Monthly Archives: October 2015

Last Minute Halloween Mayhem!

It’s Halloween week and we’re adding last-minute decorations to our house – a little late, but festive, nonetheless. As Halloween approaches, we share easy ideas for our lollipop ghosts, creepy pins, and tasty treats. Also, check out photos of our decorations, a garden update and of course, the bears!

LOLLIPOP GHOSTS

Ghosts made from lollipops covered with white napkins, fastened with a rubber band.

These lollipop ghosts are fun and fast. Simply wrap a napkin around a lollipop, tie with a ribbon and add a face with a marker. Fun favors that kids love!

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EASY PINS

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From the craft store, we bought 1.5-inch bar pins which have adhesive strips built-in. The pins were secured to the back of these small, plastic decorations for instant, creepy fun! Use flat-backed items for best adhesion. Note: The spider was a little heavy for the pin to support. A little hot glue solved this problem!

The pins pictured above were attached to a piece of cloth for display purposes, but they look great on a jacket or sweater. Crank up the creepy factor – add a little glitter or glow-in-the dark paint to your pin.

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PORTABLE COSTUMES

We often take a cab to Halloween celebrations. One concern is – do we really want to ride in a cab wearing full costumes? When the answer is “no”, we opt for “portable costumes”.

Portable costumes are festive, wearable items that can be tucked into a pocket, purse or backpack, then easily put on before you make your grand entrance!

Some examples are:

  • Silly hats (note our turkey hat – upper left)
  • Campy glasses
  • Halloween ties
  • Boas
  • Clown nose and makeup kit. (Apply makeup when you get there!)
  • Foldable character masks
  • Plain masks with embellishments. (We glued bats and spiders to inexpensive masks.)
  • Lights: Battery operated lights can add a lot of pizzazz to any outfit!

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HALLOWEEN CARD DECOR

Holiday cards received over the years make great decorations, and hanging cards each holiday is one of our favorite traditions. We enjoy reading them and thinking of the family and friends, both here and gone, who sent them. Some of our favorite saved cards surround a Halloween wreath (see last week’s blog for wreath instructions).

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Here’s a small sample of our Halloween decorations.

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Earlier this year, we bought inexpensive projection lights from QVC. These lights create great effects, including the witches’ shadow on the ceiling, and the creepy glow to our hand-made ghost.

We made the ghost (shown above, left) more than 10 years ago. Here is a version you can make. Our ghost has easy-to-attach felt instead of the googly eyes mentioned in the link. Boo!

http://weefolkart.com/white-stiff-fabric-ghosts/

BE SAFE!!!

This link has some good ideas about Halloween safety. Have fun! Be careful!

http://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/

TREATS TO MAKE

Here are some easy, last-minute Halloween treats you can make:

http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/shows/ros-tasty-treats-specials/specials/ros-tasty-treats-halloween.html

GARDEN

The garden is hanging in there despite some colder weather. The cold has hurt some of our marigolds and the tomato plants are droopy. But we picked 10 peppers this week!

For the first time, this week’s veg art is our featured image, as shown at the top of the blog.

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OUR NEW ADDITION

We picked up these fall-colored marigolds today. Inexpensive fresh flowers are a great way to decorate for the holidays. This plant should last through Thanksgiving.

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JOKE OF THE WEEK

Do zombies eat popcorn with their fingers? No, they eat their fingers separately!

Source: Psychology Today.

THE BEARS

The bears are ready for trick or treat after adding diddly-bopper headbands to their own portable costumes.

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Fall back

Dont forget to set your clocks back an hour this weekend. Looking forward to an extra hour of sleep this Sunday!

Oh and…

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Enjoy!

Roy & Kevin

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We Fall for Halloween!!!

 

Halloween approaches! This week, we share two ideas for easy-to-make decorations, a recipe for sweet potato salad and, of course, our garden update and the bears!

HALLOWEEN TREE

We created the Halloween tree pictured above using easy-to-find items, most of which were purchased at our local dollar store.

You will need:

  • 1 tree branch with some off shoots – our’s is 22″ tall
  • Two 8-eight foot strands of black garland
  • Decorative plastic Halloween figures
  • Plastic Halloween rings (ours are bats, skulls and spiders)
  • One 18-inch square of fabric. We used fleece, but burlap would be great, too!
  • Gravel to act as stabilizer in the pot
  • Newspaper and/or plastic bags for filler
  • Curling ribbon
  • Basket, flower pot or the vessel of your choice

 

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We foraged our yard for a spooky-looking tree limb with offshoots on which to hang our decorations. The branch was wrapped in the black garland. The garland had pumpkin and skull images on it, which we removed and saved for another project (see below).

