Memorial Day

A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.

Soldiers in Heaven

Little Jake asked his mother during the Memorial Day Parade: “Mamma, don’t soldiers ever go to heaven?”

“Of course they do!” protested his mother. “What makes you ask?”

“There are so many soldiers with beards but I never saw any pictures of angels with beards.” he replied.

The mother responded “Oh, that’s because most vets who go to Heaven get there by a close shave.”

 

Angel Waiting by Artist Todd Kasovetz

Angel Waiting by Artist Todd Krasovetz. For a copy and/or more information, click here.

 

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Let us remember as we fall asleep this Memorial Day those who fight and the many that have died to protect our freedom.

 

 

 

Jan. 19 – National Popcorn Day

Plain, buttery, salty, cheesy, or drizzled with caramel.  The toppings are endless. Pop some corn and watch your favorite movie.

Or, instead of eating it, use the fluffy kernels as decorations in a garland or for inexpensive packing material.

Americans consume some 14 billion quarts of this whole grain, good-for-you treat. That’s 43 quarts per man, woman, and child.

Popcorn needs between 13.5-14% moisture to pop.

There is no such thing as “hull-less” popcorn. All popcorn needs a hull in order to pop. Some varieties of popcorn have been bred so the hull shatters upon popping, making it appear to be hull-less.

Most popcorn comes in two basic shapes when it’s popped: snowflake and mushroom. Snowflake is used in movie theaters and ballparks because it looks and pops bigger. Mushroom is used for candy confections because it doesn’t crumble.

Popcorn kernel shapes:

two shape types of popcorn

 

The world’s largest popcorn ball, according to Guinness World Records 2015, was created in 2013 at the Indiana State Fair. With the help of Pop Weaver, Snax in Pax, and Indiana’s Family of Farmers, the popcorn ball weighed in at 6,510-pounds, 8 feet in diameter.

For recipes, check out Popcorn.org.

National Bird Day – January 5th

Why National Bird Day?

  • The beauty, songs, and flight of birds have long been sources of human inspiration.
  • Today, nearly 12 percent of the world’s 9,800 bird species may face extinction within the next century, including nearly one-third of the world’s 330 parrot species.
  • Birds are sentinel species whose plight serves as barometer of ecosystem health and alert system for detecting global environmental ills.
  • Many of the world’s parrots and songbirds are threatened with extinction due to pressures from the illegal pet trade, disease, and habitat loss.
  • Public awareness and education about the physical and behavioral needs of birds can go far in improving the welfare of the millions of birds kept in captivity.
  • The survival and well-being of the world’s birds depends upon public education and support for conservation.

 

Bird Brain Trivia

Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is one of the smallest hummingbird species. (Photo by Hummingbirds Plus)

  1. What is the only bird that can fly backwards?  Answer: Hummingbird
  2. What is the average life span of a robin? Answer: 12 Years
  3. What is a group of owls called? Answer: Parliament
  4. What is a group of geese called? Answer: Gaggle
  5. How many eggs will the average hen lay a year? Answer: 227 eggs
  6. How much water can the pouch of a pelican carry?  Answer: 12 Gallons
  7. How long does it take to hard boil an ostrich egg? Answer: 40 minutes
  8. What is the maximum speed of a chicken? Answer: 9 miles per hour

 

 

 

 

A To-Do Activity:

Cheerios® Birdfeeders: To make each feeder, string Cheerios® onto a large pipe cleaner, leaving about an inch from the top. Hang the bird feeders on the trees outside.

Here’s another Cheerios® bird feeder recipe:

Ingredients:

  • Sharpened pencil
  • Sugar ice cream cone
  • Pipe cleaner (chenille stem)
  • Table knife
  • Creamy peanut butter
  • Cheerios™ cereal
  • Birdseed

 

Directions:

  1. Use the pencil to poke a hole in the pointed end of the ice cream cone.
  2. Twist a knot in the end of the pipe cleaner. Thread the pipe cleaner into the ice cream cone and out the hole (the knot will hold the pipe cleaner in place).
  3. Use the table knife to spread the peanut butter on the outside of the cone. Press the cereal all over the peanut butter to cover the cone. Sprinkle the birdseed over the cone, pressing it into the peanut butter with your fingers.

 

For something unconventional to feed birds this winter, read this article from Bird Watcher’s Digest on the Top 10 Weird Things to Feed Birds by Bill Thompson, III.  Grape jelly and eggshells are among the list.

 

For the Birds – Joke

 

Parrot and Rottweiler

Introduce other pets to your Rottweiler early. Click here for ASPCA tips on how to prevent and solve Common Dog Behavior Issues.  (Photo by Rottweiler – Best Guardian Dog)

Mrs. Smith’s dishwasher quit working, so she called a repairman.  He couldn’t accommodate her with an evening appointment and since she had to go to work the next day, she told him, “I’ll leave the key under the mat.  Fix the dishwasher and leave the bill.  I will bring a check by for you later.”

“Oh and by the way,” she added, “Don’t worry about my dog.  He won’t bother you.  But, whatever you do, under NO circumstances, don’t talk to my parrot!”

When the repairman arrived the next day, he discovered the biggest and meanest looking Rottweiler he had ever seen.  But, as she said, the dog just lay there, watching him go about his business.

However, the parrot drove him crazy with his ceaseless squawking and talking.  Finally unable to contain himself he shouted, “Shut up, you stupid bird!”

The parrot replied, “Sic ’em, Rocky!

(joke copyrighted by Creative Forecasting, Inc., February 2008)

 

 

Gobbolino, the Witch’s Cat

Gobbolino, the Witch's Cat

Gobbolino, the Witch’s Cat was first published in 1942.

