Monday, October 31, 2011

Candy Corns,Caramels, Tootsie Rolls and More. I love Halloween Candy

I love candy corns, tootsie rolls, and Kraft, only Kraft caramels, and of course caramel apples!!!

What is your favorite Halloween candy? Do tell?

Do you buy candy that you like in the hopes that not many little ghosts and goblins will come and there will be more for you? Or do you buy stuff you dislike so that you will not eat it? I have tried both methods but unfortunately none of these seem to work for me. I think I have some weird disease, sugaritis! Is it possible?

All images Pine Cones and Acorns

Happy Halloween!

Imagination is the true magic carpet!
Norman Vincent Peale

I hope you have a fabulous Halloween!
From what I wish was my house, to yours, Happy Halloween!!!!

Image via Pinterest, could not locate original source. If your photo, please contact for proper credit.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Grandmother the "Witch"

I've lived a magical life and I am lucky because I have always been surrounded by love, imagination, colorful story tellers and taught to believe.

Image from The Graphics Fairy

From the time I was a small child my grandfather wove tales of our heritage to amuse as well teach us. In addition to my relatives, Hocus Pocus Johnny Mocus, the alligators in the basement that guarded the barrels of money and the shark that bit off the tip of his finger, my grandfather loved to share tales about my grandmother who was a "witch" and lived in a beautiful tower.

via Martha Stewart

 He claimed that after we went to bed, she took her long black hair down, hopped on her broom and rode off  to see the city and perhaps to visit her friends before going to sleep in her tower castle and then coming back by morning to see us.

Image from Wicked Faerie Queen

He often took us driving by her beautiful tower and when we asked if we could go in the answer was always no, you could only go in at night and the only way in was to fly on your broom to the top window.

via Pine Cones and Acorns

Being of a young, fertile mind I thought perhaps the story was true because after all, my grandmother did have long, black hair ( most witches do), it reached her rear end, and she always wore it in a bun, she also always took it down at night and would brush it, 100 strokes to keep it soft.  In addition, she did a lot of sweeping with a really cool broom ( witches have these too), and sometimes when she wasn't looking we would take it outside to the garden to see if we could get it to work.

Then, there was her tower which was perched on a hill, overlooking the beautiful Lake Michigan and surrounded by beautiful houses and a park, clearly visible for all of Milwaukee to see, even those far out to sea. 

Visible for all all to see, even the ships out to sea!

My grandfather would drive us by the magical tower and although we could see the beautiful windows and the architecture there was no door that I could ever find.

I dreamed of visiting her here!

 Most importantly, every time we asked her if she was a witch, and I can tell you there were many times, she just smiled and said we should "believe in things we cannot see."

I never really had reason to doubt these stories because I did often see my grandfather come out of the basement, from a room we were never allowed  into, and he always came out with a box of money, which he gave us a quarter from every Friday to go the penny candy store (dating myself a days that doesn't get you much). He did take us to meet Hocus Pocus Johnny Mocus, a distant relative who gave us candy and soda and was a magical man. And my grandfather was missing the tip of his index finger. Clearly evidence to a small child and her siblings to believe any and all tales.

Image Graphics Fairy

I also had other reasons to believe, my grandmother was from a family of 13 children, and she had 10 children herself, from a stock of hard working, land owning, German, Catholics. She was magical, because whenever you were with her she made you feel like the most important person in the world and she made you feel loved. She was a hard worker, industrious, intelligent and she loved to read, which is a magical gift that she passed on to me. 

 She worked magic in the kitchen and would whip up delectable treats, Cinnamon buns, Christmas cookies, cakes, and tasty morsels for family and friends, and often she let her little apprentices stand side by side with her, rolling dough and frosting cookies. Even when times were tough, she always used her magic and faith to find ways to feed her children and to make sure they had a wonderful life.

My grandmothers "slab apple pie"

 She instilled in us the value of family, the importance of love, and a zest and joy for life. She also taught us about the magic of tradition and to always be there for one another and the fact that there is "no place like home."

 I believe and think that is the most magical of beliefs. So my guess is that if she was a witch she was the best kind there is...a Good Witch.

I think of her often and miss her all the time but mostly when I see her tower which I visit each time I am in Milwaukee. I stand there and imagine her up high with her friends sharing a cocoa and a cinnamon bun looking down and smiling at me.

Image Pine Cones and Acorns

Happy Halloween!
 Be safe and Enjoy! I hope you do not eat too much candy and tasty treats!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Crazy Saturday

What crazy weather we are having here on the East Coast, thankfully we are NOT having any of this, at least for now.

We are getting lots of this!

