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How to make an Easter basket cake

To make the Easter Basket Cake, first mask the cake with a thin layer of icing and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Using a pastry bag fitted with a basketweave tip, alternately pipe a short horizontal line, then a short vertical line, rotating around the entire bottom of the cake, until you reach the point where you started.

Continue with another row above these lines, alternating the vertical and horizontal stripes with what is on the bottom. Keep adding rows until you reach the top.

Create a border by weaving the tip around the top of the cake's perimeter.

Bend a forsythia branch over the top of the cake and tuck the tips into the side for a basket handle.

Fill the center of the "basket" with toasted coconut that has been tinted green.

Place chocolate eggs and other candies in the center of the basket.

Atlanta Area July 4th Fireworks

Fireworks will light up the sky all over metro Atlanta on July 4th!  Below is your guide to some of the best shows and events around town, with something for everybody - and something near everybody. Most are free.

City of Atlanta:

4th of July at Centennial Olympic Park: Gates open at 6pm. July 4. Fireworks are scheduled to begin at 9pm. Free. Centennial Olympic Park, 265 Park Ave. NW, Atlanta, GA 30313. www.centennialpark.com.

Channel 2’s “Georgia Salutes America” program and fireworks from Centennial Olympic Park will air on WSB-TV.

There will be live music at the event, artist names to be released soon, and the finale of the evening is Centennial Olympic Park’s Fireworks Spectacular, fireworks synchronized to patriotic music.

A list of prohibited items in the park can be found on the Centennial website: www.centennialpark.com.

Atlanta Journal Constitution Peachtree Road Race: One of the premier Fourth of July traditions, this 6.2 mile race kicks off Independence Day celebrations with about 60,000 people running and walking through the streets. Even if you don’t have a race number, be one of the 150,000 spectators cheering on the participants from the sidelines. http://www.ajc.com/s/peachtree/#race-info

Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies: Cheer on the Braves at Turner Field and then stay after for a firework celebration of Independence Day choreographed to patriotic music. 7:10. July 4th. Turner Field, 755 Hank Aaron Dr Atlanta, GA 30302. 800-745-3000, www.braves.com.

Georgia Aquarium’s Red, White & Brew: Celebrate Fourth of July with dinner, drinks and a view of Centennial Olympic Park’s firework show atop the Georgia Aquarium’s roof. 7-10 pm, fireworks starting at approximately 9:40pm. $55 ($45 for members), 21 and older only. 225 Baker Street NW, Atlanta GA 30313. 404-581-4000. www.georgiaaquarium.org.

Lenox Square 4th of July: Shops & Restaurants open 10am-6pm. Musical Entertainment starts at 6pm. Fireworks scheduled to being at 9:40pm. July 4th. Free. 3393 Peachtree Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30326. 404-233-6767. http://www.simon.com/mall/lenox-square.

Whiskey Blue Fourth of July Extravaganza: Celebrate the fourth on the rooftop of the W Atlanta- Buckhead. Enjoy Whiskey Blue’s signature cocktails, gourmet bites, sounds of Dj Rimby and take in the Southeast’s largest fireworks display at Lenox Square. Tickets start at $25. July 4. W Atlanta Buckhead, 3377 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta GA 30326, www.whiskeyblue.xorbia.com.

Other Area Events: 

Acworth’s Fourth of July Celebration: Live music starts at 4pm. Concerts begin at 5:30pm. Fireworks at dusk (9:30pm). Free. http://www.acworth.com/fourth-of-july-celebration/.

Allatoona Yacht Club Fireworks Celebration: July 3rd at sunset. Boat access only in front of the Altoona Yacht clu, with fireworks visible from many coves adjacent to area. Free. Allatoona Yacht Club, 176 Websters Overlook Dr SE, Cartersville, GA 30121.

