We hope that you’re as excited as we are for the long weekend ahead, with big plans for BBQs, family time, and, of course, remembering and honoring fallen service members.  Here are some ideas for food and fun to help you kick off the unofficial start to summer this weekend:

Make an American flag cake


Serves 16





  • 1 (13 by 9-inch) cake
  • 1 can (16 oz) plus 3/4 cup vanilla frosting
  • Blue food coloring
  • 3 packs of Fruit by the Foot red fruit leather
  • 19 small white star candies




Camping out in your backyard

Nothing says summer like camping.  Unfortunately, nothing says chaos like camping with kids.  Enter the backyard campout:  low on stress, high on thrills.  Add in a few games and you’ll have a great “camping trip”

Before-Dark Games

Squirrel Tag

One person is the squirrel catcher; everyone else is a squirrel, clinging to his own tree (if your yard is treeless, you can use lawn chairs). When the catcher shouts “Squirrel scramble!” the squirrels have to dash to another tree without being tagged. Once you get tagged, you’re the new squirrel catcher.

Hop and Crawl

Turn backyard paraphernalia into an amazing obstacle course. You can have kids leap over the garden hose, army-crawl under the patio table, do a lap around the flower beds then hop through a hula-hoop back to the beginning. Older kids can race each other, but littler ones might prefer to best their own times. Once they have, break out a celebratory glass of lemonade.

backyard camping

Plop the family down in patio chairs (one for each person), turn up some music and then have your littlest family member stand up and dance. As she taps others on the head, they get up and start boogying, too. When the dance leader cries “Dance-off!” everyone has to dance as fast as they can. When she says “Dance over,” players race for their seats. The last one to sit down becomes the new dance leader.

Catch the Bunny

Start passing a small rubber ball—the bunny—around a circle. After a few seconds, toss in a beach ball to pass around, too; that’s the farmer, who’s desperate to catch that darn rabbit. If you’re holding the bunny when the farmer catches up to it, you’re out. To make this game even trickier—and more hilarious—have the rabbit go in only one direction around the circle, but allow the farmer to travel any which way in his attempt to snare his nemesis.