Thursday, October 28, 2010

Crushing on Mary

While watching the Sound Of Music Reunion episode on Oprah this evening, my husband revealed that he had a crush on his 1st grade teacher who looked very much like Julie Andrews in her role as Mary Poppins (insert sound of my giggles here). And apparently this teacher of his affection also had a thick German accent to boot!----(insert more giggles). I thought it was odd when he bought me a large tapestry carpet bag and umbrella one Valentine's Day. Juuuuust Kidding.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten


16 Autumn-ish Things That Make Me Smile

1. Pumpkin Patches
2. Pumpkin Spice Soy Lattes
3. Scarecrows
4. Hay for Sale
5. Buying a new sweater..or two
6. Wearing a favorite old sweater
7. Candles in Autumn scents like Apple Cinnamon and Pumpkin Pie
8. Turning off the air conditioner and opening the doors
9. Shopping for Halloween costumes
10. Stepping on crunchy crispy fallen leaves on purpose.
11. Stews
12. Acorns and the busy squirrels collecting them
13. Spotting the first flock of geese in the sky flying South.
14. Lighting the fireplace
15. An excuse to act like the Addams Family
16. My Dad's Birthday

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Sock Skeleton

Meet Blanch McSkully! I whipped up this cute lanky skeleton in one night using, you guessed it, socks! 1 pair to be exact...except, don't tell Blanch--She would think it quite ghastly if she knew she was made out of socks. I got this idea from none other than the extraordinaire herself, Martha Stewart . This adorable Halloween craft was easy peezy lemon squeezy. Click here for the How-To guide. I am thinking that next year I will make more and embroider pretty art flowers on the face to celebrate Dia de los Muertos aka Day of the Dead . OR, I may just hand over Blanch McSkully to my cat. The entire time I was sewing her arms and legs on, he thought I was creating a wonderful toy just for him. I had to place Blanch on my fireplace mantle to keep her safe from Custard Kitty. His sharp kitty claws and teeth scared her to death, so to speak. Haha!

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Willie Nelson VS. U2

I have the neatest song playing on my Virtual Victrola and would like to share it with you. It is my song for you. I've had my home state of Texas and my Texas loved-ones on my mind a lot lately for various reasons. Have I mentioned that I am a 6th generation Texan on my Mom's side? ----Only 100 billion times it might seem to anyone who knows me. And so in attempting to close the miles between my home here on the east coast of Florida and my heart on the gulf coast of Texas, I was listening to some Willie Nelson tunes on my playlist while putting away leftovers, packing my daughter's school lunch, and chatting about my day with my husband this evening when I came across this song which is an awesome mix between Willie Nelson and U2. Willie Nelson's You were Always On My Mind and U2's With Or Without You are blended into a slightly upbeat song, yet still remain very melancholy and melodic. Normally, I am not a huge fan of mixes. But, I totally loved this one and had to play it on my Virtual Victrola for you.

Houston, Texas

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Walnut Cupcakes

I made a batch of perfectly pumpkiny autumn-inspired cupcakes today---Pumpkin Walnut Cupcakes with a cream cheese frosting topped with a fondant circle and finished with orange sprinkles. My daughter has been asking me a gazzilion times in the last few days to make these and I have also been wanting to try out my new Halloween Cupcake Stencils fromWilliams-Sonoma . So here is what I think...The cupcakes were howlerificly yummo. But, the stencils were a small disappointment. I think they might work better on a chocolate cupcake with powdered sugar instead of sprinkles. The cupcake was delicious and the cream cheese frosting went perfectly with the pumpkin walnut cupcake.

***Here is the recipe***
In a large mixing bowl
4 eggs beaten
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups canned pumpkin
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 chopped walnuts
Mix everything in bowl, pour into cupcake molds, bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Cool and frost with cream cheese frosting. Makes 24 cupcakes. Enjoy!

