Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween Mantel

I haven't had a mantel in the last, umm... ten years-ish. So, even though we're renting this place, and the mantel wood probably rates a negative 7 in Darcy's Top 100 Favorite Woods, I'm still having a fun time decorating it.

And I really love what's going on up in this joint for Halloween Time.

And I did it on the SUPER CHEAP, which I especially love.

The only thing still up there from my usual mantel decor is the round wood vase. But I switched out the white silver dollar stems that are usually in it for some incredibly dark purple, spooky flowers. 

Then I bought a bunch of Dollar Tree cylinder vases, hurricane candleholders and taper candleholders. I even picked up a couple bargain candleholders from my favorite thrift store. 

I spray painted a couple of the taper candleholders lacquer black, the same that I used for my Halloween Branches, and left a couple plain glass because I like the sparkle. Then I Gorilla Glued the bases and the tops together. Don't they look so fancy? Gorilla Glue is fantastic, but it expands like crazy, so use the tiniest bit you possibly can.

I also wanted to leave a couple of the vases plain glass so that I could use them again for Christmas decorations. But then I couldn't help myself and glue gunned some spiders onto that orange candle vase, so there goes that one. Now it's stuck in Halloweenland for the rest of its life. The tall vase with the black base is filled with plastic spider rings I bought at Walmart last year. I love all the Halloween color they bring in. The eyeballs and skeleton guy bust are from The Dollar Tree.

The cute little Happy Halloween bucket I bought in the dollar bin at Target. Adorable, right? And I really love my skeleton bouquet I have going on in the tall vase. The silver glitter skeletons are from Michael's and the black ones are from a Dollar Tree skeleton garland that I took apart. The bony hands are from Michael's, but they were Peyton's. I had to trade him five eyeballs for them. Seriously. It was kind of awesome. I filled the rest of the bony hand vase with some leftover orange flowers to add more color.

The banners, of course, are from my shop. I especially love the one on the top, because Peyton and Ella helped me make it. 

I love my Halloween mantel! I love how the vases are bright and sparkly and I love all the Halloween colors. What do you think?

Happy Halloween Decorating!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Halloween Branches

So Ali was all - Hey, I scored some branches from the park, want some?
And I was all - Hells yes!

I shoved the branches in my car and took them home. I stuck them in a $1 vase from my Dollar Tree store stash. What's that scratch in my car's headliner? Why, sweet husband, I have no idea! The kids must have done something.

And then I spray painted the branches Lacquer Black and filled the vase up with orange and black and clear gems. What's that black paint over-spray doing in the shape of Halloween branches all over the used-to-be-green shrubs at the back of my apartment complex? Why, apartment police, I have no idea! There must have been a wild pack of lacquering hooligans wandering about. 

And then I painted on a little silver glitter paint. And then a little more. And then, oh let's just go for it, I covered every single branch in sight.

And then I hot glued on some cute little tiny spiders from Michael's.

And clipped on some spooky butterflies.


And more spiders, big and small...

And a spooky bird. Just because I could. I'm totally the boss of these branches.

I covered those glittertastic black lacquered branches with spooktastic wildlife. 


And I gave my Halloween branches some Halloween table neighbors. BOO pumpkins that I made last year, Dollar Tree eyeballs and a Dollar Tree skeleton necklace that I dismembered and stuck in a glass jar.

And even if I have to buy a brand new Halloween storage box just to safely store my free branches in the off-season, you better believe I'm going to do it. I love them! 

Thank you for sharing your branches with me, Ali! I couldn't be more thrilled with how they turned out.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Taco Soup

So. My computer kind of died.

It's been at the almighty computer fixer shop for too long and I've been very sad about it. The computer fixer guy was all - Maybe you should stop eating bagels over the keyboard. And I was all - Well, maybe YOU should install a crumb catcher because THAT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!

Right now I'm sitting at my husband's desktop computer - not eating a bagel - because I've been lovingly threatened just a teeny tiny bit - and I find it completely annoying.

For as long as I can remember I've had a laptop that I could boss around and drag from room to room and bed to couch to kitchen table. My husband's computer demands that I sit at a desk. It's mean that way. It is big and heavy and NOT my friend. And it bosses ME around: "No. You have to sit where I tell you. Take that! Sit there and type on my crumb-free keyboard and be grateful your husband has a computer you can use. You don't KNOW me!"

The nerve! I would like to say that his computer reminds me of HAL from "2001: A Space Odyssey", but my life has been overrun by my children, so now it just reminds me of Plankton's computer wife Karen from "Spongebob Squarepants."

I used to be a cool girl with a cool laptop. I could blog cool-style while I roamed around and saw the sights of the house. Exciting! I know! I'm here, I'm there, I'm everywhere! I'm freeeeee!

Now I'm stuck at a desk referencing Spongebob.

It's been a while since I posted, so I'm a gonna start with an easy recipe post. The original recipe was from Paula Deen, which is really surprising, since it doesn't contain even a single stick of butter. I changed a whole bunch of stuff around anyway. Like changing the ground beef to ground turkey because it's more healthful. *sigh*.  And omitting the Ranch salad dressing mix because that stuff in a soup just kind of freaks me out. The first time I made Paula's recipe, I was all, "You call this a soup? This ain't no stinkin' soup! Where's the soupiness?" And there really isn't any. It's just the liquid from the canned goods - so you don't need to drain them. It's more of a taco chili, I would say. Doesn't matter. It's still totally delicious! And it is really, really easy and fast to make.

Oh Paula, I still love you and secretly hope you'll become my bonus grandma.

Taco Soup

1.25 lbs package ground turkey
2 cups diced onions
1 (30 oz) large can pinto beans (or whatever kinds of beans you like)
1 (30 oz) large can kidney beans
2 cups frozen corn
4 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes (with or without chiles - I like mine with)
2 (4.5 oz) small cans diced green chiles
1 (1.25 oz) package low-sodium taco seasoning mix
(Optional) Extra dashes of cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper - as needed

Optional Toppings:
Fritos! NOT really an option, actually. Do it!
Sour cream
Grated cheese
Chopped green onions
Chopped cilantro
Pickled jalapenos

Make It:
Brown the ground turkey and onions in a large stockpot. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green chiles, and taco seasoning. Cook over low heat for as long as you can stand it.

What was that first picture missing? Ah, yessss! Lots and lots of Fritos!!!



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