Your Go-To Guide for Mason Jar Crafts!

Mason jars have been a kitchen staple in America since 1858. With hundreds of uses, the Mason jar is still the holy grail of containers even 158 years later.

9781591866527Joann Moser considers the glass container to serve more than just a jar for preservability. Using her style and creativity, she has envisioned several unique creations from the Mason jar.
In Mason Jar Nation, Moser, the “DIY Maven” explores the history of Mason jars and then twists their usefulness to fun crafts. The book shows more than 50 Mason jar projects that are perfect for eager DIY-ers!

It begins with the impact of the jar on America and its major uses throughout the years. In recent years, the Mason jar has been repurposed as a material for hundreds of crafts. Moser also gives advice on collecting jars and technical information for crafts.

The second half of Mason Jar Nation features over 50 new ideas for the jars. These crafts are demonstrated with easy to follow photography and step-by-step directions by Moser. Her original crafts include Mason jars for the garden, kitchen, storage, and even lighting.

Purchase your copy of Mason Jar Nation here or visit our Facebook page for your chance to win one!

 

Written by Stacy Shrader

Serve It Up Sassy!: Berry Delicious Summer

Summer means flip-flops, fireflies, and fresh ripe berries!  When you pick the first ripe berry and the sweetened juice pops in your mouth, it’s time to make your favorite summer berry delicious desserts. Blueberry Swirl Pound Cake and a Strawberry Tart are two simple desserts to have on hand for all of your summer entertaining. These berry-inspired desserts are bursting with the sun-kissed flavors of the season.

Swing open the French door to your patio and layer your picnic table with vibrant summer colors and delicious berry desserts.  We kept our seasonal table casual with red and white checked napkins, bright yellow sunflowers, and mason jars wrapped with twine.  The desserts and sunflower arrangement take a stand as the table centerpiece. Repeating the checkered napkins and single sunflower stem at each place-setting, as well as the white dinner plate emphasizes the easy-to-create table color scheme and décor.  Two white ruffled cake pedestals display the Blueberry Swirl Pound Cake and the Strawberry Tart.

table to benchEven more fun with function, we turned our seasonal bench into our picnic table. Our outdoor bench turns into a half-sized picnic table when the bench back becomes the table top. Every back yard, park and grill master should own one or more of these benches-to-table.  If two tables are put together it creates one regular sized picnic table.  These tables are build to last and can be used for all of your seasonal entertaining, not just for summer. Where do you get one of these bench-to-tables?  Glad you asked.  Boy scouts from troop #135  Sulphur Springs, Tennessee are building these bench/tables to raise money for a once in a lifetime high adventure camp called Florida Sea Base.  The bench/tables are available for purchase with 100% of the proceeds going to the boys attending the High Adventure Camp.  You can contact Doug Bushong, my husband and scout master* for troop #135 to order your very own bench turned table or any boy scout from the troop will be happy to assist you.

Your guests will enjoy the taste bud-tingling blend of blueberries and cream in the baked blueberry swirl pound cake.  The pound cake features a delectable golden crust with a moist tender center that will make this cake your new- go-to dessert for any season. A lightly sweetened blueberry puree is layered in the cake batter and gently swirled before baking.  This pound cake is perfectly wonderful all on its own, but when topped with a handful of fresh picked-ripe berries it becomes a sensational taste of summer.

The Strawberry Tart is a chilled summer pie with show-stopping presentation.  Fresh whole strawberries are de-stemmed and sit pretty with pointed ends up on top of a lemon and whipped cream filling.  The prebaked sweet pastry crust is made with real butter and confectioner’s sugar making every bite of this tart one to remember.  Both desserts are make-ahead with the Strawberry Tart being refrigerated for a few hours.

blueberry pound cake slice with watermarkBaking with berries can be a bit tricky. Blueberries can make your muffins and cake batter turn purple if you don’t coat them in flour first before baking. Coating in flour will prevent the berry juice from spreading into the batter.  Strawberries are almost 90% water and dark fuller berries have a higher concentration of water inside.   This leads to a sticky unexpected soggy baked dish. To prevent a soggy baked dish select berries that are just slightly under ripe, having passed the stage of development where a white ring appears around the hull.  For more information about strawberries and blueberries, how to grow, where to pick and health benefits, check with your local county extension agent or office.  For more entertaining ideas and recipes go to www.lizbushong.com.

