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Easy DIY Halloween decorations

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Creating a spooky atmosphere in your house at Halloween doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Just a few easy-to-find supplies, a couple of hours and parental supervision (if kids are handling the project) and you’ll have your house Halloween-ready before you can say boo.

Bat staircase
Supplies: Black construction paper, pencil, scissors, tape.

Instructions: Make a stencil first — visit firstpalette.com/printable/bats.html for a printable version. Trace the outline of a bat onto the construction paper with the pencil and cut out along the lines. Repeat until you have any many bats as you want. Tape on the walls along a staircase or a hallway. You can add depth by cutting out bats in different sizes.

Hanging ghosts
Supplies: White medium-sized garbage bags, rubber bands, old newspaper, string or yarn, black tape (optional)



Instructions: Ball up the newspaper and stuff it into the end of the bags to make ghost “heads.” Loop the rubber bands around the head to give the body some shape. Use the black tape to make eyes and a mouth if desired. Hang from trees or lampposts with string or yarn.

Floating witch hats
Supplies: Fabric witch hats, clear fishing line, plastic pony beads or bulky wooden beads, strong tape or adhesive to suspend the hats from the ceiling, battery-operated tea lights (optional)

Instructions: Decide where you want your floating hats to hang and how far down, then cut your fishing line accordingly with a bit extra for stringing through the hat. Tie one end of your fishing line around the bead — this will act as an anchor to keep the hat on the fishing line. Thread the other end through a sewing needle and poke through the peak of the hat, then remove the needle and suspend from the ceiling. To use the optional tea lights: Leave an extra fishing line under the anchor and tie securely around the “flame” of the tea light to let it float inside the hat.

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17 fun holiday-themed activities

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Christmas is fast approaching, but perhaps it doesn’t feel like the holidays yet? Here are some ways you can get into the spirit of the season.

1. Admire the decorated homes in your neighborhood

2. Attend a Santa Claus parade

3. Bake cookies and other traditional holiday treats


4. Browse a Christmas market in your area

5. Color holiday-themed pictures

6. Curl up and watch a Christmas movie

7. Do a puzzle that illustrates a winter scene

8. Donate your time to a local food drive

9. Get creative with your gift wrapping

10. Go pick out your Christmas tree

11. Listen to Christmas songs by your favorite artists

12. Look through old holiday photos

13. Participate in a Christmas craft workshop

14. Read Christmas stories with your family

15. Take in a seasonal performance (concert, ballet, play, etc.)

16. Visit a museum that has a holiday-themed exhibit

17. Write and send out your holiday cards

So, which activity will you start with this year?

 

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Gift-wrapping tips and ideas

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Once you’ve finished buying all your Christmas presents, it’s time to start wrapping them. Here are some tips and ideas to make your holiday gift-wrapping a success.

Use quality wrap
Gift wrap that’s too thin will not only tear when you handle it but may also be see-through. Choose sturdy paper that’s sufficiently thick but still easy to fold. To decorate the package, use strips of ribbon that can be either curled with scissors or tied into a pretty bow.

Try furoshiki
Furoshiki are a type of traditional Japanese wrapping cloth that can be used to cover gifts. This gift-wrapping option has environmental benefits because the cloth can be reused. Plus, you can wrap and unwrap the gift as many times as you need to achieve the perfect presentation.

Whatever type of wrap you opt to use, you can visit your local craft store to find the materials you need. However, if you aren’t confident in your gift-wrapping abilities, consider relying on charities in your community that offer gift-wrapping services during the holiday season.


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Gift ideas for minimalists

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Finding the right Christmas present for a minimalist can be a challenge. Here are a few clutter-free gift ideas that could be a great fit.

A service or activity
Offering to do housework, babysit or cook a meal for the minimalist in your life is a great way to show you care. Alternatively, tickets to a live show or a local event are gifts that won’t take up any space.

A monthly subscription
Consider giving your loved one a subscription to online music or television service or a digital publication that’s in line with their interests. Some companies also offer monthly subscription boxes that contain things like snacks, alcohol, and body care products. Since these products are consumable, they’ll only take up space temporarily.

