Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I don’t have much to show in the way of Halloween goodness yet because I’m saving it for a super long post tomorrow. I’m also just a tad behind schedule because instead of staying home this weekend to clean the house and prep decorations I drove an hour and a half into NYC Friday night to hang out with my mother and sister for the night.

It was necessary and a lot of fun. Up until we bought of our first house in Jersey two years ago I was a New Yorker. Now I’m originally from the south but I had lived in New York for ten years, which is the magic number. After ten years you’re officially allowed to say you’re “from New York.”

I don’t regret for a second moving our family to a larger house, with a big yard, and freedom to home school; but I do miss the city sometimes. I miss being able to walk to everything, the constant noise and lights that become so familiar, and the energy that comes with being one person in a huge city yet feeling completely at home.

So when I get the chance, I like to spend a night in my former city. Going to dinner at 10:30 and enjoying Magnolias cupcakes for breakfast. It was refreshing.

Here's the view from our midtown hotel.

And cupcakes.

Well, off to get this house together for a party!

Until next time.......

Friday, October 29, 2010


The book we chose for stART this week  was Two Little Witches by Harriet Ziefert.
It’s a counting story about two little girls who meet while trick or treating. I’d been holding this book and art project for a couple of weeks knowing it would be best done right before Halloween. So after reading we all made our own trick or treat bags.

I had the kids go through their dressers and find an old t-shirt that either didn’t fit them anymore or was stained. I turned them inside out and ironed them flat so all the seams matched up.

Then the kids and I sewed the bottom of the t-shirt closed. Little hands on a little person’s sewing machine; this was my favorite part. 

Once that was done we turned them right side out again and cut off the sleeves. I drew a half circle for them around the collar that they followed with their scissors to make the opening of the bag large enough for big handfuls of candy.

Once our bags were made the really fun part began. We got out the fabric paint to make our trick or treat bags extra spooky. I put a sheet of paper inside the bag so the paint wouldn’t bleed through to the other side. Then we went at it.

Jael decided to put a black cat on hers and Ezra made what he says is a yeti. Mateos wasn’t sure what he wanted to do so I let him pick his colors and just go. Ezra told his brother that his design was “abstract, and very creative art.” It was quite a cute moment.

Now I just have to put them somewhere safe from little hands until they dry.

Until next time.......

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  A la SouleMama, Head on over and join in the comments, there are so many great moments.

 Until next time.......


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

We’re Gamers

And by gamers, I mean serious, no holds barred, board gamers. We don’t own any version of Nintendo or its contemporaries. You can usually find us on any given night around our well-loved dining room table engaging in a spirited game of monopoly junior or Uno. I’m not sure when this tradition started, it’s just one of those natural ones.

Let me tell you though, we can get rowdy when it comes to games. Somehow I was blessed with three very competitive children, and don’t even get me started on the Mr. and his need to win.
*He would of course contest this statement, but since it’s my blog ;)*

Tonight we all played clue together for the first time. I picked up the classic edition from Target yesterday in preparation for our Halloween party. Clue just seemed like the perfect game for Halloween. But since our kids had never played it we took it for a test run tonight.

The Mr. and I each teamed up with a boy and Jael played by herself. First the Mr. set everything up and proceeded to explain the game to the kids while I was in the kitchen finishing up dinner. Everything seemed to be going well from what I could hear until Jael realized that the characters were all old. The Mr. diffused her upset by telling her that Ms. Scarlet was like mommy’s age. She couldn’t understand though why someone so young and beautiful would be a murderer and said as much to her father. Who then jokingly asked “can’t you see mommy being a murderer?”

And what does my lovely little girl say.

“Well, ya.”

Don’t let this sweet face fool you. She spent the first five years of her life in NYC; the sarcasm is here to stay.

We finally started playing after I admonished them not to make fun of mommy when she wasn’t in the room to defend herself. I can't say for sure if they got the message.

We all took our rolls very seriously. Ezra and I were Mr. Plum and we decided to use a Savannah accent a la The Murder episode of The Office. Just imagine me pretending to be a man and talking like Michael Scott playing Caleb Crawdad. I’m pretty sure I said, “I do declare” at least fifty times. If your not an Office fan you probably have no idea what I'm talking about and that's OK too. It was funny, take my word for it. Jael was Ms. Scarlet, of course. And Mateos and the Mr. were Mrs Peacock. Don't ask, I can't explain that one.

