Wednesday, October 31, 2012

This is Halloween

Is it just me, or is October CrAzY busy?
After  Fall break, the deer hunt, a ward party, 3 Halloween parties & the usual Halloween day festivities, I need a nap!!!
And since things weren't crazy enough, I decided to whip out a few spooky crafts.
I love me some cute mummies!
There are tons of cute versions of these little guys.
I started with the guy on the left.
I followed the instructions here: Mummy Jars
First off, it's kind of difficult to find the sheer gauze.
When I opened the package, I knew this was not the right stuff. I dug through my first aid kit & found some of the sheer gauze (looks more like cheesecloth) but it would need to be cut into I decided to go ahead with the gauze I bought. He kind of looks more like a ghost than a mummy.
I also don't like the mod-podge on this one.
Still, he's cute enough.
 I rummaged around trying to find something else to use. Everything else I had would have to be cut into strips, which I wasn't keen spending time doing. Then I remembered I have a box full of muslin strips from last year's Mummy project!
I tied 3 strips together and started wrapping the jar. I used hot glue to attach the beginning & end of the muslin on the jar, and placed a few strategic drops to hold everything in place.
Perfect! Quick, easy and so cute!
And look how cute he is all lit up!
(I used a battery operated tea light)
I made 3 of these guys.

 (Tabletop Centerpiece, my favorite decor this year)
 I might have a hard time putting him away!
I've also been making these candles.
Paper towel rolls, people!
These are fun to make!
I've made 10 so far and have 6 more to do (but not before Halloween!)
I went really drippy with mine. I think I went through 50 glue sticks!

I'd like to introduce you to a new blog friend:
Check out her awesome tutorials for making these candles.
And while you're there, check out some of her other fabulous, crafty ideas.
Make sure you visit her other site too:

My notes on the candles:
*I didn't do the masking tape "sling" to hold the tea light. Mostly because I couldn't find my masking tape!  I stuffed some newspaper in the top of each roll & that holds the tea light just fine.
*I spray painted my candles. I still need to do the dry brushing too. That will give them some added dimension.
*Make sure you don't drip glue on the inside of the roll. I did on a couple of mine & it's a pretty tight squeeze to get the tea light nestled in the roll. In fact, one of them I have to put the tea light up through the bottom, which is a pain in the patootie! :)
*My candle heights are:
10 3/4 " (full paper towel roll)
8 1/2"
6 1/2"
I also did a few smaller ones (like the ones with my table centerpiece)
They are
4" (I used a full toilet paper roll)
4 1/4" (the other half of the 6 1/2" roll)
These are so fun to use everywhere!
I love the flickering lights~
And I love mostly cutesy Halloween stuff but like a little bit of spooky/macabre too. :)
Some other favorite decor this year:
Like this so much better than the spiderweb stuff. Plus it's cheap!

This cute little witchy owl:

Another votive for my flickering lights obsession!

Mini headstones from Dollar Tree~

Now, on to the party details!
Our friends invited us to a Costume party.
I'm not a big fan of dressing up~
This was our first ever costume party...
And since I've had many requests for a picture of our costumes...
Here ya go!

(Shane was the photographer, so this is the best picture we have. Doctored up a little bit with picmonkey)
Any guesses to who we are?
My wig freaked the kids out!!!!
I actually bought 3 different wigs (do NOT tell my husband!) trying to find the right one.
I took an appetizer to the party~
"Severed Zombie Fingers in a Blood-Red Reduction"
( Little Smokies in the slow cooker w/ a can of jelled cranberry sauce & a bottle of chili sauce).
It was a fun party.
The wig drove me nuts all night
And I didn't wear my glasses so I couldn't see anything,
but other than that, it was a fun party! :)
I also do a Halloween Dinner for my family every year.
The kids wanted a Mystery Menu dinner again.
For that I served up:
A. Witch's Delight on Shoe Leather
B. Skeleton Fingers
C. Raw. Slimy Squid
D. Cyclops Poop
E. Headless Horseman w/ Vampire Teeth
F. Werewolf Guts
G. Jellied Spider Web
H. Zombie Pus
I. Tombstones
J. Ghost Brains
K. Hunchback's Club
L. Coffin Crud
M. Dried Eye of Newt
N. Bones on a Slab
O. Ghostly Apparition
P. Scarab Shells
Q. Scarecrow Stuffing
R. "Thing"
Sounds yummy, no?
Here's a link to the dessert I served~
*I used 1 cup of pecans
And dang, this stuff is good.
Even better the next day~ as in "died and gone to Heaven" better. In fact, I think I'll go sneak the last piece right now!
Tonight will be the last "party". Shane's friends will be coming here for dinner before they hit the streets. I'll be serving Mummy Dogs, chips, carrots sticks, celery sticks, dip, deviled eggs & Pomegranate 7-UP. I forgot a dessert, but I don't think they need any more sugar tonight!
Now I really need a nap!
(Mystery Menu Code Key: A=Pumpkin Crunch Cake, B=Fork, C=Spaghetti Noodles, D=Green Beans, E=Candy Pumpkins w/ Candy Corn, F=Spaghetti Sauce, G=Grated Cheese, H=Ranch Dressing, I=Garlic Bread, J=Whipped Cream, K=Spoon, L=Parmesan Cheese, M=Sunflower Seeds,
N=Symphony Bar w/ a plastic skeleton, O=Napkin, P=Croutons, Q=Salad, R=Fork)
(Again, with picmonkey!)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Absolutley Amazing Lasagna

