TwoFer: A Great Holiday Recipe and a Serious Word of Caution

Greetings, friends! This is a post that I re-post every year around the 4th of July. Note that this is NOT an anti-fireworks post, just an important word of caution for all about the dangers of sparklers. Please share with everyone you know in order to keep people safe as they enjoy independence day. And bonus: it comes with a great recipe! 🙂

I was thinking I had another week to get this post up, but then I realized that the 4th of July is just around the corner!  I’ve got two tidbits of info I thought you might appreciate in lieu of the upcoming holiday weekend.

First, a recipe:

Bacon Wrapped Weenies

You’re in for a treat if you haven’t tried these goodies.  I’ve yet to bring them to a gathering where they didn’t get rave reviews.

Bacon Cocktail Weenies. Photo by bethanycastle Photo credit

Don’t they look yummy?  Here’s the details:

Ingredients

1 lb. bacon

1 large package cocktail weenies

1.5 cups dark brown sugar (we use C&H)

1 box round toothpicks

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a large cookie sheet with heavy-duty tin foil.  Take the pound of bacon and slice it, as a whole, into thirds (since we’re cheap, we slice it into fourths 🙂 )  Wrap a third (or fourth) of a slice of bacon around a weenie, and secure it with a toothpick, then place it on the cookie sheet.  Repeat with all weenies, spacing them about 1.5 inches apart.  Sprinkle the brown sugar, as evenly as you can, over the top of the weenies with your fingers.  Place in oven and cook until bacon looks fully cooked, like in the picture above.  You can plan on a good 20-30 minutes, at least, in the oven.  Every 10 minutes or so, spoon some of the bacon grease/brown sugar mixture over the weenies, like you do when you baste a turkey.  When finished, carefully (they’re hot!) place the weenies on a platter or in a crockpot, and pour any loose remaining sauce over them before serving.

***Low-gi people could do it without the brown sugar too – they still taste yummy!  A great treat for your gatherings this weekend!

Now, onto a more sobering piece of advice:

A Lesson Learned

First, I want to boast about my wonderful hubby for a minute.  Rick and I have been married for nearly 17 years, and I’ve know him for over 22 years now.  One of the things I love most about him (this can also be something that drives me crazy about him 🙂 ) is that he is an intense and detailed learner of stuff.   Myself and our longest term friends lovingly like to call him “anal” or “Cliff Claven”, but truth be told, the man I love is chuck full of wisdom.  When he takes to learning something, you can place a sure bet that he’ll be an expert on it.  Not in a type-A, “I’m going for the big win” way, like I do, but in a thoughtful, introspective “This is important info” kind of a way.

That’s why what happened 1 year ago this upcoming Memorial Day was such a shock to us.

Let me preface the story by saying that Rick just retired from 23 years as a Firefighter/EMT in our old suburb.  And the man knows his stuff.  He’s been to more classes, read more books, and attended more training sessions than anyone I know.  Rick didn’t work at this job for the money, he did it to help others, and since he wanted to be an expert at helping others during perilous situations, he knew that it was important that he learn all he could about fires and injuries/sick people.

But the one piece of learning that he never came across is 23 years is a mistake that at least some people likely make each and every year:  They think that sparklers are a safe type of firework.  Note: This is not an anti-firework ad.  Just a word of caution to our friends.

We found out one year ago that sparklers can be very, very dangerous.

Rick’s family was over, which consists of his mom, his brother, sis-in-law and their three kids.  We were having a wonderful time together, as usual.  The kids were playing outside.  The dads were supervising and playing with them.  Rick’s mom was enjoying time with her sons, and sis-in-law and I were chatting in the living room.

Out of nowhere, Rick came sprinting (and I’m talking “running away from a bad guy” sprinting) into the house and headed for the kitchen.  He didn’t say a word to us, so we knew it was bad, whatever “it” was.  Instinctively, sis-in-law and I tag-teamed: she ran out to check on the kids, I ran into the kitchen to check on Rick.

“We’ve got to go to the Emergency Room” he said.

Ok, Rick never says this.  Knowing what he knows about injuries, he knows that 90% of the trips to the ER are really quite unnecessary, at least in his experience.  So when he said we were going in, I knew that whatever it was, it was bad.  **** Disclaimer: Never underestimate your injury or illness in fear of “bothering” the ER docs or any other reason.  If you are unsure about the extent of your injury or illness, get to the Emergency Room immediately.

