3 MORE Simple Ways to Make Your 4TH of July Celebration Out of This World

Okay, so if you read my last post but you’re still struggling in terms of decorations for this last minute shindig, I’ve got you covered. In this post I’m going to cover three MORE ways you can turn your last minute party planning into the celebration of your dreams; home decor style! Amaze your parents, in-laws and the general population with your mad skills, while keeping to an extremely small budget. Let’s get started. Round two!

1: Let’s start big and work our way down, shall we?

If you’re like anyone else in this country, you’re probably throwing your party in the backyard, or at least at your local public park. Besides the sweets, everyone knows decorations are what’s going to separate you from the rest and may just save you from the unyielding stink eye of your evil mother in law.

Things to try: Painting or sifting stars into the grass.

What you’ll need:

  • Cardboard
  • Box cutter or X-Acto knife (or a pair of scissors if you’re a klutz like me)
  • Flour or non-toxic spray paint
  • A wee bit of patience

Grab one of your old moving or grocery boxes, break out the box cutter or an x-acto knife and get to work. Cut out one or two different size five point stars (or six if you’re in the Halloween spirit already) and lay them at random points across the yard. Shop72 Cardboard and Box CutterNow, here’s where personal preference comes into play. You can either use cake flour and simply sift the stars into the cutouts but, this provides a bit of a mess to clean up later on because you’ll eventually have to sweep the flour up. (Or you can simply let it blow away, although I don’t know how your neighbors are going to feel about that.) Or you can go my personal favorite route and use non-toxic spray paint from your local hardware store. It’s a bit of a quicker job too, and you won’t have to worry about a mucky, flour-y mess if it decides to rain. Just make sure to remind the pets and the kids that eating spray painted grass isn’t a good idea. Once the stars are all painted (or sifted) into the grass, stand back and admire your Shop72.com spray painted yard stars.work. The best part about this decorating tip is, you can pretty much leave it there all season long, or at least until the yard needs another trim. Every day is a Shop72.com Kids love Painted Lawn Starswonderful time to be patriotic. And, not to mention, the kids will absolutely love the look and feel of their starry new backyard. Just remember, this decorating tip is best used on freshly cut or low cut grass so, break out the mower before you start painting. And, non-toxic paint is an absolute MUST if you plan on having the kiddies and the pets on the lawn while the stars are there. We wouldn’t want anyone having an allergic reaction or needing a trip to the vet or the emergency room. This holiday is already packed with ER visits!

2. Place settings, place settings, dear lord you have to sit next to your aunt Fran who drools, don’t you?

Okay, so the 4th of July is technically a family holiday, wouldn’t you agree? You grab all of your relatives and force them into the back of a van, travel down to your nearest river front or city monument and watch thousands of dollars worth of fire works literally go up into smoke. But, before that, you have to feed them! Kill two birds with one stone and make your place settings brighter with this little tip.

Things to try: Including boxes of sparklers with each set of silver wear at the table.

What you’ll need:

  • Paper plates or dining utensils of your choice
  • Silver or plasticware
  • Boxes of sparklers
  • Red, white and blue ribbons
  • Place mats of your choice

Grab your place mats and spread them evenly on your table. Make sure your table cloth and place mats coordinate. Grab something in the patriotic red, white and blue, Shop72.com Sparklers place settingand use your best plasticware if you’re not a fan of taking grandma’s fine China into the backyard. Then, simply apply a ribbon to your napkin, sparklers and utensils to add to the center of the plate. Add streamers to the places for an extra touch of festiveness. This simplistic idea will be great for yourShop72 sparklers 4th of July Belleville guests of any age. After they’ve finished dinner and they’re looking to have a little fun, just provide a lighter (to the adults) or hand out the matches to those old enough to operate them for a glittery good time. Just don’t forget to properly dispose of those little burnt ends so that the pets don’t get ahold of them. I can’t stress this enough!

3. Star spangled tea light candle holders!

After the fireworks display is over and you’ve shuffled the kids off to bed, it’s about time for the grown-up fun to begin. The 4th of July is a great occasion to get together with your special someone and cuddle underneath the moonlight. Break out the drinks of your choice and the finger-foods and kick back with your sweetheart, bathed in the glow of this next little tip.

Things to try: Tape a some cut out stars on an old mason jar and pop a tea light candle inside.