Mateos and the Mr. won the game by accusing Mrs. White in the ballroom with the lead pipe. Then I sent them off to bed so I could get back to work making things like this.

Until next time.......

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Now that we're 5 days out from Halloween my free time has been completely taken over by prep work for our party. Costumes still need finishing touches and the list of crafty decorations I planned to make seems to be getting longer instead of shorter. I love it though. Being a terrible procrastinator by nature has trained me to enjoy working under pressure. For some reason it’s just more exciting for me that way.

Of course it helps that I’m really relaxed after spending the weekend in PA with the kids and my sister. My parents were away celebrating their 26th wedding anniversary. 

*Congratulations by the way, mom and dad!*

 So the kids and I hung out with Aunt R and helped take care of the horses. Well we were supposed to help anyway.

I had also packed up the van with all manner of crafty stuff and my sewing machine, hoping to bribe my sister into helping me work on some projects. This usually works if I offer to make late night snacks for us and turn on The Office.

Somehow though we got sidetracked and ended up spending Saturday night playing dress up. Yes, two grown women can get caught up playing dress up, and I admit it was the most fun I’d had in a while. We tested out our Halloween looks and just joked around. Incidentally the pictures we took of this revelry are what inspired my new Halloween banner. Do you like?

And since Sunday was such a beautiful day it was spent playing around outside. Of course I tried to get the kids to stand still long enough to take some new pictures of them; it didn’t go exactly as planned. Every time I tried to get them to hold still they would break out in fits of giggles.Which would get me laughing, then we'd forget about the pictures for another few minutes. But here are a few good ones.

We drove home yesterday and took our sweet time, with the windows rolled down listening to the new Kings of Leon album. Were all fans of southern rock, Ezra especially. Even better was coming home to a nice clean house; thanks to the Mr. I think he was bored while we were gone. Not that I’m complaining.

OK back to work. I want to get school done early today so we can get outside and finally carve our pumpkins.

Until next time.......

Friday, October 22, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  A la SouleMama, Head on over and join in the comments, there are so many great moments.

 Until next time.......



This week’s stART was a boy’s only affair. Jael did her own project and really wasn’t interested in the book the boys chose. Ezra and Mateos had picked up this Halloween book of knock knock jokes last week and wanted to make a joke book of there own. 

So after they both came up with a few jokes to write down we got to work on creating our book. First I folded some plain paper in half so they could have pages to write on. Since the book they chose was a lift the flap, I marked out areas for where they would attach flaps of their own.

They got to work making the drawings to go along side the jokes. Then we cut out and glued the flaps to cover the punch line of the jokes.

Next we used some folded over construction paper to make the cover. Ezra wanted a pumpkin on the cover just like the story, so he drew some up. Then Mateos pasted them on the cover. I stapled the pages together for them to complete the book.

They both got such a kick out of telling each other the jokes.

 Until next time.......

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Using up our apples

We went apple picking a couple weeks ago and I'm still trying to use them all up before they go bad. So today I made Jael a snack that she's wanted to try ever since she saw it in last months Martha Stewart Living. 

It's simple apple slices dipped in honey, but when you hollow out an apple to hold the honey it becomes extra special. You can find the instruction here on Martha's website. It literally only took 3 minutes and she loved it.

Until Next Time.......

Monday, October 18, 2010


As the days till the 31st keep ticking down I find that most of my free time is spent working on our Halloween costumes. I usually make ours and look forward to doing it all year. In theme with our Halloween party invitations we are going to be a vampire family. That being said, everyone still got to choose who or what they wanted to be. Here are a few rough sketches of the costumes decided on so far.

The Mr. and I are both going as sort of steam punk Victorian vampires. His outfit should be something close to this.

Ezra at first wanted to be Ivan The Terrible. But with a little encouragement from his sister, who adores all things french, he decided on Napoleon Bonaparte. Which, incidentally, is quite fitting for the little guy.

Jael is of course Marie Antoinette. She is even wearing a red ribbon around her neck in the style of the classic French guillotine party.
And poor Mateos still can't make up his mind about what he wants to be. I can already see myself up at midnight the night before Halloween sewing his costume. Oh well, what can you do.

I'll post photos of the finished costumes as I get them done.

Until next time.......

