Halloween Only Comes Once A Year

Ok, so I know I am a little late with this post also, but I really wanted to share with you my recent Halloween projects.  This was the first year that J was truly into Halloween. Last year, she was super cute telling everyone that she was going to be a “Baby Bug” aka Lady Bug. However, this year, she went as far to pick out her own costume- Princess Ariel- and was not shy about going door to door to beg for candy.  She is very aware of all the candy she received and asks about it from the time she wakes up in the morning to the time she goes to bed. Daddy could not get away with eating her candy this year. She would notice if a single piece went missing.

J also now goes to daycare, or “school,” several times a week and had a class party. I had been admiring some of the cute snacks folks were pinning on Pinterest, and thought I would like to give it a shot. See my inspiration board here. I did a little googling myself and decided on the following.

Witch’s Hats

These are made with a Keebler Fudge Stripes cookie turned fudge side up. Simply use a little cake frosting (the kind in a tube is fine) to glue an unwrapped Hershey’s kiss in the hole. Add more frosting around the perimeter of the circle to make it look more like a witch’s hat. Sprinkles are optional, and getting them to stick was the hardest part of this treat.

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Witch’s Brooms

Moving along to something a little healthier, I made witch’s brooms out of pretzels and string cheese. I used small stick pretzels and cut each cheese stick into thirds. I used my kitchen shears to make the cheese look like the bottom of a broom and inserted the pretzel in the top. As a finishing touch, many folks tie the broom with either chives or licorice. I initially tied mine with string licorice but didn’t like the cherry licorice-cheese taste combo and did not think my licorice tying skills were at all good.

An important note on this one. If preparing the night before, make all the cheese brooms ahead of time and then insert the pretzels in the morning. The pretzels will become soggy in the fridge. Of course, I brought them to school at 7 in the morning, so I am sure the school refrigerated them, but refrigeration for a few hours is probably better than a whole night and then some. No one likes a soggy pretzel.

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Jack O Lantern Oranges

And while watching the Red Sox win the World Series (Go Boston!), I began to fear that, perhaps, there were not going to be enough healthy snacks at this party. So I got out a sharpie and started drawing faces on cuties to turn them into Jack O Lanterns. I quickly found out that the citrus in the peel kills your sharpie and moved on to a kid friendly dry erase marker. Don’t worry, folks, the marker does not penetrate the peel.  I did take the time to confirm this and also that the marker did not rub off onto little fingers when held. I feel pretty confident that oranges remained 100% safe to eat.

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My Facebook feed was filled with a lot of cute pictures of snacks made by other mommas I know. I can’t wait to try out some more ideas next year. I love when I’m able to pull off a Pinterest project without a hitch as I could probably come up with several blog posts under the heading “Pinterest Gone Wrong.”

Happy Belated Halloween!

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I Do… So Love October Weddings (Part II- Dazzle the Church and Reception)

IDoOctober

Recently, Dean and I celebrated our 6 year wedding anniversary and spent the following weekend attending a wedding in Chicago. It brought back all kinds of memories of the effort and time we put into making sure our own wedding was the party of our lives. In the last segment, I talked about how we looked- dresses, shoes, bouquets and boutonnieres. In this segment, I’ll talk about all the small details- how the church, reception and tables were decorated. This was my favorite part of the planning!

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The church in which we married was very old and simply furnished. We opted to skip altar flowers and, instead, bought some potted mums and wrapped them in burlap to add fall flair. The ends of the pews were decorated with indian corn embellished with brown bows. I made two fall wreaths for the red church doors. They were made of a grapevine leaf form covered with dyed leaves and pinecones. See my next post on autumn decor for a quick tutorial.

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Our reception was held in the barn at the Salem Cross Inn.  It has a rustic feel too it and required very little decorating.  The barn is filled with antiques, many of which were rescued from a severe flood. Through Christmas, the barn is lit with soft white lights that made the dance floor feel magical. If you choose the prime rib as an entree, it roasts on an old-fashioned spitfire during your cocktail hour. We borrowed upon the look and feel of the place by using a vintage suitcase to hold our “guest book,” which consisted of post cards from all the places we’ve collectively lived (Salem NH, Long Island, Boston, Ft Lauderdale, San Francisco and Austin). Our parting gifts were apples picked from a local orchid and we hand stamped white bags with an apple motif. Our only fault here was displaying the apples in baskets and encouraging the guests to bag their own apples.  I think my parents were eating apples for weeks afterward.

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We spent the majority of our effort on the table decor. For the guest place card holders, we used mini pumpkins. Our tables were named for the various countries we have visited.  They were marked with mini suitcases similar to these sold here and decorated with old time travel posters and luggage labels.

The centerpieces were made out of wheat. I got the idea from Martha Stewart who says you just secure several bunches of wheat with a rubber band, hide the rubber band with a ribbon and trim the ends so it sits on the table evenly. Oh is that all? Well, they were not at all stable that way and required a lot of wheat. This is the point when Dean became involved with the centerpieces. He got the idea to glue bunches of wheat to a cone. We were able to get wheat at Garden Ridge and Hobby Lobby. The cones were cardboard Santa hats from the Christmas section at Hobby Lobby.  When we bought all those up in every store, we turned to plastic megaphones. We would tape together 5 or 6 pieces of wheat. We then glued the bunches all the way around the cardboard cones. After 2-3 layers like this, the center pieces looked amazing. We then added long stalks of orange aveeno and green grasses and secured with green ribbon.  I bought green silky ribbon, but when that ran out, we used the green ribbon from all our Pottery Barn registry gifts. Worked like a charm. The centerpieces were very stable and durable this way; however, it took forever to make 20. We had an assembly line going on our kitchen island on many hot August nights. Then, we lovingly packaged them up and shipped them to NH, and they survived the trip! I still have two, which are currently on my dining room table for the fall.

