Category Archives: Gardens

Washington, DC – What a Trip!

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” Saint Augustine Source:Brainyquotes

Last week, we took a vacation to Washington, DC. This was Kevin’s first trip to our nation’s capital. Roy has been there a few times, but not for many years.

It was so exciting to go together and see the monuments, museums and more!

This week, we share some of our trip photos, a couple of ideas for recording travel memories, a garden update, and, of course, the bears!

TAKE NOTES

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We took daily notes about what happened during our travels and sightseeing. At night, we would review our day, jotting down the details we remembered on the hotel’s notepads, in our case, the highly recommended State Plaza Hotel.  This resulted in a pile of notes, which are great reminders of our DC adventures.http://www.stateplaza.com/?src=ppc_yahoobing_brand&utm_source=yahoobing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=brand

Notes were about:

  • Airport TSA screenings (Roy got patted down because he forgot to remove his metal bracelet)
  • Fun layover in Charlotte, NC, with folks from Shelton, CT (great package deal took us way out of way)
  • Learning the Metro system in DC
  • Talking to the hotel desk clerk trainee named Simone about the Olympics and Gold Medal gymnast Simone Biles and Gold Medal Swimmer Simone Manuel (it was Simone day!)
  • Getting upgraded to a deluxe suite in our hotel (thanks, Simone)
  • Trying fresh beets, which we actually liked! (So much better than canned!)
  • The free gallery exhibit of miniature architectural models we ran across unexpectedly in downtown DC
  • The monuments
  • The Smithsonian
  • The Library of Congress
  • Macy’s – DC (a.c. was welcome – plus we needed socks)
  • Dupont Circle – enough said!
  • The Disarm Hate Rally
  • Metro employee who thought Kevin smelled good (he had sprayed some sample cologne at Macy’s)
  • The New England folks we met everywhere (thanks Red Sox hats!)
  • Visit to the Kennedy Center
  • The singing bar back
  • The singing flight attendant on the flight home
  • So many people from so many countries speaking so many languages. As Maya Angelou wrote, “We are more alike my friends than we are unalike.”
  • Two fun visits and great food with Kevin’s nephew Mark, his girlfriend Richelle and their cat Babou (Thanks!!!)
  • How much we love vacationing
  • And much more!

TAKE PHOTOS

OUR VIEW

This was the view from the hotel window in our kitchen (thanks, again, Simone!). Walking distance to the monuments!

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THE MONUMENTS

A little bit closer to the Washington Monument than our window view. Thanks to the beautiful young Russian woman who offered to take our photo while we were trying to selfie without a selfie stick.

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THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL

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Kevin reading one of Lincoln’s speeches engraved on the wall of the Lincoln Memorial

and Kevin in front of the reflecting pool.

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THE SMITHSONIAN

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Roy in front of the American History Museum. A little Ice cream would have been nice on this hot day. This Good Humor truck is from 1967.

THE KENNEDY CENTER

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When Roy was a theatre major at UMass in 1991, he acted in a production of The Playboy of the Western World by John Millington Synge. Out of 500 plays judged nationwide, it was one of just five chosen to be performed at the Kennedy Center. On the left is Roy back then, and on the right, Roy last week. Good memories both times. Very special – and walking distance from the hotel!

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Stunning sculpture of JFK in the lobby of the Kennedy Center. Awesome!!!

SHARE YOUR TRIP

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We know how much children love receiving mail. With this in mind, we sent a postcard from DC to each of our great nieces and nephews. This nice postcard book from the Smithsonian gift shop had photos of a lot of the places we saw. We got 33 beautiful postcards for $8.95!

GIFTS

During our travels, we came across plenty of tempting items that would have made great gifts. We travelled light this trip – only with backpacks (highly recommended if possible), so the postcard idea worked well for us. Had we had more room in our bags, the museum gift shops would have been the place to fill them.

Travel without travelling! Explore your favorite museum’s gift shops on-line for interesting and unusual items.

ACTIVISM

We care deeply about many issues. While planning our trip, we discovered that the Disarm Hate Rally was scheduled for Saturday, August 13th, a date we would be in DC. The Disarm Hate Rally was sponsored by the LBGT community in response to the Orlando massacre. Its goal – sensible gun law reform.

