and Mary Wilson. It begins at 7 pm, and is held in the auditorium at the Fairgrounds. Tickets are $12 in advance, or $15 on the day of the show. Advance tickets are available at the Pasco County Fair Office, 36722 SR 52, in Dade City, the Dade City Chamber of Commerce, 14112 Eighth St., in Dade City, or in Zephyrhills, at the Bingham Realty office at 7304 Gall Blvd.

On the Fourth of July , the gates to the Fairgrounds will open at 4 p.m, with fireworks beginning at 9:15 p.m.
Admission for adults is $3.00 . Ages 10 and under are free. Parking is $5.00 There will be continuous live entertainment and festival seating. You may also bring your own chairs and blankets. Keep in mind that no alcohol, personal fireworks, pets or coolers are allowed inside the fairgrounds. Before the fireworks begin, there are many fun things to do, like watch, (or compete in), the apple pie eating contest, the watermelon eating contest or the hot dog eating contest. If you would like to park your car at the nearby football stadium, you are allowed to do that, to watch the fireworks. There is no charge for this.

Another event in the Tampa Bay, Florida area is at the Museum of Science and Industry, also known as “M.O.S.I”. Beginning on July 3rd, and running the the 5th, M.O.S.I. will celebrate the Fourth of July by offering a buy one, get one free admission ticket price. The have over 450 hands-on exhibits, an IMAX dome theatre , and the Kids in Charge science center, which emphasizes the value of learning while playing.It opens at 9:00 am, and closes at 5:00 pm.The address for the Museum of Science and Industry is 4801 E. Fowler Ave.,Tampa, FL 33617
(813) 987-6100.

Lastly, one of the most popular Tampa Bay area Fourth of July events, is the fireworks display at the St. Pete Pier. This is known to be one of the best ever fireworks shows in the entire area.It’s a great place to be able to see the fireworks up close, and also a great place to take pictures. The fireworks are shot off the waters of the Pier and Spa Beach. There are food vendors available, selling hot dogs, fries and other refreshments.The schedule of events is as follows for the Fourth: 1:00-4:00 p.m. – “Cool Daddies” – Poodle Skirts to the 70’s,1:00-9:00 p.m. – Face painting by Joanne Conte & Friend (nominal charge),1:00-3:00 p.m. – “George Washington” character ,1:00-6:00 p.m. – Alternating characters from Fritzy One Man Circus,3:00-8:00 p.m. – “Dance Heads” – Be your own star in a dance video! (free),3:00-8:00 p.m. – Live Remote from WMTX – MIX 100.7FM ,4:00-5:00 p.m. – “Drum Circle Facilitation” ,5:00-8:00 p.m. – “Save the Radio” – Alternative to Top 40’s,8:00 p.m. – Tampa Bay Rays vs. Texas Rangers,and the fireworks start at 9:00 pm. The event is held on July fourth, from 1:00 pm thru 11:00pm, at the Waterside Courtyard and the Pier. The event number is 727-821-6443. The Pier is located at 800 Second Ave. N.E. ,St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Fourth of July Celebration at MOSI!: Friday, 7/3 at 9:00am at MOSI (Museum of

Pasco: Fourth of July Events

SPARKLEBRATION ~ July 3rd & 4th, Pasco County, Florida

Tags:4th of July Celebrations and Events in Tampa, FL

4th of July Dessert Recipes

The 4th of July is a great time to get together with family and/or friends and to celebrate our country’s independence. Whether you are hosting a get-together or are a guest at one, these desserts will help you celebrate Independence Day.

Here is an easy dessert recipe containing the colors of the American flag. For this recipe you will need:

1-2 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh strawberries
4 small scoops of strawberry or raspberry sherbet (whichever you prefer)
½ -1 cup whipped cream, Boston Cream or vanilla pie, or yogurt

Cut the stems out of the strawberries and slice them in half. Wash all the berries. In a dessert dish put a small scoop of sherbet. Next, top the sherbet with strawberries and blueberries. Finally, place two to three tablespoons of yogurt or whipped cream on top of the berries and sherbet. Repeat recipe in separate dessert dishes or cups in order to make four to six servings.