Berries are beautiful!  Whether you are picnicking at the beach or in your own backyard go out and play; put on your flip-flops, watch the flickering lights of the fireflies and eat all the fresh berries you can.  This is going to be a berry delicious summer!

blueberry swirl pound cake with watermarkBlueberry Swirl Pound Cake

The Swirl:
1-1/2 cups fresh pureed blueberries
2 tablespoons cold water
1-tablespoon arrowroot or cornstarch
3-tablespoons granulated sugar

Cake Batter:
1-cup butter, softened and no substitutions
3-cups granulated sugar
1-(8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
6 large eggs
1-tablespoon vanilla extract
1-tablespoon crème bouquet* extract
1-tablespoon grated orange zest
3 ½- cups all-purpose flour
1-teaspoon baking powder
1-teaspoon salt
1-cup heavy whipping cream

Garnish:
Buttercream Orange Glaze
Fresh strawberries, blueberries, & mint

Preheat oven to 325. Coat 12-15 cup Bundt pan with shortening and coat with flour.
Blueberry Swirl: In small mixing bowl, whisk together cold water and cornstarch until smooth. In small saucepan, stir together blueberry puree, 3 tablespoons sugar and cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil over medium high heat stirring constantly. Boil blueberry mixture until thickened, set aside and let cool.
Cake:  Measure flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer at medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add softened cream cheese and beat until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beat well after each addition. Add extracts and zest, beat to combine. Gradually add flour and cream, alternating with cream, beginning and ending with flour, beat just until combined.
Spoon 1/3 batter into prepared pan, spoon 1/3 blueberry swirl over batter, repeat layers ending with batter. Using a knife, swirl batter, but not too much. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes. Invert cake on cooling rack cool completely before glazing.
Buttercream Orange Glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together 1 3/4 cups confectioner’s sugar, 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1-tablespoon heavy cream, 1 teaspoon orange extract. Drizzle over cake. Garnish with individual blueberries on top of cake. Serve with fresh strawberries, blueberries and mint sprig per serving.
Yield:  8-10 servings.  *Crème bouquet can be found at the Gazebo in Kingsport, TN or online.

Berry Delcious! (1)Strawberry Tart

Crust:
1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
1 ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2-teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, shredded and chilled
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon chilled water
2 tablespoons strawberry jam- melted

Lemon Cream Cheese Filling
1-3-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1-tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh grated lemon zest
¾ cup sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream + 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 ½ pounds fresh strawberries, stemmed
¼ cup current jelly
1 tablespoon orange juice

Prepare crust:  Sift flour, confectioner’s sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Grate butter and place on parchment then pop into freezer for 20 minutes. Add chilled butter to flour mixture, combine with hands or forks until crumbs resemble breadcrumbs. Mix egg yolks and water together, sprinkle over flour mixture to make soft dough. Knead a few seconds, flatten dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate 30 minutes.

On floured surface, roll dough to ¼” thickness. Press dough into bottom and sides of an 8-inch tart pan. Line crust with aluminum foil and add pie weights or dried beans to foil. Chill another 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 400. Bake tart shell for 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights and bake additional 5-8 minutes. Remove from oven and brush baked shell with melted strawberry jam. Set aside to cool.  (Crust recipe will make two-8-inch tart shells).