Here is a cute children’s story about a kitten who wants to be a “kitchen cat,” sitting by a fire and playing with children.  However, Gobbolino was born a witch’s kitten.  Can he live out his dream?

Find out in this story written by Ursula Moray Williams, Illustrations by Francis Phillips and read by Sheila Hancock.

 

 

The name “Gobbolino” is from the Italian word for “little hunchback.”  Do you think that is a fitting name for this little kitten?

 

 

“A Capitol Fourth” Coloring Page

A Capitol Fourth is broadcast live on PBS and can also be heard live on NPR member stations nationwide and via the American Forces Network to our troops serving around the world.

The 2016 edition of A Capitol Fourth is hosted once again by Tom Bergeron and features performances by Smokey Robinson, Kenny Loggins, Alisan Porter, Gavin DeGraw, Cassadee Pope, Amber Riley, Jackie Evancho, Sutton Foster, the cast of “ON YOUR FEET!” and the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of top pops conductor Jack Everly. A Capitol Fourth airs Monday, July 4 at 8/7c on PBS.

Check your local listings for your PBS station to view "A Capitol Fourth" concert.

Check your local listings for your PBS station to view “A Capitol Fourth” concert.

Watermelon Shark Recipe

Watermelon Shark recipe

Photo by Taste of Home©

Is it safe to go into the kitchen?  Yes!  Take a bite out of this watermelon and leave satisfied.

(However, you might need a bigger bowl… while you watch television episodes during Shark Week on Discovery.)

 

Yield: 32 Servings

Ingredients: 

  • 1 large watermelon
  • 2 cups seedless red grapes
  • 1 medium cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 medium oranges
  • 1 jar (12 ounces) pineapple preserves
  • Swedish Fish candies, optional

 

Directions:

  1. Using a large sharp knife, cut off one end of the watermelon so that watermelon stands at an angle. Using a razor blade or small knife, score an opening for the mouth. With knife, cut out and remove mouth. Cut out triangles for teeth; remove rind from teeth.
  2. For shark fin, cut a triangle from removed rind; attach to shark with toothpicks. For eyes, attach two grapes with toothpicks.
  3. Remove fruit from inside watermelon; cut into cubes. In a large bowl, combine watermelon, cantaloupe, blueberries and remaining grapes. Finely grate peel from oranges and squeeze juice. In a small bowl, mix preserves, orange juice and peel; add to fruit and toss gently.
  4. Stand shark on a platter. Fill opening with some of the fruit mixture; add a few Swedish Fish if desired. Serve with remaining fruit.

 

Nutritional Facts
3/4 cup (calculated without candies): 129 calories, 1g fat (trace saturated fat), 0mg cholesterol, 7mg sodium, 30g carbohydrate (28g sugars, 2g fiber), 2g protein Diabetic Exchanges:1/2 starch, 1-1/2 fruit

 
Originally published as Watermelon Shark in Simple & Delicious June/July 2012, p8

 

Rabbit Facts

  • Contrary to popular belief, rabbits main food source is hay and leafy greens, not carrots!
  • Because of the position of their eyes, rabbits are able to see close to 360 degrees all around! However, they have a blind spot in front their nose.
  • Adult Rabbits have 28 teeth including 4 incisors. Their teeth grow continually for their entire life, but they are normally worn down through constant chewing.

Source: Animal Planet.  Check out Animal Planet’s Live Bunny Cam.  

Karl Szmolinsky and his rabbit "Robert", the World's Largest Rabbit

EBERSWALDE, GERMANY – Pensioner Karl Szmolinsky, who raises a breed of rabbits called giant grays, shows Robert 2, an 8.5kg giant grey who is 74cm long and has ears 25.5cm long, in the backyard of his house on January 15, 2006 in Eberswalde, Germany. Szmolinsky said his rabbits reach a maximum weight of 10.5 kg (23.1lbs.). (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Top 20 Facts about Rabbits

Here is a list of the top 20 interesting facts about rabbits…

1. The World’s Largest Rabbit named “Darius” weighs approximately 50 pounds and is currently 4 feet, 3 inches. Although this might sound unbelievable, “Darius” is indeed a real rabbit that currently lives with its owner Annette Edwards from the UK. It has been reported that Darius thinks he is a dog.
2. The “most valuable” rabbit on Earth, “Darius”, is currently insured for around $1.6/million and has his own personal caretaker aka body guard. (Not that anyone would be brave enough to mess with a 50 pound rabbit anyhow.)
3. In the wild some female rabbits can produce about eight litters of bunnies per year.
4. The largest litter of bunnies every reported consisted of 24 kits.
5. Rabbits are natural runners and can reach speeds of up to 30 to 40 mph.
6. Domesticated rabbits that people raise do not open their eyes until they reach about 2 weeks of age.
7. Baby domestic rabbits are actually born fur-less.
8. Rabbits have 28 teeth.
9. The World’s oldest rabbit on record lived to be 16 years old.
10. The average lifespan of a domesticated rabbit is around 5 to 8 years.
11. Pet rabbits generally live longer than rabbits used for production and those living in the wild.
12. With the right guidance rabbits can be trained to live indoors perfectly.
13. In the UK the rabbit is the third most popular pet option.
14. The average heart rate of a rabbit ranges between 130-325 beats per minute.
15. It is estimated that over 2 million U.S. households own a pet rabbit.
16. Thousands of rabbit shows take place annually in the Continental United States alone, each year.
17. Male rabbits are referred to as “bucks” and female rabbits are referred to as “does”.
18. Believe it or not, a rabbit’s teeth never stop growing throughout its life.
19. Rabbits can jump up to 36 inches or higher.
20. In general rabbits are very clean animals that will groom themselves and even each other.

Check out this article on the topic of raising rabbits.