A practical item
You may want to consider giving the minimalist in your life a gift that’s useful in some way, especially if you know what they need. For example, a backpack, reusable straw, or reusable hygiene products are all suitable options. However, make sure to choose quality products that’ll stand the test of time.


For more ideas, visit the businesses in your area.

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4 gift ideas for foodies

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Is there someone on your holiday shopping list who’s a foodie? Are you looking for a gift that’ll satisfy both their taste buds and passion for cooking? If so, here are four ideas to inspire you.

1. Reusable accessories. Consider offering your foodie reusable coffee filters, produce bags, pastry bags, muffin tins, or other items that will help them enjoy and preserve their kitchen creations.

2. Cooking classes. Whether online or in-person, a cooking class is a great way for the foodie in your life to discover new dishes and learn an array of culinary techniques.

3. Food subscriptions. If your loved one is a coffee, candy, or chocolate connoisseur, consider buying them a themed subscription box. Alternatively, you may want to gift them a basket of fresh produce and local foods to spark their creativity.



4. Artisanal products. Curating a custom gift basket that includes regional delicacies such as hot sauces, cheeses, wines, and oils is a great way to inspire your loved one to cook using local ingredients.

Keep an eye out for products, services, and activities in your region for further ways to satisfy the epicurean on your shopping list.

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Holiday shopping survival guide

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Do you dread the thought of navigating crowded stores, busy parking lots, and long checkout lines? Here are a few tips to make your holiday shopping experience less of an ordeal.

Go at the right time
There’s no doubt that weekends are a prime time for shopping, especially Saturdays. If possible, head to stores on a weekday or first thing in the morning. Waiting until the last minute will also mean con¬tending with crowds. Keep in mind that many navigation apps allow you to see how busy a particular location is at a given time.

Know what you want
To limit the amount of time you spend in stores, make a list and browse local retailers’ websites before you visit in person. This will ensure you know exactly where to go to get the best deals. Of course, you can also stick to shopping online, so long as you leave enough time for your packages to arrive before the holidays.

Avoid hindrances
If you’re not a fan of shopping in general, you’ll want to ensure the experience isn’t any more unbearable than it needs to be. Among other things, you should:


• Dress in comfortable layers, and wear appropriate walking shoes
• Leave your car at home, if possible, to avoid searching for a parking spot
• Refrain from shopping with people who are indecisive
• Buy heavy items last so you don’t have to lug them around

Finally, depending on what would cause you the least amount of stress, you can either plan several short trips or aim to get all your shopping done at once.

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Lists are not just for Santa!

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The holiday season is often accompanied by worries about not being ready in time. As the festive season is approaching fast, here is a list for those in charge of organizing Christmas. It will help you make sure everything goes off without a hitch.

1. Establish your budget. This is always a good starting point. It feels awful to regret all your spending once the holidays are past.

2. Create checklists. Plan your menus, gifts, indoor and outdoor decorations, and schedule your beauty appointments well in advance.

3. Set your tasks. Each of the previous lists brings its own share of things to do, so it’s important to list them clearly along with a time frame in which to do them.


4. Spread out the tasks. Note on a calendar or in your smartphone agenda all things to do each day, as this will give you a better overview. It will also be easier to add an item to the list or delete completed tasks (yay!), so that you don’t forget anything.

5. Delegate. Some tasks can even be assigned to the children. You’ll be surprised at their creativity!

6. Get organized in advance. Some things can be done well before Christmas. Think about preparing any make-ahead dishes that can be frozen until the party or Christmas dinner. Doing this will allow you to relax a bit during the party!

7. Buy your gifts before the last-minute rush. Shopping on December 23 is just an invitation to stress. So start shopping in late November or early December. If that is truly impossible, bear in mind that shopping malls are less crowded early in the week.

Taking the time to get organized will give you the inspiration to create some unforgettable moments for you and your loved ones this holiday season.

