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Over the Memorial Day Weekend, I was craving Sangria. I had to work most of the weekend, but was finally able to enjoy the Memorial Day holiday on Monday.

I was feeling patriotic and grateful for all of those who served and are serving in our armed forces. I concocted a patriotic sangria that was perfect for Memorial Day, will be perfect for the 4th of July, and even something delicious to sip on during election night in November!

It was red, white, blue, and delicious! I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did! 

Ingredients

2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled, and halved (quartered, if large)

1 cup frozen sour cherries

1 cup frozen blueberries

1 1/2 oz cognac

1 1/2 oz St. Germain liqueur 

1 bottle of chilled, dry white wine, reisling or Sauvignon Blanc work well

Instructions

Add fruit to a pitcher, add cognac and St Germain. Lightly muddle fruit with liqueurs. Let chill in refrigerator for one hour. 

Add chilled wine to pitcher. Serve over ice if desired. Ladle some fruit into each glass!

Sip and Celebrate America, baby! 


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Warm up your Thanksgiving Table

Here’s an easy fall-Inspired craft that you can keep out until the Holidays roll in!

You’ll need

A trifle bowl or a deep bowl of some sort
A candle in a glass jar, preferably cream colored and unscented
Assorted nuts in their shells

Place the candle in the middle of your trifle bowl and place nuts around the candle halfway up the jar. It’s an easy seasonal centerpiece that looks great in any room of the house and even on the thanksgiving table!

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The Coven Party

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays! The air is getting crispier, the leaves are rustling, and not so far off in the distance you can hear a witch cackle after she sips her brew!

I’ve always wanted to have a witch-themed party. My favorite Wizard of Oz character was the wicked witch of the west. I loved Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic growing up. I may have (or still) dabble in a little harmless trickery now and then… ๐Ÿ˜‰

So I decided, in July, that this years theme would be “A Coven Party.” I only wanted to invite the women in my family to the event. 13, to be exact.

A ‘Coven’ is defined as a group or gathering of witches who meet regularly. (Thanks Google)

This was the perfect unifying theme for my Halloween party. An evening full of mysticism, great food, and laughter. We scheduled the evening to transpire during the Blood Moon in October.

What a magical night! We were faced with some challenges like heavy rains and wind, but after a spell (okay, and a few prayers) the rain cleared and our party was all set to take center stage.

The menu for the evening consisted of an autumn harvest theme starting with a Caramelized Shallot Soup with sautรฉed chestnuts and Gruyere cheese. We then served roasted fall vegetables and wild rice with balsamic mushrooms. The main course was a roasted pork loin with roasted persimmons and mustard greens. Everyone loved it!

The decorations were planned and made for weeks leading up to the party! The living room was our tribute to the witch of folk tales with spiders on the walls and ceiling. Ghastly curtains and upholstery covered the windows and furniture.

The dining room was centered as our practicing witch tribute. The dining room table served as an alter with straw, snakes, green eggs, and frogs. Also served as the place where all of our appetizers and desserts would be served. Witch sugar cookies, pumpkin breads, apples, and pumpkin Whoopie pies were all enjoyed after the feast while devilish eggs, cheeses, hummus, and assorted toasts were served prior to the meal.

Since we did the meal outside by our pool, we wanted to make a whimsical and magical environment for the evening, but keeping safety in check so no one fell in the pool. We took the prunings from our trees and bushes and placed them in large planters. We then took holiday lights and wrapped them around the clippings.

The centerpiece of our dinner table were two L Brackets drilled to a plywood base and then two somewhat large pruned branches were drilled into the L bracket to stand on their own. We put faux birds in the tree and laid pumpkins on the base, green of course. Glittered bugs, snakes, and spiders were all over the table with lots of Spanish moss.

The tablescape, the decor, and the food all made this night a smashing success! I hope you all find some inspiring ideas on here to go out and create your own Halloween party!

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I hope you enjoyed our Coven festivities! Happy Halloween!!

Budget Friendly DIY Costumes

Halloween is almost here! No really… IT. IS. ALMOST. HERE!!! My Facebook newsfeed is filled with pictures of my friends in their costumes. I especially admire the costumes that they’ve made! Let’s save some cash, get creative, and make our own outfits this Halloween. In the past, I’ve taken three routes to DIY outfit success; Makeup, Accessories, and Thrift Store shopping (Cue the Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis hook)

Make up Costumes

One of the easiest ways to achieve the look you’re going for is makeup! There are tons of tutorial videos on YouTube on achieving the look you want. Everything from Jack Skellkngton to Angelina Jolie’s adaptation of Maleficent, prosthetic cheekbones and all! They’re way easier than you think too, check them out below!!

Last year i was a French Aristocrat. The mask was made out of foam board cut outs, and feathers. The make up stole the show as my face was the “Teeth” of this creature.

