31 October 2016

Halloween 2016

Our community of neighbors loves to celebrate and decorate for the holidays.  Our local Wine Bar has an annual Halloween costume party that brings out hundreds of people.  There at least nine Halloween parties in a three block radius of my house.  That's just one of five districts in our neighborhood!  New Town loves their Halloween.

My husband and I love to drive our golf cart around our neighborhood and visit people or just talk. He always smokes a cigar and I like to look at the houses.  Just the other night, after our nth time around our neighborhood, I said to him, You know, this never gets old.  He agreed.

We snapped a few pictures of the decorated houses in the area.  This is by no means all, half, or even a quarter of the decorated houses, this is a representation based on the number of photos that turned out!  In the dark, in a moving golf cart, makes some pictures not-so-good.

Enjoy our neighborhood, and Happy Halloween!

Isn't that door adorable?

That ghost changes color!

We love the colorful display!

Lots going on here, the red looks really spooky at night!

Sweet vignette!

Loving the orange lights against the red house. 

The garland and wreath are black with orange ornaments.  Striking!

Sweet scarecrow!

Your eyes are taking in the sweet pumpkins then,, Aaaack!  There's a witch!

Lights, police tape, skeletons, ghosts, pumpkins, spider web!!
Happy Halloween!

26 October 2016

October Reads

So many good books this month!  I only post about books I love and feel good about recommending. I don't get any charge out of being critical of another's creativity. I want you to know before you read that you will be getting only positive reviews here!

I get some of the books I review for free or at a reduced price in exchange for my honest review.

I have been reading this series for a while now, and this one is a little different from the others.  The series is about an Amish community (I really like reading about their lifestyle!) and the problems and adventures they have while trying to maintain their beliefs in a modern world. 

The book is called The Devoted by Suzanne Woods Fisher and the series is called The Heart of the Amish.  I have read some of the series and I really like it. It is a perfect book to sit down with, not have to think too much, and just get swept away by the descriptions and human interaction.

Another book I enjoyed this month was Another Day Another Dali by Sandra Orchard.  It is a book in the Serena Jones mysteries.  This was my first one in the series and I really enjoyed it.  The book has a nice pace, quick enough to keep you interested but not so fast that you miss small details that matter.  Serena is a lovable character, all business on the job, but definitely someone you'd want to hang out with.  The mystery is a mystery-within-a-mystery.  The series carries a thread that started in the first book of Serena's grandfather's murder.  I won't tell you if this book solves the mystery or not, you'll have to read for yourself!  The storyline of this book is that a Dali is stolen, Serena is on the case to figure out who is doing the copycat paintings that the originals are replaced with.  Along the way, clues to her grandfather's murder are found.  Does that get you interested?

Other great reads for this month:

Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster   This is a classic book, with a heroine that is so lovable!  A must read!

The Selection, The Elite and The One by Kiera Cass.  (three separate books) As my book club said, this is a cross between The Bachelor and Hunger Games.  Interesting read, I got hooked.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.  A fascinating story of a young woman who helps a disabled man finish his bucket list.  There's a thread of controversy about this book, so look it up and see if it is for you.

What recommendations do you have?

24 October 2016

Homemade Cough Syrup

Last week I wasn't feeling like myself, I was tired, and achy, with a nagging cough and a sore throat (probably due to all the coughing.) I take enough meds for all the things I have "wrong" with me already, so adding more chemical into my body wasn't what I wanted to do.  The main problem was my cough, so I looked for cough syrup recipes and found this one and decided to make it, with the addition of a little lemon.

Homemade Cough Syrup

1/2 c fresh lemon juice (I had frozen lemon juice from this adventure)
1 c local honey
2 T freshly chopped sage

Combine in a pot on the stove.  Cook until boiling, turn off heat, cover and rest for 10 minutes. Strain out the sage leaves.  Pour into a clean jar.  Store in the refrigerator.  Give 2 teaspoonsful as needed.

This stuff works.  I took the first dose at 8:30 in the morning and didn't cough once until 11:30.  This was with an annoying, hacking cough. It helped me rest which helped me feel better.

I wanted to share it with anyone like me who is looking for a natural product to help with a cough. I'm not a doctor, and can't say that it is a miracle coughing medicine, but it worked for me!

Do you use any other home remedy for coughing?

23 October 2016

Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza #SundaySupper

It's National Pizza Month!

I don't know what we did before pizza came into our lives.  It is such a staple of our family, and we rely on its yummy goodness to satisfy our cravings for crust, cheese and sauce.  We are big fans of pizza anywhere we go: St. Louis, Chicago, New York... you name it.