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Here is a link to learn more about Disarm Hate:

http://www.disarmhate2016.info/

GARDEN UPDATE

The garden hung in there pretty well during our four-day absence.

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We came home to a bounty of red and orange peppers and tomatoes ready to pick and enjoy! The flowers continue to grace us with their beauty!

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WATER

We watered the plants the morning of our trip at about 4:15 am.

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We bought these watering globes for about $8.00 each. They helped keep our plants watered, and they are pretty, too!

TIN CAN MAN UPDATE

As we hoped, our garden tin can man is weathering. Let’s call him Rusty!

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Check out our previous blog for directions on how to  create your own tin can man!

https://funclesarts.com/2016/04/23/help-the-earth-yes-we-can/

FOOD ART (all from our garden) 

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THE BEARS

The bears are enjoying showing off their DC postcards and hats!

Enjoy your world!

Roy & Kevin

 

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An Olympic-Sized Post

“If you dream and allow yourself to dream, you can do anything, and that’s what the Olympic medal represents.”  Clara Hughes – Canadian cyclist and speed skater and 3-time Olympian with 6 medals won in 1996, 2000, 2012.*

We love the Olympics! It’s a month-long celebration of great sporting events, drama and human interest stories. Opening ceremonies for the Summer Olympics 2016 in Brazil are tomorrow, Friday, August 5th. But the Games have already started. Glad to see the U.S. women’s soccer team won their first match, 2-0! Go USA!!!

This week, we feature an easy chicken nacho recipe perfect for watching the Olympics, family-friendly Olympic activities, a garden update, and, of course, the bears!

CHICKEN NACHOS FOR OLYMPIC-SIZED APPETITES!

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These chicken nachos are easy and delicious – a gold-medal snack!

Ingredients:

  • two cups diced rotisserie chicken
  • 1/3 cup water
  • one tablespoon low sodium taco seasoning mix
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • 6 oz. tortilla chips
  • one can fat-free refried beans, heated
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapeno slices
  • one cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • one small tomato, diced
  • one cup shredded lettuce

Toppings:

  • olives
  • guacamole
  • taco sauces
  • sour cream
  • salsa

To prepare:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • In skillet, heat to combine chicken, taco seasoning and water.
  • Spread chips on parchment-covered sheet tray.
  • Heat chips in oven for 5 minutes.
  • Remove chips from oven.
  • Spread with refried beans.
  • Cover beans with chicken mixture.
  • Sprinkle corn over chicken.
  • Dot with jalapeno slices.
  • Top with shredded cheese.
  • Heat in oven for 7-10 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and top with lettuce and tomatoes.
  • Serve with your choice of toppings.
  • Makes 6 delicious servings.

FIVE TIMES NEAT!

“I always thought it would be neat to make the Olympic team.”* Michael Phelps, five-time Olympian and 2016 USA flag bearer at the opening ceremonies in Rio on Friday.

FAMILY OLYMPIC ACTIVITIES

The Olympics make for great family television viewing. They also can be educational and fun! Here are a few ideas:

Geography: There are many websites online where you can find free maps to print. Print out maps and have your kids find host country, Brazil, and competing countries on their maps. You also can have a geography competition. As athletes and their countries are announced before events, who will win the race to find the athelete’s country?

Culture: Go online to explore the culture of the nations represented, including their foods, history and arts.

Inspiration: Use the Olympics to discuss goal setting and how working towards your dreams can be rewarding.

Athletics and fitness: Use the Olympics to encourage youngsters and yourself to be more physically fit and try new sports. Play and hold your own mini-Olympic games.

Here is a fun link from Real Simple about hosting your own Olympic games!

http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/family/olympic-games-kids

GARDEN UPDATE

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Its been quite hot lately and our garden is doing very well. We just picked our first batch of 15 tomatoes, and have had one each of our red and yellow peppers. We should have listened when the package said “spicy red peppers”!

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Our coleus is thriving, and we didn’t expect it to bloom! A nice surprise!

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The herbs are doing well, too. The flamingo is impressed!

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The “Let’s Grow” sign from our last blog has found its outdoor spot.

FOOD ART

Our first crop of tomatoes (can you find all 15?) with a fun background.

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JOKE OF THE WEEK

Q; Why does the Olympic torch always start in Olympia?

