Friday, October 30, 2015

Eerie Entertainment!

Who doesn't love lists? Now, what if I told you I had a list of things that included PICTURES?? Anyone cheering?
While looking up all things Halloween, I was thoroughly enjoying flashbacks as I perused the lists that Halloween had to offer. From movies, books, to things to do, I was in listing heaven. Some things on the list I have done, read, seen, and some I'm marking "to-do".

BUT WAIT! Shouldn't there be a list of things to do?? Things I MUST do?? Yes! Yes there is!

My Fav (any season) movie wasn't listed, nor was my fav horror book... so I here they are!

1. What's your fav movie during Halloween?
2. Ever read any of those spooky books?
3. Wanna cuddle to a horror movie? I meant with Freddy Krueger.

We'd like to give a standing O to Tammy for taking over this week. She did a fantastic job! Thanks, Tammy! We hope you'll come back soon!

Tammy's a really real housewife...after trying to sleep in, hit snooze 3 times, rush 4 kids to school, go to work, come home to cook, clean little messes here and there, run kids to functions, swap laundry, work on current book, and kiss heavily on her man. Then...and only then, does she finally claim her title. *falls asleep with book in hand*

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Tasty Trick or Treats

Tammy's back!!! And we're lucky to have her. Tammy is all sorts of fun and awesomeness. If you're not following her blog, well, that's just not smart. Go follow...HERE

I think Halloween treats have been kicked to the curb compared to Thanksgiving and the show-off Christmas. Plus, since this year my little nephews are here and they're used to Disneyworld's Halloween antics, I have to make the food super creepy good! Therefore, Pinterest was smokin' with all my research. Wanna see my menu idea?? Take a look. IF YOU DARE!!!

  *Donuts made with plastic fangs and chocolate chips.
  *Bloody fingers made by slicing a finger nail and several lines for finger                                                  creases out of a hot dog; add ketchup for blood.
  *Mummy hot dogs made with cheese wrapped around the hot dog by cut                                                up crescent roll dough.

*Pumpkin barf made from guacamole; pair with chips.
*Spider eggs made from hor d'oeuvres with olive slices and whole olives.

 *Zombie head is made from meatloaf with onion eyes/teeth and bacon on top.
 * Zombie body is chicken legs, thighs, sausage, hotdogs, etc.

*Popcorn hand made with popcorn and candy corn for nails in plastic glove; 
      pair with spider ring.
*Pumpkin made from dyed rice krispie treats and tootsie roll stem.

1. Do you have any favorite Halloween treats?
2. Think you'll try any of these creepy foods?
3. Ever mix candy corn and peanuts? (So good!)

Tammy is a really real housewife...after trying to sleep in, hit snooze 3 times, rush 4 kids to school, go to work, come home to cook, clean little messes here and there, run kids to functions, swap laundry, work on current book, and kiss heavily on my man. Then...and only then, does she claim her housewife queen crown...which slides off as she falls asleep with book in hand. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Thrifty Threads!

This week we welcome TAMMY THERIAULT! She's got the goods for this Halloween!

My earliest memory of thrifty costumes for Halloween was when we moved to El Paso, TX October of 1989. We were in an apartment complex, and Halloween was a few days away. So good ol' Dad put sheets over us, cut a few holes, and we all went with a pillow case in hand to each of our neighbor's doors. Granted, going to an apartment complex is nearly cheating, but who could resist 4 Ghost Girls?!

However, in this old photo, you can clearly see we knew what a good costume was way before 1989. It cut your face, was uncomfortable, and plastic. Heavily plastic.

Now, I don't spend more than $10 per kid on a costume, and I go to the thrift stores to make it happen. I can piece together anything! Or they choose to dive into our big tub full of old costumes. (Great for those rainy days). In fact, check out these thrifty ones from last year!

Scream, Superman, Snow Queen, Ladybug
My kids have never complained especially when I do the whole "$40 for like 2 hours??" gripe. Besides, it's so dark, half the time you can't show off your costume anyways!

In the end, it's not about the expensive costumes, but the free candy you get to chow down while the kids are sleeping! And that is priceless!

1. Are you a thrifty costume buyer?
2. What was your earliest costume memory growing up?
3. Admit cut your face on those dang plastic masks, didn't you?

Tammy's Links

Friday, October 23, 2015

Guess who?

For Free for All Friday, I thought I'd give you a laugh with all my own homemade costumes. I never cheesed out in my twenties by dressing up as the sexy cat or sexy maid - I don't recall ever being sexy. I'm a cornball through and through! Enjoy!
from college - yes, I used a sheet and tin foil

crashed party with our mystery masks - that's my hair!

