Thursday, June 9, 2011

I'm patriotic.

I have a special place in my heart for Memorial Day.  First because it's a day off of work :) , but more importantly because I have a brother who is currently active duty military.  He is a Captain in the Army and is currently stationed in Kandahar, Afghanistan.  He is a purple heart and bronze star recipient from his previous 15 month long tour in Iraq where he was shot through the shoulder while helping a fellow soldier.  He is my hero.
bad photo taken the last time Jeff was here visiting
I've got a big party planned for the day that he decides to get out of the Army -- which I have to admit I hope is sooner than later-- so I've been "collecting" red, white and blue party items for some time now.  It should be one HECK of a party when he does get out!

This also means that I have lots of decorations for Memorial Day and 4th of July picnics.  This past Memorial Day I decided to break some of them out-- although most of them are still in storage in our attic in Syracuse.
We were supposed to have a picnic at a local park, but early morning rain and the threat of inclement weather later in the day changed our plans a bit and we ended up just picnicing in our house.  Not quite the same as being outside on the unofficial start to summer, but fun nonetheless.

ps-- I don't have many good photos as we were getting ready to sit down to eat when I realized that I forgot to take photos (and then I rushed through the photo process-- sorry).

FYI: burgers and hot dogs were on there way to the empty trays you might see.  Like this red one:

We had turkey burgers, hot dogs, chips, fresh strawberries (with whipped cream of course) and all american cherries -- all easy to make/bring/store foods perfect for picnics.   And we topped things off with ice cream sundae cupcakes.  That's right-- those are cupcakes-- and I love them so much you'll see they show up in almost every picture of our Memorial Day picnic.  :)

 I LOVE fresh cherries!  They are so summery to me. (sorry again about the blurry photos)
I created special Memorial Day cups using the free printable found here.  There are 4 different designs so it also helped distinguish peoples drinks.  And we used a blue sharpie to write each person's name on the back of the cup.

The left over printable squares (which can also be punched out into circles) became other party decor (as kinda seen on the bowls of strawberries and cherries).
 A $.50 roll of striped ribbon I found at Goodwill served as napkin rings.  The blue flatware (and the tablecloth) were left over from the birthday party a couple of weeks prior.
 The fun star straws were found in the dollar bins at Target.  Perfect for a patriotic party.
The two paper fan circle decorations (actually I had 4 total) came from the Dollar Tree.  I would've DIY'd them myself using this tutorial, but for $1 for 2, it was actually cheaper (and more efficient) than making them myself.  I also got the patriotic lantern from the first picture at the Dollar Tree too.

Our "centerpiece" (kinda seen in the background of this photo and in the photo of the custom cups) was a tall glass vase filled with Twizzlers.  I stuck a few small pinwheels in it to add to the festivities -- in red, white and blue of course - and wrapped the vase with another piece of that Goodwill ribbon.
These cupcakes were a HUGE hit-- and a huge hit the next day as well when the left overs went to the hubby's work. Can't have cupcakes in the house when you're trying to loose weight you know!

(FYI-- I got my ice cream cups from Michael's.  A set of 6 for $2.99 and then I used my 40% off coupon)

And we ended the afternoon with a little story time thanks to Cole.  I had to include these because I think these photos are just too cute.  I LOVE photos of a little boy and his big brother!

Christian is such a good sport for listening (and with intensity) to Cole's version of 'A Very Hungry Caterpillar'!

The best thing about our Memorial Day picnic.  Getting to spend time with the kids.  And the best thing about most of the Memorial Day picnic decor-- it can be used again next year (or for the 4th of July) AND for when Cole's Uncle Jeffrey comes home from Afghanistan.

Cheapskate Tip:  buying solid colored (or simple patterned) items in colors like red, white and green are good investments.  They can be dressed up with additional embellishments (like ribbon or scrapbook paper) and can be used for multiple holidays-- Christmas, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, etc.

       I also "collect" blue items for the patriotic holidays and because my step-kids' school colors are
       blue and white (as are many of CT's schools AND of course for the orange and blue of Syracuse
       University) so I've got all my bases covered for graduations and sports parties as well.


Michael and Joanne said...

Awesome as usual. I too love red, white and blue "things". I have always wanted to make a cake for a returning military hero, so include me when that celebration happens!

Laura said...

You're my go to cake gal no matter what so... you bet I'll be calling you for an extra special dessert when Jeffrey comes home!