Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fourth of July 2014

Another Fourth of July has come and gone, and I'm both exhausted and completely blissed out over our great weekend at the lake cabin. As I type this post, I'm sitting in my new favorite lounge chair on the deck watching the sun rise over the bay. The bullfrogs are bellowing, the crows cawing and the loons calling from the water. It never happens both Tory and Aden sleep the morning away simultaneously (or ever, for that matter) so I'm seizing this peaceful moment to ring in the day with coffee and my computer.

There's too many great holiday weekend happenings to detail, so I'll hit the highlights:

Our friends Nick, Julie and their boys Joel and Alex joined us at the lake cabin for Fourth of July weekend along with Andi's co-worker / friend Ravi and his wife Nerissa. Nick and Julie's crew took over the basement and Ravi and Nerissa stayed in their RV parked alongside the cabin. There was plenty of space for everyone to spread out and retreat when needed - a perfect setup.

Along with many pontoon boat rides and evening bonfires, we joined our favorite lake friends in hosting a progressive dinner of sorts over the holiday weekend. Except, instead of traveling from one place to the next for a different course of the same meal, each of our cabin owner friends hosted the group for a specific meal over the weekend. Joe and Lisa had a Fourth of July BBQ on Friday evening and made a feast of smoked meats and fish including brisket, pork butt, salmon and trout.

Joe prepping for the Fourth of July BBQ

My dear friend Julie and I

Hannah and Tory

Oscar carving meat for the BBQ

Saturday morning, Oscar and Deanna hosted everyone at their place for Bloody Mary's. We played lawn games, sat around to chat and watched the lake's annual boat parade.

Lisa holding Aden

Saturday evening, Andi and I took our turn by hosting 22 people at our lake cabin for a shrimp and sausage boil. Andi cooked 10 pounds of shrimp, 5 pounds of Cajun sausage, 16 pounds of red potatoes and 24 ears of corn. We rolled out craft paper over two picnic tables and served the meal family-style. The food was a big hit!

Back in the day when several of our friends shared the lake cabin together, we'd go all out with meal plans, party themes and decorations for the holidays. Now we own the lake cabin by ourselves and come here so often (and have two kids with much less free time, let's be honest), everything's become more turn-key.

Anyway, last week I caught the itch to party plan and whipped together some festive meals and Fourth of July holiday decor. We enjoyed red, white and blue yogurt parfaits for breakfast on Fourth of July morning (vanilla yogurt, strawberries, blueberries, honey and the most delicious granola I picked up at a farmer's market from Great Harvest Bread Co.). I also brought red, white and blue fruit kabobs (strawberries, blueberries and mini marshmallows) to Joe and Lisa's BBQ. The fruit kabobs were a popular side dish - especially with kids at the party. And finally, everyone raved about the walking tacos I made for lunch one day. So easy, too! Andi made the taco meat ahead of time and kept it warm in a Crock Pot. When it was time for lunch, everyone assembled their tacos in a bag of crunched Doritos with lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese, sour cream and salsa.

I picked up some table centerpieces and festive flag bunting from the dollar store and made a Fourth of July banner to hang in the cabin for decoration. I bought fresh flowers, wrapped a piece of burlap around mason jars for vases and stuck a small flag in each one to tie in with the Fourth of July banner's rustic theme.


It all turned out really cute, and those simple party decorations made me so cheerful whenever I saw them throughout the weekend. I hope our guests felt the same way.

The "progressive parties" throughout the weekend were a ton of fun because, just as it seems, our big, boisterous group traveled from one place to the next. We laughed. We drank. We talked. We played lawn games. It was the perfect way to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday. More and more, our lake friends feel like family.

Another one of my favorite memories took place Saturday night after sunset. Everyone went back to their respective cabins after our shrimp boil and Nick, Julie and their boys, Ravi and Nerissa all went to bed. Andi and I let Tory stay up way past her bedtime to watch the neighbors' fireworks show. As the three of us sat around the bonfire roasting marshmallows Tory joyfully said, "I love camping." "Oh, this isn't camping" Andi told her, "this is called a bonfire." "I love bong-fires," Tory said.

Bonfires, Tory Girl.


(And then our hearts exploded. She is so cute!)


My Fourth of July babies

Tory and her BFF Hannah chatting down by the lake

Joel (7) played so well with Aden all weekend

Alex (4) and Tory with some iPad down-time

Boys catching frogs

Paddle boat rides


  1. Love that shot of the fireworks!! Sounds like a super fun but kind of exhausting weekend :)

  2. Great pictures. Sounds like a really fun weekend!

  3. Your kids' childhood is so idyllic. I'm jealous of them.

    And I'm definitely putting shrimp boil on next week's meal plan. I do a small one on the burner attached to the grill and it works out perfectly.

  4. Sounded like a perfect weekend! Looks like a ton of fun! And, I made those exact same fruit kabobs for one of our weekend cookouts. :P

  5. What a great fireworks picture! And, mmm food =) Such a great fourth.

  6. I'm way impressed with your party skills while wrangling little ones. Glad you had such a nice 4th!