Tuesday, October 25, 2016


This is it.  The final week of Countdown to Halloween.  By now, all of the shopping should be done, the invitations sent and the RSVP’s rolling in.  This week is basically the “finishing up” week.

Finish Up: decorating the house, making the costumes (if that applies) and putting together the treat bags.  Finish any crafts in the making.

The Housecleaning:

          This week clean the bathrooms and the kitchen.  Either the day before the party or the morning of, give all areas a once-over.

The Cooking:

          Besides the breads, cakes or dishes that you made and froze in advance, this week make the popcorn balls, candies and taffy apples.

          Start making ice.  I fill a gallon size freezer Ziploc bag and have four trays in the waiting.

The Night Before:

          Set the table with all the pretty party stuff you purchased.  Put on the tablecloth, set with the punch bowl and cups, the napkins, the plates, forks, spoons, the candy bowl.  Don’t forget your centerpiece!  Blow up the balloons, hang the streamers, stand back and admire your hard work.  Take pictures.

          Prepare the vegetable tray. Cut and wash the veggies, arrange on platter, cover with Saran Wrap, and store in refrigerator.


          Finish preparing the food.  I’ll get up early and get the chili started in the slow cooker.  About twenty minutes before the guests arrive, I’ll start baking the pizzas and cooking the hot dogs and Kayla will make the punch.  We have a three container warming tray, so I’ll whip up three different types of dip (OH, thank you Tastefully Simple) and put out a tray of crackers.

          The last thing we’ll do is hang the donuts from the ceiling (fun game) and fill the bucket (on the front porch) with water for the bobbing for apples contest.

          Once the guests begin to arrive, join in and enjoy!!!!


Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Okay, it’s that time again.  Time to get your planner, and review last week’s list.  (You can see Week 2 here).

By now, your calendar should be filled with fun things to do.  Especially this time of year.  In fact, you may have even done some of the activities that you booked in your planner.  So far, we have visited the pumpkin farm.   This week we will go to Zoo Boo.

Getting ready:

1.       This is the week we mail out the invitations to our annual Halloween Party. 

Shopping and Cooking

2.      With the menu finalized, finish shopping for your nonperishables this week.  Also, begin making and baking any food items that can be frozen ahead of time.

Think Decorations

3.      Finish buying or making any decorations and begin adorning your home.  So far we’ve decorated the mantel, strung purple lights around the front window, hung “Caution tape” and black netting around the front porch, and hung Halloween wreaths from the doors.  Tonight we decorate the entry way.

Think Costumes

4.      Is your costume bought (or made)?  To prevent last minute anxiety of what to dress up as, decide this week and buy/make your costume.  At the beginning of the month we picked up Elliot’s “Catboy” costume.  K is going to be a mummy and I’ve chosen to be a ghost.  This year, it’s easy peasy costumes. 

Think Favors

5.       Are you making or buying favors (or a little of both)?  Put together your little goodie bags and hide from the kiddies.  (But don’t forget where you’ve hid them…)

Don’t Forget the Table

6.      With your theme in mind, purchase the paper plates, cups, napkins, tablecloth, plastic ware.  The Dollar Store is a great place to start.  But don’t wait too long as they tend to sell out fast of the seasonal goodies.

The Housecleaning

 7.       This week, begin cleaning (and decorating) the dining room and living/family rooms.  Give the foyer/entry areas a once-over.  

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sunday's Quote

"Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn."
~Elizabeth Lawrence

Friday, October 14, 2016

Currently ... and a Handful of Favorite Moments.

... the weather promises to be delightful this weekend, perfect for a trip to the pumpkin farm.
... tonight (unless it's too dark when I get home) we will begin winterizing the yards and porches;
... Kayla and I will continue our decluttering of the family room and donating come Monday;
... tomorrow we celebrate Jacob's 7th birthday;
... Amanda and boys will help decorate for Halloween; and
... Doug will help us move furniture.
Simple, yet busy weekend.
A handful of favorite moments.
Little E
ALSO, I would be remiss if I did not share with you who I caught WRITING in a NOTEBOOK!!!!

Whatever your plans for the weekend, ENJOY!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


Grab your planner, review last week’s list.  If you missed Week 1, you can find it here.   

Have you filled your calendar with fun things to do?  Finalized your guest list? Made or bought invites? Decided on holiday decorations?

Getting ready:

Finalize your guest list.  With your made or store bought invitations at hand, begin addressing, stamping and stuffing those envelopes.  We will be mailing ours this week.

