Posts Tagged ‘4th of July’

Happy 4th of July!

Thank you to all our troops, both past and present, who protect our freedom and keep us safe!

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I was in a totally weird, nostalgic mood the other day and started to reflect on all the things that make me think of the 4th of July.

Besides the obvious like barbecues, fireworks and flying flags, there were several things that brought back fun memories.

The small town we occasionally frequented when we escaped life on the farm always “put on the dog” (as my Grandma liked to say) for the 4th of July. They didn’t get overly excited for any other holiday, but the 4th of July was when they pulled out all the stops and visitors would actually come to town.

The fun usual began on July 1 and ended the 4th of July – depending on the days of the week. But you could count on four days of excitement every summer.

There were events in the park, a rodeo every night, a suicide race that always made my mom nearly faint (and I’m sure that couldn’t be attributed to the participation of family members in said event), and a parade.

Dad's car is the turquoise one in the lead. My brother is drooling over the car behind dads.

Usually one, if not more, family members would participate in the parade. In later years, my brother and dad joined the car club and drove their old cars. Dad has a 1959 Chevy Bel Air that is his pride and joy. If there is a parade, he is in it. It is a lot of fun for us to watch and cheer him on from the sidelines.

One year my brother wanted to play old-time music from his car while driving it along the parade route, so I played “In the Good Ol’ Summertime” on the piano so many times for him to record it (remember back before you could download any song you wanted in less than 60 seconds?) that I have yet to make peace with it again.

Way back in the days when I worked for the local newspaper, I used to walk the entire parade route before it started snapping photos, then Hubby and I would camp out at the end of the parade and wait for Dad to drive by.

The rodeo was another highlight of my 4th of July memories. The first one I remember going to was when I was maybe 5 or 6. Dad took me to the local saddle shop, which also sold all sorts of wonderful western things like boots, hats and belts. That is where I first learned to appreciate the smell of leather. I remember getting a belt with a shiny silver buckle. A tiny little gold saddle was in the middle of the buckle. I loved that thing. I felt like a genuine cowgirl whenever I put it on. I also remember having a little purple suede purse and some brown cowboy boots. Boy, it was awesome!

Also during my newspaper days, I’d go to the rodeo every night and take oodles of photos. Taking the photos meant we always had great seats and were up close to the action. My mother would start gasping during the saddle bronc event and would be practically comatose by the time the bull riding ended. I don’t think she ever really enjoyed the rodeo. The rest of us were hungry for adventure and ready for excitement. The rodeo never failed to provide either. Those were some really good times.

We always had a barbecue on the 4th – either at our house or at one of my aunt’s homes. We’d all eat until we were stuffed then hurry off to the parade followed by the rodeo. There were fireworks shows to be watched after the rodeo, but we most often went home and created our own display of fireworks that mostly involved poppers, sparklers, ground flowers and bottle rockets.

The 4th of July was never complete unless we had a bunch of Idaho Spud bars, chilled in the fridge to snack on between barbecue fests. You can read about why I love these candy bars here.

What good memories do you have of the 4th of July? Family traditions?

Whatever you do to celebrate the 4th this year, be it some savvy entertaining at home or just hanging out with friends, may it be a safe, fun, and memorable celebration for you!

Happy Entertaining!


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With the 4th of July coming up this weekend, many people will be gathering for barbecues, picnics and celebrations.

If you are the lucky one hosting an event, here are some ideas for pulling together a fun Patriotic Party theme.

Use what you have – and add fun accents. Gather all your white, red and blue dishes then mix and match.  Use a tablecloth in red, white or blue (or sheets work, too) create a fun centerpiece using dishes placed at different heights and presto! You’ve got a great looking table. If you don’t have pedestals or cake plates to use, create height by turning bowls upside down and putting plates on top. In the photo above, the only thing I purchased were the napkins (yes, I have a flag scarf and it comes in really handy as a table runner!).

Inexpensive finds – Purchase patriotic pinwheels from the discount or dollar store and place in vases or jars around the gathering. These are fun and whimsical and provide a laid-back accent to your gathering. Hang red and blue crepe paper streamers along with red white and blue balloons around your gathering.

Involve the kids – by having them create the decorations. They can cut stars out of red, white and blue construction paper. Punch a hole in the top and hang with red, white or blue ribbons above a table, along a fence, at the front door – anywhere guests will gather.

Tie one on – your seat cushion or pillows. Liven things up with red and blue bandanas and red and blue fabric you may have on hand. If you are using fabric, cut it in squares to fit a pillow or cushion, trim edges with pinking shears, place a piece on both the top and bottom of the cushion then tie corners with a white ribbon. Do this for your throw cushions, accent pillows or seat cushions. It will bring a fabulous pop of color to your decor.

Think outside the box – or vase, in this case. I found this clever idea in my latest issue of  Good Housekeeping. Their directions to creating this great conversation piece are: “Show off your red and white (dishtowel) and blue (hydrangeas). Fold a towel in half over a gallon-size zip-seal bag and cut the towel 1/8 inch larger than the bag. Staple the towel together along the sides; hang with clothespins; add water and flowers.” I love the way this looks and will be creating my own version of it!

Hang your Flag – outside as a greeting to your guests and a reminder that you are celebrating the 4th of July to everyone who drives by. Use mini flags throughout your decorating scheme as well.  A nice take-away for guests is a small flag with a bag of patriotic sweets like peanut M&Ms.

Have fun and Happy Entertaining!


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I can’t think of a summer picnic or celebration while I was growing up that didn’t include a big bowl of potato salad – especially the 4th of July.
Here is a simple and different variation of our traditional family recipe.

Ranch Potato Salad

3 pounds baby red potatoes
6 hard-boiled eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup ranch salad dressing
1 cup dill pickles, chopped
1 tsp. onion flakes
1 tbsp. juice from pickle jar
1 tsp parsley, finely chopped
dash of paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Scrub the potatoes and boil with skins on until fork tender. Cool, then cut into small chunks. (If I’m really in a hurry I cut the potatoes before I cook them.) Separate the hard-boiled yolks from the whites. Chop the whites and add to cooked potatoes along with pickles and onion flakes. Mash the yolks in a separate bowl and mix with the mayo and ranch dressing. Pour dressing over potatoes and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in parsley then top with a sprinkle of paprika. Enjoy!

If you have a favorite version of potato salad, please feel free to share it here!

Wishing you all a safe and very Happy 4th of July!

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