Filling: In food processor, process cream cheese until fluffy. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, and sugar. Process until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl. In medium bowl, whip cream to soft peaks, add confectioner’s sugar, beat to firm peaks. Fold cream cheese mixture into whipped cream. Spoon filling into one tart shell. (Double filling ingredients recipe if making two tarts.) Cover filling with plastic wrap and chill 3 hours. Just before serving, arrange whole strawberries, pointed ends up, over the entire chilled tart in concentric circles. In microwave proof glass, add currant jelly and heat 12-15 seconds until melted, stir in orange juice. Remove from heat and let cool about 2 minutes. Stir jelly occasionally to prevent film from foaming. Spoon or brush warmed jelly mixture over berries and serve immediately.
Yield:  8-9 servings

Liz Circle 2013 smallHelping you Make a Statement, Make it Sassy and Make it Yours!®
Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. For the past several years Liz been entrusted to decorate the White House for several Holidays. She is a featured monthly guest chef/designer on Daytime Tricities, Daytime Blue Ridge and other television shows. Liz is the author of the Just Desserts and Sweets & Savories cookbook as well as a contributing writer for VIP SEEN and Bella Magazine. For more information about Liz go to www.lizbushong.com/www.serveitupsassy.com.

*Bench/table: Doug Bushong-Scout Master-Troop #135 –Sulphur Springs, Tn.  E-Mail: dbushong17@gmail.com 

Floyd Yoga Jam

September may seem far away, but the next two months will pass before you know it! Fortunately, even as fall begins, the excitement of summer doesn’t have to end. Join us for the 5th annual Floyd Yoga Jam from noon Thursday, September 1 through Sunday, September 4, 2016!

10574302_835427443136565_3749800215542127659_nThis unique outdoor event is held every Labor Day weekend on the Burnette Farm in Willis, Virginia. In the past five years, it has brought a vast array of nationally known yoga instructors, and this year proves to be no exception. Cyndi Lee, Dianne Bondy, Katie Silcox, and Dr. Robin Sarawsati will be recognized by readers of Yoga Journal Magazine. Regional yogis like Carolyn Keller, Mateo Daniels, Faith Hunter, Jacob Felder, Kara Chambers, Cody Willets, Erica Balogh, and Soraya Sanchez will also bring their styles to the Blissland tents. Local favorites Mary Brown, Leia Jones, Katie Wells, and Grace Woods round out the lineup.

Attendees can begin the day with morning meditations and then move on to yoga classes for all skill levels in a variety of styles like Hatha, Vinyasa, Kripalu, Ashtanga, Acro, or Partner. Choose from over 35 hours of available classes!

This year’s theme is “A Midsummer Nights Dream” and features The Faery Reel, an illustration by Marvel comics illustrator, Charles Vess.

“Charles resides in Abingdon, Virginia and is a hugely popular local artist,” explains festival producer Laura Polant, “He has been volunteering his time to the Yoga Jam since its first year and we are truly grateful for his incredible generosity and support.”

The festival would not be complete without great music. Sirsy, a two person band from New York state, will open the festivities. Then, Mighty Joshua, Virginia’s 2014 Reggae Artist of the Year, will take the stage. World-renowned hip hop artist MC Yogi will headline the weekend along with The Householders, Desert Dwellers, and Fractal Cat. Favorite local musicians Spoonfight, Option 22, Fat Catz, Bigmama Joy, Lobo Marino, and Bhakti Kulani are also scheduled to perform.

12063888_10153233953096491_6243057827110361098_nThe weekend is perfect for families and groups of friends. It will have something for everyone! Free art classes, including an opportunity to make a prayer flag square, are provided for attendees. The squares of fabric are decorated with prayers, drawings, and inspirational messages which are then tied together and strung throughout the trees.

“When the flags blow in the wind, the prayers are released to the heavens,” explains Lore Dieghan, the festival’s Art Village Director.

Other workshops include faery house building, poetry, sacred geometry, and painting.

