Flare Up Your Fourth

Fourth after Fourth you’ve longed for that big bang of a party that will have your family talking about for years to come. Here are a few pointers that will get your rockets headed in the right direction. From décor to dancing, this bash will be assured to shock and delight your most patriotic pals.


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Pack a Punch: Create a layered beverage by using a clear soda, a fruit punch or cranberry juice, and a blue punch or Gatorade. The goal is to use beverages that contain different amounts of sugar. That way they will be different densities and layer just right. Use ice to help separate the layers. Patriotism can be so sweet.


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Grub and Go: Everyone knows the most important part of a party is food. Ditch the hot dogs and hamburgers this year for a healthier yet satisfying handheld dish. These Chicken Fajita Kebabs will still feel like summer and not sway your summer beach bod that you’ve been working all winter for (We know you tried).

  1. Preheat grill.
  2. Prepare veggies of bell pepper and onions by chopping into squares and placing into a gallon bag with a tablespoon of olive oil and shake.
  3. Slice chicken into squares and place in a gallon bag.
  4. Combine a tablespoon of cumin, garlic powder, and chili powder with 2 teaspoons of paprika and a dash of salt and pepper.
  5. Sprinkle half of rub on veggies and half on chicken. Let marinate for 10 minutes.
  6. Place tinfoil on grill and spray with cooking oil. Grill kebabs for 15 minutes rotating them every five.

Once fully cooked sprinkle lime and fresh cilantro for the finishing touch.


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Party Plans: For hours of entertainment, give the kiddos a printed scavenger hunt list. They’ll go crazy trying to hunt down the items and for added fun they can use a camera to photograph their journey. You won’t hear a peep from them for a while and they will be professional photographers by the time you do. As for adults, an easy jumbo Jenga can be made out of 2×4’s. Cut them into 10.5 inch blocks and boom, instant party. For added flare, paint half of the blocks in red and blue and leave the other half natural.


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Flavorful Flag: This is a fancy Fourth spin on an all American favorite, Dessert Pizza. You’ll be begged for this easy recipe once it’s sliced for serving. All you need is sugar cookie dough rolled into a rectangle on a sheet pan. Cook at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 12-15 minutes. You will whip 1 package of cream cheese for 2-3 minutes in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whip 2 cups of heavy whipping cream until stiff. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese along with1 cup powdered sugar and 2 teaspoons lemon zest. Mix until smooth. Chill covered in the fridge. Once cookie crust is removed from oven and cooled, spoon and spread your cream cheese icing over pizza. Arrange blueberries and sliced strawberries into a flag pattern or any pattern you desire.


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Water We Here For?: The Holy Grail for any summer party is the ever-enticing watermelon. Some new ways to enjoy your melon is by cookie cutting your slices into star shapes. They can be put on a skewer and frozen for extra refreshment under the sun. An adult friendly fruit can be cut into triangles, skewered, and tequila soaked in a glass baking dish overnight in the fridge. A few hours before serving transfer it to the freezer. When you’re ready to surprise and delight, then sprinkle with lime zest, mint and sea salt. Cheers to adulting.

Now that you have the basics down, Go Fourth and prosper…

 


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Incredible Scenic Hikes in Your State

Summer is finally here and you are ready to get out of the house and into the sun. These great hikes will exercise­ the mind and body in the midst of a gorgeous view right in your own state. Then after you have conquered the trail, you can brag to all your friends about how sore you are from hiking. How cool does that sound? They will be jealous of your tan line and all those artful Instagram posts.


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Photo by Mark Doiron

Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge: Located in Lawton, this refuge has over thirty miles of trail for you to explore. From flat lands to gently rolling mountains, you can dare to climb Mt. Scott (or drive up it if you’re feeling rebellious) or climb Mt. Baldy where the top looks similar to your great uncle’s head. Charon’s Gardens is an adventurous undertaking but the hidden waterfall is worth the hike. Don’t expect to cover it all in one day. There is plenty to discover from boulders and caves to gardens and wildlife. At the end of the day you can set up at Camp Doris for a cowboy campfire and then wake up to do it all over again. Just hope that a bison doesn’t block your trail. No, really.

 


MB_0033_17JuneB3-Ouachita_National_ForestOuachita National Forest: This forest is located on the border of Oklahoma and Arkansas covering 1.8 million acres. Its lush evergreens will make you pine for the simple life of cabins and dewy mornings. There is wonderful hiking in these forests or you can hit the trails with some horseback riding when your feet hurt. Drive down the Talimena Scenic Byway for breathtaking views and historical sites to feed the curious critter in you. It is also legend that Jesse James stashed his stolen treasure in the Winding Stair Mountains but was ambushed before he could return for it. This might be your luckiest hike yet.


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Roman Nose State Park: Named after a Cheyenne chief, this park was established in 1937 when Franklin Roosevelt created The New Deal. It was one of the originals out of seven parks founded in Oklahoma. The park contains moderate to easy trails, two lakes, mountain biking and canoeing that’s set inside the beautiful background of a canyon. You can hike along trickling streams, over wooden bridges and across a daunting dam. Not to mention there are teepees for rent. TEEPEES. You can bet none of your friends have slept in a teepee.


