Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fun on the Fourth

If I had to vote, I might say Independence Day has …hmm…skyrocketed … to being one of my very favorite holidays.  It has so much going for it!  It’s in the summer (who says all the fun has to happen when we’re buried under a bizillion inches of snow?), it’s low stress (no big dinner or 12-months-worth of presents to wrap), and it’s a day filled with genuinely FUN traditions.  Plus it has the added bonus of honoring something we feel strongly about and which most Americans, with a few rare exceptions, actually can agree on without any bickering.  No wonder we like it so much!  Here are a few highlights from our day:

Pancakes and People!

Our ward has the wonderful tradition of holding a flag raising and pancake breakfast first thing on the fourth.  In case any of you are ever lucky enough to help plan a similar activity, Bryan and I definitely learned some good things to keep in mind.  For example, even if all the griddles are nonstick, someone still ought to bring a can of cooking spray.  And forget the margarine—apparently butter is THE spread of choice for pancakes.  (We may never be forgiven for that one… :)  Also, thinking of plugging all those griddles into a single power strip?  Don’t--unless you get a trip out of tripping the breaker.  Not cool.  Oh, and double-check with the cubs about how the flag raising practice went the week before: finding out it ended with the flag jammed on the top of the pole with no conceivable way to get it down is definitely something worth knowing ahead of time…

Other than that, it went well.  We have such a great ward with so many people who really enjoy being together and who are all willing to chip in that even when things were a little hectic getting rolling it was still a lot of fun.

My New Skirt

Theoretically this is where I would post pictures of the girls in their cute patriotic outfits, (complete with the matching red-white-and-blue, monogrammed, hair clippies that my super-talented mother-in-law made), but unfortunately our kids are no match for gigantic vats of syrup.  We had already moved on to outfit 2 or 3 before I even managed to get the camera out.  Oh well.  Since I can’t show off what they had on, I think I’ll go ahead and indulge with a picture of the skirt I finally finished (and justified wearing since it is one of the flag colors, right?)


This spring I started seeing skirts with all sorts of great adjectives, like “tiered,” “gathered,” and “crinkly,” and kept thinking how breezy and comfortable they seemed compared to running around in jeans everyday.  Now, thanks to a great fabric find at Mill Ends in Minnesota, I have one of my own, and it’s wonderful!  (On a side note, ever try smashing an extra five yards of fabric into an already-full carry-on?)  (That probably isn’t actually much of a rhetorical question knowing my extended family, I expect to hear stories! :)

Favorite Foods  

Like any good holiday, our Fourth of July traditions tend to boil down to being about food.  We made up all of our favorite picnic yummies (Bryan’s Great-Grandpa’s secret-recipe chicken, potato salad, cookies, watermelon etc.) and even decided to give a Draper childhood tradition a shot.  Several  summers growing up I remember pulling homemade taffy as a family.  Mom would pour the hot syruppy mess onto a cookie sheet, and we would slather our hands in tons of butter before starting to stretch it, amazing ourselves at how the mound of candy would slowly change from clear to opaque as we worked it.  Inevitably we would burn our fingers, especially as the butter wore off, and then we’d thoroughly gum up a pair of scissors snipping the pieces, but it was all such tasty fun.  And definitely worth it when a few hours later we’d be sitting on a hill near Lake Ann, peeling the wax-paper wrappers off, and sucking* on our fresh taffy while waiting for the fireworks.  (*Chewing is probably the preferred way to eat taffy, but sucking on it sure kept it from gluing your gums together so much!)

We did raspberry-flavored taffy.  (Not pepto bismo, though they look suspiciously like they might be.)


For fireworks we went to our favorite spot at Lake Onondaga and watched the fairground fireworks across the lake.  A couple other families from the ward with little girls were there too to picnic and play beforehand, which Robyn and Amber loved.
Amber checking out the potato salad.  (No eggs--just the way my mom makes it.  And a spoonful of horseradish--just the way Bryan likes it.)
Obligatory watermelon picture.
More watermelon.
Crazy watermelon.
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Fun with glowsticks after dark.  We started stocking up on glow-bracelets after Halloween when they went on super clearance which meant there were several pieces for each of the kids in our group.
And the best part of the fourth of July?  Carrying children who have played until they were completely exhausted up to bed at the end of it all.

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  1. Everything looks so fun, really it does! Wish we had been proactive enough to find a special fireworks place. We did have watermelon, so I think we came out ok. But I agree, it's a great holiday!

  2. I totally agree about how much fun 4th of July is becoming now that I have little ones. How was this not one of my top holidays before?!!!! I am glad you guys had fun and your taffy sounds so amazing! I need to try that someday!