Alpharetta’s July 4th Festivities and Fireworks: Celebrate independence Day with family and friends at Wills Park. Free. Entertainment and children’s activities begin at 6pm, behind the Alpharetta Community Center. Fireworks begin at dusk. Wills Park, 1825 Old Milton Parkway, Alpharetta, 678-297-6130, www.alpharetta.ga.us.

Athens Independence Day Celebration: July 4. 4-10pm, an evening of festivities with fireworks beginning at dusk at the Georgia Square Mall.

Auburn July 4 Festivities and Fireworks: 5-11pm. July 4. Downtown Auburn, 1369 4th Ave Auburn, Ga 30011, cityofauburn-ga.org.

Austell- Six Flags Over Georgia Coca-Cola July 4th Fest: July 3-5. Thrilling rides and attractions, fun games and a fireworks show. Guests, who arrive with a Coca-Cola can, will be admitted to the park an hour early. Fireworks begin at 9:30pm on all three nights.

Braselton Fourth of July Festival, Parade & 5K: Star Spangled 4th of July 5/ Fun Run at 8am (walk begins at 8:15am. Celebration continues with a Festival from 4-9pm, Parade at 6pm, and Fireworks at Dusk. Braselton Park – www.braselton.net.

Buford - Lake Lanier- Lanier World, July 3rd, 4th, and 5th from 3-7pm. Enjoy the day with rides, slides, and live entertainment. Fireworks will begin after dark at Sunset Cove. 7000 Lanier Islands Pkwy, Buford GA 30518, www.lanierislands.com.

Buford- Mall of Georgia’s 13th annual Star Spangled Fourth: Kids zone opens at 5pm July 4 for games, free concerts in the Village Amphitheater also begin at 5pm. Fireworks begin at dusk (approximately 9:35pm). Post- fireworks screening of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 1” (rated PG-13). Free.  Mall of Georgia, 3333 Buford Dr, Buford GA, 678-482-8788, www.mallofgeorgia.com.

Canton Fireworks and Festival- 4-7pm July 4 live music, followed by a parade from 7-8pm. Fireworks at dusk behind Riverstone. Riverstone Blv, Canton GA 30114. www.localendar.com.

Cartersville- Stars, Stripes & Cartersville Fourth of July Celebration- July 4. Parade at 9am on Main Street. Concert from 8-9:30pm followed by fireworks at Dellinger Park. $2 per car parking fee. 100 Pine Grove Rd, Cartersville GA 30120, http://www.visitcartersvillega.org.

Clayton County, 4th of July at the Beach- July 4, Event from 10am-7pm. Fireworks following at dusk. Admission is $9 for children, $11 for adults. The Beach at International Park, 2300 Highway 138, Jonesboro GA 30236, www.claytonparks.com.

Chamblee Fourth of July Celebration- 5-10pm, July 4. Free. Keswick Park, 3496 Keswick Dr, Chamblee GA 30341, 770-986-5016, www.chambleega.com.

Covington- Independence in the Park, 6pm July 4. Downtown Covington Square, 770-385-2077, www.downtownconvington.org.

Cumming’s July Fourth Celebration- Fireworks July 3rd at 9:30pm at the Cumming Fairgrounds, 235 Castleberry Road, Cumming GA 30040. Steam Engine Parade July 4th at 10:00 a.m. - downtown square. www.cummingfair.net.

Dahlonega- July 4. Independence Day Parade through historic square at 5pm, ending at drill field of University of North Georgia where fireworks show will be held at dusk. www.dahlonega.org.

Dalton- no information at this time

Decatur’s July 4th Pied piper Parade- decorate your wagon, ride your bike, skate or walk in this event. Begins at 6pm and ends at Community bandstand where a concert starts at 7pm. Fireworks begin at dark (approximately 9pm). Free. 404-371-8386, www.visitdecaturgeorgia.com.

Douglasville- July 4th Celebration -July 4th. Parade begins at 10:00 a.m. Fireworks will start at dusk. Fireworks can be viewed from Arbor Place mall front parking lot. http://douglasvillecalendar.com/.

