Okay, it's been a while, I'm sorry. But I've been busy being lame (literally--hurt my hip and am hobbling around with a cane like a mouldy old crone) and getting prepared for today--HALLOWEEN!
Autumn is my favoritest of seasons (followed closely by winter--love, love, love snow) and Halloween is my favoritest of Holidays. I love unpacking the crates of Harvest and Halloween decorations and decking the place out with Autumnal delights. I love the challenge of creating costumes for the kids (we rarely buy them, this year being one of the exceptions, more in a moment) and walking around town in the (usually) crisp weather dressed outrageously and greeting everyone we know. Hey, any excuse to wear a costume and get free candy will do!
Man-Cub is being Link from The Legend of Zelda. He decided this back in August. And he looks darn cute, if I say so myself. I'm a little concerned about getting the elf ear tips on him as I don't think he understands the goo factor involved and he's been complaining righteously about his wig. Yes, his wig. That's right he's wearin' a wig. I bought a shaggy blonde rocker wig ($5.99 at Walmart--YES), cut it to the desired proportions and had Mom (my one-woman Halloween sweatshop) sew it into the cap she made for me. Daria and Lobelia (Sisters #3 and #4 in case I haven't mentioned it before) have even gotten in on the act this year and have made what I'm sure will be a mighty kick-ass shield for our valiant elf-warrior (I haven't seen it yet, Daria is bringing it in a few hours).
Red Headed Snippet is being Spiderman. Don't ask, I really don't know. But she decided she was too mature to possibly show her face around town in a costume made by her mother anymore and declared she would be wearing a store-bought costume this year and every year henceforth. She and a friend decided it would be awesomely cool to go together as Good, Red Spiderman and Bad, Black, Be-Muscled Spiderman. They are inordinately excited about this and have even modeled their costumes for us. Red Headed Snippet is Good Spiderman and, I must say, it looks funny seeing Spiderman with bosoms. Of course, the costume got tears and pulls in it the very first time she put it on, but in a way that was good because it helped her see the error of her ways and she's already overturned her store-bought costume decree.
I am anticipating a very fun, but tiring, day. I've already got beef stew in the crockpot (trying a new recipe) and have hot chocolate fixin's on standby for when we all stumble in the door, tired, hungry and thirsty. Won't it be wonderful to come home to beef stew and hot chocolate after a long day of trick-or-treating? I might be more excited about that than the trick-or-treating. Well, no, I guess I'm not. But I'm still excited!
Daria is also coming this afternoon which always makes me happy. She's my baby sister (though at 23 she is a baby no more) and makes any special event even more special. She also loves Halloween and beef stew and hot chocolate so we're gonna have a blast, y'all!
So, a few more things before I go make a last-minute run to Walmart for some brown shoes for Man-Cub. I thought I had shoes that would match his boot covers, but can't find them and I simply cannot have him wear navy blue sneakers with brown boot covers. I went rummaging for my corn muffing recipe so I could post it today, but can't find it! I must have left it at Lobelia's pumpkin-carving party! So, I'm posting my even-better Cream Scone Recipe. It's Lobelia's and it is AMAZING! Easy, quick, delicious and impressive. Are you ready?
Lobelia's Cream Scones
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 1/4 cup heavy cream*
*Note: it is imperative that you use heavy cream and not, say, half-n-half or whole milk. The recipe simply will not work if any substitutions are made. Believe me I've tried. It's just one of those prima donna recipes.
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Whisk dry ingredients together
3. Add cream and mix just until mixture is mostly moist, then knead lightly with hands to incorporate
4. Shape into ball, then pat flat on floured surface into an 8-inch round, 3/4-inch thick
5. Cut into 8-12 wedges
6. Brush with milk or cream then sprinkle with sugar and/or cinnamon
7. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet about 1/2-inch apart
8. Bake 12-15 minutes until lightly browned on top
9. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes
Now that you have no excuse for making fantastic, crowd- and child-pleasing scones, how about a few photos? I haven't been able to get any pics of the harvest decorations on the outside of the house because of this gimpy hip of mine (going to the doctor tomorrow), but I do have some of the inside to share. I've been dying to share these! I have no one else that appreciates them; most of my family thinks I'm nuts the way I go on about this stuff. Is it any wonder I talk to myself so much?
