Thursday, July 19, 2012

No Hot Dogs This Summer ?

Hot Weather Pet Care Tips

We all love spending the long, sunny days of summer outdoors with our furry companions, but being overeager in hot weather can spell danger, warn ASPCA experts.

"Even the healthiest pets can suffer from dehydration, heat stroke and sunburn if overexposed to the heat," says Dr. Lila Miller, ASPCA Vice President of Veterinary Outreach, "and heat stroke can be fatal if not treated promptly."
Take these simple precautions, provided by ASPCA experts, to help prevent your pet from overheating. And if you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke, get help from your veterinarian immediately.


Visit the Vet
A visit to the veterinarian for a spring or early summer check-up is a must. Make sure your pets get tested for heartworm if they aren't on year-round preventive medication. Do parasites bug your animal companions? Ask your doctor to recommend a safe flea and tick control program.


Made in the Shade
Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it's hot outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful to not over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it's extremely hot.


Know the Warning Signs
According to Dr. Lila Miller, ASPCA Vice President of Veterinary Outreach, "symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. They can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees." Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.


No Parking!
Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. "On a hot day, a parked car can become a furnace in no time-even with the windows open-which could lead to fatal heat stroke," says Dr. Louise Murray, Director of Medicine at ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital. Also, leaving pets unattended in cars in extreme weather is illegal in several states.


Make a Safe Splash
Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool-not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals that could cause stomach upset.


Screen Test
"During warmer months, the ASPCA sees an increase in injured animals as a result of High-Rise Syndrome, which occurs when pets-mostly cats-fall out of windows or doors and are seriously or fatally injured," says Dr. Murray. "Pet owners need to know that this is completely preventable if they take simple precautions." Keep all unscreened windows or doors in your home closed and make sure adjustable screens are tightly secured.


Summer Style
Giving your dog a lightweight summer haircut helps prevent overheating. Shave down to a one-inch length, never to the skin, so your dog still has some protection from the sun. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. As far as skin care, be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.


Street Smarts
When the temperature is very high, don't let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close the ground, your pooch's body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.


Avoid Chemicals
Commonly used flea and tick products, rodenticides (mouse and rat baits), and lawn and garden insecticides can be harmful to cats and dogs if ingested, so keep them out of reach. When walking your dog, steer clear of areas that you suspect have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals. Keep citronella candles, oil products and insect coils out of pets' reach as well. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 if you suspect your animal has ingested a poisonous substance.
Free Pet Safety Pack

Help keep your pets safe with a free pet safety pack from the ASPCA! In the event of an emergency, our pet rescue window decal alerts rescue personnel that pets are inside your home. The safety pack also includes an ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center magnet—a great way to keep the APCC's toll-free emergency number and website address handy in case your pets get into something they shouldn’t!


Party Animals
Taking Fido to a backyard barbeque or party? Remember that the food and drink offered to guests may be poisonous to pets. "Keep alcoholic beverages away from pets, as they can cause intoxication, depression and comas," says Dr. Steven Hansen, ASPCA Senior Vice President of Animal Health Services. "Similarly, remember that the snacks enjoyed by your human friends should not be a treat for your pet; any change of diet, even for one meal, may give your dog or cat severe digestive ailments. Avoid raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and products with the sweetener xylitol."







Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fourth of July

Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Richard Henry Lee
During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia declaring the United States independent from Great Britain. After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. Congress debated and revised the wording of the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4.


In a remarkable coincidence, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as Presidents of the United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. Although not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, but another Founding Father who became a President, James Monroe, died on July 4, 1831, thus becoming the third president in a row who died on this memorable day. Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President, was born on July 4, 1872, and, so far, is the only President to have been born on Independence Day.


Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and political speeches and ceremonies, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States.

A salute of one gun for each state in the United States, called a “salute to the union,” is fired on Independence Day at noon by any capable military base.


2009, New York City
In 2009, New York City had the largest fireworks display in the country, with over 22 tons of pyrotechnics exploded. Other major displays are in Chicago on Lake Michigan; in San Diego over Mission Bay; in Boston on the Charles River; in St. Louis on the Mississippi River; in San Francisco over the San Francisco Bay; and on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.. During the annual Windsor-Detroit International Freedom Festival, Detroit, Michigan hosts one of the world's largest fireworks displays, over the Detroit River, to celebrate Independence Day in conjunction with Windsor, Ontario's celebration of Canada Day.





