Monthly Archives: June 2015

What a week! On to the 4th!

On Friday, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down their historic decision ensuring marriage equality for same-sex couples. What a great way to wrap up June, which is LGBT Pride Month, and to kick off 4th of July celebrations. For Independence Day, we are sharing our rocket craft ideas and baked bean recipe. Of course, we also include our garden update. Photo source: Bing images/


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We first created the wine rocket pictured on the right as a hostess gift years ago. It was inspired by Roy’s work on two productions of the classic play, “You Can’t Take It With You”. The family in that play – the Sycamores – make fireworks in their basement – with explosive results! Roy did double duty (both times) on that show, making the prop rockets (among other things) and acting. We used the same design idea to create this fun “wine rocket”. It’s a great way to bring a bottle of wine or other item as a hostess gift to 4th of July celebrations. We also created the rocket on the left from a paper towel tube for smaller gifts (think lottery scratch tickets). Fun!


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You will need: One cylindrical wine gift box; red, white or blue construction paper; white poster board; scotch tape and a bottle of wine or other gift of your choice that fits in the gift tube.

To make: Use poster board to wrap wine box like a gift, folding and securing paper at the bottom and cutting slits in the sides if needed for the string holding the top to container. Decorate with contrasting paper. We used 1-inch stripes, but a spiral design would work well, too. Attach pipe cleaners or wired garland to base to create wick or tail.

For the cone top:

  • Trace a 10-inch dinner plate onto construction paper to get a circle.
  • Cut circle in half. Each half makes a perfect cone when you join the sides.
  • Use tape to fasten to bottle holder.


A paper towel tube is perfect to make this smaller rocket.

You will need: An 11-inch paper towel holder, a 5×5 inch napkin with a July 4th or flag pattern, double stick tape, construction paper.

Open napkin and place with design side down. Center tube on napkin as shown below with one side flush with napkin and one side hanging over. Draw a line on the tube where it hangs over the napkin and cut slits in that end. Tuck slits into tube to make a base. Using double stick tape, attach napkin to tube. Cover base with circle of napkin.

To make the top: Follow same directions as cone for the wine rocket above, but use 7-inch plate to trace the circle onto the construction paper.

Secure cone over open end with tape and create flames for base of rocket by attaching strips of construction paper.

These rockets are easy crafts to make with your kids and work great to hold candy, lottery tickets or whatever small gift you like! Also make great, simple 4th of July decor.


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Baked beans are a delicious, traditional side dish for picnics, but the canned ones can be a little bland. We like to doctor them up to them more interesting and tasty.

You will need: 28 oz. can baked beans (we like the vegetarian style), 2 tablespoons yellow mustard, 2 tablespoons ketchup, 1/2 cup sautéed onions, 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs.

How to make: Mix mustard and ketchup into beans, top with onions and breadcrumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes.

Experiment with your own baked beans by adding ingredients like bbq sauce or your favorite veggies. Yum!


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PEPPERS Our Shishito peppers, which reach 3-4 inches in length when fully mature, are doing great! We are close to picking 2 of them.

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TOMATOES We have lots of cherry tomatoes in various stages of growth on our two plants. (Kevin stopped counting at 30 on the Super Sweet 100 variety pictured on the left.) On the right, two nearly ripe tomatoes on our Husky Cherry Red plant are almost ready for a salad.

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BASIL Our basil survived a big soaking. We solved a drainage problem by drilling holes in the bottom of the container, and are now sheltering the pot during heavy downpours.


What kind of socks does a gardener wear? Garden hose!                                                                 (source:

More Independence Day food and decorating ideas in the next blog!

This week, and every week, we are proud to be Americans!

Roy and Kevin


Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day everyone! It’s a special day. In part this week, we focus on our own fathers. First up, in a nod to Roy’s father’s delicious meatball recipe, we share our lighter version made with turkey. Next, we remember Kevin’s dad’s love of pie with our apple gallette (not as fancy as it sounds). We think you’ll like Martha Stewart’s crafty card ideas, and this week’s garden update. And we couldn’t mention our fathers without a little bit about their and our beloved Red Sox. Let’s get started!


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Roy’s father, Bill, used to make big batches of delicious fried beef meatballs. He always made enough to freeze and enjoyed them as part of quick and easy meals for months to come. Here, we share our recipe for baked turkey meatballs. We love the beef ones, but these are a little healthier.

You will need: 1lb. lean ground turkey, 3/4 cup breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic herb mix (such as Mrs Dash), 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, 2 teaspoons tomato paste (we like the type that comes in a tube).