A: Because its hard to put out a Greece fire.

source: Chetchatblogspot.com

THE BEARS

The bears love the Olympics! They made their own medals from cardboard, ribbon, wrapping paper and scotch tape. Try this easy craft for all your winners!!! In what Olympic events do you think our bears will medal?

Enjoy the Olympics!

Roy & Kevin

*Quote source: Brainyquotes

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

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

Father’s Day, Pride and the Garden!

This week, we focus on Father’s Day, Pride Month, a garden update, and, of course, the bears.

FATHER’S DAY

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“Any man can be a father, but it takes a special man to be a dad.” – Anne Geddes*

We are both grateful and blessed to have had wonderful, dedicated fathers, to whom family meant everything. Applause to all great fathers and their lucky children.

Here is a simple idea for a great Father’s Day gift:

GIFT BOWL

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A great way to present a gift is to use a bowl like a gift basket. In the example above, we placed three different bottles of hot sauce in a bowl with some colorful, shredded paper, and spelled out “Dad” on the bowl in stickers. Let the kids get creative with the stickers! To finish this and make it more transportable, wrap it in cellophane and tie with a ribbon. This doesn’t have to be expensive. We got this bowl and hot sauce trio at an outlet store for under $6.00! You also can add a gift card to a favorite restaurant, if desired. A Buffalo Wild Wings gift card would work well in our example. Customize your gift bowl for your special dad!

Find more Father’s Day ideas from last year’s post:

https://funclesarts.com/2015/06/20/fathers-day/

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person; he believed in me.”           – Jim Valvano*

FATHER’S DAY JOKE:

What did daddy spider say to baby spider?  You spend too much time on the web!                 Source: jokes4us.com

OUR DADS

Here is a picture of Kevin’s father, Warren, and his mom, Irene, at a family celebration . . .

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. . . and here is a picture of Roy’s father, Bill, who enjoyed taking care of his home (perhaps not so much during snow storms).

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PRIDE – Love Conquers Hate

June is LGBT-pride month nationwide, and we were proud to celebrate our 18th year together on June 6th. As everyone probably knows, on Sunday morning, June 12th, a horrible tragedy occurred at The Pulse, a LGBT nightclub in Orlando, FL, when 49 people were killed in the worst mass murder shooting in our country’s history.

But love conquers hate, and we will be among the more than 40,000 participants this Saturday, June 18th, at Rhode Islands’ 41st annual Pride Fest, a day-long celebration in Providence ending with an amazing illuminated parade. Check out http://www.prideri.com for more details.

Rainbow Flag Sign:

This rainbow sign was made from a piece of scrap wood. Measure out 6 even horizontal spaces (in this case, each stripe is 3/4 inch wide) and paint them with acrylic paint in the colors of the rainbow.

Here is the before picture:

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and after:

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GARDEN UPDATE

This year’s garden got off to a late start due to weather, but we now have most of our plants potted. (Clockwise from top left) Basil, peppers & tomatoes, zinnias, and variegated tiger lilies are some of this year’s offerings.

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Ladder Plant Stand

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This colorful plant stand was created out of 3 different-sized ladders and a few boards we had on hand. Standard rung heights for ladders simplified this project. Paint your ladders to match your garden’s color theme. We did rainbow colors this year. Choose plants that take full sun for top of ladders and partial sun or shade for the lower levels. Check out future blogs for the development of this work in progress.

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The shelves were cut from scrap wood with a saber saw. Two inverted storage bins of the same size (shown below) made great saw horses. (Use care with power tools, or better yet, buy new lumber and have it cut to size at the store.)

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The ladders and shelves were painted with leftover paint and some new indoor/outdoor spray paint. They were painted quickly and imperfectly to create a distressed look. Since we had the ladders and boards (sometimes it pays to run a storage facility!), this project cost under ten dollars. You can find used ladders at tag sales or flea markets for your project.

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Gardening can be a wonderful way to focus on something positive. Last Sunday, when we were still absorbing the tragic news from Orlando, we decided to go out and pick up some plants to complete the garden. It helps to do something positive and life-affirming during difficult times.

FOOD ART! 

Take pride in your tasty food (flag)!

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THE BEARS

The bears are admiring the results of their hard work!

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Enjoy!

Roy &Kevin

*Quote source: Chiff.com

Memorial Day and More!

