Scary Movie Party

Last night, some friends came over and we celebrated Halloween in a small way. A kind of old school way.

I made Dan hook up a DVD/VCR in our living room so I could bring out some old movies, on tape, that we hadn’t watched since high school. The movie we ended up watching: Scream.

Wow is that movie old. We googled it, and it was made in 1996. No wonder Sydney was so suspicious that Billy was making those scary calls to her. he was the only one with a cell phone!

I made some snacks to go with the movie, and kept in the Halloween theme.

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In case you can’t tell, that’s Black cat eyes (these pumpkin seeds),

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freeze dried brains (amazing fall spiced air popped popcorn),

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and demon blood (red wine in a fancy decanter).

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I found those cute little tags here. You can print them for free! I cut out the one for the decanter, but for the other two, I folded the paper over to have a standing place card.

Good times were had by all.

I’ll be continuing the festivities tonight by dressing up (OK, just putting on a witch hat) and handing otu candy to all the trick-or-treators.

How will you celebrate Halloween today?

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Pumpkiny Snickerdoodles

I finally got around to trying to put a fall twist on a classic cookie.

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I found this recipe on pinterest, and knew I had to test it out.

I followed the recipe, only making one change. I used some brown sugar in the sugar-cinnamon mixture I rolled the dough in before baking. I like that it made the cookies a little speciklier.

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The verdict: They were good, but something was off. I think Dan hit the nail on the head when he said that the cookies were fluffy. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with fluffy, chewy cookies. It’s just that snickerdoodles aren’t supposed to be fluffy. I probably won’t make these again. I guess this goes to show you that sometimes, a classic shouldn’t be changed.

Stay tuned later on in the week to see what I did with the leftover canned pumpkin!

Italian Turkey Meatballs

Dan had a long week at work last week. Like, coming home at 1am long.

I was off on Friday, so I thought I’d cheer him up with his self-proclaimed favorite meal – spaghetti and meatballs.

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I stuck with my tried and true modified marinara sauce based on this recipe from Giada, with just a few tweaks.

It was kind of rainy outside, so I decided the meatballs would be turkey since that’s what I already had in my freezer.

I followed this Skinnytaste recipe mostly, but I used less cheese and added a bunch more italian spices – rosemary, basil, oregano, and parsley.

When making sure the meatballs were cooked, I balked a bit at the suggestion of letting the meatballs cook in the sauce for only 20 minutes. I let mine sit in there for closer to 35 minutes, and I definitely think it added some good flavor to both the meatballs and the sauce.

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It was a great Friday meal to end a busy week and start a relaxing weekend.

Leftovers were pretty delicious too. We made some meatball subs while enjoying some football on Sunday.

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We still have quite a bit of spaghetti and meatballs left that we better eat soon. We definitely got our money’s worth out of this meal.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Over the weekend, I went with my family to the Morton Arboretum out in the western suburbs. According to the Today weekend show, this was the best weekend in the Midwest to see fall foliage in all it’s glory. I think that prediction was correct. It was a gorgeous day, where I was able to take some photos like this

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and this.

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After we left, we went back to my in-laws’ house and carved pumpkins.

Yeah, I should have taken a photo of our pumpkins. But I didn’t.

I did sift through all the pumpkin guts to salvage the seeds from about 4 of the pumpkins for the express purpose of making roasted pumpkin seeds. They came out delicious.

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I took them home in a large freezer bag, and, at the advice of my sister-in-law, soaked the seeds in salt water overnight. It removed all the pumpkin gunk and infused the seeds with some salt.

Dan strained the seeds out of the water and put them in a bowl.

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We added some olive oil, paprika, chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder, just enough to coat the seeds.

Put them on foil lined baking sheets and bake them at 300 degrees for about 45 minutes, stirring the seeds occasionally.

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I ended up getting quite a few seeds – about 3 containers full. I only took a photo of this one.

