Thursday, December 31, 2015

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Can you believe that another year has passed again so quickly? Time sure does seem to fly by, when we have as much fun as we do around here!

I don't know about you.... but I'm exhausted! So, The Queen will be taking a much-needed break, to enjoy Christmas with The Count.

Have a safe and frightfully fantastic Christmas! And I want to thank you all so much, for being such loyal Halloweenies over the years, and I look forward to all of the fab-boo-lous things that the new year will bring.

Enjoy this holiday season with your family and fiends, and here's to a Spooky New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2015


Christmas isn’t complete without a wreath. Better yet, why not make it a wreath you can eat? A must-have recipe for holiday gatherings, this mini sausage wreath is simple and quick to make and is a marvelous centerpiece for your table of Christmas hors d’oeuvres.


  • Mini Sausages
  • Refrigerated Crescent Dough Rolls
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Diced Rosemary
  • 1/3 cup Butter
  • 1/2 cup BBQ Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce


  1. Preheat the oven to the temperature specified on the package of Refrigerated Crescent Dough Rolls. Drain the liquid off of the mini sausages.
  2. Unroll the crescent dough and separate at the perforations to create 4 rectangles. Press together the remaining perforation in each rectangle. With a knife or pizza cutter, cut each rectangle lengthwise into 8 strips making a total of 32 strips.
  3. Wrap one strip of dough around each mini sausage. Lay out the crescent-wrapped sausages with their sides touching on an ungreased cookie sheet in a circle forming a wreath shape.
  4. Bake for 11-15 minutes or until golden brown. Melt 1/3 cup of butter and brush the butter on top of the crescent-wrapped sausages. Sprinkle the rosemary on top of the butter.
  5. Cut a red bell pepper into a bow shape for garnish. Combine the BBQ sauce and cranberry sauce in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until heated through. Serve with wreath for dipping.
For more amazing holiday recipes, you need to check out Six Sisters Stuff.Com!

Friday, December 18, 2015


A bottle of Apothic Dark and you can't go wrong

A very classy wine friend of mine, just told me about this wine, she said I "absolutely need to try!"

Every year around this time, vintners and distilleries like to release special edition or limited engagement offerings. This year, Apothic Wines is offering their Apothic Dark. Blueberry, blackberry, coffee, and dark chocolate blend together beautifully in an under $15 selection that is silky on the tongue, but full of rich notes that linger, making the next sip as welcome as the first.

Served at room temperature or just very slightly chilled, will release the fruit scents as well as the classic coffee and chocolate combination.

Be sure to check out their website, they've got so many faBOOlous wines to choose from, and it's a the perfect gift for the wine lover on your list.... or for yourself.

Sounds perfect for those long winter nights around The Manor......

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


The holidays are not only a time for hot chocolate by the fire, snowball fights, and Christmas shopping.... it's also time for house guests! And with all the holiday preparations, the last thing you feel like doing is cleaning your house before company arrives!

Well, let me tell you.... I, The Queen, am no different. I hate cleaning, and yes, I have to do it too.... so when you don't have time to waste, you want to get it done fast! So what to do? Get some expert advice, that's what! And that would be Melissa at The Happier on "How To Clean Your Whole House In 1 Hour"....

Start at the Top
No matter what room your cleaning, clean from the top down so that dirt and dust from higher surfaces falls on lower surfaces that haven’t yet been cleaned. Dust ceiling fans, then furniture wiping dirt directly on the floor. Clean all of the floors as your last step to remove the dirt and dust.

