Thursday, October 31

A Stately Victorian Fit For A Witch!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN ALL! I hope today finds you all ready to face the evening with a basketful of treats for the children  in your neighborhood! I thought today I would share with you my all-time favorite movie house from PRACTICAL MAGIC. It must be said, I did not find this movie appealing in the least, that may be because for the length of the movie I was preoccupied with the house. And I was horrified when I found out this lovely old house was NOT in fact a real home to a loving family. The producers could not find a Victorian home to meet their needs. So in true Hollywood form one was built to suit! Wish I could do that!

The story takes place in New England, but the house was built on a San Juan Island in Washington State, where the weather would be more agreeable for shooting. In the photo below, you can see how close the house is to the water. 

 It looks like a real house that was built in the 1850s, but it’s really just an “architectural shell” that took 8 months to build and was sadly destroyed after filming was over. What insane executive made THAT decision?? 

Even the flowers in the garden were fake, but you couldn’t tell, could you?

The side porch overlooks the water.

The exterior set was built on an old Indian burial ground, so they weren’t allowed to dig there or disturb the site, creepy huh? The house was built on a giant platform. Here’s a photo of it being taken down–you can see that it was “empty” inside.

The movie is about two sisters who go to live with kooky aunts after their parents die. It was based on the novel by Alice Hoffman.

Of course all of the interiors were created and shot on a sound stage in Los Angeles.

I could do some serious baking in this kitchen! I love the Aga, the house must have been built around it! After all, everyone knows, the kitchen IS the heart of the home!

In true Victorian fashion, the interior of the house is decked out in darker colors and warm wood.

And this conservatory makes me definitely want to plant something!

 To be fake, this garden is amazing!

Now, understand I am not advocating witchcraft - FAR FAR FROM IT! Take this little post for what it's meant, cruising a pretty awesome house on Halloween and nothing more. So please, dear friends, unclench your intestines and no e-mails on the subject! I love this house, from the kitchen, to the conservatory to the lovely old porch and the gardens beyond. Can you believe they knocked this place down after filming, what were they thinking?



Wednesday, October 30

Easy Halloween Gift Card Holders

Tomorrow is Halloween and I have a last minute project to share! I am not one to partake in paper crafts but I do watch quite a few Youtube videos on the subject, which is a whole post in-and-of-itself! About a month ago I came across a video for a cute little Paper Wallet demonstrated by Stamping Holly and I was hooked! Never having worked with paper before, I found this particular project so stinking easy that I'm sure ANYONE could throw this together in less than 30 minutes. I made these paper goodies for my daughter and her college friends - I'm a bit sad not to have any little people to help me celebrate Halloween this year. These small wallets are great for holding fun photos, memories of past Halloweens and even gift cards - which is what I added to mine. If you are knowledgeable about the paper crafting world this is I'm sure old news to you, but if you've not tried paper crafting give it a go - these wallets are a great start. All you need is a double sided piece of 12X12 inch scrapbooking paper, I found this cute Halloween print from my local JoAnn's Fabric & Craft store. I will definitely be making my kids and their sweeties Christmas wallets to add in their stockings, loaded with great photos, memos and gifts cards from their favorite haunts. They are a great way to express your creative side in a practical way! ENJOY!

Here's how I decorated my mini-paper wallets. Along with 'tags' for pictures and memos.

As E was headed back to school I threw Halloween candy and goodies - socks, spider rings, wax vampire teeth & lips.....etc. - into orange bags I just happen to have on hand. They look a bit sad but somehow I'm thinking she and her friends didn't care what the bags looked like! 

Don't forget to check out Holly's Youtube video at Stamping Holly.
Get busy and have a safe and fun Halloween with your little ones! Or BIG ONES! 




Tradition and Redemption

Here is an article that was posted yesterday on If you've followed my little family at all you know we are avid fans of the Poteet Pirate Marching Band from Mesquite, Texas. Our children were members of this amazing band from 2003 -2013 and we can't say enough nice things about not only the band program but the directors, teachers, students, band chaperones and parents. Everyone involved takes such pride in this organization and rightfully so, they are among the elite in Texas where EVERYTHING is better - even the high school marching bands! READ ON.....