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Downtown Market

Dusty's Country Store

Edward Jones-Bret Hrbek

Family Preservation Services

Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce

Groups Recover Together

I Want Candy

I'm Just Me Movement

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Main Street Travel

Marlow Automotive Group

Mary Carnahan Graphic Design

Mountain Trails

National Media Services

Northwestern Community Services Board

Phoenix Project

Reaching Out Now

Royal Blends Nutrition

Royal Examiner

Royal Oak Bookshop

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Salvation Army

SaVida Health

Skyline Insurance

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The Studio-A Place for Learning

The Valley Today - The River 95.3

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Warren County Department of Social Services

Warrior Psychotherapy Services, PLLC

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White Picket Fence

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Front Royal
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Upcoming Events

Dec
2
Thu
5:30 pm Cookies with Santa @ Strokes of Creativity
Cookies with Santa @ Strokes of Creativity
Dec 2 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Cookies with Santa @ Strokes of Creativity
Santa is coming to Strokes of Creativity. Bring your kiddos by and visit with Santa this Thursday evening, December 2nd. We will have a cookies to decorate with icing and sprinkles (while supplies last). Make[...]
Dec
4
Sat
10:00 am Senior Painting Class with Dottie @ Strokes of Creativity
Senior Painting Class with Dottie @ Strokes of Creativity
Dec 4 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Senior Painting Class with Dottie @ Strokes of Creativity
Senior Painting Class with Dottie at Strokes of Creativity. Tickets: CLICK HERE Cost: $80 for 6 weeks Dates: Thursdays – Oct 21, Oct 28, Nov 4, Nov 11, Nov 18, Dec 4 Time: 10 am[...]
1:00 pm The Nutcracker 2021 @ Skyline High School
The Nutcracker 2021 @ Skyline High School
Dec 4 @ 1:00 pm – 7:00 pm
The Nutcracker 2021 @ Skyline High School
Italia Performing Arts is pleased to announce its own student production of the seasonal ballet The Nutcracker, to be presented in Front Royal, VA, on Saturday, December 4th, 2021. 1:00 and 5:00 pm Tickets: $35[...]
4:30 pm Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Dec 4 @ 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meets in the Historic Area behind Mount Bleak. Discover our International Dark Sky Park! Our evenings begin with a half-hour children’s “Junior Astronomer” program, followed by a discussion about the importance of dark skies and[...]
Dec
5
Sun
4:00 pm Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ First Baptist Church of Winchester
Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ First Baptist Church of Winchester
Dec 5 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ First Baptist Church of Winchester
Sunday, December 5, 2021 4:00pm First Baptist Church of Winchester 205 West Piccadilly St. | Winchester, VA 22601 COVID-19 Guidelines: Masks are required for attendees Friday, December 10, 2021 7:30pm Front Royal United Methodist Church[...]
Dec
8
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Dec 8 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Dec
10
Fri
7:30 pm Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
Dec 10 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
Friday, December 10, 2021 7:30pm Front Royal United Methodist Church 1 West Main Street | Front Royal, VA 22630 COVID-19 Guidelines: Masks are required for attendees Sunday, December 12, 2021 4:00pm Trinity Episcopal Church 9108[...]
Dec
12
Sun
3:00 pm Valley Chorale’s Christmas Concert @ Calvary Episcopal Church
Valley Chorale’s Christmas Concert @ Calvary Episcopal Church
Dec 12 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Valley Chorale's Christmas Concert @ Calvary Episcopal Church
This year’s yuletide concert is titled THIS SHINING NIGHT.  Join us for a selection of seasonal songs — ranging in style from classical to spirituals to pop — sure to brighten your holiday and lift[...]
4:00 pm Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ Trinity Episcopal Church
Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ Trinity Episcopal Church
Dec 12 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ Trinity Episcopal Church
Sunday, December 12, 2021 4:00pm Trinity Episcopal Church 9108 John Mosby Hwy. | Upperville, VA 20184 COVID-19 Guidelines: Masks are required for attendees
Dec
15
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Dec 15 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]