Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Bust!

We had ONE single trick or treater tonight! Just one single kid trekked up our stairs and asked for candy. I let her take as much of candy as she could carry. Next year we need to hang a huge banner that screams, "we have candy!"

So, the candy distribution aspect of Halloween was a complete and total bust. Fantastic, I guess I'll have to eat the rest of the candy I bought. Not terrible, but not the best thing for my health.

Oh well. Here's more of Jax and Jewels and their adorable Halloween bandannas (gifts from my mother-in-law).

Really, he has a rough life... he had to go for a walk today and a woman fawned over him because she thought he was adorable.

Wow, that's just a happy and lazy boy.

Jewels, on the other hand, is fully attentive and staring down anyone that comes near our yard. She only weighs 14lbs, but she will defend her turf. Her bandanna says "Boo" on the back and has a poison sign, that's perfectly fitting for her personality.
NO!!!! Jax, you did not just roll around and get flithy! Shoot, he just had a bath.
Jewels really can't understand why Jax thinks it's fun to roll around and get dirty. She's way too prissy to roll around in the dirt.
Ah, that's better. Go tear up some sticks.

Happy Halloween!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Maybe we need to turn the heat up????

While I was doing laundry this evening I "lost" Jewels. She was in my room, intently watching me sort clothes, but when I left to go downstairs I thought she stayed in my room. When I returned to my room I didn't see Jewels, so I figured she ditched me and went downstairs to nap or eat. Not the end of the world. She's a big girl and she can do whatever she wants (as long as it isn't beating up Jax on the stairs, no playing is allowed on the stairs).

I was a bit startled when I began to collect my clothes and the pile started to move. Yes, there was Jewels, buried in my clothes and shivering. Maybe, just maybe we need to bump the heat up a few degrees.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How did I not know that?

Have you ever had that moment when you learn something new and you go, "how did I not know that?" It seems that since I moved out of my parents' house and got married I've had quite a few of those moments.

Today, I had another. I wanted to polish two silver trays and a simply buffing wouldn't quite cut it. I'm not a fan of using any harsh chemicals, so I thought I was up a creek's paddle. Then, a quick trip over to Google and I'm back in my kitchen and creating a baking soda and water paste. The results- like the magical glow and dramatization in any cleaning product infomercial. I even uttered, in my Rachel Zoe voice, "Amazing!"

Yeah, this polishing paste is fantastic, but doesn't quite rank up there with storing brown sugar in the refrigerator.

Any other tips I should know about??? Please feel free to share.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The pumpkins have been carved

We bought, we gutted, we traced, we carved and we conquered. The hubs and I carved our first pumpkins today. More importantly, I only sliced one finger during the entire process, which is pretty good in my book.

The hubs, D, tracing his spider pattern.

I'm really thinking to myself, "please don't cut off a finger, please don't cut off a finger."

The finished pieces out on our front steps. I'll decorate the rest of the front porch later this week. I hope we get some trick or treaters on Friday!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Oven Caramel Corn

I'm trying to ignore the torrential downpour that has ruined my Saturday afternoon. Honestly, who wants to go pumpkin picking in weather like this? Not me!

Last Saturday, I made this simple and tasty treat for some friends. We went on a voyage to a haunted hayride, which turned out to be a bust, but I knew I'd want something sweet to snack on while standing in line. Straight from the pages of Betty Crocker (don't judge me!), here is a very easy to make treat.

15 cups popped popcorn
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1. Heat oven to 200 degrees.

2. Place popcorn in two ungreased 13 x 9 inch pans.

3. Heat brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt in 2-quart (don't slack and use a 1.5) saucepan over medium heat, stirring occassionally, until bubbly around edges. Continue cooking 5 minutes without stirring; remove from heat. Stir in baking soda until foamy (this is where you'll make a mess if you slacked and used a 1.5 quart saucepan).

4. Pour sugar mixture over popcorn; toss until evenly coated.

5. Bake 1 hour; stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on aluminum foil or cooking parchment paper. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Store tightly covered and try not to eat in one sitting.

That's it. Like I said, super-duper-easy! Anything that calls for a cup of packed brown sugar is good in my book.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Raking leaves

I love fall. I do, it is by far my favorite season.

I love the cooler temperatures, the changing colors, the longer rays of sunlight, the sound of wind sifting through the leaves and the crispness of the air.

I love pick up soccer games, October Baseball, watching football on Sundays, running while wearing long sleeve t-shirts, baking all day with the oven, and lots of hot tea and hot chocolate.

I love wearing sweaters, thin scarves, corduroy everything, longer jackets, boots, fluffy socks, leather purses, layering shirts and the perfect pair of jeans.

