Fourth of July Memories and Cute Candy Crackers

July 3, 2015




When I was a little girl, there was always a lot of talk among the kids in the neighborhood about "what you were". It was the early 1970's and many, if not most of our parents, including mine, were first born in this country and where you came from was big news. 

My dad's family was from Italy and my mom's was from Albania. That much we knew, but most of our friends were all Irish or all Italian. We needed specifics to compete. Exactly how Italian were we? What percent and how much did Albania really count? No one knew where it was and it didn't carry a lot of street cred. 

We needed answers to these very important questions, however, my father's response was never what we were looking for and it always played out in the same way. 

"Dad, what are we?" 

"American." 

"No. Like how much Italian and how much Albanian and are we anything else?"

"You're 100% American."

"Daaad?"

"American."

He was born in this country, grew up during the depression years, literally wore two left shoes at one point, because that's what fit from the hand me down box. He lied about his age to enlist in WW2, was shot down over enemy territory more than once, came home, started a business, got married, bought a house, raised a family. He was an American and proud of it.

And so were we. End of discussion. 

Today, my kids ask me same question. Now they need to know the percentages. 

Apparently, Albanian is considered hot, it's very exotic. 

Too bad they're American. 

Happy 4th!



Want to make these cute little candy crackers for or with your kids? They are a super easy and safe way to celebrate the holiday.


Just cut a toilet paper roll in half and then push the severed pieces together. Fill it with candy or small toys and wrap it with tissue paper. You can secure the ends with ribbon or pipe cleaners. Make it festive! 

When the time comes to crack them open, the kiddos just need to rip them at the center seam or or snap the ends so the center tears and the candy and treats spill out. 

Fun for everyone! 





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60 comments:

  1. Not sure I know anyone (else?) :) ) from Albania, but I remember having Armenian neighbors. They threw the most awesome (loud) parties. I suspect they were part gypsy. ;)

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    1. Ha! Yes, it is not a very well known country. When we tell people we are Albanian, they often say "Albino"? No. Not exactly! ;)

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  2. Hi Kim, your story sounds so much like mine. I am half Italian from my mother and half Irish from my dad. He too always said I was an American. Both my parents were born in the USA and my dad also lied his age to go into service in WWII from his home state of PA. Small world isn't it. Love your darling crackers!! Everyone will love those. Thanks for the memories and story. Happy 4th of July, cm

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    1. What dedicated men, or I should say boys, our dads were, to lie about their age for their country. Now, that is patriotism, for sure! I hope you are having a fabulous 4th, too!

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  3. I love it. too bad we don't remember it more often..yes heritage is important but so is who we are now. Wendy J

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    1. Exactly, Wendy and I think that is what my dad was always trying to get across.

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  4. A post that's short and sweet and still a big treat! Safe and happy 4th to all!

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    1. Thanks Cheryl, every now and then, I manage to keep it short…glad you think it’s sweet! :)

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  5. My grandfather came to the states from England as a young man. My mother's family came from Germany. As children, we never thought that much about heritage, just being American was what we knew. ;-) I think all of us with parents that lived through the Great Depression were raised with a sense of values that have served us well. ;-)
    I'm proud to be an American, love our country, and proudly fly the American flag every day.
    Love the cracker idea. It would be fun to fill them with red, white, and blue confetti too.
    Happy 4th of July!

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    1. Oh Sarah, I love the confetti idea! I bet I could use silver and gold confetti during the holidays for a festive pop! I will have to remember that, thanks! :)

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  6. I love the story about your Dad, he sounds a great guy. Funny how your kids are asking the same question now. Great idea for the crackers, thank you.

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    1. It is funny that the kids are asking the same thing, I guess kids never change! Thanks for the visit! :)

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  7. These are so darling, and I love the idea of a small toy or candy, FOR ADULTS!!!!! Happy fourth, Kim! Anita

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    1. YES! For adults, Anita…even better!! ;) The possibilities could be very fun!

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  8. Hi Kim, I love your story of your heritage ad the festive 4th of July crackers! Enjoy the 4th of July and the weekend!

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    1. I like the crackers, too, Julie. I have to remember them at holiday time. They could be a ton of fun! :)

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  9. Funny how proud your dad was to be American and stuck to that. With serving in the war I am sure that etched it in stone for him that he was a true blooded American. Love the crackers they are so cute and fun for the 4th.
    Have a great 4th.
    Kris

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    1. He was the epitome of the proud American, Kris, that is for sure. Happy 4th to you, too!

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  10. LOL....so funny Kimmie! Your dad...a very special man indeed! xoxoxo Jen

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    1. Thanks Jen. I think so, too! xoxo

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  11. I love this post---it all rings true. I'm so proud to be an American and I also love to embrace the culture and foods from other countries. We are a mixed pot but our country has always been a warm welcoming place.

    Happy 4th!

    Jane x

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    1. The older I get the more I find myself yearning for the ethnic foods my mom used to prepare for us when we were small. Today, it’s all pizza and hamburgers ~ American fare is yummy, but sometimes I miss a good old fashioned Albanian spinach pie!

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  12. Great story. Love it! My parents, especially my dad said the same. We are American and that's all you need to know. When pressed harder it turns out we are true Mutts...dad's side is Russ-Pole....a piece of land that was either part of Russia or Poland which constantly changed hands, as well as German and Hungarian. Love the fire cracker idea! Have a Happy 4th! Tracy S.

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    1. I think that was the mentality back then, everyone was American and that was that! Thanks so much for the comment! :) Happy 4th.