The 4th of July celebrations in Washington, DC are among the most attended events of the year. The National Mall, with Washington DC’s monuments and the U. S. Capitol in the background, forms a beautiful and patriotic backdrop to America's Independence Day celebrations. This is an all-day event in the nation's capital, beginning with a parade along Constitution Avenue and ending with a spectacular display of fireworks over the Washington Monument.

The best way to get to the National Mall is to take the Metro. Stations nearby include Smithsonian, Metro Center, Gallery Place-Chinatown, Judiciary Square, Federal Triangle and L'Enfant Plaza. Public access to the National Mall begins at 10:00 a.m., with all visitors required to enter via a security checkpoint. Fireworks Time: At dark, usually around 9:15 p.m. Rain Date: July 5th
Launch Location: The fireworks are launched from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and light up the sky over the Washington Monument.



Smithsonian Folklife Festival
The annual event includes daily and evening music and dance performances, crafts and cooking demonstrations, storytelling and discussions of cultural issues. The themes of the 2012 program will be: Campus and Community, Citified: Arts and Creativity East of the Anacostia River and Creativity and Crisis: Unfolding The AIDS Memorial Quilt. The hours on the 4th of July are 11 a.m to 5 p.m.


White House Visitor Center Family EventsBetween 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., stop at the White House Visitor Center and enjoy games, crafts and other activities celebrating America's Birthday. National Park Service rangers and volunteers will give you the opportunity to sample the sights, sounds, activities and personages that helped finalize the Declaration of Independence and create the United States of America on July 4, 1776. 



Fireworks

The earliest documentation of fireworks dates back to 7th century China, where they were invented. The fireworks were used to accompany many festivities. It is a part of the culture of China and had its origin there, eventually it spread to other cultures and societies. Important events and festivities such as the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) and the Mid-Autumn Festival were and still are times when fireworks are guaranteed sights. China is the largest manufacturer and exporter of fireworks in the world.


An estimated $190.7 million worth of fireworks was imported from China in 2010, which represented the majority of all U.S. fireworks. On the other hand, fireworks exports from U.S. came to just $37 million in 2010, with Japan being the largest consumer.


Fireworks are generally classified as to where they perform, either as a ground or aerial firework. In the latter case they may provide their own propulsion (skyrocket) or be shot into the air by a mortar (aerial shell). The most common feature of fireworks is a paper or pasteboard tube or casing filled with the combustible material, often pyrotechnic stars. A number of these tubes or cases are often combined so as to make, when kindled, a great variety of sparkling shapes, often variously colored. The skyrocket is a common form of firework, although the first skyrockets were used in war. Such rocket technology has also been used for the delivery of mail by rocket and is used as propulsion for most model rockets. The aerial shell is the backbone of today's commercial aerial display. A smaller version for consumer use is known as the festival ball in the United States. Ground fireworks, although less popular than aerial ones, create a stunning exhibition. These types of fireworks can produce various shapes, such as simple rotating circles, stars and 3D globes.









Sunday, July 1, 2012

July Crafts

July Crafts

With summer comes an abundance of yard sales
and worn out school clothes.
It's a good time for up-cycling old denim or corduroy jeans.
These projects lend themselves to individual creativity
 These lovely denim projects are just some of the many variations
possible with different trimmings, embroidery or embellishments.

 

Blue Jean Journal / Denim Photo Album / Scrapbook
Cover


Materials:
  • Denim Jeans
  • Belt
  • Tacky glue
  • Clothes Pegs or Clamps
  • Photo Album or Journal
  • Glue on Embelishments - Fabric Tags, Rhinestones, etc.


