Saturday, July 7, 2012

4th of July...and Tim Tams

Happy 4th of July!  I have always enjoyed this holiday.  My grandmother's birthday was the 4th of July, and she had me convinced as a child that people set off fireworks to celebrate her birthday. 

Ever since I was a little girl, I helped make a red, white, and blue dessert for my grandma's birthday.  Eventually I got old enough to search for new patriotic desserts and challenge myself to make something different and creative every year.  It's tough to find something that doesn't have strawberries and blueberries!

Even though my grandma passed away a couple years ago, my family still really enjoys getting together on the 4th of July to celebrate her life and enjoy family time together.

This year the 4th fell at the end of a two-week business trip my husband was on for work.  He went to China, India, Singapore, and Australia.  Incidentally, he was also in Australia last year on the 4th of July.  Boo.  I hate missing him at all, but it's even harder on a family holiday.

For the first time (as far as I can remember), I gave up on trying to make a brand new creative dessert.  It just wasn't worth the extra pressure when I had to remember food, lawn chairs, swim suits, floaties, diaper bag, etc. for three kids by myself.

So, I made one of my go-to recipes:  homemade slice-and-bake cookies.  It's a simple shortbread/sugar cookie dough.  You shape the dough into two logs, roll each log in sprinkles, and chill the logs.  Then you slice them and bake the cookies, and they have a pretty ring of sprinkles around the edges.

I used store-bought patriotic sprinkles for one log:

And I just mixed red sanding sugar and blue sanding sugar for the other:

Here you can see the two types of cookies next to each other:

I felt like we needed a chocolate dessert as well (I always want something chocolate!), but I wanted to keep it simple.  I prepared a boxed brownie mix, and I sprinkled patriotic star-shaped sprinkles on top before baking the pan of brownies.  Just in case this didn't work, I only put sprinkles on half of the brownies. :)

It actually worked really well!  The sprinkles stayed on the surface of the brownies and added just a touch of crunchy texture.

This year's desserts with my grandma's strawberry potholder and cookie spatula:

We actually had a wonderful day.  We spent time with family and friends, and I managed to not get too depressed that Jared wasn't with us.

We went swimming in a friend's pool.


We watched fireworks on the same hill we've gone to for years.  Griffin has always been scared of the loud noises, so this year we borrowed my dad's headphones (for shooting guns).  They are adjustable, so they can block a little noise or a lot.  Griffin LOVED them!

My sister had a similar pair that she let me borrow for Nora.

I was a little sad to put the headphones over Nora's curls. :)

We did poppers (the things you throw down and they make a loud pop noise), confetti poppers, and sparklers.

Once it started getting dark, we busted out all the glow sticks.  This year, I found my favorite glow sticks yet!  I never got a picture of the box, but they were in a black box called Glow Party.  I bought them at Hobby Lobby for $8.99 but I got them 40% off.  The box comes with 50 glow sticks, connectors to make 3 pairs of glasses, connectors to make 3 sets of bunny ears on headbands, and tons of connectors to make bracelets and necklaces.  There are also connectors to make a ball or two flowers.  All of the special designs (glasses, bunny ears, etc.) worked perfectly, unlike some we've tried from the dollar store where the sticks don't stay in the connectors.  I also noticed that these glow sticks were brighter than the others from the dollar store. 

These glow sticks were seriously awesome!

The only downside to our whole day (aside from Jared being gone) was a group of stupid inconsiderate people behind us at the fireworks who kept cussing, yelling, smoking, and setting off seriously LOUD fireworks that scared the pants off our kids and made my eardrums feel like they were exploding. 

We had a fantastic day and enjoyed time with the people we did get to see rather than focusing on missing those who weren't there.  And the very next day (in the evening) Jared finally came home to us. 

AND he brought me the best cookies in the whole world:  Tim Tams.  If you've never had them, let me just say that they are worth going to Australia to get. :)

There's actually a complicated manner in which you're supposed to eat Tim Tams, and it involves coffee ( good).  You can learn more about the Tim Tam Slam here.  Trust me:  no diet (or, you know, International Dateline) is strong enough to keep me from enjoying this tasty treat.

I hope your holiday was wonderful!



  1. Hey Jessica! My e-mails can't get through, so I thought I'd just leave a quick message on here. Love Nora's shirt. :) Elizabeth has the exact same one. Tried sending pics.

  2. The fourth of July pictures are awesome. Great idea to reinvent the basic sugar cookie, never would have thought to do a roll and slice with sugar cookies. Sorry about the people sitting around you. It's not easy to ignore those behaviors, but sounds like you were able to make the best of the situation. Ok, Tim Tams? Never even heard of them. It sounds like something I need in my life! I really hope you've got video of you doing the Tim Tam Slam that you'll upload on here. So proud of you for surviving two weeks as a single Momma? You're a rock star!! And as the amazing example that you are, you give God all the glory!