How to create your tree:

  • Line flower pot/basket with cloth.
  • Put gravel in cloth-lined pot.
  • Nestle tree in gravel.
  • Fill pot around tree base with newspapers and/or plastic bags.
  • Gather cloth up around base of tree and secure with ribbon.
  • Arrange the Halloween rings and decorations on your tree.

This tree can be made any height, depending on the size of the tree branch and container used. It would make a great addition to a children’s Halloween party. At the end of the party, kids can take tree decorations home as favors. Do your own variation with light-weight candy, toys or whatever says “Happy Halloween!” to you!

GARLAND WREATH

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The first step in this easy-to-make decoration is to line a 12-inch wire wreath form with black garland (shown). Next, cover the wreath with an orange and black pumpkin-themed garland (thanks, dollar store!). To finish it off, a larger pumpkin (leftover from the tree project above) represents the moon, lighting the sky for one of our cute clip-on witches from last week’s blog.

SWEET POTATO SALAD

This sweet potato salad is a delicious side dish for your Halloween and fall celebrations!

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Tricia Yearwood (yes, that Trisha Yearwood!) had this recipe on one of her recent Food Network television programs. We tweaked the recipe by using non-fat sour cream, doubling the hot sauce and topping with toasted chopped walnuts. Very tasty. Like all potato salads, it’s even better the next day!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/trisha-yearwood/sweet-potato-salad-recipe.html

GARDEN UPDATE

With frost warnings predicted for our area last Sunday night, we brought our flowers, basil, chocolate mint, and pepper plants indoors. We also picked most of the tomatoes, even though they were still green (see veg art below). Temperatures have risen, the plants are now back outside, and they are having another resurgence. One more unexpected comeback!

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VEG ART

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JOKE OF THE WEEK

What is one room a ghosts’ house doesn’t need? A living room!                                                      source: Halloweenjokes.com

THE BEARS

Hmm . . .  we didn’t know the bears were expecting company! Not sure they did either!

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Enjoy!

Roy & Kevin

We’ve Only Just Begun!!!

A year ago today, we decided to start a holiday blog and do one post a week from mid-October through New Year’s Day. Once the ball got rolling, we didn’t want to stop. The blog has been a lot of fun to do and it has inspired us to be more creative. Thank you to everyone who has followed and contributed to our the blog. We’re looking forward to another crafty and tasty holiday season and a fun 2016!

PAPER

For wedding anniversaries, the traditional gift for the first year is paper. With that tradition in mind (sorta), we share two crafts made from paper. The first paper project is a clip-on Halloween witch made from construction paper and a clothespin. The second project is a banner we made for Kevin’s brother’s family, wishing them luck on their upcoming move to Florida. Additionally, we offer a recipe for broccoli rabe, a garden update and, of course, the bears!

WITCH CRAFT

Halloween is coming and we are creating a few fun and easy crafts. This week, it’s the cute clip-on witches shown above.

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You will need:

  • clothespins
  • black, orange, green and white construction paper
  • glue stick
  • double-stick tape
  • scissors
  • a fine marker (black ink)
  • ruler

To make:

Cut the following equIMG_5648 (2)ilateral triangles:

  • three 1-1/4 inch triangles – 1 green (head), 1 orange (hair), 1 black (hat)
  • two 1-1/2 inch triangles – 1 black (dress), 1 yellow (broom head)
  • two 1/2 inch black triangles (shoes)

 

You also will need:

  • one 3/4-inch x 1-1/2 inch white rectangle
  • one 1-inch x 1/8 inch strip of green construction paper

Draw (as shown in picture below):

  • lines on the white rectangle – every quarter-inch
  • a face on the green triangle
  • a black verticle line on the yellow broom head

A little more cutting (see picture below):

  • cut the white rectangle in half lengthwise to form the legs
  • cut broom bristles 1/16-inch wide ending at the verticle line
  • cut 1/16-inch wide strips in bottom of orange triangle to create hair
  • cut 1/4-inch off the tops of the yellow and black 1-1/2 inch triangles
  • cut the tops off of the 1/2-inch triangles (1/8 inch off the tops)

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  • attach orange hair to the back of the head with glue stick as shown below.
  • attach shoes to legs and legs to body
  • attach arm to body

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  • attach head to body and hat to head
  • using double stick tape, attach broom bristle to end of clothespin

Before attaching, the back of the witch should look something like this:

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Attach witch to clothes pin as shown using double stick tape.