In the short time between when he burst into the house, and I ran into the kitchen (about 10 seconds) he had his hand in a bucket of ice water.

Here’s what happened:

Rick had decided to light sparklers for the 4 little kids.  He held them closely (this is the dangerous part, apparently.  Never hold more than one sparkler in close proximity to another) in his right hand, and lit the sparklers with his left, and….BOOM!!!  Instant explosion.  Yes, EXPLOSION, as in, the inside of his hand was a ball of fire.  He immediately threw the ball of flaming sparklers to the ground, told his brother to watch the kids and ran in the house.

Within less than 5 minutes we were in the car, on the way to the ER.

“Drive faster, Laurie.  It really hurts.”  Ok, HUGE red flag here.  Rick has always had a super-high pain tolerance.  In fact, the day he went in to get his wisdom teeth pulled, I drove him home, and he got out of the car and started mowing the grass and trimming the landscaping.  The guy just doesn’t feel pain.  So I knew that we were in trouble with this hand thing.

After a few hours in the hospital with some amazing docs and nurses, we left with 2 sheets of instructions to deal with the 2nd and 3rd degree burns on Rick’s hand.

As a firefighter/EMT, this experience left Rick with a whole new appreciation for burn victims.  Even this “minor” (comparatively) burn was unbearably painful for him.  He couldn’t imagine what serious burn victims have to go through, and he now has a whole new compassion for them.

And the downside of Rick not really being able to feel pain (usually) is that it comes with another side issue: pain drugs just don’t work for him.  So he had to tough it out.  The docs gave him 3 different meds to try, and not only did they not reduce the pain, but they gave him stomach issues.  Oh, joy.

The good news is that Rick is just fine today, but the moral of the story is that although the perception is that sparklers are safe, that’s just not always true.  They can indeed be very dangerous.  If you choose to still use them to entertain your kids, please be very, very careful.

Rick’s biggest piece of thankfulness over this whole ordeal was that it was him who was hurt and not one of the kids who were there that day.

We haven’t used sparklers since, and I don’t know that we ever will.  Maybe, maybe not.  But that’s not the point of this story.  The point is to always use sparklers and other fireworks cautiously.

So grab some good food, some friends and/or family, and enjoy the upcoming holiday weekend. 🙂

76 comments

  1. Wow Laurie, I am so glad that Rick is ok. I love fireworks and the kids enjoy watching me light them on the 4th, but this is just another lesson in that they can be VERY dangerous and should be handled as such. As an aside, would it be wrong of me to lick the monitor? 😉 Those look awesome!

    • Laurie says:

      LOL, not wrong, John, just weird. :-). They ARE awesome. I highly recommend them. Yes, I’m glad Rick is ok too. 🙂

  2. Pauline says:

    Your have a beautiful family! That was a terrible accident, glad you managed to keep your cool to get Rick to the ER, I think I would have fainted..

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks, Pauline. 🙂 I think they’re adorably cute. As far as keeping my cool, I think I was in shock more than anything. In fact, when I went with him to the burn doc for the follow up, I had to leave the room because I almost lost my lunch. I’m a bit of a wimp with the medical stuff. 🙂

  3. Matt Becker says:

    Great looking family! I’m glad Rick was ok after that whole ordeal. Thanks for the warning. It sounds like you guys handled the whole thing as well as possible. And thanks for the recipe. My wife loves bacon and my son loves hot dogs, so this sounds like a winner for us!

    • Laurie says:

      I have a feeling they’ll love the recipe then, Matt. :-). Yes, it was tough watching my steadfast hubby be injured like that. I’m glad he’s ok too!

  4. First off, that recipe looks awesome and I will probably make some this weekend. Secondly, thank you for sharing this story. I never understood why we all think sparklers are safe. Yes, they don’t shoot out fireballs, but they are still fire that burns at a high degree. Glad to hear that Rick is OK.

    • Laurie says:

      Grayson, I have a feeling you’ll love it. It’s a great guy appetizer. Yes, we had no idea that by holding them in close proximity that they could actually shoot out fireballs!!! It was scary! Have a great day, Grayson.

