The whole shebang was Stevie’s idea. He wanted the family to join us for a huge, week-long Fourth-A-July fun fest. He started inviting them a year ago so that everyone could make plans to vacation in Bean Station, Tennessee and celebrate with us the rebuilding of our home.   It was a family fun week of epic staycation proportions.  There were beds set up in every nook and cranny.   We got up early and stayed up late.    The fellas sipped on good  whiskey late at night and talked theology, while we girls made food like we were running a restaurant and then layed on floats soaking up the hot summer sun.   I don’t remember laughing so hard in recent history and I’m sure our very loud karaoke version of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody will go down in history as my favorite family fun fest moment.  I hope our guests, who had to endure our crazy, will forgive our temporary lapse in proper decorum.

I’m so glad I made everyone take a moment for pictures in the chaos of it all.  The photos bring back so many good memories!

We set up a cute little ‘photo booth’ and then commenced snapping away.  The outtakes were the best!

We spent oodles of hours on the water.


to sundown, most days….






and in general making every bit of daylight count…..

 Then there was the food……

I’m such a foodie and had so much fun planning out the menu for the week. I’ve mentioned before that I had ten pages of hand-written notes on what to cook/what to marinate/what to take out of the freezer next.

Here are some of the things we had:  roasted cauliflower and chick pea pasta, homemade waffles with homemade strawberry jam, peach and raspberry crisp,  spicy vodka pasta, BBQ sammies, Texas sheet cake,   corn and zucchini soup with southern cornbread,  spicy meatball soup,  and on and on.    It was a food fest.

Then we had all the traditional stuff for the fourth, including a flag cake and the strawberry pretzel salad.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  If I were stranded on a deserted island and I could only have one food, it’d be cake with buttercream icing.  I’ve got no lies to tell.  And look at my little cutie-pies.  How did they get this old when I’m only 25 myself?

The girls made homemade pickles one day and we ate a whole jar every time we opened one……

I couldn’t have made it through the week without these two, chopping and cleaning and making me  tiny little strawberry shortcake shooters. I can totally understand the appeal of sister-wives. 3 women to cook and clean every night? You can’t imagine the efficiency.  And soooo much fun to be around!

These three steered clear of the hen fest in the kitchen. They had issues and concepts to chew on. Church and world problems to solve. They like to really hash it out, confessional Lutheran style.

And I always enjoy seeing the brothers.  They are HI-LARRY-US together.

We were so blessed to spend the week with our kids and family and won’t soon forget the happy times.

34 comments on “family fourth fest”

  1. Edie what precious pictures! You have gorgeous children…and you are right…how could they be so big when their Mama is so dang young! 😉 Glad your 4th was so great!! 🙂

  2. Edie!! You must be exhausted! I KNOW WHAT IT TAKES TO PULL SOMETHING LIKE THAT OFF. The grocery lists before they arrive…the shopping, the cleaning, getting bed linens ready,keeping things running smoothly while they are all there. Not to mention the *mental* stress of everything! I pray you didn’t have ANY of that….but surely you DID! 🙂 All that said, don’t you love it??!!! Don’t you love that Stevie had a vision???!!!! Don’t you LOVE that your big kids came?!!! And that the girls made pickles?!!!! Don’t you just love sister wives (ha ha) and not much sleep??!!! The blessings abound and I am so grateful that you chose LIFE those months ago when the fire came. You chose to carry on…to nurture your family and show them that God’s promises REALLY ARE true. You chose to be faithful. Your family is blessed beyond measure to have a wife and a mom who BELIEVES and acts upon it. I feel blessed to be a very small part of your existence. You inspire me to do hard things. And I thank you. angela

  3. So much fun! Of all our childhood celebrations I miss our 4th of July BBQ at the lake every year the most. Lots of skiing, swimming, boating and eating. I know y’all had a blast. The cliff diving looks a little scary to me, but just right for the young ones. And I’m still trying to figure out how my oldest kids got to be 23 and nearly 21 when I’m only 25 myself. How did that happen? Let me know if you figure it out.

