Oct 20, 2009

Autumn Highlights

Hello folks. Again I have been missing in action. I am finding it difficult to keep up with my blog, work and do all the other silly things I am known for. I promise I have been taking lots of photos even if I haven't had time to post them everyday.

First of all, we have been dealing with a bad flea season. My cats get regularly treated with Frontline, a veterinarian treatment. It really works, usually. This year, it just seems to kill a few. So I decided to give Mr. Inky a flea dip. He was not very happy with me. He has had a bath only a few times before. Poor Mr. Inky.

I went to my first Halloween party of the season. You all had asked to be updated on the costume I had chosen. Here it is, Mother Nature: http://www.buycostumes.com/Mother-Nature-Adult-Costume/61379/ProductDetail.aspx I had taken a head shot of myself but I don't have any body shots yet. Hopefully, one of my co-workers took one. If so, I will post it later. For now, here is my smiling face.

One of our hens, Ms. Queen, is molting. Every year, chickens molt their old feathers and grow new ones. It is very similar to dogs shedding heavily as they prepare for summer or winter. Ms. Queen didn't even leave the coop yesterday. It was cold and breezy outside so she refused to leave. She looks so mangy right now. I couldn't resist photographing her. Even Checkers wanted in on the action.

One of the reasons I am behind is that we have friends visiting. We are enjoying their company. And they bought me this adorable T-Shirt which I am wearing today. It fits me perfectly, don't you think?

This photo is from today. It is actually warm outside which is nice being it was in the 30's and 40's all last week. I was out in the yard basking in the sun when I spied this lone dandelion. I thought of it as summer's last attempt to hold on, especially with the contrast of fallen leaves. I dashed for the house to grab my camera, hoping the chickens would not notice it first. They still haven't discovered it.

The ladybugs and box elder bugs are begining to congregate. Another sure sign of the impending winter. Both of these bugs love to gather on wallls, windows, trees, dog houses etc. Pretty much they gather on any warm surface.

Lastly, I can't seem to take enough autumn foliage photos. These span all of last week. I love being outdoors in the fall. In Michigan, you can see just about every shade of orange, yellow, red, brown and green known to mankind in the fall.

Looking down the street from our front yard.

Views from under the canopy.

A variety of leaves from trees in our yard, mostly maple.

Beautiful autumn rainbow Maple leaf.


Oct 12, 2009

Home Decor for All

Do you remember in my post yesterday that I ordered some more Partylite decor? Guess what? It came in on a UPS truck today.

I spent the afternoon opening up all of my boxes. I still have more coming later in the month but this was the largest order I had coming in.

Look at all my goodies!

This is the witch's hat and Eerie Eyes tealight holders lit up.

Speaking of home decor, guess who else was decorating for fall. That would be Ms. Mouser, the outdoor kitty. When I was outside, I looked inside her interim cat house to see if I needed to change her bedding. I saw something that looked out of place in there so I reached in and pulled it out. Apparently, cats appreciate finer bedding. They prefer fur lined bedding, squirrel fur particularly. I found myself holding a squirrel tail by the tip saying "Ewww". Of course, I put it back. Who am I to tell a cat what is appropriate home decor for a cat apartment?

She also was decorating outside her apartment. She left a mouse near her food dishes. I thought maybe for a midnight snack but she was playing with it this afternoon. I guess I am going to have to ask Dave to take care of it.

Later on I walked by and she was contentedly laying on her squirrel tail. She had a look on her face that said "See. I know what I am doing. This is the good life."

This is just a temporary shelter. Dave has drawn up plans for an actual cat house complete with stairs and a hinged side panel for changing the bedding. For now, she really enjoys her apartment.


Oct 11, 2009

Which Witch and Mantis

We have been listening at work to a number of Halloween songs at work, over and over again. One of these songs is titled "Which Witch is Which?" by the Hit Crew. It is a very catchy little song and can be found on a handful of Drews Famous CD's. You can listen to it here: http://www.amazon.com/Which-Witch-Is/dp/B0011NO4S4/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1255308912&sr=1-4 The whole point of this, is that I found it amusing that I was running around in a witch's hat at work with this song playing. Which witch am I? Am I a good witch? I think so.

For Camera Critter Sunday, here is my entry. This preying mantis was hanging out by our backdoor. I love mantises. They look so alienish, as if they don't belong on Earth at all.

For more Critters go to Camera Critters: http://camera-critters.blogspot.com/

Update: If you want to look at the photos closer, just click them. A larger version will open. The mantis is so much more detailed in the full size photo.


Oct 10, 2009

Autumn Catch Up

First off, I would like to send a big welcome and Hello to all of Mrs. B's readers who are visiting my blog today. I hope you enjoy your stay and feel free to peek around in my archives. For those that don't know me, my name is Jessica. I am a 31 year old mom from the great state of Michigan which right now is threatening us residents with the "S" word this week. I won't say it, but I will spell it out for you, S - N - O - W. Just don't say it out loud. Maybe the weatherman will be wrong. I have been married to my soul mate and best friend for almost 13 years now. We have two little heathens of our own, ages 8 and 11, and two black kitties, Inky and Mouser. Oh and mustn't forget our little flock of backyard poultry. We have four chicken hens, three duck hens and one very naughty duck drake.

Now that my little intro is done, on with the blog. I apologize for my little disappearing act. I have been keeping myself quite busy. I have been working at the Halloween USA store, which I love very much. I love helping people with their costumes, deciding on the right accessories, picking out the perfect decorations for their homes, etc. If you want to find a Halloween USA store near you, check the site:


These are the costumes I have tried on so far. The costume links aren't from the store I work at. Apparently we need to get a bigger web presence.