Calvin & Hobbes - wish I still had the Hobbes I made...

the blue MnM the year it came out!

a tourist handing out candy =)
Ah memories - what costumes have you made? share them on Facebook and tell me where to look!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Costumes + Creativity = Confidence

Don't be afraid to be different. Make a statement. Be bold or be shy, but be YOU!

Here are some hilarious (and EASY) costume ideas that might make you think. But these folks were brave enough (and smart enough) to come up with them. See if you can figure out what/who they are...The costume names are listed at the bottom.

There are tons more, but you have work to do!! Tell me others you thought of in the comments first!
Happy Hump Day!

Answers: Cereal Killer, Deviled Egg, 50 Shades of Gray, Identity Thief, Spice Rack, Ceiling Fan (I had the hardest time figuring that one out!), Dust Bunny

Monday, October 19, 2015


"The players may have changed but the game remains the same." - Name that movie!

We really real women have to deal with a lot. And change happens all the time. But you know what we do with change? We go with the flow. Problems come our way? We deal with it! We do what we can with what we have. We prioritize and get things done and eliminate what we just can't do. That's how life is.

Our wonderful friend Beth wanted to be with us as a permanent hostess, but life is just too busy for her right now. We get it. Any time things get too hectic, don't be afraid to speak up! Real women understand, we've been there. It's okay.

Liz and I are determined in our drive to spread happiness through helping others with tips and laughter. We will carry on. And lo and behold, we had a newly made really real housewife volunteer to join us (she also just got married!)

I give you out newest Really Real Housewife:

Ashley Chappell-Peeples!
the Nerdy Housewife
(every home needs one)

Besides being an author and NASA nerd in Huntsville, AL, Ashley Chappell is an avid lover of nature who enjoys climbing, camping, hiking and sailing with her husband. Her favorite visitors are dragonflies. And though she's not the most social of people, she believes peanut butter should always be consumed with a spoon straight from the jar, beer should always be dark and frothy, and pizza is best served with copious amounts of hot sauce.

Ashley's links: facebook - twitter - blog

She's nerdilicious! She'll make your eyes roll faster than you can say Star Wars. We love this girl!! And we'll let her tell you all more about her in her first week of posts... (debuts Nov 2) Wait till you hear about her house!

Plus we have all sorts of guest posters coming up along with our regular segments... See how things work out?

Lemonade, people - make some!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Pumpkin Planters

I got this photo from Apartment Therapy.
Visit their blog for other good ideas. 
I totally planned to do this- you know, buy a pumpkin, hollow it out, stick a plant in it, and then snap a picture of it to show you just how easy and pretty it is. Use frost hardy plants like pansies or mums and you have a great decoration from now until Thanksgiving...or until the yellow jackets or gnats swarm it.

I've found they last quite a long time outside where they stay cool. Usually, the pumpkin is still firm when it's ready to be set aside for Santa.

If you used mums and feel like digging a hole big enough, you can plant them pumpkin and all. I'm not really into digging big holes, so I usually stick with pansies- less guilt when I toss an annual.

But as you can see by the credit on the photo, I didn't get one made. I googled someone else's masterpiece and shared it.

It's been one of those weeks where life got the best of me. I'm pretty sure the twenty-four hours that make up the seven days of some weeks are shorter than others. I believe Einstein had a theory on it...something about the relativity of time vs. diminishing brain mass of busy moms.

Okay, so I'm no physics major and can't give you scientific proof, I just know it's the truth!

But trust me, this is EASY to do. Just buy a pumpkin, a potted plant, and some potting soil.

Slice the top off the pumpkin.

Set the plant inside, add some extra dirt around it, and then water it.

And water it every few days, unless it rains. Then you just need to give nature a high five for the help.

It truly is EASY. I don't even remove all the seeds, unless I want some to bake and eat.

Speaking of want a an easy, tasty treat?

Scoop out some pumpkin seeds; remove the goopy stuff; toss with a small amount of olive or vegetable oil; sprinkle with salt. Spread them out in a single layer across a cookie sheet, and then bake in the oven on 300 degrees until slightly browned. When they start to smell delicious (about 30-45 minutes), they're usually ready to eat.

photo credit: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds via photopin (license)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Pumpkin Brownies

This is so easy and delicious- you don't even need a recipe. 

Mix this:

Use half a large can or all of a small one

And this:

Pour the mix into a greased cake pan and bake for 35 minutes at 375 degrees.

