Ghosts of Halloween Past

Saturday, October 31, 2009

What to see something creepy? Check out the meat hand at Not Martha.

Want to see something cool? Check out this amazing architecture! (scroll down the post to see 80 unbelievable buildings)

Still looking for Halloween craft or party ideas? Check out my post here.

Or, send one of these cool vintage Halloween ecards to someone special!

Have a safe and fun filled Halloween!

Little Music Lovers Review

Friday, October 30, 2009

A couple of weeks ago I was sent a Little Music Lovers Sample CD to review. From the time they were born, I have always played music for my children. Music moves the soul. We play a variety of music in our house and often play classical music during dinner (that is if there are not college football games on TV, lol). And I played classical music to help calm my kids at bedtime when they were very young.

When I received the Little Music Lovers CD I was happy to find that there were different music selections to play during various activities throughout the day. The new Little Music Lovers CD Collection includes: Smart Music for Activity Time, Play Time, Story Time and Bed Time.

Here is more information from their website:

"Our series is designed to open your children's eyes and ears to the world of music. Just as reading can develop the mind, classical music can do the same at an even earlier age. Simply listening to the melodies and harmonies of classical music has been found to develop and enhance math and reasoning skills and give babies a head start for later learning."

The musical pieces found in The Little Music Lovers collection were carefully selected for their melodic content, as well as their impact in enhancing early childhood development. Children will learn from the series, while parents can enjoy many hours of beautiful music.

I certainly enjoyed listening to the music while playing with and reading to my kids, and they seemed to enjoy it as well. These CDs would make a wonderful holiday gift or be perfect for baby shower. I think any parent who wishes to share a love of music with their children would find this collection to be a great asset.

Little Music Lovers CDs are available at Barnes & Noble, Borders, Best Buy,, iTunes and

**This is not a paid review, but I did receive a music sampler from Little Music Lovers so that I could try this product before giving my own honest opinion. My policy is to only review products that I would purchase for myself or my own family, and to give a honest review of the product for my readers.**

Friday Photo Flashback

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Friday Photo Flashback

Hi guys!
It's been a while since I could get my rear in gear to do a Friday Photo Flashback, though I do try to visit Alicia's meme regularly. When I was backing up my hard drive this week, I came across this photo that I had scanned a while back. This is my favorite Halloween photo (except for the ones of my own kids ;).

This is a picture of my older sister and I when I was about 3 years old. That would make her about 7 and it would have been in 1976, I think. My mom actually made these costumes, which amazes me because I probably couldn't sew a pillow case without screwing it up!

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a great weekend, and a safe and Happy Halloween!

Aloha Friday

What's the burning question of the week? What was the name of the last book you read?

I just finished Persuasion, by Jane Austen. I liked it, though not as well as Pride and Prejudice. Sense and Sensibility and Emma are still on my list. Right now I'm reading Walden. It's kind of a homeschooling assignment for me.

Stop by and visit Kailani at An Island Life, the hostess with the mostest, for more Aloha Friday Fun.

Autumn Poems for Kids & Halloween Fun

We've all been enjoying the Autumn season around here. We've baked cookies, made crafts, read stories, researched the history of Halloween, and decorated and selected costumes for the big day. The kids are all geared up for Saturday's festivities and can hardly wait to don their costumes and set out into the night in search of tricks and treats.

I wanted to share some fun poems and jokes that I've used as we create crafts and baked treats. These will help get your little spooks into the spirit of the holiday:

The Pumpkins At Pumpkin Time
by Grace Cornell Tall

Back into your garden-beds!
Here come the holidays!
And woe to the golden pumpkin-heads
Attracting too much praise.

Hide behind the hoe, the plow,
Cling fast to the vine!
Those who come to praise you now
Will soon sit down to dine.

Bonfire Days
by Grace Strickler Dawson

Ho! for the leaves that eddy down,
Crumpled yellow and withered brown,
Hither and yonder and up the street
And trampled under the passing feet;
Swirling, billowing, drifting by,
With a whisper soft and a rustling sigh,
Starting aloft to windy ways,
Telling the coming of bonfire days.

October's Party
by George Cooper

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came-
The Chesnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.


Why didn't the skeleton cross the road?
He didn't have the guts.

What was the witch's favorite class in school?

What do the birds sing on Halloween?
Twick or Tweat.

Why don't angry witches ride their brooms?
They're afraid of flying off the handle.

