Monday, October 30, 2023

Skeletons 2023: Sleepy Hollow Meets Salem

This year's outside display is a lot less intense than the displays of years past; this is partly by design and partly due to pure laziness on my part. The good news is; less intense doesn't equate to boring, so, without further adieu, I bring you...

Sleepy Hollow, featuring the headless horseman and Ichabod Crane.

The skeleton horse was the inspiration for the display, which, was not exactly great news for Hugh, who not only had to assemble the thing, but will have to wrestle it back into the box that it came in come November 1st. It's ok, though; he was a great sport about it (otherwise, he wouldn't have also agreed to build a small replica of Sleepy Hollow bridge out of pallets).

The display looks great at night, but you'll have to mostly take my word for it because I have been terribly lax in photographing it at night.****

Since I didn't bust out as many skeletons as I usually do, I decided to give my animated witches  the spotlight on the porch, which, brings us to the next stop on our tour: Salem, circa 1692.

In between Sleepy Hollow and Salem lies a cematary, naturally.

And, that about does it for the outdoor decorations this year. As I've said, it's a lot less crazy than we've done traditionally, but, the forecast for the rest of this week calls for freezing temperatures, so I'm not really regretting the decision; taking everything down in the cold is not something I want to spend doing one minute more than is absolutely necessary.

Happy Halloween 2023!


Hugh came home early to set up his three (yes, THREE) fog machines, so it would be wrong not to share the photos that we captured as the fog rolled across the yard, down the road, and up to half a block away. It was pretty awesome and it drew Trick-or-Treaters to our yard like a siren song.


Thursday, October 26, 2023

Monthly Musings

I don't join in a lot of link-up posts, but I have been known to join in on Monthly Musings with Holly and Patty on occasion. This month, they are musing about Thanksgiving preparations, and, Thanksgiving is my jam! Little known fact: I was born on Thanksgiving Day. Of course it's my jam! 

Let's get to it!

1. This year, I plan to host dinner for my immediate family, minus Queen B, who decided to stay in Texas  this year since she was so burned out on traveling after all the weddings she was in this summer. We'll miss her, but will see her at Christmas.

2. My all-time favorite Thanksgiving dish is the bread stuffing that has been on the menu every year of my life (except for that unfortunate year when we were visiting my grandparents in Texas and I was introduced to the world's driest cornbread throat closes up just thinking about it). It's a pretty basic recipe: stale bread, onion, celery, butter, sage, poultry seasoning, pepper, an egg, the broth from cooking the neck and organs of the turkey, and the shredded meat from the mom adds the organ meats but I detest liver, so I pass on that...mix everything together, stuff loosely into bird, and roast. There are no real measurements here; season with your heart. Extra stuffing can be baked in a buttered casserole dish, but cooking it inside the bird takes it to a whole new level.

3. The best tips I can give you are: make as many of the side dishes that you can in advance and heat them up before serving; chaffing dishes, crock-pots, and warming pans are useful for this, as well.

4. Our favorite Thanksgiving traditions revolve around the meal, and having our family and friends around our table. Since the kids have been grown, we've also started a tradition of sipping pomegranate mimosas as we prepare the meal. There are some perks to having grown children 😊. We also spend Thanksgiving evening decorating the Christmas tree, which is a tradition that we started when the kids were quite small.

5. Turkey, all the way!

6. Thanksgiving is for pumpkin pie! We've usually had our fill of apple by now, since we participate in an apple pie baking contest at the local orchard each September (Hugh judged the contest for several years, and, this year, Mom baked the 3rd place winner!).

7. We aren't huge football fans over here, so I would say family movie. When the kids were small, we would hit the local theater for whatever the latest Disney offering was; now that they are older, we'll dial up something on Netflix.

8. Technically, we eat both; the same recipe (see #2) can be cooked inside the bird (stuffing) and/or in a casserole dish (dressing).

9. We are not Turkey Trot people. I'll take the parade, thankyouverymuch.

10. We always welcome friends to our celebration. That being said; when I was in college, my roommates and I hosted Friendsgiving every year. That was when I learned how to make my mom's recipes; it only took about a million long distance phone calls to her for advice and instructions. Those dinners remain some of my fondest memories of college.

This has been fun! Many thanks to Holly and Patty for hosting!

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

What's Up Wednesday, October 2023 Edition


We've arrived at the end of yet another month; 2023 is just whizzing by and I'm actually rather sad about that. 23 is my lucky number and I was really hoping for big things this year. Oh well, I guess I still have a couple of months for her to get her shit together. In the meantime, here's what's been happening in these here parts, and, thanks, as always, to Sheaffer and Shay for hosting.

What I'm Eating

I hosted the inaugural meeting of our new Supper Club this month, so, of course I went with a spooky theme. I served ghoulash as the main and the other ladies came through with spooky themed sides, including creepy eyeball deviled eggs, witch hat mozzarella rolls, a skeleton charcuterie board that looked like a postpartum nightmare, and a skeleton Caprese salad. The food was great and the dinner was a lot of fun, but, more on that later.

