Category Archives: Teddy Bears

Warming Up for St. Valentine’s Day

The northeast is bracing for bitter cold weather. Our hope is that you all find warmth with family and friends this St. Valentine’s Day weekend. Plus, it’s a great excuse to eat some chocolate! This week, we share our take on some delicious chocolate truffles, some ideas for using last week’s woven heart baskets, a plant update, and of course, the bears!

EASY TRUFFLES

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Ingredients:

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  • one 8 oz. package light cream cheese, softened
  • three cups confectioners sugar, sifted
  • three cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • cocoa powder, chopped walnuts, coconut, dried fruit sprinkles

How to make:

  • Beat the cream cheese until smooth.
  • Gradually beat in confectioners sugar.
  • Stir in melted chocolate and vanilla.
  • Refrigerate 1 hour.
  • Form into one inch balls.
  • Roll in toppings of your choice.

Varieties for truffles are almost endless. Chocolate and orange go great together, so replace the vanilla with same amount of orange juice and 1/2 teaspoon of orange zest. We also stuffed truffles with dried fruit – tastes like a decadent “Chunky Bar”.

WOVEN PAPER HEARTS

Last week, we introduced this easy paper craft. Here are a couple of ways we used these hearts for St. Valentine’s Day this year.

Decorative Banner

Displayed “clothesline style” with photos and cards, attached to twine with painted clothes pins, they add great dimension to a holiday banner. We used a variety of different papers to make the hearts for a fun display.

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Gifts

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The woven hearts were mass-mailed to great-nieces and great-nephews filled with stickers, candy, hair clips and toy cars. We placed the filled hearts in treat bags secured with painted clothes pins adorned with heart stickers.

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Here is the link for how to create these paper baskets.

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/Heartbasket.shtml

For more St. Valentine’s Day ideas, check out last year’s post:

https://funclesarts.com/2015/02/13/happy-st-valentines-day/

PLANT UPDATE

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Our Amaryllis is growing like crazy, and now requires a stake for support. A saleswoman at a big-box store gave us a great, money-saving idea on what to use for stakes. She suggested we buy marshmallow s’mores sticks, which cost 19 cents for a package of four. These wooden sticks are 31 inches long, easy to cut and they work great for a light-weight stalk! Helpful tip!

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FOOD ART

Last week’s tomato. Tomatoes are sometimes called love apples! Great for St. Valentine’s Day!

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THE BEARS

The bears show their “light side” by playing with a strand of heart-shaped lights!

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

“In dreams and in love, there are no impossibilities!” – Janos Arany

Enjoy!

Roy and Kevin

Super Weekend!

It just doesn’t seem right that the Patriots are not in Super Bowl 50. Still, it’s a great event, and we will be tuning in for Lady Gaga’s national anthem, the game (go Broncos), the commercials and Cold Play’s halftime show.

Food is always a great part of Super Bowl Sunday, and in this week’s blog, we share our Crispy Baked Shrimp, served with our Amped-up Coleslaw.

We also feature this week’s Amaryllis report, our indoor/outdoor garden update and, of course, the bears!!!

CRISPY OVEN-BAKED SHRIMP

This tasty, oven-baked shrimp looks and tastes fried, but has a lot less fat and calories. Easy!

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Delicious as a sandwich, too!

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Ingredients;

  • 1 lb. bag large, raw, deveined shrimp, 31- 40 ct.
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs, separated – 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Garlic Herb Mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

How to prepare:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Defrost shrimp, peel and remove tail.
  • Pat shrimp dry and place in bowl.
  • Mix flour, chili powder and Mrs. Dash.
  • Coat shrimp thoroughly with dry mix.
  • Add beaten egg to shrimp mixture and toss.
  • Add 3/4 cup bread crumbs to the bowl and toss to cover shrimp completely.
  • Place coated shrimp on parchment-lined sheet tray.
  • Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup crumbs over shrimp.
  • Bake 10 minutes.
  • Flip with spatula.
  • Bake 5 more minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Hearty Coleslaw

This coleslaw is delicious. The broccoli slaw adds crunch and fiber.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 of a 12 oz. bag of Dole’s Classic Coleslaw
  • 1/2 of a 14 oz. bag broccoli coleslaw (we use Mann’s)
  • 1 cup of light mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard

How to prepare:

  • Mix the 2 coleslaw blends together.
  • Combine mayo, mustard and lemon juice.
  • Toss dressing with slaws and chill.

