Friday, July 1, 2011

Independence Day - Recap in 10 Parts

This year, we were especially mindful of the meaning of Independence Day and our reason for celebrating. Yes, we played and cooked out and decorated in red, white and blue but throughout the day, we incorporated thoughtful activities and paused to reflect on the enormous sacrifices of our patriots, past and present, and our incredible blessing of liberty.


Our 4th began on the 3rd when the little children came over

to paint their patriotic T-shirts. We saved the expense of buying fabric paint knowing that house paint won't wash out of clothing and will wash off of children. The kids were given their choice of techniques: potato print, drizzles, sea sponge, and/or foam brush.

They came up with their own designs and the only adult interference was the little stars added to the twin's creations. Click HERE for more photos, details and tips.

The pennant garland, made of scrap fabric stitched to a length of twill tape helped define a game area. Flags lining the front walk were a daughter's bargain, $1 for a single, flag-patterned yard of fabric found in the off-season, cut apart and stapled to dowels. The front porch had been decorated with red, white and blue since Memorial Day.

The 4th began with a mid-day gathering around the flag pole for the Pledge of Allegiance and the little children led the singing of our National Anthem.

Homemade pickled eggs and hot, spicy pickled sausages, blue and white corn chips served in a red bowl with a side of home-canned salsa, the 4-generation standby of potato chips with sour cream/onion dip, crackers and
a daughter's shrimp dip helped stave off hunger until the day cooled enough to fire up the grill.

Pitchers of lemonade and sweet tea were refilled from giant jars and jugs kept on ice in an old, oval wash tub and star shaped sugar cookies, iced in red and blue were a hit with the little ones. Securing table cloth corners against the breeze.


Everyone was free to find an activity to their liking: baseball was less hazardous, required less skill and was more appropriate for one or two or three to play with the use of a sturdy foam bat and wiffle balls. Tic-tac-toe was set up on the grass using five scrap 12" X 12" tiles and caning jar rings and stars cut from laundry detergent bottles and glued to the caps. Unfortunately, interest in the tic-tac-toe was short lived. However, the "Sock Toss", our safe version of lawn darts, was a huge hit with the adults as well as the children. It also made great use of those pesky unmated socks we all accumulate. There were 5 white socks and 5 colored ones. The "feet" were stuffed with a zip type bag of dry beans and a knot tied at the "heel". They were perfectly weighted and slung from their tops to the hula hoop target 15 or 20 feet away. Our scoring went like this: outside the ring, not touching = no score; outside the ring but touching = 5 points; inside the ring, but touching = 10 points; inside the ring, not touching = 15 points. GAME was to 100 points.

A little pool time was a definite blessing as the late day sun erased our shade.

I think the best of the best was the races. Adults and children were laughing to the point of tears through the Sack Race, the Three-Legged Race and the Wheel Barrow Race. The finish line was established using a couple of tomato stakes from the garden, topped with small flags. The "potato" sacks were made by a daughter, from fabric left over from some long-ago project and, yes, they were purple. She asked the little children what colors combine to make purple. Of course, they answered "red and blue"
...Taa daa!


We read the poem "Paul Revere's Midnight Ride" and I was flabbergasted at how much my four, home schooled grandchildren knew about the American Revolution and the founding of our nation.
We sang "God Bless America", prayed for our country and fired up the grill as the children's bubbles drifted into the shadows. We had long hot dogs and fat ones and kosher ones with "fixin's" for 4 variations. I did make one change...rather than wrapping the Kraut-Dogs in bacon, precooked slices were just added to the buns. We had Oven-Baked Beans and my Southern Potato Salad and another daughter brought her signature Pasta Salad. Dessert was two pies instead of three: one blueberry and one apple/cherry so we still had red, white and blue.My daughter-in-law made bite-sized Apple/Cheesecake Crepes (a Betty Crocker recipe) sprinkled with fresh strawberries and blueberries from her own back yard. I completely forgot about making ice cream. No one noticed.

As darkness approached, we lit the candles on the tables and the ones hanging in the trees. The little birdcage candleholders were a last minute yard sale find with my painted wooden stars added.

he kids went through a couple boxes of sparklers and the delay on my camera prevented me from getting the wonderful photos I had imagined. The fireworks, provided by a daughter and son-in-law, lit the sky accompanied with the traditional "oohs" and "aahs".

My 4th of July surprise came late last night as I was downloading pictures.It seemed we had an unexpected angel with us. My only "sparkler" photo.


Anonymous said...

looks like an amazing time..i love the creative ideas!!

Cindy said...

What an incredible day, and what blessings to have done it to perfection with so little expense! Good old fashioned fun at a good old fashioned price! Awesome!

jane said...

What great fun you and your family must have had. Love all of the photos. Your creativity is amazing. I am not artistic at all.
You are truely blessed with your children and grandchildren. God Bless