I love that I can wear my hair down without getting hot (okay, the new shorter haircut definitely helped out with this over the summer). I love buying sweaters for the dogs. I love going to pumpkin patches and apple orchards. I love hayrides and corn mazes.

I love everything about fall... except for raking leaves. That's the fall version of shoveling snow. The leaves look beautiful and colorful in the yard and for days I can enjoy them blissfully. Then, a few days or weeks later, they aren't looking too pretty and a nagging sensation begins to build in my stomach. It's time to break out the gloves and rake up all those pesky leaves that it seems just yesterday I was adoring. Raking leaves is fun for the first few minutes. You make a few piles, maybe even have a kid moment and dive right in. But, when you see your two cute and adorable dogs running through your piles and spreading them back over the yard- that's when everything stops being cute and starts being work.

Sigh.... here's to the next week of enjoying fall. Then, I'll have to rake leaves again and have this momentary lapse back into not-loving- fall-funk.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad!

Dad, I know you're a lurker and I just wanted to give you a little shout-out. So here it is.

Have a Happy Birthday from your little girl.

Pumpkin candles, revisited

I read over the check list of things I needed to buy in order to make candles. Well, lets just say that I think my to-buy list was shorter when I first went away to college. It doesn't look like I'll be making any candles in the near future. I could, but of course they wouldn't be finished in time for Halloween.

Clicking through the nest this afternoon led me to this blog, The Good Wife. Now, this is a candle pumpkin idea I can get on board with! So simple and so cute. I have a million tea candles and I can easily pick up a mini pumpkins later this week. Head over the The Good Wife for full directions and other inspiring ideas.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

What is wrong with this picture?

Do you notice anything strange about this picture?

Oh, that's it. The foot of that poor toy has been surgically removed and ingested by Jax. Then, just to make matters worse, Jewels doesn't seem to think it is fair that Jax gets to eat the foot and she wants to steal it from him.

Why can't these two play nice?

Oh Martha!

Martha Stewart is not of this world. Really, the woman comes up with an idea and then her army of followers carries that idea into every corner of the world. The woman is talented. I remember years ago my family made one of her vegetable garden carrot cakes and I don't think I've ever had so much fun making a cake. The marzipan overdose may have slightly aided in the fun.

Anyway, I headed over to Martha's website for some Halloween inspiration and I fell in love with this idea- pumpkin candles. The love is up there on par with peanut butter pie. I thought to myself after seeing a picture, "how in the world have I lived my life without this wonderful goodness?"

There is just one minor problem with this infatuation- I've never made a candle before. Hmmmm, looks like I'm going to have to expand my horizons and try to recreate these adorable candles. I'd like to try to recreate these pumpkins instead of heading over to Pottery Barn and buying something similar. Hopefully, I don't burn my house down this weekend. Let's hope for a safe candle making experience. It can't be that difficult, right???

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Kentucky recap

I went to Kentucky over the weekend with my best friend B. Her father and step-mother live there on a beautiful 22 acre horse farm. The plan was to have a gigantic bonfire at the farm on Saturday, but unfortunately there hasn't been enough rain in the area to safely have a bonfire (a county no-burn ordinance also sealed the deal). I was incredibly surprised with just how dry everything was just 8 hours away from my house.

Anyway, a fine party was thrown instead. I loved hearing all the southern accents and of course everyone else maintained that I was the one with the accent. I was definitely in the "Northern accent minority" and I didn't mind one bit.

On Sunday we went to Keeneland, which is this incredibly old horse track in Lexington. A quick Google search informed me that most of the racing scenes for the movie Seabiscuit were filmed at Kenneland. Pretty cool. I must say, going to a horse race is a very different experience than going to a baseball or football game. For one, the dress is very different. There were plenty of women at Keeneland in their finest outfits, which included large hats, and lots of pearl necklaces. I lost count of how many parasols were in attendance.

Apparently, I am incredibly odd because I didn't bet a single dollar at the track. I did buy a program and some ice cream, so I guess I "lost" more money at the track than I "won." I'm not a betting person and I definitely don't know enough about the sport to make an educated bet.

Monday was a sad day. It was the day B and I had to leave. We fed the horses, went for a run, moseyed around the house and then left to return home. The return trip was much more enjoyable than the drive on Friday. One, we encountered much less traffic on the way back to the Baltimore/D.C. area than we did on Friday. Secondly, driving during the day allowed B and I to take in the wonderful views that Kentucky, West Virginia and western Maryland have to offer. The fall foliage was in full effect and the mountains looked gorgeous. Plus, B and I became friends during our college years in West Virginia. So it was very nice to spend roughly eight hours driving through the state.