Start Shopping

Finalize your menu, gather your recipes and create a master shopping list.  Begin picking up listed items whenever you visit the grocery store.

Think Decorations

If making your decorations, begin this week. 

Think Costumes

Decide on your costume.  Buy or make?

Don’t Forget the Table

Make a list for setting the table.  Don’t forget paper plates, cups, napkins, tablecloth, plastic ware.  Think about what your centerpiece will be – store bought, homemade?? 

The Housecleaning

This week, begin cleaning (and decorating) the foyer/entry areas.  This is the area your guests see first so you want it to be tidy.  Our entry area is forever filled with shoes, paper goods, keys, mail and laundry (the basement is off the entry area).  But when it’s cleaned, it’s beautiful.

The days are going so fast! and there’s still so much to do!!


Monday, October 10, 2016

This Past Weekend

This past weekend was lovely.  Friday night, Elliot and I dropped K off at Doug's house.  She was spending the night.  Then Elliot and I stopped at GE's Market District in Shadyside.  When it's later in the evening, I really like to stop at this location because it has indoor parking.  And it's always busy! Then the two of us went home, ate dinner, played, and cleaned the living room.  On Saturday, we slept in, then Mom came in and we drove over to the GE at the WaterWorks.  They were having a 2 for 1 deal on a lot of their meats which is good for me and Mom and we each cook for such small numbers.  Elliot played in the Eagle's Nest while we shopped and talked.  Afterward, we picked up Kayla and headed home for a porch picnic (a little cool).  Dad sent in a Cars themed scooter that Elliot took to right away.  He has ridden (and fell off) that scooter all weekend (inside and out).

Sunday was a perfect day for cozying up and catching up on our weekly shows.  Mister brought pizza for dinner.  Elliot visited with his Dad.  Kayla and I began our clean out of the second floor front room.  We scheduled a VA pick up for tomorrow and have quite a bit to donate and there is still more. Minimalism has never looked better, yet we still have quite a ways to get there.

The weather here is changing.  It's getting COLD!  On my list of things to buy this next paycheck are mittens!  I looked for a matching pair this morning and ended up with 1 purple, 1 black, 1 white and 1 brown mitten.  I paired the black with the purple (only wore them while driving).

Earlier this year, our carbon monoxide alarm went off and the gas company red tagged my much loved Kenmore 1950's gas stove/oven.  This is a terrible time to be without an oven.  No baking for the holidays??  We just got word that our health insurance took a 10% price increase - beginning this next paycheck - that's 1/3 of my take home pay.  No stove for us this year.  My Mom says you can bake in one of these (see below).  This week I am going to search the internet for [hopefully] proof and recipes.  Any suggestions, hints, tips??

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Another First for Elliot!

He went to his first Pittsburgh Pirates' ball game this year and last night he saw his first Penguins' game.  I won the most incredible seats (office lottery) and prepaid parking.

Our view (this photo does not do it justice.  We could actually see the players' faces).

Here's little E,
and again.

Looks like he is having fun?
He didn't like the air-horn when we scored, but he liked the human bowling segment.

He was ready to leave at 9:00.  As it was a pre-season game, we did leave shortly after.
Thanks, MLBMO for your generosity!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


Visit the Pumpkin Farm
Go on a hayride
Get lost in a corn maze
Walk the neighborhood – admire the decorations
Pick apples
Drink cider
Watch scary movies
Celebrate Jacob’s birthday
Go to a fall festival
Press colorful leaves – make a leaf rubbing
Prepare the yard for winter
Visit a haunted house
Celebrate Oktoberfest
Collect pinecones
Paint gourds
Make popcorn balls and candy apples
Host a Halloween party
Go trick or treating
Read ghost stories
Put away summer clothes – donate what’s been grown out of.
Roast pumpkin seeds
Make chili and pots of soup
Decorate the house
Carve pumpkins

Go to Boo Zoo

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


Grab your planner or a notebook, it’s time to countdown to Halloween 2016!   

This year Halloween falls on a Monday. Our Borough usually celebrates on the exact day so I will be rushing home from work to help with costumes, and filling bowls with candy. 

This week will be the busiest in the planning stage, so let’s get started.

1. Begin thinking about what Halloween events you will be attending this year.  Mark them on your calendar.  We always go pumpkin picking and to Zoo Boo. K and friends always attend TheZombie Fest (note to self: where will it be held this year?).  And of course, there is our Halloween Party and Trick or Treating.   Fill up that calendar for fun things to do.