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The year before that, I used makeup to become a terrifying urban legend, the Moth Man

Using pale cream based makeup and a loose powder I secured the base of this creature. Blacked out contacts, brown feathers cut and glued to fake eyelashes affixed to my own eyelashes, and moth wing clip art adhered to my skin with some eyelash glue topped this outfit, and made it one of the most memorable outfits I’ve ever done for Halloween!

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Maleficent YouTube Tutorial

Elsa “Frozen” Tutorial

Accessories to Accessorize!

Using headbands and old or cheap sunglasses as the star of your costume is another easy way to achieve a ghastly look!

Take a plain black headband and affix some black tuille or mesh netting of some sort. Imagine the fabric is a cobweb. Then take a small spider that we glittered and affix it to the headband, on top of the cobweb tuille. Affix it using glue, or my favorite… Some thin wire for a secure stay!

Using sunglasses and hot glue; Affix bugs, mini snakes, spiders, and roaches around the frame of the glasses!! Don’t block the eyes!!
Alternatively, take pipe cleaners cut to size and bend at 45 degree angles. Hot glue to the sides of your frames creating a spidery pair of sunglasses. Pale your face with foundation and pair with bright red lipstick! Little Miss Mupphet who?!?

Below are some really cute ideas to achieve! These photos are from marthastewart.com

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Thrift Shop Finds

If you must have a costume, try checking out a goodwill or thrift store for the perfect Halloween costume. Someone’s prior fashion faux-pas/”Worst mistake ever,” is now your Halloween outfit! Think creatively and outside the box! Imagine the possibilities! You will find treasures galore! (Just pick up some laundry detergent and give everything a good wash or two, prior to rocking out your outfit.)

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Happy Halloween DIYers! Send us your pics of what you come up with by commenting below!!

A Kids Halloween ‘CrAfternoon’

Halloween is almost here! My goodie bags of tricks and treats are packed. Cookies are always in the oven, and cider is stocked on the top shelf in the refrigerator.

I look forward to the triple threat of the holidays; Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas! With Halloween so close, I thought I’d invite over some family members for a kids ‘Crafternoon,’ to make some cute and spooky Halloween Crafts.

We had such a great time. First, they walked through our haunted house or “Chamber of Horrors.” Voodoo Dolls, Tarot Cards, and spiders spiders everywhere. It was a ghastly sight but they squealed with delight! We munched on homemade treats, my witch sugar cookies, and drank local cider, or as I call it, the Witch’s Poison Apple Brew.

Kids’ crafts get such a bad reputation! I have to blame the adults in charge! Haha. You can’t give a kid a glue stick, some play-dough, and a piece of construction paper and expect Picasso!

Kids have very active imaginations and they’re extremely creative. Give your kids the right tools for the right job! Go find some Halloween stickers on the clearance rack and maybe some pads of seasonal paper (use those coupons.) I also stock up on craft punches in seasonal shapes at the end of the season on clearance and save them for the next year. Bit of a craft hoarder here, but it works!

I can’t promise that your kids will create Van Gogh-esque works of art, but I can promise that each work of art is a direct expression of that child’s creativity, which really is the endgame!

So here’s three EASY, adorable, affordable, and spooky Halloween craft ideas that your kids will love doing and will love showing them off!

Refrigerator Art!
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This craft is so much fun. I busted out the craft punches, the glue pens (which are a savior for ‘No Mess Crafts,’) some spooky paper, some black card stock, and white chalk.

Have your kids cut out creepy shapes with their craft punches. We cut out pumpkins and spiders

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Then have them put a bit of glue on the back of each shape. We used the glue pens, but glue sticks will do this job perfectly as well. The patterns they create are so cute! Victoria, 9, and Gavin, 4, both really enjoyed this craft!

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Have them scribble a Halloween message in chalk or just display their cut out shapes on the refrigerator for the Halloween season. It might just garner a scream out of mom or dad or any trick-or-treater that passes through.

Sticker Pumpkins!

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I LOVE this craft! I love carving pumpkins but they are so messy and can kill the crafty mood quick if you’re trying to do more than one craft with kids. One trick I try is I stock up on stickers! The scrapbook aisle at a crafts store is filled with thousands, literally thousands, of stickers in all shapes and sizes. Stock up on some stickers and let those imaginations get to work. We went with all sorts of whimsical shapes and creations to really makes some adorable, porch-worthy pumpkins!

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Pipe Cleaner Spiders

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This is such a fun and easy craft idea! You can make 1 or 2 or 200… They take no time at all and kids love them. They look so whimsical and have so much personality. I’m sure you will love them. Take a large Pom-Pom (1 to 1 1/2inch in size) and four black pipe cleaners. Those are all you need!

Place your Pom Pom on top and in the middle of three pipe cleaners. Take the fourth pipe cleaner and lay it under and perpendicular to the others. Bring the perpendicular pipe cleaner up over the Pom Pom and other pipe cleaners and twist it to secure the pipe cleaners to the Pom Pom. Then lay a finger under the pipe cleaners, next to the Pom Pom and bend the pipe cleaners down over your finger creating the leg shape. Repeat on the other side. The slightly bend the bottom of each pipe cleaner ‘leg’ creating a foot. Spread out the legs and shape to size. They’re sort of like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike!

