Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I know, I know, it's sad when the most fun day of the year is over... (I know other holidays are coming up, but come on! We all know that Halloween is the only one we really love....) but if you're still in a spooky mood, and you want to freak out the neighbors, why not have a GHOUL'S NITE!

First... Witches hats are a must! Grab your best ghoul-friends...rent some ghostly, scary or zombified movies....turn out all the lights (add some drippy candles) ....make some killer cocktails...and nibble on some Swamp Dip!

Swamp Dip is a favorite around the manor.... any time of the year! Here's what you'll need:
~1 lb. lean ground chuck
~1 regular size package of Velveeta
~1 jar of Pace Picante sauce
~1 cup of milk
~green food coloring

Here's what you do:
1. In a skillet, brown the ground chuck, cook well, drain off excess fat. Set aside.
2. Pour milk into large sauce pan.
3. Slice Velveeta in to cube size, put in sauce pan.
4. Cook on medium-high, stirring as the cheese melts. (Do not let sit, stir to keep cheese from sticking to bottom of pan)
5. Once cheese has completely melted, add ground chuck, mix well.
6. Turn heat down to low.
7. Add picante sauce, mix well.
8. Add several drops of green food color (to desired shade of green)
9. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Add a sprinkle of cheddar cheese and a scoop of picante on top and serve with tortilla chips! (If you can find the blue chips...even better!)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


What to do...what to do as the cauldron of leftover candy beckons you to munch more? Don't know what to do with all that candy? Use it for a variety of crafty projects!!

Here are 10 uses for leftover Halloween candy:

1. Freeze it. It will keep for at least one year, according to foodies.

2. Save it for Christmas stockings. Who says candy wrappers have to be red or green?

3. Bake with it. Use chopped-up candy bar pieces instead of chips in cookies and brownies. Mix Butterfinger and other candy bar pieces into your cake batter.

4. Turn your candy into a holiday wreath -- any holiday. Spray shellac is recommended for the final product.

5. Use the candies to decorate this year's gingerbread house.

6. Try dissolving some candies in vodka and creating an infused booze, suggests http://www.wisebread.com/.

7. Channel your inner Martha Stewart and get crafty. Popular, easy and always appreciated are candy bouquets. Put green floral foam in a decorated pot or basket. Tape wrapped candies to craft sticks and arrange them like candy flowers. For an added touch, wind pieces of garland around the craft stick stem.

9. Skip the poker chips: Bet with candy at your next card game.

10. Make your own apple butter, but instead of using the usual spices, use ½ cup of red cinnamon candies and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon for every 10 cups of apples, suggest the ladies at http://www.livingonadime.com/

Monday, October 31, 2011


Well, over the last few months, it sure felt like this day was NEVER gonna get here! But we made it!

Happy Halloween to all my faithful followers....and I know you're busy flying around trying to get the last of the cobwebs in place, cleaning the dungeon while the cauldrons are simmering, and putting the finishing touches on the devilishly good boo-fet....but I don't want you to forget why we do all this....to have fun!

So I'm putting one of my magic spells on you, to have a fabulous, fun, and festive Halloween! No need to fret, I'm sure what you've done is perfect...and if it's not.... you're the only one who knows! So enjoy!

Be sure to send me any pics that you may want to share, and have a safe and Happy Halloween!

And remember ....only 365 more days until we have to be ready for next year!

Happy Haunting!

Friday, October 28, 2011


Are you fiends feeling frantic, freaked-out and frustrated, and looking for some fun crafts to do with the little monsters, this Halloween-weekend? Check out these spooktacular ideas from Disney........you're welcome....

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Ok folks! It's getting down to crunch time! And it's been awful hectic around here....lots to do! Cobwebs to put up, cauldron's to polish and zombie cookies to bake! Hope my ideas have inspired you this Halloween season!

I've got lots of e-mails asking for decorating photos, so check out some of these ideas for Spooky inspiration......

