Top Ten Patriotic Desserts

In preparation for the unofficial start to summer, here are the Top Ten Patriotic Desserts. Click on dessert names under the photos for links to each recipe.

Ever wonder how Memorial Day originated?

HISTORY OF MEMORIAL DAY care of History.com

Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars.

For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, but in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees and declared Memorial Day a federal holiday. The change went into effect in 1971.

Cities and towns across the United States host Memorial Day parades each year, often incorporating military personnel and members of veterans’ organizations. Some of the largest parades take place in Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. Americans also observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. On a less somber note, many people take weekend trips or throw parties and barbecues on the holiday.

Happy Holiday, hon!

Sources: insidebrucrewlife.com, tasteofhome.com, delish.commarthastewart.com, yummyhealthyeasy.com, familycircle.com, thououghlynourishedlife.com, history.com

 

Advertisements

Top Ten April Fool’s Pranks, Part 2

Welcome to Top Ten April Fool’s Day Pranks, Part 2.

I’d love to hear if you have a favorite.

I must add a retraction to yesterday’s post.

Correction: Hubby pranks our kids. Example: Our youngest daughter scheduled an interview with the owner of a restaurant for a school project. Hubby told her a pipe burst at the restaurant and it would be closed for the month. “Oh no!” said our daughter. “April Fool’s!”said Hubby.

6) Subway Car Surfaces, 2001

Residents of Copenhagen who visited the square in front of the town hall were greeted by a strange sight. One of the subway cars from the city’s new subway, which was under construction, appeared to have burst up through the pavement. The subway car actually was a retired vehicle from the Stockholm subway. It had been cut at an angle and loose bricks were placed around it, to give the illusion that it had crashed up from below.

The stunt was sponsored by Gevalia Coffee, whose advertisements had an ongoing theme of vehicles popping up in strange locations, with the tagline “Be ready for unexpected guests.”

Real crash or subway car cut at an angle?


7) $99 Flights to Mars, 2009

Vacation at a real hot spot.

Internet-based travel site Expedia.com announced it was offering flights to Mars for only $99, which it calculated to be a savings of $3 trillion for travelers. “In this economy, you can’t afford NOT to go!” it declared.


8Kids Fly Free, 2004

Fly free?

Visitors to the website of discount airline RyanAir were greeted by the news that as a special April Fool’s Day offer kids would be allowed to ride free. A few seconds later the announcement added the second part of the offer: “For as long as they can hold on.”


9) King’s College Choir Uses Helium, 2014

The renowned King’s College Choir is not known for farce. This made it noteworthy when they released a video announcing that complex regulations had made it impractical to continue featuring young boys in the choir, and that they had been forced to find other ways to replicate the high pitch of the boys’ preadolescent voices. Because the older choral scholars had vetoed the “surgical solution,” the choir leaders had finally adopted a suggestion made by a colleague in the Chemistry Department — use helium. The video, demonstrating the use of helium during a performance, generated over 2 million views on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukDAfF0-8q8


10) Eau de Chlôrine, a perfume that makes you smell like a swimming pool, 2017

USA Swimming just put out this ad: Eau de Chlôrine is an exhilarating race of the senses that never lets up. It starts off strong, fast and soggy. A cannonball that bursts with a lasting and immense feeling of amusement. Buoyed by the passions of a life spent floating through love, happiness and chlorinated water. Eau de Chlôrine is a powerful, heady scent that leaves an impression — both in and out of the pool.

The tag line: With spring upon us, now is the time to swim in our scent.

Related Post: Top Ten April Fool’s Pranks, Part 1

Sources: Hoaxes.org, Washingtonpost.com, Youtube.com, theverge.com

 

Top 10 April Fool’s Pranks, Part 1

Hon, pulling pranks on April Fool’s Day may not be a tradition in my house, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a good one. After scouring lists of news reports, advertisements, and videos, I came up with a list of my favorite…

Top Ten April Fool’s Pranks

1) The Tasmanian Mock Walrus, 1984

In 1984, The Orlando Sentinel ran a story about a creature known as the Tasmanian Mock Walrus (or TMW for short) that it said made a perfect pet. The creature was only four inches long, resembled a walrus, purred like a cat, and had the temperament of a hamster. What made it such an ideal pet was that it never had to be bathed, used a litter box, and ate cockroaches. In fact, a single TMW could entirely rid a house of its cockroach problem.