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  13. Your Dad sounds like a great guy Kim...love this story. Hope you have a great 4th!

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    1. Thank you, Kristi. He was a great guy! :)

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  14. A great story about your dad ! I'll have to try this little craft with the kiddos : )

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    1. It's so easy, Deb, even for the littlest, little ones! Happy 4th!

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  15. I totally remember needing to know how much Italian we were... My children are so many different things we would need a calculator at this point.... American is a darn good answer!

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    1. Once we add my husband's background into the mix, my kids would need that calculator, too! ;)

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  16. Aww Kim, your dad sounds like a great man! Sweet story! I love my heritage, but being an American is it!
    Happy 4th!
    Nancy

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    1. Now, that’s an answer my dad would love, Nancy!

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  17. We love "crackers" and I think even with my craft challenged skills I might be able to make these! We always asked my dad the same question and were told we were American...not Italian or Scottish or Irish...just American! Hope you and your family have a most wonderful 4th and weekend!! Hugs!!!

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    1. It's seems like everyone's dad had the same answer, Benita! I love that. :)

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  18. Hi Kim, I am English on my mom's side and German & Scottish from my dad's side. No wonder I'm a strawberry-blonde with green-blue eyes and very pale-reddish skin, huh? :-) I was just looking through your blog...I love your kitchen! I have dark hardwood floors like that in my kitchen, but unfortunately, still have the original oak cabinets. I know I could paint them white but I am SO not a DIYer. I would totally ruin them. I will have to just wait one day until we can afford to have them professionally done or replaced. I also love your touches of red - I do have touches of red in my kitchen, too!

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    1. Hi Melanie, thanks for the visit. In our old house we painted the dark cabinets…A LOT of work! I don’t think I would ever attempt that again, either!

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  19. That is so interesting. I don't know anything about my father or his family, but on my mom's side, we are about as all-American as you can get. My maternal grandfather was part Cherokee (I got the high cheekbones but not the nose, thank goodness!), and my maternal grandmother was a direct descendant of John and Priscilla Alden who were among the original Pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower. Yep, as American as apple pie & proud of it! Hope you've had a wonderful 4th!

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    1. Wow, Carol, that is an impressive American pedigree. The Pilgrims, huh? Amazing. That is so neat that you are able to trace your roots back that far. Mine only go back to Ellis Island in the 1920’s. :)

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  20. I remember asking those same questions and now my daughter does too!

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    1. It's funny, kids never change, to they? ;)

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  21. Fascinating post, I love how your Dad answered so wisely! I also love your idea for making sweetie filled crackers....these would be fun to make for kids to open at the start of the summer holidays as a little celebration too...I think I'll make some :)
    Happy new week.
    Helen xox

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    1. It’s funny, lot of commenters are saying that their dads gave the same response. I wonder, Helen, if most Americans would answer the question the same way today….hmmm. I bet your crackers will be fabulously pastel! :)

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  22. Enjoyed your story Kim, thanks.
    Crackers are a great idea.

    Have a happy week and a happy July

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thanks Jan! Happy July to you, too!!

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  23. You're so clever! I sure do enjoy your writing.

    From one American to another, Happy Independence Day. :)

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    1. You’re always so nice to me, Stacey! I hope you had a great 4th!

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  24. Street cred LOL I'm mostly German with English, Irish, and Norwegian mixed in. I don't have any street cred ;)

    Cute crackers!

    xo,
    rue

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    1. I don't know, Rue, it all sounds pretty legit to me. When I said Albanian, most people said, "Albino?" No. Just no.

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  25. That's so true and right on point! I wondered before, since in our family, only 2 of my kids were born & raised here and 1 raised here only, if they consider themselves american? So I asked the 2 that could talk and they said -"We're Americans with Filipino Heritage"! I think that was perfect for them!

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    1. I agree, Vel, sounds like a perfectly reasonable answer to me! :)

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  26. Great story! I received the same answer. :-) That is why the language was never passed down. My grandpa always said "We are American, we speak English!"

    I have German and Slovakian in me. :-))

    I love the crackers! I must plan to do this for our next family celebration.
    Carla

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    1. I think that kind of devoted patriotism is commendable, Carla, but yes, I think it came at the expense of learning more about our heritage. I know a few words, from each side, but not enough to satisfy me!

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  27. I'm a bit late with my blog reading, just back from vacation.
    Loved this story, hope you had a great 4th.
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. Thanks so much for popping by Amalia. I hope your vacation was wonderful!

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  28. Your father sounds like an amazing man-I really admire his patriotism.

    Hope your 4th of July celebrations were fabulous. Happy Independence Day from Down Under!

    Best wishes,
    Natasha in Oz

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    1. He really was a great guy and I admire his patriotism, too! :-)

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  29. What fun, cute Candy Crackers . . .
    I liked learning of your heritage and your dads response . . .
    American . . .

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    1. He was a man of few word, Lynne, but they were usually the right ones! :)

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  30. Great story and great Dad!!!!
    I agree that it is very nice to know our heritage though. My Grandad came here from Wales and my Grandmother was from Germany. I learned a lot of German which came in handy years later. I have cousins in both Wales and Germany....Hopefully we will get together again some day!
    Love the cracker idea...I think we may need some for an upcoming birthday party....grandgirl will be turning 13...yowzers, a teenager!!
    Belssings to you,
    J

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    1. He was a great dad, thanks J! I think that is really neat that you have cousins abroad. How fun it would be to visit! :)

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