 It's moist, delicious, and qualifies as a healthy treat!

Want to add a little fall zest to the recipe?

                                               Mix this:
Use half a large can or all of a small one

                                              With this:

Pour the mix into a greased cake pan and bake for 35 minutes at 375 degrees.

This is my personal favorite. It's a wonderful blend of chocolate and spice.

So easy, and I love easy!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Putting the Garden to Bed

It's time to put the gardens to bed for winter.

A bit of work in the fall makes for healthier flowers and veggies in the spring and summer.

1. Cut back roses to the base and cover in top soil or potting soil to protect them from freezing.

2. Gather seeds from your annuals by allowing them to "seed out". Allow flowers to mature until they go to seed; pluck the flower top; and place in a napkin in the refrigerator. You can plant the seeds in the spring.

3. Mulch perennials. Freezing and thawing can cause soil to hump up, which will pull and injure roots.

4. Prune bushes. Longer branches will hold more snow weight that may cause them to break. Shorter branches are sturdier.

5. Don't be too anxious to keep fall grass short, especially in areas with pets. I keep the back yard grass a bit longer in the winter. When the grass is dormant, a thicker turf tolerates paw traffic better than shorter grass.

6. Put away the rota tiller. Turning over the soil in winter allows the soil to be exposed and cause it to get "freezer burn".

7. Cover your veggie garden in mulch too. Leaves make an excellent mulch, as long as you chop them up. Uncut leaves are too heavy and wet and can cause mildew and disease.You can either rent a shredder, or rake them into a pile and run them over with your mower.

8. Begin winter composting. Kitchen scraps like veggie peelings, egg shells, and coffee grounds are excellent ways to add nutrients to the soil.

9. Banana mulch the roses. Over the winter, I chop up my banana peels and toss them on the dormant roses. In the spring, when the roses begin to bud, I'll turn the soil over, burying the banana peels that will feed the roses.

10. Stop bagging grass. The clippings are great natural fertilizer for a healthier lawn. 

 Anything else I should be doing in the yard this fall?

Friday, October 9, 2015

Netflix, Anyone?

Ah, Friday… The start of the weekend. Any plans? In the UK, it’s getting colder and wetter—perfect weather to curl up with a mug of tea, a slice of cheesecake and a bit of Netflix viewing. I’m new to Netflix. So far I’ve only used it to watch Matt Smith’s Doctor Who and a David Tennant film that’s not available in the US.

Today, I’m sharing some amazing, diverse series that I love watching. This list started off much bigger, until I realised how underrepresented British TV is on US Netflix. (Such a same, we have loads of US series.) I hope you enjoy checking out this selection. 

1.       Black Mirror: very dark British humour set in the near future. Individual stories, so if you don’t like one, you might love the next.

Read more on IMDb
2.       Derek: quite controversial when it first aired because of the apparent learning difficulties of the central character. But it’s actually a brilliant, funny, poignant comedy series, filmed as a mock documentary.

Read more on IMDb

3.       Merlin: a brilliant family-friendly drama reimagining of the King Arthur stories. The first series started off light and humorous, but it gets a lot darker as you work through it.

Read more on IMDb

Have you watched any of these already? What did you think?

Besides being a pro at getting healthy, Annalisa Crawford is a multi-published author of literary fiction and dark, psychological suspense. She lives near the beach in Cornwall, UK with her musician husband, her two boys, and some furry critters. Check out Annalisa's work HERE.

Thanks for stopping by Annalisa! I always find it fun to weed out the differences in our very similar cultures. 

I never realized Brits used scales over cups when cooking- I suppose that saves on dirty dishes. 

I also get a kick out of digestive crackers from her mum's cheesecake recipe. I imagine a wafer made by Pepto Bismol. Annalisa promises if she ever flies to the States, she'll bring me some. She also assures me a cracker is a cookie. As we all know, I'm all about the cookies, so I'm eagerly awaiting Annalisa's visit. 

And I certainly didn't know they have access to so many awesome shows that we can't get. It's like they have their very own, secret Netflix. What's up with that?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Annalisa’s Mum’s Cheesecake

I love desserts. We don’t have them every day, but my evening meal always feels a bit lost without one. So today I’m going to share my mum’s recipe with you. It’s a perfect dessert to make with kids, because it requires a lot of mashing, smashing and mixing, and no cooking.

