I don’t do Halloween, part 3.

So this is the third year I’m writing about this and the truth is that I now do Halloween.

After years of diffusing it and making it not so fun… I’m all in. This is partly due to the fact that I now have a few more hours a week (like 15-20) where I’m not commuting on some highway in traffic, drinking black coffee while falling asleep at the wheel, and partly because it seems as though everyone else around me LOVES Halloween. So, I’m in.

I’m still buying my costumes on Amazon, like 12 hours before we need them but some things will never change.

Here’s a peek into how I’m spreading the spook this year…Be kind, I’m a beginner, and I still like things pretty. This will also never ever change.

Let’s work our way outside/in, shall we? Entry: Fall- meets- a very small serving of All Hallows Eve… A witch hat from a primitive craft store on a wreath I use every year in between seasons, some witch hands coming up from the dirt, and the obligatory hanging skeleton/ghost thing. Adding in many interesting and colorful gourds (well at least all the kids could carry to the car), mums, those red spiky things and last but not least, Pumpkins.

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Moving inside, the dining room has been done for a while. I like to keep it “Martha spooky” by still using my milk glass and wine barrel lazy susan. I mixed in a few skeleton wine glasses with my vintage etched glass and added some black feathers and a spider web table-cloth for darkness….and of course there’s led twinkle light strands for evening. img_1044img_1043

Kitchen. This will be the main hub for trick or treat night when I usually have a crowd. This table will transform into snack-central. Candy, goldfish and juiceboxes galore. I think I mentioned last year that we reside in THE trick-or-treat neighborhood in town. Like, kids from other neighborhoods get dropped off here. So we host. After the kids go around the blocks twice or three times, they gallivant in the yard after all getting amped up on the sugar, so we adults eat, drink and be merry around the fire pit. There is always an excuse for a party. This lesson we have learned after there are no more babies/toddlers to deal with. (aka phase 1-ers…from an old post;) )

By DAY….

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and NIGHT…I filled the hurricanes with plastic spiders and bat lights..wahahahaaaa

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I’m sorry but aren’t these the cutest little stupid monster faces?

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K. Family room. I never decorated this room for Halloween before. It’s a first. I just used some fabric to spook it up a bit and it also added to the warm and cozy effect. Candles, gourds, garland. Simple stuff.

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and night. The only thing missing here on the table is the vino… img_1034

Last but not least I got this phone at target. When you walk by or pick it up it scares the shit out of you. (well, at least the first 3 times) The kids love it. And it’s growing on me too. The whole holiday is actually.

I guess never say never.

xo, friends!img_1021

 

 

 

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Disney Coma

That’s me this week. There is no way to go to Disney World for 7 days and REALLY do Disney with 10 people (6 adults and 4 kids), without returning and morphing into a coma-like, alternate reality state. Like, wait, that’s not real life down there in Orlando? Dammit. Nope it’s not. But if you go into it with vigor, and keep up the stamina for the entire week (therefore resulting in a “happiest place on earth” high), you will not only have a good time but will need to sleep for 14 days after. AND, in real life, with kids, that’s just not possible.

So I go from this:image

To this:image

Trying to keep my inspiration, up while dealing with a slow business week, and getting into routines again, post “holi-daze”. Looking back, it’s been almost a full year since my fall, and recovery which eventually lead to changing my entire life around by choosing to work from home with the family business.  I’ve been through the initiation phase, the working while kids are home for the summer phase, the busy phase and the super duper busy phase. I’ve also enjoyed my first holiday season away from retail. Next phase, a slowwwwwww winter month or 2. Hopefully not too slow. Time to read, learn more about what I’m doing and make a list of goals for the coming year. Please God, for both my husband and my sake, let this pass quickly. Ha! We both aren’t very good with down time.

Anyway, I felt the need to make something pretty after coming back to a non-decorated and sterile house. You see, when I put all the Christmas decor away, I didn’t do ANYTHING to replace it. I like a clean slate in January.