Layered Strawberry Dessert

Another dessert recipe you might want to whip up for your get-together is the Layered Strawberry Dessert. For this recipe you will need:

5 tablespoons sugar
½ cup sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 ½ cups graham cracker or vanilla wafer crumbs
4 egg whites
¼ cup melted butter
2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced

In a bowl, sprinkle 2 cups of fresh, sliced strawberries with 3 tablespoons sugar. Set the bowl aside.

Next, in another bowl, mix melted butter, 1 ½ cups graham cracker or vanilla wafer crumbs, and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Press mixture into an 8-inch square baking pan.

In a large mixing bowl, beat 4 egg whites until soft peaks form; then, gradually beat ½ cups sugar in. Beat mixture until stiff peaks form. Spread mixture over graham cracker or vanilla wafer crumbs in the baking dish.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake meringue and graham cracker or vanilla wafer crumbs at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

Whip cream. Spread whipped cream over the meringue. Drain the strawberries and spread them over the whipped cream evenly.

Chill before serving.

Cream Cheese Filled Strawberries

Finally, cream-cheese filled strawberries are a unique dessert, perfect for a 4th of July celebration.

The ingredients for this recipe are:

11-12 ounces of softened cream cheese
¼ teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons of semi-sweet or milk chocolate, grated
32 large, fresh strawberries

First, cut a thin sliver off each stem end of the strawberries, so that the strawberry can stand on its end. Place the strawberries onto a serving platter, cut side (flat side) down. Cut each strawberry into four wedges, cutting almost, but not completely through the strawberry.

In a mixing bowl, beat sugar, cream cheese, and almond extract until the mixture is fluffy and light. Use a decorating bag with a tip or a teaspoon to gently fold the grated chocolate into the mixture.

Fill the strawberries.

The 4th of July is the day we celebrate our independence. Make the celebration special with these fantastic desserts!

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4th of July Events in San Antonio

June 30, 2012 7:30PM – July 4, 2012 7:30PM
San Antonio Scorpions are having their first annual “futbol & fireworks”. Come and enjoy with the whole family. For more information on this event please visit

July 3rd & 4th
Lights of Liberty Presented by Chrysler®.
Come and enjoy the great fireworks display, thrilling rides, award-winning entertainment and of course the summer fun for the whole family. For more information you can visit

July 3rd &4th
Come and enjoy the music, your favorite seaworld characters the fireworks. For more information you can visit

July 3rd-5th
4th of July at Marketsquare
Come enjoy authentic mexican food and music. Free for the whole family. Please visit for more information.

July 4th 11:00AM-9:00PM
Woodlawn Lake Park
Come enjoy this day fo free activities and entertainment. for more information you can visit

Lackland AFB and Randolph AFB will also be holding their own events both starting at 5PM. Open to the general public and free. The usual security precautions will be in effect. Lackland is asking the general public to enter through the east gate. Randolph is asking the general public to enter through the South and west gates. Could not get a website for these events.

For more information on the July Fourth Celebration call the Parks Foundation at (210) 212-8423 or visit,

A lot of firework displays are put on hold as of June 23rd 2012. So if you are looking for fireworks, make sure to check first.

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4th of July Movies for Kids

4th of July movies for kids can be educational and fun too. After all, 4th of July movies for kids are a great way to squeeze in a little education about how our country was founded. The 4th of July movies for kids listed below are in a range of styles and genres, from animation, to 1940’s musicals, to musical animation. Here are my top picks for 4th of July movies for kids. To find out more or purchase any of the 4th of July movies for kids from the list, check out the links below.

Yankee Doodle Dandy

If you and your kids are into musicals, check out this zippy number with James Cagney from 1942.

Where to buy: Amazon

Also check out the Kidsongs version of Yankee Doodle Dandy. It’s great for kids who like to sing.

Where to buy: Amazon

This is America, Charlie Brown

A list of 4th of July movies for kids wouldn’t be complete without Charlie Brown and friends’ tribute to American history. This patriotic film for kids is fun for children and adults too. Who can resist the charm of Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang?

Where to buy: Amazon

Schoolhouse Rock – Election Collection

The brilliance of Schoolhouse Rock is the way it combines history lessons with catchy tunes. Of course, there is also the fun, whimsical animation. If you remember Schoolhouse Rock classics such as ‘The Shot Heard Round the World’ and ‘No More Kings’, now is the chance to share them with your own kids. It is a great way for your kids to learn about the true meaning of the 4th of July.