NOTE-I used a store bought cream cheese frosting and I also used a ready-made fondant by Wilton. I rolled out the fondant and used a small drinking glass to cut out the round shapes.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Brownie Howl at the Moon Night

What is cuter than a bunch of Girl Scout Brownies on an Autumn night? ---A bunch of GS Brownies howling at a full moon, that's what! I loved Girls Scouts as a kid and this is my daughter's first year to be Brownie. Going to the GS Howl at the Moon night was so much fun for both her and I. It brought back so many memories of when I was in Girl Scouts. Seeing her learn some of the same campfire songs that I learned was sorta like a right of passage. My Mom was a Girl Scout and so was my Mother-in-law. So many old familiar songs are still being sung today by Brownies across the globe like Bug Juice, Smile in my Pocket, Make New Friends-But Keep The Old . Of course the only one she seems to have remembered frontwards and backwards is a song titled, God Bless My Underwear . Hmmm, that's odd because I don't remember ever learning that one when I was a kid. By the end of the evening, she and about 150 other Girl Scouts had S'mores coursing through their veins and were shining their flashlights into the tree tops as they walked down the wooded path towards our cars. If I had measured my Brownie's smile that evening it would have been 10 feet wide. As we were getting in the car to head back home, she said, "Thank you soooooo much for putting me in Brownies. Can you tell me the story again about how Mema (my Mom), Tita (my Mother-in-law), and you were all once in Girl Scouts?" Of course that melted my heart like a marshmallow over a campfire flame. We sang the God Bless My Underwear song all the way home and when we pulled into the driveway she kept giggling and said, "Oh My Gosh, I can't take this smile off my face. I had so much fun tonight. My cheeks hurt." and then went into another fit of giggles. It doesn't end here. The next morning, a school morning, I walked into her room and woke her up and the very first thing she started singing was the Bug Juice song and started asking me how the lyrics went again. Needless to say, for the past few days we have been singing Girl Scout songs nonstop and all I can think is how super happy I am that I put my daughter into Girl Scouts. I love my lil' Brownie!

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Spooky Eyes

Mirror-Mirror on the wall.

Who has the spookiest eyes of all?

Look at what we made! Spooky glowing Halloween eyes! By "we", I mean my daughter and I. I love this Halloween idea by Martha Stewart. You can get the directions for these Mirror Glow Eyes at We had fun using Glow-In-The Dark Glitter and well, glitter of any sort is just fun fun fun to an 8 year old girl like mine. This easy peazy lemon squeezy Halloween craft project took about 30 minutes. What would Halloween be like without crafty Martha Stewart? It gives me a Halloween fright to even think about it.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pumpkin Palooza

Saturday was a perfect day to stroll amongst an oasis of pumpkins. I think I would like to have a picnic here with no one else but my husband and daughter. What would we have for dessert? Pumpkin Pie, of course!

I like the pumpkins who have decided not to be orange the best. This one was my favorite-ist favorite because it is PINK! I also like that it looks like nature came along and glued what looks to be peanut shells to it.

Maybe I need to buy one of those crafty color wheels because whodavthunkit that orange and grey go so well together? Not me. I totally love this color combo. I also really like the way the stem of this small pumpkin has the equivalent of bed head morning hair with it's unruly self.

Meet the Pumpkin Patch Diva. How very posh and vogue.

A little sass and some cool sunglasses are perfect for Pumpkin Couture!

We first came to this pumpkin patch when my Pumpkin Diva was in pre-k. She is now a 3rd grader. Every October, I have taken a pic of her on this bench holding a pumpkin. She grows and grows. It is bittersweet.

Sweet as Pumpkin Pie

Eeny Meeny Miney Moe

It use to be that she didn't have to squat down so far whenever we took the "Look at me, I'm a Pilgrim!" pic. This year her knees were almost to the ground.