Reportedly, some TMWs had been smuggled in from Tasmania, and there were efforts being made to breed them, but the local pest-control industry, sensing that the TMW posed a threat to its business, was pressuring the government not to allow them in the country. An accompanying photo showed protestors picketing outside the offices of the Orlando city government to call attention to the plight of the TMW. Dozens of people called the paper trying to find out where they could obtain their own TMW.

Skeptics noted that the photo of a TMW accompanying the article showed a creature that looked suspiciously like a mole rat.

Tasmanian Mock Walrus or Mole Rat?


2) UFO Lands Near London, 1989

On March 31, 1989, thousands of motorists driving on the highway outside London looked up in the air to see a glowing flying saucer descending on their city. Many of them pulled to the side of the road to watch the bizarre craft float through the air. The saucer finally landed in a field on the outskirts of London where local residents immediately called the police to warn them of an alien invasion. Soon the police arrived on the scene, and one brave officer approached the craft with his truncheon extended before him. When a door in the craft popped open, and a small, silver-suited figure emerged, the policeman ran in the opposite direction.

The saucer turned out to be a hot-air balloon that had been specially built to look like a UFO by Richard Branson, the 36-year-old chairman of Virgin Records. The stunt combined his passion for ballooning with his love of pranks. His plan was to land the craft in London’s Hyde Park on April 1. Unfortunately, the wind blew him off course, and he was forced to land a day early in the wrong location.

UFO or hot air balloon?


3) The Taco Liberty Bell

On April 1, 1996, a full page ad appeared in six major American newspapers (The Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Dallas Morning News, and USA Today) announcing that the fast food chain Taco Bell had purchased the Liberty Bell. The full text of the ad read:

Taco Bell Buys The Liberty Bell
In an effort to help the national debt, Taco Bell is pleased to announce that we have agreed to purchase the Liberty Bell, one of our country’s most historic treasures. It will now be called the “Taco Liberty Bell” and will still be accessible to the American public for viewing. While some may find this controversial, we hope our move will prompt other corporations to take similar action to do their part to reduce the country’s debt.

Response
Taco Bell’s announcement generated an enormous response. Thousands of worried citizens called both Taco Bell’s headquarters and the National Park Service in Philadelphia to find out if the Bell had really been sold. Elaine Sevy, a Park Service spokeswoman, was quoted as saying, “We were shocked. We had no idea this was happening. We have just been getting hammered with phone calls from the public.”

The Philadelphia branch of the National Park Service arranged a midmorning news conference to assure the public that the Bell had not been sold. “The Liberty Bell is safe. It’s not for sale,” a spokeswoman announced.

In fact, the Bell could not have been sold by the federal government, as the ad implied, because the federal government did not own the Bell. It was the property of the City of Philadelphia.

At noon on April 1st, Taco Bell issued a second press release in which they confessed to the hoax, describing it as “The Best Joke of the Day.” The company also announced that it would donate $50,000 for the upkeep of the Liberty Bell.

Even the White House got in on the joke that same day when press secretary Mike McCurry told reporters that, as part of its ongoing privatization efforts “We’ll be doing a series of these. Ford Motor Co. is joining today in an effort to refurbish the Lincoln Memorial. It will be the Lincoln Mercury Memorial.”

The Liberty Bell or the Taco Liberty Bell?


4) Flying Penguins, 2008

The BBC announced that camera crews filming near the Antarctic for its natural history series Miracles of Evolution had captured footage of Adélie penguins taking to the air. It even offered a video clip of these flying penguins, which became one of the most viewed videos on the internet.

Presenter Terry Jones explained that, instead of huddling together to endure the Antarctic winter, these penguins took to the air and flew thousands of miles to the rainforests of South America where they “spend the winter basking in the tropical sun.” A follow-up video explained how the BBC created the special effects of the flying penguins.

 


5) Amazon, 2017

Amazon has created an Alexa-themed joke, with a new “Petlexa” integration, that purports to make your Echo capable of understanding queries from your pets. It mostly just consists of this video, since Amazon (understandably) didn’t build a functional version of this.

Part 2 of the “Top Ten April Fool’s Pranks” will be posted tomorrow. Which one was your favorite so far?

Related Post: Top Ten April Fool’s Pranks, Part 2

Sources: Hoaxes.org, The Verge.com, Washingtonpost.comYoutube.com

The Top Ten Coolest Things I Saw In California

Wedding decor handcrafted by the bride.