When really what we want is this!

I am baking of this!

And drinking lots of this!

While dreaming of this!

And snuggling with this!


All photos taken by me Pine Cones and Acorns

Friday, October 28, 2011

Easy Macaroni and Cheese and "To Die for Brownies"

I am so ready for the weekend! I am tired and there are lots of projects that I have found lately perusing my old and new holidays magazines, mostly food, but I have seen a few crafty projects that even I can tackle. 

I am not really a big fan of Halloween, although I love to see all of the kiddies dressed up and I have many fond memories of a pillow case of tasty candy, I do not like all the gory, scary stuff. That's me, I know a lot of people enjoy it and I say, go for it!

I have a few random things to share today, one is a delicious, EASY, EASY, recipe for the best macaroni and cheese you will ever make or eat. That is, if you like macaroni and cheese. WARNING: These recipes are not for people on diets!


1. The recipe is this simple. Put a pot of water on to boil, when water comes to a boil, add noodles and cook until barely soft, el dente.

2. In the meantime, take a big bowl, metal, glass, make sure it can withstand some heat. Take any and all cheese that you have in your refrigerator, I like to use cheddar, Swiss, some very pungent and soft blue, bust basically I use whatever I have. (I like to make this after a party when you have too much cheese leftover.) If it is shredded throw it in, if it is a huge hunk, then cut into little chunks, also add a 1/4 stick of cream cheese, and some salt and pepper.

3. Take a pan and spray with pan or butter, set aside. In a saucepan, heat up milk, cream, or some sort of milk product. Let it come to a simmer.

4. When the noodles are cooked, drain and throw on top of the cheese mixture and let sit for a few minutes until cheese starts to melt. Then add the simmering milk, mix and pour the mixture into a baking pan.

5. Bake on 350 covered with foil for about 25 minutes, you can see it bubbling. Then take off tin foil and let brown on top.

Out of the oven comes a pan of cheesy, creamy goodness. This macaroni is so good that you will not stop at one bowl.

Second random item, check out my other blog Once Upon A Chocolate Life for this recipe! These brownies are to die for, or so the reviews say. I made these yesterday for a party and everyone loved them.


Linking to Mom Trends

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blogs on Fire Award!

Yesterday I received a Blogs on Fire Award from Dianne at Yonks! I am honored that such a prolific writer and wonderful person gave me this award. I love reading Yonks and am in awe of her talent and the the colorful life that she has led. For those of you that do not know Dianne, she is the mother of one, happily married, former Colorado resident, who lives on a sailboat in Cardiff, Wales and runs an incredibly successful Etsy store. In addition to that she continually writes an interesting and intriguing blog, she profiles Self-Representing artists, she offers readers wonderful tidbits of history, most often of some of the offerings from her store and historical figures,and so much more! Thank you Dianne, I am honored to be in your company!

The rules of the award are to tell five facts about yourself and then to present the award to 5 blogs.

Here are my facts:

1. I have a Bachelors, a Masters and two years under my belt toward a Doctorate, in International Relations. My thesis and concentration of study was Chemical and Biological Weapons. I also studied Egyptology( thought I might be an archeologist), and have a certificate in the study of Holocaust Literature.

2. I dream of living in Scotland! Why? I have no idea except that the first time and every other time I have been there I "feel" like I am home, and have an overwhelming sense of peace there. Strange I know but true. Perhaps I lived there in a past life?

3. I have spent the last 20 something years traveling back and forth to France, most often Paris, for long stretches at a time and I do not speak French, unless I have too, not even to my friends of 20 years! I am insecure and do not like to be corrected or have people stare blankly at me if they do not understand! My husband gets so irritated that he is learning French so that he can do the talking.

4. Although I often speak of my love of hot chocolate and have gained a reputation of a Chocoholic, I rarely, if ever eat chocolate in any other form, not candy bars, not cake, not brownies. Although I love to bake with it and give it away.

5. I do not eat meat (except the occasional hamburger), chicken or any seafood. I lived in Alaska for two years when I was younger and our field trip was to watch the spawning of the salmon. Perhaps that tainted me? As for meat and chicken, I do not like the texture of it and have not eaten it for over 20 years. Weird but true.

Now for the Blogs on Fire Award recipients!!!!

Castles Crowns and Cottages:

Anita is such a beautiful and gentle soul. I love to visit her blog to read her inspirational and thought provoking writing coupled with her stirring images which are perfectly matched to the written word, and accompanying music. In addition to being a beautiful writer and person, she is a Renaissance Woman as far as I am concerned, and her tenacity and will is not to be matched. Anita is a self taught harpist, she went to school and earned a degree in French at the age of 34 and is now an Immersion Teacher, and she is a very talented artist and writer as well. Recently, in addition to her blog, and her teaching duties and writing, she opened up an Etsy store to sell her wonderful drawings, little theatres and magical creations.