Floyd Yoga Jam also boasts a KidsVille that is a play space for kids and families. It features a giant sandbox, arts, crafts, family yoga and dance classes, all in sight of the large yoga tents. Hiking, biking, and trail running are available throughout the 380 acre farm and are organized by the Muddy Squirrel outdoor company. Participants are encouraged to bring their bikes and enjoy the trails.

13174219_1165595443471922_4339544043056267657_nSavor local food and refreshments from Thai This! and Dojo Grill food trucks, Green Light Cafe, Dogtown Pizza, Goatacado, Essentials Juice Bar, Red Rooster Coffee, Buffalo Mountain Kombucha, Big Lick Ice Cream Company, and adult beverages from Parkway Brewery and Foggy Ridge Cider.

This hometown festival has grown from 700 attendees in 2012 and expects over 2500 in September. The increase in attendance is partially due to yoga studios from New York City and Orlando flying in to attend in 2015. That’s why it is so important that you purchase your tickets as soon as possible. Bella readers can enjoy an online discount of $25 off the ticket price by using this code: bellayoga. Go to www.floydyogajam.net for more information and to purchase your tickets today! We’ll see you there!

11143196_909222605805592_4213930902180006514_nP.S. THREE Bella readers will win a ticket for themselves AND a friend!!!!! Stay tuned to our Facebook page at the end of July and beginning of August for details!

Also, Floyd Yoga Jam is hosting an Indiegogo campaign to raise money to add more fun stuff to the event like a frisbee disc golf course, art supplies, and a Shantea Speakeasy. The latter will feature a nonprofit serving herbal tea and host lectures and discussions on socially conscious topics. Contribute by visiting www.indiegogo.com and searching Floyd Yoga Jam or following this link.

 

July at the Taubman Museum of Art!

The Taubman Museum of Art is the perfect destination to spend the middle of summer exploring new things. Relax with the art galleries and make new friends while exploring art. The Taubman is a mini vacation placed in downtown Roanoke that can help influence your creative side this summer.

The Taubman will host and facilitate a community art project for the residents in Roanoke. Community Collage will take place July 20-23 from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. and July 24 from 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. They invite you to add your artistic mark to a large collage in the atrium inspired by traveling and permanent exhibits. Adding to this exhibit creates a symbol of unity for the area and how many different parts can create something beautiful. The event is free and open to the public.

Even though the Taubman Museum of Art is for admiring art, you can also learn to create different forms. They will be holding an Adult Studio Class: Intro to Oil Painting on July 23 and 30 from 10:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Learn the basics of oil painting from experts! Participants will learn about setting-up to mixing colors. Fee includes a supply charge; all materials will be provided. Members are $135; non-members $150.

In addition to oil painting, you can also play around with illustration. Adult Studio Workshop: Intro to Illustration on July 29 from 12:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. will take your doodles to the next level and teach you how to tell a story with your own art. Using materials such as, pens, watercolor, and markers, you will bring characters to life! No experience necessary to learn this amazing art. Members are $20; non-members $25. Registration is required and available online.

Enjoy the third Thursday in July with Third Thursdays: Celebrating the Permanent Collection with Friends and Neighbors on July 21 from 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Soak in the art during happy hour on the Taubman patio and take a mini-tour of the rarely seen work from the permanent collection. Tours will be at 6 p.m., 7 p.m., and 8 p.m. in the exhibition, Friends and Neighbors: A Celebration of the Collection. The event is free and open to the public.

All of these events can create more than just art. Art creates unity and can help us understand more of the world than just surface. Appreciating art can help challenge your mind and give you a sense of peace. The Taubman’s events also give every participant the opportunity to meet new friends. Try something different in July and study the world of art!

Written by Stacy Shrader

Grand Home Furnishings Gives Back

As consumers, nothing is more important than shopping with organizations that give back to our community. With large purchases like furniture, that sentiment is even more important. That’s why we were thrilled to hear that Grand Home Furnishings and Tempur-Pedic International will donate 130 mattresses to Take My Hand Ministries at Highland Heights Baptist Church in Rustburg on July 14.

