....or, always trust your gut!!!
I shared in a few previous posts about how I was getting ready for our family celebration of July 4th a week before the rest of the country because most of our family were going to be out of state on the real day. We had our celebration and it was a SUCCESS! Everyone made it - which in these days of many, many work and social schedules, is a feat that is getting rarer and rarer to pull off as the kids get older and have more things happening in their lives.
Harrison had just gotten picked up after a week at sleep-away camp, so he was still tired. A nice rock in the hammock sounded good until his sister - who he had missed very much until this moment - decided that she wanted to climb aboard AND be in charge of rocking. That black velvet rope they are holding is tied to a bush and our way of keeping it "Rockin"! You can tell they had different ideas of just who would be in charge!
This picture is always what makes me happy - there are 16 people hidden somewhere in this photo. That means my whole family is actually here in one place and I love it!
O.K. We always do a July 4th photo with Nana, Papa and the kids. As I said, Harrison was a bit tired and coaxing a smile out of him wasn't going to happen...
...until I saw his hand start to creep up behind his brother's head in the infamous "rabbit ears"...
...and then someone yelled "crazy faces" and we were done! No going back after this!!!
I CAN NOT believe that our youngest is now actually old enough and a proficient enough swimmer that I let this happen - all by herself - without me ready to jump in - clothes and all!!
This is Papa after he opened what will go down in history as one of his all-time favorite gifts. My sister-in-law has heard his stories of working on the 1964 World's Fair when his brother served as one of the engineers designing the fair. He spent the whole summer up there working and has many tales but the one we hear the most often, when he sees a picture of the sphere anywhere, is how he ate his lunch under that every day all of that summer. And so, when she happened upon a World's Fair scarf in an antique store, she knew she had to get it and transform it into something for him. She decided on a big, fluffy pillow and he loves it. And, what was the first thing he said as the wrappings fell away but "I ate my lunch under that every day that summer"!
And then Kristin received her much awaited "scrapbook" quilt and the search was on for all of the meanings in the different quilt squares.
And so, right about now you must be thinking "looks like anything but an epic fail to me". But, wait for it. Remember I have told you that I don't decorate cakes. I am just not patient enough - plus, I would rather have savory than sweet any day. But, I am always looking for new traditions - as if we need one more. So, when I saw this pie-cake on Home & Family, I thought it looked cute and would definitely give everyone something to talk about - and talk we did!!!
First of all, this thing cost a fortune. I decided to use boxed cake mixes which I knew right away I would not like but I was making all of this food on a day when the little kids were here and I knew I would be a bit distracted. I looked up ways to "fudge" a cake mix so it didn't taste like a cake mix, so more butter and whole milk were added to the batter. Then, you needed 2 small pies - and of course because I wanted red and blue, I went for cherry and blueberry - I thought. When I actually started baking, I realized I had grabbed apple instead of cherry - that little red fruit picture on the box sure looked like a cherry to me!
Anyhow, hubs bailed me out and went and found another pie - this time a cherry (wait for the other shoe to drop) and I baked the cakes. Which took forever and ever and still never got done all the way so I ended up scooping out some raw mix. I will say that the recipe warns about how long this might take but I truly don't think mine were ever going to get done before the cake turned a total charred color!
Since I REALLY dislike canned icing, I did use the included recipe for homemade butter cream. 3 cups of butter, 9 cups of confectioners' sugar and 6 T. of heavy cream later I had the sweetest concoction I have ever made! And yet, I kept on.
By this time I was over this cake but persevered and iced it and just threw on some blueberries hoping it may still capture everyones'' whimsy" when I cut it and the red, white and blue was revealed. I would have at least a mini-moment of glory and all of my efforts would be applauded - before anyone actually tasted this thing. Wait for it. Wait for it! Breath being held and waiting for the ohhhs and ahhhs!
"What's that?" you say. Where is the red? Good question. To add insult to injury, the cherry pie - and yes, it was definitely labeled cherry pie with a picture of a real cherry this time - turned out to be peach. Orange, white and blue somehow just doesn't have the same "awesome" reveal. Truly don't know what I was thinking. My gut told me this was probably not the smartest idea I have ever had! Note to self - listen to your gut next time. By now, it was screaming and hitting me over the head! I promise I will listen next time.
Back we go to the fun. Sparklers for everyone!
It was a really lovely day - one of those days when all of the "hoopla" died down, everyone just hung out in the pool until late at night - a perfect evening really and the perfect way to end a day!
The next day we were able to go watch Harrison in his last swim meet of the current class. It was more of a fun meet with half of the group against the other half so, no pressure - just lots of swimming and goofing around - and goodies to eat! I love when the family can be together for things like this. Since we live in 3 different cities, some of the little things get missed - especially since there is usually something going on somewhere every single week - hard to keep up with everyone all of the time these days - but we try!
We now have most of the family off on out-of-state vacations so I am going to try to use my week to catch up on some things that have been on the to-do list for awhile - some of them are still for the 4th of July. Seems as if I have them in my head so I am going to see what happens - stay tuned.