What do witches put on their hair?
Scare spray

What's the ratio of a pumpkin's circumference to its diameter?
Pumpkin Pi

How do you mend a broken Jack-o-lantern?
With a pumpkin patch

What does a skeleton orders at a restaurant?
Spare ribs

A Thousand Words Thursday

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Little Miss Obstinate...

For more Thousand Words Thursday stop by Cheaper Than Therapy.
Cheaper Than Therapy

Singing Dog Vanilla Review

Monday, October 26, 2009

If you know me, or have visited my blog a few times, you are probably well aware that I am a bit of a sweet freak. I love cookies, cake, ice cream, pastries, and just about anything with sugar in it. If you were to peek into my kitchen, you'd be much more likely to find me baking a batch of cookies than whipping up a gourmet meal. And, if you've clicked on the recipe link on my sidebar you know that 95% of the recipes I post are for desserts! What can I say? I have an insatiable sweet fang.

Obviously the good folks at Singing Dog Vanilla noticed my partiality for all things sweet and scrumptious, because they asked me to review their Organic Pure Vanilla Extract. Of course I was more than happy to sample their goods since it meant I would be forced to bake some yummy goodness...and then eat it ALL to be sure I could write a proper review for my dear readers ;)

Ok, so here's the scoop: Singing Dog's vanilla beans are grown using traditional, organic growing methods. They use only all natural, high quality ingredients harvested in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. Their vanilla extract is certified organic, sugar free and gluten free, so you can feel good about eating all those cookies you'll want to bake when you buy some Singing Dog Vanilla for the holiday treats you have planned this season! What's more, Singing Dog is a Fair Trade Plus company, committed to business practices that are mindful of the well being of their partner farmers.

So, how did it taste? I wanted to use a simple recipe to start with so that nothing would interfere with the vanilla flavor. I chose this recipe for shortbread cookies. Now, I have made this recipe many times before using the traditional grocery store bands of vanilla. They are always yummy. I do have to say though, that the flavor of the Singing Dog Vanilla batch was richer with a deeper vanilla taste. They were light buttery vanilla perfection and the whole batch didn't last 2 days in my house.

Later I make a vanilla pound cake which was equally as rich and yummy (see recipe below). I definitely think the quality of vanilla makes a big difference in the flavor of baked treats. It's like using real can use a substitute but you know it just won't taste like it should. Other vanilla products often have artificial flavors or high fructose corn syrup added. Who wants all that stuff mingling around in their home-baked goodness?

I also had the pleasure of sampling some Singing Dog Vanilla coffee. I am not a fan of those flavored creamers that have an artificial aftertaste. I like my steaming hot java au natural. I did however enjoy the vanilla coffee. The coffee beans are ground with real vanilla bean and no other flavorings are added. It's just pure yum! And the rich vanilla flavor really comes through. You can buy their whole bean coffee and it comes with whole organic vanilla beans in the bag. You just pinch off as much or as little vanilla as you like, grind it with your coffee beans and control the flavor yourself. Brilliant, I say!

All in all this was one of my favorite reviews. I really found the Singing Dog products to be of excellent quality. I love that they are all natural, organically grown and produced by a socially and environmentally responsible company. It feels good to enjoy the sweet bounty of nature, and to do so guilt free.

Visit to find out more or place your order today! They offer cinnamon and pepper products, as well, and have a great list of recipes.

Sour Cream Pound Cake:
1/2 pound unsalted butter (2 sticks)
3 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream (I use reduced fat)
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 cups all purpose flour
6 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter sugar & cream them together. Add the sour cream until incorporated. Sift the baking soda and flour together. Add the creamed mixture alternating with the eggs, 1 egg at a time. Add the vanilla and pour into a greased and floured 10' tube pan. Bake 1 hour and 20 minutes. Cool and remove from pan.