Where to buy: Amazon

Liberty’s Kids – The First Fourth of July

4th of July movies for kids include this colorful and educational cartoon, featuring the voices of Walter Cronkite and Whoopy Goldburg.

Where to buy: Amazon

George Washington (Getting to Know the U.S. Presidents)

This educational 4th of July movie for kids is part of a series devoted to the American presidents.

Where to buy: Amazon

A great accompanying video to the George Washington film is Washington D.C. for Kids, an animated movie about the history of our nation’s capital.

Where to buy: Amazon

Whatever your children’s taste in movies, there is a 4th of July film in the list above to suit. You can find more information about any of these 4th of July movies for kids by searching the Internet or by clicking on the links above.

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4th of July Fireworks Shows in the San Francisco Bay Area

The Bay Area is a lovely place to live and a great place to celebrate just about anything. There are many cities and towns nestled next to each other that all offer wonderful community celebrations for this Independence Day weekend. We are lucky the 4th of July is on a Saturday this year. This means more families can have their day together, celebrating our country.

The San Jose Giants are hosting fireworks this year. They are offering a great day at the ballpark with after game fireworks on both the 4th and 5th of July. These are very popular and Municipal Stadium fills up quickly. To get your tickets for the game and the fireworks show, call (408) 297-1435 or go to If you live in the neighborhood, then you will be able to see the show from miles around! It is beautiful and very loud!

Scotts Valley is having an Independence Day parade and fireworks show. The parade begins at 3:00 pm and will travel down Scotts Valley Drive, between El Pueblo Rd and Civic Center Drive. There will be festivities at Skypark (361 Kings Village Rd) until 9:15pm when the fireworks start. Bring the family and enjoy games, entertainment and food. Parking is a problem, so carpool is you can. Call (831) 438-3251 or go to for details.

The City of Mountain View is putting on a spectacular fireworks display featuring the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra at Shoreline Amphitheater Mountain View residents can receive up to 4 free tickets to the show by calling (650) 903-6392 by 2:00pm on Monday June 29th. The city will be giving away 2000 free tickets for this show.

San Francisco at Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf are hosting the Bay Area’s largest fireworks display. The fireworks will be shot out over the bay. This venue is completely free, and can be seen from along The Embarcadero to Ghirardelli Square. It is such a popular event, it is highly recommended to get there very early and expect crowds. Parking and traffic will be a pain, so take a deep breath and take a relaxing walk along the piers and enjoy the event. It is very much worth the hassle parking or traffic.

There are many, many other towns in the area that are hosting fireworks shows starting at 9:15 pm. If you can’t make it to a show, then all you need to do is look to the sky at that time and you are bound to see it lit up with amazing displays of color and majesty.

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4th of July Patriot: Surprising Facts About Benjamin Franklin

The accomplishments of Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) were legendary even in his own lifetime. He was, after all, the man who had learned how to control lightning itself, a deadly force of nature, with his lightning rod. His resume continued to grow during and after the Revolution. He could ultimately claim to be a wealthy retired publisher, newspaperman, Royal postmaster, inventor of bifocals, inventor of the Franklin stove, foremost expert on the Gulf Stream, philanthropist, founder of a free public library, founder of a big city fire department, diplomat, head of the American Revolutionary fleet in Europe, head of the European espionage network, signer of the Declaration of Independence, signer of the U.S. Constitution, founder of what would become the University of Pennsylvania, inventor of a musical instrument called the glass armonica, leading anti-slavery advocate, and also that he had conducted studies on numerous topics including the aurora borealis, the common cold, the origin of northeast storms, earthquakes, mathematics, and natural history. Of his accomplishments, he preferred being known primarily as a printer, a profession he’d loved. And he had other worlds yet to conquer.

Some little-known facts about Ben Franklin:

If Franklin’s father had had his way, Benjamin Franklin would have been a preacher. But that took years of study so instead he apprenticed him at age 12 to brother James, a printer.

Although the name of Franklin’s illegitimate son, William (b. 1728), is well-known, the identity of Williams’ mother is unknown.

American cartoonists, especially editorial cartoonists, can trace their lineage to Benjamin Franklin famous drawing of a snake cut into sections, each labeled with a colony’s initials, and the caption: “Join or Die.” It was the first American cartoon.