Poteet marching band making 12th trip to UIL state contest
1aapoteetband10-28Poteet drum majors Amanda Shotts, Anthony Becerra (head drum major) and Katie Munoz with directors Tish Downs, Cody Newman, Steve Kath and Wylie Gore. (Courtesy Photo)
For many high school marching bands, earning a trip to the UIL state contest in San Antonio would be cause for celebration – and rightfully so with hundreds of marching ensembles across the state vying for one of only 28 coveted spots.
Making it even more cause for celebration is the fact that the UIL alternates eligibility for the state contest – meaning that bands only get the chance to compete for the highest prize every other year with Classes 1A, 2A and 4A grouped together and likewise Classes 3A and 5A.
But for the Poteet High School Pirate Band, advancing to the state level has become a tradition of excellence. And with the band being disqualified in 2011 – many say unfairly – because of a simple clerical mistake made concerning the eligibility of a non-marching student, Saturday’s area round of competition was about more than continuing that tradition. It was also a chance for redemption.
Well consider them redeemed and the tradition continued after the Poteet band earned its 12th trip to state competition since 1990 following a rain-shortened competition at Memorial Stadium. Poteet will join Sherman, Wylie, Forney and Waxahachie at the Alamodome in San Antonio on Tuesday.
“This band was motivated and inspired by the tragic end to our season in 2011, making them stronger and more driven than any group I have ever seen,” said Cody Newman, director of bands for Poteet. “When the news finally arrived on Saturday night that the Pirate Band was headed once again to San Antonio, elation would be the only word that would describe their reaction."
But while some marching bands are simply happy to be invited to the big dance, Poteet’s tradition includes some lofty accomplishments. The band has three state championships to its resume – including back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2007. Poteet also brought home the top prize in 1997 and was first runner-up in 2001.
Dr. Linda Henrie, MISD superintendent, expressed her pride in the accomplishments of the band.
“Being selected to compete in the state marching contest is affirmation that others recognize the excellence of the Poteet Pirate Band,” Henrie said. “It is a privilege for a band to be selected to participate at this level and I look forward to cheering for them from the stands at the Alamodome.”
Poteet’s journey back to the state contest began over the summer when students began assembling for practices in the school parking lot under the hot August sun. It was in those dog days of summer that the seeds of success were planted and the crops began to be harvested on Oct. 5 at the Mesquite Marching Festival at Memorial Stadium where the band received superior ratings fro every judge. The success continued the following Saturday at the Unleash the Sound Marching Festival in Aledo where Poteet garnered Outstanding Drum Majors honors and was named Best Band in Class 4A.
“This is a really driven group,” Newman said. “They are excited to get the chance to go compete, but even more excited knowing they have not peaked yet with this show. There is plenty to improve on and they are determined to make those improvements before they arrive at the Alamodome.”
UIL competition began on Oct. 16 at Memorial Stadium with the Region 3 contest. Superior ratings there earned the band a trip to Saturday’s area competition. Twenty-five of the best marching bands in Northeast Texas were vying for one of five spots in San Antonio.
Newman was in his first year as the director of bands in 2011. He was a student teacher at Poteet under former director Scott Coulson when the band won its second state championship, went to the Plano ISD for a year and returned in time to be a part of the second of the back-to-back titles in 2007 as an associate director. But having the chance to lead the unit to the highest level of success for the first time as the director of bands is understandably special for him, even though he is quick to spread the credit.
“It’s a great feeling,” Newman said. “I am just so proud of the students and my fantastic staff who work very hard every day.”
But while reaching the state competition is indeed a proud achievement, many of the current seniors who were part of the 2011 disappointment would say that Newman’s biggest accomplishment came two years ago in the face of the adversity surrounding the disqualification.
Amanda Shotts was a sophomore then and called Newman “a father figure” because of the way he was able to provide what she called a valuable life lesson to the teenagers in the band.
“He didn’t have to say anything [to the UIL] but his integrity taught us all something,” said Shotts, now a graduating senior and one of the band’s drum majors.
They will likely have plenty of parents and other fans on hand to cheer them on in San Antonio but for those fans not able to make the drive to the Alamo City, the band will showcase its talents in a special performance at 4 p.m. on Sunday at E.H. Hanby Stadium. Admission is free.
The preliminary competition in San Antonio begins at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday with Poteet scheduled to perform at about 1 p.m. Ten bands will be selected for the finals, which begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 for students and $17 for adults for each session. Parking at the Alamodome is $10.
The past 11 appearances by Poteet have produced the following results: 1990, 10th place; 1991, 10th; 1993, third; 1995, fourth; 1997, champions; 1999, tied for fourth; 2001, second; 2003, 11th; 2005, champions; 2007, champions; and 2009, third.