  • Mix all ingredients thoroughly,
  • Roll into ping-pong sized balls. Makes 24.
  • Bake on parchment paper at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
  • These versatile meatballs freeze well, so make a double batch! Great with tomato sauce on pasta or grinder rolls. Also delicious with brown gravy or as an appetizer!

Here’s Roy’s father trying out his new electric razor one early Christmas morning in the 1960s.

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EASY AS PIE (Actually it’s a little easier!)

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Kevin’s father, Warren, was a big fan of pie. For his birthday celebrations, he preferred birthday pie to cake. Both of our fathers had a sweet tooth and would regularly bring their mini boxed Table Talk pies to work in their lunch boxes. Here, we share a recipe for apple gallette, an easy to make rustic tart with the flavor of an apple pie, but less work. Make one for your dad!

You will need: one 9 inch ready-made pie crust, 4 apples, 1 tablespoon of flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, dash of nutmeg, pinch of salt, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons butter or margarine.

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Peel and slice apples, combine with sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon juice.
  • Unroll pie crust onto parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Pile apple mixture in the center of the crust leaving a 2-inch border.
  • Fold crust up around the apples, top the fruit with butter or margarine pieces.
  • If desired, brush crust with milk or melted butter for a browner crust.
  • Bake 40-45 minutes until brown.


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Here is a picture of Kevin’s dad when he received a Red Sox jacket as a Christmas gift. Kevin inherited the beloved jacket and wore it for many years until he passed it on to his nephew and godson, James, at Christmas a few years ago.

Both of our fathers were lifelong Red Sox fans but, sadly, neither saw the Sox win a World Series during their lifetimes. Coincidentally, one thing they had in common was that they both enjoyed watching the game on television with the volume off and the radio on. Both said they liked the radio play-by-play better. (Great minds think alike!)

We think of them often while watching Sox games. GO SOX!



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Seedlings planted (Wish us luck!!!)

Last weekend, we planted our seedlings in the garden. We have high hopes for the basil, marigolds and pansies. At this point, we have 18 cherry tomatoes and 4 green peppers.

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Impatiens, a family favorite!

Roy’s father used to have Impatiens on his fence in garden boxes. Kevin’s mom, Irene, also grew them on her condo porch each year. Ours are in a large concrete pot surrounding yellow snapdragons, which they are threatening to overwhelm. PRETTY AND COLORFUL!

We bought the bee ornament in memory of our beloved niece and friend, Christine, who was an avid beekeeper and gardener.

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“The greatest gift I ever had came from God, I call him dad.” author unknown                          (source: Sayings Images)

Mark Twain wrote of his father:

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in       7 years.” – Mark Twain (source: Good Reads) 


How is the baby bird like it’s dad? It’s a chirp off the old block! (Source: Boys Life)


The little statue at the top of the page, which reads “WORLD’S BEST FATHER”, sat on Roy’s father’s bureau for more than 30 years, a gift from his kids. We both feel blessed to have had kindhearted, hardworking, devoted fathers. We applaud all the great fathers past and present, for doing their best and being there for their kids. Many of us feel that our dad, is or was, the “World’s Best Father”, and for all of us who believe that – it’s true!

Happy Father’s Day!

Roy and Kevin

June Is Busting Out!

A busy June is flying by. This week, we are sharing a garden update, as well as a great baby gift idea. Outdoor temperatures have started to rise, so we’re reposting one of our favorite cool salads. Check out Martha Stewart’s rainbow cakes – they are perfect for Pride Month or any time!


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When a friend or family member welcomes a new baby, we create a special frame with the newborn’s name. To do this, we decorate a flat frame with good quality stickers. You can find stickers with many themes. If you know the decor of the nursery, the frame can be customized. We have made frames with jungle themes, beach themes, balloons and more. If the proud parents have e-mailed pictures of the new addition, print your favorite on photo paper and insert in the frame. We created the frame below to celebrate the birth of a friend’s granddaughter. Our example is without the photo we used out of respect for the family’s privacy. For this frame, we chose a garden theme with 3D flower stickers and butterflies. We also put a sticker on the glass that says: “Love at first sight!” (That’s not a water stain in the bottom right-hand corner, it’s photographer Kevin’s shadow!)

Money saving tip: These stickers can be a little pricey. We usually buy them at Michael’s or Joann’s. Check the store’s websites – they often have coupons!