The dining room table. The runner came from my favorite Mennonite market a few towns away. I bought the metal pumpkin several years ago at a great local store which has since gone out of business, China Outlet and Gourmet Garage. The acorn is actually a candle I picked up at JoAnn Fabrics last year and the silver candlesticks were a wedding gift (but I can't for the life of me remember who gave them to us). I have since picked up green tapers (from Target) for the candlesticks but haven't had the time to take a new pic. And I don't know how to upload them into the computer by myself but that's neither here nor there, not mention it's embarrassing so, moving on...
This is actually the top of a vintage 1940's radio I bought for The Viking at yard sale for his birthday at least 10 years ago. It sits right inside the living room when you walk in from the dining room. I've had all this stuff for years, except for the squirrel candle-holder which came from JoAnn's (and also has been recently filled with a tea light candle). The small painting was painted for me by a friend in college as a last-minute Secret Santa gift (she forgot about it and painted it in a matter of hours). It's small but I love it. Everything else on this table was a gift. The small scrap of cross-stitching in the gold frame was a joke from my aunt but I have displayed in my living room ever since she gave it to me because I love it so much. It says, "I love you, Man".
One of the side tables next to the sofa. These are just my kids' school pictures (obviously) and one of the few pictures we have of our son who died of SIDS at one month of age 9 years ago. 9 years ago yesterday, in fact. It means a lot to me to have his photo displayed with my other kids' and I will always have it in a prominent place. Those are a few fabric pumpkins peeking out from behind the frames. I bought those years ago at that favorite store of mine that went out of business. In the front I have a $4 box of beaded gourds piled on a $2 silver tray I found at Goodwill. Gotta love Goodwill!
This is the table on the other side of the sofa. It's kind of a mish-mash of things: a white pumpkin on a stand I bought at Michael's a few weeks ago, a porcelain doorknob a friend gave me that she saved from her old farmhouse in Maine, The Viking's copy of The Hobbit from his youth, photos of Lobelia and Lenny and Dharma and Vance at Lobelia's wedding (Dharma is Sister #2), and a shot of The Viking and me as Lord and Lady Montague in our college production of Romeo and Juliet. It's one of my favorite photos of us, which is why I swiped it from the yearbook department years ago!
This mass of things is situated on top of the piano. One of the best things about having a baby grand in the living room (other than the delight of playing on a baby grand any time you want to) is being able to load it with piles of decorative items. We set up my father's antique train set on it each Christmas and I love to deck it out for Harvest time. Here we have an assortment of interesting instruments including 2 Eastern Indian drums (can't remember the names of them), an Irish bodhran, an old violin in its case which my aunt picked up for us at a yard sale in New Hampshire, and an mbira or African thumb piano I bought The Viking as a gift while we were still in college. There's also a few more pumpkins, another white pumpkin, a black candelabra with bone candles I grabbed at Walmart, a cauldron-like bowl with a creepy-looking purple berry-vine crawling out of it and a few other sundry items. This is always my favorite part of the room.
Last but not least is the top of the media armoire (which we just usually call the entertainment unit, but I'm trying to be little more fancy today). I've just piled it with old books I've collected, held up by the horse head bookends that were in my parents' house as far back as I can remember. There's also an old lantern we found in the basement when we moved in, a pair of fake pumpkins, a pair of tea light holders, a pair of candlesticks (a gift from Daria one Christmas), a green tub from Michael's filled with dried hydrangeas from my shrub out front, some eucalyptus, and The Viking's wooden flute.
A close-up for anyone who's interested.
So there you have it! The fruits of an evening's worth of labor and years' worth of collecting "clutter" as my mother calls it. Thanks for reading, if you've made it this far.
Well, I really must fly now. I have to get Man-Cub from school in an hour and still haven't been to Walmart yet!
May we all have a fun and safe Halloween!