With fresh eyes and some new Moroccan glass purchased while in “Morocco” (Epcot), I thought I’d start with the mantle. There were a few pics I pinned that inspired me to put all the small plants I had currently in the kitchen, on the mantle. To “green” up the Family  Room, like it doubles as a winter greenhouse. I do need to purchase more, probably of the succulent/cactus variety, because as I’ve said before, I kill plants.

Here’s a peak at my happy little January mantle “installation”imageimageimage

some vintage milk glass mixed in with the new Moroccan glass…imageimageimage

You should know that the plant above has survived 6 years now…I’m quite proud.

Hope this gives you a little inspiration to “green” things up in hopes for a quick and painless 2 months of winter…

xo friends!imageimage

 

“Falling”

Now, don’t get to excited but I’ve added a few Fall touches for your inspirational enjoyment. It’s rather simple. Again, I took existing things and switched them out a bit for a more Autumn look. No serious Halloween decor yet…You know I don’t “do” Halloween. Although this year I am gonna amp it up a bit as we are the hosting house for trick or treating now 4 years in a row. I guess I better jump on the orange and black spooky train. More on that later.

For now it’s just a few feathers and gourds. Hope this lights a spark for some of you!

wreath change out. adding some moss, dried floral and feathers to the hearth...

wreath change out. adding some moss, dried floral and feathers to the hearth…

I'm getting into the feather thing. twisted them up in the glass hurricane around my new fall candle. I can't stand looking at candle labels. so I hide them.

I’m getting into the feather thing. Here, I twisted them up in the glass hurricane around my new fall candle. I can’t stand looking at candle labels. So I hide them.

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more feathers and a new fuzzy throw to accompany the vintage suitcases. (old props via my old gig)

More feathers and a new fuzzy throw to accompany the vintage suitcases. (old props via my old gig)

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moving into the kitchen, Eloise and I went and bought the first round of gourds and mini pumpkins yesterday because it was the first real fall like day and it seemed like the thing to do.

Moving into the kitchen, Eloise and I went out and bought the first round of gourds and mini pumpkins yesterday because it was the first real fall like day and it seemed like the thing to do.

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and at the counter where I spend way too much time cleaning dishes, some cabbage, berries and a mini pumpkin join a pic of my nana and her sisters.

Meanwhile, at the counter where I spend way too much time cleaning dishes and packing lunches; some cabbage, berries and a mini pumpkin join a pic of my nana and her sisters.

I love the mini whites and usually stick to these in the dining room cause they're "fancy"

I love the mini white pumpkins and usually stick to these in the dining room cause they’re “fancy”

my only Halloween so far...staytuned for more

my only “Halloween” so far…stay tuned for more

Like I said, life has been way too crazy to do much more than this, when your week-nights and weekends are filled with this:imageimage

It hasn’t been ALL soccer though…(ONLY 6 days a week). It’s been a little fun too with things like:

a wine festival that lasted 9 hours...

a wine festival that lasted 9 hours…

I thought this was just the bee's knees..

I thought this was just the bee’s knees..#balloonart ha!

AND…. a Friday night outdoor screening of Frozen complete with such a cute buffet of goodies! My friend who has 4 boys did this for a bunch of us who have little girls… To get her girly fix too! So thoughtful and sweet. Thanks Kel!image

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So, The decorating and warming up the interiors has begun…Enjoy the rest of the daylight! Let’s not try not to think too much about the coming months yet. There’s plenty more “Falling” to be done.

xo Friends!

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Just another overbooked Thursday…

Last week: Husband: “what are we gonna do with the grapes? Theres a ton of them.”

Me: “Oh, I forgot about the grapevine in the back yard.” Really I’ve forgotten about the entire backyard all together since its summer we are either at the beach or at someone’s pool when we venture outdoors. Hanging out on our own land is reserved for the spring and fall because GOD forbid the basketball court and plenty of room to play is enough in the summer for the children of suburbia in the year 2015…but anyway,

So we have this grapevine. It’s not just any grapevine because of course EVERYTHING  has it’s story. This grapevine (or a tiny piece of it) was given to my husband and I on the day of my nana’s funeral about 5 1/2 years ago. My nana whom you’ve read quite a bit about here over the past year, lived in a small mining town in upstate PA and had this amazing grapevine her backyard that as kids, my cousins and I would play under and around. This grapevine was supposedly brought here from Italy in the early 20th century. Now, I have no idea whether or not I should believe that a partial grapevine took a boat ride lasting a few weeks only to be smuggled into the country pre-WWI but its sounds like a sweet story so, OK. That’s what happened according to Theresa G.