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It’s a great, fairly healthy fall treat.

A Different Kind of Sweater Weather

I’ve always loved sweater pillows.They go with the fall like the sweaters I wear do.

Pottery Barn had some great ones last year. This year, I’m lusting after these from West Elm.

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But, at $39 a pop, without including the pillow inserts, these were just too rich for my blood.

I’ve seen many sweater pillow tutotials on pinterest, so I decided to try my hand at sewing some sweater pillows of my own.

I started by choosing some colors I’d want. I decided to stick in the light blue/beige/off white family. I figured it would match my living room colors, and would translate well from fall to winter, and even be OK for the holidays.

Dan and I took a trip to a local thrift store on half price day, and I think I bought all of these sweaters for less than $8 total.

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Now, it was just a matter of sitting down and sewing.

Because I don’t own a sewing machine, or know how to work one for that matter, I sewed everything by hand.

I didn’t really have an idea of how I was going to make each pillow cover. I just looked at each sweater, all in different styles, and tried to figure out what the easiest thing to do would be.

I think the results came out rather well.

I made four pillows.

Two for the chair and a half.

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And two for the couch.

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I think my favorite is the light blue cable knit pillow with the rosette embellishment I made from the collar of the sweater and a stray pearl button I had.

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Dan really likes this toggle closure too.

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Maybe they don’t look exactly like the West Elm ones, but with a savings of $148, again, not including the cost of pillow inserts, I think mine will do just fine.

You’re Batty

I started out my Halloween decor posts by showing you about how I made the creepy eyes for my front door.

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It’s even more fitting that I’m now showing you my front staircase to my apartment. Sort of like a virtual walking tour of my haunted house.

Yep, things are starting to get seriously spooky now with these entryway bats.

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I was inspired by this photo, which I saw pretty late in the Halloween game last year.

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I didn’t have the time or energy to make such a cool bat display last year, so instead, I made these bat specimen art frames.

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Would have been a whole lot easier with a bat hole punch, let me tell you.

This year, I started early, mindlessly tracing and cutting out bats while watching TV. I had all the bats in no time.

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I started out by googling for a bat template to trace.

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I printed the image on normal paper. Cardstock probably would have been the better choice, as it would have been easier to trace, but oh well. I cut out the template bat, then used it to trace the many bats that followed.

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I used plain black paper I purchased from Michael’s. 50 sheets for $3.99 with a 50% off coupon for a grand total of $2 plus tax. Not a large price for such a high impact decoration.

Once all the bats were cut out, I grabbed some plain tape and got to sticking them to the wall.

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The photos don’t do this justice. The stairway is a windy, narrow space, and these bats feel like they’re just flying ahead of you and up the stairs.

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It gets me in the Halloween mindset every time I walk in the door.

Enter…If You Dare

Last year, I showed you a bunch of my Halloween decorations. Some are the same, like the lighted house and tree, but I changed up some elements this year. Including the front door.

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Creepy huh?

Well, maybe not the sign. I got it at Kohl’s because I thought it was really cute.

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The creepy part is the eyes.

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Would you want to enter with those scary, disembodied eyes staring at you?

Luckily, making these evil eyes isn’t half as hard as mustering the courage to go past them.

I started by using a regular glass to trace circles on neon paper I had on hand. I used lime green, but I think these would look great in purple or orange too.

Cut out the circles (I made 6 circles for 3 pairs of eyes).

Next, you just have to freehand the pupils of the eyes. I took a pencil and lightly drew an outline of where I wanted the black part to be. Once I settled on how I wanted it to look, I put a black piece of paper under the circle and pressed down hard on the pupil lines. That left an small indent on the black paper so I knew where to cut.

Using the first cut out pupil as the template, I traced 5 more and cut them out.

Finally, I glued the pupils in place.

Wait a little while for the glue to dry, then tape the eyes to the door.

Check back tomorrow to see the spooky way I decorated my front stairway.