One of the things I love most about my family is the amount of time we spend together. It seems every other weekend is a holiday, birthday or anniversary celebration. Even so, we usually don’t need much of a reason to gather ’round the family table. Last weekend I called up my mother, told her I was bored, didn’t want to cook dinner and asked if Hubby and I could come down to her place. Apparently my brother and sister had the same idea as she was already expecting them for dinner too.
Summer time is an avalanche of family get-togethers and parties. We have four birthdays, two annual summer BBQ’s and one anniversary, not to mention Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and the Fourth of July.
The fourth of July can become a forgotten holiday. Depending on how much we partied in May and June, there could be celebration burn out. Last year was a low key Fourth of enjoying the Aptos parade. This year however, everyone seemed eager for a good gathering so we held a casual BBQ at Mom’s house. I even got Hubby to go all American by eating a burger…vegetarian of course.
On the spur of the moment, I decided to make an American flag cake for our July 4th BBQ. I’ve been wanting to make this every year for the Fourth but I’ve always felt intimidated to try it. Now that I’ve had a good year of cake bakery under my belt, it didn’t seem hard at all.
I decided it was smarter to assemble and decorate the cake once I was down at Mom’s house, rather than driving it precariously over the twists and turns of the Santa Cruz mountains. This turned out to be a great idea as Mom and Gramma jumped in to help with the strategic placing of blueberries and raspberries.
The cake was a huge hit, which I think will become a new July Fourth tradition.
My cake was not alone on the dessert table. We had a total of four different desserts to pick from, which is a lot when there were only nine of us. It must be cherry season because there were two cherry pies, one from my uncle and one from mom…
and there was also a pristine chocolate birthday cake, in honor of my Father’s birthday, which was the day before.
After everyone was fed we gathered indoors to escape the encroaching fog but pretty soon people were cleaning up and claiming their share of the desserts and leftovers. After the party, Hubby and I headed to Dad’s house to watch a movie and wait for the fireworks to start. We usually head down to the beach where all the locals set off an impressive fireworks display, but this year we just snuggled by the fire with our movie and watched the fireworks through the sky light.
I’m fortunate to have the majority of my family living nearby. Most of us are still in the bay area, with the exception of my cousins in Florida and Gramma, you lives a few hours north. The holidays give us a great excuse to gather together again and again. The Fourth of July is especially a favorite as the whole town comes together for parades, fireworks and barbecues. It’s yet another opportunity to slow down, share a story or ten and enjoy a festive meal.