Family life on LA's Westside


10 Things to Make Your Fourth of July Celebration a Blast

Drink Up, Snack On and Celebrate with a Bang This July Fourth With These Party Favorites

The upcoming Fourth of July three-day weekend is a great time to get together with friends and family for picnics and parties. Host the hottest Independence Day celebration on the block with these refreshing drinks, satisfying snacks and festive party favorites.


The Harry & David Red, White and Blueberry Cake will get you in the festive spirit with its three layers of vanilla cake separated by luscious strawberry and blueberry filling and topped with cream cheese icing and chocolate covered blueberries. It makes the perfect dessert for your Fourth of July celebration and adds a little elegance to your buffet table.  Harry & David, $49.95.

Thirst  Burst

July is hot, Diabolo is cool.  Drink up this holiday with the refreshing, sparkling non-alcoholic lightly carbonated beverage made with all-natural ingredients and zingy fruit flavor combinations, like Dragon Fruit Plum, Blueberry Lemonade and their Energizing Acai Berry Guava.  These beautifully packaged designer drinks, which are staples at cafes and bistros in France, will and add some jazz, and some cool, to your party.  Available at Albertsons, BevMo and select markets.diabolo800


Cash-Back Bar

Stock up for the celebration at your neighborhood grocery drink aisle or BevMo and grab some Mike’s Hard Lemonade, and get a rebate while you’re at it with the no-coupon-needed shopping app, Ibotta, which lets users play games and give their opinion on brief surveys to earn cash back, deposited into their PayPal or Venmo account.  Shop as a team with friends in your social network to earn more rebates faster.  Free on the App Store or Google Play.Ibotta800

Churn it Up

Crank up the ice cream maker and chill out with red (velvet), blue (berry) and vanilla flavors on the Fourth with recipes from Scoop Adventures:  The Best Ice Cream of the 50 States.  The book includes 80 adapted recipes for home ice cream makers for unique and yummy treats like Red Velvet Ice Cream, Mayan Chocolate Ice Cream, Lavender Caramel Swirl Ice Cream, Banana Pudding Ice Cream and Sweet Basil Ice Cream.  Page Street Publishing, $ cream book800

Go Bananas

Get fresh and fruity on the Fourth with delicious desserts made with the Yonanas, a fun kitchen gadget that emulsifies frozen fruit in seconds into a creamy treat that tastes like soft-serve ice cream. To top it off this miracle masher can make a variety of fruity concoctions including sweet potato pie, tiramisu, and tropical sorbet.  Costco, Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond. $40.yananas banner850

Veg Out

Grill meatless for your BBQ party with Gardein’s line of vegetarian foods that combine garden + protein for healthier everyday entrees and appetizers that are convenient and ready-to-cook from your freezer.  Besides veggie burgers, the line includes fishless filets & chips and black bean burger sliders.  Available at Whole Foods, Target and Safeway stores.gardein_Chickn-Yakitori_8x8_RGB-225x225800

Water, Water Everywhere

While reveling in the hot summer sun, hydrate regularly. On the go, take along the ultimate water bottle from Eco Vessel, a line of stylish and durable beverage containers made of sustainable materials and triple insulated to maintain cold or hot temperatures for extended periods of time.  Plus, Eco Vessel donates 1% of the purchase price of every product sold to Water For People, an association that strives to provide long-lasting solutions to the water, sanitation, and hygiene problems in the developing world.15__95892.1377730366.1280.1280

Snack Crackle Pop

Celebrate the holiday with healthy snacks that satisfy your munchies without ruining your diet.  SHRED Pop is a zero cholesterol, no MSG, gluten-free popcorn alternative developed by New York Times bestselling diet book author Dr. Ian Smith.  At only 100 calories a bag and tasty flavors like Honey BBQ, Sea Salt, Kettle and White Cheddar, you can indulge without the guilt.  $21.99 for 24 1 oz. bags, available at

No-Nut Job

With lots of kids over for the holiday, it’s hard to keep track of who has nut allergies, but with nut-free Skeeter Snacks you can let the kids enjoy delicious snacks without worry.  These crunchy and flavorful goodies come in varieties that include Chocolate Chunk, Skeeterdoodle, Golden Oatmeal, Chocolate Cubed cookies and Cinnamon Grahams and Chocolate Chip Minis, which are all-natural, whole grain, free of trans-fats and contain NO high-fructose corn syrup.  $3.49 10 oz box.  Find stores that carry Skeeter Snacks at

Square (In-Between) Meals

If you are hitting the road for the Fourth, take along some satisfying snacks for the road that are good for you. Corazonas 100-calorie oatmeal bars and two-bite-size Mini Oatmeal Squares are heart-healthy snacks chock full of whole grains, fiber and protein and infused with plant sterols, which have been proven to help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, in decadent flavors like Chocolate Coconut Macaroon, Banana Walnut, Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Macademai Nut.  Try a sampler box of seven flavors for $9.99. Available at Costco, Safeway, Walgreens, Safeway stores or