Monday, October 31, 2011

All Hallow's Eve

It's almost time.

For all the goblins, ghosts and ghouls to come a calling.

A tower of terror . . . for my waistline, that is.

The candy's ready at the door, and the weather is going to cooperate nicely.

Hope we have a few more trick-or-treaters than the last couple years.
Numbers are decreasing with each passing year.

Outside, I have a few jack-o-latern type vessels to light up with candles.
I did not purchase one pumpkin this year.
I know . . . GASP!!!  
Nor did I purchase any hay bales or corn stalks.  Not sure what was going on with me.  I just couldn't get in the groove to decorate the outside this year.  I did purchase some mums, but that's pretty much it.

This guy's actually electric.  He has a little light bulb inside.
Cute little rusted metal ghost.  A candle sits in a little tray behind him.

Candles go inside these metal guys too.
They're nestled in the planters by my front door,
where they can greet the trick-or-treaters.

Hope you all have a spooktacular Halloween!!!

Oh, and I want to give a quick little birthday shout out to Son No. 2's girlfriend, Shannon.  As some of you read in my last post, she turns 21 today.  We were invited to her house last night for a very nice little family gathering.  Will share more on that in tomorrow's post.  Also, I'll reveal the super-cute cuppy cakes I made for her along with a cute little something extra special I made for her.

Happy Birthday, Shannon!

Have a fun night everyone!

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Soggy Saturday

The weather here today couldn't be yuckier ~  is that even a word?  It's cold, rainy, windy.  A nasty nor'easter.  And . . .  here's the yuckiest part . . . we're supposed to get wet snow later this evening.  SNOW??!!!  We don't snow around here in October.  It's not going to be much. A couple inches that's probably not going to stick to the roads, and will be gone by tomorrow mid-day.  But still, snow!?

I've decided to "hunker" down here in the house and get some projects done.  That's the best thing about a cold, rainy Saturday, right?

I'm going to sew the binding onto another one of these:

I bought this silly, cutesy Halloween fabric a few years ago and never did anything with it.  I decided the other night I'd make a couple little quilted tablerunners using it.  

Silly Halloween on one side, pretty autumnal print on the other.

I may sit down and do some more stitching on this:

I started this cross stitch project . . . gosh . . . it's been so long ago, I don't even remember.  
I bet it's been 14 or 15 years ago.

Think I may need to add some more floss stitches to his beard.  Looks a little thin.

I'm gonna bake a batch of Halloweeny cupcakes using all this:

I'm sure I've mentioned in past posts how I like using cake mixes, and adding extra ingredients to them for my cakes and cupcakes.  It's so much easier, and the cakes turn out great every time.  I have a great book that gives tons of ideas and recipes for using mixes.  

Using those Oreo cookies and Junior Mints candies, I'll be making a special bunch of cupcakes for a very special young lady who is celebrating her 21st birthday Sunday, although her birthday is actually Halloween.  How cool is that to have a Halloween b'day?!  I don't want to share too much about them, because she reads my blog and I don't want to spoil the surprise.  
So, you're just going to have to wait til tomorrow, Shannon! ;o)

 Another project I plan to tackle, will need these items:

Again, I can't divulge my plain for these because they're to be made into a little special something for that Birthday Girl, Shannon.  I'll be sure to share what all that up there becomes, and the cutesy cupcakes in a later post.

My favorite Halloween movies will be watched, most likely with a huge bowl of popcorn.  
I'm not a gory movie person at all.  I like the cutesy, kiddie Halloween movies.

Another movie I used to just love, but it's never on TV anymore, and I've yet to find it on DVD is the The Halloween Tree.  It's a cartoon made from the Ray Bradbury book. I really like The Nightmare Before Christmas too, but we don't have that on DVD. We had a VHS copy, but no more VCR's in the house.

A few other movies I might try to get in this weekend:

The Others ~ ghosts.  Van Helsing ~ vampires.  They're appropriate for Halloween.  And I can get a dose of the gorgeous Hugh Jackman.  And, yeesss, I'm getting the itch to watch some Christmas flicks.  

I will be perusing through this fabulous magazine. 

 I have to blame another blogger, Michael from Inspired by Charm, for tempting me to fall of the wagon.  By "falling off the wagon" I'm referring to my constant addiction battle with magazines.  Especially the SIP's ~ Special Interest Publications.   I will say, though, I think it's probably one of BH&G's best Christmas Ideas edition in years.  Every page is filled with the greatest show-and-tell pics, eye candy, project ideas.  A couple popular and well-known home dec/design bloggers are featured as well.  It was well worth me caving into temptation to grab it up.

By the way, have you all visited Michael's blog?  Oh, it's fabulous!  He's fabulous!
If you haven't visited him at
Inspired by Charm,
 you should pop over there when you're done here.

I think another "have-to" for today will be a big pot of steaming hot soup.  I'm thinking maybe a creamy, cheesy potato soup with some warm homemade cornbread.  
Hope you all have a fun, and spooktacular, weekend!

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies

This recipe was one of Martha Stewart's Cookie of the Day emails.  I'm always on the lookout for something a little different, and seasonal recipes are always fun to try.  Brownies are always a hit here at our house, and pumpkin, well, it's that time of year! 
How can you go wrong with anything pumpkin?!

So, I gathered up the ingredients, and went to work.

As you can see, all the normal ingredients for preparing a yummy pan of brownies, with the addition of the pumpkin.  But look . . . up there . . . there's also a few slightly different additions then are normally found in a brownie recipe.  Cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper.  I have seen spicy flavors pared with chocolate in other recipes, but I've never experienced it.  
I was anxious to try!