Wedding decor handcrafted by the bride.

California Dreaming

 I went to California for the weekend.  Hubby and I were guests at our dear friends’ son’s wedding.  It was outdoors.  It was beautiful.  I danced my dessert off.

Before this trip, I had only been to Los Angeles and San Francisco. The wedding was in San Luis Obispo, which is about halfway between LA and SF.  We drove up the coast to Carmel-by-the-Sea. Hon, I’m already (California) dreaming of a trip back to the West Coast.

Here are the Top Ten Coolest Things I saw In California this weekend.  

Driving up the coast with mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other.

Driving up the coast with mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other.

Do you see the tiny line in the mountain? That's the road we drove on. Yikes!

The tiny line carved out of the mountain is the road we drove on.  Yikes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 1. I’m combining these two photos to make up #1. Driving on the edge of mountains–cliffs, really–is a bit harrowing, but pretty cool. Hubby rented a convertible (picture me in an Audrey Hepburn-style scarf) so guess what I did?  Turned around and took pics of the views behind us!

Cows, cows and more cows.

Cows, cows and more cows.

2. Everywhere we drove, cattle were grazing. Cows with calves and steer with horns were wandering over hills, sitting in the shade, and chewing their cud. Moo!

Aoudads on San Simeon

Aoudads on San Simeon

3. These Aoudads, a kind of Barbary sheep, were hanging out on the road to the Hearst Castle. Apparently, William Hearst had a large menagerie back in the day. At one point, he owned 250,000 acres of land and brought all kinds of animals to his ranch.

Woman and cockatiel.

Woman and cockatiel.

 

4. Many marble statues adorn the Hearst Castle. I really liked this one.

Wineries are everywhere.

Tuscany or California?

5. The countryside is dotted with wineries. Vineyards carpet the hills and Mediterranean architecture adds European flavor.  Salute!

West Coast succelents.

West Coast succelents.

6. Hon, you know how I love texture and color?  This garden has both.  I love the contrast between the colors and the grey rocks.  I have no idea what these plants are called, so if you do, would you please let me know and I’ll add the info?

Roman Pool at the Hearst Castle.

Roman Pool at the Hearst Castle.

7. This indoor pool is enchanting. Maybe it was the millions of tiny blue mosaics or the lighting or the smaller pool room, but standing at water’s edge I felt a romance or drama or mystery coming on.

Hummingbird in flight.

Hummingbird in flight.

8. I can’t believe I got this photo. Have you ever tried to photograph a hummingbird? Enough said!

9. What could be cooler than watching young, male Elephant Seals swim, snooze, spar, snort and scratch?  I guess they get itchy, too!

Galerie Rue Royale, artist: Devon,

Artist DeVon featured at Galerie Rue Royale, Carmel-by-the-Sea

10. Energy! Powerful! Superhero! Wow!

Highlights Parents Memorial Day Ideas

Me, Hubby and two daughters. Lucy looks winded from our walk along the Hudson River in Manhattan.

Me, Hubby and two daughters. Lucy looks winded from our walk along the Hudson River in Manhattan.

Top Ten (plus One) Ideas of What to Do Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day is coming up and I have ideas of what to do.  Eleven, in fact.  Here’s a link to  my 1st article published in Highlights Parents online magazine titled 11 Crazy-Fun Ideas to Make Memorial Day Weekend Special.

Have a nice holiday, hon!

Top Ten Reasons Why Lucy Is My Inspiration Puppy

Inspiration Puppy

Inspiration Puppy.

Lucy is my Inspiration Puppy.

Lucy is my chapter book’s muse. She and my main character both have silky fur, flappy ears, round, brown eyes and a fluffy tail. My muse shows me how a dog behaves, and my uncanny ability to translate WOOF adds to my main character’s authenticity. Writers are advised to “write what you know,” and I know Lucy. You know?

Top Ten Reasons Why Lucy Is My Inspiration Puppy

(with commentary from Lucy)

Lucy is not just a dog, she’s also a:

1. LEG BONKER. Lucy gets attention is by bonking her wet, black nose into legs. Again and again. “What do you want, Lucy?”

Lucy asks, “Do I have your attention now?”

2. VACUUM CLEANER.  Lucy finds the messiest eater and places herself under his/her chair.  If it falls on the floor, it’s hers.

Lucy says, “I’ll eat whatever YOU are eating!”

Hiking Bear Mountain with a stand-in for a mountain goat.