QUOTE FOR MEMORIAL DAY:

“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.”  – Arthur Ashe

Source : inspirational quotes and quotations.com

This week, we offer some picnic food ideas, a garden update, thoughts on Memorial Day and, of course, the bears.

PICNIC FOODS

Memorial Day starts the picnic season and even though we can’t grill outdoors at our home, we enjoy grilling indoors on our grill pan. Here’s a nutritious twist on bacon-wrapped hot dogs which still offers great grilled taste.

Zucchini Wrapped Hot Dogs

Skip the bacon and add some vegetable goodness to your hot dog!

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Hot Dog Wrap

You will need:

  • Your favorite hot dogs – turkey, beef, whatever you like. (Tofu?)
  • Medium zucchini, washed
  • Vegetable spray for grill pan

How to prepare:

  • Using a vegetable peeler, cut zucchini lengthwise into strips.
  • Place zucchini strips on oiled grill pan.
  • Grill zucchini for 1 minute on each side.
  • Wrap one or more grilled zucchini strips around each hot dog.
  • Grill zucchini-wrapped hot dogs to your preferred level of doneness. (Double grilling the zucchini gives it a meatier flavor.)
  • Serve with your favorite toppings. (See below for one of our new go-to relishes.)

Giardiniera Relish

Giardiniera is a spicy mix of pickled vegetables. We saw this tip on Rachael Ray’s show and decided to give it a try. It is delicious!

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Place the contents of a drained 16 oz. jar of giardiniera in the food processor. Pulse until consistency of pickle relish. It’s a delicious topping for hot dogs or your favorite sandwich. Also great as a topping for chicken or fish.

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LOOK BACK

Check out last year’s blog for more ideas:

https://funclesarts.com/2015/05/24/memorial-day-weekend/

GARDEN UPDATE

It’s been a cold spring, and we are just beginning to put our garden together. Last weekend, we bought a cherry tomato plant, 2 pepper plants (one hot, one sweet) and 2 trays of Impatiens.

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Kevin enjoyed starting the planting. He planted the red Impatiens below the hummingbird feeder because the hummingbirds are attracted to the color red.

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Memorial Garden Decorations

In our garden, some of our ornamental items are in memory of loved ones no longer with us.

Our garden bee is in memory of our niece and dear friend, Christine, who was, among many things, an avid gardener and beekeeper. The flamingo watering can is in memory of our beloved friend, Sondra, who always had flamingos in her beautiful garden.

The angel below is in memory of Kevin’s mom, Irene, who had a special relationship with angels. It sits on a shelf created by Roy’s late father, Bill, who also owned the wind chimes pictured to the right. We think these mementos, coupled with a garden of flowers and vegetables, make a beautiful tribute to life and those we love.

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Plant Stands? Perhaps!

We are planning to use these two ladders as plant stands. The bears want to paint them.   (Hmm – not sure how that will work out!)

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GROWING GREEN ONIONS 

Kevin’s sister, Christine, told us about this fun idea.

Buy a bunch of organic green onions from your local grocery store. Put in a glass of water, root side down. Trim onions as needed for your favorite recipe. The onions will grow back remarkably quickly. Change the water as needed. Could not be easier!

Here is our plant and some pictures of the growth after cutting the three stalks on left:

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1 day’s growth after an initial trim:

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2 day’s growth:

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3 day’s growth:

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4 day’s growth:

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Amazing, instant success – great for kids!!!

Food Art: PEPPER PETALS

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The Bears

Our furry friends were successful! With a quick coat of paint, the small old ladder makes a great plant stand!

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OUR HEROES:

Last, but not by no means least, we salute our fathers, both of whom served our country during World War II.

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Roy’s father, William J. Drew, Jr.

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Kevin’s father, Warren Wollschlager, shown with new bride, Irene.

We thank all those who serve to protect our freedom, past and present.

Enjoy

Roy & Kevin

Celebrating Mothers on Mother’s Day!

 

“… love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves its own mark.”

J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Mother’s Day is a day of celebration nationwide. Billions are spent on flowers and candy and taking mom out for her special day.* For those of us whose mothers have passed away, this day can be difficult. To make it better, we choose to focus on good memories of our moms and to suggest ways for others to make Mother’s Day special. Both of our mother’s loved celebrations – guess that’s where we got it from!