901239_10151365570487624_317201327_oThe wheels were set in motion for this event when Tempur-Pedic International offered Grand Home Furnishings a substantial quantity of mattresses for donation to an area organization. Grand chose Take My Hand Ministries, a mission of Hyland Heights Baptist Church, because of the valuable work the church has done within the greater Lynchburg area. Their program provides home furnishings and numerous referral and counseling services to families in need.

Additionally, they help with utility bills, give out information and referrals to shelters and housing, mattresses, and household goods. The ministry provides referrals to agencies that help those with disabilities, home delivered hot meals, adult day care, and home heath care as well as referrals to free dental and eye glass clinics.

For more information on Take My Hand Ministries, please visit www.hhbc.net. To find the closest Grand Home Furnishings location to you (or to find out how to purchase your own Tempur-Pedic mattress!), go to www.grandhomefurnishings.com.

Collaborative Coloring with Artist Linda Cato

Photo by Dan Wensley of Visual CMG

Stroll through any retail establishment selling art supplies or books, and you will see them—adult coloring books. Marketed towards older teenagers, grandparents, and everyone in between, they are taking the world by storm. In the beginning, it was easy to dismiss them as a fad that would disappear in a few years. However, as they increase in popularity, community events are starting all over the country where adults can meet, color, and explore their creativity. They have become a way to bridge the thriving arts community and those of us who are still searching for an artistic medium in which we can express ourselves.

Last summer, Tucson artist Linda Cato visited Roanoke and provided a hand drawn 16-foot mural for the public to color at 16 West Marketplace. Seventy people participated, and completed the gorgeous and unique piece in three hours. It was on display in 16 West Marketplace for about three months.

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Photo Credit: George Warner

It wasn’t Linda’s first experience with this type of event. In addition to being an artist, Linda is also an educator. She believes in the power of creativity to ignite positive change on personal, community, and global levels. Her passion for using the visual arts as a tool for change-making helps her students and people from around the world reflect upon and put forth solutions to issues that face us all.

Creating murals for her students and people in the community to color not only taps into that passion, it also helps strengthen the ties between those participating. In 2011, a few weeks after Gabby Giffords was shot in Tuscon, Linda was asked to do a healing art event for kids at the site.

“I asked the kids to draw with black and white sharpies on the theme of healing and nonviolence. We cut up all of the drawings and out of that we made a composition so every child’s work was represented in a mural,” she explains. “It was a wonderful example of how a community could come together after a tragic event and use this platform. It is just as relevant with adults. You just have to ask yourself what you want to say about your community, facilitate the work, and then you come away with a piece of work that is a testament of what you are holding in your heart.”

So often, as adults, we do not have the confidence to attempt to express ourselves through art. However, a desire to do that dates back to the days when humanity told their stories through pictures on the walls of caves. It exists, albeit more subtly, today in clothes we make or alter for ourselves, our gardens, and DIY gifts we give one another. Coloring takes that desire, makes it accessible to everyone, and allows for an expansion on that creative process.

Linda Cato portrait-2“Coloring is a way for people to connect and make something beautiful,” says Linda. “I think, on a group scale, it is really powerful. When we can connect with people in quiet ways and look towards the goal of making something beautiful together, we can begin to work towards healing and strength as a community.”

Come learn more about community coloring events and Linda Cato at Bella’s Lunch & Learn on July 19. Email us at editorial@beckmediagroup.com to RSVP and receive more information.

For more information on Linda’s collaborative coloring work please visit silverseaspr.com/content/coloring and to keep up with Linda’s projects please “like” her Facebook page, facebook.com/lindacatocoloring.

Dreamweavin: Counting down the days until FloydFest 16

 

There is hardly a more appropriate theme for FloydFest 16 than “Dreamweavin.” From July 27-31, the Floyd mountainside will once again transform into something even more captivating—a place where those who dream can meet to create, dance, and be inspired.