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I hope you enjoyed our crafternoon of tricks and treats! The kids absolutely loved their time spent at the haunted house on the hill and we sent them out the door with all sorts of treats! Painted coffins stuffed with soft caramel chews and small treat bags filled with candy corn! I hope it’s a Halloween they’ll remember forever, and I really hope they give their parents a good fright in the night with those pipe cleaner spiders!!

Off with His (or Her) Head!!

We’re gearing up for our Halloween party this weekend, and the house looks like a crime scene!

One of my favorite decorations that I made this year are these mummy heads! They look so eerie and so creepy!!

They couldn’t be easier to make though, and they’re so inexpensive!

Keep them handy after Halloween to fire a warning shot to future boyfriends, bad neighbors, and the newspaper delivery service if they keep throwing the papers in your new rose bushes. You might get the “Psycho on the Street” label, but you’ll have beautiful rose bushes! ๐Ÿ˜œ

To make this project a little easier, I’ve included a how-to video!

For this project you will need:

Room Temperature Coffee
Paper Towels
Styrofoam Head
Mod-Podge
Craft Brush.

Pour coffee in a 9×13 baking dish. Soak your paper towels in the coffee and wring them out. Leave them crinkled up though, do not unfold. Let them dry on a rimmed baking sheet. This might take 2 or 3 days.

After your strips are dried, rip them into strips, about 1 to 2 inches in length up the width of your paper towel. Then it’s time to get gluing!

Brush mod-podge over a sizable surface of the head and start layering on paper towel. Brush glue over top the paper towel and keep layering on strips of paper towel. The end game of this project is to cover the entire head and not have any white styrofoam showing through. This project doesn’t have to be nice and neat, it’s a mummy!! The scarier, the better!

Be sure that when you get to the front of the head to really push your paper towel into the features like the eyes, nose, and mouth. This will help the features stand out when it’s dry.

After the entire surface is coated, let your head dry. This will take a few hours, but not too long.

Display your head in the window, on a cake stand, or amongst glasses of red wine to send a chill down your guests spine!

Happy Halloween!!

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Budget Bash Idea: Glittered Spiders and Pumpkins and Bones… Oh My!!

Halloween parties are not cheap! They can get expensive very quickly. Unless you have a home full of spiders, cobwebs, and bones (who doesn’t?!?) you have a lot of accessories to stock up on to create the eerie effect of a haunted house!

I’ve teamed up again with Liz Bell from ‘Mornings with Liz’ on the new Warm103.3 to bring you some really great party tricks and treats to make your Halloween stylish, fun, and oh so budget-friendly!

One of my go-to party tricks is buying a lot of spiders, bugs, bones, skulls, and pumpkins from the dollar store! These decorations are not cute, that’s why they’re a dollar! HOWEVER… That’s the beauty of this craft! You’re taking something ugly, garish, and atrocious and turning it into something beautiful!! Sort of like fanny packs meeting the nearest trash can; That kind of beautiful!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Just bust out the glue, the glitter, and a large freezer bag! I also grab a craft paint brush to brush the glue on the larger items. That is it! A couple craft and kitchen supplies, some ugly and cheap decorations, and you’re set to repurpose and create some very pretty and spooky creations!

I glitter everything! True: it IS the herpes of arts of crafts BUT some of these tricks will ease the mess, and not have your friends thinking you were a back up dancer in a Ke$ha video…

For spiders. I brush them with glue, Elmer’s Glue diluted with a little water works brilliantly, and drop them into the freezer bag. I then sprinkle glitter in the bag and Shake. Sort of like “shake and bake” but prettier… And zero mess!! The glitter stays in the freezer bag. Remove your spiders with tweezers and let dry completely. Alternatively, let them dry in the bag.

“Shake and bake baby!!!”

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Pumpkins, I stock up on at the dollar store and I’ll use a brush and brush glue on half the pumpkin, I’ll immediately glitter and shake off the excess and let dry. Once dry, usually in an hour or two, I’ll do the other side! Display them on stacked cake stands for a fun effect!

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Another fun idea to try is glittered skulls. Use the same method as used with the pumpkin. Gluing and glittering half of the head. Letting it dry, and repeating with the other side. Display these glittered skulls on cake stands with moss as a bed or on an oversized lantern. I used a portable LED light (for closet lighting) attached at the top of the lantern to cast a glow on these skulls.

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Kids LOVE these crafts! Your adult friends will ooh and ahh, maybe even scream, at your creations! The effort and money put into these projects are minimal, and you can put your money towards other necessary expenses… Like winning best dressed at a costume contest! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Stay classy, and remember glitter makes everything that much better!

-B

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