Saturday, July 05, 2008

Happy Fourth of July

Today was crazy. I hope my readers will forgive me: but, I'm going to veer off atheism and create this post for everyone (friends, non-atheists, and family included). I've broken it down into smaller slide shows. As always, if you choose to view the pics by going to the picasa links, you can see the captions.

First off, this was what we had for dinner. It was delicious. Menu: pulled chicken sandwiches with provologne or Munster cheese, a fruit salad (mangoes, papaya, kiwi, raspberries, boysenberries, blueberries, and jicama, with lime), potato salad, crab and shrimp pasta salad, and...for dessert, fresh strawberries flam bayed in Grand Marnier with cheesecake. (5 pics)

Next was our annual water fight. This year, we had 360 water balloons. I didn't play this year (not feeling so hot), but I was amazed by how bold P3 has become. She also employed some strategy that I didn't expect. She figured out that throwing balloons in the swing set cabin meant the balloons didn't pop, so she got in the upstairs fort and started egging people on to throw balloons at her. She was stock-piling them and then when her sibs would walk by, she'd open fire. (34 pics)

After drying off and getting the girls' hair plaited (so it wouldn't fall into sparklers or catch a spark), we went outside for fireworks. There were people around us, but on different streets, who had HUGE, professional grade stuff. I'm guessing they go down to Mexico and get them. Unlike last year, I didn't see any evidence of the fire department patrolling for illegal fireworks. They've probably given up, quite honestly. (36 pics)

I hope everyone had a great day. I realize Fourth of July is an American holiday, so I hope my far away friends had a decent Friday. I hope you enjoy the pictures, anyway. I'm bushed. I think I'm going to go have some left-over fruit salad and call it a night.


Karen said...

What a wonderful day! Clearly, I missed out, not growing up with sibs. There was a climbing tree in my backyard that would've been a perfect water balloon launching platform. :-) Thanks for blogging this even though you're not feeling well.

Also, this IS an atheism-related post, in that you're illustrating what happiness is really all about: enjoying the blessings of life in the here-and-now. (Not blessings from some deity, blessings from fate/life/universe or whatever. Like family, friends, delightful holidays, [safe] fireworks, spectacular sunsets... etc. We need a secular term to describe such things.)

But I must ask: what is pulled chicken? I've lived all my life near the Northern California coast. Is "pulled" a regional synonym for some cooking technique involving grilling, roasting, or what? Sorry about my ignorance, I'm not much of a cook.

Karen said...

Oh, and I'm shamelessly stealing your fruit salad combination for my own next family gathering.

Katie said...

Karen said...what is pulled chicken?

After cooking your choice of meat or poultry, such as chickhen, pork, beef, etc, for a long period of time instead of cutting off the flesh and chopping it when it is fully cooked you are pulling and ripping it a part with your hands. After pulling the meats or poultry a part all you have to do it keep it warm and season it with sauces or add it into a salad.

Its how BBQ pork is done in the mid-south, where I live, with smoked pork. we even have a large BBQ international bbq contest that centers around it where I live.

Speaking of fireworks I had to do my annual morning clean up of the neighbor's mess from my yard. I found over 12 bottle rockets with a few on the roof. I personally don't like shooting off fireworks since it is illegal where I live as well and the mess it makes.

Enshoku said...

The fourth of july happens to be my least favorite holiday, as it not so coincidentally is on my birthday. The term firecracker baby is so bloody annoying, as well... aaaaaaaaaaaaanyways, sounds like you guys had fun. They couldn't set up fireworks here because it was raining the entire day.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Enshoku!

what is pulled chicken
Katie covered in pretty well, but I'll give the answer I've given five e-mailers asking the same quetions. :)

Pulled chicken is exactly what it sounds like. In our case, we put four small (or medium) chickens in the oven and bake just like you would bake any other chicken. When they're done. You put them in the fridge (although, we first put them in an ice chest with ice so they don't warm the fridge up) and let them cool. When they are cool, you get four kids to sit down (clean hands, of course) and pull all the meet from the chicken. (It helps to supervise because, in this house, half a chicken has been known to disappear in this process.) Toss in a bowl. We usually freeze half of this. The other half we put in a crock pot with a mixture of seasonings that we like and just the tiniest hint of olive oil. Serve on hamburger buns, hogey rolls, or tortillas.

Basically, none of our kids are all that thrilled about eating dark meat on a chicken. So, when we were just sitting down to a baked chicken, there was fussing and waste. Using this technique, everyone eats a little dark meat without really noticing.

