Category Archives: Holidays

Fun facts about the 4th of July

How much do you know about the origins of the U.S. Independence Day on July 4?

I thought I was well educated about the Revolutionary War period, but I was surprised to learn some fun facts about the 4th of July holiday.  It’s fun to discuss these historical details with kids as part of the Independence Day celebration!

Fun facts about the 4th of July |

Our modern festivities for the Fourth of July owe a lot to the vision of John Adams, our second president.  In a letter, Adams wrote:

“The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

His description sounds a lot like our celebrations today with fireworks, parades, and other fun events throughout the United States.

So why did John Adams want to celebrate the second day of July in that letter, which was written to his wife on July 3, 1776?  He thought Independence Day should be celebrated on July 2 since that was the date in 1776 when the Continental Congress voted to declare U.S. independence.

We celebrate on July 4th instead of July 2nd because Congress formally approved the language in the Declaration of Independence document on July 4, 1776.  The Declaration of Independence wasn’t officially signed until August 2, 1776, but the date at the top of the document is listed as July 4, and that is the date that became associated with U.S. independence.

Declaration of Independence cropped |fun facts about the 4th of July

Declaration of Independence image via The National Archives.

John Adams reportedly protested commemorating July 4 as the beginning of U.S. independence by declining invitations to appear at events on that date.

Ironically, John Adams died on July 4 in 1826.  Thomas Jefferson, Adams’ vice president and his successor who served as the third U.S. president, died a few hours earlier on the same day.  It was the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

(Interestingly, James Monroe was the other president who died on July 4.  His death was in 1831.  He was the fifth U.S. president and the last president who was considered a Founding Father of the U.S.  Monroe served in the Revolutionary War.)

In 1777, while the Revolutionary War continued, Philadelphia held the first annual independence celebration on July 4.  Later, Massachusetts was the first state to make July 4th an official state holiday in 1781.

However, it wasn’t until years later that Independence Day was celebrated nationwide.  Fourth of July celebrations became more widespread after the War of 1812, when the U.S. again faced off against the British.  Eventually the U.S. enacted July 4 as a federal holiday in 1870, and expanded that to a paid holiday for federal workers in 1941.

Despite the U.S. declaration of its freedom in 1776, the Revolutionary War continued until the British surrendered after the Siege of Yorktown on October 19, 1781. The The Treaty of Paris was later signed by representatives from the United States and Great Britain on September 3, 1783 to mark the official end of the conflict.

Now that you know these fun facts about the 4th of July, have a great Independence Day!

Sources:  National Park Service – / /

Looking for ideas for your Fourth of July celebration?  Check out my summer Pinterest board and pin along with me!

Follow Lisa {A Merry Mom}’s board Celebrate – Summer on Pinterest.

Patriotic layered drinks

I’ve seen these non-alcoholic patriotic layered drinks in red, white, and blue floating around Pinterest.  They look so fun and festive for celebrating the 4th of July!

Red, White, and Blue patriotic non-alcoholic layered  drinks -

I sooo wanted to try them with my kids.  Unfortunately, some of those ingredients for the layers were flavors that my picky kids won’t actually drink.

I love the look of the layered drinks I saw on the blog In Katrina’s Kitchen.  It uses Sobe Pina Colada for the white layer, cran-apple juice for the red layer, and a blue Gatorade for the blue layer.  The only one of those ingredients that my kids like is the Gatorade.

So I set out to come up with a version that would appeal to my kids.  I understand that the layers are created due to different densities of the liquids – caused by the amount of sugar.  Thus, I looked for alternative ingredients in the red, white, and blue colors.

I came up with a few options.  Gatorade or Hawaiian Punch for the red layer, Gatorade or Mountain Dew Voltage for the blue layer, and Gatorade or lemonade Vitamin Water for the white layer.  I also considered Sprite/7Up/Sierra Mist, which are obviously clear, but I thought that could work in place of the white.

Keeping in mind that the sugar content is key, I experimented with different combinations to create the red, white, and blue layered drinks.

The combination of ingredients that worked best for me was:

  • Blue bottom layer:  Mountain Dew Voltage (46g of sugar per 12 ounces)
  • Red middle layer:  Hawaiian Punch (21g of sugar per 12 ounces)
  • White top layer:  Lemonade Vitamin Water Zero ( 0g of sugar)

Patriotic layered drinks - ingredients - amerrymom.comThe important aspect of layering the liquids was to add plenty of ice to the glass and pour directly onto an ice cube to prevent the liquids from mixing.  I don’t know how it works, but it does – mostly.

I found it most difficult to keep the white/clear layer separate.  I didn’t have any luck with the lemon-lime soda.  It mixed right into the next layer for me.  The lemonade Vitamin Water Zero worked better, but still didn’t stay as separate as I would have liked.

We decided it was close enough to red, white, and blue!Non-alcoholic red, white, blue layered drinks -

 Since I was making these for my kids to try, I kept the blue layer fairly small due to the sugar and caffeine content in the Mountain Dew Voltage.  I didn’t want to amp them up too much!

We had fun experimenting with the drinks and watching the layers form.  These layered drinks are pretty and festive – and my family enjoyed trying them!

Have fun creating your own layered drinks!