But the thing is, I nearly drive myself crazy trying to make everything perfect. Every. Single. Year. I envision a setup that would rival any Pinterest board: cute centerpieces, delicious food, red-white-and-blue everything. Except every year, the date sneaks up on me. I have this habit of not saving up money or making plans in advance and then suddenly it's like July 2nd and I have anywhere from twenty to forty people expecting me to feed and entertain them in two days. Oops. It's my own fault, always.
On the plus side, I have some fabulous resources to call upon when I find myself in a last-minute pickle. I literally live in the best neighborhood ever (we seriously got sooooo lucky), so I can send out a distress signal and before I know it, there are tables and chairs and a screened-in awning for our food and an extra grill and a few coolers and a bunch of yummy side dishes, appearing like magic in our yard. Our whole 'hood pitches in. It's like an Amish barn-raising except, you know, less Amish and no barn.
This year Staples pitched in, too, by sending me a box of their awesome, environmentally-friendly Sustainable Earth products - like this nice sturdy bowl that's so gorgeously displaying my homemade vanilla ice cream. (Because I can't just buy ice cream at the store since I apparently like to stress myself out as much as possible prior to this type of event.)
Mmmmm. Ice creeeeeeam.
What was I saying? Oh yes. Staples - yes, the office-supply store - was kind enough to provide me with enough plates, bowls, forks, cups, and napkins to meet the needs of my entire neighborhood plus a few stray family members who migrated north for the celebration. (And they threw in a bottle of their eco-friendly Sustainable Earth cleaner which I swear works better than all the chemical-laden crap I usually use.)
Corbin, my two-year-old, used his plate for an exceptionally healthy meal:
I mean ... potato chips count as vegetables on the 4th of July, right?
As far as entertainment was concerned, we had fireworks, of course - but there were also some shenanigans when my husband allowed the kids (and the dog) to get into our creek for the very first time.
Cameron was clearly super-comfortable with the situation.
And in keeping with tradition, I spent ample time making fun of my brother Steve's sock-and-sandal combo.
Dear Men Everywhere: If the question is "Socks and sandals?" the answer is "No."
Also helping to make the day more ... uh ... special was the gift of this crazy-gigantic mushroom from our friends Bobby and Laura.
Yes. Seriously. It's a mushroom.
First it was just chillin' in my kitchen sink. Then I wore it as a hat.
Curtis insisted that we eat some of it so he sawed off a few slices and fried them up. (I politely declined.) Now it's sitting on my deck like some hacked-up ottoman, and I'm pretty sure that it's going to attract either some unsavory wildlife or, like, some gnomes or something. All I know is, just because it's edible doesn't mean I'm gonna eat it.
I'm sure these photos are making you wish you'd been at my rockin' 4th of July shindig, because hello? Socks and sandals and giant 'shrooms! So you're welcome to come next year. Just bring a side dish.
... Or, you know, a mushroom.