This pizza is a quick one, that doesn't have a sauce, per se.  There is olive oil and garlic if that is a sauce, but technically, I don't think so.  This nice thing about this pizza is that it can be grilled, since most of the pizza is cooked before it's put on the grill (or in the oven, whatever is your preference.)

Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza

1 whole wheat prepared crust
3 slices of bacon, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 T minced garlic
2 T olive oil
4 large brussels sprouts, shaved
3 thinly sliced slices of red onion
2 c shredded swiss cheese

Preheat grill or oven to 400.  Cook the bacon until almost done. Pour the olive oil onto the crust, and using a pastry brush, bring the oil all the way out to the edges of the pizza, covering the whole crust.  Sprinkle on the garlic.  Spread cheese over the pizza.  Add on bacon, and shaved brussels sprouts, and red onion.  Bake or grill until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 10 minutes.  Watch carefully so crust doesn't burn.

This is a fantastic, simple lunch, or cut into small squares, is a fabulous appetizer.  Enjoy it the way you like it best!






Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

21 October 2016

Front Porch is Halloween Ready!

One of my distinct personal pleasures is getting the front porch on my home ready for fall.  We love our front porch and use it as much as we can.  Every time we sit out there we say, we should do this more often, and yes, we should!

I love cleaning the porch and getting out my materials for decorating.  Our porch wraps around to the side yard and that is what people first see when they come onto our street. I like to give this little area some special attention.  This green shelf holds a variety of pumpkins and gourds and is just perfect in this area.  I added a few ghosts to this corner to watch over the porch!

The front porch gets a mix of all kinds of orange pumpkins, with orange and brown plaid throws on the adirondack chairs along with some comfy pillows.  Do you see the crow peeking out?  The scary pumpkin is wood, made by my dad many years ago.  He made a number of items from wood and I love getting them out.  See the little witch? She was made by a dear, dear friend years ago out of a post!

The porch is illuminated by orange lights and bright orange pumpkins!  I love having lights on with my Halloween decorations.  Do you see the ghosts hanging from the tree?  I did that when I first moved in three years ago, and the little boys down the street love them.  Every time I hang them up, I know that those little guys are loving them every minute!

Beautiful mums flank each side of the door and live pumpkins sit along the edge of the steps and the porch.  Eventually a couple of the pumpkins will turn into a Jack o' Lanterns.

I so enjoy my time on my front porch, and I am so glad the neighborhood kids love the lights and ghosts!  It is those little things in life that give me so much joy.

19 October 2016

Swapoween Reveal Party

I joined up with fun Swap party this fall when I read about it on a friend's blog.  I love swaps and love to participate in them when I can find one!  This Halloween swap was such fun!

I was paired with Ashley from Entirely Ashley.  Ashley lives on the East Coast which was recently evacuated by Hurricane Michael.  She still managed to get a package to me and what a beautiful package it was!

Let's just start with the packaging.  I love Ashley's thoughts about packing:  pick your box and buy items to fill every nook and corner!  I was so excited about her adorable packing inside: it's a present inside a box!

Underneath that adorable black and white tissue and Halloween card, were all these goodies!

Adorable Halloween decoration about a witch's apothecary
Apple Spice hand cream
Adorable orange lights
Cookie cutters
Black cat napkins
cupcake papers
Candy Corn!!
Apple spice fritters
Halloween sprinkles
Three types of wax melts (I am using apple spice right now!)
Little Debbie Halloween cakes
Two Towels: one with a pumpkin and one solid orange
Cinnamon Pumpkin Cookies

Was I spoiled or what???  Thank you, Ashley, for a wonderful swap experience and I hope you are all settled back into your home after the hurricane.

Have you participated in a swap?  Was your experience as wonderful as mine?

17 October 2016

Halloween Snacks


I love the wide variety of fun food that is served up over Halloween.  Candy Corn Martinis and Hot Dog Ghouls are two fun Halloween foods I have served up over time.  Take a look at this round up of food just in time for Halloween!

When my daughter was young and did trick-or-treating, we always made a big pot of chili that sat on the stove waiting for a time when we could run in and eat a bite or two.  Ashley would make her chili into chili dogs and eat it while her eyes shone with excitement about wearing her costume and seeing her friends.

I always made a fun treat or two over the years for her class.  These treats would have been a hit at her elementary school.  I remember making orange rice krispie treats (colored with orange jello!) and some bats made from Oreos.  We always did those projects together.