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Halloween is my favorite time to surprise guests with new recipe tricks  and treats! Sautéed shallots and feta cheese flavor this simple spread, which is a delicious hors d'oeuvre at any time of year, formed into a spooky spider! Check this out:
Here's what you'll need:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 very large shallots, thinly sliced (2 cups)
10 ounces fresh goat cheese, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
6 ounces Greek feta cheese, at room temperature
Black sesame seeds and 1 piquillo pepper, for garnish
Six 6-inch painted twigs, for spider legs
Crackers, flat breads and bread sticks, for serving
Crackers, flat breads and bread sticks

1.In a medium skillet, melt the butter. Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Scrape the shallots into a food processor and let cool. Add the goat cheese, cream cheese and feta and puree until smooth. Scrape the cheese into a bowl and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.

2.Shape one third of the cheese mixture into a ball and roll in black sesame seeds to coat; shape the remaining two-thirds into a larger ball and coat with black sesame seeds. On a serving board, press the balls together to form the head and body of a spider. Cut the piquillo pepper into 2 small triangles and place them on the body in an hourglass shape. Serve with crackers, flat breads or bread sticks.

Make Ahead The unformed cheese mixture can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

For more Festive resipes, check out FOOD & WINE!

Friday, September 23, 2011


I've always been fascinated with gingerbread houses around Christmas time, but ever since I was a little monster, I always wanted to make a Haunted Gingerbread House! Maybe this year I'll finally do it!

If you want to get some great inspiration, check out Cake Central! These guys really know what they're doing....and it looks so fun!

If you decide to make a cake or use gingerbread, I think you're haunted house is gonna be sweet!

But if you're up to the challenge.... follow these step by step instructions to make your gingerbread house truly Spook-Tacular!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


One of the things mummys and daddys have to deal with at Halloween is what to do with all that candy!

Well, talk about some crafty ideas.... why not gather up all the sweets that you don't want the little monsters munching on, and make something fun like one of these Halloween Candy Wreaths!

All you'll need is a base for the wreath (styrafoam, grapevine or even straw would work) a hot glue gun, maybe some Halloween colored ribbons, plastic spiders and lots of candy!

Just lay the candy pieces out in the design you like, then add a dab of hot glue to the back of each piece, then glue in place. Repeat until the wreath is filled in.

I love the look of the candy corn, but keep in mind, it can get a bit tedious gluing all those little candies, in such a perfect pattern.

The wrapped candy wreath looks fun and festive, and can be done in half the time, so this would be an easier project for the kiddies to help with, just be extra careful with the hot glue and little fingers...

To complete the look, hot glue on a big spider and some other creepy crawlies and you're ready to hang your sweet creation!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I get lots of questions for easy craft projects for the little monsters, and here's a festive project that isn't too difficult. I found it on this really fun site called Kaboose.com! 

This bewitching witch's hat makes a great table decoration for your Halloween party, and is super easy for little goblin fingers to make.

What you'll need:
2 sheets of black construction paper
1 sheet felt (green, orange, purple, or red)
Strip of black felt
White craft glue
Scissors (use safety scissors for the kiddos!)

How to make it:
1. Roll 1 sheet of black paper into a cone. Secure with tape (see image).
2. Trim the bottom of the cone so that it will stand up on the table.
3. Use a cup or jar as a guide and cut out a circle from black paper large enough for the hat brim.
4. Glue the cone to the circle and set aside to dry (see image).
5. Cut ¼” or ½” strips of felt and glue them around the cone.
6. Cut a strip of black felt to go around the base of the cone.
7. If you like, cut a bat out of black felt and glue to your hat.

  • Buy construction paper at the dollar store for plenty of fun projects.
  • Felt is inexpensive so stock up on 5 or 6 sheets each time you go to the store.
  • Traditional Halloween colors include black, orange, purple, red and green. However, you can use whatever colors you like for this project!
Check out Kaboose.com for more great craft ideas!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


You know, when you have Halloween on the brain as much as I do, you can't help but find everyday things that reflect your love of all things spooky.... anytime of the year!

Check this out from fab.com. Wouldn't these funky plastic chairs be the perfect place for your guests to sit and rest their bones at your Halloween bash? Or how fun would these be to have at this year's family bar-b-que?