Bedrooms-6 minutes per bedroom
  • Strip linens and remake beds. When making beds rather than hunch over tucking bottom sheets under the mattress use one hand to lift the corner while tucking the sheet with the other.
  • Clear all clutter , if you’re in a hurry gather clutter in a spare basket or bin for later organization and tuck out of sight in a closet.
  • Wipe down furniture with dust spray and microfiber cloth, working top to bottom.
Bathrooms-7 minutes per bathroom
  • I like to clean all of my bathrooms at once-make a quick trip around all the bathrooms in the house to clear counters and spray counters and tubs with cleaner, allow to sit while you clean toilets and wipe down the outer toilet surface.
  • Go back and wipe down counters and rinse tub then clean mirrors.
  • Come back to clean the floors when cleaning the kitchen floor.
Living/Dining Rooms-7 minutes
  • Clear all clutter.
  • Starting in one corner of the room and working around dust all surfaces top to bottom. (If you have blinds and/or ceiling fans, dust those first.)
  • Use upholstery attachment and vacuum upholstered furniture.
  • Vacuum floors along with all house carpeting as last cleaning step.
Kitchen-12 minutes
  • Load all dirty dishes in the dishwasher and fill sink with hot soapy water. If your stove top has removable burner pieces that need to be cleaned, place in water.
  • Clear counters.
  • Dunk sponge in hot water and squeeze out excess, wipe down cabinets, counters and other surfaces again working top to bottom. Rinse sponge in hot water as you clean-you’ll be amazed how much dirt comes off!
  • Wipe down appliances. (When you have more time consider doing this trick for preventing fingerprints on stainless steel!)
  • Finish cleaning any stove pieces and replace.
  • Clean floors last along with all hard flooring surfaces in the house.
Floors-15 minutes whole house
  • When vacuuming carpeted rooms work your way backwards out of the room moving quickly and without too much overlap to save time.
  • Vacuum, don’t sweep hard floors-use an attachment to get corners where dust and pet hair can accumulate. This helps prevent kicking dust into the air that will quickly settle again and aggravating allergies.
  • Steam mops or Hardwood Floor Cleaners (this is my favorite) also make cleaning hard surfaces much faster than traditional mops, so I highly recommend investing in one of those to keep your cleaning quick!
Thanks so much for the words of wisdom, Melissa! Now that you've got the cleaning done, it might be a good time to sit down for a minute and relax. Make a hot cup of tea and enjoy the cleanliness.... because any minute, the doorbell is gonna ring.....

Happy Cleaning!

Friday, December 11, 2015


I'm sure you all know a zombie-lover, or maybe you're one yourself! If it's you or someone else on your holiday shopping list, you really need to Think Geek! Check out all the cool zombified goodies on their website, and just in time for the holidays!

I for one, need one of the adorable Zombie Bowls... just $12.99! Tell me who wouldn't LOVE to have their morning cereal is this little cutie?! And at that price, you should probably get more than one!

Some other cool stuff, are these oversized plush Zombie Slippers. So cute and cuddly, they'll keep your tootsies extra warm and tasty...oops, I mean toasty on those cold winter nights. They're priced at $24.99.

And for the gardener, they must have these Zombie
Apocalypse Garden Gnomes! There are three to choose from, they're $19.99 each, and they are ready for battle! I can guarantee these are not your mom's run-of-the-mill garden gnomes..... and if they are, I know she'll love 'em too!

For lots for fun holiday gift ideas, be sure to hop on Think, it's definitely worth the trip! Happy shopping!

Thursday, December 10, 2015


You know we love decorating for Christmas as much as for Halloween, and the craftier.... the better!

This super crafty idea comes from Abi at Laughing Abi, and not only is it pretty darn easy, it something you can use all year long!

All you'll need is some white spray paint, and old picture or mirror frame, and some chalkboard paint! I'll let Abi take it from here.....

Chalkboards are everywhere right now and my house is no exception. I love doodling new things on this one in our entry when the seasons change. (See my Halloween board and tutorial HERE.) I asked the kids what they thought it should say for the holidays and they both picked a Countdown To Christmas theme. (Did you hear what I said? They agreed on something.)

Since I don’t like my own handwriting much I went searching for a font that seemed “countdowny” but wasn’t too detailed or fussy. I landed on this one called Sandwich Paper. After a quick download and install I got to work, following the same steps I used at Halloween.

As for the little fillers, a quick Google search for “chalkboard doodles” or “chalkboard flourishes” will turn up about a zillion ideas. I found my inspiration here but you could use anything. I just felt like swirls and twigs that day.

Then all that’s left to do is hang it up and admire its loveliness. Oh, and of course change the count each day.

Thanks so much Abi! And for more really cool ideas, be sure to check out the Laughing Abi website!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


One of the best things about the Christmas holiday is baking cookies! And there are so many kinds of Christmas cookies.... I can hardly keep track! But one of my all time favorite is the gingerbread man.

I think these would look so festive, when you invite the neighbors in to share some holiday punch and cookies, don't you?

