Friday, July 10, 2009

4th of July Traditions

What better reason to get together and celebrate if not for the birthday of the United States of America. Our family has carried on this tradition for over 30 years as of 2009.  The venue has changed numerous times from the beachy climate of Newport Beach to the hot dry heat of Kingman, Arizona, but the people and the fun get better with age.  

Our tradition begins on the 3rd with a pre-party.  We eat, drink, and decorate. The kids make Uncle Sam Hats for the parade out of dixie plates and construction paper.
At 9:00am we decorate scooters, bicycles, wagons, vehicles, and feet in preparation for the march.  All of us are led by the flag of the USA.  
Next we roll out a large roll of paper for the kids to draw what the 4th of July means to them. Usually it is fireworks and flags that are the most common elements kids symbolize the 4th with.  The winner gets their picture made into a puzzle.  See the post, Puzzled in America.
Water balloon fights and an obstacle course fill the day.  Since the kids were of various ages we made money the main prize.  Two teams competed in the obstacle course which was performed relay style.  Each member of the winning team received $20 (in fake bills) and the runner-ups (a better title than losers) received $10 (in fake bills).  Then it was pinata time.  We filled the pinata with plastic coins, rubber balls, tattoos, pencils, and of course - candy.  Three fake dollar bills were included as well.  The little ones went for the candy and the older ones went for the coins.  Mostly becuase whoever had the most coins and money at the end would receive a REAL $20.  The kids had to count all their money they earned from the day.  Whoever had the most, won the $20.  

Sparklers and swimming are always the most memorable activities for the kids, but the fireworks show is traditionally the best way to end a 4th of July celebration.

As for the food, hamburgers and hot dogs are an All-American classic. The side dishes we traditionally serve are: Aunt Jeanne's Macaroni Salad, Cousin Dar's Chili Bean Dip, and Shannon's 7-layer Bean Dip!  (Bean Dip Recipe recipe below) These items disappear faster than a handful of firecrackers on speed.

We are so grateful to live in this country and have the freedoms so many of us take for granted. What does 4th of July mean to you?  What freedom are you most grateful for being an American?

1 package (8oz) cream cheese softened
1/2 cup chunky salsa
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 can (16oz) bush's chili beans, undrained
3 tablespoons slices green onions
3 tablespoons sliced black olive (optional)
tortilla chips
Preheat oven to 350˚ Combine cream cheese and salsa and spread in bottom of 9in pie plate. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese. Spread chili beans over shredded cheese. Top with remaining cheese, sliced green onion and olives. Bake for 15-20 min until mixture is thoroughly heated and cheese is melted. Serve with tortilla chips.


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Thanks for sharing!