Monday, July 4, 2016

The Joys of Our All-American Summer Festival

By Sharon Parker
Sharon's Compendium

As hubby and I were riding our bikes near Minnehaha Falls Park this afternoon, we passed a few Latino families venturing out on those pedal-cab four wheelers, and another group of people walking together who appeared to be from India. All were smiling and chatting as people passed one another in high spirits and good cheer on this, our national holiday. It was a joyful reminder that we have always been, and always will be, a nation of immigrants and natives whose lives and customs intertwine in a beautiful tapestry that enriches all of us.

Come to think of it, the Fourth of July is really America's midsummer festival, when we all take it outdoors for a day of picnics and grilling and fun celebrations.

And after the last oohs and aahs of the fireworks quiet down, and you're coaxing the dog out from under the bed, you might even be thinking we should do this again sometime, only without the loud incendiary devices.

Here are some ways to add a little handmade delight to your summer celebrations.

Forget those wimpy wasteful paper napkins and treat yourself to some reusable cloth napkins from Snips and Stitches.

Keep the sun out of your eyes with a reversable visor from Bound to be Creative.

This adorable firefly pouch by Minnebites will help you keep important little things handy, like your phone and maybe a little mosquito repellent.

For your classy and reusable stemmed wine glasses (you might want to get some of the nonbreakable ones for outdoors!), or for the handles of your sturdy handmade mugs, some wine glass charms from Deeder the Beader will help everyone keep track of which one is theirs (because there are limits to sharing, right?).

To drape over those bowls of potato salad and cole slaw, you might want to get some hand-dyed kitchen towels from Palette Passion. Conveniently, they also come in handy for cleaning up the inevitable spilled lemonade.

Finally, as a lovely way to remember the delightful (and silent!) show that Mother Nature features on summer nights, you could pick up this fireflies art print from Cindy Lindgren.

If you want to see more fireflies in your own backyard, you can do a few things to help restore their habitat, such as quit with the chemicals, plant some native grasses and other native plants, tolerate a few weeds in the corners of your yard, and add a water feature—even a rain garden will help. For more tips, see this article from Mother Nature Network. 

And enjoy the wondrous diversity of nature and nation today and always!