Fun 4th of July Treats | Cute Beltz

Somehow June has flown by and the 4th of July is right around the corner.   I’ve been looking for fun and festive 4th of July treats and desserts, and thought I would share some of the fabulous sweets I’ve found around the web.

Here are some 4th of July treat ideas that include just a few simple ingredients. No real cooking is involved- just some very easy assembly is required.

Red, White and Blue Strawberries

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Strawberries taste best in the summer but these juicy fruits might be too pretty to eat! Take a strawberry and dip it in melted white chocolate (I used the Baker’s brand) and then sprinkle blue sugar on the bottom tip of the berry. Keep the strawberries in the refrigerator on waxed paper until you’re ready to serve.

Ice Cream Sandwich Pops

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These treats are a kid-tested favorite and so easy to make it should be a crime. Cut an ice cream sandwich in half or use the mini sandwiches (I know Meijer has the mini ones.) Insert a wooden craft stick into the sandwich and then allow the ice cream to soften just a bit. Roll the ice cream in red, white and blue sprinkles and re-freeze on wax paper. Take out and serve when you’re ready.

Patriotic Cones

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These ice cream cones are just too fun and couldn’t be any simpler to make. Take a sugar cone and roll the top round part in melted white chocolate and then add red, white and blue sprinkles or colored sugar. Line them up on a wax-paper covered platter to harden and then bask in the admiration you will surely receive for your talent and creativity.

Red White and Blue Layered Popsicles

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Ingredients:

  • Blue Kool Aid (and sugar) or blue Gatorade
  •  Red Kool Aid (and sugar) or red Gatorade
  •  Vanilla yogurt
  • Cool whip
  •  Plastic cups or popsicle molds
  • Craft sticks

Directions:

1. Mix the blue kool aid as directed and pour into cups or popsicle molds for bottom layer. Freeze for 1 hour, or until mixture is beginning to freeze, but not yet hard.

2. In separate bowl mix 2 cups vanilla yogurt with 2 cups Cool whip. Spoon white mixture into popsicle molds. Insert craft sticks in an upright position into popsicle molds. Stick back in the freezer until solid (white mixture won’t get completely hard, but pretty firm).

3. Mix the red Kool Aid as directed and pour into cups for final layer. Freeze overnight or for at least 5 hours

If you feel like channeling your inner Martha Stewart, give any of these recipes a try and let us know how they turned out! Happy 4th of July everyone! – Cute Beltz

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Tips for Starting a Scrapbook | Cute Beltz

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Scrapbooking is a fun way to combine photos and memories into a family keepsake!  The idea of starting and maintaining a scrapbook can seem tedious, but once you get going, it’s easy to create something your family will cherish.

So, what do you need to get started? You’ll need basic supplies like an album, archival paper, photo corners, a glue stick, scissors, a paper trimmer, photos, and mementos.

The most common album sizes are 12×12-inches, 8.5×11-inches, and 6×6-inches. Some people go for larger size albums, as it gives more space on each scrapbook page. Smaller ones are perfect for event-specific scrapbooks.

Choose colorful paper to make a lively background for photos and other tidbits. Try to choose paper that complements, rather than distracts from, your photos. Pictures and memorabilia should be the focus of the page.

Bring your photos out of hiding.  When photos are just sitting around, they don’t tell a story. Imagine finding a long-lost family picture. What would you want to know about the people in the picture? Keep these thoughts in mind as you start scrapbooking.

Use embellishments like stickers, yarn, buttons, glitter, safety pins, and pretty much whatever sticks. They enhance your pages, and add an extra-personal touch. Some love glitter and totally bling out their pages. Other people are into tags. Don’t hold back!

Using glue will help your photos stick around for years to come, so you want to be sure to use an acid-free kind (acid can speed up the deterioration of photos). Some of the most popular adhesives are photo squares, removable glue dots, and craft glue.

For layout inspiration, check out books, magazines, and websites. Craft stores often have sample layouts displayed. Websites with loads of inspiration include Creating Keepsakes, Scrapbook.com, and Two Peas In A Bucket.

To begin your layout for a page, choose four to eight photos that tell a story. Pick a few colors from the pictures and choose coordinating paper and embellishments. Lay your photos out on the paper to see how they best fit before you do any gluing. If corners and edges are securely stuck to the paper, the pictures will stay put. Start with less adhesive than you think you need.

