Happy Fourth!

I suppose, happy day after the fourth would be more appropriate... 

Where'd I leave off? Oh, yes - with my colossal over-reaction to a work issue. If you've been waiting with bated breath - all is well. No reprimands, or anything of that nature. Nothing like working myself up into a tizzy! So that's where Isaac gets it....

Anyone else melting in blistering heat? As much as I despise it, this week's weather is perfect for the Fourth - I am a traditionalist when it comes to holiday weather. A dreary, tepid Fourth is about as appropriate as warm, mild Halloween or an un-white Christmas!

How did you celebrate? BBQs and fireworks?

I was curious as to how long fireworks have been used to celebrate the day our country gave the King the finger and was going to Google my query, but I didn't need to. I just checked my inbox and my daily e-mail from The Pioneer Woman was titled: Twenty Interesting Things about the 4th of July. The 14th interesting thing is the answer to my question.....

Here are 20 interesting things you may or may not already know about the 4th of July.

1. Initially adopted by Congress on July 2, 1776, the revised version of the Declaration of Independence was not adopted until two days later.
2. The oldest, continuous Independence Day celebration in the United States is the 4th of July Parade in Bristol, Rhode Island; it began in 1785.
3. The Declaration of Independence was penned by Thomas Jefferson and signed by 56 men representing 13 colonies.
4. One of the United States’ patriotic songs, “Yankee Doodle” was originally sung by British military officers prior to the Revolution as a means to mock the disorganized American colonists who fought alongside them during the French and Indian Wars.
5. France, Greece, Poland, Russia and several countries in South America used the Declaration of Independence as a beacon in their own struggles for freedom.
6. The “Star Spangled Banner” was written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812 and not decreed the official national anthem of the United States until 1931.
7. Three U.S. Presidents, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, died on July 4th; Adams and Jefferson died within hours of each other in 1826 while Monroe died in 1831.
8. In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation was 2.5 million. According to the U.S. and World Population Clock, the nation’s estimated population in July 2013 will be 316.2 million.
9. The Pennsylvania Evening Post was the first newspaper to print the Declaration of Independence.
10. Both the Philippines and Rwanda celebrate July 4th as a day of liberation. In Southeast Asia, it is known as “Republic Day” and Rwandans celebrate “Liberation Day.”
11. The country’s 30th president, Calvin Coolidge, was born on Independence Day in 1872.
12. Americans consume about 155 million hot dogs on Independence Day alone; it is the biggest hot dog holiday of the year.
13. In 1870 Congress made Independence Day an official unpaid holiday; in 1938, it was changed to a paid federal holiday.
14. Americans began observing the Fourth of July as early as 1777, when the first-ever major celebration in Philadelphia included a parade and a thirteen-shot cannon salute and fireworks.
15. To avoid cracking it, the Liberty Bell has not been rung since 1846. To mark the quintessential day, every fourth of July it is symbolically tapped 13 times.
16. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson are responsible for the bald eagle as the national bird; Benjamin Franklin wanted it to be the turkey.
17. Eight of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were born in Britain.
18. The American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) estimates that more than 14,000 professional firework displays light up the skies in the United States each 4th of July.
19. Two of our nation’s great national symbols were made overseas. The Liberty Bell was cast in England, and the Statue of Liberty in France.
20. The average age of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence was 45. Benjamin Franklin was the oldest at age 70, and Edward Rutledge was the youngest at age 26.



It was quiet around here. Isaac went off to camp for the day and I remained inside to avoid melting. My original plan was: two workouts and clean the house - you know, be productive. Well upon my return from dropping Isaac off at camp, the call of bed reeled me in like a tractor beam. Not often I get to imitate a vegetable while well. In an effort to feel productive without moving, I decided to finish reading The Rag so I could start drafting my review, and I wanted to get another post up - it's been too long. House cleaning was relegated to where is belongs - the weekend!


By 11:30 I was near the end of The Rag, and my growling stomach propelled me downstairs. After sharing my spinach-mushroom-feta-egg white omelet and whole wheat toast with Shiloh, I polished off the last of The Rag. The last story in the magazine definitely evoked the most uncomfortable feelings - in a good way. A glowing review is in store!



I then attended to some light housework, which was followed by personal enhancement (aka dying my hair). The personal enhancement was a more horrific sight than normal because of the heat. After schmearing the foamy color throughout my mop, then encapsulating it with a plastic cap, it wasn't long before deep crimson sweat streaks started trickling down my face and neck - I looked like a horror movie victim! The cold shower that followed was glorious, I tell you!

This was Isaac's first full week at camp and he's managed to lose his glasses at the bottom of a pond. These are his second pair of glasses in less than a year. The first pair he mangled so badly a lens popped out. When I brought the glasses in for fixing/replacing the lady who took them asked, "Did a pet get at these?" Ahem.

Despite applications of sunscreen, Isaac now resembles a lobster; and he sounds like a pack-a-day smoker. We might need to invest in a floppy hat for him  - but then again, maybe not. It'll probably end up at the bottom of a pond.... Depending on how he feels this morning, he may just stay home from camp today.

I, however, must be off to work - not a bad thing. Looking forward to hours in central air, and it's bound to be quiet as a great majority have taken a long weekend. I'm bringing in a berry trifle to share with my fellow co-workers. Recipes for that and a breakfast smoothie to follow..

Hope you're staying cool!

XO



BREAKFAST SMOOTHIE

This time of the year I'm not really in the mood for breakfasts requiring much time in front of the stove - and much to my amazement, I'm not really the cereal-aholic I once was. So when this smoothie recipe popped into my inbox, courtesy of my daily Jillian Michaels e-mail, I was thrilled. For this entire week it's been my breakfast, and may continue to be so for the near future. Simple, cool and filling! 

Yum!


Apple Berry Banana Smoothie
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
3 ounces apple juice
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
1 small banana
1 scoop whey protein powder
1 cup ice cubes
WHAT TO DO:
Add ingredients into blender and blend on high until mixture is completely smooth and frothy. Pour into tall glass and enjoy!
Makes 1 serving.

Prep Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 5 mins
Nutrition Facts
Number of Servings: 1
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 285 
Total Fat: 1.5 g
Total Carbohydrate: 53.7 g
Protein: 16.8 g;


FRUITY DESSERT

Even though I'm all about the chocolate - especially when it comes to dessert, I've developed an appreciation for fruity dessert. More specifically, berry, desserts. I just love berries! They go with everything - including chocolate. They are most scrumptious with whipped cream, though. I modified this recipe by using two 3 oz packages of soft ladyfingers, which I brushed with Grand Marnier (drool....) instead of making the lemon-almond syrup. 

PATRIOTIC BERRY TRIFLE


Edible flag


WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

1/4 cup plus 2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 premade angel food cake, cut into 1-inch slices
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups heavy cream, at room temperature
2 pints blueberries
2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced

WHAT TO DO:

Heat 1/4 cup sugar, the lemon juice and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and stir in the almond extract.

Brush both sides of each slice of cake with the syrup. Cut the slices into 1-inch cubes.

Beat the remaining 2/3 cup sugar and the cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until smooth and light. Add the cream and beat on medium-high speed until smooth and the consistency of whipped cream.

Arrange half of the cake cubes in the bottom of a 13-cup trifle dish. Sprinkle evenly with a layer of blueberries. Dollop half of the cream mixture over the blueberries and gently spread. Top with a layer of strawberries. Layer the remaining cake cubes on top of the strawberries, then sprinkle with more blueberries and top with the remaining cream mixture. Finish with the remaining strawberries and blueberries, arranging them in a decorative pattern. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.










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