Duluth Celebrates America- July 3rd Celebration, Duluth Town Green, 6-9pm, www.duluth-ga.com.

East Point Hometown Celebration- July 4, 3-11pm Carnival, fireworks at 9:30pm. 2757 Main Street, East Point GA 30344 across from East Point MARTA station. 404-270-7059, www.downtowneastpoint.com.

Ellijay, 4th of July Star Spangled Beach Party- Celebration on July 4. Parade at 6pm, fireworks at dusk. http://www.gilmerchamber.com/4th-of-july-star-spangled-beach-party-in-downtown-ellijay/.

Flowery Branch- Sterling on the Lake- July 5 celebration, 4pm with food, drinks and a live 80s band. Fireworks display at dusk. $20 per car for non-residents. 7005 Lake Sterling Blvd, (770) 965-3980, www.sterlingonthelake.com.

Gwinnett County- Gwinnett Braves v Charlotte Knights- Saturday July 4. Fireworks extravaganza immediately after game. www.gwinnettbraves.com.

Hampton- Friday Night Drags & Show-n-Shine Fireworks Night at AMS- Event from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., Atlanta Motor Speedway, 1500 N. U.S. 41, Hampton. 770-946-4211, www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.

Heard County- A Chattahoochee Independence Day Celebration- July 4, 5pm- 12am. Food, Fun, Music, and fireworks at dusk. Court Square, Franklin GA. www.heardchamber.com.

Helen-Fireworks planned for Friday July 4th 9:30 p.m., behind the Alpine Village Shoppes. www.helenga.org

Henry County Fireworks Extravaganza- festivities begin at 2pm with live music, car shows, raffles, food, and more. Fireworks display after dark at 9:30pm. 100 Babbs Mill Rd, Hampton GA, 678-432-4399, www.hcfireworks.com.

Kennesaw’s pre-Independence Day Salute to America- July 3rd, concert at 6pm, fireworks at 9:30pm. Free. Downtown Kennesaw, 2828 Cherokee St, Kennesaw GA 30144. 770-422-9714, www.kennesaw.com.

Lawrenceville- Prelude to the Fourth- July 3rd, 7-10pm. Lawrenceville’s renowned Aurora Theatre will perform a Broadway Musical, followed by a dazzling fireworks display after dark. 210 Luckie St, Lawrenceville Ga 30046, www.lawrencevillega.org.

Lilburn-Sparkle in the Park- City park will be lit up with fireworks and have live music, GLOW the Show band. 5:30-10pm, July 4. 76 Main St, Lilburn Ga 30047, www.cityoflilburn.com.

Marietta- Fourth in the Park- Day-long celebration, July 4th 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Glover Park on the Marietta Square, www.mariettaga.gov.

Monroe- Freedom Fest- July 4th. Event begins at 5:00 p.m. at Athens Tech Campus, 121 Blaine Street. Fireworks after dark. www.monroedowntown.com.

Newnan- Fourth of July Parade and Rotary Celebration- 4th of July parade at 9am at Main Street. Fireworks celebration- Drake Stadium, gates open at 5:30. www.ci.newnan.ga.us.

Norcross- Red, White & Boom! Pre-Fourth Celebration- 3p.m. block party. Live music at 6 p.m. Fireworks at dusk. July 3rd. Free. Lillian Webb Park, 5 College St., Norcross GA 30071. 678-421-2000, www.norcrossga.net.  

Peachtree City- July 4th Parade, begins at 9am on Peachtree Parkway at Braelinn Golf Course. 4th Fest 5 pm- 9 pm at City Hall Plaza. Fireworks 9 pm-10pm Drake Field. www.peachtree-city.org.

Roswell- Fourth in the Park Celebration- 10am Freedom Parade, followed by a festival in Marietta Square (10am-9pm). Fireworks after dark. Free. Marietta Square, 4 Depot St Ne, Marietta GA 30060. www.roswellgov.com.