For those who will attend solely for the music, the lineup is (once again) spectacular. Thursday will feature performances from blues/folk artist Rebekah Todd & The Odyssey, Forlorn Strangers, and Anders Osborne. Enjoy the blues and folk sounds of Shakey FF16_DCLogo_wDateGraves on Friday, followed by Warren Haynes Ashes & Dust and the highly-anticipated Gregg Allman on Saturday. These are just a few of the local and well-known artists that will grace the nine (NINE!!!!!) stages throughout festival grounds over the course of five days. Plan ahead, visit the website, and make sure you get there in time to see your favorite bands perform. Give yourself time to wander a little to different stages before and after the shows you plan to see—some of the best musical discoveries happen that way.

Between performances, there will be no shortage of fun and entertainment for festival-goers. Those with an adventurous side will enjoy the guided hikes, bike expeditions, and free adventures offered at the Back Country Ski & Sport Outdoor Experience Tent. There, they will also offer equipment giveaways, discounts, and other promotions. Attendees can sign up for On The Water Floyd Float Trips by kayak, canoe, or tube. These trips are for people of all ages and will include transportation, equipment, and a fully-catered lunch with the purchase of a separate ticket for the trip.

And, if you’re just there to relax and enjoy the combination of unique sites and sounds filling the Blue Ridge Mountains, don’t worry. There will be plenty of opportunities to unwind! FloydFest features several healing arts vendors and offers massage therapy, yoga, internal martial arts, medicinal and edible herb walks.

PressShot7This is a family event. Bring your children, of all ages, to enjoy the Children’s Universe and Teen Scene. The Children’s Universe includes fun activities like a costume tent, balloon art, jugglers, face-painting, and puppets. They also host a Peace Parade and an open mic/talent show. If your child plays an instrument, encourage them to bring it along with any costume or inspiration to help “Weave the Dream!”

The Teen Scene is hosted by Social Emotional Learning Coalition, an organization dedicated to helping young people experience a deeper sense of connection and belonging with themselves, others, and the natural world. There, teens can participate in a number of activities including mixed media art workshops and painting parties, mindfulness meditation, and drumming workshops.

You can find all of the above information with a little research, but we would also like to share a few things about FloydFest that you may not know.

It is a safe, welcoming place. The people who attend are friendly (occasionally barefoot!) travelers and locals who will share your table in a beer garden or over breakfast. Within a few moments, you will be talking like old friends.

You will be inspired. Artist or not, you will leave FloydFest with a desire to make the world just a little more beautiful. You will see things differently, and even in your own backyard hammock you will find it easier to close your eyes, breathe deeply, and relax. To put it simply, your time on the mountain will teach you how to find peace in the real world.

Summer1You’ll crave new things. Not just adventure and music, but food. Really, really good food. There will be no shortage of delicious local choices available throughout the grounds at FloydFest. Start your morning with fresh juice, crepes, and/or Red Rooster Coffee. Keep the day going with dishes that include locally grown veggies and grass-fed beef. Trust us, the food alone will make you wish you could stay forever.

The local art, music, and friends you acquire will stay with you for years to come. We still carry our wristbands as keychains. And, the truth is, you’ll be counting down the days until FloydFest 17 on your calendar, beginning on August 1. One trip will make you fall in love with the mountain, the people, and the person you become surrounded by all of it.

Three days in Floyd are not enough. If you can, buy a five day ticket. Come camp with us and enjoy everything FloydFest has to offer! You will not regret it. Visit www.floydfest.com for more information on the lineup, the festival, and even a packing list! We can’t wait to see you there!

Independence Day Safety

This July 4th marks the 240th birthday of the United States signing the Declaration of Independence. The Roanoke City & Alleghany District of the Virginia Department of Health encourages you to celebrate the occasion with the safe handling of food and fireworks.