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Great with the crispy baked shrimp!

ST. VALENTINE’S DAY IS COMING!!!

Woven Paper Heart Baskets

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Roy learned these woven paper heart baskets from the PBS show “ZOOM!” Here is a link with details on how to make these baskets:

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/Heartbasket.shtml

Check next week to see how we decorate and fill these charming hearts for St. Valentine’s Day.

PATIO & PLANT UPDATE

The bears ventured out onto the patio during today’s snow storm to clear off a sign!

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Good thing they were able to warm up afterwards.

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Weekly Amaryllis Report

The Amaryllis we received as a gift is thriving!!!  It travels with the light throughout the day – early morning light on our office printer; mid-day light on the office counter and sunset in the apartment. Amazing growth in one week! Thanks Chris and Bernard!

This is where we started:

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Here is this week’s growth! (Feed me Seymore!!!)

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FOOD ART

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The Bears

The bears have packed up their PATS gear and said goodbye and thanks for a great year! Now, they are focussing their energy on the UCONN Huskies! (The bears are always so um … subtle… with their decorations! (Yeah it’s the bears who do that!) GO HUSKIES!!!

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Enjoy!!!

Roy and Kevin

Let’s Play! Creativity, food and football – GO PATS!!!

After an unseasonably warm December and beginning of January, winter finally has arrived. With Rhode Island bracing for its first measurable snow storm, we share our warm artichoke dip with homemade bagel bites (perfect for the Patriots game on Sunday), offer thoughts on restocking art and craft supplies, playing creatively, a patio update and, of course, the bears!

WARM ARTICHOKE DIP

Here is one of our favorite recipes. Great for halftime! GO PATS!!!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/2 cups light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (freshly grated is best, but the green can works)
  • one 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic herb mix
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

To prepare:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine all the ingredients, reserving 1 teaspoon parmesan cheese.
  • Sprinkle mixture with reserved parmesan.
  • Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown.
  • Serve with chips, including those shown below.

Bagel bites

Slice 2 whole marble rye bagels into quarter-inch rounds. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes, flipping halfway through. These crispy dippers are great paired with the artichoke dip. (They also make great croutons for your favorite salad!)

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We also enjoy the artichoke dip with our easy, healthy pita chips. Here is the link :

https://funclesarts.com/2015/01/18/game-time/

 RESTOCK AND PLAY

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Winter is one of our favorite seasons for crafting, but most of our craft materials were used prepping for the holidays. January is a great month to take inventory and re-stock your supplies. Good timing, because craft stores are offering deep discounts. Take a look at your supplies and, if you need to, restock! Don’t forget to use craft stores coupons, easily found online.

 When you do restock, why not play?

Just playing with craft materials can be inspiring. One of the goals we have for this blog is to create new things, and sometimes the best ideas come during play, when one idea leads to another. The “Create Peace” collage and the “Let’s Grow!” patio sign from last week’s blog evolved from this technique – covering your work space with a variety of materials and playing creatively.

In the photo above, Roy tried out our new Sharpies and crayons on a big sheet of newsprint. It was just for fun, sort of like the new adult coloring book trend. We probably won’t use the paper for anything (although Kevin thinks it would be cool gift wrap) but either way, that’s ok. Have fun – you just might create something!!!

Take some pictures

Speaking of playing, we continue to play with and learn about our new(ish) camera.

Still looking for Tippi Hendren from Hitchcock’s, “The Birds”!

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PATIO UPDATE

We got some snow earlier this week. The Flamingo looks cooold!!!

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PLAY AND PLANTING

We received an Amaryllis bulb as a Christmas gift and planted it this week. Turns out we didn’t need our potting soil. Who knew the small brown disc in the picture on the left would become three cups of the nutrient-rich soil pictured on the right!

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Amaryllis updates to come. Looking forward to some beautiful blooms to brighten our indoor winter garden! Thanks, Chris and Bernard!