Sandy Springs- Independence Day Parade & Fireworks Display- Parade on July 4, 9am. Fireworks on July 5, festivities begin at 7:30 p.m. with the fireworks beginning at 9:45 p.m. The spectator area is located at the Concourse Corporate Center Lawn. www.sandyspringsga.gov.

Snellville- Star-Spangled Snellville- Independence Day Celebration on the Towne Green. July 4th starting at 3 pm. Fireworks at 9:30 p.m. www.snellvillepride.com.

Stone Mountain- Fantastic Fourth Celebration- Enjoy the Lasershow Spectacular, followed by a fireworks July 3-5 on the lawn. Begins at dusk. $10 daily parking pass or $35 for annual parking permit, U.S. 78 E., Stone Mountain. www.stonemountainpark.com.

Sugar Hill- Sparks in the Park- July 3, music performances beginning at 6pm. Fireworks starting at 9pm. E.E. Robinson Park. www.cityofsurgarhill.com.

Tallapoosa- Fourth of July Celebration- Parade downtown starting at Veterans Memorial Park. Food entertainment and fireworks at Helton Howland Park.  www.visitharalson.org.

Villa Rica Fireworks Extravaganza- July 3, 5pm, Free. The Villa Rica Civic Center and Sports Complex, 1605 Highway 61, Villa Rica GA 30180. www.villaricaparks.com

Woodstock’s Stars and Strikes July 4th Spectacular- 7:30 am Freedom Run. Parade at 10am starting at Woodstock Elementary School. Festival at 3pm in the Park at City Center. Fireworks after dusk behind the Target shopping center (HWY 92 and I-575). www.woodstockga.gov.

Enjoy the holidays without blowing your budget

The holiday sales have landed in your inbox, mailbox and newspapers. Whether it's holiday travel discounts or deals on the must-have toy, temptation lurks everywhere and it will only heighten as we get deeper into November.

Black Friday is no longer a post-turkey day highlight. It's right there with the pumpkins and scarecrows. With so much pulling at you, it can be challenging to make it a festive rather than frustrating season. To keep the stress level low and the smiles wide, adhere to some fast and true strategies this time of the year, said Patricia Stallworth of Johns Creek, Ga. Stallworth is a certified financial planner and author of "Minding Your Money." She also hosts the squeezeyourmoney.com blog.

She shared seven strategies to enjoying the holidays without blowing your budget:

1.  Start with a clearly defined budget. The holidays can impact several parts of your budget, from food to gifts to possibly even travel, so come up with a total budget in each of the categories. If you are really concerned, set up envelopes for each category like food, gifts, etc. Put the allotted cash in each envelope and stop spending when it is empty.

2.  Develop a plan. Keeping your budget in mind, plan your activities, gift lists, and other forms of celebration -- from menus for entertaining to stamps for cards. Use your plan to create shopping lists for each category.

3.  Get creative. Ask your family to draw names so you can cut down on the number of gifts you need to buy. Make gifts like cookies or craft items, and give "your time" gifts, like washing the car, cleaning and babysitting.

4.  Always shop with your list. The decorations and sale signs are tempting so don’t let them distract you from your appointed mission. Also, consider layaway programs.

5.  Get back to the real meaning of the holiday season. The holiday’s are all about families. Instead of spending all of your time in the malls or online, plan low-cost activities that the whole family can participate in.

6.  Give to charity. Giving to charity warms you twice. Once when you give it and again at tax time when you deduct it.

7.  Start a savings plan for next year. While it’s still fresh in your mind, add up all of the extras you needed for the holidays, divide that amount by 12, and start a 12 month savings plan for next year so you can enjoy the holidays without worrying about busting your budget.

Jack-o-lantern Spectacular

Atlanta St. Patty's Day Parade

Polar bear swimmers take the plunge

Most admired men of 2011

Most admired women of 2011

Christmas from around the world

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