September 12, 2014

Not Quite Brickle-Fickle, but Pretty Darn Close

The Fourth of July has always been a favorite of mine.  I loved the big neighborhood breakfast we had growing up and the homemade Brickle Fickle ice-cream my mom made annually.  This year I was super excited to carry on the tradition, that is until I realized my ice-cream maker was somewhere hidden amongst endless piles of miscellaneous junk in our storage unit.
Despite my unsatisfied sweet tooth, our patriotic holidays this past Summer were filled with fun, family and plenty of good eats.

Independence Day, 2014
After awaking bright and early and donning our red, white, and blue, we were off...
 To Grandma's house that fill our bellies with a knock off version of Waffle Love...
Yum.  Enough said.
We then held our first ever McDonald family geography bee, er...I mean random-impossible-to-ever-know-information-about-America quiz...
 Somehow yours truly came away with the first place price, a patriotic quilt made by Mama Lisa.  Which I'm still anxiously awaiting.  Mom, that's a hint.
After breakfast we switched countries gears for a bit as we cheered for Colombia as they battled it out in the World Cup.
We lost.  But it was fun and of course the food was good and we all know good food is really all that matters anyway.  
Later that night we had a blast chatting with fam and competing with cousins.  
(After looking over this post, I've come to realize we have an unusually competitive family, though our events are certainly just for fun and I believe everyone always has a good time.) 
 The winner of our hanging contest (okay we really are kinda weird!) was none other than our sweet Coley...
Side Story:  Cole refused to compete in the ridiculous hanging contest, certain he didn't stand a chance.  Basically I forced him.  The look on his face when he realized he'd won nearly unleashed the flood gates.  He was proud as could be as he informed me that he had now beat Wyatt 4 times (in the entirety of life).  Besides the hanging competition, he'd beat big brother twice in Rock-Paper-Scissors, and once in a thumb war.  It was a good day.

Moving on.
Water balloon volleyball, another childhood favorite of mine, brought out lots of laughs and lots of mischievousness... 
There was more good eats...
Another knock off, this time J-Dawgs made by Montell.  Again, yum...
A flag cake...
...which we serenaded with The Star Spangled Banner before devouring.
(Yup, weird).
And our fun little Jello Jigglers...
...which we ended up playing mouth catch with/throwing at each other...just for fun I guess. 
(Recipe below)
Next on the agenda: Fireworks.  
And with that, the realization that somewhere deep inside each of us is a raging pyromaniac.  Seriously.
 And with that our day of American festivities came to an end.  
Thankfully, living in Utah, we have one more chance to re-do it all again with the celebration of...

Pioneer Day, 2014
I wanted to do something special for the kids and put together a fun little Pioneer Day Treasure Hunt. I was feeling particularly clever after meticulously writing clues that not only rhymed beautifully, but were filled with tid-bits of information about our great state...that is until the kids carelessly tossed them aside as they tore through clue after clue in little to no time at all.
 After completing a variety of tasks, answering questions, and solving riddles in a record-breaking-pace...they discovered "X" does in deed mark the spot...
 Thrilled with their treasure of treats and prizes, they were off to play with fire once more without a word of thanks...
Sniff. Sniff.
Not that my children aren't amazing, they certainly are.  And not that I need anyone to feel sorry for me, but I guess I kinda do.
I write my poor little sniffs with the hope that one day my kiddos will look back at all the crap we did for them and say, 
That's it.
Moving on.
The rest of our day was filled with more food and family fun, what else?
And we finished it all off the same way we do every year...
Though maybe not quite as expressive as I'd like them to be, I know my children appreciate the good times we often work so hard to provide.  They LOVE playing with cousins, spending time with grandparents, and just being kids.  
I'm so grateful (and not nearly expressive as I should be) for all of our blessings.  This country, our wonderful state of Utah, our faith, our freedoms and our family.  We truly have been so blessed.  I love looking at these pictures of our extended families and hope they all know how much they mean to us (those pictured as well as those who are not.)
As weird and kooky as we sometimes get, family is everything and I wouldn't change the people who make up ours for anything.
I am overly proud of our Greek and Colombian heritage and am ridiculously proud to be American.  
Finger Jello Recipe found HERE.
When I make this again (because I certainly will) I think I will omit the additional gelatin. 
 The extra stiffness made it was fun to pick up, but didn't love the texture in my mouth.

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