Wednesday, July 4, 2012

2012 Fourth of July Celebration

Fourth of July happens to be one of my favorite holidays.  For probably nine of them, I ran the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta (the largest 10k in the country). Afterwards, my mom and dad always had a party with barbecue, potato salad, homemade coleslaw, deviled eggs and cobblers. The party  never had a set time, but rather followed an open house policy that lasted all day. Our first guest would arrive about 11am and we would walk the last of the crowd out about 11pm. I guess I love July 4th because there isn't a lot of fanfare or expectations and the only thing anyone wants is a good time.

This year, we decided to stay in the northeast. As much as I love the south, I must admit the north trumps them when it comes to celebrating Independence day. The houses are decorated with bunting, the flower pots are dripping with geraniums and petunias, and the sides of barns are adorned with huge flags. There are small-town parades with vintage cars and antique firetrucks, and the decorated bikes / scooters / wagons are so quaint. Being close to the water on this holiday also has its advantages because there is nothing better than watching fireworks from the beach or a boat!

Lucky for us, our friends Jay and Caroline hosted a party at their house and invited us to join them.  Since they celebrate Jay's mom's birthday and Grace's birthday, this party tends to be mostly family -- so we felt very lucky to be included. Caroline and Jay made the entire party look effortless. Jay's yard and flowers were stunning and Caroline's spread of food and spirits was straight out of Martha Stewart.  We arrived about 3pm and six hours later, while the Irish music was in full swing and Caroline was setting up a Karaoke machine, we headed home. Ric apparently wasn't up to our usual rendition of Midnight Train to Georgia.

Here are a few snaps from the day.

The hostess in her strapless dress...who looks this pretty when hosting?  I am usually in an apron and clogs when guests arrive!
Lovely Angela... I adore that dress!
Ric seeing stars!
Kelly and one of the cuties!
Bernie enjoying a beer and some guacamole
Joe and his grand-baby
Pete and Grace
Miss Patriotic
The birthday girls-- Ginny and Grace

Monday, July 2, 2012

Made it Myself Monday-- Baked Beans

EVERY July 4th, I make my favorite baked beans.  My recipe was given to me by a college roomate's mother.  When I told my friend that I would bring baked beans to her party, her husband asked what I put into my beans.  After I mentioned the pound of bacon and ground beef, I think I had him!  These are some serious beans, y'all!

1 pound Bacon
1/2 pound Hamburger
1 Onion
1/2 Cup Ketchup
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Tsp Mustard
1 Tbs Vinegar
2 Tbs Molassis
2 Pounds Kidney Beans, drained
2 Pounds Pork and Beans, un-drained
2 pounds Northern (cannelini) Beans, un-drained

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Brown bacon in a cast iron skillet and remove to a paper towl.  In 2Tbl of reserved bacon grease cook onion until it is translucent.  Add ground beef and cook until browned.  Combine all ingredients in a 13 X 9 pyrex dish.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes covered.  Remove tin foil and cook an additional 30 minutes uncovered. 

What else did I bring?
The white chocolate didn't look so good, but the kids gobbled these up!

Picked from our garden, my favorite blue hydrangeas.  I put these into a mason jar with a little cast iron plant in the bottom to disguise the stems

My Favorite $2.99 July 4th bucket filled with beer and ice!

Trey...Five down-- Fifteen to go!

Chomps is getting more and more toothless.  I guess teaching him to whistle is out of the question.