Journaling is a key step in telling your story. Include the “who”, “what”, “when”, “where”, and “why”, along with how the people in the pictures felt. Have others weigh in for a different perspective. Make sure whatever pens and markers you use are acid-free. Adding a title will give your audience a quick idea of what the story. Make a mistake? No worries! It makes it even more real. There you go, you scrapbooking pro, you. Have fun!

Check out some of these scrapbooks for inspiration!

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Sun Safety Tips For Families | Cute Beltz

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Spending time outside is a great way to increase your family’s level of physical activity.  But before you hit the beach, pool, or backyard, make sure you’re aware of this sun safety from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Sun Safety for Babies

  • Babies under 6 months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight. Move your baby to the shade under a tree, umbrella or stroller canopy.
  • For babies younger than 6 months. Use sunscreen on small areas of the body, such as the face and the backs of the hands, if protective clothing and shade are not available.
  • Dress babies in lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs, and use brimmed hats that shade the neck.
  • For babies older than 6 months. Apply to all areas of the body, but be careful around the eyes. If your baby rubs sunscreen into her eyes, wipe the eyes and hands clean with a damp cloth. If the sunscreen irritates her skin, try a different brand or try a sunscreen stick or sunscreen or sunblock with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. If a rash develops, talk with your child’s doctor..  Apply broad-spectrum, SPF 15+ sunscreen to areas left uncovered such as baby’s hands. Many companies have tear-free formulas that won’t sting baby’s eyes.
  • The sensitive skin of babies and children is easily irritated by chemicals in adult sunscreens, so avoid sunscreens with para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) and benzephenones like dioxybenzone, oxybenzone, or sulisobenzone. Children’s sunscreens use ingredients less likely to irritate the skin, like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Unlike chemical ingredients, these protect babies’ skin without being absorbed.

Sun Safety for Kids

  • Select clothes made of tightly woven fabrics. Cotton clothing is both cool and protective.
  • Wear a hat with a three-inch brim or bill. When using a cap with a bill, make sure the bill is facing forward to shield your child’s face.
  • Protect eyes with sunglasses that provide 97% to 100% protection against UVA and UVB rays.
  • If your child has an allergic reaction to sunscreen, or gets a sunburn that results in blistering, pain or fever, contact your pediatrician.

More Sun Safety Tips

  • The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Try to keep out of the sun during those hours.
  • The sun’s damaging UV rays can bounce back from sand, snow or concrete; so be particularly careful of these areas.
  • Most of the sun’s rays can come through the clouds on an overcast day; so use sun protection even on cloudy days.
  • When choosing a sunscreen, look for the words “broad-spectrum” on the label–it means that the sunscreen will screen out both ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) rays. Choose a water-resistant or waterproof sunscreen and reapply every two hours.
  • Zinc oxide, a very effective sunblock, can be used as extra protection on the nose, cheeks, tops of the ears and on the shoulders.
  • Use a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.
  • Rub sunscreen in well, making sure to cover all exposed areas, especially the face, nose, ears, feet and hands, and even the backs of the knees.
  • Put on sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors–it needs time to work on the skin.
  • Sunscreens should be used for sun protection and not as a reason to stay in the sun longer.

Did you find our tips helpful? What are some ways you keep your family safe in the sun? – Cute Beltz

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DIY Home Accents | Cute Beltz

Do-it-yourself home accents transform any space into one you can call your very own. Follow these tips to make over any room with budget-friendly projects you can complete in a weekend.

Chevron Vase

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Customize a plain vase by taping off a chevron pattern with painter’s tape (it need not be perfect). Spray-paint the exposed area with a lighter shade of the vase color. Remove the tape when the paint is dry.

Memo Board

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This magnetic memo board is as functional as it is stylish. Simply cut decorative paper to fit inside a cookie sheet and glue it to the pan. Add magnets and important papers, notes, or letters, and you’re ready for business. Place it on a desk or hang it in the kitchen to ensure your family always stays on task.

Rosette Lampshade

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Embellish a plain lampshade with paper roses. Use a compass to draw an 8-inch-diameter circle onto drawing-weight paper. Cut the circle into a swirl to create a paper coil about 1/2 inch wide. Roll the paper tightly starting at the outside end of the coil. Release the coil slightly and manipulate it until you have created a flower shape, then hot glue it at the base to retain the shape. Use hot-glue to adhere roses to the lampshade.

