Wednesday, July 7, 2010

happy birthday, america

we were all excited to have a 3 day weekend for the fourth of july. other than having a cook out with mom and dad, and perhaps attending a parade and some fireworks, we had no plans. i was looking forward to spending the majority of the 3 days relaxing.

you know what they say about the best laid plans, right?

saturday morning, oliver and i visited the outpost to restock our ravaged fridge. now that fruit is coming in and i'm in full canning mode this summer, i picked up obscene amounts of nectarines, cherries, and peaches. between the room the fruit took up and everything else we needed, out cart was literally overflowing (hey, milk takes up a lot of room too!). the ladies at the checkout kept asking questions like, "how many people is this for?" "are you having a big party?" "do you have a juicer or something?"

having all the fruit meant i spent the afternoon canning cherries, spiced peaches, and peach preserves, as well as making a gluten free cherry crumble for our fourth of july cook out. that was a lot of standing over a hot stove in hot weather.

which necessitated a trip to the pool after oliver woke up from his nap. while a little tentative at first, he LOVED it. he ending up in the "deep" end of the wading pool, swimming on his stomach, head just barely above water. i only wish i had worn my suit so i could have lounged around in the cool water as well.

since it was supposed to rain all sunday afternoon, we decided to have our cook out for lunch. that morning, i finished prepping for lunch by making a dairy free "buttermilk" potato salad. i accomplished this by mixing some lemon juice into mayo, which was surprisingly effective in imitating a buttermilk flavor. some red potatoes along with parsley, beauty heart radishes, red onion, and garlic scapes completed the mix rather nicely (with everything except the potatoes and red onion supplied via our CSA share from JenEhr farms). we packed everything up, made a quick stop at culver's for some vanilla ice cream to go with the crisp (i had wanted to make my own, but i didn't get around to it, and would have preferred oscar's, but had a 2 year old with me so the temptation of the drive through was too much, so sue me), and headed over to mom and dad's house.

to oliver's disappointment, no one wanted to play outside in the crazy heat with him, so he had to settle for watching the lion king while everyone busied themselves with other projects. i got some ears of corn soaking in salt water, and made a salad with some lettuce, tomatoes, scallions, and sweet peas. i had made a honey balsamic dill vinaigrette to go with the salad (which complemented the sweet peas amazingly). the corn went on the grill, closely followed by some brats from our friendly butchers at the outpost (regular, jalapeno cheddar, and beer onion, yum).

to say lunch was good was a bit of an understatement. so many fresh flavors -
intensely satisfying. there weren't a whole lot of complaints from around the table (perhaps just oliver due to his dislike of mayonnaise - but i think that was evened out by the entire brat he devoured).

we reminisced about our european ancestors' hostile takeover of this country, imaging it went something like this:
europeans: "hmmm, we'll take that island over there."
indians: "but that is our land."
europeans: "we'll give you these 20 beads for it. they're really nice."
indians: "beads? alright!"
europeans: "faaaaaaabulous. now, go west a bit. uhhhh, and leave that corn, too."

let freedom ring.

nobody grumbled about dessert either. to make a gluten free topping, i used a Bob's Red Mill GF biscuit and baking mix i had. true to form, it was a little gritty (GF mixes always seem a little sandy to me), but with the cherries and the ice cream, it wasn't too bad.

lucky pants oliver even got his first taste of soda (i know, i know - i'm a bad mom!). sprecher's new seasonal summer flavor is strawberry, which has long been a favorite of mine, and which hannah figured she'd like as well (she was right). it may have been the good food or perhaps the heat had gone to my head, but i let oliver have a tiny bit as well. he enjoyed it, can you imagine?

after lunch, dad pulled out an ancient sprinkler from his childhood, which still works perfectly (they just don't make things like they used to!), and the kids proceeded to have way more fun than seems imaginable.

playing in the sprinkler soon degenerated into, "hey, let's just spray each other with the hose!"

the kids were having so much fun that time slipped away from us, and before we knew it, it was waaaaaaaaaaaay past nap time. i collected up my sopping wet son, and we headed home for a much needed nap. with so much sun and fun, he crashed pretty hard.

we had completely forgotten about the West Allis 4th of july parade, so monday morning we did the Wauwatosa parade instead. we drove over around 7am to put our chairs along the route, came home and got ready, then were back before 9am for the parade itself.

predictably, the parade started about 15 minutes late, but luckily, there was more than enough stuff in the parade itself to make up for it (seriously - it's nearly a 2 hour parade). hannah came to the realization that she may be growing up, as the parade wasn't nearly as excited as in past years. oliver, on the other hand, loved every minute of it, especially the fire trucks, clown, tubas (apparently his favorite instrument), and the marching bands in general. watching him jump, dance, march, clap, and generally be extremely happy kept hannah and i pretty entertained.

"look mom, it's from chitty chitty bang bang!"

oh yes, and then there was the candy. this surprised and pleased oliver to no end. i caught on pretty quickly and only let him have half or less of each tootsie roll, but since he was still getting candy, he was more than happy to share. he listened very well and only picked up one piece at a time upon my instruction. though after each collection, he would ask, "they are going to throw more candy, right, mom?"

** on a side note, oliver wore big boy underpants and stayed dry the whole time. i knew i was taking a risk, since we'd be out there for awhile without bathrooms, but he did SO GOOD. i am SO PROUD!

we spent the rest of our monday playing outside and getting even more tired. by nap time monday, i couldn't believe the 3 day weekend was almost over and that i was far more tired than after a normal 2 day weekend (didn't stop me from driving out to trader joe's during nap, though). bryan and hannah hit up the fireworks late monday night, and i was more than happy to stay home with oliver and get into bed at a decent time. still, while the weekend was far busier with all our running around than we had hoped, it was a pretty good weekend.

more pictures in the gallery.