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The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays – I grew up going to credit: http://www.onebakersfield.com/2010/06/fourth-of-july-public-fireworks-shows/the local parade, hanging out with my family (trying to stay cool during what is usually a horrible heat wave in Chicago-land during this time of year), and then attending the fireworks at night.  Our ‘local’ fireworks were always a sight to see, 3 pretty large towns would combine their budgets and put on quite the show!  And, as I still live in the same area – those fireworks were familiar, so even though we had moved out of that town, we were still close enough to go to those fireworks for the first few years.

The last couple years we’ve gone down a new path to our town’s picnic and fireworks.  We have almost our own “neighborhood picnic” at the public picnic and fireworks.  The neighbors would all band together and sign up to bring tents, food, and games to the local golf course that hosts the picnic and fireworks.  The kids all play and we spend the afternoon and evening hanging out with friends and enjoying the weather and fun!

This year we’re doing something a little different.  We’re headed out-of-town… about 3 hours to the north-west.  The husband’s Aunt and Grandma live near Galena, IL – technically Elizabeth, IL.  We’re headed out there on Sunday, partly so the husband can help do some work tearing up their deck so that it can be rebuilt, but also for a visit.  They moved back to Illinois from Montana about a year and a half ago, and we haven’t taken the kids out to visit more than a couple of times – and just for the day (which is a long day with kids in the car for 6 hours round trip!)  We are going to try “camping”… really just sleeping in the tent in their yard overnight… but I’m not sure the weather is going to co-operate with that plan, at least not Sunday night anyway.  But, we’re going to stay there for the holiday as well.  It’s just not the 4th of July to me if we don’t see fireworks so the Aunt found out about fireworks that are happening in the area, so we’re going to go see some other fireworks this year!

I’m nervous and excited about the new experience!  The kids usually look forward to the fireworks – and I hope making this special trip will be fun for them!  I know they’re looking forward to ‘camping’ and I sure hope the weather clears up for the weekend so that they can have their ‘camping’ experience!

What are your favorite 4th of July traditions – do you have a big party, just family, or try to stay home?

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When I posted my first update here yesterday, I mentioned that we went to Wendy’s for lunch.  And the challenge with fast food colliding directly with a vegan diet.  There are very few vegetarian, let alone vegan, options at most fast food chains.  Especially for the kids – and my kids will eat salad!  But that’s another story.

So, we went to Wendy’s after a couple of games of bowling.  The kids got their chicken nugget kids meals, I ordered my salad with no chicken and no cheese (and those stupid lactose laced candied pecans!)  What did the husband order… a Classic Double with Cheese and a Crispy Chicken sandwich.  While I enjoyed my salad – the pomegranate vinaigrette dressing is really tasty – he ate his burger.  While eating he kept looking at it and certainly didn’t look like he was really enjoying it.  Then he made the comment, “well, we’ll see how I feel after eating this…”

Rewind a couple of weeks – the husband was home sick with a nasty flu.  So, he spent some time just surfing around the internet and for some reason he found himself watching the PETA videos about beef processing and how chicken nuggets/patties are made.  He says he has no recollection of how he got to these videos – but based on what he’s usually looking at on the internet (cars, video games, the next bigger better TV that he wants) those links wouldn’t just show up.  He had to have searched them out (but just wouldn’t admit it!)  Then a couple of days later he was eating something with beef on it and said all he could think about was the cow from the video!

Now, I have seen both of these videos before – and told him about the material they contained and how we weren’t going to get chicken nuggets/patties any more, especially for the kids.  But, now that he watched them himself – he’s informing me about all these terrible nasty things, like I had no idea!  He’s had chicken sandwiches a few times since then – and every time he gets a big gross bite of gristle or bone.  He had to admit yesterday afternoon that he didn’t really feel very good after eating that burger and chicken sandwich!

He has even started ordering the vegetable burrito when he goes out with his work friends for lunch instead of the giant steak burrito – he does still add the sour cream and cheese though.  I think he has been pleasantly surprised that many of the things that we’ve tried so far are actually really tasty, despite their lack of meat and dairy.    Though he’s not one to easily admit those things out loud!  I requested The China Study from the library again so that he can have a chance to read it, and hopefully it will help lean him away from the dairy too.  I also think that we’re heading down the road of veganism at the right time – there have been so many ‘strides’ in the areas of meat and cheese replacements.  And, with the internet available to search out new recipes and ideas it’s easier to find things that my family will enjoy and even love!

Thank you internet!


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