First things first.  
Melt the chocolate {I mixed semi-sweet with unsweetened} and the 
butter together in a double boiler on the stove.

 Now, can you think of anything more lovely? 
 Mmmmm . . . glossy, rich, buttery melted chocolate . . .

Combining the eggs, sugar, vanilla.

It works into quite a thick, sticky batter.

At this point, you divide that batter up there into two bowls.  Add the melted chocolate to one, and the pumpkin along with remaining ingredients in another.

Then you spread half the chocolate batter in a pan, followed by half the pumpkin batter, repeating to create four layers of batter. 

Well, I was lazy and only did two layers.  Chocolate on the bottom, pumpkin on top.  I tried to swirl it, but with only the two layers I didn't really get swirl of combined batters.  Also, the recipe called for the brownies to be baked in a 9 inch square pan, but many of the comments I read about the recipe said the batter was too rich and thick for that size and the brownies weren't baking thoroughly.  Several commenters suggested a larger pan.  I used a 9x12 and it worked perfectly.

As you can see, I didn't quite get the swirliness like in Martha's brownies below.  Oh, and I didn't add the nuts.  The brownies were a success!  That very faint hint of spiciness paired well with the pumpkin flavor in these brownies.  I think if I would have taken the time to layer the batter as suggested, there would be a better mixture of flavors when bitting into the brownie.  With just the layer of pumpkin on top, it's more divided flavor/texture when you bite into the brownie, if that makes any sense.  I would definitely make these again. 
If you'd like the recipe, click here to go to Martha's site to print it out.

I can't go without mentioning my super-cute witchy cake stand.  Isn't it adorable!  It was a hostess gift one year from my good friend and bestest next-door neighbor in the world, Mary.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Fall Day at the Tee

Around these parts, this past weekend was just gorgeous.  
Perfect fall days.  

Sunday, after running a few morning errands, Hubby decided to go to the golf club we joined this year to play nine holes.

We've spent quite a bit of time there this summer with Hubby playing two, even three, times a week.  Early in the summer, I was playing once a week for a while.  
And, best of all, hitting the pool for some R&R in the sun.

Photo from The Club website
Photo from The Club website.
Chester River Yacht and Country Club has a beautiful course located next to the historic Maryland town of Chestertown, and sits right on the Chester River.  There's a clubhouse with restaurant, banquet facility, pool, and a dock right on the river.  It's an old, established country club.  And as you can see from the photos below, there's lots of small ponds and wetlands with tons of wildlife.

This doe is hoping Hubby doesn't shank the shot!

All the small ponds along the course are loaded with turtles.
Not only is the club old, in that it's been established since 1929, it would seem most of the members are originally from that era!  Well, just kidding . . . kinda . . . I would say that Hubby and I are part of the minority age, me at 47 and him at 51.  Most of the members are well into their 60's, 70's even older.  Obviously we didn't join the club for the social life, but primarily for the golf and the pool.  It's a private club, so no tee times aren't needed.  Hubby loves that he can go whenever he gets the itch and doesn't have to worry about scheduling a time.   Best of all, they were offering a fabulous deal on new memberships.  

View of The Chester River from the course.

When we went down this past Sunday, I mainly went to keep Hubby company riding along in the cart and taking some great photos.  Unfortunately, my golfing for the season is pretty much done.  Three weeks ago, Son No. 3 was horsing around and pushed me over while I was sitting on a counter stool.  I went down hard right on my left bum check.  It knocked the wind out of me and hurt like crazy.  For a few days after, it just felt like maybe I had a bruised bone.  A visible bruise never really showed up.  So I kept on with my regular, physical routines of puttering inside and outside the house, exercising daily and work ~ cleaning houses.  About the third or fourth day after the fall, I started getting really intense lower back pain that would radiate down my left leg and into my calf.  It was a tingling pain that even went down into my foot causing some numbness in my toes.  It became crippling at times.  I will tell you this, I've given birth twice with no pain killers and the pain would sometimes equate to some of the worst labor pains, almost driving me to tears.

After a couple weeks I finally decided to see the doc.  After the doctor examining me and sending me to physical therapy, and from what info I've found on the web, I'm pretty sure I have a herniated, ruptured, bulging . . . whatever you want to call it . . . disc.  I haven't had an official diagnosis.  That would require an MRI, but from what the physical therapist deduced, and the research I've done, I'm pretty sure that's what I'm dealing with.  The worst part is, there's really nothing to do but nurse it and take it easy.  Surgery seems to be a last resort in super-severe cases, and is not always recommended.

There's my handsome Hubby putting the ball.
I'll tell you it's been hard not being able to do all that I'm used to.  Having to cut back on my workouts, and the intensity of them.  Not being able to get out and do the necessary fall gardening clean-up, or projects around the house.  It's been debilitating for me.  I'm not a "sit-around-and-do-nothing" kinda gal.  I'm always puttering.  Some days it's painful to just walk across the room.  From all that I've read, this type of injury can take weeks, months to heal, if it totally heals at all.  

Well, if nothing else, maybe I'll get some sewing, scrapbooking, crafting and cross stitch projects done.  With the Holidays right around the corner, though, I hope I get some relief from the pain so I can get the things done I need . . . err . . . want to do.

In the meantime, guess I'll have to spend more time on the couch catching up with all the things that can be done in a seated position.

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