Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Try-It Tuesdays - Pumpkin Masters Carving Kits

With Halloween fast approaching, I thought I'd share one of my favorite Halloween products for Try-It Tuesday - Pumpkin Masters Carving Kits.

I started using Pumpkin Masters Carving Kits back in 1986 and I quickly became addicted! I have always enjoyed carving pumpkins, but these kits not only provided the appropriate carving tools to make a professional looking jack o lantern, but they also provide you with many different patterns. If you've looked at these kits in the store and wondered if they really worked, well I'm telling you they do. My family has been using them for over 20 years and we have won many pumpkin carving contests with the fanciful patterns provided.

One of the very first pumpkins I carved was this beauty of Frankenstein's monster. Although the carving looks difficult, it really isn't. You basically use push pins or tape to apply a pattern to the pumpkin, then you use the outlining tool to make an outline of the pattern. Then you remove the pattern and start carving.

The Headless Horseman is one of my favorite patterns to use. I have carved this pattern numerous times over the years. It is fun and always a hit at Halloween parties.

If Tiffany Had Used a Pumpkin has been the hardest one I've every attempted. It is carved on all sides and I was so afraid the spider in the middle would come unattached. I have carved this pumpkin 3 times, the last time (not this photo) was on a 100 pound pumpkin for a local grocery store.

This is not a pumpkin I carved, but it is one I will be attempting this year. My youngest daughter loves Star Wars, so I thought it would be appropriate for her. From my experience with carving difficult pumpkins, this one will take at least 5 to 6 hours to carve.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Music Monday - "Money Becomes King"

I'm starting a new feature on this blog, Music Mondays. I'll be including the lyrics from some of my all time favorite songs.

Because of the economic crisis our country is facing, I thought it was only fitting to start this new feature with a Tom Petty song that pertains to money. So, without further ado, I give you Tom Petty and "Money Becomes King."

Money Becomes King - The Last DJ, 2002

If you reach back in your memory
A little bell might ring
About a time that once existed
When money wasn't king
If you stretch your imagination
I'll tell you all a tale
About a time when everything
Wasn't up for sale

There was this cat named Johnny
Who loved to play and sing
When money wasn't king.

We'd all get so excited
When John would give a show
We'd raise the cash between us
And down the road we'd go
To hear him play that music
It spoke right to my soul
Every verse a diamond
And every chorus gold

The sound was my salvation
It was only everything
Before money became king.

Well I ain't sure how it happened
And I don't know exactly when
But everything got bigger
And the rules began to bend
And the TV taught the people
How to get their hair to shine
And how sweet life can be
If you keep a tight behind

And they raised the cost of living
And how could we have known
They'd double the price of tickets
To go see Johnny's show?

So we hocked all our possessions
And we sold a little dope
And went off to rock 'n' roll.

We arrived there early
In time to see rehearsal
And John came out and lip-synched
His new lite-beer commercial
And as the crowd arrived
As far as I could see
The faces were all different
There was no one there like me

They sat in golden circles
And waiters served them wine
And talked through all the music
And to John paid little mind
And way up in the nosebleeds
We watched upon the screen
They hung between the billboards
So cheaper seats could see

Johnny, rock that golden circle
And all those VIPs
And that music that had freed us
Became a tired routine
And I saw his face in close-up
Tryin' to give it all he had
And sometimes his eyes betrayed him
You could see that he was sad

And I tried to rock on with him
But I slowly became bored
Could that man on stage with everything
Somehow need some more?

There was no use in pretending
No magic left to hear
All the music gave me
Was a craving for lite-beer
As I walked out of the arena
My ears began to ring
And money became king.

The Last DJ is the eleventh studio album by American rock band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, first released in early October 2002. The track "Money Becomes King" is a sharp attack on the greediness of the music industry.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


After many long months of waiting, the 3rd season of Dexter premiered tonight. Does it make me a little crazy because one of my favorite shows is about a serial killer? Michael C. Hall is the perfect actor to play this unusual character and I'm on the edge of my seat for every episode.

Season 3, Episode 1, "OUR FATHER"

For Dexter, life seems to be going well; actually better than expected. His relationship with Rita and her kids - Cody and Aster - is back on track. He is becoming the perfect boyfriend and father subsitute.

He’s no longer under scrutiny at his day job as a blood spatter analyst for Miami Metro Homicide. His arch nemsis - Doakes - was killed in last seasons finale, and the evil Lila is finally out of his life, permanently. And his night job as a serial killer is operating on all cylinders.

So when he sets his sights on Freebo, a dope dealer and killer of two college girls, it looks to be just another night of Dexter’s dark justice. But things don’t go as planned and Dexter must find a way to extract himself from a pair of problems that he created, both in his home and night life.