Good Luck at State Poteet band, we are all cheering you on!  


Tuesday, October 29


Bold, brilliant and tranquil blue. The dramatic and leading primary color of blue provides a cool infusion that welcomes one with a peaceful calmThe color of the sky and the deep seaSerene, indeed. The calming harmony paired with refreshing infusions of color. The wide range of blue hues are varied and each can perhaps be said to evoke different feelings. That said, it is the bold hue of brilliant blue that is exhilarating and rich in depth while the paler shades seem to provide an element of calm and peace. Pure blue bliss, either way.

1.Table lamp, Wayfair
2. Crystorama ceiling light, Wayfair
3. Couristan gray rug, Wayfair
4. Lightweight striped cotton blanket, Wayfair
5. Canvas wall art, Wayfair
6. Reed Barton silver frame, Reed and Barton
7. Cotton striped throw pillow, Wayfair
8. Oval basket, Wayfair
9. Cotton polka dot throw pillow, Wayfair
10. Americana candle lantern, Wayfair
11. Distinctive Designs Silk arrangement, Wayfair
12. US Floors Natural Cork Earth and Classics hardwood flooring, Wayfair
13. Sam Moore Carson Sofa, Wayfair
14. Stein World cart coffee table, Wayfair
15. Scoope Cotton Pillow, Wayfair
16. Authentic Models Biscay Fishing Boat, Wayfair
17. IMAX Antonini Bottles (Set of 3), Wayfair
18. Taylor Ng Vintage French 11 oz. Le Baleine Whale Mug, Wayfair
19. Noritake Yoshino 6.25" Fruit Dish, Wayfair

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Chocolate & Orange Halloween Cupcakes

This cupcake pair is just amazing!  There are not many duos I like as much as chocolate and orange!  Want to know the best part?  They are SO simple to make, but taste like I bought them from a fancy cupcake bakery! I'm not saying which one! So who needs candy when you can bake a batch of these fun Halloween cupcakes? 

Chocolate & Orange Halloween Cupcakes
A rich chocolate cupcake topped with orange flavored butter-cream icing makes a delicious confectionery that will add some fright into your bite this Halloween!
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  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • zest of one large orange
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.
  • Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  • Using a large scoop, distribute the batter between 24 muffin wells, filling each 2/3 full. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack and cool completely. Ice cupcakes and decorate.
  • In a the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together cream cheese, orange zest, shortening, and butter until well combined.
  • With the mixer of low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar until thoroughly incorporated and smooth. Add vanilla and mix to combine.
Lots of ideas below for decorating inspiration!

If you have less time than normal and find yourself faced with a child who informs you the night before that cupcakes are expected at tomorrow's Frightful Party at school - use a chocolate cake mix and store-bought icing. Following package directions, prepare cupcakes using chocolate cake mix and add 1/4 tsp. orange flavoring & a few drops of orange food coloring to the icing. EASY-PEASY! I hope you all have a super scary, fun and safe Halloween evening!! 



Monday, October 28

Broiled Herb Chicken with Lemon-Butter Sauce

When quick cooking is required on a weeknight, broiling can solve your dinner dilemma and this juicy broiled chicken is one of my favorites. It's quick, easy and the family loves it - that's all you need to know to understand that this is a much valued recipe at my house. The lemon-butter sauce is flavored with oregano, lemon pepper, paprika and a splash of citrus. Round out your meal nicely with a rice pilaf and green salad. ENJOY!

 Broiled Herb Chicken with Lemon-Butter Sauce
Serves 4-6
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  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 (3- to 3 1/2-lb.) broiler-fryer, cut into pieces
  • Lemon-Butter Sauce

  • Combine 1 tsp. salt and next 5 ingredients.
  • Arrange chicken pieces, skin side down, on a lightly greased rack on an aluminum foil-lined roasting pan. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 2 tsp. salt mixture.
  • Broil 7 to 8 inches from heat 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Turn chicken pieces, and sprinkle evenly with remaining salt mixture. Broil 8 to 10 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion of white meat registers 170° and dark meat registers 180°. 
  • Serve with Lemon-Butter Sauce.

  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons lemon rind, grated
  • 2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Stir together all ingredients.
  • Drizzle over and serve along-side of chicken.
This delicious and juicy chicken served with rice and salad can be prepared in about 30 minutes making it the perfect weeknight meal. Hope your little family enjoys this recipe as much as mine!


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