The other reason we like it so much is that it's inexpensive. WHOLE chickens are way cheaper than parts. If we see whole chickens on sale, we buy them and put them in the deep freeze. You can get away with $2 chickens if you watch the sales.

Man...I never thought I was a cheapskate until I read that last sentence. LOL

The fruit salad is wonderful, Karen. Steal away! Costco has papayas (in our area) for two dollars and they're huge!

Jim said...

Please tell me that P1 and P2 weren't lighting any larger fireworks with those BIC stick lighters... Using an open flame to light a fuse is a wonderful way to lose a finger (or worse) if the flame should happen to set off more than just the fuse.

For safety's sake, firework fuses should always be lit with a punk.

It looks like you had a great Fourth of July though. I wish we had your weather out here on the east coast; it rained the entire day.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you had a great day.

Kathy said...

OMG that looked delicious- and I haven't had southern pulled chicken in so long, I am turning on my crock pot right now!

Here's my alternate method- fill the sink with cold water (clean sink) and put the chicken in a collander- lower the chicken into the cold water and shred it by hand, with the cold water. The cold water keeps your fingers from getting burned on the hot chicken and you can eat it right away.

Anonymous said...

Please tell me that P1 and P2 weren't lighting any larger fireworks with those BIC stick lighters... Using an open flame to light a fuse is a wonderful way to lose a finger (or worse) if the flame should happen to set off more than just the fuse.

There's really no good excuse for not using, I'll admit my error. My dad and Pdaddy were the ones handling the fireworks and I was taking pics from inside the garage or the nursery or dashing out real fast to get a pic. My sun sensitivity would give me maybe a minute before it started, I didn't notice. Man.

I was also kind of annoyed that the person in charge of dressing P3 and P4 (after the water fight) didn't put them in long pants.

Anyway, I've received sooooo many criticisms because of these pics. I'm feeling like a really bad parent.

Here is the list of things I've been called on (in no particular order). The number is the number of emails I've got on the topic.

Giving water balloons to a three year old. (1)
Using buckets around three year olds. (1)
Wasting water. (1)
Not wearing safety goggles. (2)
Not using punks. (1)
Letting the kids light anything, period! (3)
And, one that I still don't understand,..."Ruining the sidewalk with black stains."

The only thing I'll really say is that P1 and P2 were only lighting those little smokers. There's no firecrackers or explosives in them. The little snakes P1 and P2 were lighting don't pop, explode, or do much more than expand in the same way a straw wrapper does when you put a drop of water on it. Everything else was lit by Pdad or grandpa.

And, offense (to an e-mailer). I'm not a perfect parent. I feel a zing when I get these critiques, but it goes away when I look at it from the perspective that people care enough about the possums to tell me when I'm doing something unsafe. Thanks!

Enshoku said...

Pmomma, your an evil woman who is going to hell for your act of sidewalk ruining...anyone else wanna stain the sidewalks, anyone...thought so.

I honestly see no problem with letting your children have small fireworks, at least p1 and p2. It's all in retrospect anyway, so just think about what you see as appropriate for next july 4th...

Perpetual Beginner said...

Pmomma - may I make a case for having your older kids set off (small) fireworks?

We started teaching our children proper firework/fire safety young. It is our opinion that many children are fascinated with fire and explosives, and that they will be far safer if they know, through direct experience, what is or is not appropriate. We started each child off with how to handle a punk and with smokers and toss-snaps (litte packs that are set off by tossing them at a hard surface). Our older son, at ten, now knows the mechanics of dealing with everything up to the fountains and big mortars - though he's not allowed to set those off yet. He helps Dad set them up, makes selections, discusses what the appropriate safe distance is likely to be, and then stands back with me for the actual lighting.

Our thinking is that no matter what temptation throws his way (my husband remembers having a neighbor kid with a stash of M-80's), he'll have the knowledge to not get himself or his friends blown up.

Berlzebub said...

@ Perpetual Beginner:

My father did much the same thing with me, when it came to firearms, also. When it comes to fireworks, firearms, sex education, and pretty much anything that has the capability of harm I'm a bigger propenent of education than of banning (or in the case of sex-ed, abstinance only education).

Perpetual Beginner said...

I'm a big proponent of education and information as the sane way to deal with dangerous stuff. It doesn't always prevent unwanted behavior (my husband played with those M-80's with his friend for an entire summer), but it can prevent the ill-advised from becoming a tragedy (nobody was hurt or even seriously discommoded by them - worst damage was one broken window). Plus all that education can pay off down the line in ways you might not expect. My husband spent a number of years as a chemical engineer at an explosives manufacturer.