Dexter also finds himself drawn to Miguel Prado, an Assistant District Attorney, who has a very personal reason to bring Freebo to justice.

Meanwhile, Debra is put in a difficult situation when someone from Internal Affairs wants her to inform on her new partner, Quinn. Angel gets a well deserved promotion to Detective Sergent, which makes him Debra's boss. And Masuka is Masuka - he'll never change.

By the way, if you've never read the novels by Jeff Lindsay, you are missing another big segment of the Dexter craze.

Primeval - Episode 8

Cutter and the team are joined by a new PR guru, Jenny Lewis (who looks exactly like Claudia Brown). Sharp, cynical, and witty, she almost immediately develops a sparky and adversarial relationship with Cutter.

Meanwhile, Connor is picked up in a video store by a beautiful young woman called Caroline. Poised, well-connected, and effortlessly sexy, Caroline is everything Connor is not, and her interest in him is all the more surprising for it. I am already suspcious of her, so I'm curious to see what she is after! Obviously, Abby is feeling the same way I do because right from the beginning she is uneasy around Caroline, for reasons even she herself doesn't quite understand.

But on to this week's story, a gleaming new skyscraper in the center of the city has quickly developed a reputation for teething problems in its electronics, so no one is surprised when smoke is spotted creeping out from the server room. On inspection, the janitor finds a thick layer of mist hugging the floor and a foul sulfurous smell - but no fire. Then something moves in the mist and he is suddenly yanked out of sight by a shadowy creature. The mist continues to spread through the building and huge ancient worms are lurking in the mist.

These are easily the ugliest creatures so for on this show - huge, long bodies with spikes and a retractable head that suck onto its prey - eghhhhh! Several of our team members get physically attacked by these icky worms.

On other insteresting news, Helen is a bitch! I don't like her and I don't like the fact that she is still after Stephen. She's been gone for 8 years, why doesn't she stay gone? Also, remember the janitor from the Rapter episode? The one who was attacked in the throat just before Connor shot Abby with the tranquilizer? He has showed up as one of Lester's drones at the ARC. What is that all about? Hopefully, all these questions will be answered in later episodes.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cool Hand Luke

Rest in Peace, Cool Hand Luke ...
January 26, 1925 – September 26, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #13 - Autumn

For this week's Thursday Thirteen, I give you 13 reasons to love Autumn:

1.) Pumpkins, squash and gourds - oh my! These fruits are the quintessential signs of autumn. They show in in yard decorations, children's carvings and delicious meals. Nothing says autumn like the bright orange pumpkins, multi-colored gourds, textural squash.

2.) Beautiful autumn leaves - after pumpkins, the natural splendor of autumn leaves ushers in the arrival of cooler days and longer nights. Red, orange, yellow and brown - these are the gifts of nature to the season of giving.

3.) Crisp cool air - There is nothing better than waking to a morning where light frost coats everything in sight, leaving the air cool and crips with the first hints of what's to come. I am not a summer person, so I rejoice in the cooler mornings that come with the autumn.

4.) Juicy apples and pears picked fresh from the trees -What could be a better banquet from nature? Although my apple and pear trees are extremely old, they still produce enough fruit to satisfy my family. Apple butter, pear butter, apple-pear preserves, apple sauce - all these yummy treats are awaiting in a basketful of fruit.

5.) Spiderwebs dancing in the early morning dew - Although spiders aren't one of my favorite creatures, I relish the beautiful webs they weave. And there is nothing prettier than dew collecting on autumn webs, making an artistic statement to the world.

6.) Fodder shocks (corn stalks) - Either standing in a field or decorating a front yard, one sure sign of autumn are the mighty corn stalks. Tall and majestic, they provide decoration as well as food for the coming winter.

7.) Bonfires or camp fires in the backyard - Is there anything better than a warm bonfire on a cold autumn night? Huddling with family and friends and reliving the events of the summer past, this activity goes hand in hand with roasting marshmallows or hotdogs, even popcorn fresh from a corn stalk.

8.) Cattails - Although a nusaneous to many a farmer, cattails make wonderful fall decorations, lasting well into the winter. Tall and spiky - and even a bit fluffy when the cattail is way past bloom - the elegance of cattails goes with any decorating scheme.

9.) Chrysanthemums - Orange, red, brown, yellow, white, rust - there are so many different colors for the autumn mums, and each one is just as beautiful as the next. Chrysanthemums are THE flower of autumn.

10.) Indian Corn - For as long as I can remember, I have always had Indian Corn hanging on my front door as a sign of the welcoming autumn. Multicolor kernals fit with any fall arrangements.

11.) Damp, rainy days - I may be the only one, but I love damp, rainy days. I like the way the air feels cool and damp, I like the way the raindrops glisten on the autumn leaves, and I feel like I'm at one with the elements.