Greek Goddess

Roman Empress

Snow White

Velvet Fairy

Midnight Mistress

Mr. Inky decided he was done with my very expensive Partylite tea light tree. This translates to the cat tearing through the house for no reason other than feeling like a good sprint and taking a table out on the way through. So I used this as an excuse to get my Halloween Partylite decor out and order more. My friend, Steph, is going to be getting my whole paycheck I swear. Partylite is an addiction I tell you. Here are a few of my favorites.

I pulled my gargoyles out of their hiding spots. For some reason, my camera was not being cooperative so they are a bit fuzzy. I got these two imps a few years ago at Family Dollar for $3.00 each. They are real concrete, not that cheap poly resin material. You could knock someone out cold with one of these guys.

Fall Bounty: Pie Pumpkins, Indian Corn and Eggplant. We had these given to us by a family friend. It has been too cold and much too rainy to be in the pumpkin patch with the kiddos. I am going to tie up the Indian corn with some ribbon and hang it on the front door. We will probably do some painting on the pie pumpkins. The eggplant is for supper one day soon.

This is what our yard looks like right about now. Leaves, leaves and more leaves. Now if it would stop raining for just a few days maybe we could have a raking party.

Lastly, I have been working on Autumn cleaning. Most people do their Spring cleaning but I feel Autumn is a great time for it too. Halloween marks the turning of the year in some beliefs and cultures, the new year. What a better way to mark this change than to clear out some clutter?

I am not comfortable sharing photos of how bad my clutter was but let me tell you I have a severe case of hoarding when it comes to paperwork. Maybe procrastination is a better word choice. It isn't that I want to keep the stuff. It is more often that I just put it aside to deal with later and then keep shuffling it until it is lost in the chaos with other papers. Then weeks down the road, or months in some cases, it is found again. These are the lessons I am learning from this years Autumn Cleansing. I am finally learning to organize our very small living face more efficiently. I am learning to let go of things I thought I would use but still haven't touched in months or longer (not counting my Halloween goodies, of course). Most of all I have been working on getting this bad hoarding/procrastination habit under control. It's a tough process but it is moving along.

What are you all doing for the Autumn season?


Oct 2, 2009

Let Me See Your Pumpkin Roll

Hello folks! Hopefully, not too many of you groaned at my hip hop reference in the title. For those of you who didn't get it, it is referencing a song called Tootsie Roll by 69 Boyz. It is a wee on the adult side so you can check it out on most music sites at your discretion.

Welcome to the 2nd day of Halloween. I am participating in Domestic Witch's October Blog Party. If you would like to see other participant blogs, please visit her blog here http://domesticwitch.blogspot.com/ I am also participating in Mrs. B's 31 Days of Halloween. You can see her blog here: http://silvermoonwitch.blogspot.com Also, make sure you check out her giveaways. There are some neat ones. Today she had Custom Zombie prints, papier-mache Candy Treat Cups & a Divination Kit. Also, there is a blooming Friday entry at the end of this post but I hope you enjoy the whole article.

For today's Halloween - Autumn themed entry I am making the ever seasonal, delicious and delightful Pumpkin Roll. This recipe come courtesy of Libby's canned pumpkin.


LIBBY'S® Pumpkin Roll
Dazzle family and friends with Libby's® Pumpkin Roll; moist and creamy, with a tantalizing aroma and beautiful presentation.

Preparation - 45 min
Cooking - 13 min
Cooling Time - 1 hr refrigerating
Yields - 10 Servings


* 1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
* 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 3 large eggs
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 2/3 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
* 1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

* 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
* 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
* 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* Powdered sugar (optional for decoration)

PREHEAT oven to 375° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.

COMBINE flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.

BAKE for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. (If using a dark-colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes.) Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.

BEAT cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

Be sure to put enough powdered sugar on the towel when rolling up the cake so it will not stick.


I used Winifred the Duck's eggs. The yolk is almost the same size as the 1/4 cup measuring cup.

The pumpkin mix ready to be baked.

The cream cheese filling ready to be spread.

All rolled up and ready to refrigerate for an hour.

Here is a side view. My biggest challenge was keeping the filling in the roll. It came out the ends and the seam.

All ready to eat. It may not be the prettiest pumpkin roll but it is delicious. A big shout out to my good friend, Steffie, who helped with the whole baking process and for the compliments. She said the were "Scrumdillicious". I am guessing that is how you spell that. Thanks!

Lastly, please enjoy the fall crocuses at our home. This is for Blooming Friday. Blooming Friday is hosted by Roses and Stuff: http://rosorochris.blogspot.com/ I know it is a bit blurred on the edges but I think it looks artistic that way.


Oct 1, 2009

Eggs, Eggs and More Eggs

Our ducks started laying! I am pretty sure it is Winifred, one of the Pekin ducks. It is hard to tell for certain but I keep seeing her near the eggs that keep showing up. Here are a few of her eggs:

Then I had a blast arranging them with the pullet and hen eggs.

A dozen of assorted eggs. It is like a carton of rainbow.

I made scrambled eggs for the kids the other night. I still haven't used the duck eggs but you can see how small the pullet yolks are.

One last note, it is official. Today is the first day of October. It also means we are now ready to play along with Domestic Witch's October Blog Party. http://domesticwitch.blogspot.com/2009/08/october-blog-party.html Being that it is 12:30 in the morning here, I am going to tell you what I plan to do later today. I know it is a little like cheating. For October 1st's activity, I am going to work. My new job at Halloween USA is awesome. I will post photos tomorrow or later today when I get home from work.