Poor Richard in “Poor Richard’s Almanac” was actually Franklin’s alter-ego, a poor man named Richard Saunders. It was a then-common literary device that allowed Franklin freedom to express himself.

George Washington was born the same year as Franklin began publishing Poor Richard’s Almanac (1732).

At just 42, Franklin profitably sold his business to ensure a comfortable life of retirement which he could then devote to his personal interests.

Franklin held a lottery (1741) to raise 3,000 pounds to buy cannon to defend Philadelphia from marauding French and Dutch privateers during one of the small European wars preceding the Revolution. He also helped assemble a Philadelphia Militia when the local government dragged its feet.

In Franklin’s time, electricity was a mysterious killer held in superstitious awe. Churches rang their bells during thunderstorms to ward off the lightning, leading to the electrocution of many bell ringers. Discovering its nature, then inventing the lightning rod made Franklin world-famous.

Franklin and friends established the first lending library (1731) where people could pay a subscription fee to join, used to import more books. To appreciate this, realize that books were expensive and as a rule, entirely unavailable to the common man. It encouraged widespread literacy and started a trend.

Franklin used what’s considered a modern business means of getting wealthy as a printer…he franchised his operation in other cities.

We think of printing and publishing as two separate careers. But in Franklin’s time, printers increased business by publishing books, almanacs, and newspapers. Due to his skills at writing and marketing, Franklin was better at it than most.

Franklin’s achievement in France makes later diplomats look like bumblers. He convinced the French king to support a rebellion against the monarchy in general, albeit the British monarchy. Not only that, but financing and equipping the Americans, in fact, helped bankrupt the country and directly inspired the French Revolution.

John Paul Jones’ ship, Bonhomme Richard (“Poor Richard:), was named in honor of Franklin.

At the Constitutional Convention, the ailing Franklin was often transported to meetings in a sedan chair, borne by four convicts.

Bothered by people gathering outside his home to see if they could observe his experiments, Franklin once mischievously wired up his wrought-iron fence and sent a mild charge through it. It worked.

Franklin once tried to establish a written language based on phonetic English and even wrote some of his correspondence using it, but couldn’t get any converts and gave it up.

Although commonly addressed as “doctor,” Franklin only had a second grade education. The honorific followed his receiving an honorary doctorate.

Franklin visualized airborne attacks with 5,000 two-man balloons fielded in an attack against an enemy unable to gather quickly enough to repel them.

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4Timeless Animated Movie Series - to Watch Again and Again!

Who doesn’t love a good old colorful, cute and charmingly clever animated movie?

We can watch such animated movies over and over again, regardless of how old we are.

We watch them to cheer us up, keep us entertained (when there’s nothing on the telly that takes our fancy) and to be proud of (i.e. something to regale our kids with “did you know this was my favorite movie when I was your age…”).

When the weather is grey and you’re feeling blue, may we recommend these five timeless animated movies to you!

Movie #1: “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”

Original Release Year: 1937

Digitally Re-Mastered: 2009

Animation Style Used: Cartoon

DVD Price: £24.99 RRP (Diamond Edition, 2-Disc set)

Story: The whole ‘Innocence versus Vanity; Good versus Evil’ shebang. Snow White, a young beautiful princess orphaned when she was younger and brought up by a wicked stepmother who ousted her to become queen of the land.

We never tire to see how Snow White gets to marry the Handsome Prince (capitals fully intended) and get rid of the evil queen who was after her blood!

Movie #2: “Stuart Little” and “Stuart Little 2”

Original Release Years: 1999 and 2002, respectively

Animation Style: 3D and Stop Motion Animation

DVD Price: £3.99 each

Story: Both the films have adorable storylines, educating the audience on the importance of sibling rivalries, family ties and caring for others.

Based on the novel by E.B White, the Stuart Little movies went on to become a hit television cartoon program too.

Movie#3: “The Shrek” Series (yes, all of them!)

Original Release Years: 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010 respectively

Animation Style: 3D animation

DVD Price: £15 (box set)

Story: What’s not to love about this movie series! The adorable and hilarious characters; the heart-warming stories that talk about things that matter, love, family (or the lack of), friendship, kinship, challenges, prejudice, dreams, enmity, victory.