  

Instructions:

 Choose the album or journal that you'd like to use first and then choose a pair of blue jeans that will fit. To determine if your jeans will fit, wrap the waist around the top of the album (back of jeans only) and be sure that the waist extends from each end with a few inches extra (refer to photo at right) This project is not a complicated one but requires a little patience.
If you can, remove the insert of the album, if not you can work around it. Because denim is so heavy and the seams are very bulky, you can first cover the album with demin used from the leg of the pants. To do this, place your album open with the outside face down on a denim leg. Cut a piece of denim that will cover the entire outside of the book and extend slightly into the inside cover. Keep the leg seam at the centre of your book as the seam is too bulky to be place elsewhere. 
 With tacky glue (don't use hot glue, it doesn't hold up well and leaves streaks under the fabric), adhere your cut piece of demin to outside cover and glue excess over all the edges. To hold the denim in place until it dries, secure with clothes pegs or clamps around the album. Allow the glue to dry completely.
Position your book (open, with right side of book to wrong side of denim) around the back waist of the jeans, with a pen or marker, draw a line around the book leaving 1/2 inch excess to be folded to the underside at the top and the bottom of the book and 1 inch excess at the sides to be folded to the inside covers.

Cut your piece and glue to the front and back outside covers, Folding the bottom excess denim under itself and the excess denim at the sides to the inside of the cover. Secure denim with clothes pegs and allow to dry.

If you removed your insert, glue it back in place now. If you were not able to remove the insert, cut two pieces of fabric or paper to fit the inside cover of the front and back and glue in place to cover any turned seams. To finish the edging around the inside cover you can add a trim of rusty red ribbon or whatever color or style fits your preference.
Feed your belt through the belt loops and cut any excess belt off. I used a child's belt so didn't have to add any holes for the belt to connect. If you need to add holes, use either a leather punch or cut very carefully with a craft knife.


To finish up this album, You can add any extra embellishments now with tacky glue. Once the glue on your book is completely dry it will be a little stiff. That's just the glue and a few little wiggles while the book is open will help to stretch the glue a little and make your book more pliable.
 You can use the pocket for pens or extra scrapbook stickers or paper emblishments if you are covering a scrapbook.


   

Smarthome, Inc.

Denim Pocket Magnets


Materials:
  • denim jean pockets cut from old jeans, jackets, shirts
  • fabric paint
  • lace trim
  • ribbon flowers
  • hot glue or craft glue

Instructions:
 Beginning and ending at the back, glue lace trim around the top of the pocket.
 glue a small ribbon rose to each top corner.

  Write "Coupons" or "Notes" or whatever you wish on the front in fabric paint, following the manufacturer's directions.

 Glue a magnet to the back of each denim pocket and stick the fridge.





  


Denim Pocket Purses


A Trash to Treasure craft project! Recycle your old jeans into miniature denim pocket purses. Best selling bazaar craft!

Materials:
  • Old pair of jeans, childrens or adult
  • Pretty lace
  • small silk flowers
  • Ribbon
  • String of beads
  • Hot glue gun

Instructions:

Cut out the pocket from the jeans, front and back so when its cut out it has an opening at the top.
Glue lace all around top of pocket make sure you don't glue opening shut.

Glue ribbon all around front and back side.

Put the silk flowers on top of corners.

Glue the stringed beads onto the inside of pocket.

  

Denim Organizer

 This fun organizer uses the legs of cut-off jeans and is a great project for summer teen sewing classes. The finished hem of the jeans creates the top of the pockets so that there is no need to bind the edge.
This project can be embellished in many ways. You can use machine embroidery and decorative stitches. Other options include hand embroidery, rick rack or other trims or appliqué. It could also be personalized and the pockets labeled.

Materials:
  • Jeans Legs: 3 pair of “legs”
  • Denim fabric: 1 yard
  • Cord for hanging: 1 yard
  • Dowel: 24"
  • Coats Dual Duty Plus Extra Strong Jeans Thread (N574) or 
  • Coats Dual Duty Plus All-purpose Thread (Art 200): color 5 Copenhagen or to match denim.
  • Coats Rayon Thread–30 wt. (Art D93): color 182 Spark Gold and Coats Rayon Thread–40 wt. (Art. D63): color 51 Chona Brown were used in this project.
  • Stabilizer for embroidery