New door

After some false starts, we are pleased that our new sliding glass door is installed. We’re looking forward to spring and summer, when the screen door will allow us to enjoy our patio garden even more!

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FOOD ART (Roy played with photo editing on this one – background is actually a gray cabinet!)

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THE BEARS

The bears are enjoying browsing through our recent library finds. Hmm . . . shouldn’t they be hibernating?

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No!!! They are too excited to sleep! GO PATS!!!

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Enjoy!

Roy & Kevin!

 

Positively 2016!!!

Happy New Year!  In the northeast, the new year brings cold weather. Our white bean chicken chili will positively warm you on a cold winter’s night. We also offer a couple of upbeat craft projects, our garden update, and of course, the bears, who share their New Year’s resolutions!

WHITE BEAN CHICKEN CHILI

We were surprised when we looked back at our previous 64 blogs and saw that we hadn’t shared one of our favorite recipes, white bean chicken chili. It’s a healthy, warming comfort food, perfect for a cold winter night!
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This chili is easy to make and delicious.

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Ingredients:

  • One teaspoon olive oil
  • One lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • Three 15.5 oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed
  • One 16 oz. can fat-free refried beans
  • One 32 oz. carton low sodium chicken broth
  • One small onion, chopped
  • One 4 oz. can chopped green chilis
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash garlic herb mix
  • One teaspoon cumin

How to prepare:

  • Chop chicken breast into 3/4 inch pieces.
  • Warm olive oil over medium heat in a 5-quart Dutch oven.
  • Saute onion in olive oil until soft.
  • Sprinkle chicken with chili powder and add to Dutch oven.
  • Cook chicken until lightly brown, about 3 minutes.
  • Add cannellini beans, refried beans, chilis and cumin to pot.
  • Stir to break up refried beans.
  • Cover mixture with chicken broth.
  • Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
  • Simmer 20 minutes or until thickened.
  • Serve with tortilla chips, guacamole, olives (Kevin’s favorite), green onions, salsa, sour cream or any of your favorite toppings.

Adjust seasonings to make it more hot or mild according to your own taste!

COLLAGE

The new year is a hopeful time and one way to maintain that feeling is to surround yourself with positive messages. We combined two uplifting thoughts into one inspirational piece of art.

We cut out letters from old magazines and newspaper inserts, choosing contrasting sizes, colors and fonts. If you can’t find all the letters you need for your project, use stickers or print letters from the computer. Once all of our letters were gathered, they were attached to a piece of specialty scrapbook paper cut to fit the size of the frame. Gift wrap or construction paper also could be used as a background. Total cost for our framed project was about $6.00! This easy and effective type of collage has many applications. It’s a fun project for kids and adults alike. We’d love to see your positive messages for 2016!

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SPEAKING OF POSITIVE MESSAGES

People appreciate being remembered. We make a point of mailing birthday, anniversary and holiday cards to family and friends throughout the year. To make this easier, one thing we do at the beginning of the year is to note special occasions on a wall calendar that hangs in our living room. It’s an easy way to keep track of card-worthy events throughout the year. Who doesn’t like to be thought of with a card? We recently received a touching, handwritten thank you note from Kevin’s 5-year old great-niece, and it made our day. Positivity bounces back and forth!

PATIO UPDATE

We removed the decorative holiday items this week, but left the greenery and lit tomato cages. The greenery will be removed when it starts to dry out. Hoping the tomato cages will be glowing on the patio all winter.

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Sign for the Patio

While we were designing the “Create Peace” collage, we came upon a beat up old door from a long-discarded cabinet. A quick paint job and fun message adds a bit of whimsy! Let’s grow!

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Hitchcock’s view from our patio:

Is Tippi Hendren in town? (Rizzolty rozzolty now now now) This photo from our patio reminds us of Hitchcock’s classic movie, “The Birds”.

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FOOD ART

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THE BEARS

The bears are doing pretty well with their resolutions!

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Enjoy!

Roy & Kevin

Merry Christmas!!!

This week, we share a couple of ideas to simplify your holiday preparations. Included are an easy recipe for minty fudge brownies, last-minute gift tips, more of our decorations, a patio update, and, of course, the bears, who are our featured image this week.

