Happy Fourth of July, ‘Mericuh! (Flag Cake & DIY Sparkler Favors)

Fourth of July is such a great holiday. You get to eat hot dogs (awesome). Play with fireworks (DS's favorite activitiy). Watch the professionals do fireworks without catching your backyard on fire (this doesn't happen at the Steiner Ranch. We watch DS do Chinese lanterns and experiment with gasoline-laden driveways while the kids – aka, me – run around half-hazardly with sparklers. The fire department in Findlay actually recognizes us as they've been out to our house to put out many fires in our day. Note to readers: Before catching your driveway on fire, remove your cars. This is just from experience, though).

Mr. Grumpy actually likes the Fourth of July because he gets to walk around doing his best Livin' in the Sticks impression (aka, Hillbilly talk. For the record, he calls Findlay "The Sticks" even though he's the one who grew up in a township for God's sake) and call our great country… 'MMMMericuh. In fact, he loves this so much, we even had a sign last year that at ONE point said I Love America, but when I wasn't looking, Mr. Grumpy removed the "A" from it, so it just read, "I Love Merica). Awesome…

Suzie Q and my sister Erin typically get extremely patriotic and make what they call a Flag Cake. Now, anyone who knows me well knows I have a fear of fruit mixing together. Meaning, when Mr. G and I eat berries, I have to have a separate bowl for blueberries, one for raspberries and one for strawberries. He's learned that if he puts Cool Whip in between the berries in the same bowl, I will be ok.

Flag Cake is the one exception to the fruit-touching rule. Why? Well, because it's awesome. The fruit is laying on top of layers of cookies and frosting. And because it looks like the American flag. Extremely cool. So, this year was no different. Suzie Q was SUPPOSED to wait to make it with me, but alas, she jumped the gun and made it without me. I'm still going to share the recipe with you.

Flag Cake

 Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 package of sugar cookie dough (the kind that comes in a plastic tube. I buy the Pillsbury brand. It's by the butter and cheese in our supermarket). It helps if the dough has had some time to get to room temp so it's easier to deal with
  • 1 container of white frosting 
  • 2 containers of raspberries, rinsed and dabbed dry
  • 2 containers of blueberries, rinsed and dabbed dry 
  • Preferably some American-themed music – like that theme song from Fifel Goes West or I'm Proud to Be an American or I Love Rock n Roll – to play when you present your cake to the world (it's your tahdah moment, people!)

First, take a rectangular baking sheet and spray it with non-stick cooking spray. Spread your cookie dough out evenly on the pan. This is the base of your flag, so no, do not substitute your rectangle for a circle. People will be confused and I may have to deport you. (I don't really have this kind of power).

Bake your cookie dough as the package directs, until it is lightly brown but still very white on top. It will still be a little squishy when you remove it from the oven. Don't over bake it, though. It will cool and harden up a bit. Plus, no one likes a stale flag – it won't wave symbolically in the wind. Right? (I'm cracking myself up). 

Next, let your cookie cool. This would be a good time to test your Fourth of July cocktails to make sure no one has poisoned them. (My dear friend Leslie and I once had Fourth of July shots that literally were stacked blue, then white, then red IN THE SHOT GLASS. If anyone knows how to make these at home, I welcome your instructions below on my comment board.) Once your cookie is cool, spread the frosting out evenly over the top. 

Next, take your blueberries and a square of blueberries in the upper left hand corner. Or however many that LOOK like 50. Remember that this flag is not to scale – so you don't need to count out 50 blueberries and place them on your cake. I know we like to be accurate, but geeze people. That's just a lot of counting. Next, make stripes of raspberries all the way to the end of the right side, starting from the left side, leaving about a quarter of an inch between each row. These are your stripes. Again, you don't have to be accurate about the stripage. I think there's 13 stripes on the real flag, but you'll probably only get to about 8 or 9 on this one, especially if you're like me and eat the fruit the entire time you're making your cake. 

And voila! Freedom on a cake. What could be better? 

Sparkler Party Favors

Well, I'll tell you what may … take the cake … at your Fourth of July party (oh gosh. I'm full of puns today). Amazing sparkler party favors. I made these for an anniversary party I was planning, but they are OH SO PERFECT so I just had to share.

Sparkler favors 1
Here's what you'll need:

First, you'll want to open/download this file (I found these free printables at Tidy Mom: http://tidymom.net/2013/printable-sparkler-holder). Open Microsoft Word, and choose the Header/Footer function. Copy and paste this JPG into the header/footer. If you do not have Microsoft Word, you can just select to print the JPG, and select the full-page function when you tell it to print. Then, print these out on your color printer using a heavy, white card stock. I just told my computer to print 30 pages because I had to make a ton of these for this anniversary party. If you have 20 guests coming to your party, you probably only need to print 6 pages. (Aren't I awesome at math?)

Next, using your paper cutter machine, cut your paper into three sections. If you don't have one of those handy machines, then just use a pair of scissors. And take an IB Profin because your hands are going to hurt. Then, take your X Acto knife, make tiny slits on the top of the middle box, and at the bottom (about a half inch wide). You don't want to make your slits too wide because the sparklers will fall out, and then your guests will be annoyed. And then you'll blame me… Not cool. Next, once all your paper is cut and the slits are made, place about a half box of sparklers in the slit and out the other side (like you're weaving a basket. I'm sure you have a lot of experience doing this). You should have about 5-6 sparklers per piece of paper. And voila! Your Fourth of July party just went Martha Stewart. Awesome.

Sparkler favors 2


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