I'll take 13.....

Friday, August 26, 2011


After almost two months of no rain...we got it good yesterday! Finally! We had severe lightning and thunderstorms and lots of rain.

Love the rain... and the cracks of thunder lasted well into the nite! We even got another down-pour this morning about 6 am! It would be a good, dark and dreary day to stay home and have a "Munsters Marathon"!

Who's with me????? I'll make Bloody Mary's.......

Happy Friday!

Monday, August 22, 2011


You know Halloween is right around the corner, so if you think you're just gonna whip-up a fabulous costume for the kiddos overnight....guess again!

How many times have you heard me say....start planning NOW!

Well, this is one of those times.... babies and toddler costumes aren't too difficult, but if you have a specific idea in mind, you want it to be as perfect as it can be...so you don't want to put it off!

Check out some of these amazing ideas that I found floating around on the web.....

For more great costume ideas for kids of all ages, check out Kaboose!

Friday, August 19, 2011


With only 72 days until the Spookiest Day of the Year, I loooooooove seeing all the magazines in the racks that are filled with ideas for projects and recipes for Halloween!

My wonderful hubby got this for me, when he made a stop at the grocery store yesterday, and I've already read it from cover to cover!

This issue is filled with great recipes and ideas, so make sure you pick one up!

I think I may try out a few of these recipes this weekend, and remember...it's NEVER too early to start planning!

Monday, August 15, 2011


I'm always looking for easy projects that the kiddos can help out with, that won't take a lot of time or crafty skills.... sometimes it can be tough for mummys and daddys to have projects that aren't too difficult for everyone in the family!

Well all you need to try these cute lighted pumpkin faces...  is a few glass bottles and jars, an old plastic dishpan or tub,a few strings of twinkle lights (plain white or colors) green and black acrylic paints, orange or white tissue paper, black construction paper, scissors, and some good old white school glue.

Be sure all the bottles and jars have been washed and dried. Put about half a bottle of white glue in an old plastic dishpan fill half way with water. Mix well.

Take a single sheet of orange (if you're making a pumpkin face....use white if you want to make a ghost) tissue paper, open it, and lay in glue/water mixture. Swish around to coat with glue (don't fold it or rumple it too much, it'll be too difficult to spread out over the glass) then tear or cut off in smaller sections, and lay inside the jar or bottle. Repeat this step until the glass is completely covered. Let dry. Move on to next jar or bottle.

Once you've completed all the faces that you want, take black construction paper and glue on eyes, nose, mouth, etc. on the front of the glass. (Or you can paint with black acrylic paints, whichever look you like better) If you're making ghosts, that's the final step.

To complete the pumpkin faces: once all the faces are on all of the jars and bottles, take some green acrylic paint and go over the rim with a paint brush. Let dry.

Then set in a line (this looks great on a window sill or along a walkway or porch) and put some of the lights in each jar or bottle, and move down to the next one, until you come to the end of the string. Plug in and watch all the faces light up!

Monday, August 8, 2011


You know, when it comes to decorating for Halloween, you don't have to decorate every nook and cranny, like I do at the Manor. Sometimes just a few well placed and festive pillows add to the holiday spirit!

Maybe you've got lots of little goblins running around the house, and you just don't think it's a good idea to put time and money into elaborate decorations....that's understandable! But you can get really creative and making pillows is pretty easy, so don't be threatened by some of these amazing designs.

 Just get some fabric paint and scrap material and go to town! I think you'll be amazed at what you can do. A few spooky bats, pumpkins and maybe a witch with a pointy hat aren't really too difficult to create.
Give it a try.....I'm sure they'll be BOO-tiful!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I have to tell you...I wish I could take credit for all these amazing ideas that I share with you all....but I CAN'T! I trudge through the world-wide-internet jungle to find the coolest Halloween stuff, I can....so I can show all of you! And one of my favorite sites is Amanda's Cookin'! She's amazing!

She has step-by-step instructions for these Monster Brownies, and she makes it look sooooo easy, you're gonna wanna try it! Take it away, Amanda......

