Thursday, July 5, 2012

July 4th Celebration

First of all, let me start this off by saying that moving is HARD. Leaving all your friends (even if they are still in the same town), struggling to make new friends, and having your life in general in complete upheaval is taxing. Add to that the difficulties of remodeling a house and a being very cash strapped (two mortgages takes its toll), and you’ve got a recipe for one hot mess. So to give me something to look forward to, I decided that we should throw a 4th of July party. It turned out so well. At first I was disappointed because so many people couldn’t come, so my grand plans felt like they were failing. In the end, however, we had a perfectly sized group and a nice mix of people. The kids even had a friend to play with, which meant that they were over the moon.

Since the plan was to hold the party outside, we had to do a TON of yardwork to get the place presentable. It’s funny, because I bet that most people looking at our jungle of a yard would have no idea that so much effort was put into clean up. But it’s very large, and very overgrown, so it’s going to take us a LONG time to get it looking like I want it to. We did make big strides though. I bagged NINE large black yard bags of pine needles. I have no idea how many years it must have been since someone raked up the fallen needles. I think they must have just hoped that they would eventually disappear. The poor plants around that tree have been so smothered by needles that they’re barely growing. Hopefully this will give them a little breathing room.

I also decided to tackle a major project before the party. We needed places for people to eat in the shade, so it was time to make over the old table that had been left behind by the previous owner. It was very rough, splintery, dirty, and faded. It definitely needed some love.

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Here’s a picture from the original house listing. I took pictures of the garden at some point, but I can’t find them anywhere. If I find a better “before” photo, I’ll update with that.

I decided that some fresh blue and white were in order. So after six cans of spray paint and much sanding, here are the final results:

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Now we have a nice, shady place to dine al fresco! I’m totally in love with it. It turned out exactly like I imagined it would.

The red flower pot was meant to hold a cute centerpiece, but that never happened since no one actually ate on the table. July is the start of monsoon season in New Mexico, which means that just about any afternoon is a chance for a shower. And it just so happened that it started to storm—10 minutes before we were going to eat. So everything had to be moved inside very quickly. Fortunately, we had several burly men to handle the tables. Our living room/dining room area was large enough to hold all three tables and one for serving, so we could still fit everyone comfortably. Definitely could never have done that at our old house.

We had a delicious dinner. Aaron smoked some brisket and grilled some pork loin, and they both turned out superbly. Well done, my husband. Your father-in-law would have been proud. The side dishes were all great, and there was enough food to feed everyone without having loads of leftovers. It was also rather healthy, so you didn’t feel too guilty indulging in dessert later.

The rain and wind stopped just after dinner, so we were able to go out and light some fireworks and play with sparklers. Bridget and Chloe (the other baby) LOVED the fireworks. It was adorable to watch them.

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The kids in their red, white, and blue finery.

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After fireworks we relocated to the back deck and had dessert. We created a s’mores bar, and I’m so pleased with how it turned out. I would absolutely do this one again. Everyone had a great time putting together different combinations of marshmallows, and the kids were in HEAVEN. I don’t even want to know how many they each had. I’m surprised no one got sick.

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This is the box I made to host our s’mores bar. I’m very proud of it. I built it—with power tools!—ALL BY MYSELF. It’s three feet long and about 8 inches wide. I made it out of two 1x6x6 pine boards, some screws, and Dark Walnut stain. Then we just filled it with play sand and stuck three cans of sterno into it. It worked perfectly. I was worried that the wood might singe or burn, but it didn’t happen.

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We had a few different kinds of marshmallows (the coconut were a favorite), graham crackers, fudge stripe cookies, Hershey’s chocolate, rollos, strawberries, and bananas. I would have loved to have peanut butter and nutella, but we had a nut allergy, so we skipped on that, but I bet they would have made some delicious s’mores.

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The Foot Long.

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Averi going to town with her skewer.

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Why bother with graham crackers when you can eat it straight off the stick? That girl was so sticky by the end of the night. She even had a huge glob of marshmallow right on top of her head. And I’m a bad mother—I sent her to bed without a bath (it was 11:00 at night, after all) and as of noon the next day, she still hasn’t had a bath. I’m going to win an award for this one.

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Paul’s version of the Double Down. Marshmallows sandwiched between two hunks of chocolate.

Overall we had a great night. It was so much fun sharing the holiday with our friends. It also made me much more grateful for our home. The house and I haven’t been on the greatest terms lately, but this made me realized that it could be such a fun place to live. Each day I fall more in love with the back yard and I am starting to realized how truly blessed we are.

4 comments:

Tim and Sara said...

I'm so sorry we couldn't make it! Your DIY projects and ideas are so amazing, I am always so impressed. LOVE the s'more bar box with sterno cans, that is such an awesome idea! I miss you, Chelsey!

Ashley said...

YOUR TABLE IS GORGEOUS! Oh my gosh, Chelsey, it turned out perfectly. And Bridget is getting so big! I miss you guys so much; I wish I could have been there. Can't wait to see you all in August!

Gayle said...

That table is AMAZING! Love the stripe. We want a s'mores party when we come down, so keep that awesome box!

Jen Kesler said...

Love the table and the diy box you built for the smores bar. You never cease to amaze me!!!!!!!