Quotable Sunday - Halloween

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hark! Hark to the wind! 'Tis the night, they say,
When all souls come back from the far away-
The dead, forgotten this many a day!
~Virna Sheard

I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion. ~Henry David Thoreau

When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam,
May luck be yours on Halloween.
~Author Unknown

Hobgoblins know the proper way to dance:
Arms akimbo, loopy legs askew,
Leaping into darkness with delight,
Lusting for the ecstasy of fright,
Open to the charm of horrors new....
~Nicholas Gordon,

Nothing beats a haunted moonlit night on All Hallows Eve.... And on this fatal night, at this witching time, the starless sky laments black and unmoving. The somber hues of an ominous, dark forest are suddenly illuminated under the emerging face of the full moon. ~Kim Elizabeth

May Jack-o-lanterns burning bright
Of soft and golden hue
Pierce through the future�s veil and show
What fate now holds for you.
~Author Unknown

On Hallowe'en the thing you must do
Is pretend that nothing can frighten you
And if somethin' scares you and you want to run
Just let on like it's Hallowe'en fun.
~Author Unknown

Clothes make a statement. Costumes tell a story. ~Mason Cooley

Backward, turn backward,
O Time, in your flight
make me a child again
just for to-night!
~Elizabeth Akers Allen

For lots more Quotable Sunday fun, visit A Daily Dose of Toni.

A Thousand Words Thursday

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This week we made some "Spooty Halloweenie" masks (in the words of my 2 year old). What are you doing to get into the spirit?

For more Thousand Words Thursday stop by Cheaper Than Therapy.
Cheaper Than Therapy

PS - If you have young kids at home, has episodes of many favorite Halloween shows online for free to celebrate Halloween. Plus games and ecards here. Check it out!

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Who ate two sticks of butter off of the kitchen counter last night???

Be sure to stop by these fabulous blogs for more Wednesday fun!
5 Minutes for Mom
7 Clown Circus
Ordinary and Awesome

MckLinky Blog Hop - Fantabulous Foto Free for All

Just wanted to share a few nature photos I've recently taken. Isn't it wonderful to find beauty in your own back yard?

MckLinky Blog Hop

Halloween Candy Experiments

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ok, when I was a kid, my sisters and I did some Halloween candy experiments of our many mini Tootsie rolls can you fit into your mouth? At 11 I managed 16. How long can you cook a fun-sized Snickers in the microwave before it burns? About 10 seconds and it's scrumptious atop vanilla ice cream. We also had a bartering system down pat, like two mini Twix = 1 Reeses Cup. Three chocolate kisses = 1 Mini Nestle Crunch, unless they are almond kisses then they're only worth a pack of Necco wafers. You get the idea, I'm sure.

I remember pillow cases full of candy that we gorged ourselves on for weeks. Aside from an occasional pack of pretzels or granola bar, today's Trick or Treat haul is not much healthier than what I remember from my youth. But, I have found a great site that will help you use that candy loot for some great learning fun! Check out for new ways to get rid of all that excess sugar ;)

And you can always get creative with candy math...estimating the number of M & M's in a pack, graphing the quantities of each variety of candy, measuring household items by lengths of candy bars, etc. Or, use much of the lot to decorate a gingerbread house for the holidays. Here's a how to that easy enough for little ones to enjoy.

Also, I've found lots of fun holiday printables at Family Fun Education's website. You can also explore recipes and craft ideas there to get you in the "spirit". Or, check out my Halloween craft post here. Have fun!

Quotable Sunday

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hello friends! Welcome to this week's edition of Quotable Sunday Serendipity style. I hope today finds in you good spirits. Since it is rainy and chilly here today, and quite a good day to curl up with a great book, I have chosen a selection of literary quotes to share. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have enjoyed selecting them...

"The test of literature is, I suppose, whether we ourselves live more intensely for the reading of it."
-Elizabeth Drew

“Life is my college. May I graduate well, and earn some honors!”
-Louisa May Alcott

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep
And miles to go before I sleep."
-Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

"Yet ah! why should they know their fate?
Since sorrow never comes too late,
And happiness too swiftly flies.
Thought would destroy their paradise.
No more; where ignorance is bliss,
'Tis folly to be wise."
-Thomas Gray, Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College

"The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!"
-William Wordsworth, The World is Too Much With Us

"The power of doing anything with quickness is always prized much by the possessor, and often without any attention to the imperfection of the performance." -Jane Austen

"Friendship is certainly the finest balm for the pangs of disappointed love." -Jane Austen

"It is not time or opportunity that is to determine intimacy;-- it is disposition alone. Seven years would be insufficient to make some people acquainted with each other, and seven days are more than enough for others."
-Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

"A little kingdom I possess,
Where thoughts and feelings dwell;
And very hard the task I find
Of governing it well."
-Louisa May Alcott, "My Kingdom" st. 1

Mothers Day Gift Ideas


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