12.) Candles - When the air turns cooler, I start burning candles; they give the home a warm, cozy feeling. I prefer the lighting that candles give off, making everything appear romantic and homey.

13.) Candy Corn - Although I don't like candy corn, this is my hubby's favorite, so I always associate it with autumn. There is just something about these sugary candies that gets him in the mood for fall.

The Morning After "Bones"

Episode 5 - The Perfect Pieces in the Purple Pond

The pieces of a dismembered body are found lying in a purple pool of water, but there's one catch - the head is missing. Booth and Bones learn that the body belongs to Jared Addison, a science fiction writer with severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

With the help of Dr. Sweets, several suspects are brought in for questioning, but the pieces are falling into place.

The team has trouble finding enough evidence to determine case of death, mainly because the victim's head still missing. Hodgins is still having a hard time dealing with Zack being gone. We actually get to see Zack interact with Hodgins when he visits the psych hospital, and then later in the show, Dr. Sweets makes a visit. When Hodgins visits Zack, he leaves him the case file, hoping Zack will come up with new leads into the case.

The list of suspects for tonight's murder are an OCD therapist, the owner of a coffee bar, the victim's girlfriend (who is 28 years older then him), the girlfriend's son, and another OCD patient who confesses to the murder. However, true to form, none of these turn out to be the murder. I was actually shocked to learn the real killer; usually I can figure it out before the ending, but not this week.

Zack figures out who the murderer is. After stealing the magnetic strip from Dr. Sweets' ID for the psych hospital, Zack shows up at the Jeffersonian to share his evidence with the team.

It's during the last few minutes of the show that an interaction between Zack and Dr. Sweets sheds to light the true Gormogon killer.

OMG! I knew Zack wasn't a murderer. I've been having trouble wrapping my head around last season's finale because I just couldn't see Zack as a cold blooded killer. Just to finally know that Zack was a victim of Gormogon, and did not directly kill anyone - that answers a lot of questions I've had all summer. (Remember the summer of Dallas and who shot J. R.?) After everything he's been through, it's nice to know Zack is still Zack.

Bones' Intern-O-Meter is 0 for 4.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Way Back Wednesday - Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

(From IMDB) Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (originally released as plain Star Wars) is a 1977 space opera film, written and directed by George Lucas. I was 15 when I saw this movie for the first time and it had a huge impact on my life. My oldest two daughters never cared much for Star Wars, but my 16 year old has developed my same fascination with this classic film.

Star Wars is the first of six films released in the Star Wars saga: two subsequent films continue the Luke, Leia and Han story arc - The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The newest trilogy contributes backstory to the first trilogy, primarily focusing on the troubled character of Darth Vader. Ground-breaking in its use of special effects, this first Star Wars movie is one of the most successful films of all time and is generally considered one of the most influential as well.

Set in a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars tells the story of a plot by a group of freedom fighters known as the Rebel Alliance to destroy the flagship space station/weapon of the oppressive Galactic Empire. The plot follows the tale of farm boy Luke Skywalker who is suddenly thrust into the role of hero when he inadvertently acquires the robots - C3PO and R2D2 - carrying the schematic plans of the station. He must accompany retired military general and rebel sympathizer Obi-Wan Kenobi on a mission to rescue the owner of the robots, rebel leader Princess Leia Organa, deliver the plans to the rebels' secret base, and help destroy the station before it reaches and destroys the rebel base. Luke and Obi-Wan join forces with space cowboy, Han Solo, to try and rescue Princess Leia and save the universe.

Cool, crisp autumn afternoons are the perfect time to curl up on the couch under a fuzzy blanket with a huge bowl of popcorn and get lost in the world that is Star Wars.

Directed, Produced and Written by George Lucas
Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing and Alec Guinness

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Try-It Tuesday - Hallmark Christmas Ornaments

This week's Try-It Tuesday is going to have my own personal flair! This is something I do for my family every year and I'm hoping to convince you guys to Try-It with your families.

I love Hallmark Christmas Ornaments - I've been collecting them for 32 years this Christmas! Everyone in my family gets a special ornament under the tree - be it a continuing series, or something that pertains to that person. We have literally hundreds and hundreds of ornaments and they all have a special meaning.

To find Hallmark Ornaments for your family, check out any local Hallmark or Gold Crown Store, or visit the official Keepsake Ornament site here. By the way, there are only 96 more days before Christmas!

Without further ado, here are my picks for Christmas 2008:

Mom and Daughter - I'll need 3 of these.

Scarlett O'Hara - for my Mom; she loves anything connected to Gone With the Wind.

Wizard of Oz - in memory of my sister.

Grinch - also in memory of my sister.

The Christmas Story - Our family's favorite Christmas movie!