The United States of America declared independence from Great Britain on July 4th 1776. Since then, we the people have taken part in an annual commemoration of the event with exceptional displays of fireworks and the consumption of a variety of home cooked foods that warm the soul and just feel like home. While the best way to enjoy fireworks and to prevent potential injuries is to attend a professional public fireworks display, below are helpful reminders designed to increase your safety this 4th of July.

  • Follow all warning labels and take extra precautions to properly handle fireworks to avoid injury. Don’t leave children unsupervised.  Fireworks are ignited with a flame and can cause burn injuries if mishandled. Even sparklers are designed to throw off showers of hot sparks with temperatures exceeding 1200 degrees.
  • Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks and light only one firework at a time to allow time to quickly clear the area. Most fireworks contain an explosive element and projectile that can cause eye injuries, burns, cuts and bruises if misdirected. Always ensure fireworks are placed in a clear, outdoor area on a firm and solid base pointed away from any people, buildings or other obstructions before igniting. Never place a firework in your pocket or in a metal or glass container.
  • Do not drink alcohol while using fireworks.
    A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities without impairment. Save your alcohol for after the show.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework.
    Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water. Always have a bucket of water and charged hose nearby. Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and placing them in a metal trashcan away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
  • Do not experiment with homemade explosives and obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks. When in doubt, leave the show to the professionals.

American holiday 4th of July - Picnic TableIn comparison to explosives, your food may seem harmless, but food that has not been properly stored and cooked can have you rushing to the emergency room just as fast. It is important to remember that harmful bacteria can start to grow when perishable food is between temperatures of 41 and 135 °F; perishable food transported without ice or a heat source won’t stay safe long. When preparing meals remember to follow these safety tips:

  • Clean Wash hands, cutting boards, utensils, and countertops with warm soapy water for 20 seconds before handling food.
  • Separate Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood separate from ready-to-eat foods. If possible use separate cutting boards and utensil for raw meat, poultry and seafood.
  • Cook Use a food thermometer to ensure that foods are cooked to a safe internal temperature: 145°F for whole meats (allowing the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or consuming), 155°F for ground meats, and 165°F for all poultry.
  • Chill – Keep your refrigerator below 40°F, and refrigerate food that will spoil. Leftovers should be eaten, frozen or discarded within 3 to 4 days. When reheating, make sure there are no cold spots in the food and the temperature reaches 165°F throughout to eliminate most harmful bacteria.

Grills burn too. The following tips can help reduce the risk for injuries and help prevent fires while cooking your Independence Day meal:

  • Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use. Keep children and pets clear of the grilling area.
  • Remember to keep your grill clean and remove grease or fat buildup in trays below grill so it cannot be accidentally ignited.
  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills must only be used outdoors. If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces, they pose both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants to toxic gases and potential asphyxiation. Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • With charcoal grills, only use charcoal starter fluids designed for barbecue grills and do not add fluid after coals have been lit.
  • With gas grills, be sure that the hose connection is tight and check hoses carefully for leaks. Applying soapy water to the hoses will easily and safely reveal any leaks. If you detect a leak, immediately turn off the gas and don’t light the grill.

If you experience symptoms of food poisoning such as vomiting or have an injury this 4th of July, please visit your local healthcare professional or dial 911.

For additional public health Information visit the Virginia health department website at www.vdh.virginia.gov or the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov.

For additional information on firework safety please visit the US Consumer and Produces Safety Commissions Fireworks Information Center online at www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Fireworks/.

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This article is part one of a five-part series from the Roanoke Alleghany District of the Virginia Department of Health meant to inform local residents about the risks and preventive measures they can take to protect the health of their families and friends this summer.
The Roanoke Alleghany Health District works to prevent epidemics and the spread of disease, protect the environment, prevent injury, promote and encourage healthy behavior, respond to disasters and assist communities in recovery, and assure the quality and accessibility of health services for all members of our community.