I like the price scale. Just hold up your pumpkin next to the one that is close to the same size and that is the price you pay.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Geez La Flippin' Wheez

Anyone who has known me long enough and anyone who knows me now, knows that I do not cuss. I am not a cursor. I do not use profanity. Never have.....except for one time when I missed the attic stairs completely and without meaning to, took the fast way down from the attic straight to the hall floor. But, other than that, I never curse. I don't like the way I feel about myself when I say curse words. Plus, I am known for my positive nature and cursing just doesn't jive with a glass-half-full personality. In the late 80's (I was a runt in junior high), I heard my mom saying that she always felt like she owed it to herself to find an alternative word to a curse word when she was upset about something....for some reason, that always stuck with me. I don't even think she was talking directly to me, but, I remember her saying that.
Let it be known that I am surely not a saint, not even close. In fact, in my head, where no one else can hear, there is sometimes a whole slew of French terms that would make even a rude drunk sailor blush. However, by the time the french vulgarity travels from my mind to my lips, it transforms to, "Oh, Fudge!" In my mind I very often think one thing, yet, I have enough verbal Oh Fudges to make a chocolatier like Willie Wonka proud. I don't even like to say, Oh My God. So I say and type things like OMGosh. My husband also really appreciates this quality in me and I hope I am setting a strong example for my daughter.
Today, HOWEVER, was one of those days where I was tested on this firm belief of mine---the belief that I have been well-educated, graduated college, dean's list every semester to not be able to come up with some alternative word for my anger rather than a 4-letter explicative. Almost 2 weeks ago, some stranger got access to my debit card numbers and went on a shopping spree. Fraud protection contacted me and reimbursed everything, canceled my old debit card and issued me out a new one which was to arrive in 5 business days. We are now going on 9 business days and still no new card in the mail. AND, my totally awesome smart phone decided over the last couple of days that it wasn't gonna act so smart anymore and act more like a high school drop out. I am sure it has nothing to do with the little fact that I have over 400 pictures stored on the phone. I took it to the cell phone store and asked them to give it CPR or something and they said they would have to keep my phone alllllll day. Allll Day? What the fudge!?! So I was forced to spend the day in the stone ages with no cell phone and no debit card.....oh, and I had also forgot to put on my watch (I felt naked) which forced me to have to ask two strangers at two different points in the afternoon for the time. I needed to know when it was getting closer to the time when my daughter would be getting out of school so that I could go get her without being late.  I was amazed to see how very few places this day in age actually have a clock on the wall. This is a perfect example of how in my mind I am thinking one thing and saying something entirely different which comes out as, "This is Bull Corn!"  Needless to say, I arrived in the carpool line about 15 minutes sooner than I normally do and watched the minutes count down on the clock in my vehicle which seems to be the only clock in the universe on this day. I had a headache too. By the end of the afternoon, I had a twitch in my left eye and discovered that I had created a whole new word: Geez La-Flippin' Wheez. I normally only say Geez Louize when I am perturbed about something. But, that word just wasn't summing up my frustration about my phone and my debit card which was obviously being made by the world's slowest turtles on Neptune. However, Geez-La Flippin' Wheez seemed to suffice based on my situation. In my mind, what I was thinking, didn't sound anything like Geez La Flippin' Wheez.
I kinda like my new word. Oh, and as for my smart phone, it seemed nothing could be done to save it so they gave me a brand new one. Glad we bought the insurance on it. Yay me!
All in all, once I picked up my daughter from school and heard all about her sweet day, the other concerns of my day faded. I was feeling more and more like my upbeat--can handle a storm--calm through life's ups and downs--nothing rocks my boat-I am a sea captain's daughter--Kirsten. And by the time, my husband got home and we sat down together as a family and prayed before our meal, all felt right in the world again. We watched the minors in Chile get rescued on t.v. and it served as a reminder how small and mundane my day's worries were compared to the rest of the world. I figured Yonni Barrios (he is the miner who's wife and mistress discovered each other at the vigil while they waited for his rescue) was the one who was about to have a really really really bad day on top of the 69 horrible days he had trapped in the mine.
This day tried to test my character and I responded back with a Geez La-Flippin' Wheez which is a good thing.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ruby Tuesday