  4. Edie-this pictures are simply fantastic. What an amazing time to have with family. It all sounds spectacular. Your menu sounds absolutely delicious!! So many mouth watering goodies.

  5. Oh it looks like such a wonderful time Edie. I’m so jealous that you are able to get together with your family like that and for everyone to enjoy each others company. My family are a bit broken, and any sort of meet up is a cause of friction. However, I know God has all things in his hand, and He will bring all things together in his own timing.

  6. Wow, what fun! I have the best memories of summer reunions on the lake visiting my grandparents. Those times are gone, but memories live on. It still feels so real in my mind. Glad you’re making memories for you and the kids.

    Tell me about your cute polka dot shirt.

  7. Confessional Lutheranism and strawberry pretzel salad? I’m just not sure there’s much more a gal could need in this world.

  8. Awesome! Sounds so much like the 4th of Julys we spent at my grandparent’s in Austin,TX when I was growing up! Such wonderful memories! We repeated on Thanksgiving but dressed warmer!

  9. Thank you for sharing all of your family 4th-of-July joy Edie!!!
    I’m one of your devoted blog followers and want you to know how much I appreciate you : )))

  10. I am so glad to find a Lutheran blogger! It’s kinda rare, unless one is specifically seeking it out I guess. I’m a former Lutheran seminarian, and I love, love, love your blog since I found it just yesterday as inspiration for my master bedroom…

    Your reunion looks awesome. I am definitely going to use the photo booth idea for our next cousin reunion.

  11. looks like a load of fun that you guys had together…food & fellowship all in one week!

    I kept counting the kids in that one picture….you guys have 8, right? Where’s #8? 🙂

  12. Wow, Edie….you and your family are amazing. What a wonderful family fest, full of beautiful memories. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Dear Edie~While scouring I’ve discovered I’m your long lost sister. As a result, I look forward to receiving an invite to next years 4th of July party! I’ll even tell people I’m your older sister 😉 Ha ha ha!! What a FUN GREAT family holiday!! Thanks for sharing all the great pics 🙂

  14. You’ve such come a long way baby! What fabulous fun! I need a sign like that for my cottage. Instead of asking where you got it (altho you could share) I think I might be able to paint one me-self.

    Your life is filled with love and grace and I’m so happy for you!

    Please keep me and my baby Oliver in your prayers as I lost my job this week! I know I’ll be OK. When our faith is in God, and we take those difficult steps and trust, it does all work out….. life has its challenges, but YOU are living proof that we can come out OK.

  15. I love this! I had to laugh at the men hashing out church issue Lutheran style. My father in-law is a Luther Pastor (LCMS) and he has four sons – we you get the three of them together there is a lot of debate and conversations…I try to stay out of it – those men have some serious opinions.

  16. Looks like such fun. I love having all of my family together. Christmas is our holiday to be together because my family is 9 hrs. away. When we all lived close to each other we were together for all holidays. I miss that a lot. But it sure was fun to walk down memory lane via your family. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Looks like many treasured memories were made!! What a blessing!! So glad you were able to use the flag cake idea, I’m with you on the buttercream!! YUM!!

  18. Looks like a lovely week. My mom always makes big food/menu/planning lists when we kids go to visit, too. Cracks me up! I’m sure yours went off without a hitch. The pictures are wonderful!

  19. Oh, how I wish we lived closer to you. I have a feeling we’d fit right in. My husband would love some good Confessional Lutheran discussion! 🙂

  20. Oh, I loved this. I can’t believe in 10 days I will be moving from Chicago with family to Knoxville, and all that stunning natural beauty! A family fun fest was such a powerful way to give thanks and be joyful for your new home and new chapter. The pictures ooze with love and joy. Toooooo fun. I posted a picture on facebook letting friends know we’re moving, and the image is similar to your sunset shot. And now I’m off to google strawberry shortcake shooters. Beautiful family, thanks for sharing a peek at what’s possible when you are faithful and wait in patience on the Lord!

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