I give you Brownie Monster Treats! Because decorating these treats can be time consuming, I chose to use a boxed brownie mix. You can certainly use your favorite recipe or do the same. I used three cereals: Trix, Cheerios and Cocoa Puffs. To make things easier on myself and to make this kid friendly, I also used Betty Crocker decorating cookie icing. Pretty cool stuff, Royal Icing in a bag! They sell all the colors I needed, but my rinky dink grocery store only had red, green and white, so I used some gel food coloring to get what I wanted. The icing from the bag dried much smoother, so I would definitely recommend buying the colors you want over mixing it yourself.

Here's something fun too. Because this is Royal icing, that means the frosting is dry (unless you use the gel like I did, that never dries LOL) so you can package them in cellophane gift baggies. While you are at it, be sure to make some bread tag monsters to close the treat bags with!

Here's what you'll need:
Boxed brownie mix
Betty Crocker Cookie Icing in desired colors
Cheerios, Cocoa Puffs, and Trix cereals
Mini chocolate chips
Pretzel sticks
Red and black decorator gel
1/4 cup powdered sugar

First prepare your brownies and allow them to cool. I refrigerated mine so that I could get nice clean cuts. When your brownies are ready to be cut, cut off the edges and eat them :) (you could share too, just sayin') and cut the brownies into different sized rectangles and squares. I cut some of the odd shaped leftovers into triangles too.

Make the Eyes

It's important to do this step first to allow adequate time for the glaze to dry. To make the eyes you'll need any variety of Cheerios, some mini chocolate chips, powdered sugar and a little milk. Place the powdered sugar into a small bowl. Using a spoon, stir in some milk, a little bit at a time, until the consistency is good enough for dipping. Start with about a teaspoon and add a couple drops at a time until you get it where you want it.

Drop a few Cheerios into the glaze coating the cereal. Use a spoon to lift the cereal out of the glaze and place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet

Place a mini chocolate chip, upside down, in the center of each glazed Cheerio. Gently press the mini chip to set. Set aside.

Icing Colors

You could certainly use your own recipe for Royal icing, I have one myself as well. However, because this is such a great recipe for kids to get involved in, using these prepackaged icings is an excellent alternative. They are available in all of the colors that I used by my store only had a few. Therefore, I added some gel food coloring to mix up my colors. This icing is great, squeezes right out of the tube and onto the brownie, love it!

If you have to mix, like I did, you might find the easiest way to apply the mixed icing is with a new paintbrush.


Gently press Trix and Cocoa Puffs cereals into the frosted brownies for the monsters' polka dots. Lift the eyes from the waxed paper using a toothpick and gently press onto the frosted brownie. You can use pretzel sticks for arms and legs, and add eyebrows, mouths and hair using decorator gel.
Then you eat them!!!!!
Check out more great ideas from Amanda!
Monster Treat Bags
Bread Tag Monsters
Juice Box Monsters
Halloween Luminaries

Didn't I tell you she was amazing????!!!

Monday, August 1, 2011


One of the best parts of Halloween is all the fun projects that you can do with the kiddos! And one of my favorites is working with paper mache..... I love it!

Making a Jack O-Lantern from a large orange pumpkin is the usual Halloween craft projects but perhaps you are having a hard time finding pumpkins....depending on where you live in the country. Or maybe you have a slight problem with "time management" and it's the night before the big bash!

Well, our fiends at Unique Craft have made it real easy, with step-by-step instructions for these paper mache Jack O-Lanterns!

What would you need is a large round balloons, paper and paper-mache (paper-mache) paste made by mixing one part flour and five parts water and boil mixture for about three minutes with a little salt to prevent mold. For the pumpkin stem was cut about an inch from the tip of the toilet roll core.

Blow up the balloon and tie with a long rope. Cut the paper into two inch strips and dipped into the paste. Cover the balloon with a piece of paper, build a good few layers to help keep the ‘pumpkin’ strong.

Hang to dry your craft to remember to put something below to catch any drips from the pasta. Once dry gently with a needle through the lantern balloon deflation. Toilet roll core can be attached to the lantern with pasta and more paper to make a rod.