Instructions:
Organizer fabric: Cut 2 pieces of fabric 22" x 25".
Pockets: Cut the pants leg sections apart at the outer seam, trimming away the seam. 1st Row: Trim 3 leg pieces 5" high by 10" wide. 2nd row: Trim 3 leg pieces
9 1/2" high by 10" wide.
Decorate pockets as desired with decorative stitching, appliqué, machine or hand embroidery, or trims.
To form each pocket row, sew the three same size leg sections together.
Mark the pockets as shown for folding pleats (1). Fold solid line to dotted line. At seams, fold solid lines to seam line, do not overlap. Baste pleats in place at lower edge.
Attaching top row: Mark a line on organizer fabric 11 1/2" from top edge. Place pocket row on fabric, right sides together, with the lower raw edge of pockets against the line (2). Stitch, 1/2 inch from edge. Press seam allowance toward pocket. Bring pocket section right side up, press. Baste side seams. Stitch in the ditch using Jeans thread or all-purpose at seams in pocket row to form individual pockets (2).
  
Bottom row: Fold pleats and baste. Place pocket section on organizer fabric, right side facing you, aligning raw edges. Baste sides and bottom edge of pocket. Stitch in the ditch at seams in pocket row seams to form individual pockets.

 Place backing fabric over organizer, right sides together. Stitch together, using a 1/2" seam allowance. Leave a 1" opening in the side seams at the top corners for inserting a dowel or curtain rod and a 6" opening in the lower edge for turning.

Trim corners diagonally. Grade lower edge to reduce bulk. Press the seams open before turning. Pay particular attention to places that are thick due to jeans seams. Turn to right side. Press. Hand sew opening in lower edge closed.


Insert dowel, attach a cord for hanging. For better stability use a curtain rod and brackets for hanging.




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July Recipes

July  Recipes

Mini German Pancakes


Ingredients:
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. orange zest (optional)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Blend first six ingredients (milk thru orange zest) in a blender. Be careful to see that any flour clumps get well-blended.
Blend in butter a little at a time in order to temper the eggs.

Grease muffin tins well and distribute batter evenly between 24 tins. Tins were slightly less than half-full. Bake for 15 minutes, or until puffy and golden on top.

Served with your favorite fruit toppings.  A dusting of powdered sugar and drizzle of syrup.

    

Flower Power Eggs
Bell Pepper Ring Molds for Sunny Side Up Eggs!
There’s no recipe, really, just three steps:

1) Cut bell peppers into 1/2 inch rings;
2) Place in a non-stick lightly oiled skillet;
3) Crack an egg in the middle of each ring and cover and cook over low heat until done.

If you like your yolks runny, just cook over low heat until whites are done.
If you like your yolks firm, break the yolks and then cook over low heat until both whites and yolks are firm.

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Red, White and Blue Pita Pockets

Completely packed with delicious fillings, these pockets get their patriotic name from red peppers, white sour cream and tangy blue cheese.

Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound beef top sirloin steak, thinly sliced 
  • 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 4 whole wheat pita pocket halves 
  • 2 cups torn red leaf lettuce
  • 1/2 cup roasted sweet red peppers, drained and cut into strips
  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion

 Instructions:
In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the vinegar, oil and garlic; add the beef. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

In a small bowl, combine sour cream and blue cheese; set aside. Drain and discard marinade. 

In a large nonstick skillet or wok coated with cooking spray, stir-fry beef for 2-3 minutes or until no longer pink. Line pita halves with lettuce, red peppers and onion; fill each with 1/3 cup beef. Serve with sour cream mixture.

Yield: 4 servings. 

 

 Chicken with Mango-Raspberry Salsa

 Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup chopped peeled mango
  • 1/3 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped seeded jalapeno pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar 
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)
  • 3/4 cup fresh raspberries
Instructions:
For salsa, in a small bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Combine the garlic powder, salt and pepper; sprinkle over both sides of chicken.

Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat for 6-8 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reaches 170°. Just before serving, gently fold raspberries into salsa. Serve with chicken.

Yield: 6 servings.


Grilled Italian Meatball Burgers
Ingredients:
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 1/2 pound Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed 
  • 3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese 
  • 8 kaiser rolls, split 
  • 1 cup roasted garlic Parmesan spaghetti sauce, warmed 
Instructions: 

In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Crumble beef and sausage over mixture and mix well. Shape into eight burgers.

Using long-handled tongs, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and lightly coat the grill rack. Grill burgers, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from the heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 165° and juices run clear.

