Firework Safety and Watermelon Fun

Christine Avanti's July 2020 Blog Post

Fourth of July is a fun time to get together and watch parades, have large family gatherings, and enjoy the excitement of a huge firework display. This year may look a little different in some areas as gatherings are limited, masks are required, parades and firework displays are canceled and you may be wondering, “how will we celebrate this year?”

Celebrating the Fourth can be just as exciting with your family at home if you take the right precautions. A small legal firework display in your neighborhood and an intimate BBQ with friends can make the night extra special. If you are purchasing fireworks at a local stand, keep the following safety measures in mind:

Know your local laws: In many places, fireworks are illegal, or certain types of fireworks are illegal. If they are legal, read the caution labels and instructions for every firework you buy. Stay far away from M-class fireworks, like M-80s or M-100s – they are illegal in every state. They are unpredictable and dangerous, and you should report them to the fire or police department.

Never let children handle fireworks, even sparklers. Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals. Sparklers can quickly ignite clothing, and children have received severe burns from dropping sparklers on their feet. According to the National Fire Protection Association, sparklers alone account for more than 25% of emergency room visits for fireworks injuries. For children under 5 years of age, sparklers accounted for nearly half of the total estimated injuries. Consider using safer alternatives, such as glow sticks, confetti poppers or colored streamers.

Clear a large area around fireworks before you light them. Light fireworks in an open, clear area away from cars and buildings to minimize contact with things that could catch fire. Don’t let anyone enter that space immediately before and after you light it. Keep in mind that you’ll need to make the space even larger with bigger fireworks.

Never try to re-light or pickup fireworks that have not ignited fully. Wait at least 20 minutes before handling it, then soak it in a bucket of water. Keep buckets of water or a hose nearby at all times.

When you’re done, douse all firework devices with water. You don’t want a trash fire on your hands.

Even if you aren’t setting off fireworks at your home, others may be in your neighborhood and that can be scary for pets. I know my sweet Luigi gets pretty spooked at the loud BOOM or cracking noise the fireworks make. If your pet has a fear of loud noises, you here are some tips from the ASPCA:

  • Something as simple as turning on some soft music and moving your pet into an interior room with no windows can be helpful.
  • An anxiety vest may work in some cases—if you don’t have one, try a snugly fitting t-shirt.
  • If you and your veterinarian do decide that anti-anxiety mediation is your pet’s best bet, there are a few things to remember. First and foremost, give a practice dose of the medication before the big night to see how your pet responds to the medication. Second, never share the medication with another pet or give more than the recommended amount. If you do, you may end up spending the holiday at your local veterinary emergency clinic.
  • While noise phobias are not as common in cats, they can and do happen. Fortunately, cats tend to hide when frightened. Checking in on your cats, having some quiet music on and keeping them indoors during the height of the fireworks is always a good idea.

Remember, all pets, even those kept indoors full-time, should always wear collars with ID tags. Indoor-only pets can become so frightened during fireworks displays that they may take desperate measures to escape the noise, including breaking through windows or door screens. You should also ensure that your pet is microchipped and that the chip is properly registered with your current contact information.


I love to share my recipe for Cocoberry Cupcakes on the Fourth of July. They are lower in fat and calories and are perfectly decorated in red, white and blue for this holiday. Enjoy!!

Ingredients

Reduced Coconut Milk

  • 2 13-14 ounce cans unsweetened light coconut milk (preferably organic) * Available at many supermarkets and at Indian, Southeast Asian, and Latin markets.)

Cupcakes

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 1/3 cup cups organic coconut sugar (available at Wholefoods or Asian Markets)
  • 3 Large eggs
  • Seeds scraped from 1 split vanilla bean or 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup reduced coconut milk (see above), room temperature

Frosting

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup organic powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons reduced light coconut milk (see above), room temperature
  • Seeds scraped from 1 split vanilla bean or 3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cups sweetened flaked coconut, lightly toasted (for garnish)
  • 1 pint organic blueberries
  • 1 pint organic raspberries

Click here for directions


Another one of my favorite things about Summer, especially in the hotter months like July and August is the fresh watermelon that is in the produce section of your local grocery store or Farmer’s Market.

I love to know more about what I eat, so I thought I would share some fun facts about watermelon:

  • The watermelon can be classed as both a fruit and a vegetable.
    • It is a fruit because it grows from a seed, has a sweet refreshing flavor, and is loosely considered a type of melon (although it is actually a type of berry called a pepo).
    • It is a vegetable because it is a member of the same family as the cucumber, pumpkin and squash. It is also harvested and cleared from fields like other vine growing vegetables.
  • Nutritionally, watermelons contain high levels of vitamin B6 (which increases brainpower), vitamin A (good for eye sight), potassium (which helps in curing heart disease and keeping the heart healthy). The watermelon also contains Vitamin B1, C and manganese which protect against infections.
  • Not only does it quench your thirst, it can also quench inflammation that contributes to conditions like asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer and arthritis.
  • The watermelon contains fiber, which encourages a healthy digestive tract and helps keep you regular. 
  • Vitamin A is stellar for your skin, and just a cup of watermelon contains nearly one-quarter of your recommended daily intake of it. Vitamin A helps keep skin and hair moisturized, and it also encourages healthy growth of new collagen and elastin cells, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Vitamin C is also beneficial in this regard, as it promotes healthy collagen growth.
  • All parts of a watermelon can be eaten, even the rind, which actually contains a number of nutrients too, but due to the unappealing flavor is rarely eaten. In China though, the rind is used as a vegetable and stir-fried, stewed or pickled.

 

Now that you know more about watermelon, I’ve got some super fun recipes for you to try out this month!

Watermelon-Coconut Granita

A delicious Summertime frozen treat! Cool off as the weather heats up with this frozen treat.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh watermelon
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 5 tablespoons maple syrup or honey

Directions

  1. Place fruit in a blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Add coconut milk, lime and sweetener and blend for 10 more seconds. Do not blend to long because the mixture will turn foamy.
  3. Pour mixture into 8×8 inch metal baking dish.
  4. Freeze for 2 hours and scrape mixture with a spoon until the whole dish is “scraped” into frosty granules.
  5. Return to freezer and continue to scrape every 30 minutes for another 2 hours and serve.

 

Watermelon-Coconut Creamcicles

Remember the sound of the Ice Cream Man? I remember all us kids went running for a dollar and our bicycles when we heard those chimes. Remember Rocketpops? Well here’s my little healthy throwback.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh watermelon
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 5 tablespoons maple syrup or honey

Directions

  1. Place fruit in a blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Add coconut milk and sweetener and blend for 10 more seconds. Do not blend too long because the mixture will turn foamy.
  3. Pour mixture into popsicle molds (I use BPA-free frozen treat tray by Kidco), and freeze overnight.
  4. To serve, run warm water over the outside of the treat tray to loosen.

 

If you are having a hard time cutting your watermelon, I’ve found a video that shows you how to cut a watermelon 4 ways! How cool is that?

 


“I believe in America because we have great dreams, and because we have the opportunity to make those dreams come true.” – Wendell L. Wilkie

 

Happy Fourth of July!

 

xoxo

Christine

 

 

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