From year to year the grapes were harvested off of this modest backyard vine. Sometimes the cousins and I would be involved in harvesting these grapes each fall. When I say involved I mean playing and making a mess while my mom and her siblings and my nana would pick, clean, cook and jar the jelly.

For me, and most of my cousins, the grapevine was just a really cool part of Nana’s backyard. It was a place to take pictures on Easter Sunday and hide the eggs for the hunt, and a place to hide from the adults in the house.  Nevertheless, We got a piece to keep as a memory. Mainly because my husband has a major green thumb and a knack for landscaping. He also loves a challenge and likes to learn new things. I’m not always that motivated in the gardening department. But I like pretty things so we (he) learned how to take care of it.

And it grew like crazy over the past 5 years. This year we had the most grapes to date. Enough to make some stuff. So what did I do? I called my mom. And overbooked a Thursday. Anything to keep a tradition alive.

I’m super awesome at organizing and delegating but it often takes a village (or just my mom and some of her grandkids)  to pull off my ideas while I tend to 4 thousand other things.

My Nana used to make Grape jelly and grape juice and sometimes Uncle Frank and Aunt Mimi made some super concentrated vino. We’re not ready for that yet so my mom came armed with all the trimmings to make the jelly and some juice. image

Step 1 get some kids to help nana (my mom) pick the grapes because of course Hubs and I are working that day. Well, I had a little bit of time to help clean them during my morning coffee…

Nana getting all up in the vine on a Thursday morning...

Nana getting all up in the vine on a Thursday morning…

the girls putting the picked ones into a pot

the girls putting the picked ones into a pot

me, pretending to help

me, pretending to help

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picking the grapes off the stems

picking the grapes off the stems

So here’s where the real work begins and I leave the scene. Of course as part of the overbooked Thursday Eloise and I have Kindergarten orientation (during my work day as well as the grape production – if you’re keeping track that is 3 projects).

So we split the scene for a wardrobe change (of course there’s a wardrobe change; the outfits for grape picking and kindergarten orientation are WAAAYYY different), leaving nana with 2 grandkids and a husband who was on his way out in 10 minutes, to finish the picking and cleaning. So mom took some pics of the next few steps; the cooking and draining process. This takes about 4 hours so there was plenty of time for my dear sister-in-law to come over armed with a delicious lunch from Trader Joes and also towing with her, the last grandkid. Eloise and I, after a successful orientation came back to food and no work.

cooking the cleaned grapes

cooking the cleaned grapes

straining

straining

cooking again

cooking again

jellying....

jellying….

what makes it jellified...

what makes it jellified…

Now this is not a recipe post as that’s not really the point but if you’re looking for a slightly similar but a little simpler one, you can find it in this month’s issue of Martha Stewart Living. This one doesn’t require the sure gel step. For whatever reason, I don’t know the reason because I haven’t read it. My mom told me. 🙂

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So that was that. We revived the tradition a little half-assed this year. After my mom finished the project (MAJOR PROPS) and we were all jarred up and cleaned up, we then had to cook some dinner, get ready for soccer and also a party at my sister-in-law’s house. Oh, and finish the actual work day. It all came together though. And we had a fun night under the stars. Thanks Suz 😉

A few observations:

  1. I wouldn’t have been a part of this at all if I was still commuting and working crazy retail schedule.
  2. The jelly and grape juice came out great and now my mom should be ready to really teach us all next year.
  3. Sometimes traditions go away for a bit but there’s always room to bring the important ones back. And what do I like most about traditions? Making them a party!
  4. So next year will be the 1st annual grape harvest at my house. We will make it a party; which means wine and food will be involved. It will be planned way in advance so all parties involved can help, and will not include work, school etc. It will be a weekend day with no sports. I’m putting this in writing.

And Nana TT will be watching (and silently judging lovingly), from heaven.

xo friendsimage

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