  5. Wow, what an eye-opening story. I’ve always thought of sparklers as being super safe and great for kids. I’m glad to hear your husband is okay and hopefully your story will save others from having the same thing happen to them. Also, thanks for the bacon-weinie recipe. I’ve had them a few times (and they are delicious), but never knew how to make them!

    • Laurie says:

      I hope so too, Jake. That’s why Rick is so intent on us sharing this story wherever we can. We don’t want this happening to anyone else, especially kids!

  6. Sicorra says:

    Very sorry to hear what happened Laurie! But good to hear that your husband is okay today.

    And I do love that recipe. We’ve made it a few times as well.

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks, Shannon. Yes, it was tough, especially for the kids, seeing their strong daddy in so much pain. Let me know how hubby likes the weenies if you try them. 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      I’m with you, Nick. I never cared much for them before this accident, but this solidified my opinion of them. And you’re SO right about the cost. It can be outrageous!!!

  7. Charlie says:

    Laurie – I love bacon wrapped wennies! It is our tradition ever year at our Super Bowl party to make these! I eat about 50 of them to make up for a whole year of going without! 🙂 haha

    • Laurie says:

      Yes, the “weenies per serving” on this recipe is much higher than the normal amount listed on the package – they’re that good! 🙂

  8. I can imagine that was a scary moment. I get really nervous when we are in a large group of people doing fireworks. My son got a small burn from a sparkler the other year and it kind of scared him a bit. Love the family picture and definitely will try out that recipe. They look great!

    • Laurie says:

      Thank God your little one was ok too! It’s hard with the kids around and a large group is setting them off, because not everyone has the same level of concern for safe handling of fireworks. This is one reason why I appreciate Rick’s over-protective stance with the kids.

  9. This is a very eclectic post, weenies to severe burns. I’ve also seen eye injuries from sparklers and various “kid safe” fireworks. We had fun with fireworks when I was a child, but as a parent, we’ll watch the city fireworks display and stay away from at home celebrations.

    • Laurie says:

      LOL, I know, but I wanted to add just a little bit of happiness into a sobering post. 🙂 Oh my goodness, eye injuries would be horrible! Smart move on your part, Kim, keeping your daughter far away from unprofessional fireworks displays.

  10. Brian says:

    I didn’t know that about sparklers and now I will be VERY careful with them! I feel for your husband but am so glad the kids were alright.

    • Laurie says:

      Funny, Brian, but that was Rick and my first thought too, is that it could’ve been one of them! Rick said he’d take that injury a million times over just to avoid the kids being hurt.

  11. I’d love to try the recipe with pieces of turkey dog (that’s what I eat). Sounds delicious!

    As for the sparklers, I’ve never understood why people would give these to children. Fire makes me super nervous so I don’t really enjoy sparklers even as an adult. I’m glad hubby is OK. That’s such a scary story. I thought I was just super paranoid about sparklers, now I know my paranoia was justified. When bf and I have kids we will not have sparklers, or only he and I will hold them (lighting one at a time!)

    • Laurie says:

      I’m sure turkey do would be just as yummy, KK. Nope, you are definitely NOT paranoid. Fire is very dangerous. We don’t even light candles in the house, due to all that Rick has seen. Fires can happen in an instant, and take your house down just as quick.

  12. Laurie says:

    Jenny, you are lucky to have learned through your dad and uncle’s stories. Your policy regarding sparklers are spot-on. They are fun, but sure can be dangerous.

  13. Jose says:

    That a great and eye opening warning Laurie. Thanks for sharing that, I had no idea sparklers could be that dangerous. That’s a great looking family, I bet you’re proud of them but where’s the author? 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      LOL, well, it seems that most of the pics we do on outings are void of either Rick or I, since somebody has to be the picture taker. 🙂 We have to start being one of those people that is not afraid to walk up to total strangers and say “Will you take a pic for us?”. Hope you are getting a bit of a break from your busy job this weekend. 🙂

  14. Happy Memorial Day!
    That story sure scared me of ever using sparklers again!! It´s crazy how this is the typical kind of fireworks that we give to children..
    Your family is beautiful! 🙂 Have a great day, Laurie!

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  16. Kirsten says:

    Oh my word, Laurie!!! That is so scary. I’m glad that the ending wasn’t more serious, and I’m especially glad that all the kids nearby were OK.

