Monthly Archives: July 2016

Summer Garden!!!

“The most lasting and pure gladness comes to me from my garden.” – Lillie Langtry*

We have had a busy July with some extra work responsibilities. It’s nice to have the beauty of our patio garden to enjoy!

This week, for our 80th blog post, we feature a quick shrimp & vegetable recipe, stencilled signs, a garden update, and, of course, the bears!

EASY SHRIMP AND RICE

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This dish is a perfect weeknight meal. It’s quick, easy and delicious. An added bonus on a hot summer night – no oven required.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Two cups of instant brown rice, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 lb of 41-50 shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails off
  • 2  tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 lb frozen mixed pepper strips
  • 1/2 lb frozen broccoli and cauliflower mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  •  Two tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 rib of celery, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas

HOW TO PREPARE:

  • Saute onion, mushrooms and celery in one tablespoon of oil until tender.
  • Remove and place in a Dutch oven.
  • Cook frozen peppers and broccoli/cauliflower mixture in microwave for 5 minutes and add to Dutch oven.
  • Toss shrimp with garlic powder and red pepper flakes.
  • Saute shrimp over medium heat in second tablespoon of olive oil until just pink.
  • Add shrimp to vegetables.
  • Stir in cooked rice.
  • Add frozen peas and soy sauce.
  • Stir, cover and cook on medium low heat for 5 minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Make your own combination, add water chestnuts, bean sprouts, cooked carrots or whatever you like!

TRYING SOMETHING NEW: PAINTED SIGNS

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Inspirational or humorous stencilled signs are very popular decorating items for home or garden, but can be very expensive. Why not try making your own?

A found piece of aged wood, and some inexpensive stencils, foam stippler brushes and acrylic paints from Michael’s (look for coupons!) made this project easy. Our stencil set had a full alphabet, punctuation marks and a leaf pattern, which went well with our, “Lets Grow”, message.

A couple of tips:

  • If your stencils come with directions, read them. (Maybe we will next time!)
  • Don’t rush. Do a letter at a time and allow it to dry. Acrylic paint dries quickly, so this crucial step will not take too long.
  • Sand paper and accent paint can help correct smudged letters.

We love how this sign came out and it has a special place in our garden. Which leads us to:

GARDEN UPDATE

“The Earth laughs in flowers.” Ralph Waldo Emerson*

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We got this beautiful bird house, expertly painted by Roy’s soon-to-be five-year old great-niece, Kinsley, with the assistance from grandma, Lyn. Kinsley has a great eye for color combinations. After seeing photos of our garden, she knew where the bird house needed to go. It color-coodinates perfectly with our pot-full of pink and white petunias! (Thanks Kinsley and Lyn!)

This is a fun craft for any age. The unpainted birdhouses are available at craft stores. (This one came from Michael’s.) Acrylic paints do the trick. They dry fast and hold up pretty well outside. As an added bonus when working with kids, they wash off easily with soap and water.

Add embellishments to make your bird house festive; customize for different themes and holidays!

The Plants:

The warm summer weather has been a boon for our garden. The pepper plants, especially, are responding to the hot, humid weather. The flowers also are thriving – as long as we remember to water at least once a day!

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GUEST GARDEN PHOTOS

We visited Kevin’s brother, Warren and sister-in-law, Sharon, this past weekend. They have a beautiful assortment of flowers. Here are a few pictures:

Kevin was pleased to see that they have a tiger lily plant, which they grew from a clipping taken from Kevin & Warren’s childhood home In Meriden, CT.

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A second recent addition to our garden landscape and a nice surprise from this visit was Roy’s belated birthday gift, a trio of beautifully blown glass solar garden lights. (Thank you Sharon & Warren!)

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FOOD ART

Light on the red onion.

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JOKE OF THE WEEK: 

How well is your garden going to grow? Only thyme will tell!                                                         Source: Nestinstyle.wordpress.com

THE BEARS

The bears are admiring our new “Let’s Grow” sign (featured image).

Enjoy & stay cool!

Roy & Kevin

*Quote source-brainyquote.com

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Happy Birthday, America!!!

 

Where liberty dwells – there is my country. – Benjamin Franklin*

As we celebrate the founding of America this 4th of July, it is important to remember that we are a nation of immigrants. In this time of turmoil, we think our future is best served by building bridges, not walls.

This week, we feature gifts for kids, a patriotic dessert, garden update, and, of course, the bears!

GIFTS FOR KIDS

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Children love getting mail, and we love sending packages to our great nieces and nephews. This year’s 4th of July mailing included holiday-themed pencils and erasers, toy cars, silly straws, hair clips, necklaces, bracelets, candy, cookie cutters (for the parents) and, of course, American flags.

DESSERT

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Patriotic ice cream sandwich sundae

Here is a delicious sundae you can make with ice cream sandwiches.

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You will need:

  • ice cream sandwiches
  • fresh strawberries, cut in fan shape
  • fresh blueberries, frozen
  • strawberry jelly, microwaved in jar (no lid) for 20-30 seconds
  • whipped cream

In the photo above, we pressed frozen blueberries into the sides of the ice cream sandwiches and topped with strawberries, whipped cream and a drizzle of warmed jelly. Even though the fruit was frozen and the plates were cold, during assembly, the ice cream sandwiches began to melt, especially when we drizzled with the strawberry jelly. Delicious, but messy. New thought: Simplify!

To make a simpler 4th of July ice cream sandwich:

  • Microwave 1/4 cup strawberry jelly for 20 seconds.
  • Place ice cream sandwich on a plate.
  • Top with frozen berries and whipped cream.
  • Drizzle with warm strawberry jelly.
  • Enjoy!

More good stuff:

Last years 4th of July post:

https://funclesarts.com/2015/07/02/lets-be-independent-together/

GARDEN UPDATE

Summer has finally arrived, and our patio garden is thriving! Our crop already includes seven tomatoes and two peppers. Here are a few photos:

The whole thing!

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Another angle!

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The bee is fond of the pink Impatiens!

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Peppers and tomatoes!

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Blooming beautiful!

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FOOD ART

Be fruitful!

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A TRIO OF HOLIDAY RIB (not BBQ) TICKLERS!

What did one flag say to the other flag? Nothing – it just waved!

What is red, white, blue and green? A patriotic pickle!

Why did the duck say “bang!”? He was a fire quacker!

Source: academictips.org

THE BEARS

The bears had a visitor in honor of the 4th of July and Pride! #Orlandostrong

 

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“Then join hand in hand brave Americans all, by uniting we stand, by dividing we fall!”                   – John Dickinson, founding father of the U.S.*

*Quote source: ibtimes.com

Enjoy!

Roy & Kevin