Mom and I also recently tried a new (to us) restaurant in Hooterville; after we shared the spring rolls, Mom had pho and I had drunken noodles. Neither of us was disappointed. 

Earlier, the Rodeo Princess had arrived from Texas to spend a couple of days with Mom while she was delivering horses to her Uncle Todd. Naturally, we went out to dinner at an established restaurant in Hooterville; it's not been my favorite for a very long time, and, while I wasn't unhappy with my dish, the Rodeo Princess, the Man-Cub, and Mom were less than impressed with theirs. I don't think we'll be back.

What I'm Reminiscing About

We moved Mom to Hooterville a year ago; it's been a great change for her and I know she has no regrets.

What I'm Loving

The Man-Cub and the Daughter-in-Love came over the other night to dip caramel apples with me. We haven't done that since the Cub was a wee lad, so I was thrilled that he wanted to do it. He proved to be quite the accomplished apple-dipper, while Shanti showed impressive skill in apple decoration.

Mom and I went to see a local production of Little Shop of Horrors, and, as always, the theater company knocked it out of the park. I wish we were allowed to take photos during the performance, because the props and set were ah-may-zing! It is always to cool to see the talent that Hooterville produces for these plays.

What I've Been Up To

I hosted the above-mentioned Supper Club; it was our first meeting of what we are hoping will be many. Since my house is already Halloween Central, it just made sense to go with a spooky theme, which included each of us wearing witch hats. It was a lot of fun and it gave me an excellent excuse to use my Royal Stafford and Royal Wessex Halloween dishes (you know, the ones Hugh said I would never use).

The day after Supper Club, the Man-Cub, Daughter-in-Love, and I drove to Neighboring City to meet up with Jules and her plus one for a trip to the haunted (or not) corn maze. We had a blast; it's been a hot minute since I traipsed through a corn field.

When I wasn't hanging out with friends and family, I was putting the garden to bed. This season was fairly successful, considering the amount of cucumbers, beets, basil, tomatoes, and butternut squashes that I harvested.

What I'm Working On

Budgets. Budget cuts. Bleh. Let's not talk about it.

What I'm Dreading

Every day, I dread turning on the news. Our world is so broken right now and I dread the thought of my children bringing their own children into it. That's a heartbreaking place to find oneself.

What I'm Excited About

I was entrusted with a secret that I've been keeping since the end of May. I am so excited to share! Not today, though. Tune in next month 😉

What I'm Watching

For the past four years, Netflix has had a Halloween offering that employs the acting skills of a group of actors. It's always interesting to watch the shows, if only to spot the actors. This year, the show was The Fall of the House of Usher; a horror story loosely based on the Edgar Allan Poe book of the same title. It was creepy and gory and everything that a Halloween show should be. I might just have to read the book to see how the two compare.

Netflix also premiered the David Beckham documentary (redeeming itself from the slog that was the documentary about the royal whiners, not too long ago). 

I've never been a fan of soccer, so, the most I knew about David Beckham was that he was married to Posh Spice. The documentary definitely did a great job of humanizing both David and Victoria. I'm a fan (still not interested in soccer, though).

What I'm Listening To

I've had the Morbid Podcast on repeat at work, lately; I like to listen to it while I work on grant applications and when I'm working with QuickBooks. The most recent episode I listened to was about the witch trials that took place in Sweden between 1668-1676, which is even earlier than the witch hysteria that gripped Salem in 1692. 

If you didn't know that there were witch trials in Sweden, you aren't alone; I didn't have a clue, either. What was really interesting about the story is that the 400 or so "witches" that were tried and executed during the time, were largely accused by children. Can you even imagine?

What I'm Reading

I haven't been reading much this month, but now I kind of want to look for books on the Sweden witch trials, because, Jeezus, that shit be cray.

What I'm Wearing

I've actually broken out of my rut this month! I have a lot of classic fall fashion items that I have been wearing on rotation. This includes cute boots (foot pain be damned!) and the hat that I made at the DIY hat Bar when Erin and Kristi and I went earlier this year.

What I'm Doing This Weekend

I don't have a lot planned, but, on Sunday; I will be doing a family photo shoot for Anthony and Bethany. I haven't done pictures for them since they had Porter last year, so this should be fun.

Looking Forward To Next Month

I am looking forward to taking some time off. I don't know what that's going to look like just yet, but if I don't use my time, I basically lose it. Last year, my vacation time was spent moving Mom, which means that I haven't had a actual vacation since we went to Hawaii for the Man-Cub's graduation in 2021. I'm burned out and long overdue.

Erin and Kristi would like for me to fly to London to spend some time with them, and I would kill to do that. Unfortunately, Emily's health is on the decline, despite the placement of a pacemaker last month. Without her available to handle the hardware store; it is unlikely that I will be going anywhere, anytime soon. I would love to say that I am not becoming resentful about that, but I don't like to lie.

Anyhoodle, Thanksgiving is also next month, so I'll look forward to that. I do love me some turkey stuffing and gravy.

Favorite Amazon Find

I purchased this fog machine for our outside display. It cranks out some serious fog, and we like the options for colored lights. If you are in the market for a fog machine; this is a good one.