I also had an insane desire to make my own napkin rings. These were made of gold wire ribbon to which I sewed an acorn or pair of acorns. Prepping the acorns was the hardest part. Acorns tend to harbor acorn weevils and you do not want these little bugs making an appearance on your dinner table. After we collected the acorns, we froze them (for months). When I was ready to make the napkin rings, I cooked the acorns on low for several hours in the oven. I then sprayed them with clear, glossy spray paint to preserve them.  It was a little tricky sewing on the acorns (this ultimately worked and looked better than superglue), but they came out great and I still have a set of 12 to use at Thanksgiving.  The only bad part was the reception site made me put the napkin rings on the napkins. Thanks to my Mom and my high school girl friends Jamie and Megan who stayed up until 1 AM with me during Red Sox play offs (we later won the World Series for the first time since 1918) to sew napkin rings and learn how to properly fold a napkin.

Thanks again to our photographer David Tucker who gets the credit for the majority of these pictures and was truly a pleasure. I am so glad for the randomness in which my coworker Kathy (in Austin) recommended her sister’s friend who turned out to be one of the best wedding photographers in all of Boston.

Of course, when it comes down to it, no one but me really remembers the decor. They remember whether they had a good time and if the food was good. The two things folks consistently recall about our wedding are the Salem Cross Inn’s chocolate mousse cake and our band, kickass Boston cover band Magnus. We rocked the night away, and it was truly the party of our lives. Cheers to my love and everyone who made it a beautiful night.  Thank you.

I Do… So Love October Weddings (Part I- Dress the Part)

IDoOctober

In my opinion, October is the best month ever. Both my husband and I have October birthdays, we love Halloween and hands down, fall is the best season in New England. So when it came time to picking a date for our wedding, there was no question in our minds that it would be in October. After trekking all over Massachusetts to find the perfect spot, we settled on the Salem Cross Inn in West Brookfield, MA.  Problem was, the only two dates they had open in October were my hubby-to-be’s birthday or the day before mine.  And that is how, 6 years ago, I married my love on the day before my 30th birthday. Nothing like sneaking it in at the last minute.

Autumn is filled with so much beauty that it lends itself to picture perfect details when it comes to wedding decor. I had no shortage of ideas, and this is how Dean and I ended up spending an entire summer making wheat sheaf centerpieces. Martha Steward move over, my dear husband takes crafting to a whole other level.

Here are a few of the details from our wedding that I recently revisited as we celebrated our 6th anniversary (Really! Has it been that long?).  I really enjoyed this walk down memory lane, and hope you do too.

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Every bride must have the perfect dress.  I knew I wanted an A-line with detailing on a fitted bodice and along the hem.  I must have tried on dozens of such dresses. They always say when you know, you know.  And I did not believe this to be true until I jumped over a counter to grab a dress I spied out of the corner of my eye, and it was the same one that was my favorite at the first place I tried on dresses.  The dress I chose was from the Casablanca Spring 2005 collection, number 1776 (a great year for America, btw). It was my dream dress and came in under budget. How many girls get to say that? I purchased my dress and had all the fittings done at Alexia Gavela Bridal. Geri is fantastic. I highly recommend. I always get a kick out of the catalogue image of this dress. See what I mean?

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Thankfully, I chose to wear my hair a little differently and am not tall enough to reach very many well hung chandeliers.

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My shoes were Lilla by Grace. I became enamored with them online, but they cost more than I was willing to spend. Then, I found them 50% off completely by accident. Score! This shoe has long been discontinued, but if you like it, you can grab it at a deep discount on Overstock.

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The shoes had a very comfortable low heel. However, I did not want to risk my dancing being impeded in any way, so I changed into Sketchers ballerina sneakers in silver for the reception.

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My bridesmaids wore black dresses with champagne sashes by Bill Levkoff. The maid of honor dress was style 550 and the 966 for the bridesmaids.

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Our flowers were done by Natalie of Ladyslipper Designs. I carried a bouquet of flame calla lilies. The girls carried bouquets of cream colored hydrangeas with hypericum berries and lemon leaves. The MOH bouquet also included cream colored tea roses. I painstakingly made boutonnieres out of fabric leaves and wheat; however, they did not photograph well so we ended up having Natalie make us calla lily boutonnieres: flame color for Dean and cream for the groomsmen, ring bearer and Dads. The Moms wore cream colored tea roses with a black ribbon.

The flower girl carried a pumpkin full of fall leaves instead of rose petals. Problem was she got cold feet and forgot to drop her leaves. But she was still adorable! Don’t you think?

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The ring bearer carried this beautiful pillow made by my sister and MOH.

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Our photographer was the amazing David Tucker, and he gets the credit for the majority of the photos posted here. He is truly wonderful. Stay tuned for Part II- Dazzle the Church and Reception. Did I mention how much I love fall weddings? Especially ours.