What you’ll need:

  • Mason jars (it’s okay if they don’t have lids
  • Masking tape (or star shaped stickers)
  • Scissors or X-Acto knife
  • Spray paint in your patriotic color of choice
  • Candles
  • Patience

Grab your masking or painters tape (or a kiddy star shaped sticker book if you’re particularly strapped for time) and carefully cut out a bunch of tiny star shapes. Or, if you’re feeling particularly flirty, cut out little hearts. Add them to your mason jars, cover the tops with the lids or a piece of cardboard, and hit them with a couple Shop72.com Star spangled tea light candle holdercoats of red, blue or even white spray paint. Try to keep it between three and four coats because you want the glow of the candle to illuminate the area. Let the jar dry between coats then, if you Shop72.com star spangled mason jar tea light candle holderscan, clean up any paint drips or streaking with a small paint brush. This step is optional and purely for the perfectionists out there. Once it’s completely dry, peel off the star shaped tape or stickers to reveal the perfectly star shaped empty spaces left behind. Pop a tea light candle inside and give it a light. Or, if you’re worried about the candle going out and having to relight it, pick up a pack of cheap, battery operated candles from the dollar store, turn them on and let them glow all night long. The ending result is more than worth it. For a stronger effect, make sure you place them away from brighter light sources such as porch or spot lights. If you go the battery operated fought, they make a great night light for the kids after the adults are done having all the fun with them. The great part about this little tip is that it’s a project that can be used again and again with different outcomes. Try hearts or little dinosaurs next time, or, use a sparkly glitter spray paint so it sparkles in the daylight, even when the candle’s not lit or turned on!

Don’t forget to show your patriotism by flying an authentic American Flag at your party! The American flag is the ultimate symbol of freedom and is a testament to all those we celebrate and remember on this day. Happy Independence Day from all of us here at Shop72.com!

Shop72 American Flag

3 Simple Ways to Make Your 4TH of July Celebration Out of This World!

Okay, so, the family is flying in Wednesday, the kids are confirmed to be out of school on the third, and your boss is breathing down your neck about getting those reports in before the weekend. It’s officially last minute party planning time if you’re going to have anything at all ready for the 4th of July holiday. What do you do? Well, you start by reading blog posts like this one about last minute party planning of course! I’ve collected three last minute Fourth of July food decorating tips that will take what you’re throwing together to the next level. Let’s dive in.

1: Desert is literally EVERYTHING

If you don’t have plans for at least a great desert, you’re way behind. The sweets, popsicles, candies and food coloring filled cake is the centerpiece to any 4th of July shindig. If you’re doing this as a last minute, day before the in-laws arrive type thing, you’re going to need all the help you can get, on the cheap, with minimal time and effort spent doing it.

Things to try: Dip waffle or sugar cones in candy melts or cake frosting then dip them in red, white and blue sprinkles.

What you’ll need:

  • Waffle cones or Sugar cones
  • Candy melts or cake icing
  • Sprinkles in patriotic colors

Fix enough of them and you’re on your way to having a great centerpiece for the sweets and desert bar no one knows you thought Shop72 fourth of July sugar conesof the night before! Serve them with the ice cream of your choice, but make sure you don’t set out the sweet stuff before the guests arrive. The only thing worse than a hot, sticky, day is melted, runny ice cream. Think of the little ones! You spent major dollars on her first patriotic tutu, don’t let her ruin it with watery ice cream!

Don’t worry if you can’t find those pesky candy melts in your local grocer. If you don’t have a Michael’s or Hobby Lobby nearby, I’m told they’re selling them at Walmart now. And, if even Walmart is out of the bag, you can always use regular cake icing. It’s a tad bit more fattening, but isn’t that what holiday’s are for?

Experiment with different types of sprinkles (and maybe even other types of candies or decorations) and see what effect you like best!

2: Gett’n fruity with it!

If you’re trying for a healthier desert, don’t panic, I’ve got you covered. Fruit can be just as sweet, sugary and fun, without all the added calories.

Things to try: Use star shaped cookie cutters in watermelon.

What you’ll need:

  • Cookie cutters (preferably the metal kind)
  • Watermelon
  • Blueberries or other summer fruit

This is one of those last minute food crafts that even the (older) kids can help out with. Slice your watermelon in half or whole Shop72.com Watermelon starscircles and hand out the cookie cutters. Try to get as many little stars cut out of your slice as possible, while trying to leave them at least a quarter of an inch thick. The thicker they are, the better they’ll hold up if you plan on sticking them on toothpicks and serving them as garnish.