Perfect for the cosy night in, or a boring afternoon, to keep the whole family hooked and to talk about afterwards.

Movie#4: “The Toy Story” Series (again, all of them!)

Original Release Years: 1995, 1999, and 2010 respectively.

Animation Style: 3D animation

DVD Price: £12 (box set)

Story: What would happen if all the toys our kids had suddenly came to life? What if they had personalities and minds of their own? What if someone thought about these questions and went on to make an animated movie series?

This is what you get with the Toy Story Series and more! There is something so very appealing about how a bunch of toys come to alive, become friends, fight battles, gain victories and right the wrongs.

Marvelousentertainment made with clever 3D and CGI animation.

Tags:4Timeless Animated Movie Series - to Watch Again and Again!

4th of July Desserts that Sparkle

The key to making a dessert, a real 4th of July dessert, is to have it be red, white and blue. I have an annual 4th of July party. These are a few recipes guests have brought over the years and shared with me. These are real crowd pleasers with color.


1 cup flour

½ cup (stick) butter

¼ cup sugar

25 large marshmallows

¼ cup lemon juice

2 tsp grated lemon peel

16 raspberries

32-48 blueberries

8 oz whipped topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, butter and sugar. Grease a 9 by 13″ pan. Put mix firmly in bottom of pan. Bake about 15 minutes until lightly browned. Let crust cool.

Mix marshmallows, lemon juice and lemon peel on pan and cook on low heat until marshmallows melt and mix well.

Add whipped topping to mixture and put in cooled crust and spread evenly. Refrigerate at least 2 hours and cut into 16 squares. Put one raspberry and 2-3 blueberries on top and serve.


1 qt strawberries

1 ½ cup boiling water

1 package of 8 ounce red gelatin (any flavor)

Ice cubes

1 cup cold water

10.75 pound cake

1 1/3 cups blueberries

16 oz cream cheese softened

¼ cup sugar

8 whipped topping

Slice the strawberries. Set half of them aside. Stir boiling water into gelatin mix until dissolved. Add 2 cups of ice to gelatin and stir until most ice melts. Remove excess unmelted ice cubes.

Refrigerate 5 minutes (should look like consistency of unbeaten eggs).

Cut pound cake into 10 slices and put in a 9 by 13 baking dish. Stir sliced strawberries and 1 cup of blueberries into gelatin. Spoon over cake. Refrigerate about 4 hours until it is set.

Beat cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl until well blended (user mixer if available). Stir in whipped topping. Spread over gelatin. Now to make it look like a flag. Use blueberries in top left corner. Use about 6 rows down and 8 across packed next to each other well. Then put rows of strawberry halves, two rows to the right of it and three rows down to make it look like a flag. It will look great and can serve up to 20 people.


What is the 4th of July without fireworks? Here is a great cupcake recipe ripe for the occasion.

1 ½ cups coconut flakes

Red and blue food coloring

24 yellow cupcakes

Red, blue or even black licorice strings

8 oz whipped topping

Place ½ cup of coconut in three separate plastic reseal able bags. Add 4 drops of red flavoring to one bag and 4 drops of blue food coloring to the other bag. The last bag stays white. Shake bags with coloring until coconut is evenly colored.

Spread cupcakes with whipped topping. Spread red coconut on top of one cupcake, blue on another and white on another. You can also place a bit of each color on a cupcake. Be creative. Place thin licorice string in center top with part hanging out and looking like a firecracker fuse. These are a real crowd pleaser.


1 cup boiling water

4 oz package any red gelatin

1 cup cold water

8 oz whipped topping

1 ½ cup blueberries

Stir boiling water in gelatin until mixed thoroughly at least 2 minutes. Stir in cold water and pour into 9 by 13″ pan.

Refrigerate until firm (about 4 hours).

Cut gelatin into 1/2″ cubes. Put a layer of blueberries in parfait or ice cream sundae clear dish. Then a layer of whipped cream, followed by a layer of the gelatin. Lastly finish the top with another layer of whipped cream. You can make 8 to 12 parfaits depending on size of bowls.

Serve and watch faces light up. What I like most about this recipe is it is light and delicious even after a big meal.


Tags:4th of July Desserts that Sparkle

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