The Enchanted Home:

This beautiful blog is written by Tina, and not only does she chronicle her adventures in building her dream house, which I might add is like watching fine artisans and craftsman build "The Breakers", or an English Manor House, she uses her blogging influence and readership to highlight other blogs in a weekly series. The readers of this beautiful and informative blog are transported every time they read this blog, Tina has an considerable archive of wonderful rooms and she shares them all with her readers! We all get to share in the building, and decorating of a wonderful family home and hopefully soon Tina's new business ventures!

Witty and Wise

Irina is the writer of this and two other blogs, and all are beautiful, magical and they speak to your soul. I found her through Anita and I love reading her beautiful, thoughtful and heartfelt posts. Her images mirror her thoughts and it is a feast for the senses whenever she posts. She is a beautiful soul and from what I have surmised from her posts and comments a wonderful friend and gifted writer.

Content in a Cottage

Rosemary offers often more than once a day a beautiful, cute or thought provoking image. The offerings are anything from a cute pup, to a beautiful English cottage, or a wonderful landscape  and most recently several photos from her new IPhone. I love coming to visit this blog because there is always something to make me smile and to ponder about where she finds so many delightful images!

Collage of Life

Jeanne is the writer of this and several other blogs, and they are all beautiful. She is an incredibly talented photographer and writer and uses these talents to share her life in England, (by way of Australia by way of the East Coast of the US) interesting adventures in London and abroad, snippets about her children, wonderful books and more. Each time I visit one of her blogs I feel as if I am walking along side her snapping of photos of an English garden or Brocante Sale, or off on a wonderful adventure to London, or sharing a cup of tea, reading one of the many books that she speaks about. I also love the fact that Jeanne is filled with wonderful suggestions for dressing and being comfortable, looking stylish and being yourself!

If you do not know these blogs I urge you to check all of them out, I promise you will not be disappointed!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sarah Richardson Lovely Farmhouse


Sarah Richardson, the host and designer of HGTV started her career on TV over 15 years ago, and to date myself, I remember watching her on TV then! Although not all of her designs are my style I love her approach to decorating, she frequently recycles or up cycles or buys vintage and although she will splurge on some things, like a marble tile or a beautiful fabric, she seems to make a budget and stick to it. Or perhaps that is the magic of TV. Whatever the case she has designed and refurbished several houses on TV for her series, Sarah's House.
In addition to her roles on TV she she has led her design firm, Sarah Richardson Design, Inc, developed indoor and outdoor furniture lines and a paint line. She is considered one of the top designers in Canada and is frequently featured in the top design magazines there.
Check out this weekend retreat that she designed for weekends with her husband, children, puppy and extended family. I love it, it is relaxing, low key, yet stylish.

Original house with addition

I love this piece, it is from the Royal Bank

My favorite spot in the house! Love the sign!

Master Bedroom

Family Bathroom

Fun Vignette

What do you think? Is it a place that you could spend time on the weekend? I know I could retreat here on the weekends and cozy up on the couch with a book, cocoa(of course), snugly blanket and a roaring fire.

I said it before and I will say it again, I really love the use of vintage furnishings, light fixtures, and the sense of age. I also like that she designs to suit the house. I am a little bit of a traditionalist like that, I like when houses are decorated to suit their style and age. It hurts my eyes and my sensibilities when you walk into a colonial and it is decorated like a 50's bachelor pad, or a modern house that is decorated with Victorian period pieces. This is just my opinion, I know people like to mix and I am OK with that, I do it too. I am just talking about the glaringly obvious design flaws.

All images from HGTV

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Morning Images of Everyday Life

 I am learning how to take better(hopefully) photos with my camera, and this morning I thought I would experiment.These are some images from around my home that I liked after my photo shoot.

Poor little birds cannot even take a bath!

Piece of Art called "The Family"

Bark from a Crepe Myrtle tree

Early morning mist

Morning visitor, through a screen window

Feather and Flowers

I love this little feather on the flowers, it was very small and I really had to zoom in.

Another visitor!

In this neck of the woods the weather is a little strange lately, it still gets very hot during the day and our summer trees and flowers are still thriving, so I really do not want to throw them out and get some mums...which are my least favorite flower. The crepe myrtle is a constant battle, it is now dropping seeds, leaves and the last remaining flowers. I love my early morning visitors, the birds and the squirrel are so amusing.