July 7, 2010

Family Retreat

Since Allen had a long weekend for the holiday, we decided to use the time for a family retreat.  We indeed, had a restful time full of fellowship, friends, church brethren, good food and most importantly time to visit with the Lord and meditate on His word.  

I love planning meals and cooking but I don't like to miss out on family time to do it.  Some time ago I started preparing a number of meals prior to the weekend and other times that my hubby will be off for a few days, in order to maximize my time with him.  One of my favorite things is cold salads with lots of vegetables.  The girls and I made up four different ones on Thursday in anticipation for the weekend.

Friday, after a bit of a disaster with the camper, we kicked off the weekend with some pool time, dinner on the grill and a hymn sing around the bonfire.  Even though the mosquitoes were in a fighting spirit we sat out until nearly eleven with a box of graham crackers, coconut marshmallows and a Hershey's special dark bar.

Saturday morning included installing a new fan and other little projects around the house.  By which time it was too hot for anything other than a dip in the pool and a good book.  There were long naps all around in preparation for our evening trip to Antietam Battlefield for the annual concert and fireworks with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra. 

This is by far my favorite place to be to celebrate Independence Day.  It has been a number of years since we have been, so it was extra special to go this year.  Some of the kids don't remember ever being there at all. 

One of my favorite parts is the 21 gun salute with cannons during the 1812 Overture.  
All day long we marveled at the magnificent blue sky.  I think it was the perfect backdrop for this picture Brianna took. 

And what need we say about this shot of Ellie and her Pa?
We ran into two families that are special friends to us.  We ended up sitting with them and all their kids and our kids had a great time eating, blowing bubbles and trampling each other... which seems to be the best game of all for a picnic blanket full of toddlers.
Our friends brought these glow stick thingies... what are they called, anyway... and once they started handing those out that was all the kids cared about!  Our little friend Suzanna made this smiley face with hers and asked me to take a picture of it.

Oh, and by the way, the fireworks were spectacular, too!
But that's not all!  Sunday, after our worship, our church family had a picnic to celebrate Independence Day.  Great food, great friends, and a breeze on a very hot day... what more can one ask for? 

Fun on the playground for those who weren't afraid to leave the shade.
Someone was ingenious enough to bring an ice cream freezer.  Kids turned the crank merrily while us adults gabbed away. 
Back home for a little rest, followed by a dip in the pool, got us ready for some Rita's Gelati's and the fireworks in our city park. 
Okay, just looking at that... I am dying for another... unfortunately, Rita's is closed!!!! Ugh...
Can I tell you how much I adore these three girls?  They make my heart melt faster than that gelati did in the 90 degree temperatures.

Monday morning dawned hot and humid.  I was disappointed we had to make an emergency run to town for pool chemicals.  It turned out to be a good thing.  As we were leaving Walmart we saw the seafood market had a great price on Maryland crabs.  We decided to get a bushel and surprise the kids. 

That might seem small to you all but let me fill you in.  When Allen and I were growing up, steamed crabs were the equivalent of hot dogs and hamburgers at back yard cook outs.  Every gathering you went to had a big pot of crabs steaming away.  The scent of old bay seasoning was the scent of summer eats. 

Unfortunately, pollution and bad fishing practices completely depleted what Maryland was known for.  Thus the cost became outrageous and the crab feed went by the wayside.  Every summer we say we are going to get crabs just so the kids can experience sitting around the pool and picking crabs all afternoon like the good old days.  But each time we look into it the price is more than we can choke down. 

However, I heard recently that there had been a good crop this year and the prices yesterday reflected that.  The big kids, who've sampled crabs from time to time, were elated and the younger ones were filled with curiosity. 
We even had a surprise visit from my older brother who pulled up a chair and joined in the fun.  It was the perfect way to wrap up our weekend together. 


  1. A beautiful weekend full of "forever" memories!

  2. dear S'mores,
    Sounds like a Super Perfect 4th of July family~weekend~retreat!
    Graham,Coconut and Chocolate tops it off for me

  3. Kat,

    Loved how you recapped the entire weekend. Starting off with a dip in the pool, smores and fireworks followed by a crab feast. I can only imagine how much the kids enjoyed it all.

    Hope you are staying cool. Here's hoping for relief in the heat wave.

    Please stop by my blog today and make sure you sign up for the giveaway that ends today. The book is a masterpiece in itself.


    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  4. Oh girl.. my mouth is watering just looking at those crabs!!!!!!!!!!!!! My mom was just telling me the other day that crabs were priced like they were in the 1980's! Oh how I miss MD crabs!!

    Loved all the pics!!

  5. This was an amazing weekend...probably one of the best of the summer.