The completed witch will look something like this.

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These witches love to help decorate! Use them to clip Halloween cards to curtains or on our clothesline banner (search previous blogs for info). Looking forward to seeing photos of your witch creations!

This is a simple, kid-friendly craft which is more difficult to describe than to create. Use these basic guidelines and have fun!!!

BANNER  

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 We designed this special banner by thinking of what symbolizes Florida and came up with the  two obvious answers: oranges and sunshine. We cut out orange and yellow circles to represent  those iconic images. Some quick cuts turned the yellow circles into suns and green leaves attached with small black paper fasteners transformed the orange circles into fruits. Stickers express the sentiment, “Enjoy FLORIDA!”. The banner was strung together using curling ribbon and embellished with sandal and beach themed stickers. (The top of the exclamation point at the end of the banner is a surf board sticker; the paws represent their dog, “Sadie”.)

This was a fun project to create, making use of quality stickers, craft paper, and a new circle cutter. We’ve said it before, but it bares repeating. Always look online for coupons from craft stores (and any stores for that matter). We saved money on all the items use in this banner with just a few minutes effort to print the coupons.

BROCCOLI RABE

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In our effort to explore new foods, this week we tried broccoli rabe. The first recipe found on- line did not boil the rabe first. It was awful – very bitter! Our second attempt is this recipe from one of our go-to favorites – Rachael Ray. It’s a delicious, healthy way to cook this green.

Here is the recipe:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/broccoli-rabe-with-lemon-and-garlic-recipe.html

GARDEN UPDATE 

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The recent, unseasonably good weather has kept our garden thriving! We have at least 70 green tomatoes on our two cherry tomato plants and 25 peppers in various stages of growth on our Shishito pepper plant. They better hurry up and ripen before this weekend’s predicted frost or we may be growing them in the house. Wonder how much indoor grow lamps cost!

Kevin spotted this lone flower today on the vine that grows on the fence that surrounds our property! This vine has never flowered in our eight years here!

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VEG ART

The apples have taken over. (No, we didn’t grow them!)

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THE BEARS

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The bears are starting to figure out their Halloween costumes!

Enjoy!

Roy and Kevin

 

 

MONSTERS, MASH AND MORE!!!

 

In this blog, we share a monster craft and our tasty reduced calorie mashed potatoes with cauliflower and parsnips and, of course, our garden update.

PAGING DR. FRANKENSTEIN!

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Halloween is a time when monsters run amuck, but these easy-to-create monsters are fun and functional.

We made these funny monsters with coffee cans, fabric fur scraps and googly eyes. Fun and easy!

You will need: furry fabric; googly eyes; cans, jars, or other containers; craft glue (we use Aleene’s Quick Dry Tacky Glue); rubber bands; felt, pompoms; cloth scraps; construction paper; chenille rope; and anything else that will create the perfect monster!

To Make:

  • Wrap fabric around can and secure at the top and bottom with rubber bands;
  • Glue eyes onto fabric to create face;
  • Add a nose and mouth if desired;
  • For feet, we cut out 2 egg shapes, which were approximately 2 inches by 1.5 iches and glued them to the bottom of the container.

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  • For the arms on some of the monsters, we used chenille rope found at fabric stores.
  • For the hands, we cut heart sharps from felt or construction paper.
  • Use your imagination and decorate with fabric scraps and whatever you like!

These cute monsters make great vases or containers for candy and silverware for your Halloween parties. Fill one with flowers or candy for a great hostess gift!

MASH

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We love mashed potatoes, but they have too many carbs and calories. We change them up by  adding cauliflower and parsnips.

You will need:

  • 2 and 1/2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cut into one-inch pieces
  • One lb. bag of frozen cauliflower
  • One large parsnip, peeled and chopped
  • Butter or margarine
  • 3/4 cup milk

To Prepare:

  • Place potatoes and cauliflower in Dutch oven on medium high heat and bring to a boil;
  • Saute chopped parsnip in butter or margarine over medium heat until tender – 5-7 minutes;
  • When potatoes and cauliflower mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes add cooked parsnips to potato and cauliflower;
  • Cook an additional 10 minutes until tender;
  • Heat 3/4 cup milk until it is warm; milk, butter and salt and pepper to taste;
  • These potatoes are great at this point. But reheated at 350 degrees for 20 minutes and they tasted even better!

