Monday, July 21, 2014

Our Family's Fourth of July Celebration

Well, this certainly isn't my typical DIY or recipe post.  I thought I'd share all about our family's Fourth of July celebration.  I don't have any beautifully lit pictures.  I don't have staged photos.  This is just my real 4th of July pictures because I wanted to capture the true party.  It was such a nice time for all of my family to be together.  I had family here from New Jersey, my family, my husband's family, and of course my kiddos!  It was a joyous time to talk about the "old days", reminisce, and laugh.  And I guess writing this post, I want to remember all of the fun, the laughs, and the memories we all shared that day.

We did a typical BBQ but I wanted to make it a little more special for everyone.  I didn't want to make an overabundance of food (which I think we all do when having guests over) but I tried my best not to do that.  I failed miserably.  I was eating left overs for days.  I'm not kidding.

In the afternoon, around 1:30 I put out some snacks that would keep everyone satisfied until all the actual food was ready.  I don't know why I always do this.  Because I ended up getting full and didn't really WANT the actual food.  I wonder if I'll ever actually learn and not continue to do this.  I'm going to say no.  No I won't.

A simple "snack station" that included cheese and crackers, potato chips and dip, punch, and firecrackers.  ( You can find the recipe for FIRECRACKERS here )

Underneath the table I had a cooler full of soda, water, and beer as well.

The punch was just a simple recipe my mom has been making for years.  It's a liter of sprite, half of a bottle of Hawaiian punch, and orange sherbet on top.

I didn't overly decorate the tables because I wanted to have enough room for the things people actually cared about, which was the delicious food!  ( I have some FREE 4th of July Printables that you can print HERE )

After enough time went by, my husband went outside to grill up burgers, hot dogs, and ribs.  And oddly enough, I didn't get a picture of them!  Do you believe it? ME? Not take a picture of something?  I know, absurd.  I guess I was just too hungry,  I apologize.  It's sad to know you won't be able to drool over the photos.  Kidding.  Sort of.

After everything was almost done being grilled up, I set up the tables.  I decided to make a "Burger Station" and a "Hot Dog Station".  I figured it would give people more opportunity to try new things instead of the typical lettuce, tomato, and onion toppings.  I might have went slightly overboard but the possibilities of what people could make were endless.

For the Burger Station the toppings included:
  • Tomato
  • Raw Onion
  • Lettuce
  • Pickles
  • Hot Peppers
  • Mayo
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Big Mac Copycat Sauce
  • Bacon
  • Avocado
  • Bbq Sauce

I made some labels (which you can find HERE ) and attached them to a wooden skewer that I had cut down and stuck the skewer into the styrofoam bowls.

I also made the burger suggestion cards that you see in the picture above.  I thought it would be fun to suggest some toppings to put on the burgers to try something new.  I found the combinations on some restaurant websites and Google.

For the Hot Dog Station the toppings included:
  • Raw Chopped Onion
  • Sauteed Onions
  • Relish
  • Sauerkraut
  • A Special Hot Dog BBQ Sauce
You can find the hot dog labels HERE

For the side dishes I made:

  • Cowboy Beans ( Pinterest it, you will NOT be sorry )
  • Potato Salad ( Recipe HERE )
  • Coleslaw ( Recipe HERE )
  • Striped Deviled Eggs ( Recipe HERE )
  • Corn on the Cob ( which I boiled with a stick of butter in the water and it was the BEST corn I have ever had )

I picked up these inexpensive bottles and simply wrapped them with some labels I had made.  Typical BBQ essentials, I think!

After sitting around the table laughing, talking, and completely making pigs of ourselves we sat and digested a short time and then it was dessert time. The thought of eating anything else made me sick!  But what's a good party without dessert?  Do people even have parties without dessert?

I kept it pretty simple because I knew (from many, many times before ) that everyone would just be too full to enjoy anything.  So I kept it pretty small.

The dessert included:
  • Watermelon
  • Pineapple
  • Donuts
  • Cheesecake
  • Oreo Trifle ( Recipe HERE )
  • Yellow Flag Cake
  • Watergate Salad ( made by my mother-in-law )

My Aunt brought the donuts and cheesecake and obviously they were store bought.  I'm pretty good at baking, but I'm not THAT good!

I hollowed out a piece of the watermelon to hold the cut pieces of fruit.  Using a star cookie cutter, I cut some shapes of pineapple.  You can't eat the middle of the fresh pineapple anyway, so I thought it would be a cute way to jazz it up.  I just stuck them on skewers to pretty it up, as well.

I had seen this idea on Pinterest a while back and thought it would be perfect for the kids.  Just slice up your watermelon and put them on popsicle sticks.  Made it so much easier for them to eat!

The eating was finally over! And I was thankful.  I couldn't breathe.  And I was glad I decided to wear pants that didn't have a button.  

We bought a whole bunch of fireworks, sparklers, and poppers and all just sat outside enjoying the warm weather and the fireworks. 

It was certainly a nice day.  And I felt blessed.  Not only to have people around me who I love, but to be able to enjoy the freedom of our day in a wonderful country.  It was certainly a HAPPY birthday for America.

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