4th of July Memories

This may go down as the our most memorable 4th of July weekend in recent history.

It was by far the most emotional.

We started the day with my nephew’s wedding.

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JOY!

It was a precious celebration of answered prayers and God’s faithfulness. And yes, I cried – but they were happy tears!

While the newlyweds took off on their honeymoon, the rest of us shed our wedding attire and moved on to my sister’s for a family cook-out.  You know the kind – an All-American baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet kind of day.

Except that instead of baseball – we had contests on the trampoline to see who could catch a leaf with their teeth while jumping.DSC_0014
And instead of a Chevrolet we had go-cart races.

But we did have hot dogs and pie and lots of laughter.

And cotton candy.

And a strange dog that looked remarkably like Lassie.

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And while the rest of the country lit sparklers and fire works – we fired a Civil War cannon.  Bet that made the neighbors jump! (And no – we did not use Jan’s cannon ball!)

It was a little bittersweet as we said our goodbyes that evening. We knew that we would all be together the next night at my Grandpa’s visitation and again on Saturday for Grandpa’s funeral.

From wedding to funeral.

Tears of joy and tears of sorrow.

Making new memories and remembering old ones.

An emotional roller coaster.

But it was all good.

And God is faithful through it all. The joy and the pain. The happy and the sad.

The circle of life.

 

Crescent Rolls

Crescent Rolls

We had a really busy weekend, and I must confess that I was not as prepared as I should have been.

That lack of organization created quite a bit of extra stress – and a very tired and worn out momma.

So, this week I am determined to be on top of things. I already have a list for the even crazier weekend ahead – and I’m assigning tasks to my minions.

On the list – a double batch of these yummy yeast rolls for Easter Dinner.

Angel Girl and I are in good practice – having recently made 200 of them for the Church Valentine’s Banquet!

They are a rich, buttery roll that are perfect for a celebration!

Crescent Rolls

2 packages dry yeast (2 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup warm water
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
4-1/4 to 4-3/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons butter, softened

Dissolve yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Let sit until doubled.

Meanwhile, add warm milk and butter to a small sauce pan and heat until the butter is melted.

Put the warm milk and melted butter to a large mixing bowl. Add eggs, salt, 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 cups flour.

Beat until well blended.

Add yeast and stir in additional flour to make a soft dough (about 2-1/2 cups).

Turn out unto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

Place in a large greased bowl, turning over dough so that the top is greased. Cover with a towel and let rise in warm place until doubled; about one hour.

Punch down dough. Divide in half. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.

With lightly floured rolling pin, roll out each dough half into a 16 inch circle. Spread each circle with 3 tablespoons of softened butter.

Cut each circle into 12 wedges. Roll up each wedge, starting at the wide end. Place rolled wedges, points down, 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets.*

Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 24 rolls.

*One word of caution – sometimes a crescent roll will unwrap while baking – causing some strange shapes. It’s okay.  They still taste great. I save the nicest ones to serve my guests, and my kids are happy to eat the deformed ones.

Frozen Pumpkin Dessert

PumpkinJust as soon as I turned the calendar page to November I started craving pumpkin.

Pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bars…

…and this yummy pumpkin dessert that my mother-in-law makes.

Even with three different layers, it was pretty simple to put together. And then it just sits quietly in the freezer out of the way until we need it – making it perfect for the holidays!

Frozen Pumpkin Dessert
Recipe from Jan’s Mom

Crust:

2 1/2 cups Rice Chex, coarsely crushed (we used Crispix)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Filling:

30 large marshmallows
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
8 ounces Cool Whip
1 quart vanilla ice cream

Mix together the ingredients for the crust and press up to 2/3 into a 9 x 13 pan, saving the remaining mix for a topping.

For the filling, melt the marshmallows with the milk in a double broiler over boiling water. Stir in the pumpkin,  cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Let it cool.

Fold in Cool Whip.

Spread 1 quart vanilla ice cream over crust, then the cooled pumpkin mixture and reserved topping.

Freeze.

It cuts better if removed from freezer 15 minutes or so before serving.

Enjoy!

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy 4th of July!

It’s 101 degrees here today. That’s actual air temperature. I don’t want to know what the heat index is.

We brought our picnic inside and pitied the poor soul who had to stand by the grill and cook it for us.
Juicy Burger, Chips, and Greens
We opted out of the parade later this afternoon – although there’s some talk amongst the kiddos about fireworks just over the border tonight.

But not me.

After celebrating all weekend with my family at the hottest family camp-out in recent history – I plan on enjoying this mid-week holiday in the comfort of my AC.

I’m going to lay on my couch sipping my ice tea fondly remembering the sweat dripping down my back.

Yes – I do mean fondly.
Water
It was a wonderful weekend – despite the heat.

We just had to be more creative to stay cool.

Like spending the afternoon sitting in the creek with my sisters, enjoying all 3 inches of water and talking.

Or sitting around with our feet in the wading pools watching the kids have water balloon fights.

Or – for the more desperate ones – sitting in the walk-in cooler drinking raspberry lemonade.
Hike
Nope. A little heat didn’t stop us from making memories. We just drank more water, threw more water and played with more water.

But now I’m played out.

My couch is waiting, my tea is icing, and I am smiling.

Have a wonderful holiday!

Freedom

Price of Freedom“We all bear the painful cost of freedom.

As we formally celebrate the commitment to break from England and to protect our natural rights, let’s hug to our breast our freedom – our most precious national treasure – knowing that it, like a child is imperfect and demanding but undeniably good.

Let’s keep our centuries old habit of protecting that child of America, that freedom.

She’s getting more rare and precious every day.”

James B. Stockdale