Monthly Archives: November 2015

Happy and Fun Thanksgiving to All!!!

“Gratitude is the best attitude.” – Unknown                                                                                    Source: Quotegarden.com

Happy Thanksgiving! As Turkey Day approaches, we revisit updated versions of a couple of our favorite side dishes, a hostess gift idea, some of our favorite Thanksgiving things, what we are thankful for, the garden (now patio) update and, of course, the bears!

FAVORITE HOLIDAY SIDE DISHES

Sweet potatoes with bananas

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Check out the recipe here!

https://funclesarts.com/2014/11/22/thanksgiving-the-third-blog-post/

Cranberry sauce with jalapeno peppers

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This zingy favorite is sure to surprise!                     Heat one 14 oz. can of whole berry cranberry sauce over medium heat until it liquefies. Finely chop one jalapeno pepper (remove seeds and ribs to make less spicy if desired) and add to cranberries. Simmer for 5 minutes. Cool at least one hour until mixture solidifies.

Check out last year’s post, where this recipe first appeared, to find a crunchy cranberry sauce variation with a touch of citrus!

Click here for the post and recipe:

https://funclesarts.com/2014/11/14/thanksgiving-continued/

HOSTESS GIFT IDEA

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Baked goods are great hostess gifts, but time constraints around the holidays can make baking from scratch difficult. We suggest using quality mixes. This pumpkin bread was made from a boxed mix. Add dried cranberries, raisins, nuts or whatever you think will work to personalize your goodies. Make it your own! It’s a great gift when wrapped and paired with specialty tea. You can find delicious mixes and ready to bake treats at any supermarket. Easy and appreciated!

“Thanksgiving, man. Not a good day to be my pants!” – Kevin James (comedian)

THANKSGIVING TREASURES

Cornucopia

This cornucopia has been in Roy’s family for as long as he can remember. It was the subject of a recent “veg art” photo!

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Pilgrim candle

Kevin’s family has had this pilgrim candle a long time, too. His mom gave it to us for Thanksgiving just a few years ago. A treasure for sure.

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“Family gathers to share good noise and good food, gratitude abounds!”

poet Alexandra Elle (source goodreads.com)

PATIO UPDATE (FORMERLY GARDEN UPDATE)

The bee is bee-fuddled by the change in the impatiens.

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The tomato cages are waiting to be transformed into Christmas trees or some other holiday creation!

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Bonus picture: We love bittersweet, a fall vine with berries which grows abundantly on our property. Bittersweet make a great fall decoration, but be warned, if you use it indoors, the berries can stain!

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FOOD ART (FORMERLY VEG ART

Fruits and vegetables ready for Thanksgiving!

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JOKE OF THE WEEK

What sound does a space turkey make?  Hubble . . . Hubble . . .Hubble!!!                                       source:101thanksgiving.com

THANKSGIVING TRIVIA

Here is some interesting trivia about Thanksgiving!

http://www.examiner.com/article/50-family-friendly-thanksgiving-trivia-questions-and-answers

Thankful

We are thankful to have wonderful, supportive families, great friends and fun and creative lives. Plus, the 10-0 Pats!!!

THE BEARS

The bears get in the act with their own turkey hats.

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Last but DEFINITELY not least, we are thankful for your support and kindness!

Enjoy!

Roy & Kevin

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Pre-Thanksgiving Fun!

This week, try our turkey chili, and check out our decorations, gift ideas, garden update, and, of course, the bears!

TURKEY CHILI

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This easy, money-saving chili recipe makes a big batch and stretches a pound of ground turkey or beef. It’s a warming, make-ahead meal and leftovers freeze great, too! You’ll gobble it up!

Ingredients:

  • one lb. lean ground turkey
  • one large onion, chopped
  • one tablespoon minced garlic
  • one tablespoon olive oil
  • three 15.5 oz. cans each of black beans and red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • one 16 oz. can fat-free refried beans
  • one 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • one 10 oz. can diced tomatoes with chilis
  • two cups water
  • one quart box (32 oz.) of reduced sodium chicken broth
  • one lb. bag frozen pepper strips
  • 1/2 cup chili powder
  • one tablespoon cumin
  • one teaspoon oregano
  • one tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • one tablespoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons masa flour (in a pinch, finely ground tortilla chips work great, too!)
  • salt to taste

How to prepare:

  • Brown ground turkey in olive oil with chopped onion and grated garlic.
  • In a large saucepan, add the beans, tomatoes, pepper strips, chicken broth and water.
  • Bring to a simmer and add browned meat and onion combo. Add spices and masa flour; simmer for 20 minutes. That’s it!