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Now that warmer weather is here, we are trying to cook and eat cooler foods that are light and refreshing and won’t add too much heat to the kitchen. Our BOW TIE PASTA SALAD, first shared in our Academy Award post, “OSCAR! OSCAR! OSCAR!”, fits the bill!

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Ingredients: 1 pkg. bow tie farfalle pasta (we chose a vegetable variety for extra color), the juice of 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1/2 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons Italian salad dressing,         1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 3 chopped plum tomatoes, 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn,         2 tablespoons chopped chives. Prepare the bow tie pasta according to package directions. Rinse with cold water and refrigerate until cool. Combine lemon juice and zest with oil and salad dressing. Mix chopped tomato with corn, toss pasta with dressing combo and parm. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with chives. Chill and serve.


We continue our celebration of Pride Month with a collection of wonderful rainbow cakes from Martha Stewart.

And click here for some information about events at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, NY, in 1969, widely recognized as a defining moment in the fight for LGBT rights.


This week, our crop of baby cherry tomatoes has doubled from 3 to 6! The tomato plant is shown at the top of the page. We also continue transplanting our seedlings, re-potting some marigold plants into our original toolbox planter and our new painted terra-cotta pots, which were featured in our Mother’s Day blog. The remainder of our seedlings will be transplanted this weekend. There are some concerns about our pansy seedlings – looking a bit scrawny at this point. We would appreciate any advice!

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A welcome addition to this year’s garden is this cute flamingo watering can, which we bought in memory of our beloved friend Sondra. She loved gardening and pink flamingos!

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“The Earth laughs in flowers.”                                                                                                                     – Ralph Waldo Emerson (Source – goodreads)

Next week: Father’s Day!


Roy and Kevin

June – A Rainbow of Possibilities!

There is a lot going on this week! We are focusing on the final leg of the Triple Crown, our quick and delicious recipe for pizza, a garden update and Pride Month!


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The Belmont Stakes is the third leg of the Triple Crown. Excitement is high this year with the possibility of a Triple Crown winner, which has not been accomplished since Affirmed won in 1978 – almost 4 decades ago! American Pharaoh, who won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, will face a group of talented, well-rested challengers. We look forward to watching on Saturday afternoon and will be filling out our racing forms. Hoping for better results this time!

Click here for information on this year’s Belmont Stakes contenders:

And here is an interesting article about the ever-changing Belmont Stakes official signature cocktail(s):


The Belmont Stakes are in New York. As a nod to one of the foods served at the food court at the track, New York-style pizza, we thought we’d share our Italian bread pizza. Its easy, economical and delicious. You can use your favorite sauce and toppings or try ours.

You will need: a 1 lb. loaf of whole wheat or white Italian bread, a jar of your favorite tomato sauce, 1/2 lb. of browned ground beef, 8 oz. of shredded Italian cheese blend, mushrooms and peppers.

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 To make the pizzas: preheat oven to 400 degrees.

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Using a serrated bread knife, cut the loaf horizontally into three layers, as shown. Toast in the pre-heated oven on parchment paper for 7-10 minutes.

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Top each pizza with 1/2 cup of sauce, 1/3 cup of cheese, 1/3 of the ground beef, mushrooms and peppers or the toppings of your choice.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Cut each pizza into 4 slices and enjoy! We especially like the center layer!


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June started with temperatures in the 40’s, but our plants have hung in there. One of the joys we get from gardening is discovering the unexpected. When we were buying this year’s plants for our patio, we spotted some small, bright purple flowers called Lobelia and decided to give them a try. When we first planted them, we thought they might not make it, but as the picture above shows, they have thrived. They make a nice, bright backdrop in our garden!


We love the beach and we enjoy decorating with beach-inspired items. We jokingly call our home, “the beach house”. This week’s featured photo of Kevin with a rainbow shooting out of his hat is one of our favorites. Roy took this photo in Provincetown, MA, a couple of years ago during our vacation. We decorated the frame with a few shells from the trip. They attach easily with some craft glue. You can cover the whole frame with shells or just add a few.                These embellished frames make great giftstoo! 

Speaking of rainbows:


President Barrack Obama has officially declared June to be LGBT Pride Month. There are great concerts, educational exhibits, crafts fairs, festivals and parades nationwide in June. We are looking forward to Rhodes Island’s month-long celebration. Go on-line to check out events in your area.

Here is a timeline of LGBT history:

Click to access LGBT-Pride-Month-Timeline.pdf

Rainbow Life Quotes – Bing Images



Roy and Kevin