FUDGE BROWNIES WITH CHOCOLATE MINT CANDY TOPPING

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These delicious and easy brownies are always a hit!

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Ingredients: 28-piece box of Andes candies mints, 18.3 oz. box of brownie mix.

How to prepare: 

Bake brownies according to package directions.

Top the warm brownies with 25 unwrapped mint candies (the baker gets the remaining three candies). Allow the candies to melt for a minute and spread them like frosting with an off-set spatula or knife. Cool the mint-covered brownies for 15 minutes and then place in the refrigerator for one hour. Candy will harden to its original consistency, making a delicious chocolate mint crust on your brownies.

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Cut, serve and enjoy!

A FEW LAST-MINUTE GIFT IDEAS

You’re driving to a holiday celebration and realize you forgot someone on your list and need to get a last-minute gift. Here are a few suggestions, including two places open Christmas Day.

Gas stations

  • Gift card for the gas station – great gift for family and friends traveling over the holidays!
  • Scratch tickets or lottery numbers. They can’t win if they don’t play!
  • Gloves and hats – who knew they were sold at gas stations?
  • Make a quick car kit with an ice scraper, windshield wiper fluid, car air freshener and other related items.
  • Some gas stations sell gift cards for other stores just like major supermarkets.
  • Make up a tailgating kit: Buy chips, soda, Slim Jims and more for the sports fan on your list.

Movie theaters

Most movie theaters are open on Christmas Day. Buy movie passes and candy to make a great gift combo.

Online e-cards and gifts

The technology available today makes last-minute gift giving a lot easier than it used to be. You can order gifts online and have them shipped. Print out and give a picture of the gift to the recipient. Most companies also will send an e-mail notification that a gift is on the way. You can send gift e-cards directly to anyone’s e-mail address. One site we’ve used is giftcertificates.com, or go directly to specific company websites and see if they offer e-gift cards.

OUR DECORATIONS

More of our holiday vignettes, including snowmen, Santas, and New England sports teams.

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PATIO UPDATE

Even with the recent rain, the addition of fresh pine cuttings, faux poinsettia and holly on our patio add color and make a festive view from our kitchen. The basil plant and other plants on the window sill are hanging in as well!

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FOOD ART

NUTTY SANTA

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THE BEARS

The bears love to reunite with family and friends at Christmas time! Look what old friend is visiting with them at the top of the page!

We wish you all peace and joy this holiday season. Merry Christmas!!!

Enjoy!

Roy & Kevin

Cool Christmas!

Christmas is fast approaching and we are just about finished decorating.

This week, we feature pretty decorations using Christmas ornaments, an easy wreath project, a recycling craft, recipe ideas, a festive patio update, and of course, the bears!

SPARKLING DECORATIONS

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Fill clear glass vases and pitchers with Christmas balls. Keep it simple, one color per vessel. Add a string of holiday lights behind or around the vases. This technique makes a beautiful display! Really catches the light!

EASY AND SPECIAL WREATH

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Recycling was the inspiration for this wreath. We removed the original decorations and saved the metal form from an old wreath. Then, we wrapped it with the pretty piece of garland pictured below, which Kevin’s mom used to decorate her dining room chandelier during the holidays. The garland is not permanently attached and in future years, we can use it in other ways. Hmmm – maybe we’ll get a chandelier!

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GIFT TAGS FROM CHRISTMAS CARDS

Recycle your old Christmas cards into gift tags! Simply cut out your favorite images, hole punch the top, add a ribbon and you have these cute gift tags. Write the recipient’s name on the back. These also could be used as ornaments and even necklaces. This is a fun craft for kids!

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PATIO UPDATE

Evergreen cuttings trimmed from the large pine trees on our property add lush greenery to the patio. For additional color, we dotted them with faux poinsettia, unbreakable Christmas ornaments and pinecones.

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The tool box planter looks great filled with fresh pine cuttings. The bee and flamingo both seem to like it!

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We fashioned this swag by attaching a simple waterproof ribbon to an evergreen cutting and hanging it on the patio door. Cost: $1.25!

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Of course, we have our tomato cage trees again this year!