Serve with tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream, olives and your favorite toppings!

THANKSGIVING DECORATIONS

Thanksgiving banner

This festive banner is fun to make!

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Check out the directions here:

https://funclesarts.com/2014/11/07/thanksgiving-post-number-one-the-holiday-blogfest-continues/

Playing dress up

Roy’s hand-made scarecrows like to dress up as pilgrims for Thanksgiving!

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Cards as decorations

We save our holiday greeting cards to use as decorations. This week, they are combined with the leaf print cards we made a couple of weeks ago to decorate a door in our apartment.

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Check out the blog, “Autumn Leaves”, to learn how to make these leaf prints.

https://funclesarts.com/2015/11/07/autumn-leaves/

GIFTS FOR KIDS

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Keeping kids engaged and entertained during holiday celebrations can be a challenge.  For Thanksgiving, we bought the holiday clings on the left so the children can adorn the windows (check with your hostess to make sure it is okay.) Also, nothing beats coloring and sticker books for creative fun. Give Christmas-themed books to the kids at Thanksgiving so they can enjoy them the whole holiday season. Washable markers are the way to go. Kids love to color!

Speaking of color, we are pleased to see our Christmas cacti, a gift from Kevin’s mother several years ago, in full bloom!

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Hostess Gift Idea: Christmas cacti survive with very little attention and provide the gift of beautiful blossoms at least twice a year.

GARDEN UPDATE

When we started cleaning the patio, it looked like this:

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After close inspection, we realized that the pepper and 2 tomato plants were ready to go. So thankful for the hundreds of peppers and tomatoes we harvested this growing season!

We kept some of the blossoming plants, which still provide color. The patio is now ready for our winter decor. More to come in future blogs.

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VEG ART – TWO FOR ONE!

In anticipation of this week’s predicted frost, we picked all of our tomatoes and peppers. They are ripening in a paper bag (great way to hasten the ripening process).

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JOKE OF THE WEEK

Why did the scarecrow win the Nobel Prize? Because he was out standing in the field!             Source:EnchantedLearning.com

THE BEARS

The bears are looking dapper in their mini pilgrim hats!

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Enjoy

Roy & Kevin

Here They Come – The Holidays!!!

A FEW IDEAS TO PREP FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Yes, the time has come! It’s time to start thinking about and planning for the holidays.

Here are a few things we like to do to get ready for the holidays. These tips help minimize the amount of pre-holiday angst which is often present this time of year. Take a look at our thoughts about food preparation, a decorating idea, some hostess gift suggestions, a garden update, and, of course, the bears!

MAKE IT AHEAD

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This time of year (or anytime) when cooking dinner, double the recipe. The oven is on anyway! Double up on soups, pasta sauces, chili, meatloaf, roast chicken, casseroles and side dishes that freeze well. During the busy holiday season, its great to have a meal ready to go – just re-heat and eat! Our chicken rice soup pictured above is a perfect example of this idea. (Hint – brown rice holds its shape when frozen and re-heats beautifully.)

THANKFUL DECORATIONS

Last year, we presented this Thanksgiving Tree (see the link below for instructions).

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https://funclesarts.com/2014/11/14/thanksgiving-continued/

This year, rather than put up a tree, we hung the leaves – clothesline style. We first featured this clothesline banner idea in September’s blog titled, “Nice to Get Away”. Check it out here:

https://funclesarts.com/2015/09/16/nice-to-get-away/

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HOSTESS GIFT IDEAS

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‘Tis the season for parties and get togethers. It’s great to bring the host or hostess a little something to show your appreciation.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Seasonal live plant (last longer than fresh flowers and busy host or hostess doesn’t have to hunt for a vase)
  • Candy
  • Bottle of wine
  • Baked items
  • Jarred goods
  • Ornaments

A couple of presentation ideas:

  • Bottle of wine: We re-purposed the paper bag the bottle came in as the gift bag (above). A silk leaf photocopied onto card stock makes a great seasonal gift tag.
  • Tins of cookies and tea make a good combo gift. We topped the cookie tin with a faux, fall-colored flower.
  • Jar of pepper spread. Trim the lid of the jar with a fall-colored fabric. Hold the fabric in place with a rubber band and then tie a piece of jute over the band for a rustic look. Make a more complete gift by adding a box of special crackers.

