Crabs, beer, and football. That’s what Maryland does…  at least according to the famous movie line.

Rhetoric aside, there is nothing better — or more Maryland — than a good old-fashioned, backyard crab feast. A perfect way to celebrate Fourth of July!

I firmly believe that a little planning goes a long way when it comes to entertaining. Forget complicated recipes. Stick with the classics and add a fun, unexpected twist. Watermelon stars as garnish dress-up store bought lemonade. Sassy’s Tomato Jam topped with bacon makes ‘fancy’ bruschetta, and saves dicing time. Not to mention it’s ah-mazingly delicious.

I’m also a disciple of semi-homemade it when it comes to gatherings with friends. No, that doesn’t mean I pretend to cook something I didn’t. It means if someone make it better than I do {Gibby’s broccoli salad, I’m looking at you}, I order it rather than slicing and dicing.

Here’s an easy-peasy lemony squeezy (really — there are lemons in those blueberry pie stars!) delicious plan to celebrate the Fourth.

Just add sparklers.

kid-friendly fourth of july celebration: crab feast

Kid-Friendly Crab Feast - (cool) progeny


Fourth of July celebration decorations are easy — just stick with a red, white, and blue color theme. A checkered tablecloth topped with simple white hydrangea stems and an American flag in blue mason jars was all we needed! It’s a backyard soiree, so kids drinks were served in milk jugs and adult beverages were served in mason jars. I picked up some fun Meri Meri stars and stripes straws alongside some super cute blue and white fish bowls from Becket Hitch — and topped the table setting off with nautical napkins from Target. You can also get a peek of Nora Fleming’s Uncle Sam mini on the pasta salad serving bowl. Little details. Low budget. Lots of decor mileage.
Kid-Friendly Crab Feast - (cool) progeny

the  menu

The main attraction? Crabs, of course! The nice thing about them is that you pick them up already steamed (if your our family, anyway! I know a few others that prefer to steam themselves… but that takes crab picking to a whole new level). The problem with crab feasts is the post-picking hunger. Three crabs may take half an hour to pick, and the satiation only lasts that long. But a few well-selected sides will keep everyone satiated — especially the kids!

Kid-Friendly Crab Feast - (cool) progeny

Start with tomato jam and bacon bruschetta. One of my favorite easy appetizers is a twist on bruschetta and a BLT. Toast sliced baguette topped with a thin slice of Havarti cheese. Once the cheese has melted, remove from oven and top with a dollop of Sassy’s tomato jam and crumbled bacon. Everyone will think you slaved over a stove. And the entire platter will be devoured. It’s a sophisticated taste but everyone — pint-sized palates included — loves bacon. A definite crowd pleaser.

Don’t forget the fancy drinks. It’s a celebration, of course! Dress up raspberry lemonade (I bought mine from Wegmans, but you can always make your own!) with watermelon slices cut with a small star cookie cutter. And while beer may be synonymous with steamed crabs, I opted for a bubbly tempered with blackberry syrup and rosemary. Not too sweet and paired fabulously with crabs. Who doesn’t love drinking champagne out of a mason jar? I’m sharing the recipe later this week, so check back! 

Go for easy savory sides. The whole idea behind this party plan is that it’s easy. Kid-friendly doesn’t mean making candy sushi (although I have to admit that’s cool). It’s about flavors that both kids and adults like so you’re not whipping yourself into a crazy, short order party cook. It also doesn’t mean a buffet of sides — just two or three. I opted for Pasta Salad and Broccoli Salad. To make the pasta salad, toss cooked pasta with chopped roasted red peppers, diced cucumbers, diced red onions, and your favorite Italian dressing. The broccoli salad? I bought mine from Gibby’s Seafood Market, the same place we picked up the crabs. It’s delicious.

Fruit. Fruit. And more fruit. It’s summertime! Nothing tastes sweeter than sliced watermelon (no seeds, of course) and blueberry pie stars


crab picking with kids

Crab picking with kids is no different than picking with adults — it’s messy! Cover your table with rolled kraft paper for easy-clean up and keep moist towels nearby to avoid any accidental old bay in the eyes incidents (we’ve all been there — especially if you wear contacts). I also suggest setting out some oyster crackers to keep little hands busy while they wait. 

Kid-Friendly Crab Feast - (cool) progeny

style notes

The kids are decked out in some pretty funtabulous red, white, and blue threads. Because kids don’t have to sport tees that say “United States of Adorable” to look patriotically cute.

Fourth of July Style - (cool) progeny

On the Little Lion Man: Tea Collection Button Down (Wee Chic), Appaman Fedora(Wee Chic)and khaki shorts (Carter’s).

Fourth of July Style - (cool) progeny

On the Bug: Appaman Romper (Wee Chic), Wallaroo Petite Scrunchie Hat (Wee Chic),.

Fourth of July Style - (cool) progeny

On Baby M: Nautical Denim Romper (Carter’s)

final touches

All that’s left? A few sparklers. You can get those (extra long ones!) at Becket Hitch, too. 

How are you planning to celebrate the fourth?