We had coordinated a place where people should be able to park okay with Kevin volunteering to be the parking shuttle service, and I marked my driveway with chalk so no one would park there while he was off on a run. Ironically enough, no one needed the parking shuttle! I could see there were no street spots by 1pm on my street, but spots kept magically opening up just as people would arrive, so they got lucky!
I think Jen jinxed the weather by saying recently "It's always cold on 4th of July around here" - heh! It was MUCH hotter than last year...hot enough I said no oven so no brie in pastry or sugar cookies. I spent Tuesday afternoon & evening buying the last groceries, getting the ice cream & rice salad made, laundry done, lawns mowed, house & yard cleaned up & decorations organized, plus running speaker wire under the eaves around my house to connect two backyard speakers to my stereo finally (hooray for outside music!) even though using the ladder & staple gun in the dark might be less safe than I should be, then going to bed after my shower at 3am. I got up at 10am when it was already so warm outside, while writing the chalk driveway signs the sweat was dripping off my face wiping out my lettering! :P I took another shower, so trying to put makeup on was a challenge, barely ready on the dot at 4pm, with still the fruit salad to finish and the cheese & crackers, but otherwise my menu was all set & arranged. The kitchen even without any oven on was almost unbearable, so I was miserable while prepping the fruit salad & green salad until I got the fan from my bedroom & set it up blowing directly on me!
The first guests arrived about 4:45pm, then a consistent stream kept coming, staying inside where it was hot since I was finishing the last of the food. They finally migrated outside and moved all the chairs into the shade by the back fence where at least there was a decent breeze once in awhile. The Match Light coating had evaporated and I don't own lighter fluid, so we used a firestarter under the charcoal which did the trick! Much yumminess ensued from what everyone brought! It finally cooled off fine outside after the sun went away, but it was still warm enough no one wanted to start the firepit..so no s'mores - waah! Ah but there was my homemade old-fashioned vanilla ice cream, nicely set up in the freezer from making it the night before, so it was a perfect velvety texture. I didn't see the time so served myself some ice cream right as the fireworks were starting, so I didn't eat it until the show was over, and aside from a few drips, it was still intact afterwards! Everyone enjoyed the ice cream, enough that 3 quarts were gone by the time everyone left - yummy! Of course this is a once, maybe twice, a year treat, since it's 6 cups whipping cream, 7 cups whole milk, 6 eggs, etc! The rest of the year it's Breyers Light double-churned for me. ;)
Fireworks & Fun 2007 Menu:
Cheese & Crackers
Mixed Greens with Grape Tomatoes, Pears, and Dried Cranberries
Fresh Fruit Salad (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries & pears)
Apricot & Cashew Rice Salad
Homemade Old-Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream
Spiced Loquat Syrup, Plain Loquat Syrup, Pineapple Guava Syrup, and Carne de Membrillo, all homemade from fruit from my yard!
Guava Apple Cider Punch (made from a very dry cider batch plus at attempt at pineapple guava jam that was just syrup instead)
Bottled Brittahytta Brewery Hard Cider
Those who hadn't seen these fireworks before were impressed at such a great show with so many fireworks & such a great view from my yard! Even those who came last year thought these might have been better...the finale was truly blinding! There were several illegal fireworks in the neighborhood, but thankfully not next door like last year. My illegality was restricted to sparklers, and we had a bucket of water handy, so that was fun & safe...just don't tell on me please! ;)
Most decided to leave & brave the hideous traffic right away, but Nathania & Kevin were so nice in staying after everyone else left to help me clean up - thank you SO much! All the food was put away by the time they left around midnight, then I finished all the dishes by around 1am, so all that's left is to clean up the yard when I can see it, then undecorate to jump right in to decorating for Hogwarts...!
I hope everyone had a fabulous 4th of July! My photo album is here if you'd like to see! :)