Friday, July 4, 2014

The Sights and Sounds of Independence Day

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.
-John Adams, 1776

There is nothing like the summertime celebration of Independence Day.  I have so many warm (or down-right hot) memories associated with the Fourth of July.  I remember when all the aunts and uncles and cousins would arrive at Grandma’s house early in the day to begin the cooking that would be our “picking” food as the day progressed.  It would be the best day, playing in the pool til dark, having a swinging contest to see who could go the highest in the front yard, and catching fireflies after dark. We would anxiously await the hamburgers and hotdogs coming off the bar-b-que grill, the smoke permeating every corner of the air from one house to the next.  We'd light a few black cat fireworks until there was just enough light to load up the car, go downtown, and watch the small town parade down Main St., listen to the bands play in town square, then end the night with a huge display of glorious combustion of gun powder and fire.  No holiday is better at bringing the whole family together than July 4th. Creating memories are just a matter of knowing what goes best together.  Here are some fun ideas that my family and I do to celebrate the holiday.

Nothing says “Fourth of July” like a picnic.  Whether the guest list was long or short, having a holiday picnic brought good times and wonderful memories.  Although my family always knew our holiday festivities were going to be at Grandma’s house, choosing the right location, like a local park, provides an environment of relaxation.  It was always nice to play hide and seek, baseball, Frisbee, to pass the time as the food was cooking.  In today’s media friendly world, it’s a lot easier to let your creativity run wild (Pinterest is good at helping with this) and put a special touch on the picnic.  We’ve created special invitations, banners, decorative table cloths, or special platters and desserts that add color and create a theme, and even games for the special day.  This year, our oldest child married.  She has invited us to her home to begin new traditions with her and her new husband (and his family too).  I will be sharing family recipes that can be passed down to this next generation.  She has mastered the art of the deviled egg.  Do we even need anything else?  Here is our recipe for the perfect deviled egg:

Deviled Eggs

12 eggs
¾ -1 cup Miracle Whip
2 TBLSP Mustard (we use French’s plain)
1 tsp salt and pepper
Paprika sprinkled over the top

Boil a dozen eggs in a pan filled with water just enough to cover the eggs that are being cooked.  After 10 minutes at a rolling boil, set eggs off stove to cool for 15 minutes.  Rinse under cold water.  Peel the shell off eggs, rinse, cut eggs in half lengthwise, and remove the yolk into another bowl.  Once all eggs are done, use a fork to smash the yolks, creating a powdered look to yolks.  Add the Miracle Whip and Mustard, salt and pepper to the yolks.  Mix well, then put mixture back into egg halves, putting about a teaspoon or more of mixture in each half.  Sprinkle Paprika over the top and serve!

At the end of day, my grandpa would pull out everyone’s favorite treats—the  watermelon, root beer floats, and homemade ice cream!  We used to make the ice cream in the old turn crank container that Grandpa would use his strong arms to turn, as we put the ice and salt down the sides.  That ice cream was so rich and smooth, it would just melt in our mouths.  Nowadays, they have electric ice cream makers that allow you to leave your masterpiece to modern science and come back in time to the homemade goodness, just like my grandparents used to make.  Then, of course, we use that creamy, vanilla goodness to mix with some old fashioned root beer.  A little piece of heaven in a cup.  Here’s a recipe for homemade ice cream:

Plain Vanilla Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream (1 pint)
2 cups light cream (1 pint)
1 cup sugar
1 ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt

Pour cream directly into cream can.  Add sugar, vanilla, and salt.  Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until sugar is dissolved.  Churn until creamy.
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What are some of your family traditions for Independence Day?  I always remember to thank God for the men and women that gave their lives for the right to live free in America today.  I pray God’s continued favor on our country and His protection over the future generations.  God Bless America!

Angie was born a Yankee girl, moved to the South, and raised in the Midwest after the age of 9.  She loves her family roots and simple life and has raised her children, together with her husband, Tim, to love God and family.  God called her to ministry at a young age, and she has pursued that calling, working in various Children's ministries for the last 20 years.   She has been on an adventurous journey of adoption of 3 girls since 2009, and currently home schools her 3 youngest children, ages 11, 14, and 16.  She has a passion for life and seeing parents excel at raising their families in the ways of the Lord.

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