Serves 8-12 and has approx. 280 calories for a one-eighth slice.
Ingredients:  *American equivalent below*
170g digestive biscuits (or, apparently, graham crackers/animal crackers)

85g butter (I think you might need more if using graham crackers)
400g reduced/low fat cream cheese
285g non-fat Greek yoghurt
28g sugar
200g strawberries/raspberries/blueberries (for the authentic Annalisa’s mum’s version, use tinned black cherry pie filling - it was the 80s, after all)
1.       Mash up the digestive biscuits/graham crackers into crumbs
2.       Heat the butter and mix into the crushed biscuits
3.       Put the mixture into a baking tin—preferably a 10” round tin (greased and prepared the usual way)
4.       Blend the cream cheese, yoghurt and sugar together and pour over the biscuit base
5.       Mash/slice/arrange nicely the fruit of your choosing and smooth over the top
6.       Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours (preferably overnight for the cheesecake to set fully).
7.       Lick out the bowl J (Why do recipes omit this very important step, I wonder?)


Oh, and if you fancy a laugh, pop over to my blog today to read the behind-the-scenes exclusive on the whole cheesecake fiasco…

*Let's pause a moment and Americanize that recipe:
(Now, let me just say- I did this ciphering myself, and as a writer, I've never been accused of being good at math. If these numbers seem insane, they most likely are. Use conversion at your own risk!)

170 grams of digestive biscuits (or graham crackers/animal crackers) = 2 Cups 
85 grams of butter = 1/3-1/2 Cup
400 grams cream cheese = 2 cups 
285 grams of yoghurt (or yogurt) = 1 Cup
28 grams sugar = 2 tbs. 
200 grams of fruit = enough fruit to cover the top...come on, wing it!

Thanks for stopping by Annalisa!

Besides being a pro at getting healthy, Annalisa Crawford is a multi-published author of literary fiction and dark, psychological suspense. She lives near the beach in Cornwall, UK with her musician husband, her two boys, and some furry critters. Check out Annalisa's work HERE.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Need Better Sleep?

While Tara is busy launching her newest book, Simulation, and I'm busy trying to catch up on the laundry pile, we asked the marvelous Annalisa Crawford to do our work visit! Annalisa is a trainer and physical fitness buff from the United Kingdom. To get her here, all we had to do was float a trail of biscuits (AKA cookies) across the Atlantic. 

Welcome Annalisa!!

How to get a good night’s sleep  by Annalisa Crawford

Hey, it’s Monday. Are you up and raring to go? Or feeling a bit groggy, like you didn’t get quite enough sleep? Did you lie there last night, tossing and turning, getting more and more frustrated? Did you watch the sun rise and realise your quest for sleep was in vain yet again?
Never fear, I’ve got a few tips that might help if you have the odd few days of sleeplessness.
1.       Massage your feet. Find a really thick, aromatic foot balm and spend a few minutes rubbing it in - run your thumbs directly up the middle of your foot, make deep circles just beneath the balls and into the arches, sweep your fingers along your toes and pull. As an added benefit, your feet will be beautifully soft in the morning!
2.       Keep a notebook beside your bed and write your thoughts down. Write down any worries, important to-dos, the name of that actor from that film you were talking about and just remembered. Get it all down, and your mind will be freed up.
3.       Just lie there. Get comfortable—perhaps in a position you wouldn’t normally sleep in—and just enjoy the fact that you are resting and you don’t have a hundred different tasks to complete. Just rest. Allow your mind to wander into daydream territory:
a.       What would you do with a million dollars?
b.       What award are you up on stage receiving?
c.       Imagine you’re lying on a beach, in a mountain cabin, in Paris or Milan or Venice, rather than in your own bed.
4.       Breathe. Properly. A lot of people don’t—we’re shallow-breathers (using only 50% of our lungs) or we manage to bypass our lungs and fill our stomachs with air instead!
a.       First, picture your lungs like the branches of a tree. The trunk (your trachea), the branches, the twigs, the buds.
b.       Breathe in. Focus on getting your breath as far up the tree as possible. When you’ve breathed in a much as you can, pause for a second, then breathe in a little more. Let the breath out very slowly. It takes practise to get enough air to reach the very tips of the ‘branches’, but—hey!—you can’t sleep, you’ve got the time.
c.       Make sure you aren’t breathing into your stomach. If you can see your stomach rising, then you need more focus.

Do you have any tried-and-tested methods? I’d love to hear from you.

Besides being a pro at getting healthy, Annalisa Crawford is a multi-published author of literary fiction and dark, psychological suspense. She lives near the beach in Cornwall, UK with her musician husband, her two boys, and some furry critters. Check out Annalisa's work HERE.

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