An Old Fashioned Fourth of July…And a Few Recipes!

Hey guys!  Happy Monday!  I know, I know…that sounds entirely too peppy for a Monday following a holiday that pretty much spans a week.  Well, if you live in Michigan, it usually does because, well, the weather is nice and it’s America’s birthday, and lots of employers shut down for the week, and people go up north or camping, or to the beach.  It’s just what we do.  At least I hope all of you got to do at least some of those fun things.  Mardi and I and our families celebrated the Fourth of July as usual at my parents’ annual party, followed by a trip up north.

The party was huge this year!  My mom and aunt counted over 200 people!  We had some new faces this year, some I didn’t even know.  But I am so glad they felt comfortable enough to come, and I hope they all felt welcome.  The weather was absolutely perfect…80ish and sunny.  The kids were in and out of the water all day right until dark.  One of my favorite things about this day is seeing the kids, many who only meet up once a year at this party, instantly act like old friends from the minute they arrive.  And I didn’t see kids on electronics literally the whole entire day!  And they lived to tell about it!

We ate around 4, and let me tell you, I think it was better than Thanksgiving dinner.  Since it is a potluck, the choices are amazing!  I always love the deep-fried shrimp that the guys make, and my mom’s smoked sausage cooked in crushed pineapple, and Danya’s crab salad.  Then there are Mrs. Vogel’s homemade cinnamon rolls that are always a party staple.  Can you tell I’m really into health food?  One of my new favorites this year was a corn salad with chili cheese fritos.  I’m not even sure who brought it, but it was so yummy.  Luckily I found a recipe on Pinterest.  Here is one that looks similar.  You should check it out if you haven’t had it before!  I think I will definitely make this in the future.

I actually made the little fruit tarts with the star cut-outs that I mentioned I might make in the previous post.  I added blueberry pie filling as well, and then sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on the top.  They were super easy and tasty too.  I also made the Six Sisters’ Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars.  They are sooooo good, and the recipe yields a lot of servings.  Mardi made scotcheroos, sugar cookie bars, and a really good snack mix.









We ended up dragging the kids out of the water for a sack race, a three-legged race, and tug of war.  They were having so much fun swimming that they didn’t seem to mind the simplified games this year, which was nice.  Most of the kids are getting older now, too, so we don’t have as many participants. Sniff, sniff.  Especially the boys…they have graduated to letting off their own fireworks.  Always a little scary, but there is no coming between boys and bottle rockets.  Sometimes you just gotta let boys be boys, I’m learning.  But sometimes I just can’t really watch too close, either.  Thankfully, they all have wonderful guardian angels (Thank you Jesus!), and no one was hurt.

Mardi and our friend Kathi decorated the pontoon boat this year to participate in the annual Wolf Lake boat parade.  They did a fantastic job getting it all decked out, but when it was time to leave the dock, the darn boat wouldn’t start.  The battery was dead.  Sigh.  Oh well…the parade went on without us, but it’s always fun to watch anyway!  Better luck next year!















The evening ended with an awesome display of fireworks that my dad and a friend went in on together.  They even let some of them off from an old pontoon boat off shore!  It was just an amazing way to end a perfect day.  And I’m so thankful to my mom and dad for opening their home to everyone and getting to celebrate such a special holiday with so many wonderful people every year.















How did you spend your Fourth of July this year?



I Love the Red, White, & Blue!

Memorial Day is this Monday, which means a long weekend!  Woo Hoo!!  And school is almost out for the summer!  And I’m pretty sure we will eat hot dogs at least once (okay, maybe not a woohoo…but it means summer).  But most importantly, it means we take a day to remember and honor all of our fellow Americans who have served or are serving our country.  Man, can you imagine a greater sacrifice?  Even if that sacrifice didn’t involve their very lives, it meant sacrificing family, friends, home, comfort, peace, freedom, and much more at some point along the journey.  To think that anyone would give up all of that for you and me…well, that’s just pretty darn special.

As you can tell by the blog name, Mardi and I are pretty patriotic.  We love American history, and learning about great Americans that have come before us and shaped our nation.  We both believe that God had a sovereign hand in the creation of the Constitution, and has blessed our country with faithful leaders.  But no leader is greater than one that has laid down his or her life for her country.  And to all of those heroes, we salute you, thank you, and thank God for you.  And may God continue to protect those men and women currently serving the good ole U.S.A!

Because I love my country, and I also happen to love flags and red, white, and blue, I already have some patriotic décor scattered around my house.  This weekend always inspires me to add a little more to keep up through the 4th of July.  So I’ve picked a couple of my favorite ideas to inspire you, plus a few from my own home.

Source:  Pinterest

Source:  House Beautiful

Source:  Liz Marie Blog

Source:  On Sutton Place


I picked up a pack of little flags at the dollar store to put in this pitcher.  Easy Peasy!

More little flags just propped in some greenery.