Now, I wouldn't be a very good Queen of Halloween if I didn't share my favorite recipe for Gingerbread Skeleton cookies. All you'll need to make these little cuties is a regular old gingerbread man cookie cutter, and some food coloring. Now keep in mind,  gingerbread cookies can be quite time consuming.... but well worth the work!
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • Royal Icing (recipe follows)
Royal Icing Ingredients
  • 1 pound (4 1/2 cups) confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dried egg-white powder
  • 6 tablespoons water
Just combine the ingredients, mix well, and set aside until you're ready to frost the cookies. If you want to make black icing (take half to set aside, so you have some black and white icing) add a few drops of black food coloring, mix well. Then you can pipe the icing on with a pastry bag, or spread it with a kinfe.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, salt and pepper through a wire sieve into a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using a hand-held electric mixer at high speed, beat the butter and vegetable shortening until well-combined, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and beat until the mixture is light in texture and color, about 2 minutes. Beat in the molasses and egg.

Using a wooden spoon, gradually mix in the flour mixture to make a stiff dough. Divide the dough into two thick disks and wrap each disk in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled, about 3 hours. (The dough can be prepared up to 2 days ahead.)

Time to roll out the cookies:

Working with one disk at a time, keep the other disk refrigerated. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature until just warm enough to roll out without cracking, about 10 minutes. (If the dough has been chilled for longer than 3 hours, it may need a few more minutes.) Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle the top of the dough with flour. Roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick, being sure that the dough isn't sticking to the work surface (run a long meal spatula or knife under the dough occasionally just to be sure, and dust the surface with more flour, if needed).

For softer cookies, roll out slightly thicker. Using cookie cutters, cut out the cookies and transfer to nonstick cookie sheets, placing the cookies 1 inch apart. Gently knead the scraps together and form into another disk. Wrap and chill for 5 minutes before rolling out again to cut out more cookies.

Bake, switching the positions of the cookies from top to bottom and back to front halfway through baking, until the edges of the cookies are set and crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on the sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire cake racks to cool completely.

Decorate with black and white Royal Icing.  If you want to make these guys look fancy, why not add a red bow tie! Now that's festive!

These cookies can be prepared up to 1 week ahead, stored in airtight containers at room temperature.

Friday, December 4, 2015


Happy Friday Halloweenies!
It's another fun project day here around The Manor, and today we'll be working on more Christmas tree ornaments!

Since we have several Christmas trees here at The Manor, my favorite one to decorate is the black tree. Yes, The Queen really does have a black Christmas tree!

And what better fitting a scary Christmas tree, than some Jack Skellington ornaments?! Now don't worry, you don't have to be an artist..... (I've included a template in case you don't trust your painting skills...) and you'll only need a few supplies....

You'll need a few glass, round ornaments, and I'm sure you can pick up a bunch at your local dollar store, but make sure they're plain, since you'll be painting directly on them. You'll also need some white (gloss) spray paint, black acrylic craft paint, a few thin paint brushes, and a pencil.

Before you start to paint, if you want to use the template, be sure to reduce it to the size that will fit on the ornament, then make a copy, and print it out. Using an exacto knife, carefully cut out the black sections. You should have a cut out version of the face. Carefully place the template on the ornament, and secure it with a piece or two of tape, to keep it in place when you paint it.

First, spray paint each ornament (front, back, and underneath) and let dry thoroughly. Then draw on the face design on each ornament, in pencil. Once you have it the way you want, you're ready to paint.

Using the black acrylic craft paint fill in the design. Then let dry, and you're done! I think I'll add some shiny black ribbons for hangers, or some bows....

Another idea, is you could do them in reverse black and white, with black ornaments and a white face. The possibilities are endless!

Have a spooky weekend!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Well, in case you didn't know....

In German-speaking Alpine folklore, Krampus is a horned, anthropomorphic figure who punishes children during the Christmas season who have misbehaved, in contrast with Saint Nicholas, who rewards well-behaved ones with gifts. Regions in the Austrian diaspora feature similar figures and, more widely, Krampus is one of a number of Companions of Saint Nicholas in regions of Europe.

And now.... it's Krampus, The Movie! The film will be in theaters on Dec. 4th, and here's a quick rundown.....While the holiday season represents the most magical time of year, ancient European folklore warns of Krampus, a horned beast who punishes naughty children at Christmastime. When dysfunctional family squabbling causes a boy to lose his festive spirit, it unleashes the wrath of a fearsome demon. As Krampus lays siege to their home, the family must band together to save one another from a monstrous fate!
So, if you're a Krampus fan, or have any on your Christmas shopping list, you may want to check out the goods from those crazy folks at Archie McPhee! They've got all kind of Krampus koolness you'll want for Christmas. Scarfs, sweaters, candy canes, and even Krampus tree ornaments!

Scary Christmas, everyone!