Sprinkle burgers with cheese; cook 2-3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Remove and keep warm.

Grill or broil rolls for 1-2 minutes or until toasted. Serve burgers on rolls with spaghetti sauce.
Yield: 8 servings.
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Patriotic Gelatin Salad
This recipe takes time to prepare since each layer must be set before the next layer is added.
But worth the effort and simple.
Ingredients:
  • 2 packages (3 ounces each) berry blue gelatin
  • 2 packages (3 ounces each) strawberry gelatin
  • 4 cups boiling water, divided
  • 2-1/2 cups cold water, divided
  • 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Instructions:
In four separate bowls, dissolve each package of gelatin in 1 cup boiling water. Add 1/2 cup cold water to each and stir. Pour one bowl of blue gelatin into a 10-in. fluted tube pan coated with cooking spray; chill until almost set, about 30 minutes.
Set other three bowls of gelatin aside at room temperature. Soften unflavored gelatin in remaining cold water; let stand 5 minutes.
Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat just below boiling. Stir in softened gelatin and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream and vanilla until smooth. When blue gelatin in pan in almost set, carefully spoon 1-1/2 cups sour cream mixture over it. Chill until almost set, about 30 minutes.
Carefully spoon one bowl of strawberry gelatin over cream layer. Chill until almost set. Carefully spoon 1-1/2 cups cream mixture over the strawberry layer. Chill until almost set. Repeat, adding layers of blue gelatin, cream mixture and strawberry gelatin, chilling in between each. Chill several hours or overnight.
Yield: 16 servings.
4th of July Strawberries
  • Strawberries, washed and dried
  • Canola oil
  • Chocolate chips (semi-sweet), white chocolate or vanilla chips
  • Red/white/blue - sugar, edible glitter or sprinkles

Place  red/white/blue - sugar, edible glitter or sprinkles in bowls.
Put together any combination you like.
 
Melt the chips in the microwave. The only way you can mess up is by overcooking the chocolate. Heat and stir the chips in 20-30 second intervals until the last chunks melt and stir in. Then stop heating. Adding a small amount of canola (or vegetable) oil, gives the melted chocolate a smoother, glazy texture and appearance. 
 Put melted chocolate in a bowl. Dip each berry in melted chocolate. Swirl the berry around in the melted chocolate, covering it in a layer of chocolate almost to the top. Let chocolate drip off and scrape off excess against edge of bowl.
While the chocolate is still wet, roll the berry in sprinkles. 
Place the dipped strawberry on a tray lined with parchment or waxed paper. Let harden at room temperature; or put the tray in the fridge for 30 minutes to speed things up. 


Pina Colada Cupcakes
Pineapple Cupcakes
Ingredients:
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups canned crushed pineapple (drained slightly)
Instructions:
Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar until slightly thickened and a light cream color (about 2 minutes).
On low speed, mix in the oil and vanilla until blended.Add in the pineapple and sour cream and mix until fully incorporated.Add the flour mixture and blend until just combined and smooth.
Line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners and fill about 2/3 full.
Bake cupcakes in a pre-heated 350 F oven for about 22 minutes.
Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.Frost with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)
yields 24-28 cupcakes. 
Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
  
Ingredients:
  • ½ cup (1 stick/8 Tablespoons) butter, at room temperature
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract  
  • 1 teaspoons coconut extract  
  • 4 cups powdered confectioners sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon heavy cream, heavy whipping cream or milk
  • - or -
  • 1 Tablespoon dark rum or extract
Instructions:
Place butter in a large mixing bowl and blend until smooth. Add cream cheese and blend until well combined, about 30 seconds.
Add vanilla extract, coconut extract and powdered sugar (1 cup at a time) and blend on low speed until combined. Increase to medium speed and beat until it begins to get fluffy.
Slowly add the heavy cream or rum. Beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.
Use at once or keep refrigerated. (This frosting will keep well in the refrigerator for several days, but you may need to re-beat it for the best texture.)
For added flavor and texture, top frosted cupcakes with toasted coconut.
(To toast coconut- lay about 1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut on a baking sheet and bake at 375 F about 4-5 minutes). 
Decorate cupcakes with fresh pineapple, maraschino cherries or paper umbrellas.
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