This is my favorite lasagna recipe.
It is incredibly yummy!
Amazing Lasagna
1 pound ground beef
6 ounces ground pork (not sausage, see notes)
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can (1 pound) tomatoes
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
2 Tbs. parsley flakes
2 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp.  basil leaves
24 ounces cottage cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbs. parsley flakes
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. oregano leaves
12 lasagna noodles, cooked & well drained
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 pound cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook and stir ground beef, ground pork, onion & garlic in large saucepan until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain off all grease.
Add tomatoes, break up with a fork if necessary. Stir in tomato sauce, 2 Tbs. parsley flakes, the sugar, 1 tsp. salt and the basil. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered 1 hour or until mixture is the consistency of spaghetti sauce.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cottage cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 Tbs. parsley flakes, 1 1/2 tsp. salt and the oregano. Reserve 1/2 cup meat sauce for thin top layer.
In un-greased 9x13 pan, layer 1/4 each of the noodles, meat sauce, mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese and cottage cheese mixture. Repeat the layers 3 times.
Spread reserved meat sauce over top, sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
(Lasagna can be covered and refrigerated several hours at this point if desired. Add an additional 10-15 minutes to cook time)
Bake uncovered for 45 minutes
For easier cutting, let stand 15 minutes after removing from oven.
Yield: 12 servings
*My Notes:
Ground pork can be a little difficult to find. You can substitute a mild sausage if you have to. Try a mild Italian sausage, or a mild country sausage.
The cheddar cheese is my addition. We just like it with just a little bit of cheddar!
I use pre-grated Parmesan, I've found a brand I like. When I first started making this, I used the Kraft powdered stuff, 'cause I didn't know there was any different kind. You can use whichever you prefer.
The simmer time of the meat sauce will depend on what type of tomatoes you use. I usually use either petite diced or crushed style of tomatoes.
Start to finish takes about 2 hours. Approximately 1 hour prep/assembly & 1 hour baking time.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Favorite Things~ Fall 2012 Edition

Just a few of my Fall Favorites:
Gold Canyon Candles: Gingerbread House (no longer available)
And Subway Art
Colette @ My Computer is My Canvas has some super cute
This nail polish, well the color at least.
The polish itself was thick and globby, but I persevered anyway.
Now I have orange toenails, with a black crackle overlay...
That look like they were done by a 2 year old.
*Persevered: "Continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no indication of success".

This dish scrubby. Made from tulle/netting. Best scrubby I have ever used. I love that I can throw them in the dishwasher or the washer & they don't unravel.
I have got to learn to crochet (better) so I can make these.
*See Above

One of my favorite kitchen tools!
I have wanted one of these For.Ev.Er.
There's a funny story behind how I finally ended up with it. I'll have to share that another time.
(Recipe using that grated cheese...coming soon! YUMMY!)

Seeing this jars filled with yummy goodness.
I didn't get much canning done, but we are loving what I did get done.
The grape juice is totally amazing. So very, very good!
I hope to get a bigger harvest next Fall because everyone loves this stuff!

I love this stuff!
A friend suggested I try it with my kids & it is seriously awesome! Has made a huge difference with Shane!
He had a strange virus this year, right after school started & he missed 5 days of school.
(We were concerned that it was something serious as the symptoms he had looked like Juvenile Arthritis or even something more serious, but thankfully turned out to be some weird virus).
I remembered I had a bottle of these chews still, and had him start taking them.
He takes 1 a day, and then if I know he has been exposed to something, I have him take 2 a day for a few days. Last year, he was hardly sick at all. That's a big improvement from the year before!
I also am doing an Attendance Reward program with him that has helped too (not with the sickness, but with his attendance and tendency to miss school for minor ailments).

A little Halloween fun with picmonkey.
My kids think I'm crazy! :)

Beautiful Autumn colors.
Haven't the leaves just been brilliant this year?
We took a drive again yesterday & the colors are still going strong!

Happy Fall!