2. If you are hosting a Halloween Party:

Choose your time and date: Pick your date far enough in advance so that invites can be mailed at least two weeks before the party.

Write out the Guest List:   Once you have your guest list written, decide if you are making or purchasing the invites.  If making, gather your supplies and get busy.  It’s good practice to send these out at least two weeks in advance.

Pick a Theme: This party is actually hosted by my (now) 18 year old Granddaughter, Kayla.  I just provide the cash flow and help with the cooking and cleaning.  This year’s theme will probably be the same as the last – a mix match of everything

Make the Menu: Now’s a good time to decide on what you will serve so that you can begin picking up ingredients and maybe even cooking and freezing a few of the dishes .  I personally love reading cookbooks and writing out menus.  However, Kayla is hosting this little shindig, so we will be collaborating.  I’ll choose the “real” food menu and she will choose all the gory edibles.

The Decoration List: Making or buying decorations? Go down to the basement or up to the attic, pull out those boxes, throw away the torn or broken (or mend them), choose those items that match your decorating theme.  Make a list of what you have, what you may need to buy or what you will make.

Let’s Play: Will you play games, tell spooky stories, have a coloring contest?? We do two things every year.  Bob for apples and have a doughnut eating contest.  The doughnuts (sugar and/or frosted – messy is more fun), are tied to crochet thread and hung at different lengths from the ceiling.  The players MUST keep their hands behind their backs as they try to eat these swinging doughnuts.  The first person to eat all theirs is the winner.  OMGosh! Talk about fun to watch!!!

The Treat Bags: Everyone loves a goodie.  Visit the Dollar Store, Walmart and/or Target One Dollar Stop for Halloween themed favors.  Tie them up in a treat bag or box.

3. The Housecleaning (no escaping that even if you dress as Houdini):  Spend the first two weeks cleaning the bedrooms, the front and back porches (don’t forget to wipe down windows) and the yard(s) (we’ll be raking).  This is a good time to winterize the porches and get the yards ready for the winter storms to come.

Now, get started!

Monday, October 3, 2016

This Past Weekend

Once again, I took no photos.  I am so bad about taking photos. However, and except for the fact that the three of us are still battling this virus, we did have a good weekend.  
We were going to go to the UPMC clinic on Friday night, but K and E were feeling better, so we postponed that visit until the next morning.  On Friday, we ate at Burgatory - mmmm, those shakes! We bought Elliot's Halloween costume at Spirit Halloween. At the beginning of the year, he said he was going to be a ghost and then he switched to the Gekko of P.J. Masks.  We bought Catboy of P.J. Masks.  He looks so cute in the costume. We stopped at Target to buy Elliot a few outfits to fit the weather - long pants, long sleeved shirts.  And another train.  That child loves trains.  Then home, to catch up on shows we missed during the week.

Saturday, our first stop was the UPMC clinic where I paid $20 to be told what I already knew.  That is so frustrating.  Afterward, Elliot played at the Eagle's Nest while K and I shopped.  We had to hit the Family Dollar before heading on home.  It was a lovely, lazy afternoon (evening, too).
Sunday, Elliot was to visit his Dad, Grandma P and Pop Pop.  On our drive there, he tossed his cookies. We turned around and went back home.  No outings for us just yet.  This change of seasons head-colds we came down with are lingerers.  Not a good thing.  Besides all that, we had a really good weekend.
How was yours?

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Sunday's Quote

“October had tremendous possibility. The summer's oppressive heat was a distant memory, and the golden leaves promised a world full of beautiful adventures. They made me believe in miracles.” 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Welcome October!

While I am not a huge fan of Halloween (most of my family LOVES it), I am in love with the month of October, especially when the air turns crisp, the colorful leaves float gently to the earth, yards are decorated with hay bales, scarecrows, bowls of mums and lots of pumpkins.  I like the woodsy and spicy scents of October, cinnamon, wood burning fireplaces, harvest fruit and pumpkins.  I like the sounds of October, the rustle of leaves under your feet, the wind whistling through the trees, and then there are the colors, the brilliant colors that mark October, the vibrant reds, oranges and yellows, and the taste –apples, pears and pumpkins.  All senses come alive during this most energetic and lovely month.  Of course, the days are shorter, and evening come much sooner, but on a bright note, it’s a perfect time to curl up in your favorite chair and work on some handmade gifts.
This is a most lovely month, enjoy it every minute, every day!