Hiking Bear Mountain.

3.  FOOT WARMER.  This canine is hot, and I don’t mean that in an inappropriate way. Got cold toes? Get a dog!

Lucy says, “Feet schmeet. It’s still petting.”

Pooch Pillow.

Pooch Pillow.

4.  POOCH PILLOW. Need a cuddle or a cry? Tired? Bury your head in a Pooch Pillow and you’ll feel better immediately.

Lucy says, “I’m an affectionate girl.”

Intelligent eyes.

Intelligent eyes.

5.  SMARTYPANTS. Maybe its the Border Collie in her or maybe I’m just bragging, but that dog knows a lot of words.

Lucy says, “First of all, I don’t wear pants and, second of all, of course I’m smart.  I watch your every move.”

Guarding from the front porch.

Front porch perch. 

6.  SECURITY GUARD. Lucy announces strange cars parked in front of our house (or anywhere up and down the street), men walking up the driveway, and delivery trucks–especially the mail truck–by barking her head off, ripping up up her doggie bed, jumping on the front door, growling like a psycho doggie and bolting down the yard at 30 mph.

Lucy says, “Don’t complain. I’m just doing my job!”

7.  TENNIS BALL CATCHER. Lucy LOVES tennis balls so much, she could play ball all day. I throw it and she catches it mid-air.  When I toss the ball up a hill and say, “Roll it,” Lucy nudges it with her nose so it rolls back down to me. See? Smartypants!

Lucy says, “Tennis balls are chewy, bouncy and roll-y. And you’re playing with me. What’s not to love?”

Teen daughter pets Lucy. Lucy reaches out and touches back.

Pet Lucy, and she reaches out and touches back.

"Who wants to scratch my belly?"

“Who wants to scratch my belly?”

8.  LOVER GIRL.  Pet Lucy and she reaches out to touch you back. Want to be greeted in the morning? Get ready for lots of licks. Trying to leave the house? Have work to do?  Too bad.  Lucy the Lover Girl will flop on her back and beg for a belly scratch. She’s very distracting!

Lucy says, “I give what I get.”

Those eyes!

Those eyes!

9.  HYPNOTIST.  Seriously! She hypnotizes us with her eyes. She stares into our souls. I read that Border Collies hypnotize their flocks of sheep or cows with their eyes, and we think Lucy’s part Border Collie. I dare you to look away when she stares at you.

Lucy says, “What’s a soul?”

Such a silly girl!

Such a silly girl!

10.  COMEDIAN.  True, I DON’T laugh when Lucy rolls in…shall I…say disgusting things? But, most of the time she’s a comedian.  Like when we put her outside to get some “fresh air” (see #6) and she stares at us through glass doors. Or when she rests her head our laps during dinner. Reaching for a napkin, instead you find a Lucy’s head on your lap and  she’s begging for people food with her hypnotizing eyes.

Lucy says, “Glad you find my begging amusing.”

Sweet Angel!

Sweet Angel!

 Hon, do you have a pet? How does he or she inspire you?

 

My Top 20 Triplets Memories

Two months old.

Two months old.

Happy 20th birthday today to our three beautiful babies!

Here are my Top 20 memories of raising two girls and a boy, born within five minutes of each other.

The triplet stroller turned heads.

The triplet stroller turned heads.

1.  Walking up and down our street to get some fresh air. (“Sleep babies, sleep!”)

2.  Watching all three babies nap in one crib, swaddled and warm. (bundled like sausages)

3.  Reading stories together, either at bedtime or on long car trips. (Except when they wanted to read out loud and were at three different reading levels.  Oh, the competition!)

Triplets plus one.

Triplets plus one.

4.  Pumpkin picking, wagon rides, and bringing home cider, doughnuts and apple butter. (looking for those perfect pumpkins)

Halloween.

Halloween.

5.  Halloween–dressing up, trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving, and the elementary school show. (Our attic doubles as a Halloween costume shop!)

6.  Thanksgiving along with many holidays spent with family. (cleaning up, cooking, celebrating and catching up)

7.  Countless trips to Baltimore (shout out to my MD family) and Long Island (Dad’s family).

Train ride to NYC.

Train ride to NYC.

8.  Day trips, especially taking the train to Manhattan. (One of my many mottos:  “Getting there is the accomplishment.  Being there is icing on the cake.”)

Scan 12

9.  Building snowmen, sledding and playing in the snow. (Hot chocolate and cookies, anyone?)

First day of high school.