AND MORE!

GARDEN UPDATE

Summer-like October weather this week. Garden is looking good and still producing!

Here’s a night shot of our patio. Some of this summer’s favorites – shisito peppers, cherry tomatos and impatients continue to thrive.

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VEG ART – Welcome Apple (not the computer)

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JOKE OF THE WEEK                                                                                                                               What do monsters turn on in the summer? The scare conditioner!                                                source: Halloweenjokes.com

WATCH OUT BEARS – THE MONSTERS ARE COMING! (DONT’T WORRY -THEY HAVE CANDY!!!)

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Enjoy!

Roy and Kevin

 

Fall into a cool season!

It’s officially fall and the temps have dipped. This week, we share delicious recipes for delicata squash and our apple spice upside down cake. Also featured this week, the first of many quick and easy Halloween decorating ideas, a garden update and, of course, the bears.

DELICATA SQUASH

Kevin’s sister, Christine, introduced us to this user-friendly squash. It’s makes a tasty side dish, after being part of your fall home decor. You can eat the skin, which is different from some other squash varieties. The original recipe can be found in the link below.

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Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

You will need: two large delicata squash, about one lb. each; two tablespoons olive oil; one teaspoon dried rosemary; salt and pepper to taste.

To prepare:

  • Wash squash, split in half. Remove seeds.
  • Cut into moon shapes, about 1/2-inch thick.
  • Toss with olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper.
  • Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Roast 15 minutes, turn squash over and roast another 15 minutes.

Here is the original recipe from eatingwell.com

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/roast_delicata_squash_onions.html

APPLE SPICE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

This idea came from a recipe Roy found in Readers Digest many years ago. It makes good use of a cake mix, and adds fruit, so it’s really a health food!

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You will need: One spice cake mix and the ingredients listed for preparation: two tablespoons butter; six medium apples, peeled and sliced; 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; two tablespoons brown sugar; pinch of salt.

To prepare:

  • Melt butter or margarine in pan over medium heat.
  • Add apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.
  • Mix well, saute for 5-7 minutes until apples are tender.
  • Prepare cake mix according to directions.
  • Place cooked apple slices evenly in the bottom of a greased 9″ x 13″ pan.
  • Pour cake batter over cooked apples. Bake according to package directions.
  • Cool for 15 minutes. Turn cooled cake onto platter.
  • Serve with ice cream or whipped topping.

Great warm or cold!

Not a spice cake fan? Works with carrot, yellow or white cake mixes as well. Experiment with different cake and fruit mixes. Chocolate cake and cherries? Share your ideas with us!

PUT ON A HAPPY (OR SCARY) FACE!

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DSCF0399 (2)We added Jack-O-Lantern faces to these planters by cutting faces out of construction paper and attaching them with double-sided tape for a quick and simple decoration. Funny sidenote: Christmas Poinsettia and 2 Christmas Cacti are shown! Use what you have!

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Using the same technique, we decorated this 4-sided lamp and table combo (left) with a variety of faces. Happy accident – when photo was taken of the decorated lamp shade, another panel showed in the mirror.

We cut our Jack-O-Lantern faces out freehand, but you can find templates for them at:

http://www.myhomeideas.com/holidays/9-jack-o-lantern-templates/jack-o-lantern-pumpkin-carving-template

What can you decorate in your home? Use you imagination and share your ideas!

 

GARDEN UPDATE

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This week, the Impatiens (don’t they look great!) and marigolds have had a surprising resurgence, and the shishito peppers just went crazy! Plus, we were pleased to discover our first purple pansy bloom. We grew pansies from seed this year, and blooms have been few and far between. It’s late in the season, but our patio garden continues to bring us food and joyl!

VEGETABLE ART:

Home-grown basil adds dimension to this week’s pepper harvest!

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JOKE OF THE WEEK

What did one leaf say to the other? I’m falling for you! 

Source: Mytutors.com

THE BEARS

The bears couldn’t wait to play in the falling leaves, so they got into our leaf garland decor (above). Now they are enjoying rummaging through our fall and Halloween clothes!

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Enjoy!

Roy & Kevin