Here's a few pictures, the rest will be posted on my Flickr site.

This is Smoke. He has to stay in a separate pen because he eats too much grass.

The Three Amigos waiting for their breakfast.

Rio, who is gorgeous.Lady- if you don't stop taking my picture while I'm eating, I'm going to eat your camera!

Oh yeah, this is the kitchen... swoon!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Just call me a Riesling lover

My wine expertise is severely lacking. I actually didn't start drinking wine until about three years ago. Anytime someone offered me a glass of wine, my mind immediately flashed back to the nasty stuff I had to force down during church. Needless to say, I wasn't a big fan of wine.

Enter my best friend, B. She's my personal wine connoisseur (or at least that's what I call her). Three years ago, while we were both poor grad students, she came to visit me for a weekend. She dictated to me a few bottles of wine I should pick up for the weekend. I felt like it was my first time in the liquor store- I had no idea where anything was and I had no clue what the bottles I had written down looked like. Basically, I was lost. I did manage to find two of the recommended bottles, but tragically I dropped one on my apartment's front steps (yeah, red wine on concrete doesn't look too pretty). One bottle of wine didn't last us long, which led the two of us to go together the next day. My life has changed ever since then.

I love Riesling! There I said it. I've tried a few different types of wine, but I always come back to a trusty Riesling. I have bit of a sweet tooth and love the pleasant taste of a good Riesling. Thankfully, I've upgraded from Relax (although, the bottle is darn cool) and now I have a few different bottles that I try to keep on hand.

B knows all this and she takes good care of me. She spent the summer in San Francisco and made a few trips up to Napa to indulge in multiple wine tastings. She's awesome and brought me back a bottle of Windsor Vineyards Riesling. Fantastic!

That's the definition of a true friend. She goes away and brings me back a bottle of wine. Good thing I brought her back coffee when I went to Brazil (she's a coffee nut as well).

Any Riesling lovers out there? If so, what are your favorite bottles? My go-to bottle is Covey Run. It has this fantastic green apple taste to it and it's very crisp. Plus, it's incredibly wallet friendly (I've never seen it for more than $9).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Happy Birthday Jax!

Happy Birthday Jaximus! Yeah, the little guy turned three today. I certainly hope that means he's done with the "terrible twos." Oh wait, that's a human thing and he's a dog. I guess what this means is I have to stop calling him a pup and start calling him a dog.

So, what do you do for a spoiled rotten dog on his birthday? You take him to Pet Smart and let him pick out some new toys. After work today, my husband and I took Jax for a brief car ride and then to Pet Smart. Now, Jax doesn't go to a pet store to meet other dogs, he goes to met other people. He's such a lady's man it isn't even funny. The hubs jokes that the dog is such a chick magnet. Women just gaze into Jax's big brown eyes, adore his super white coat and then fall in love with his velvety ears. Yeah, he won me over hook, line and sinker.

"Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Look! There's a parking spot! Oh, there's a tree I can mark!"
"Dad! Park the car! I need to pee!"
"Pick up that toy. Alright, two down, let's see how many more toys I can drag out of here. Where are the cats???"

"Are we home yet? Can I play with my toys in the car? Please, please, pretty please? I won't rip any apart until I get home." "Mom, you know I could totally drag you across the room right now. I'm just letting you think you can win. ""Fine. I'll share one of my toys with Jewels. But, I get to eat her share of treats later!"
The birthday boy is tuckered out. He shows his true colors by resting among all his various toys.


I have a confession: although, I try to sell myself out as a tomboy, I am not. I may be an athletic gal, a gal that can down a few beers, a competitive gal, a gal that prefers blue jeans and sweaters to skirts, a gal that likes red meat, a gal that hates talking on the phone, but I am not the type of gal that likes spiders! I am deathly afraid of spiders and most bugs to boot.

You think I'm kidding?

While in grad school, I summoned my friend to my house to kill a bug. Okay, in my defense, it was a really, really, really big bug! Seriously, we're talking a bug that was well over three inches long and when my friend crushed him on my carpet, there was a stain from his nasty bug blood. Of course my friend laughed her butt off at me and we still joke about that night to this day.

When I was a kid I would run to my baby brother and have him kill spiders for me. I once found a spider in the shower and I started sobbing and screaming for my brother. He found me huddled in the corner of the bathroom, wrapped in a towel, and convulsing. Arachnophobia scared the living daylights out of me. Really, it did. That movie scared me more than Jaws.