Candy Apples – by A Beautiful Mess
Monster Eye Pudding Cups – by Homemade Hooplah
Pumpkin Rice Krispy Treats – by 365ish Days of Pinterest
Spider Cupcakes – by Five Heart Home
Bag of Bones Snack Mix – by This Silly Girl’s Life
Cinnamon Tortilla Bats – by Simply Recipes
Pumpkin Snack Mix – by Lil’ Luna
Eyeball Pinwheels – by Home Cooking Memories
Monster Cheese Balls – by Hungry Happenings
Spooky Oreos – by Sweet Rose Studio
Body Parts Pudding – by Totally the Bomb
Mummy Pops – by the Idea Room
Candy Corn Punch – by Nellie Bellie
Ghostly Grub – by Snap Creativity
Mummy Rolls – by Our Best Bites

16 October 2016

Boo! Corn #PopcornBoxParty2016

I love popcorn.  It is my go-to snack. I wanted to create a easy treat that would feel special but nutritious for snacking, and I knew it would include popcorn!  The party included decorating a small World Market popcorn box and filling it with goodies! So when I heard about this fun party, I signed myself right up!

I received a small box loaded with fun items from Udder Smooth hand cream, Laura Kelly for AdornIt, World Market, Kunin Group Felt Dream Team, Exp International (that's where my pom trim is from!) I loved using the papers from AdornIt to create my fun box!  I can't wait to see what the others come up with!

Inside that adorable popcorn box from World Market is my Boo! Corn.  Boo! Corn is so easy to make, you really don't need a recipe, just directions!

Boo! Corn

1 bag of popped corn
22 pieces of unwrapped Hershey's Cookies and Cream Kisses
1 bag of candy corn
1 jar of dry roasted peanuts

Place a sheet of parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet.  Spread the popcorn over the parchment. Melt kisses in a bowl in a microwave, starting at 30 seconds.  Stir after each 30 second time.  When melted, drizzle the white chocolate over the popcorn.  Immediately sprinkle the candy corn and peanuts over the hot candy and popcorn.  Let come to room temperature.  Break up pieces before serving.

Before you leave, enter our giveaway below and check out all the other popcorn boxes created by our friends!

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15 October 2016

Project Beautiful's #ColorOurWorld Orange!

This is the second month for our #ColorOurWorld round-up but we have a new sponsor!  Say hello to Project Beautiful, a group of bloggers who are fascinated by the world around them, including things such as gardening, nature, books, cooking, children, and more!  Last month, we featured the color black and now this month, orange!

Take a look at the wonderful mix of fantastic posts all using the color orange.  You will love the diversity of topics here!

Let's talk about orange!  On the spectrum of light, orange falls between yellow and red.  The color gets its name from the fruit.  Before it had a name, Europeans called the color yellow-red.  Orange makes us think of adventure, warmth, danger and energy.  Most orange plants get their color from carotenes, including fall leaves. When the weather turns cooler, chlorophyll stops producing and fades away, so then we can see the carotene in the leaves.  Orange was the easy choice for our #ColorOurWorld color in October!

Here are those great bloggers with their look at 

The Freshman Cook Orange Cookies

GardenChick  Orange Zinnas

Day to Day Adventures Volunteer Pumpkins

Blooming Secrets  The Year in Color: Orange

Sensible Gardening and Living  Growing Pumpkins

14 October 2016

Simply Divine Chocolate Martini #Choctoberfest

To celebrate #Choctoberfest in the grandest of fashions, come and join me in my backyard for a Simply Divine Chocolate Martini.  You will love the marshmallow and chocolate combination and the multi layers of chocolate goodness that come through with each sip!

I love a good old-fashioned vodka dirty martini with extra olives any day, but there are times when I just want to sip and enjoy something that tastes like dessert!  That's when I get out the yummy stuff to make this wonderful Simply Divine Chocolate Martini!  This is a favorite of my Bunco girlfriends and really, just about anyone who has tried it!  It is made for celebrating!

Simply Divine Chocolate Martini

by Our Good Life
  • 1 part Pinnacle Marshmallow Vodka
  • 1 part Vanilla Almondmilk
  • 1 part Godiva Chocolate Martini mix
  • dark chocolate shavings
  • Chocolate Rediwhip
Fill shaker halfway with ice. Add Godiva mix, vodka, and almondmilk. Shake vigorously. Prepare glass by drizzling some of the martini mix into a frozen glass. Strain cocktail into a measuring cup and then pour carefully into prepared glass. Top with Chocolate Redi Whip. Sprinkle on dark chocolate shavings.

