Welcome to Teahouse MB's July Newsletter! This month at Teahouse we are celebrating trees! July 27 is Australia's national tree day. In the USA it is called Arbor Day (arbor means tree) and is in April. Almost every country in the world has a national tree day or arbor day, whenever the best planting season for trees are. But you can plant trees generally in the fall or spring no matter where you live. Happy Tree month at Teahouse MB!

July Member Of The Month

hosted by Melissa
Think you have what it takes to be this months MOTM?

Collaborative Fruit Tree Event

hosted by Lisa
Come and Design your own Fruit Emoticon to decorate our collaborative Fruit Tree!

Fruit Avatar Contest

hosted by Lisa
Enter your special Fruit Emoticon Avatar for the Collaborative Fruit tree into this contest to win a prize!

July Pixel Contest

hosted by Juliet
In The Forest is the theme this July, this is your chance to pixel all those little woodland critters, plants, flowers, and trees, etc.!

July Photo Contest

hosted by Luana
The theme this month is... TOYS and POETRY... Pick your favorite toy - or your child's favorite, if you have kids - and take a shot of poetry with it.

Junes Member of the Month

Congratulations, Emilie! Thankyou for being such a great member here at Teahouse, and for all your hard work and dedication!

Pixel Contest Winner

by Luana

Photo Contest Winner

by Fifi

Advice from a Tree:

Submitted by Melissa

The Little Pine Tree

Once upon a time, there was a little pine tree who enjoyed talking to birds, and cuddling with his mom all day long. One day though, just a week before Christmas, the little pine tree's mom was uprooted by human beings. Little Pine Tree cried a lot. He wanted his mom back!

Summer came and the Little Pine Tree had given up on the hope to see his mom again. He missed her a lot, so he asked one of his bird friends:

"Birdie, do you know where my mom might be now?"

"I don't know, " said the Little Bird, "but I can ask my mom and dad! You know, they fly often all around the land, and have seen many things."

"Please, please!" said the Little Pie Tree, "Ask them if they can go today. Even if I don't see her again, I want to know if she's still alive and well."

Little Birdie nodded and flied to his parents nest, and asked them for Little Pine Tree. They agreed on going immediately, and asked Little Birdie to not leave his friend alone while they are away. Then they kissed their son with soft nuzzles of their beak, and they went.

Little Birdie's Parents flied all day and night, but then they found Little Pine Tree's Mom. She was well maintained, and alive, in a storage for pines stocked to be used for Christmas this year.

"We are your son's friend's parents," said Birdie Mama, "Your Little Pine Tree is so worried about you!"

Pine Tree Mama smiled, and wiped away a tear. "Thanks for looking for me. Please, tell my son I love him dearly, and that he doesn't have to worry, because I'm fine."

"But... will you ever be back? Why are you here in the first place?" asked Birdie Papa.

"Humans used me for their Christmas trees, but didn't harm me. As you can see, I've not been cut, and the soil here is good." She smiled, "Then, there's something I'm going to tell you, but please, don't tell my son."

Birdie Parents listened to what she had to say, but promised they will keep it a secret.

Once back to their land, Birdie Parents hugged their son, and then told Little Pine Tree they found his mom. The told him that she loves him dearly, and he didn't have to worry, because she's fine.

"But where is she?" asked Little Pine Tree with a feeble, sad voice.

"She's stocked for Christmas," said Bird Mama, "But you might see her again in the future, because all pines will be replanted after the holiday."

Little Pine Tree smiled with hope. "Really? Oh, I'll wait for the next Christmas, then!" he said, happily, "I've missed her so much, and I'm so happy I can see her again in two seasons."

Little Pine Tree knew he would have to wait for summer to be over, and then fall. But Winter will come soon, and he will be able to see his mom again then.

A few hot days passed, the weather was very warm, and the July sun shone in the sky making everything look white from the strong light. That afternoon, something happened - look, humans with their machines are coming again! Its a pine tree company - are they there to cut trees? That's what animals and trees in the land asked themselves.

But to their surprise, that was not what they were going to do. They started replanting pine trees!

"We uprooted too many last year, " Little Pine Tree heard a human say, "So we really had to replant some. People prefer plastic trees lately, and Nature needs more trees."

Little Pine Tree wasn't really sure of what he was hearing, but what a joy when he saw his Mom being replanted net to him!

"I'm here, sweetie," said his mom.

"Mom!" Said Little Pine Tree happily, hugging his mom, "I thought you'd be back in Winter!"

Mama Tree smiled. "Wanted it to be a surprise, so I asked your friend's parents not to tell you. I love you, my son!"

Little Pine Tree was so happy that he could just cry and hug his mom again and again. He didn't have to wait for Christmas, here's his beloved mom to be happy with right this summer!

THE END

Written and Submitted by Luana

Recipes to cook indoors for an outdoor party!

Sometimes the weather doesn't cooperate for an outdoor BBQ, nothing worse then trying to cook in the rain, so it is always good to have lot's of things you can cook early indoors for your picnic, and then you can take them outdoors to eat, weather permitting.

