A star-spangled birthday

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Friday I made a fun excursion with my dad and the kids. We drove to a local lake with a beach, where some friends of mine have been going regularly. It was really fun, we’ll definitely do it again. We were almost surprised by how beachy and relaxing it was, even though the drive was so pleasantly short. It was weird to come home and shake off sand all over my own home, instead of a hotel room! I recently unearthed a little Playmate cooler of just the right picnic size in our garden shed–I think it must have been Rob’s before we married, and it just never found its way into a spot where I’d use it until now. But somehow it seems to have fueled a spate of picnicking for us lately. I keep three plastic water bottles in the freezer, then pop them in when we’re ready to go–no loose ice, no mess (and the bottles found a second useful life). And I have to confess…my favorite way to picnic lately has been to grab the cooler and the ice bottles, then stop on the way to our destination and fill the cooler with takeout! We’ll have to head to the beach with it again soon.

Today is my mother-in-law’s birthday, and since she and my father-in-law are now living close by we were able to celebrate with dinner at my house. It feels much more satisfying to be able to cook someone a birthday dinner than to make a phone call. I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I didn’t have to decide whether or not to use patriotic dishes on our dinner table for this 3rd of July meal, but rather which set of patriotic dishes I would pull out. Hey, some people like cars, some people like gadgets, I happen to like dishes. A lot. Anyway, I chose these fun tin plates, where each one is a bit different and reflects a different American pastime, and Dorothy decorated some place cards (folded index cards) and we set a cute little red, white and blue party table.

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