Happy 4th! Get ready for summer’s best holiday with these tips and hacks for making sparklers safe, chilling beer fast, keeping bugs away, making sure you have enough gas for your grill, serving food, and more.
How Make Sure You Have Enough Propane
There’s one definitely way to bring your 4th of July party to a screeching halt: running out of gas at the grill. If you have a gas grill and aren’t sure if you should run to the store before your party to get another tank or refill yours. Even without a gas gauge, there is a way to figure out how much fuel you have left. Boil water, then pour it down the side of the tank. Place your hand on the side: the cool part has propane inside, the warm part is empty. Now you know how full it is!
Keep Kids’ Hands Safe from Sparklers
It’s Fourth of July and that means it’s time to bust out the legal explosives! Kids love to hold sparklers, but make sure their hands are safe by sticking the sparkler in Play-Doh inside its container, which is the perfect size for the kids to wrap their patriotic hands around. (While some people also recommend poking the sparkler through a plastic cup, we don’t recommend this as most plastic cups are made of very thin plastic that melts easily.)
Easy 4th of July Decoration
Your guests are about to arrive to your 4th of July party, and you look around and realize you barely have any decorations! Make a fun centerpiece with something else you may have on hand: a “4” birthday candle or house number. Put the number inside a large glass vase and fill the rest with marbles, rocks, or better yet: red, white, and blue candies. Slip a couple miniature American flags inside and you have a unique centerpiece!
Keep Ants Away from Your Food
Celebrate your independence from ants this 4th of July with some vinegar! Spray food surfaces, such as picnic tables, with white vinegar before you lay out the food. The vinegar acts as a deodorizer, so ants won’t be able to smell your food, and won’t decide to crash your party.
Keep Bees Out of Your Party
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em (kind of). This 4th of July, give stinging insects like bees and wasps a treat of their own—a few cans of open beer around the perimeter of your yard. They’ll go for the beer and stay away from your guests. You can also try using sugar-covered grapefruit halves or simply using a fan.
Festive 4th of July Cocktail
If you’re giving bees their own drinks, you can’t forget about yourself! If you enjoy cocktails, try this one that has a festive red, white, and blue stripe. In a glass, pour 1 ounce vodka, 1 ounce strawberry schnapps, and 3 ounces club soda. Then top it off with blueberries. If you pour carefully, the drink will look layered when you serve it. Top with ice and stir before enjoying!
The Fastest Way to Cool Beer
Need to cool beer or soda, fast? The best way to chill beer or soda rapidly is to fill a cooler with layers of water, ice, and salt, then plunge the beers inside. In about 20 minutes or less, the beer will be ice cold! Even if the ice water is warmer than your freezer, it absorbs the warmth from the bottles or cans more rapidly and more efficiently than the cold air of the freezer does.
Keep Tablecloths in Place
If you have at tablecloth for your picnic table or backyard barbecue, keep it in place no matter how windy it is by using clothespins: Hot glue one clothespin underneath each corner of the table. Clip the ends of the tablecloth into the pins, and those wind gusts will be no match for your party! Or, just bring a roll of duct tape. Use the tape to tape the sides of the tablecloth to the picnic table, and you won’t have to worry about it blowing away.
Clever Condiment Tray
Preparing condiments for a barbecue? Use a muffin tin to serve them! It’s the perfect size for toppings like chopped onions, relish, shredded lettuce, pickles, and more. Plus, you’ll only have one dish to wash.
Perfect Grilled Corn
There’s nothing more delicious than perfectly juicy corn on the cob straight off the grill. To keep the corn from drying out during cooking, we leave the husks intact the entire time—this keeps the moisture in, ensuring that our corn is steamed and juicy. First, stick the cobs in a bowl or sink filled with cold water; let them soak for 15 minutes. Then place them on the grill, still unshucked. Grill until tender, turning occasionally, about 20 minutes. When you’re ready to dig in, pull the husks and silks back to the ends of the cob and use them as handles. Here’s even more BBQ hacks. And some hacks just for grilling meat!
Photo by Who Knew?