Catching the Holiday Spirit

Sometimes its hard to get into the holiday spirit. One good way is to put on a Santa hat, listen to some holiday music, have a cup of peppermint tea or hot chocolate, take a breath and dive into your to-do lists! We have separate to-do lists for decorating, cooking and gift-giving. It’s a spirit-lifter to check items off your lists.

This week, we share a craft idea for painted clothespins (great for holiday decorating), a delicious, healthier version of classic onion dip, a patio update, and, of course, the bears.



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These clothespins are a very functional craft. They work great for holding greeting cards, hanging stockings or hats (pictured above) and more!

You will need:

  • Wooden clothespins (we bought 50 for under $2.00)
  • White and red acrylic paint
  • Paint brushes and toothpicks


We painted our base coat by hand, but white spray paint would work well and dry faster. Make sure to use in a well-ventilated area.

Use a toothpick to create the smaller lines on the clothespins. Simply brush the toothpick with a coat of red paint and lay it where you want a thin line. (It works sort of like a stamp.)

You also can use markers or paint pens to create the stripes. A great idea for kids!


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Appetizers are always an enjoyable way to start a party, and what’s better than a dip? We love the classic dip made from onion soup mix and sour cream, but the dry mix has a lot of salt and MSG, and uses dehydrated onions. We came up with this recipe, which uses fresh onions and a lot less salt. Delicious and better for you!


  • Three cups sliced onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Two tablespoons of light margarine
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • One 16-ounce container non-fat sour cream
  • One teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To prepare:

  • Saute onions over medium heat in margarine and sugar for about 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Onions will reduce by about half. Keep a close eye – be careful not to scorch the onions.
  • Chill sautéed onions completely.
  • Set aside 1/4 cup of the chilled onions.
  • Place remaining onions in food processor and pulse 3 times.
  • Add sour cream, mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce and pulse until smooth.
  • Spoon into a bowl and stir in the reserved onions.
  • Chill at least 2 hours and serve with potato chips, crudite or our home-made pita chip.

Our pita chip recipe is on the link below:


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This week, we cleared out the last remains of this summer’s very successful patio garden. The photo on the left shows our garden in mid-season glory. Next up – time to decorate the patio for the holidays and winter!

We brought in the hummingbird feeder (shown on the right with some of our herb plants). This was the first year having the feeder, and we only saw 1 hummingbird. Maybe he’ll tell his friends and more will come next year!


Ever seen a mushroom snow flake? You have now (or have you)!

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What is Santa’s dog called? Santa Paws! ( Source:


The bears wanted to help with the stockings and hats!!

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Roy & Kevin


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