Try serving them up as part of a fruit salad. Arrange them in a bowl with blueberries,Shop72.com patriotic fruit salad strawberries, cherries and other summer fruit. If you can swing it, go tropical! Add
chunks of mango, honeydew, pineapple, peaches, banana and lemon for a little twist and pucker.

Set it out for your guests to enjoy and add a little whipped topping if you’re in need of a little extra sweetness. The fruit can also be served up as skewers! Skewer up a few peach slices alongside your starry watermelon, spread them evenly on the grill and let them cook for seven to eight seconds on either side, depending on the heat of your grill. Once they’ve got grill marks, take them off and serve them alongside whatever your meal choice. They make great sides to ribs, pork steaks, burgers and just about anything else you’re grilling up.

3: Strawberries and stripes!

Here’s another fruity quickie that’ll leave your guests wondering if you’re somehow related to Martha Stewart!

Things to try: Dip strawberries in white candy melts then dip them again in sugar sprinkles.

What you’ll need:

  • Fresh strawberries (leave the stems!)
  • Candy melts (or white icing)
  • Blue sugar sprinkles

This not-so-seductive take on the chocolate dipped strawberry is the perfect way to work those patriotic colors into your table. Shop72.com patriotic strawberriesGrab those strawberries you’ve been planning to use for a …special night, and break out those candy melts again. After the
candy melts have reached optimal melting temperature and easy to work with, use tongs, a fork, or even a toothpick to dip and swirl your strawberries in the chocolate. You’ll have to move fast because that chocolate dries quick! Before it can cool and harden, dip the strawberry in a little bowl of blue sugar sprinkles. Allow them to cool and you’ve got a great snack or desert for your party goers!

If you want to add a little of the fireworks festivities to your patriotic strawberry, try dipping them in blue pop rocks instead of the sugar sprinkles. They’ll add a little snap, crackle and pop to the snack that your guests will love but won’t be expecting.

Pop these adorable little berries next to your fruit salad and your patriotic ice cream cones and you’ve got a full set that’s the perfect centerpiece to your last minute shindig.

Don’t forget to show your patriotism by flying an authentic American Flag at your party! The American flag is the ultimate symbol of freedom and is a testament to all those we celebrate and remember on this day. Happy Independence Day from all of us here at Shop72.com!

Shop72 American Flag

 Our First Warehouse Sale is a Success! You won’t believe what happened!

Dane Wilkerson Shop72.com Warehouse Sale
That’s Dane from eCommerce

Our warehouse sale has been a long discussed affair that we originally thought wouldn’t even happen. But, with a little luck, a little ingenuity, and a bunch of extraordinary people, we  got it done! From memorial day onwards, shop72.com has catered to the area, offering discounts, free gifts and more, all to better serve our loyal customers and make connections with the people in our community. And it’s not over yet, our sale is still going on, so come on down to our warehouse if you’re in the Belleville area for blowout sales and killer smiles.

Warehouse sale in Belleville
Our warehouse is looking spiffy!

The much anticipated sale kicked off officially on the first of June after months of painstaking planning and setting up our humble warehouse to look its best. It’s a handsome gentleman that we had to transform in order to appeal to the masses and, after worrying about it til we were all stressed out and above the legal blood/coffee limit, we whipped it into shape. Dane, our resident eCommerce manager and Linda, our Customer Service rep, took care to arrange everything, stocking racks and shelves with products and making sure everything was price tagged and ready to go. It was a hassle for them, working all day in the hot warehouse, but never once did they complain.

The first of June rolled around a lot sooner than we anticipated though, but we were

Warehouse sale in Belleville
Things are still selling quickly.

finally able to open our doors to the masses. We posted on Facebook and Twitter, handed out flyers and discount codes in expectation for our customers arrival but, to our complete and utter surprise, people started showing up early! We couldn’t stand to turn them away, so our sale actually started a few days ahead of schedule. Customer after customer came pouring in until we really didn’t know how to accommodate them. We were so surprised—and still are! People love our housewares, chocolate fountains and shammy’s, but more than anything they’ve been all over our clothing items like our dresses, camisoles, leggings, shoes, cardigans and more. Except, instead of ordering online and waiting for it to be delivered, they took it home straight away. One woman even decided to wear a pair of our heels home, straight out of the box. This has been more than a success, we’re so excited to have our loyal customers–and friends!–showing up to hangout with us.This sale has been an extraordinary success and we can’t wait to promote bigger and better events for our customers in the future.

