Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Carving 2010

Just like 90% of LDS families, for FHE on Monday, we carved our halloween pumpkins. The kids loved it and we loved watching them! Of course, they had to invite Grandma and Grandpa.
Here we are digging the guts out of the pumpkins - Ew, but fun!

Then the girls each designed their own faces. We used pumpkin carving kits and they sure were worth the $2. Sara designed her "Spookly" the Square Pumpkin. Laura designed the perfect jack-o-lantern with her ideal pumpkin. And Eliza, well I colored it in, but made sure that it matched her with only one tooth!
They loved putting in the lights and placing them on the porch. Yay for holiday traditions.

Fall Recital - Laura 2010

Laura had her halloween/fall piano recital this past Saturday. She, of course, did perfectly. Laura has really progressed on the piano and practices diligently. She also seems to have a real feel and love for music. The pieces she played were: "Pumpkin Eater" "Witches Rock" and "Dancing with Frankenstein"

The kids all wore their halloween costumes for the event and I got to try my hand at face painting for the first time...it was terrifying. But I think that Laura turned out to be a cool "Rock & Roll Fairy" And, hopefully I'll do better for school and trick-or-treating.

Laura was extra lucky to have so many people come to support her and was thrilled to perform!

Sara loved wearing her "Alice in Wonderland" costume and Eliza looked cute as Minnie Mouse, though she only tolerated her ears briefly. It was a fun morning!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Witches Brew 2010 - Party, Recipes and Decor

This Witches Brew was a blast to plan. And a lot of fun to shop for. I love how the tables turned out with the prizes (beaded pumpkins) as centerpieces and all the orange, black and silver.
I had a great time filling the house with witches (Pickles here is a bit scary to the little girls, so they got to name her). I also was excited to use the haunted houses and a plethora of bats.

The food was, of course, my favorite part. My brews (or soups) served from cauldrons were a tomato basil and a butternut squash - recipes below. I served the soups in the most fantastic pumpkin bread bowls from Macey's. I also did a fall salad (apples, grapes, pumpkin seeds, craisins) served with homemade poppyseed dressing. My drink (other than water) was a pomegranate sprite that I make using THIS pomegranate mix that I find at Macey's and Walmart. Dessert was the previously mentioned cupcakes with Jason's version of Ben & Jerry's pumpkin ice cream.
The best part of the whole evening was seeing all my friends enjoying themselves. I was a bit nervous about bringing different groups together, but I think they are the most amazing women around and I suspected that they would therefore get along was correct! It was a grand night and I'm thinking about making it an annual tradition. What do you think?

Tomato Basil Soup - based upon this recipe from Sara Perkins
2 (28 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
10 fresh basil leaves, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 tsp onion salt
garnish: shredded cheddar

In large saucepan, bring the tomatoes, broth and dried basil to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add fresh basil, onion salt, and sugar. Reduce heat to low; stir in cream and butter. Cook until butter is melted.

 Butternut Squash Soup - based on a recipe from the Sept. Oct. issue of Semi-Homemade Magazine
1 (2-pound) package chopped fresh butternut squash (bought from Costco)
1 Tbsp oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 Tbsp dried thyme
2 1/2 C chicken broth
1 C whipping cream
2 Tbsp Marsala wine
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Garnish: crumbled cooked bacon

Microwave squash on High for 13 to 15 minutes, or until squash is fork-tender. In large soup pot, sauté onion and thyme in oil for 5 to 7 minutes, or until onion is soft. Stir in squash, broth, cream, wine, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Puree mixture with stick blender and serve with crumbled bacon.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Witches Brew 2010 - The Witches

One of the best part of the Witches Brew Dinner Party I just threw, was seeing all my friends and their creativity in making their own hats. This post is HUGE b/c I had to include a picture of everyone who attended (in reverse alphabetical order) in their fabulous hats!

Tasha! She is incredibly talented with jewelry and bows and has beads and bows on her hat!

Stacy! She works for a scrapbooking company and used scrapbooking supplies to make her adorable hat.

Robin! Her husband's surgery was postponed, so we were thrilled she was able to make it to the bash. Her hat looks just like her house, festive and classy!

Me! I was "bewitchin' in the kitchen'" because I love to cook and feed people. I made my chef-y hat with paper and aluminum foil and embellished my apron.

Linda - my MIL! Doesn't she look just like Glenda the good witch??

Keri - my SIL! Sara died over her purple hat!

Karyn! She won the award for "funniest hat". She was batty because she is in the middle of moving right now. I was so glad she took the time to come in spite of her crazy life right now.

Julie! Her adorable daughters helped her with her hat!

Jen - my SIL! She won the award for the "hat that best represents the person wearing it". She decorated her hat with all live flowers from her amazing gardens!

Garna - my mom! She won the award for the "hat that you wish you could take credit for making". She covered the hat in her old jewelry and just looked like the most fabulous witch ever! She also deserves the "lifesaver" award for all the help and advice and stuff she gave me in making the party come together.

Deborah! She was an "unbeleafable witch" and covered her hat in fall flowers. And, she did all of this 5 months pregnant.

Danyelle! She stitched on the sequined spider a skill that definitely is not one I posess!

Christy! She just finished a bodybuilding competition and was our "sexy witch".

Cheryl! She was one of our creepiest witches with the knife sticking out of her spooky hat.

Andrea M! She came in second place for every award with her fabulous hat. She went all out and it was fantastic.

Andrea B! She looks like the perfect fall witch in her bow-dacious hat. And she saved my life with the soup transfer for the party!

To view more pictures of everyone and the party itself, and for attendees to download, feel free to visit my photoshop site HERE. And, yes, there will be more on the party (decorations, recipes, etc) in a later post.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fall Break - Closing up the Cabin

How sad was it to close the cabin after spending the most perfect day there ever?! Ridiculously sad, but necessary as the freezing temperatures came into being. So, the Saturday of Fall Break we all went there for a last hoorah. It was beautiful, fun, rejuvenating and just perfect. I mean, check out that view from the front porch!!
Grandma started the big girls got in hunting for pinecones and "acurns". It kept them busy for hours, so the rest of the pictures all involve Eliza!
Eliza also reveled in the time at the cabin. She is going to love it up there next year when she can really walk.

We got all the work done (ditch digging, water draining, stuff rearranging) to close it and just can't wait until it'll be open again next year!

Fall Break - Zoo

On the Friday of fall break, we went to the zoo. Jason took the day off to spend with us and it was an extra special treat. We brought along Laura's best friend Lily because her family is moving and Laura deserves treats - she is such a wonderful girl.
The weather was amazing! We went first thing in the morning and didn't stay particularly long - only about 2.5 hrs. But we got it all in. They loved spending a long time with Zuri the baby elephant, checking out the giraffes, and riding the carousel. By the time we left, the zoo was getting really crowded, the kids were getting hungry, and we really had seen everything because a lot of the zoo is closed due to construction for the new Rocky Shores exhibit.
The kids had a great time and we had a fantastic time being with them. And we had fun making new memories that were a lot like old memories.

Laura and Lily at not quite 2 yrs old