From Parades to Fireworks: Over 20 Ways to Celebrate the Fourth

In case you’re around LA for the 4th, and not sure what to do, RedTricycle has some great ideas! Chris has off, but has call unfortunately so fireworks aren’t in our deck this year. Maybe we’ll choose something fun for during the day.

Red Tricycle

Los Angeles loves celebrating the 4th! There are fireworks and skydivers, boat parades and kiddie runs, baseball and bulging muscles, music and monster trucks and even destination celebrations. Let freedom ring as you choose one of our favorite Independence Day festivities that will take you from the center of the city to the beach.

photo: Grand Park


4th of July Block Party at Grand
Pack family & friends, puppies, and picnics and head to Grand Park to see Downtown LA light up in a spectacle not to be missed! Don’t forget a change of clothes—the fountain is perfect for splashing around and kids will probably/definitely get drenched.  It’s not so much a parade as a stationary block party with loads of music, a new area for kids and then fireworks over the city. The party starts at 3 p.m, fireworks begin at 9 p.m. Downtown. Free. All Ages. Event…

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Los Angeles: Week 3

We have officially wrapped up our 3rd week in Los Angeles, and it’s starting to feel more like home. This was the first week that Chris was busy with anything residency related, so Clara and I had the opportunity to see more of what our daily life will look like.

Saturday was a fun day of exploring. For our anniversary, Chris gave me the “future” gift of exploring the fabric district and allowing me some money to spend there! We definitely didn’t explore too thoroughly, but I did enjoy the Michael Levine fabric store, and especially their Loft across the street. The Loft sells fabric for $2.50 per pound. I got a lot of wonderful knits and other fabrics that I can experiment with for only $10! I did look through some of the other stores, but they were smaller and harder to navigate without a plan. One thing we learned this day is that the fabric district is conveniently located next to the pinata district! According to Chris, Clara will have the most pinatas of any kid around! After the fabric district, we went to the original LA Farmer’s Market, which from what we can tell is a giant, really fun and unique outdoor food court with meat markets mixed in, and The Grove, another wonderful outdoor mall in southern California! We unfortunately didn’t get any good pictures at the market or mall.

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On Sunday, we had a busy day! After church, we drove around the Pacific Palisades to let Clara nap before heading to a gathering of psychiatry interns at the program director’s house. We had a wonderful time getting to know Chris’s co-interns, and the view from the house over the ocean was great. Clara especially had fun planning with Chanani, another resident’s son who is just a few months younger than her. They will likely be causing some trouble together over the next 4 years! On a side note, we think he looks a lot like our nephew Jackson. Thoughts?



After leaving this get together, we went to the Annenberg Community Beach House to meet some distant cousins. A Klepser cousin, Christian Oliver, has been living in LA for quite awhile, and his parents were visiting from Germany. We had a wonderful time getting to know them, and playing with their 2 year old daughter. Clara and I have yet another new friend to meet for play dates! We unfortunately didn’t get a picture together, but we do have one of Clara enjoying the swings! The beach was beautiful and it had wonderful amenities. We’ll definitely go back!


The rest of the week’s plans have been more low key. Clara and I enjoyed a lot of playing on the playgrounds, walking to grocery stores, and going to our gym. We’ve definitely been blessed with a daughter who is willing to go play in new settings all the time! It makes dropping her off for an hour much more manageable! We also joined our friend Mandy and her sons at the library for an ice cream themed story time and snack! Clara’s now officially part of the summer reading program. A few things came out of Clara and my time together:

  • We have a lot of new friends who have welcomed us with open arms (especially Nicole, Christian, and Ashlyn who we’ve seen 3 days this week) This is adorable Ashtyn, and Clara hugging her!
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  • I realized that buying $90 worth of groceries and trying to transport them on the handles of the stroller can tip it over! and
  • I still cannot afford to buy groceries at Whole Foods, but their strawberry sorbet is wonderful!

Although we stayed pretty low key, Clara decided to keep the week interesting! She has been doing a wonderful job self-potty training, and will go almost every time I set her on the toilet. If anyone has any potty training tips, let me know! I’m thinking about going pantsless for a day and doing a 3 day transition, but I haven’t read anything at all! Another way that Clara has decided to grow up is by climbing out of her crib! After climbing out overnight and at naptime, we knew it was time to transition to her toddler bed. Although she loves her bed and the freedom, she also loves to come out and say hi very regularly at night. For some reason what works best is putting her in bed and shutting her door so that she cannot get out. She’s mad for a minute, but then she says bye-bye and goes to sleep for hours! While I feel bad, we all need sleep!


As Chris starts caring for patients this week, we hope that we’ll continue to enjoy learning about our new home. I’m sure we’ll make many more friends, as Clara continues to say hi and wave to every person we pass. It’s wonderfully adorable, and she will even stop screaming or throwing a tantrum to kindly say hi, only to start back up again once they have passed. We may have a politician on our hands!

A few new recipes

I apologize in advance that these recipes will not come with pictures, but visit the original sites to see the yummy goods!

Let’s start with dessert first.  Summer has me craving refreshing lemony desserts, and no-bake is always an easy way to go!  That’s why I couldn’t go wrong with a No Bake Lemon Ice Box Cake from Six Sisters’ Stuff (

Here’s the incredibly simple recipe!


2 (3.5 oz) packages instant lemon pudding mix
1 (8 0z) container Cool-Whip
3 cups milk
1 (16 oz) package graham crackers

1 tub of lemon frosting


Mix together the milk and instant pudding.  While you let this set, cover the bottom of a 9×13 pan with graham crackers.  Pour 1/2 of the pudding mixture on top of the graham crackers.  Add another layer of cracker, and then the remainder of the pudding.  Now, put on a final layer of graham crackers.  Throw the frosting in the microwave for a few seconds to melt it, pour it on top, and voila!

This recipe is best enjoyed the next day when all of the ingredients have had time to melt together!

Since we have dessert out of the way, let’s make a tasty side that’s perfect for summer.  The recipe for Mango Blueberry Couscous with Lemon-Basil Dressing came from Veggie Belly’s recipe



*Equal parts (about 3/4 cup, but whatever amount seems right to you) of cubed mango, blueberries, and cubed cucumbers

*1 T dried cranberries

*4-6 servings of couscous, prepared to package directions

Mix the blueberries, mango, cucumber, and cranberries with the couscous.  Just before serving, top it with lemon-basil dressing (recipe below) and salt and pepper to taste!  Enjoy as is, or add some chicken or walnuts for protein.  We also added some feta, and that was good as well!

Lemon-Basil Dressing:

Whisk together 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 10 Basil leaves finely chopped.

Simple, summery, and tasty, right?