Barbecue Season is Upon Us – How to Make Your Next Backyard Shindig a Success!

Recipes, products and DIY’s for your summer time cook-outs

Backyard barbecues are a staple of any American summer. Whether you’re getting ready for Memorial, Independence or Labor day, there’s always an excuse to bust out the grill and barbecue sauce. This holiday season, I’ll make sure you’re prepared to face all the challenges and hiccups that are bound to crop up while you’re getting your party on. From recipes to decorating tips and even a printable shopping list you can take with you on your path to barbecue success.

DECORATING

We all know that decorating for a barbecue is no easy feat. From gusty winds that blow everything off our tables to soggy drink containers and a mess of condiments. Here are a few ways to keep your party looking neat without breaking the bank.

1. Use Water Balloons as Ice Cubes

Grab those water balloons your kids are waiting to destroy each other with, fill them about half way with water and pop them into the freezer. After a couple hours you can fill a cooler 2af06bda9b22b72ae01bdfdc065d6900or small bin with these delightful makeshift ice cubes and skip having to empty out a tub of warm water at the end of the night. Its perfect for adding juice boxes and other drink containers you don’t want to get wet. And the best part, after they’ve finished cooling your drinks and melting, you can throw them at each other!

2. Mason Jars as Candle Holders

Everyone loves mason jars. They’re all the rage recently and can be found on just about any d86abc9d0416763cb5b47cf7cd3b9ffcstore shelf nation wide. Tie a bit of string or twine around the rim of the glass and fill it with water or  some other non flammable liquid. Gently float your favorite tea light candles in the liquid, light, and bask in the golden ambience of the candle flames. This is a great addition to any table centerpiece and adds a bit of sparkle and country styling to your party. Take it a step even further by sinking a few stones or jewels at the bottom of the glass. The little rocks you buy for fishtanks would work great for this as would anything generally heavy enough to sink to the bottom of the jar and stay put. If you’re on a tighter budget, grab a few rocks from a riverbed or your neighbors flower bed (shhhh, I wont tell) and enjoy the all natural effect of your new table centerpiece. Add a wreath of flowers around the jars on the table to make your party the envy of all your friends and bossy relatives.

3. Muffin Tins or Mason Jars as Condiment Dispensers

We all know the mess of trying to safely and neatly distribute condiments at a cookout. Who knows whats in those packets we steal from our neighboring McDonalds (I know you’ve done6361c59bbe05660ecf55a6ca12f5e0c4 it! We all have!) and setting out the bottles results in ketchup fights and a slippery mustard mess. Try filling mason jars or your old muffin tin with your favorite condiments and even veggies for a neat dispensary that will not only look good on your table but will cut your clean up and put away time in half. Tomatoes, pickles, onions, heck even your grandmothers cole slaw recipe; if it can fit in a jar or a tin it has a perfect place at your table. Equip the jars tin with disposable spoons to make it easy to grab whatever your burger needs. Just be sure to remind your guests that double dipping is strictly not allowed!

4. String up Your Old Christmas Lights and Bring Out the Bed Sheets

Want to turn your next cook-out into a party your guests will never forget? Simple additions like blankets instead of chairs and old Christmas lights strung from poles or the side of the house will help make your night one of the best your guests have ever had. Urge people to 03d856339f08c73abbb008bb2f5712d4take off their shoes and socks and climb into the intimate setting you’ve provided, they’ll love you for it, especially if they’re the skittish type who’s not so keen on social gatherings. Removing the exacting need to mingle by setting them between their favorite people in a comfortable atmosphere will have them chatting up a storm in no time–willingly! Don’t forget the candles on the table, the good food and the excellent conversation either!

