July 5, 2011

We The People...

Anybody who truly knows me- my likes and dislikes- knows that I have a real love for History.
Or, more specifically, the history of our nation.
Well, to be even more specific, the discovery and habitation of America, early Colonial life, and the Revolutionary war. 
Our nation's founding and first baby steps.
It fascinates me- the way that God clearly directed and moved in the creation of this great country is astounding.
I read books on the topic, I love to study our founding fathers, I eagerly check out from the library documentaries on the topic, and then proceed to stay up too late watching them whilst knitting merrily away.
I even don't mind learning about the politics.
(Okay, maybe that was an exaggeration: I learn about them and don't feel the need to run away screaming/fall asleep.)
So it should come as no surprise that the Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays.
I usually become absurdly patriotic in and around the days before and after, and it's all I can do to not run around in red white and blue denim, my hair dyed with kool-aid, nails painted similarily, waving a flag in one hand and a sparkler in the other. 
No, don't dwell on that mental image.
We spent our Fourth as we usually do: with our friends the Sterlings.
Every year we mosey on down to their house- out quite a ways, which makes it all the more fun- and spend the afternoon and evening roasting hot dogs (most years around their fire pit), eating dessert, laughing, and lighting sparklers.
Although it was far too hot to want to light the fire pit this year, we had scads of fun none-the-less.
Mostly because my best friend Grace Sterling and I got to make...
...Ice Cream!!
Making ice cream has been one of my goals this Summer.
It's been "on the bucket list" so to speak, and, after puzzling through the very confusing instructions on our very confusing, ancient, and hard-to-use machine, had given up this goal as a lost cause.
But it was not to be! 
The Sterlings have in their possession two of the same fantastic, easy-to-use ice cream makers. 
It requires no ice, no salt, and no mess.
The bowl is a nifty, double-walled thing with a special liquid in it. You freeze the bowl until you want to use it, then just mix your ingredients, throw them into the bowl, put the bowl on the machine, the churning arm on top, press "on" and watch it go! 
It made some of the most delicious ice cream I've ever had (coming from someone who doesn't even like ice cream) in just twenty or so minutes!
This may or may not have to do with the two ridiculously clever and wonderful chefs who put the concoction together...
...Then again maybe not.
Lookit how thick and creamy it is!
So tonight, in eager anticipation, my mother and I went out and I bought a machine just like theirs.
Not being much for ice cream and instead an absolute nut for frozen yogurt, tomorrow's little project will be making my first ever batch of home made frozen yogurt deliciousness. I've procured a recipe by David Lebowitz from his book The Perfect Scoop (a book that everyone and every review can't seem to praise enough), that is going to be the christening batch. 
I'm so very excited!!
*runs around in circles, waving knitting needles frantically*
Back on subject.
I was in charge of making the cupcakes (of course!), and I spent a lot of time trying to design the perfect cuppy-cake for this most auspicious of holidays. I'm extremely pleased with how they turned out.
Behold; red velvet cupcakes filled with chocolate ganache, and topped with my very own recipe of white chocolate peppermint cream cheese buttercream!
Or, as I like to call them, "Absolutely Scrumptious". 
It doesn't hurt that they're pretty, either.
We also made a great American Flag Jell-O mold. 
It was messy fun to put together, and tasted great as well! 
(I adore Jell-O, and, anorexic or no, proceeded to pig out on it without an ounce of guilt. Well, maybe an ounce.)
I also made a blueberry crumble.
What? I like to bake, okay?
All the eating and laughing was followed by fire crackers and more laughing.
'Twas much fun!
It was, all-in-all, a wonderful holiday.
And here's a picture of my best friend's newest little sister, Phoebe, in case you didn't get your daily dose of cute yet today.
Today, although faced with a lack of sleep (in bed after one, up far too early), was rather nice as well.
I got to walk a good 5 1/2 -6 miles.
I went to the library and have more books (Wee!).
Got my dress from Etsy. (Double wee!)
I tweaked my peanut butter cup recipe and made a great batch (Not as sweet due to using crushed Ritz crackers instead of the suggested graham, no chocolate, and in little baby muffin tins instead of regular sized).
Got an ice cream maker.
And I just plain felt fine in general- not giddy happy, not angry, just fine. This is a step up from the crabby and cantankerous I was expecting after such a sleepless night.
However, this leads me to some sad news regarding my dear friend Rachel over at Dramatic Elegance, who has not been having such a grand day.
It would seem that a Facebook "friend" did something very unfriendly by reporting her blog link posts as "abusive spam", and made it impossible for her to post links to her updates on Facebook.
Not only was this a huge inconvenience to Rachel, who had to change her blog URL, but it was also just plain rude.
Anyone who has read Rachel's blog knows how lovely a person she is, and how much the opposite of spam her posts are. I'm extremely vexed that anyone who considers themselves a friend would do something so rude and hurtful in such an openly blatant, in-your-face way, as labeling links to your blog as spam. 
Her post on the subject (which you can read here) puts it rather well.
It's very very sad that anyone would do such a thing.
I post this both so any mutual readers can know where and how to find her blog now, and also to implore you to never behave in such a fashion. 
I don't care whether or not you like a blog or some other site a friend continues to post: it is possible for you to hide these posts if you feel they're cluttering up your news feed or some such complaint. 
Never ever label a blog as spam.
It is hurtful.
It is mean.
I how was your Independence day?
Were there fireworks?
Was their fun?
Was there oodles of food?
Tell me!
And have a lovely evening!


Rachel said...

Have I recently mentioned that I love you? I mean, really? You are so wonderfully sweet! =)

The Jell-O turned out GORGEOUS! Oh my gosh...it looks amazing!! I bet it tasted brilliant! GAH, you are so good at food! I want to be good at food, too. :p

Megan said...

oh man. you have me craving all these yummy foods, now! those red velvet cupcakes looked so delicious and that frozen yogurt maker? uh genius? (that might actually be too dangerous for me...I would probably eat frozen yogurt 24/7)
I'm excited to see how your first batch turns out! :)


Mary said...

Looks like so much fun, dear!! I had a good 4th, too! Homemade ice cream...so yummy!!! And WOW! Your cupcakes are GORGEOUS! *sighs* some people are so much more talented then me when it comes to baking. My 4th of July cupcakes turned out uh- well never mind.;)

Oh no! I couldn't figure out what happened to Rachel's blog yesterday and I started freaking out. I can't believe anyone would do that! She is such a darling girl.<3

Grace said...

The Jell-O was a combined "mom & me" effort-as in she chose the project and bought the stuff, then told me to take care of it. ;)
I will say that I had a cake decorating class, and I really only took it because of/payed attention to the fifteen minutes they spent showing us how to decorate cupcakes. I'm the CUPCAKE Queen, not the cake queen. I have no patience for decorating huge cakes.

And the yogurt has turned out great! I got up very early all a-quiver just to make it. :)