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Here is our post from last year with instructions on how to make these tomato cage trees.

https://funclesarts.com/2014/12/13/christmas-blog-2-the-celebration-continues/

SWEET HOLIDAY TREATS

All this decorating is making us hungry! Here are a few recipes for some easy holiday desserts.

http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/recipe-collections-favorites/desserts/easy-holiday-desserts

FOOD ART 

Our final harvest of garden tomatoes, which we picked green and ripened indoors in a paper bag for almost a month, are finally ready for their closeup!

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The tomatoes were roasted and served with baked fish – delicious!

JOKE OF THE WEEK

What does Santa suffer from if he gets stuck in a chimney? Claus-trophobia! Source:Theholidayspot.com

THE BEARS

The bears are hanging with some cool company this week!

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Enjoy!

Roy & Kevin

 

 

The holidays are in the bag!

Holiday prep is in full swing! This week, we share a recipe for an easy, tasty low carb side dish, a quick Christmas craft, a gift wrapping idea, some of our holiday decorations, a patio update and, of course, the bears.

SIMPLE BAKED CAULIFLOWER 

This side dish is delicious and filling. If you think you don’t like cauliflower, give this one a try!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. bag frozen cauliflower
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup mayo (we use Hellmann’s Light)
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard (plain yellow works great, too)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (grate your own if possible – much better than the canned)

How to make:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Defrost cauliflower
  • Mix mayonnaise with mustard
  • Spray 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray
  • Place cauliflower in baking dish, toss with lemon juice
  • Spread mayo/mustard mixture evenly on top of cauliflower
  • Top with parmesan cheese
  • Bake 1 hour or until golden brown

Using cauliflower is a good way to reduce carbs and add fiber to potato recipes. Check out these links from previous blogs. These recipes are great for cauliflower fans and non-fans!

For mashed potatoes:

https://funclesarts.com/2015/10/11/monsters-mash-and-more/

For potato salad:

https://funclesarts.com/2015/07/02/lets-be-independent-together/

EASY HOLIDAY PINS 

Our dancing Santa loves his snowman pin!

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Here’s how to make these cute pins:

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Buy a selection of holiday-themed foam stickers and a package of self adhesive bar-style pin backs. The light weight foam stickers work great with these pin backs, which are available at most major craft stores. Remember to look for online coupons.

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Leave the peel off backing on the foam stickers so they won’t stick to clothes. Some stickers come on a clear backing sheet. Trim around the sticker leaving it on the plastic.

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Attach the adhesive pin back to the back of the unpeeled sticker.

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We created this dimensional snowflake pin by combining three stickers and one pin. Peel paper backing off the green snowflake and adhere to the white snowflakes. Attach pin to back of white snowflakes.

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These multi-functional pins make great holiday additions to clothing, gifts and decorations, as shown on the Christmas stockings above.

LUNCH BAGS AS GIFT BAGS

We bought the lunch bags pictured in our featured image at the top of this blog at Target for $2.07 for a package of 50. They make great small gift or treat bags. Add a ribbon and/or stickers for extra pizzazz.

TIP: Place a piece of card stock or cardboard in the bottom of the bag for added stability. In these bags, a 3×5 inch index card fits perfectly!

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OUR DECORATIONS

The candy-cane clothespins from last week’s blog work great attaching our stockings in this holiday vignette.

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ADVENT WREATH

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Kevin’s mom, Irene, gave us this Advent Wreath a few years ago. We make a point to light the candles every night during the advent season. It helps us connect to the true meaning of Christmas and take a break from all the activities of the day.

Click on this link to learn more about the Advent Wreath:

http://christianity.about.com/od/christmas/qt/adventwreath.htm

PATIO UPDATE

We’ve added lights, Christmas balls, faux poinsettia flowers and holly to our outdoor planters to brighten up our post-summer patio. Use inexpensive plastic ornaments and flowers outdoors.

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This festively adorned hanging basket was home to our pansies this summer.

FOOD ART

“Oh Christmas beans . . . Oh Christmas beans . . . “

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JOKE OF THE WEEK

What kind of motorcycle does Santa drive? A Holly Davidson! (source: funology.com)

THE BEARS

The bears think it’s cool adding some UCONN Husky touches to the holiday decor!

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Enjoy!

Roy& Kevin

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

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

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