Category Archives: signs

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

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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