Why is this relevant? Well, for the past few days I have noticed a rather large spider web on my front porch. I asked the hubs to get rid of it (power wash it away for all I care!). Then, we noticed a very large spider in the web a few days ago. Again, I pleaded with my hubs to get rid of it and dispose of the spider (what I really meant was, "Babe, you have to kill that spider and then burn its body, otherwise, it might come back and get us!").

This afternoon I noticed that Jewels seemed more enthused with staring out the window then normal. I sauntered over to the window, looked out, shrieked and then ran upstairs! Yeah, there was this gigantic spider in the window. The big, ugly type of spiders that have hairy legs and what looks to be an extra set of limbs coming out of it's mouth. Yeah, scary spider. Plus, it has these really bright yellow dots on its back. Now, the last time I checked National Geographic, if an animal has bright colors on it, well, then that is a warning to stay away!

I have no idea if this is the same spider from the front porch. I sprayed my front window with the hose, hoping the water pressure would crush the spider, but the darn thing crawled in some little nook and is probably laughing at me. Laughing, but trying to figure out how to bite me.

So now, there will be no more enjoying this lovely fall weather. All doors and windows will be clamped shut! I don't want any pesky spiders taking refuge in my house! Jax got bit by a spider (or at least that's what our vet guessed) two years ago and his face swelled up so big that his ears actually looked small for his face.

Now, I know that in this picture the spider looks very small. Don't let that fool you. This bad boy is big, like an inch long. I know that's small, but in my scary bug world that's pretty big!

Did I mention that I'm scared of spiders?

Update: I'm so afraid of spiders that when my husband called to ask about tonight's plans, he could tell something was wrong. I told him there was a furry spider in the window. His response, "I'm leaving work now." Reaon #89736105 I love that man.

Monday, October 6, 2008

NY Recap

I finally posted some pictures on my Flickr account from my trip up to my parents' house. Now, I must forewarn you, when you think "New York" you probably won't think of New York state and you probably will be confused as to why there are so many trees. I know that seems like a low standard to set for people, but once you've lived in Huguenot, NY for most of your life, you realize that people automatically think of New York City when they hear "I'm from New York." Then, I have to explain to people where I lived and I usually responded with, "I live right where NY, NJ, and PA come together." Yeah, not very helpful.

My parents live in this really small town in New York. Actually, it's part of a township and is a really, really, really, really tiny town. Honestly, I've yet to find a single stop light in the township. It's a pretty wide geographical area, so there could be a light on some random street that I'm missing. To set the scene even more, my parents live on a private road, on the top of a mountain, in the middle of the woods andhave a fantastic lake for a back yard. Yeah, it's awesome. Of course when I was a kid I didn't like the fact that my nearest "neighborhood friend" lived almost three miles away. Plus, he lived "down the mountain." For those early childhood years when neither one of us had a car, there was a very long and tiring walk involved in visiting each other. Thankfully, my parents bribed all my friends by having a pro-sized pool table, table tennis, air hockey and fooseball table. If you could make it to our house, then you would be entertained. If you got bored of the inside fluff, you could always run around the woods....


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Fall is here

Fall is officially here... according to my dog. What??? Yes, today Miss Jewels went outside and started shivering. She looked at me and gave me her biggest "I need my sweater right now" sigh. I had to rummage through her clothes to find a shirt that was thin enough for the gasp... 60 degree weather outside.

Voila. Jewels is wearing a t-shirt.

Then, apparently a big stick fell in our yard last night. Silly wind! Have no fear, after a few hours Jax and Jewels had the stick trimmed down for me to bag up and put on the curb.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Don't vote!

Catchy title isn't it. The folks over at have come up with this new slogan. I watched the video and I must say, it's pretty cool. A bunch of celebrities urge us not to vote and then of course tell us that we should vote. There are some pretty memorable lines in the video. Some of which are not work or kid friendly (thank you Johan Hill and Giovanni Ribisi).

Laura Linney- "Reading, literacy... really?"

Jennifer Aniston- "I hear polar bears can swim."

Jonah Hill- "I have 19 kids. Never used abortion once."

Jonah Hill- "I've never fought a war on drugs. I've never done shit on drugs besides play Halo 2."

Sarah Silverman "You can literally register to vote while pooping if you have a laptop."

Ellen DeGeneres- "You're obviously smart enough to play Scrabble on this thing or poker or whatever you're doing... or porn. It's none of my business."

Courtney Cox- "I did have five friends."

Sarah Silverman - "Rampant. Like herpes, but for positive..."

So please, if you haven't done so already, register to vote.

Click here to watch the video. Yeah, I tried to upload it onto my blog and couldn't figure it out. Oh well.