Serve cold.
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11 October 2016

Simply Divine Chocolate Bundt Cake #Choctoberfest

Last month I gave you all my tips for making your boxed cake mix taste like homemade.  We are going to put many of those to the test today with this delightful Simply Divine Chocolate Bundt Cake (I'm making mini bundts for sharing!). You will love how this cake just blooms with flavor by simply using some of the tips I shared with you earlier.  Sharing this wonderful recipe for #Choctoberfest !

I purchased a basic chocolate cake mix from the Dollar Store (it is one of my recommended cake mixes, Duncan Hines.)  I poured the cake mix into the bowl.

My first tip:  Measure the amount of water needed for the mix, then heat it in the microwave for a minute, until it is boiling hot.  Pour it into the cake mix and stir.  Let sit for one minute.  This helps the chocolate bloom.  Turn on the mixer and beat for one minute.  This helps the cake cool down before adding in the eggs.

This cake mix calls for two eggs, so I am going to add in two whole eggs and one more yolk.  This will help the cake develop more richness.  Beat well after each egg addition.

Add in 1 teaspoon of instant coffee granules.  Beat well.

Add in 1 snack pack of chocolate pudding.

Add in 2/3 c of butter, melted.

Beat for two minutes.

Prepare cake pan with shortening and flour, or use cooking spray.  In this pan, I will put 1/2 c of batter into each place, and then dole out the rest of the batter into each place, making sure to even out the batter between the cakes.

Bake at the recommended temperature.  

Check for doneness, nothing should stick to your cake tester when you remove it from the cake.

Remove from the oven and cool.

In the meantime, heat up 1/2 cup of heavy cream until almost boiling.  Remove pan from heat, add in 8 oz of chocolate chips and 1 t instant coffee granules.  I prefer dark chocolate chips.  Let them rest in the hot milk for one minute, then begin to stir, until all chips are melted and the ganache is smooth.

Remove the cakes onto a cooling rack.  Pour the hot ganache over the cakes.  Let rest until completely cool.

Store or serve!


10 October 2016

Chocolate Banana Pops #SRC

This month for the Secret Recipe Club I was assigned to the blog, Well Dined, which I totally loved visiting.  So many recipes, so little time!  Since this is #Choctoberfest, all the chocolate recipes really caught my attention, such as this beautiful bundt cake, these boozy chocolate cookies, and these yummy Stout Brownies that I will have to make for my husband!

I decided on making these Chocolate Banana pops because they will be a welcome addition to our desserts in the freezer.  Very simple but so delicious and what a wonderful way to use up the extra sprinkles, chocolate chips, and nuts you have laying around but not enough to put into a recipe!

We've been eating the less ripe bananas as we have heard they have less sugar.  We are also using Enjoy Life chocolate chips, too, as we love the company.

Chocolate Banana Pops

by Our Good Life
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Ingredients (8 pops)
  • 4 large bananas, peeled and cut in half
  • 16 oz chocolate chips
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 8 popsicle sticks
  • a variety of sprinkles, nuts, chocolate chips to roll bananas in
Insert popscicle stick into the cut side of the banana. Place on cookie sheet and put into the freezer for 15 minutes.
In the meantime, melt chocolate chips at 30 second intervals, stirring inbetween sessions until all chips are melted. Add the coconut oil and stir well until well incorporated.
Remove bananas from freezer, and dip the banana into the chocolate. Roll the banana into the sprinkles, nuts or chips.
Place on waxed paper to dry and put in freezer.
To serve, remove pops from freezer and let rest about five minutes to soften the chocolate and banana enough to eat. Enjoy!
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It's #Choctoberfest !


It's my favorite day of the year... because it is the first day of #Choctoberfest 2016!

#Choctoberfest is a virtual event put together by The PinterTest Kitchen. Bloggers worldwide will be participating in this event and that's super cool, because there are PRIZES to be won and doesn't everyone like prizes?

Thank you to the sponsors who make #Choctoberfest possible! This year, Imperial Sugar is back as our Gold Sponsor. They have been a trusted name in kitchens since 1843, and their website is home to thousands of sweet recipes tested in the Imperial Sugar Kitchen. You can find Imperial Sugar on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube, or join their Sweet Community so you can share your own recipes, save recipes to a virtual inbox, print Imperial Sugar coupons, and connect with other sugar lovers.

