Tag Archives: Fourth of July

Have A Safe And Fabulous Fourth!

by Kimberly A. Cook                    (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

It’s our nation’s birthday on Monday and I’ve got a lot to be thankful for these days. The simple things in life are the biggies for me right now. Since my military days I love indoor plumbing, electricity, baggage with wheels, automatic transmissions, not walking post guard at 4 a.m. at Fort Carson, Colorado and a queen size bed to name a few luxuries.

A big shout out to all the military, law enforcement and medical personnel working this long weekend at home and around the world to keep us safe. I salute you all. Thank you.

Sometimes it’s not easy being citizens of the United States of America, but it’s never boring. We may be a very large dysfunctional family at times, be we are family. Have a safe and Happy Fourth of July.

Happy Quirky Friday!


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Got Projects For The Fourth Of July?

by Kimberly A. Cook                 (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

With the long weekend fast approaching, I love to plan projects I am going to get done with all that available time. What this means is I create a list of things to do I couldn’t complete in a month of time off, then with unrealistic high hopes if I manage to get one accomplished it’s a celebration. We all know life, laziness and must-see movies happen.


Ahoy bark booty! A cache of hidden wood gold on the shoreline. 


So one project I will fess up to do next month is to actually get creative with at least one piece of bark I’ve collected. On the May trip to Suttle Lake for bark gathering the official orange bark bucket got filled to the brim.


My Mom, bark gathering assistant extraordinaire, helped me fill the bark bucket in no time flat. Somehow the pieces seemed to get bigger as we went along. The brisk wind off the lake might have had something to do with that too. 


So then I had to dry the pieces out and buy a bigger glass container to store the bark, and before I am overrun, make something.


My fancy new-fangled bark drying apparatus; paper and banker box lids on the patio table. Check out some of those amazing specimens. Living the dream!


In addition, I need to plant the fuchsia starts my Mom gave me since they now have roots. Bought special potting soil, have baby pots to plant them in, but need to actually put them in the dirt. So the project list grows.

But for now I wanted to share some of the latest official bark gathering photos so you can think about your coming projects for the Fourth of July. Got a holiday to do list?


And this is where my special bark pieces come from girls and boys; tree logs fall into the lake, the bark gets soaked off and washes ashore and voila! Naked logs!




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Happy Birthday America!

by Kimberly A. Cook            (Twitter@   WarriorTales)

The high temps keep rolling here in Oregon and it’s going to be a firecracker holiday weekend without any pyrotechnics! I’m going the route of watching the official fireworks shows and not lighting a thing with flames or sparks due to our tinder dry conditions. Let’s all help out our firefighters and neighbors by being safe this Fourth of July!

It’s also a time to consider vets and pets. With National Guard, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans back from deployments, firecrackers and loud booms can be unwelcome reminders and triggers of combat. Heck, my first Fourth of July visiting home after basic training a loud firecracker went off to start the fireworks and I was half way to the ground; reflex training.

Pets of all kinds, dogs and cats particularly, get upset by the noises too and can run off. So watch the sponsored shows and keep the noise out of our neighborhoods.

So, if we don’t fire up sparklers at home, what can we do? Eat! Check out the tiny hamster’s BBQ party! These patriotic pets have the perfect recipe for a fun-filled weekend – picnics!

Have a safe and sane Fourth of July and Happy Quirky Friday!

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Sun, Feta And Pasta – Happy Summer!

by Kimberly A Cook                 (Twitter@   WarriorTales)

With our wacky weather giving us early hot temperatures and then thunderstorms and humidity, the best thing to do is pace ourselves. Or in my case, be lazy. One way I accomplish that is to make salads I love which last for a week. I think calories don’t exist during heat waves, at least according to the ransacking the grocery store ice cream aisle took last Wednesday night.

If I had my way, this would be Feta Greek Salad with pasta, but I am watching my cheese intake. Kinda. Greek Pasta Salad ala Kim!

If I had my way, this would be Feta Cheese Greek Salad with pasta, but I am watching my cheese intake. Kinda. Greek Pasta Salad ala Kim!

Today I’m sharing two fabulous pasta salad recipes. All you have to know how to do is boil water and chop.

Out to dinner with a friend last Thursday night and we explored the joy of making food, knitting and jewelry items that look complicated but are easy. Not lazy, I prefer to call it efficient. These two salads fit the bill, just in time for the long holiday weekend!