    Here’s my thing about fireworks – I get so annoyed when people in cities do them in their yards. They are putting so many people in danger PLUS for the past 4 years, I have had small children who have been terrified. It’s also never fun when the 4th is on Monday and I have to work on Tuesday. People should really have more consideration! I’m also reading a number of Facebook posts reminding people that many veterans have PTSD and fireworks are not really entertaining for them 🙁

    • Laurie says:

      Oh, Kirsten, I remember the kids being little and us having to stay in the house and watch TV to drown out the scary noise. We never did the big fireworks at our house, only the “safe” ones, but now we do none and enjoy them from afar. Just not worth the risk. SO interesting about vets and PTSD. I would have never even thought of that. We’ll be praying for them from now on each 4th of July, that their hearts are calmed and that they have joy and peace on what I’m sure is a not fun holiday for many vets. Thanks so much for sharing!

  17. Kalie says:

    Thanks for sharing your story in the interest of educating others. My husband had a much less severe burn from a sparkler that was used instead of throwing rice at a wedding. It didn’t require an ER trip but it definitely gave me a new wariness for sparklers.

    • Laurie says:

      Oh dear! I’ve always thought they were relatively harmless, but I guess that goes to show that fire/fireworks always carry at least some danger. Glad your hubby is okay too!

    • Laurie says:

      LOL, that’s about what it was like when we experienced. SO glad you are sharing this info, Laura. I would hate to see someone else make the same innocent mistake that Rick made that day.

    • Laurie says:

      :-), yeah, they’re a family favorite around here. 🙂 Yes, it was very scary. Glad it’s over with, and hope no one else has it happen to them!

  18. kay ~ the barefoot minimalist says:

    Wow, I had NO idea sparklers could be so dangerous! I remember using them when I was a kid. Yikes! Glad it wasn’t worse than it was!

    Oh man, those weenies, Laurie. Seriously! My mouth is watering! I gotta make me some of those! 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      SO glad to hear that, Holly. The incident still makes sick to my tummy when I think about it. It was NOT a good scene.

  19. So glad that Rick didn’t get seriously hurt! My hubby is always begging me to allow him to get fireworks, even small ones and stories like this make me want to continue to remind him to leave the fireworks for the professionals. Thanks for sharing the recipe!! It looks super yummy!!

  20. Ouch! I feel that hand burn! How great to see a photo of Rick and the kids! One Canada Day (which is today – July 1) many years ago, my second daughter, who was about 3 at the time, held her first sparkler. I squatted down to her level, ready to grab the sparkler if necessary. But it burnt all the way down successfully without incident. Until she grabbed the sparkler at the burnt end – thinking it would be OK now that there were no sparks – and howled. Ugh! She had blisters on her little hands, and I felt so awful – having been right there “just in case.” So there’s another cautionary tale about sparklers. No sparklers for us tonight! We’re heading downtown to see the big fireworks display : )

  21. Oh my gosh, so scary! Fireworks make me a little nervous ever since we set our bushes on fire when one “jumped” into the bushes a few years ago. I had no idea sparklers could be so volatile though! Thanks for sharing!

    • Laurie says:

      Oh my gosh, Dee!!! You’re very own burning bush! 🙂 Yeah, the sparkler thing was a complete shock to us too. Now we know, though. Have a great (and safe) 4th with your little one!

  22. That is so scary! Glad Rick was OK! Definitely worth revisiting this story every year–it’s a really good reminder of how dangerous this stuff can be. We don’t do any firecrackers at home now, but I do remember using sparklers as a kid.
    P.S. The bacon-wrapped weenies look amazing!

    • Laurie says:

      Yeah, it was traumatizing, you know? This guy, who NEVER complains about pain was wincing and begging me to hurry to the hospital. I’ll never forget it. I would imagine Frugal hound doesn’t much like the noise of fireworks anyway, huh?

  23. Josh says:

    Thanks for the reminder & glad to hear your husband was ok. It ended up raining here (we are dry this summer so it’s ok) and didn’t light any fireworks yesterday, but I have some sparklers with multi-colors and was tempted at holding several together to make a “fountain” of sorts.

  24. First, the good: thanks for the weenies and bacon recipe. I’ll be making that for dinner with mac and cheese one night this week.

    Second, OMG, had no idea sprinklers could explode. That’s crazy. Thanks for the tip. I’m tossing the leftovers we have.

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