First day of high school.

10.  First day of school. (School supplies? The right outfit? Ready to go.)

11.  First day of camp (and first time on a big, yellow school bus)

Farm-themed b-day party.

Farm-themed b-day party.

12.  Birthday parties.  (Hon, you know I love a party!)

Skiing.

Skiing.

13.  Skiing. (Almost nothing beats a sunny day skiing.)

14.  Trip to Israel. (I knew the trip was a success when we landed in the US and my son asked, “When can we go back?”)

15.  Vacations, especially Disney World. (The secret to theme park success:  pack snacks and sandwiches.)

16. Significant religious milestones. (connecting roots from one generation to the next)

Bethany Beach, Delaware.

Bethany Beach, Delaware.

17.  Beach vacations and day trips to the Maryland, Delaware and Jersey shores.(sandcastles, sunbathing and seashell collecting)

"Baby A"

“Baby A”

Scan 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

________________________________________________________________________

18.  Watching our determined 2 pound 9 ounce daughter grow up.

_______________________________________________________________________

"Baby B"

“Baby B”

Scan

 

 

 

 

_________________________________________________________________________

19.  Watching our feisty 4 pound 12 ounce son turn into a young man.

_________________________________________________________________________

"Baby C"

“Baby C”

Scan 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

_________________________________________________________________________

20.  Watching our sassy 4 pound 4 ounce daughter morph before our eyes.

_________________________________________________________________________

Hon, I’m raising a virtual glass of champagne in a toast to my three 20 year-olds.  Health and happiness.

Cheers!

Top Ten Reasons Why Disco Dude Rocks

Disco Dude from Zoe My nine year-old niece drew this disco dude. She certainly didn’t see John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever and I don’t know if she has watched Grease, but she’s come up with her own version of a classic. Hon, here are the top ten reasons why this guy makes me laugh.

1.  Disco Dude’s wearing dark sunglasses inside.

2.  He’s dancing right under the disco ball.

3. Check out his open collared shirt and dark, curly chest hair.

4. Disco Dude’s sporting some cool white boots. (go go boots for men?)

5. Disco Dude’s dancing to the music.

6. He’s shaking his head.

7. He’s moving his hands and feet.

8. He’s wearing purple pants and wiggling his rear end. (love that!)

9. He’s a happy guy.

10. Disco Dude was a gift for my hubby who doesn’t like to dance and, when he had hair, was a blonde. But, Hubby promotes silliness, totally gets elementary school age humor, and appreciates the budding talent of his nine year-old niece.

The Top Ten Things I Lose

frequently lost things featured in my wheel thrown ceramic bowl

frequently lost things featured in one of my wheel thrown ceramic bowls

One of these days I won’t forget where I put my phone, my keys or my “to do” list. I’m not sure when I’ll be patient the whole day or when it’ll feel like someone hit the “refresh” button on my brain.  Here’s to hoping it’s sooner rather than later.

Hon, what do you lose?

  1. Phone—-as in, “Is it in the car or house?”  “Can someone please call it?”  “Oh shoot, it’s on ‘silent’!”
  2. Keys—-as in, “I had them when I unlocked the door so where could they be?”
  3. Lists—-as in, “I have to have my list. I’m lost without it!”
  4. Socks—-I seriously have a bag of single socks.  They go on Match.com in an effort to hook up with their soul (sole) mates.
  5. Earrings—-as in, “I took them off last night and left them on the dresser.” Maybe the sock thief took them, too.
  6. Coupons—-as in, “I know I have a coupon for a million dollars off at…(whichever store you are going to now).  Don’t leave until I find it!”
  7. Recipes—-as in, “I have a great recipe for (fill in the blank) but it’s lost in my Bag O’ Recipes.” One of these days, I’ll actually organize that bag and I’ll find a ton of great dishes to make.
  8. Necklaces—-see post titled, “Material Girl Metaphor”
  9. My patience—-okay, this isn’t an object but it might as well be
  10. My mind? I believed that when the triplets went to college, my head would open up, fresh air would rush in and my brain would be rejuvenated. Instead, I’m still trying to reach the cobwebs crowded into the corners of my mind. Some days, my brain feels like the door to The Lonely Mountain in The Hobbit; you have to be able to read ancient runes in order to decipher the specific day, key and way to knock if you want the door to reveal itself. And then other days, there’s a glimmer of clarity. Sigh.