The original Shrimp Pasta Salad recipe from a co-worker at the day job is second. I modified her recipe for a Greek Pasta Salad I adore right below. Perfect for hot weather and the coming Fourth of July picnics! Here goes:

Greek Pasta Salad ala Kim

1 package Orzo pasta, 16 oz. – I use Barilla

1 bottle Girard’s Greek Feta vinaigrette

1 Cup chopped celery

1 whole cucumber, chopped

3/4 pint of cherry tomatoes cut in half

6 to 8 ounces of Traditional Feta crumbled cheese

9 Kalamata olives cut in fourths (I found they have ones already halved and pitted, score!)

Bring 4 to 6 quarts of water to boil. (I used a 6-Quart pot, but a larger pot works better so you don’t have to watch it all the time.) Add dash of olive oil to boiling water. Cook pasta for 9 to 10 minutes. Drain in strainer using lukewarm water, not cold. Place in 4-Quart bowl. Pour entire bottle of salad dressing over pasta and stir. Cover and place in fridge overnight or for four hours. Chop everything else and mix well.

Original recipe – Shrimp Pasta Salad

1 package Orzo pasta, 16 oz.

1 bottle Girard’s Champagne dressing, lite

1 Cup Chopped celery

1 Cup Sliced green onion

1/2 Cup Mayonnaise (optional)

1 Tablespoon Mustard

1 tablespoon Dill Pickle Relish (I’m a sweet relish girl myself, do what you want)

1 teaspoon celery seed

1/2 to 3/4 pound Salad Shrimp

Same as above, marinate pasta overnight, then thrown all the ingredients in. Fabulous! This is so simple and looks great too.

Let’s raise a bowl to summer, cheese and pasta!

Photo Alert: To my photographer friends, tonight is the full Thunder Moon so get out there with your cameras between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. and get some great pictures. If you can see the moon, that is! Have fun!

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What Is The Real State Of Our Union?

by Kimberly A. Cook             (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

Last Thursday I ran errands to several places I was not excited to visit; usually I’m a little more logistically together to avoid the pharmacy, grocery store, post office and gas station the day before a major holiday weekend. But life happens and I ended up at those busy spots.

Walking into the pharmacy waiting room it was packed with folks. They were serving number 298 and I was number 316. The digital message on the wall let me know I should expect to be served in 22 minutes.

Captured this while waiting for a left hand turn signal light in May. Fabulous.

Captured this while waiting for a left hand turn signal light in May. Fabulous.

Sitting down on a cushy bench, I decided to do what writers do best: observe. People watching is fascinating. Learned several things. Everybody was pretty orderly. The pharmacy folks slammed at the windows were being pleasant and taking time to chat with people, but getting the job done. The noise level was quiet.

Friends, relatives and hired drivers were helping each other out. It was pretty low-key. It struck me how with all the craziness in the news on our nation’s birthday eve, we may not be the most fashion forward folks all the time but, the majority of Americans are kind.

The experience made me keep my eyes open on the rest of my stops. A man held the door open for a lady with a large package. USPS counter workers told people to have a Happy Fourth.

The woman who pumped my gas, yes we do not pump our own gas in Oregon, was perky and friendly and had on a bright red shirt for the occasion. At the grocery store walking out I saw another shopper helping an elderly gentleman locate the employee who had checked him out earlier. Stranger helping stranger.

Heard on the news the Boston Pops even moved up their concert one day to be able to party and keep everyone safe too. Is this a great country or what? Got bad weather coming? Party first!

Perhaps those of us who have served in the military realize the special meaning of our national birthday since many times we have not been on U.S. soil to celebrate, and we know others serve as the nation plays.

It’s always a good idea to open our eyes, look around, see the bigger picture in the small everyday details and tell the stories. That’s what writers do.

“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.”

Erma Bombeck



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Happy Fourth Of July America!

by Kimberly A. Cook                  (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

Have a happy Fourth of July everybody! Thank you to our troops serving around the world today so we can party as a nation. Now head for the hot dogs and potato chips!

Watch this video on YouTube.


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Get Ready For The Fourth Of July!

by Kimberly A. Cook           (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

We are heading toward the Fourth of July with amazing speed. Wanted to share one of my favorite memories. Grew up watching The Capital Fourth on PBS in Oregon. In 1990 while in Washington, D.C. with the Air Force Reserve, I got to experience it in person. Amazing!

Every year without fail I watch it on tv, but being in person is a knockout. Watch the reflection on the tidal pools and the river. But of course, my favorite part is the 1812 Overture with the cannons! Makes my little Army heart flutter. In person the finale looks like they are going to launch the Washington Monument into space! Enjoy this clip from one recent Capital Fourth broadcast.

Happy Quirky Friday! Happy Birthday USA and a big thanks to those who serve to keep her free!

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