Imperial Sugar and our silver sponsors have banded together to offer a huge #Choctoberfest prize pack, which you can enter to win below! One lucky winner will be chosen at random to receive the following:

  • From our Gold Sponsor Imperial Sugar: 1 case of granulated sugar (40 pounds), 1 case of brown sugar (24 pounds), 1 case of dark brown sugar (24 pounds), 1 case of powdered sugar (24 pounds bags), and an Imperial Sugar red ruffle apron
  • From our Silver Sponsor Nature Nate's: 32 oz. Raw & Unfiltered Honey bottle, Honey Syrup, Honey Packets, a Nature Nate’s T-shirt, various kitchen supplies, and $50 Amazon gift card
  • From our Silver Sponsor Barlean's:16 oz Barlean’s Butter-Flavored Coconut Oil, 9.52 oz canister of Chocolate Silk Greens, and 8oz bottle of Essential Women Omega-Swirl Chocolate Mint
  • From our Silver Sponsor Caveman Coffee: 1 Bag of Coffee (you choice of blacklisted or sabertooth), 1 coconut MCT oil, and 1 Cacao Butter
  • From #Choctoberfest blog hosts The PinterTest Kitchen: 1 specialty chocolate gift pack (your choice of dark or milk chocolate), 1 tin (14 ounces) drinking chocolate, and Divine's Fair Trade Gift Set
  • Enter now to win our #Choctoberfest 2016 prize pack! We'll be picking a winner at random winner on Saturday, Oct. 15, so enter by Friday to make sure your name is in the drawing:

    Here's a list of all of the bloggers participating in #Choctoberfest 2016. Visit any of their blogs to get delicious chocolate recipes throughout the week:

    Hostess At HeartInk and SugarJane’s Adventures in DinnerJoin Us, Pull Up a ChairKaren's Kitchen AdventuresKate's Recipe BoxKudos Kitchen by ReneeKylee CooksLetz EatLife CurrentsLife on Food Making MiraclesMonica's TableMoore or Less Cooking Food BlogMy Catholic KitchenMy Gluten Free MiamiOur Good LifePalatable PastimeRestless ChipotleSeduction in The KitchenSew You Think You Can CookSimple Food 365Southern With A TwistSumptuous SpoonfulsTake Two TapasTampa Cake GirlTeaspoon of GoodnessThat RecipeThe Crumby CupcakeThe FlavouristaThe Food Hunter's Guide To CuisineThe Freshman CookThe Pajama ChefThe Redhead BakerThe Spiffy Cookie •  TramplingroseWildflour's Cottage KitchenZesty South Indian Kitchen

    I'm looking forward to seeing all of the yummy recipes posted on these blogs. Check them out throughout the week and don't forget to follow our sponsors and bloggers using the Rafflecopter giveaway widget above for your chance to win our sweet prize pack.

    09 October 2016

    Knit Hat Giveaway!

    There is nothing like a handmade, knit hat as a gift for Christmas, or as a gift to yourself!  Evelyne Nemcsok has written the most precious ebook on knitting hats and we are so in love with it that we decided to band together and host a giveaway of the book and of a hat made by the author~ times two!  That's right, we will be awarding a book and a hat to TWO winners!

    Learn more about Nemcsok Farms by visiting her blog here and her Etsy Shop here.

    We like to keep our giveaways simple.  Check out how you can be entered for one of these adorable hats and the pattern book below.  There are multiple ways to earn extra entries, too!

    In the comments below, tell us which hat you love, the pom hat or the peaked beret.  If you are chosen as the winner, once we get your shipping and email address, the book and hat will be on their way to your home and head.  :)



    Good luck to each of you!

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    07 October 2016

    Halloween Bliss

    Halloween is fast approaching and you will want to see this cute party I put together with the help of my friends at Oriental Trading!  I am participating in our neighborhood's street party so I wanted to see how my party is shaping up. Do you stage your parties before you have them?

    Most of this fun stuff came from Oriental Trading, which I love to use.  The darling pumpkin toss game, the cupcake holder, the orange and black fringe curtains and the candy treats are all from Oriental Trading!

    For Halloween there is no better decorating that with Snoopy.  I watch the Great Pumpkin every year, do you?  I wasn't able to track down when the Great Pumpkin is showing this year.  I know I can watch it anytime I want, but there is something magical about seeing it on TV, maybe knowing that other like souls are watching it all around the world at the same time?

    I'm in love with this bean bag toss game.  The bean bags are tiny corns.  So cute!  I would completely ignore the point value and just throw the bags.  Who needs winners and losers?

    These candy bracelets are our Halloween giveaway this year.  Each is in its own bag which I love and they are different from the usual candy mix.  We'll give these to the neighborhood kids that we know. 

    Isn't this a nice mix of treats?  Gum, Smarties, Gummies, Suckers, anything you'd like!  It will be fun to hand these out to the kids, too.  

    I say our party is good to go!  We probably need some more candy, don't you think?  We get around 300 trick or treaters and sometimes more!  Do you get a lot of kids coming around? 

    Happy Halloween planning!