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Gloss Mountain State Park: Feel like you’re a lone survivalist in the desert at Gloss Mountain. Though not actual mountains, these buttes and mesas will captivate your imagination as you forget your responsibilities at home. Their glossy look comes from the abundance of selenite gypsum crystals in the earth. From a short hike to the top of Cathedral Mountain you’ll get an eyeful of the Cimmaron River. Since there is no camping, it makes for a perfect family day trip complete with a picnic and scenic inspiration.


 

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The OKC Bucket List: Outdoor Escapades and Eats

 

Having trouble beating the summer bummers? These entertaining activities will keep you from losing your mind and your tan line. Oklahoma is a thriving community in the summer season so relax and let the fun divert all your cares.

 


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1. Reach Great Heights. On the Wheeler District’s Ferris Wheel you can get an amazing view of the river and downtown. The Wheel was bought on Ebay and originally stood on California’s Santa Monica Pier. The district often has food trucks and festivals for your dining pleasure. Only $6 per ride makes for an affordable memory. We recommend going at night for a romantic evening gaze of a sparkling skyline, still flowing waters and an Oklahoma sunset. Ahhhh.


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2. Get Insomnia. The one time it may benefit you to get insomnia is to go to Insomnia Cookies. They have a variety of desserts including cookies, brownies and ice cream. If your blood sugar is especially low then you’ll want to indulge in a Deluxe Cookiewich to satisfy the craving. The best part about this fine establishment is that they are open until 3am, not to mention that they deliver. So you can feel good about not being able to sleep.


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3. Embark on a Ride. Spokies is Oklahoma City’s only bike sharing system. You can glide through traffic without having to worry about pesky parking. On your ride, you’ll be able to tour Downtown, Midtown and historic neighborhoods from its eight locations around town. For a small fee, you can ride for 30 minutes or get a pass that allows hourly use. Embark wanted to provide eco-friendly and affordable transit to those in need of fun and fast transportation.


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4. Sport About. The Boathouse District contains an exciting day for the family. Riversport Adventures is hours of thrills with water rafting, zip lines, rope courses, tubing, kayaking and slides. This will not disappoint the adventure seekers in your group. You can choose from a day or season pass or even a single experience for the more serene adventurer.


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5. Reconnect with Nature. Do you miss the forests but are stuck in the city? Martin Nature Center is where you should be. Tucked away in Oklahoma City is this amazing reserve. Several trails will take you over a river, past prairie dogs, and up to a bird observation center. It is the perfect place to trick yourself into thinking that you’re hiking a National State Park. Looking is free. Try not to take home a prairie dog though.


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The OKC Bucket List: Summer Sights & Sounds

 

If you’re feeling underwhelmed by this heavy summer season then these features can revive your imagination despite the humidity. Once you have completed this bucket list, due to your renewed artistic outlook you will be able to take up that hobby that you were always scared to try. A fair warning that these activities may make you more interesting to be around and cultured beyond your years. We won’t say that we told you so.


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1. Yawn on the Lawn. At the Myriad Botanical Gardens, Sonic hosts summer movies on the Great Lawn. Wednesday evenings you can pack up the family and lawn chairs for a cinematic experience set in a scenic lush backdrop. Feel free to take a picnic though they do have popcorn, snow cones and ice cream for purchase in case you leave the basket at home. The average price of this ticket? FREE. Which is the best price of all. The show starts at 8 pm so be sure to arrive early to choose your favorite blanket spot.


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2. Be Cultured. Art After 5 lets you wander the permanent and special exhibits of the Oklahoma Museum of Art from 5 pm to 9 pm every Thursday for $5 or free for members. The Roof Terrace provides live music while you sip a drink from the cash bar and let the art wash over you.


3. Jazz it Up. Norman’s annual Jazz in June festival is self-proclaimed the hippest festival around. For the past 33 years Jazz in June has grown to over 50,000 hip attendees. What began as a fundraiser is now a non-profit, free to the public event. This three-day event brings jazz and blues artists from all over the state to play hot tunes for the eager listeners. Make sure to put it on your calendar from June 15th to 17th. You wouldn’t want to fall flat on this musical treat.


 

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4. Shake it Out. The ultimate summer must is to see Shakespeare in the Park at the Myriad Gardens Water Stage. It was founded over 30 years ago and continues to engage the masses. Tickets can be purchased at the box office for $20 or with discounts for seniors, students, and military. A concession is available or you can bring your own goodies. The “Taming of the Shrew” is the first show of the season. The perfect blend of humor and sass to end a summer eve.



MB_0013_17JuneB1-21C5. Sip and See. Have a drink and some appetizers at Mary Eddy’s restaurant and bar located in 21c Hotel. You can take your beverage with you to wander the hotel’s contemporary art exhibit. The exhibit is changing for the hotel’s one year anniversary so there will be new sights to peruse. I suggest taking a selfie with their resident purple penguin. Each hotel has their signature color of penguin. Collect them all.

 

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