Lisas Spagetti Salad

This is my personal recipe for "Spaghetti Salad." (pasta salad) It is for the picky eater, because no one likes veggies much in my family, I leave most of them out, but you can add more veggies and less meat and cheese, if you are concerned with calories or don't eat meat. ^_~ The most important ingredient is the dressing + salad supreme. (I am also including a recipe for home made salad supreme, since it can be expensive.) Classic pasta salad usually calls for the multi colored rotini pasta, which I personally love, but again my picky family doesn't like it. :P

Ingredients:

-1lb cooked, rinsed, drained, and cooled pasta. I usually use spaghetti, but you can substitute any kind of pasta you want. Be sure and cook it until it is al dente, if you over cook and it is too soft your salad can get a little mushy.
-1 8oz block mild cheddar cheese, cubed.
-1/2 pack of pepperoni minis (comes in a 5oz pack) (these are fancy pepperoni, but you can substitute any type of pepperoni, either slices or a stick cut up in small bite size pieces)
-1/4 lb sliced salami cut up in bite size pieces. (I have also used sliced bologna, ham, or a combination, but you can omit all together though and add veggies instead.)
-1 bottle of zesty italian dressing.
-1/4 cup Salad Supreme (this is a mixture of spices, before I started using in my pasta salad it was too bland, and this gives it the zing and color just like the deli serves.)
-1 bell pepper (any color) cut into bite size pieces. I cut mine into thin strips then cut in half, a lot of people don't like bell pepper so I let them big enough to pick out.
-1 tomato, diced. Any of the really juicy parts of the tomato, I try to leave behind on my cutting board, cause all that juicy stuff can make your salad watery.
Lastly you can add about any kind of diced up veggies to your salad, some things like broccoli for example you can steam just long enough to make it a little softer, but still firm. The more veggies you add though the more diluted your dressing becomes, add more dressing and salad supreme to taste if it is a little bland.

Directions:

Cook pasta according to the package directions for al dente pasta. Rinse in cold water, drain, and cool well. Add the pasta to the biggest mixing bowl you have. Dice up ingredients in bite size pieces, and add to the pasta as you go along. Lastly add the entire bottle of italian dressing and 1/4 cup Salad supreme, toss well. (if it is bland add more dressing and salad supreme, be careful not to over season though) Chill. Serve chilled.

Home-made Salad Supreme

Ingredients:

-3 teaspoons Sesame Seeds
-2 teaspoons Paprika
-1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
-1 teaspoon Poppy Seed
-1 teaspoon Celery Seed
-1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
-1/2 teaspoon coarse ground Black Pepper
-2 dashes Cayenne Pepper
-4 tablespoons grated Romano Cheese or parmesean (Fresh is best)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Store in a sealable container in the fridge. Yield's 1/2 cup or 1 jar.

Dallas Dogs

This is a recipe I found on the Betty Crocker website, I have not personally tried it, but I saw someone making something similar on a cooking show, and I've been dying to try it.

Serve hot dogs in a new way. Enjoy these tortillas filled with beef dogs, bell pepper and jalape–o slices, wrapped with bacon strip - a distinctive dinner made ready in 15 minutes.

Ingredients:

-4 beef hot dogs
-2 teaspoons olive oil
-1/2 small onion, sliced (1/4 cup)
-1/2 red bell pepper, cut into strips
-1/2 green bell pepper, cut into strips
-4 slices uncooked bacon
-4 flour tortillas (6 inch)
-1/4 cup pickled sliced jalape–o chiles, drained

Directions:

1. Set oven control to broil.

2. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Place hot dogs on cookie sheet. Broil with tops 4 to 6 inches from heat 4 to 5 minutes or until hot. Set aside; keep warm.

3. Reduce oven temperature to 350¡F. In 10-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot. Cook onion and bell peppers in oil 4 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until slightly softened and brown. Remove from skillet; keep warm.

4. In same skillet, cook bacon 4 to 6 minutes or until brown but still limp.

5. Place 1 hot dog on each tortilla; top each with one-fourth of the onion-pepper mixture. Set aside 4 jalape–o slices; divide remaining jalape–o slices among tortillas. Wrap each tortilla around filling, then wrap bacon slice around each tortilla; secure with a toothpick, and garnish with 1 jalape–o slice. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

6. Bake at 350¡F 5 to 8 minutes or until bacon is crispy and filling is hot.

Basic Directions on How to Plant a Tree

1. Select the right time of year for planting the tree. In general April and May are the best time of year to plant most trees in the northern hemisphere, or September and October works well too.

2. Be sure you aren't going to dig anything up. Check local permit requirements, and electric and drainage line areas.

3. Choose a suitable type of tree for your climate. Trees native to your area tend to do well, and you won't be introducing a potential invasive plant species.

4. Prepare the hole for the tree. Try to leave a "pedestal" of dirt in the center of the hold for tree to sit on. Digging deeper around the edges, so the roots will have plenty of room to grow.

5. Prepare tree for planting. Once in place cut the plastic or burlap off from around the roots. If there is a wire basket leave it in place, this helps keep as much dirt around the roots as possible when planting.

6. Place tree in hole. Fill in with dirt and compost if needed.

7. Water tree. Then come back again one hour later, and water it again. Continue to water tree for several years until the tree gets established.

8. Protect your tree. Use mulch to help define where not to mow, and to help keep in moisture. Use stakes to help support the tree in high winds.

9. Enjoy!

Katey-Pop::July 9
Midori::July 3

If I have missed your birthday this month, I sincerely apologize. If you'd like to be added, please u2u me and I will add it asap. If you'd like your birthday to appear in next month's newsletter, please u2u me with the day of your birthday in August.

Special thanks to Luana for writing the very unique and inspiring fairytale for our July Newsletter & Tree month at Teahouse.

Thankyou to Melissa for writing and submitting ÒreadsÓ for this monthÕs newsletter.

Thankyou to Juliet, Melissa, Luana and Lisa for running activities this month.

Thankyou to all the members who have participated in activities, and visit Teahouse regularly!

& thankyou to our Teahouse staff who are working hard to entertain you, and keep Teahouse clean and active!

If I have missed anyone, I sincerely apologize, please send me a reminder in a u2u, and I will very very happy to add it here - Lisa