Ombré Dyeing

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Hot from the runway, ombré dyeing is a variation on basic tub dyeing giving fabrics a subtle, ethereal look. We put the trendy technique to work on these ordinary, store-bought throw pillows. For maximum results, always make sure you take the process slowly and follow through with each step

What you’ll need (per pound of dry fabric):

  • 1/4 cup professional textile detergent
  • 1/3 cup soda ash
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Two 5-gallon buckets or plastic containers
  • 1 tablespoon urea powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons fiber-reactive dye
  • 3 cups non-iodized salt
  • Rubber gloves
  • 2-3-cup plastic mixing container
  • Ruler
  • String
  • Two binder clips
  • Stool
  • Spring clamp

Directions:

1.Wash fabric with professional textile detergent, following manufacturer instructions. Combine soda ash and 3 gallons of warm water in a bucket, stirring until dissolved.

2. Submerge fabric in soda ash mixture. Do not overstuff; instead, soak only fabric that easily fits in bucket. Allow fabric to soak in soda ash mixture for at least 30 minutes.

3. Combine urea powder and 1 cup warm water in a mixing cup. Pour a few tablespoons of urea mixture into a plastic mixing container with fiber-reactive dye in bottom. Work the powder and urea water into a smooth paste, then stir in the rest of the urea mixture to make a concentrate.

4. Add salt to 3 gallons of warm water in your dyeing tub, stirring until dissolved.

5. To create the lightest shade in your ombre pattern, add about 1/3 cup dye concentrate to saltwater and stir.

6. Wipe the inside of dye tub to prevent unwanted dye marks on fabric.

7. Create a tool to help you hold your fabric longer by tying strings to two binder clips and then wrapping the string around a ruler. Wring out fabric and attach binder clips.

8. Dip fabric to desired point and hold for 10 minutes or until you reach preferred color intensity.

9. With clean, gloved hands, remove fabric from dye. Hold undyed end of fabric with one hand while wringing out excess dye with the other.

10. Place dyed fabric on a clean surface protected from the dyeing area.

11. To create the next intensity of dye, pour about 1/3 cup of the dye concentrate into the dye tub and stir.

12. Dip fabric to desired point (we suggest several inches below your last dip point for a noticeable progression) and hold for twice the amount of time of first level or until you reach preferred color strength.

13. Repeat steps 8 through 12, each time doubling the amount of dye you add and the amount of time you leave the fabric submerged. For more than three levels of ombre, you’ll need to make more dye concentrate. Use a spring clamp and stool or ladder to hold fabric while dyeing if desired.

14. Rinse fabric with cold running water until water runs clear.

15. Wring fabric again, squeezing out as much excess water and dye as possible.

16. Wash fabric in hot water using professional textile detergent. If you’re unable to wash immediately, lay fabric flat on clean plastic wrap and wrap completely to prevent unwanted dye marks and drying.

What are some ways you add DIY accents to your home? – Cute Beltz

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Creative Playroom Ideas | Cute Beltz

Kids learn through play. Creating a fun playroom for your kiddo is a great way to encourage learning and creativity. When creating your child’s playroom include your children in the design process to ensure the playroom is a place they will enjoy as much as you.  Creating such an environment also provides a safe haven for when your child is tired or upset.

Consider some basic elements such as warmth and comfort when planning a playroom.  Young kids can greatly benefit from things that nurture like soft and cozy bean bags, kids armchairs, blankets and stuffed animals.  Such things also help to make the room safe if your child is active or if a couple of playmates start to play rough.

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A perfect play space combines fun and function seamlessly. Start with smart storage for toys and games, and add comfortable seating and a sturdy table. Make it unique with a theme that excites their imaginations and creativity.

If you want kids to have easy access to the items they regularly use. Consider containers that blend style with creativity, such as the tiered art supply holder below. Also note the numbered baskets along the wall, which help kids remember what’s inside by matching numerals with sets of items.

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Don’t forget the power of a large bookshelf. Even if some shelving is too high for kids to reach, these vertical places can be the perfect location for items that aren’t regularly accessed, such as toys out of the main play rotation, or books and supplies that children will enjoy when they are older.  Age appropriate books and toys can be stored on the bottom of the shelf for easy access.

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If a child’s playroom and bedroom are one in the same, try a vertical shelving unit with drawers, which provides an ideal space for books, small supplies, and toys of all sizes.

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Check out some more creative playroom ideas:

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As you can see, there is no right way to create a playroom for children, the possibilities are endless.

How will you decorate your child’s playroom? – Cute Beltz

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