Inde-Pantsless Day

I've lived in Iowa for over a year now, and have yet to figure out why they seem to celebrate holidays a day early. (Halloween, for example - the spooky spectacle that is trick-or-treating - happens on October 30th here, not the traditional 31st: go figure.) And yesterday was no exception, as our town held its big annual Independence Day fireworks show ... on the 3rd of July.

It worked out well for us, though, because Curtis was off (he has to work today, the actual holiday). So we had a barbecue at our house and invited a few friends over. Colin was taking a nap when they got here, but apparently their arrival woke him up, because he came wandering out of his room with no pants on (and no underwear, either, as is his custom) and casually greeted our guests with, "Hey, did you know we have sparklers?"

Embarrassment aside, I was excited to have people over. It gave me an occasion to do several holiday-themed things, because, well, I'm an over-decorating geek. So maybe Martha Stewart would have scoffed at my dollar-store plastic tablecloth and star garland ... but then again, she can afford cuter decorations. (Plus she's Martha-effing-Stewart, so her table would look cute even if she had to decorate it with trash bags and duct tape.) At any rate, I was pleased with the way things turned out.

I even made mini star-shaped sugar cookies (from scratch, from the best recipe EVER, which you'll find at the end of this post) and some deeeeelicious fluffy fruit dip (ditto to the last sentence in parenthesis).

And my toes got into the Independence Day spirit:
Yes, I know it's a small picture ... but that was deliberate. I didn't want the world to be able to scrutinize my feet too closely; it's been a while since my last pedicure, ya dig? Anyway, you get the idea.

We ate (and ate and ate) and then we all went outside for a while - which was fun for those who weren't chasing after Cameron (read: everyone but me). I spent my time waddling awkardly after him as he shuttled away, repeatedly, at top speed. How do those stubby little legs move so fast? And each time I went to retrieve him, I got this:

You guessed it: the "cry-and-go-limp" maneuver popular with small children the world over. The one where you take their hand and they just hang there, refusing to walk, usually accompanied by some sort of loud and whiny vocal protest. I dealt with this until I was sweating in places I didn't even know I could sweat, and then gave it up and brought Cameron back into the air conditioning.

After the festivities were over at our house, we went down to the riverfront for the big fireworks show. At first I had my camera on some weird setting, which made my pictures look like this:

Super Radioactive Neon Sperm, activate!

But then I figured out the setting and actually got a couple of decent photos.

I totally loved that smiley face! It's amazing what they can do with pyrotechnics!

All in all, we had a great Fourth ... even if it was on the 3rd. Happy Independence Day, everyone!

Oh wait ... I promised you recipes, didn't I? :)

You can find the sugar cookie recipe here. These are soft and chewy and drool-inducing and have garnered rave reviews from everyone I've made them for. They're good as-is or with frosting, and the dough is versatile enough to roll out and cut into shapes or just roll into balls (flatten them slightly first, as they don't spread much) and bake. (Hint: take them out of the oven even if they still look too light. If they look anywhere near golden brown on top, they're overdone.)

The fruit dip recipe came to me courtesy of my friend Subrina, and tastes too good to be this easy - but it is:

1 8-oz. package cream cheese, room-temperature
1 container of lime yogurt (I use Yoplait Key Lime Pie flavor)
1 jar of Marshmallow Fluff

Using a mixer (important, or it'll turn out lumpy!), blend the softened cream cheese and the yogurt until smooth. Then mix in the fluff. Serve with fruit; I like grapes and strawberries the best. You can easily double the ingredients for a pretty big batch.


  1. thanks for the recipes! I notoriously overbake cookies but I'm still going to try this recipe. And I love the fruit dip - I used to have a great recipe but I lost it and haven't been able to find a good replacement - I can't wait to try yours.

  2. Happy 4th of July Rita and family!! Love that cream cheese/fluff dip! yummy! I'll have to try it with the yogurt!

  3. Kate, I think even if you overbake these a little they'll still turn out soft. It's a pretty foolproof recipe ... unless you're like me today and mis-read the required amount of sugar. Duh!

    Cindy ... it's goooood stuff ... sometimes I put in an extra splash of vanilla for good measure. :)

  4. I'm so glad you had some friends over to celebrate the 4th.....even if it was on the 3rd! Your decorations looked great!

    I had to laugh at the pic of Cam going limp, because I remembered that when you were about 2 or 3, I attempted to take you out of church to give you a good talking-to about your behavior. You did the "going limp" thing, screaming, "Don't spank me, Mommy! Don't spank me, Mommy." I hadn't planned to, but was so irritated at the disturbance you caused that I actually did administer that spanking that you so graciously announced to the entire congregation! gotta love 'em! :o)

  5. Yeah, Mom, whenever he does that (because he does it ALL.THE.TIME), I think to myself that it's probably bad karma from the church incident. :)

  6. Yum! I love those cookies, super cute!

  7. Glad your 3rd was great!!! OMG your fruit's so good!!! Everything looked fun & festive!!!

  8. Ah, the 'cry-and-go-limp'--I'm quite familiar with that one. (My kids try it out once in awhile, too.)


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