Friday, May 23, 2014

Easy & Meaningful Memorial Day Party Favor & Idea

With Memorial Day coming up I know many of us will be gathering with friends and family for barbecues and celebrating the onset of summer.    I think it is important to pause and take a  time to honor those who have fallen in service of our country and given us all the freedom we are so blessed to enjoy. 

I came up with the following; an easy, inexpensive and quick way to add extra meaning to your celebrations this coming weekend.  You can put these together in minutes!

 Small, hand held flags are for sale and available just about anywhere right now for mere pennies a piece.    These flags are about 3" x 5" and come attached to a 12" wooden dowel.  

How I made these unique was by finding some favorite quotes (I'll provide a list at the end of the post) relevant to the service and sacrifice of soldiers.  I printed them off and included interpretations and meanings of each quote. 

I cut each quote out to fit inside the flags and attached one to each of the wooden dowels simply by sliding it underneath.

Next, I rolled the quotes up inside the flags

I tied the flags with a small string.  I used some hemp which I had on hand.

You can place one at each setting, tuck into a napkin or stand inside their glass.  You could gather a lot of them together into a vase and pass it around a campfire or the bbq and let each person read the quote aloud.

These are simple and festive favors but very meaningful at the same time.

I gathered quotes from some books we have in our library and from around the web.  Here are some great examples:  

1. "Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth." -George Washington 
2. "Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead! There's none of these so lonely and poor of old, But, dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold." -- Rupert Brooke
3. "Life is eternal; and love is immortal; and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight." -- Rossiter W. Raymond
4. "The brave die never, though they sleep in dust: Their courage nerves a thousand living men." -- Minot J. Savage
5."A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself." -- Joseph Campbell
6. "I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration Day.  I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it.  We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did." -- Benjamin Harrison
7. "One lives in the hope of becoming a memory." -- Antonio Porchia
8. "Who kept the faith and fought the fight; The glory theirs, the duty ours." -- Wallace Bruce
9. "The patriot's blood is the seed to freedom's tree." -- Thomas Campbell
10. "The best road to progress is freedom's road." -- John F. Kennedy
11. "The flames can not burn away the past. They only make the shadows leap higher." -- Max Payne
12. "But the freedom that they fought for, and the country grand they wrought for, Is their monument to-day, and for aye." -- Thomas Dunn English
13. "Decoration Day is the most beautiful of our national holidays.... The grim cannon have turned into palm branches, and the shell and shrapnel into peach blossoms." -- Thomas Bailey Aldrich
14. "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it." -- Mark Twain
15. "There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires." -- Nelson Mandela
16. "The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example." -- Benjamin Disraeli
17. "Perform, then, this one act of remembrance before this Day passes - Remember there is an army of defense and advance that never dies and never surrenders, but is increasingly recruited from the eternal sources of the American spirit and from the generations of American youth." -- W.J. Cameron
18. "Freedom means you are unobstructed in living your life as you choose. Anything less is a form of slavery." -- Wayne Dyer
19. "And they who for their country die shall fill an honored grave, for glory lights the soldier's tomb, and beauty weeps the brave." -- Joseph Drake
20. "137 years later, Memorial Day remains one of America's most cherished patriotic observances. The spirit of this day has not changed - it remains a day to honor those who died defending our freedom and democracy." -- Doc Hastings
21. "Are they dead that yet speak louder than we can speak, and a more universal language?  Are they dead that yet act?  Are they dead that yet move upon society and inspire the people with nobler motives and more heroic patriotism?" -- Henry Ward Beecher
22. "Above all, we must realize that no arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women." -- Ronald Reagan
23. "Although no sculptured marble should rise to their memory, nor engraved stone bear record of their deeds, yet will their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored." -- Daniel Webster
24. "True freedom is tolerant. It gives people the right to live and think in new ways." -- John Twelve Hawks
25. "Better to die fighting for freedom then be a prisoner all the days of your life." -- Bob Marley
26. "Only the dead have seen the end of war." -- Plato

The following link provides 25 quotes along with an interpretation of each one, especially nice when you're celebrating with kids.

Have a blessed and safe Memorial Day,

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Fresh Black Bean & Corn Southwest Salsa

Tonight we are having one of our family favorite meals, Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken and will be enjoying it while we watch The Thunder beat the Spurs =) (Go OKC Thunder!).   On the side we'll have this easy to make and even yummier to eat Southwestern Salsa.  And to boot, it is healthy!

Fresh Black Bean & Corn Southwest Salsa

2 (15-16 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large (19 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 large red pepper, minced or chopped fine
1 purple onion, finely chopped or minced (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
6 teaspoons minced chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried ancho chili powder
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and chill.  Serve as a snack with tortilla chips, or stir into Tequila Lime Chicken Sauce Dip or serve on the side with Tequila Lime Chicken.  So fresh and great for summer time!

Yesterday we saw Jonah off from the recruiters station to OKC where he spent the night and flew out to South Carolina this morning for 9 weeks of Basic Training in the Army.  The past few months I think Jonah and I have become closer than we've ever been and I already miss him so much.  I already miss him calling me Mecha (the nickname they gave me a few months back).   Last night Trevor and I ran to the store for some corn on the cob to go with dinner.  I had held back my tears all day but when I thought about buying only 7 ears of corn instead of 8 that very small realization that Jonah would be eating dinner elsewhere and not with us for a long time hit me. I cried in the car while Trev went in to the store and got the corn!  Isn't it funny how the smallest, seemingly insignificant, of things can bring forth a ton of emotion and fond memories?

(Jonah helped make Tequila Lime Chicken when I posted the recipe originally.  He looks so much older now!)

I am really proud of Jonah's choice and praying this turns out to be the best decision he has ever made. Lots of you sent sweet comments and we truly appreciate them all.  In fact, I am going to print them all off and add them to a journal I've had his friends and family members sign.  I plan to send it to him at Basic Training so he can see all the encouraging words and advice you all have offered and shared.

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