5. Take a Favorite Childhood Game to the Next Level

Can you say water balloon, outdoor twister? Break out the non-toxic spray paint and create a 6×4 grid of circles in the grass with the infamous twister colors and let it dry. Once you’re sure it won’t stain your toes or clothing, break out your old twister board and start spinning. 1563ba61b4e6d367443047acf9d50d7aFor every missed color or slip and fall–bean them with a water balloon! You’ll be slipping, sliding and covered in grass in no time. And we all know, there can be no real summer fun without grass stains and someone complaining about water in their eyes. Make it even more exciting for the adults with a friendly wager, how far you decide to take it is completely up to you!

RECIPES

What’s better than summer fun? Summer food! I’ve complied a small list of recipes that will have your guests salivating and demanding details before you shove them out the door.  Just remember, what happens between us stays between us, if you want to tell your friends it’s your great aunts recipe from the 1950’s, be my guest!

1. Sweet and Sour Meatball Skewers

This one comes from the folks over at www.tasteandtellblog.com.  Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 4.31.52 PM

Prep time:

15 mins

Cook time:

10 mins

Total time:

25 mins

Serves: 4

These easy meatball skewers are made with frozen meatballs and sweet peppers and then basted with a simple sweet and sour sauce for a fast weeknight meal.

Ingredients

•32 frozen fully cooked 1-inch meatballs, thawed (1 lb.)

•1 red pepper, cut into 1-inch squares

•1 green pepper, cut into 1-inch squares

•¼ cup apricot jam

•¼ cup barbecue sauce

Instructions

1.Heat a grill to medium-high. Thread the peppers and meatballs alternately onto 8 skewers.

2.Microwave the jam in a small bowl for 15 seconds. Add the barbecue sauce and stir to combine.

3.Place the meatball skewers on the grill and brush with the sauce. Grill for 8-10 minutes, turning and basting with the sauce occasionally.

4.Serve warm.

2. BBQ Glazed Pineapple Bacon Shrimp

From the good ole’ folks at thedomesticgeekblog.comScreen Shot 2015-04-30 at 4.31.44 PM

Prep time: 

15 mins

Cook time: 

15 mins

Total time: 30 mins

Serves: 

8

Ingredients

•1 Lb bacon

•1 Lb de-veined raw shrimp

•1 fresh pineapple

•1 C. Barbecue sauce

Instructions

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2.Prepare the shrimp for cooking by peeling them and cutting of the tails.

3.Put the prepared shrimp in a bowl and drizzle some pineapple juice over them, add some sea salt and toss to coat all the shrimp.

4.Fold bacon around each shrimp and then cut bacon, depending on how big the shrimp are you should be able to wrap a few shrimp with one piece of bacon.

5.Use a toothpick to skewer a piece of pineapple then poke it through the bacon and shrimp to secure it.

6.Place shrimp on a cookie sheet lined with foil, brush on barbecue sauce (we used Uncle Dougies Sneaky Spicy Barbecue Sauce)

7.Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 min or until bacon and shrimp are cooked through, enjoy!

3. Bobby Flay’s Sliders with Chipotle Mayonnaise

From people.com and master chef Bobby Flay himself comes a wonderful recipe that’ll add a little south-western flavor to your party.

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 4.31.36 PM

Sliders are the perfect party food, and these mini burgers from the host of Barbecue Addiction steal the show, especially when topped with chipotle-lime mayonnaise.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup mayonnaise

2 canned chipotles in adobo sauce
Juice of ½ lime

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef, 80% lean, 20% fat

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cheese slices, your choice

Mini burger buns

INSTRUCTIONS

.1 For mayonnaise: Puree the first 3 ingredients in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

.2 Preheat grill over medium-high heat. Form meat into 8 tightly packed portions. Season with salt and pepper.

.3 Place sliders on the grill. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side. When the sliders are almost done, top with cheese. Close grill (or cover) to allow cheese to melt. Place on bun, top with mayonnaise and serve.

SHOPPING

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Everyone has trouble remembering what they should and shouldn’t pick up at the story. Grocery list aside as, the best part about a backyard barbecue is that you get to set your own menu, but I’ve included a list of things you’re likely to forget if you’re wrestling the kids in and out of a van and can’t find a moment to think. First and foremost, your grilling kit! This beautiful 18-piece barbecue set comes in an aluminum case with dual latches for secure storage. It includes fork, tongs, knife, grill-cleaning brush, basting brush, 4 steak knives, and 8 corn holders and everything you need to get your grilling done right! With this set at your side, the everything else will be a breeze.

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