Halloween Decorating & A Swarming Bats Tutorial

This weekend was super exciting because we all worked together to put up the outdoor Halloween decorations. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays because you can really go over the top.

The other day when I showed The Mr. the vampire hunting kit invitations his first words were, "You go overboard." Of course I took that as a compliment. My general philosophy in life is that if someone tells me I've done too much, then it means I've done just enough. But that's just me.

So here's the first shot of what our front porch is looking like right now. I still plan to add some more spider webs and a couple other odds and ends. I wasn't sure that the fake cobwebs would make it to the 31st with all the crazy weather we've been having but I figured I'd try. 

As you can see we haven't carved our pumpkins yet. Mateos did have a good time with his Nana painting one to look like the joker from batman. Maybe we'll get to the others later this week.

I also have a mini tutorial of an outdoor decoration I used. This is pretty simple and self-explanatory but I enjoyed it, so I thought someone else might as well.

Swarming Bats
I was visiting Michaels for the 567,00 time last week and happened upon a pack of bat shape cut outs. There were 12 in the package and they seemed to be about the weight of poster board. Also, they were like 3 dollars, so I had to get them. I knew I would come up with some way to use them in our Halloween decorating. And I did yesterday.


Bat Shape
Black Spray Paint
All Purpose Varnish
Jewelry Fasteners *optional
Push Pin

Other than the bat shapes I had all these things at home. You could also cut your own shapes out of poster board if you wanted.

Step 1
Spray your bat black on both sides.

Step 2
Once the black is dry on both sides give it a thin coat of varnish. I’m hoping it will give them a little protection from the elements.

 *Yes that is a plastic octopus in the box on the right. 
I have a hard time knowing when to stop when it comes to spray  paint.*

Step 3
I used a pushpin to make a hole at the top for threading.

Step 4
I had purchased these jewelry fasteners a while ago for another project and had been looking for a way to use them up. This step could really is optional.

Step 5
 Attach some regular old floss. Cut it whatever length you want.

Step 6
 Find someone to hang them up for you :) Or hang it up yourself. I had mine looped through the chains on our porch light at different lengths. You could easily hang them almost anywhere, indoors or out. But when they are clustered together it looks especially nice.

Step 7

Until next time.......

Friday, October 15, 2010

National Dessert Day

So yesterday was national dessert day. And if that’s not reason enough to have a party I don’t know what is; although the people who know me could attest to the fact that I don’t need much incentive at all to throw a party. But that’s beside the point, sort of :)

So in honor of national dessert day we had a very delicious dessert filled evening. Two of my kids are gluten intolerant, you can thank the Mr. for that, so baking can be somewhat of a challenge. I actually thought I might have a recipe to share but I ended up using some packaged gluten free baking products. So first we made individual brownie pies. I used the Betty Crocker gluten free brownie mix for this one. Which is quite good. 

We scooped the batter into a greased cupcake tray and then I let the kids add some extras to their brownie before cooking. They really enjoyed this part. Ezra got a little crazy with the marshmallows, which he doesn’t even really like.

Then I used the Pamela's pancake mix to make apple cinnamon muffins, which I topped with a spiced butter cream frosting. For the muffins I used the recipe from the package but the butter cream I made myself. Butter cream is my absolute favorite frosting and with a few pinches of cinnamon and nutmeg, it was divine. 

Jael really wanted to have Shirley temples to go with dessert, so we whipped some up with grenadine syrup and sprite. They were made even more special with our heart shaped ice cubes.

I had picked these ice cube trays up from target last valentines day and pulled them out on a whim. We filled the trays with sprite and added a maraschino cherry to each one. Because a Shirley temple just isn’t complete without the cherries.

I quickly exchanged our fall table setting for something more fitting of a dessert day party. It was complete with candy and candles all thrown together.

I love how they humor me.

 Until next time.......

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  A la SouleMama, Head on over and join in the comments, there are so many great moments.


 Until nest time.......



Thursday, October 14, 2010

Little Pleasures

I had to take a quick afternoon break from the dessert baking to enjoy this wonderful letter I received today. The art of correspondence is unfortunatley a dying art but my sister and I like to keep it alive, between ourselves at least. 

So when I happened upon her letter this afternoon I knew I had to take a quick break to enjoy it. A pot of tea was made and enjoyed while I read it leisurely in the library.

Thanks Rachel,
Now back to baking!