Combine multiple items like these into a wonderful gift basket!

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WRITE IT DOWN!

A great way to stay organized for the holidays is to use lists. Make lists of what you need to do and what to buy. We keep our lists, coupons and holiday ideas on handheld clipboards for quick reference. When a creative idea strikes, we grab the clipboard and jot it down. For the more technologically savvy, there are clipboard apps.

GARDEN UPDATE

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This has been a crazy year for our garden. It has brought us great joy. These pretty flowers are hanging in even though it’s mid-November.

Still harvesting tomatoes and peppers and enjoyed some in pasta sauce and salads just this week.

We are very grateful for our abundant 2015 patio garden! (Made this year’s thankful leaf clothesline!)

Photo bonus: Love the fall colors of this vine on our fence along Route 95!

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VEG ART

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JOKE OF THE WEEK

What kind of music did the Pilgrims like? Plymouth Rock!                                                   source: Jokes4us.com      

THE BEARS

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The chilled bears enjoyed a nice cup of hot tea as they contemplated the upcoming holiday season. Looks like they borrowed our scarves!

And last but definitely not least. Veteran’s Day this week was the perfect way to begin the Thanksgiving season. We thank all those who serve and have served, keeping our country safe.

Roy & Kevin

Autumn Leaves

This week, we share ideas for re-purposing our Halloween decorations, a seasonal art project,   a quick and delicious recipe for tuna pizza, our garden update and, of course, the bears!

PUMPKINS AND SCARECROWS

Our Halloween decorations included many items that can be used throughout the fall season. The ghosts and skeletons have been exorcised until next Halloween, but the pumpkins and scarecrows now form the basis of our fall decor. With Roy’s handmade pumpkin pillows on the couch, we simply turned the faces to the wall for a quick and easy change-up.

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LEAF ART

This craft is a flashback from grammar school – still fun to do!!!

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You will need:

Leaves, crayons, paper (see tips below), paper towels

To do:

  • Place leaf vein side up on paper towel.
  • Position paper over leaf where you would like the image to appear.
  • With side of peeled crayon, gently rub paper over leaf.

This requires some trial and error. Make sure you have extra paper so you can experiment.

Tips:

  • Pick out different shapes, sizes and varieties of leaves.
  • Use paper that is not too thick. Printer and construction papers work well, but thicker paper, like cardstock, will be less effective. Test out your paper before starting your project.
  • Leaves with prominent stems and veins are great for doing these rubbings.
  • Experiment with different color crayon combinations.
  • Good use for broken crayons.

Scan your completed designs for multiple uses. Print the images onto cardstock for personalized greeting cards. Frame your creation for seasonal decor. Think outside the box, pick up some t-shirt transfer paper, and your creation becomes a fun t-shirt!

Check out this link for info on designing t-shirts with your artwork:

http://www.ehow.com/how_10039627_transfer-pictures-tshirt.htmlZZAS

TUNA PIZZA

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These tuna pizzas are quick, easy and delicious. Simply put your favorite tuna salad on an English muffin, add 1/2 slice of low-fat Swiss (or your favorite) cheese and veggies (if desired). We used chopped green peppers. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes, then broil for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. These come out of the oven very hot – let cool slightly before eating.

We used 4 cans of tuna for 6 English muffins.

GARDEN UPDATE

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The unseasonably warm weather continues and has made the garden last longer than we had anticipated. We are still harvesting peppers and tomatoes in November!

VEG ART

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HOLIDAYS COLLIDE!!!

Our Christmas cactus, which we received as a gift from Kevin’s mom, Irene, more than five years ago, is blooming in one of our Jack-O-Lantern pots.

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JOKE OF THE WEEK

If money really did grow on trees, fall would be everyone’s favorite season!

THE BEARS

The bears wanted to help rake the leaves under this beautiful tree, but their (matching) rakes were too big, so they decided to play! (Who can blame them!?)

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ENJOY!

Roy and Kevin