I bought this flag at an antique store.  It used to hang in a courtroom.

I love this flag holder over my secretary desk!  It came from

All of these ideas are super simple and cheap, but add a nice dose of patriotic character!  Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend with your family, and may you appreciate the freedom to do so because of the sacrifices of so many!


Easter Greetings

Happy Easter, everyone!  To quote the well-known hymn, “Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!”  It is a blessed day for sure.  The Brott family had our very own Easter miracle today:  we were almost on time for church today!  We were only five minutes late for church instead of…..well, we won’t go there.  I always say the devil is at work on Sunday mornings because we are always running late and everyone is irritable.  Then we walk into church and smile (like we haven’t been bickering).

Forgive me, I digress.  Easter is a time of rebirth.  The daffodils and hyacinths are blooming, the forsythia bushes, and you can buy tulips (they haven’t bloomed yet here).  Megan and I love giving our homes spring-y touches and decorating for Easter.  She displayed her Easter decorations on a previous post, so I’ll show you some of mine.  Since it’s Easter today, it’s too late for this year, but you can get ideas for next year.  Or just emulate the spring-y décor and take out the bunnies.

My parents have a forsythia bush, so I hacked away on it to create my own little “bush” at home.  Down the beach there are some pussywillows.  Megan and I noticed them on a walk one day.  Sadly, most of them had gone to seed.  There were just enough branches for me to put in a crock.  I bought tulips at Walmart, but any other “plant” is a pretend one.

As I’m writing this, I have on “Here Comes Peter Cottontail.”  Yes, I am very juvenile.  I absolutely love watching holiday shows.  Megan’s girls Milla and Fynnlay usually come over and watch them with me, but we didn’t get around to it this year.  We broke our time-honored tradition….and I live for tradition!  I didn’t stray from tradition last night, though. The traditional night-before-Easter marathon of boiling eggs, watching “The Ten Commandments” on TV, and ironing everyone’s clothes for church the next day (Eureka!  Maybe that’s why we’re always late for church….I only iron ahead of time for Easter).  Anyway, whatever your Easter traditions, I hope you enjoyed this blessed holiday.  In closing, I’ll quote another famous Easter hymn (if it’s stuck in my head, it might as well be in yours too):  “Up from the grave He arose!  With a mighty triumph o’er His foes!  He arose a victor from the dark domain, and He’ll live forever in our hearts again!”  Hopefully I quoted it right, but the sentiments remain.

God Bless!

MardiHere’s Megan’s and my families with our parents, sister Kendal, and her fiancé Rob.  We had just had an amazing brunch at Bella Maria’s. If we look cold, it’s because we were!

Easter Cross Craft

If you’ve checked out my posts on spring decorating, you may have noticed that nothing really represents Easter in the spiritual sense.  Bunnies, greenery, eggs all help things look new and fresh, but I wanted something to remind us of the true meaning of Easter. Of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross to save us from our sins. I saw this on Pinterest, and thought it would be easy to recreate it.

And it was!  It didn’t take long at all, and now I have an awesome farmhouse fresh decoration that serves as a reminder of our precious Saviour!

I picked the basket up at Hobby Lobby half off at $5.50.  I found the sticks in my yard.  My hubby cut them the right size since they had jagged ends where I had broken them.  I could have easily done this myself, but the guy gets restless and I would hate for him to get bored!  He’s great about doing that kind of stuff for me, which is one of the reasons I love him so much!

Anyway, I placed the foam in the basket.  Then I stuck the sticks in the foam and hot-glued the cross-wise sticks.  After that, I wrapped a little twine around the sticks and simply tied it off in the back.  Glue down your moss and your finished!  I may add a burlap or white ribbon around the basket to give it a finishing touch, but either way, I love it.  Thank you Pinterest, once again!


More Spring Decorating

Last week I posted a few pictures of my spring decorations.  I have since finished dressing my home for the season and thought I would show you a few more shots to hopefully inspire you.  Luckily, I already had most of the stuff I used, but just moved them around.  I did buy some awesome fake greenery at Hobby Lobby at 50 percent off, though!

I pretty much shopped my house for this grouping.  The bunny usually resides in my daughters room year round, and I already had the succulent on my windowsill.  The awesome spring printable was a freebie from  The only thing I bought was the greenery from Hobby Lobby for $3.50.

This tray sits on my ottoman in the family room.  The bunny was a dollar section score from Target last year.  The vintage serving pieces were my grandma’s.  I usually display them upstairs, but thought they worked well here for Spring.

Here is the view from the couch.  It’s simple, but the greenery adds enough fresh color to look “springy.”  I had little Christmas trees in the galvanized pails for winter and switched them out for the leafy stems from Hobby Lobby.  They were also half off, so I think I paid $16 for four of them.

With nothing but dead grass and bare trees and bushes outside the window, the little splashes of green are definitely welcome inside!