With a sharp knife to cut eyes and mouth in a lantern. Children will have fun painting looks like a big orange pumpkin Jack O-Lantern. Stems in green paint. Your paper mache Jack O-Lantern is ready to light. Have fun with arts and crafts for children Halloween projects and happier ‘booing’.

For more great, crafty ideas, CLICK HERE!

Friday, July 22, 2011


The countdown is on....and it's 100 days until the Spookiest Day of The Year! And trust me, you can get a lot done in 100 days..... now would be a good time to start planning the kiddos costumes, buy fabrics, paints, and supplies.

Start checking out the websites and catalogs for props, decorations and costume ideas. I know that the "Back To School" shopping season is already upon us, but Halloween will be here before you know it!

Remember, the key to a successful spooky Halloween is all in the planning! Start thinking about party themes, menus and cool party invitations! And of course, I'll be here to help you every step of the way.....so don't put it off.

That would be scary.....

Monday, July 18, 2011


Halloween is one of the best occassions to have cake! I love it, and I love realy creative holiday cakes....and this one...well, it takes the cake!

Check out this cute little 8 legged creepy-crawly, and the cute cupcakes to match. I know this would be a big hit at the kiddos classroom party!

This cake design is done so beautifuly, but it doesn't look so complicated that you couldn't do a pretty darn good replica! Give it a try! And if you mess it up....eat the evidence!

For more amazing goodies...check out "The Twisted Sifter".....it's pretty awesome!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


This is such a fun party idea, and you can get very creative.... go literal with the black and white party theme! Make it over the top with everything done in b&w including the decorations, the food, and even the cocktails!

Paying tribute to film and television before they contained color, you can add white or gray makeup to your skin to really look the part! Think Marilyn, Bogie,  and don't forget our favorite vampire, Bela Lugosi!

With a 40′s or 50′s costume in black, white, and shades of gray, you can be a Film Noir detective or bombshell in no time!

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Well, how cool is it to combine two things that I looooooove, to make one really amazing piece of art? Check out this candy corn pumpkin!

Start by making your standard jack-o-lantern..... once he's been cleaned and carved, then it's time to decorate! You'll need your handy, dandy glue gun and a BIG bag of candy corn!

You're going to want to glue all the candy on the bottom end, with the "point" facing up. Then stick the candies on the pumpkin, in a side by side pattern. Remember to be extra careful with the hot glue! (This might be an ok project for older kids, but not good for tiny, little kiddo-fingers!)

Be sure to add a tea light candle inside, or just set on a pretty cake stand! I know it's corny....but it's awful cute too! What a great centerpiece for any Halloween party!

Friday, July 1, 2011


It seems like someone has been reading my mind..... remember how excited I was several months ago, about the news that Johnny Depp was working on the film "Dark Shadows"? Well.....so far...nothing! I was soooooo disappointed, and was hoping for a delish-scary movie to look forward to.....

And as some of you know.....I am totally in love with John Cusack (and have been for years.....it's ok, the hubby knows...and agrees...he's a cool guy....)

Well, today the actor said he’s confirmed to play Edgar Allan Poe in a new film out this fall! The info comes from a tweet by the man of my dreams, which said “official- i will play edgar allan poe in fall-a-film called the raven, send any poe- gold – my way as i begin this journey into the abyss.”

Clarifications: keep in mind that this is totally separate from the Poe film that Sylvester Stallone (really?) has long wanted to do. It is also totally separate from the feature version of the recent short film The Raven, which Universal is developing. From previous reports, here’s all we know about The Raven:

The Raven is a fictionalized account of the final five “mysterious” days of Edgar Allan Poe’s life. Apparently the famous writer joins the hunt for a serial killer whose murders are inspired by his stories.

The real death of Poe was also mysterious. The writer was discovered on the streets of Baltimore in great distress and in need of “immediate assistance.” He was wearing someone else’s clothes and repeating the name “Reynolds”. He died shortly after in hospital, never able to explain what had happened.
How do I love thee? I will be counting down the days!