Tuesday, July 9, 2013

How to Have a Good 4th of July

Independence Day, one of my favorite holidays. Everything about it is so quintessentially a celebration of summer. Well, except for the Revolutionary War part.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of a perfect flag cake. I’m sure that’s what old T. Jeffs was talking about in the Declaration of Independence, right?

I think I found it, you guys. I found it on the Smitten Kitchen blog: a vanilla pound cake, cream cheese frosting, and a patriotic array of blueberries and raspberries. I really don’t know what else you need. 
4/5 family members agree. (The 5th not being in favor of fruit on his cake, the little rapscallion.) 
I attempted to level the cake to make a more even surface for decorating. It was hard to do with the cake still in the dish. I wouldn't recommend it.

Not that smooth & full of crumbs, but who cares? It's about to be covered in fruit!

Use powdered sugar to make the "white stripes". Pro tip: when the directions say to dry the berries, seriously DRY THE BERRIES. Because if you don’t, the white stripes will look really sad. Check out the picture from Smitten Kitchen’s blog for what it’s supposed to look like.
But fear not, it will taste just as delicious. Which is what really matters. Even if it means I won’t be opening a cake shop unless I find someone way better at decorating than me.

Other ways in which to enjoy the holiday:

+ Garnish your succulents with patriotic decorations:

 + Adorn your head accordingly, be it with a sun hat or an actual flag. Ridiculous facial expression optional.

+ Feel free to get your wall decorations in on the action. Looking fresh, Lion Head.

+Taking your meals outside on the deck is a must. Particularly if you are eating steamed corn on the cob. 

+ According to my little brother, if you're not playing with water guns, you're not celebrating correctly. Wiping out on the wet patio is not necessarily encouraged, however. (haha, couldn't believe my luck that I snapped his picture mid-fall.)

+ Pool time. Even if the weather is overcast and not very hot. It's not a proper summer fĂȘte unless you get wet. In fact, if the weather is less than desirable, you might even get the neighborhood pool all to yourself. Bonus!

And having the pool all to yourself means you can film hilarious video clips and post them on Vine. See Spencer’s amazing transformation here. (Sidenote: If anybody knows how to embed a Vine in a blog post, please let me know.)

+ Finally, the day is not complete until you dive into said cake. A flag toothpick may be substituted as decoration for any among you who do not enjoy berries on top of their cake.

+ Obviously fireworks are a given on the 4th of July, but when you're crotchety and old like me, you will forgo the displays in favor of getting some sleep. Unfortunately, the 5th will find you back in the office. And how we feel about THAT is perfectly expressed in this Vine video

If you did even one of these things, you will have had a pretty good Independence Day. I'm just thankful to live in a country where I have the freedom to do what I want, to express myself as I choose, and to not live in constant fear or danger of those rights being taken away. America isn't a perfect country by any means but I feel incredibly lucky to call it my home.

As for the rest of you scattered across the world, I hope you had a reasonably pleasant Thursday, if otherwise unremarkable. 

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