This week, enjoy a tasty artichoke dip, simple ways to make Mother’s Day flowers more special, some ideas for creative gifts, a garden update, and, of course, the bears.

*According to statisticbrain.com, total spent for mother’s on Mother’s Day: $20.7 Billion!

NEW ARTICHOKE DIP

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This Easter, Kevin’s niece Corinne, who is a great mom herself, made this delicious artichoke dip. We are pleased she let us share her recipe here. We’ve actually had this dip as a side dish with dinner more than once. Great way to get your veggies!

Make it for your Mother’s Day celebration!

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. softened cream cheese, cut into manageable chunks
  • 1/3 cup mayo (we use Hellmann’s Light)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • two cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • two 14 oz. cans artichoke hearts in water, drained
  • chopped scallions
  • seeded, chopped tomatoes

How to prepare:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Have a large mixing bowl ready to place the ingredients in after they have gone through the food processor.

  • Mince artichoke hearts in food processor and pour into bowl.
  • Mix cream cheese, mayo, and garlic powder in processor until smooth.
  • Combine cream cheese mixture with chopped artichokes.
  • Finely grind cheeses in food processor, add to mixing bowl and stir all ingredients until thoroughly incorporated.
  • Spread mixture in glass pie plate.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes (should not be too brown on top).
  • Top with scallions and tomatoes.
  • Dip can be served warm or cold. It also reheats well in the microwave.
  • Serve with corn or pita chips.

VASES

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Here are three easy and inexpensive ways to make a gift of flowers more special! Cute glass vases from the dollar store are easy to decorate. Cut out three 2-inch squares of decorative card stock, and spell MOM out on the cards, one letter per square. (We used stickers, but the letters can be handwritten in crayon or magic marker for a child’s personal touch.) Tie the squares onto the vases with jute (top photo). You also can use a single vase and do the same technique with one piece of 3″ wide x 5″ long piece of cardstock. The third example is the easiest. Simply spell out MOM in stickers on the vase itself. We got these lovely tulips on sale at a supermarket and using stickers and cardstock we had on hand, this gift cost under $10.00!

Last year’s post:

Here is last year’s Mother’s Day post with some additional ideas and thoughts.

https://funclesarts.com/2015/05/09/mothers-day-is-a-special-day/

GIFT IDEAS

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There’s still time to get a great gift for mom!

Here are a few ideas:

Photo gifts:

  • Print out a new or old photo that is special to your mom and put it in a nice frame. Instant keepsake.
  • Offer to scan your mom’s family photos to the computer or onto a disk. She will be able to print those she likes or share favorite photos with others from her computer.

Gift cards:

Gift cards to theaters, museums, craft and fabric stores or other creative venues will thrill the creative-minded mother. Practical gift cards for supermarkets or department stores also are great. Kevin’s mom loved getting gift cards to her local dollar store to stock up on greeting cards and gift wrap. No time to shop in-store? E-cards can be bought online!

Gifts of time and service:

  • Help mom clean her basement or garage.
  • Take mom food shopping or to the mall.
  • Enjoy a show or lunch with mom.

The garden:

  • Pick up some of your mom’s favorite plants.
  • Help her plant her flowers.

Kevin’s mom used to plant her patio and window box flowers on Mother’s Day. She enjoyed doing this with her daughter, Christine, who would gift her with the flowers and help plant them. This became a very special yearly tradition.

GARDEN UPDATE

We are starting to plan our garden for this year. Most years, Mother’s Day is a good time to start planting, but this year it is too cold and wet. We’re looking forward to getting our patio planting done soon!

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Looks like the flamingo has started helping with clean up by pulling a weed! (This photo is not staged.)

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Flowering food art (baby carrots, celery and grapes)

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JOKE OF THE WEEK:

What did the momma broom say to the baby broom? “It’s time to go to sweep!”

Source: Jokes4us.com

THE BEARS

The bears are celebrating Mother’s Day, too! Shown above and here with Irene’s handmade “MOM” pillow.

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We end this post with photos of our own mothers, always in our thoughts and in our hearts.

Kevin’s mom, Irene, with some of her loved ones at her 85th birthday lunch a few years ago.

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Roy’s mother, Phyllis, with new baby Roy and the rest of her family – quite a few years ago.

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HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!

Enjoy!

Roy and Kevin