What is playing on my Virtual Victrola this October Tuesday evening? Ruby Tuesday, of course. It is my song for you. This version by Italian music genius, Franco Battiato, is my absolute favorite. Plus, I love all music by Franco Battiato. The soft melodic tones in his Ruby Tuesday version are beautiful. I love the angelic voice of the opera-style singer in the background who blends so well with Battiato's voice. When I first heard this version of Ruby Tuesday, it was also the first time I had ever paid attention to the lyrics and their meaning. I had heard it a million times by the Rolling Stones. But, Battiato's version made me actually stop and listen. It is the perfect song to have on my Virtual Victrola this evening as I pause at the end of a busy day to say, "Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday." Well, it is after midnight now and officially the start of Wednesday. Some of my best thinking is done after midnight. Good night. Click HERE and enjoy my song for you.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cheezy Kitchen Ghosts

I am starting to think that my kitchen might be haunted. But, luckily, they are the cutest little ghosts to ever haunt a kitchen. Not only are they cute, but, they are also a bit cheezy. THAT'S because they are made out of cheese cloth!
This Halloween craft idea is from Country Living . I have a large beautiful rustic candelabra hanging in my kitchen which I bought 4 years ago at a little shop named Croatia Boutique and Ironworks in Riverside/Avondale area of Jacksonville, Florida. It was the perfect spot to hang my Cheezy Kitchen Ghosts. This Halloween craft project is Easy Peezy Lemon Squeezy. Plus, I like any craft project that can be done while outdoors enjoying the fresh Autumn air. Balloons and fabric stiffener help create the shape of the ghosts. My daughter had a fun time popping the balloons once the cheese cloth had dried. This was a really fun project. Click HERE for instructions to make some cheezy ghosts of your own. Happy Haunting!

P.S. I really like this photo of the ghosts which came out by accident. I was balancing on a step stool so that I could get a photo and slipped off (those who know me best, know that I am clumsy) right when I was taking the picture which created just the right amount of camera shake to create this "ghostly" image of my ghosts. Some of the best things come about by accident.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Sunday, October 10, 2010

All Creatures Great and Small

"Look, Mom."

"I see it, Honey."

"Is it dead?"

"Yes, sweetheart."

"That's so sad. I feel bad for it."

"I know. Me too."

"Do you think we should bury it?"

"No, the ocean will take care of it. When the tide comes up at night while you are sleeping, the wave will take it back to the sea where it is meant to go."

"Are you sure it's dead?"

"Yes, I'm sure."

"I am gonna say a prayer for it."

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten

Friday, October 8, 2010

"Tie Dye" Autumn Apples

Don't you just love how the leaves change into the prettiest shades of Autumn sunsets this time of year? It's as if God is dipping all the trees into a bucket of Tie Dye colors and leaving them to dry in the cool Autumn breeze. I'd like to think he is using the same color palette for the leaves that He uses for the sunsets. So with that said, here is a fun little idea I want to share with you---"Tie Dye" Autumn Apples! My daughter went to a kid's cooking camp this summer and learned how to make a little treat called "Tie Dye Apples". I figured it would also be a fun Autumn snack for her and I to make in the kitchen where she gets to have fun "painting" Autumn colors onto apple slices. It is Easy Peezy Lemon Squeezy.

You need sliced apples, 4 boxes of  Jello in different flavors(we think Jello mixes in shades of red, purple, orange, and blue work best), a small spatula, 4 small bowls or ramekins.

Separate Jello mixes into separate bowls. 1 bowl for each color.

Use a small spatula dipped into various Jello powders
 to "paint" the apple slices.

My daughter chose to arrange the apple slices into a flower
with a grape in the center.

I think this is a simple and creative way to have a little Autumn fun in the kitchen with your child. Enjoy!

Sealed with a Kiss, Kirsten