Hubby - He is the Grill Master!

What happens at Grandma's, stays at Grandma's - I just love this one!

#2 Daughter's series - this makes #25 in the series!

#3 Daughter's series - this makes #17 in the series!

#1 Daughter - she loves shoes! (Her series ended several years ago, so now I just get her ornaments that pertain to her personality.)

Monday, September 22, 2008

My Books and Me

I love books! I have loved them since I was a little girl. When I was growing up my family didn't have a lot of money, so I didn't own very many books. But the books I did own were precious to me. I treated them with respect and I cared for them much better than I did my toys.

My granny always told me to never, ever dog-ear the pages of a book and this is something I adhered strongly to. When I became a mother, this was also a lesson I taught me 3 girls. To me, dog-earing a book is as disrespectful as spitting in someone's face! (Well, maybe not that harsh, but it is something that makes me angry).

Now that I'm older, my home library has grown by leaps and bounds. I have bookshelf after bookshelf full of wonderful books. I keep bookmarks in every room of my house, plus I also use those dang inserts from magazines as book marks (they're made of cardboard, so they work nicely).

I don't write in the majority of my books unless it is an inscription of who bought me the book or when I received it. I also have many autographed books. I do have a tendency to write in "self-help" books or in text books that are my own - this helps me if I'm studying something new. Other than that, I never write in a book.

I try very hard to keep the book jackets with the books, but sometimes this is hard, especially if it is a book that I like to reread. In that case, I'll take the book to my public library and have them laminate the jacket cover - just like they do for library books. This keeps the cover nice and clean and I don't have to worry about tearing the cover every time I reread a book.

When it comes to checking books out of the library, I try to follow the same rules as with my own books. I always use a bookmark and I never dog-ear the pages. It makes me so mad to check out a book and find half the pages have been dog-eared at one time or another. I would also never think of writing in a library book, or any one else's book.

Books have always been my friends, so they deserve the same kindness and consideration that I would give to a living friend. Books are our legacy and they will endure long after I have left this world.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Primeval - Episode 7

Season 1, Episode 7

The opening scene has two secruity guards monitoring survillance cameras at a local shopping mall, when something on the CCTV monitor grabs the attention. One guard heads to the bowling alley to investigate, only to be attacked by a ferocious Jurassic-era Utahraptor. The second guard goes in search of the first guard, only to also be attacked. Anomalies? They're back ...

At the future anomaly site from last week, Cutter grapples with Claudia Brown's disappearance. No one but Cutter has any idea who Claudia is, or was. Cutter finds a new second-in-command has taken Claudia's place in the team - the oily Oliver Leek. Not only that, but the team now has a headquarters. A hi-tech, highly sophisticated operations base called the Anomaly Research Center, or ARC.

No one believes Cutter - although Conner does start to believe - when he tries to explain that the present has altered, resulting in Claudia's disappearance. In fact, they think he has gone crazy. But there is not time for talk, as the team gets a call reporting the creature incursion at the shopping mall.

Again, Conner and Abby provide the comic relief in this wonderful series. Pouting because Abby and Stephen won't let him carry a tranquilizer gun, Conner is the first to encounter the Raptor, barely escaping under a security door. Later, while escourting a cleaning person from the mall, Abby finally gives in to Conner and allows him to search the locker room with the gun. Bet you can guess what happens?...Conner ends up shoting Abby in the leg with a tranquilizer, before subduing a baby Raptor. Abby spends a large portion of this episode unconcious.

In the end, the Raptors are returned to the anomaly, and Cutter has every intention of staying in the past. But Stephen follows Cutter into the anomaly and convinces him to return. As the anomaly starts to close, Cutter makes it through, but Stephens foot is caught by a Raptor in the past. The team manages to pull Stephen through and the anomoly closes, cutting off the Raptor's head.

Back at ARC, the team learns Lester has hired a PR person to help with the publicity surrounding the anomolies and the subsequent creatures. Jenny Lewis is the new PR person - and she looks exactly like Claudia Brown.

Friday, September 19, 2008

What the Heck is an Equinox?

With the autumnal equinox fast approaching - September 22nd - I thought I'd give you some Fun Friday Facts about equinoxes in general:

--An equinox is the moment when the Sun is positioned directly over the Earth's equator. The equinoxes represent the points where the direction of North and South poles are at a right angle to the Sun.

--On the equinox, the sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west. This is true for both the fall and spring equinoxes. So on two days of the year you can find the exact cardinal directions of East and West by using the sun.

--An equinox or a solstice occurs on approximately the 21st day of the last month of every quarter of the calendar year. Equinox is the term used to describe the seasons of autumn and spring; solstice is the term to describe summer and winter.

--An equinox in astronomy is the moment in time (not a whole day) when the center of the Sun can be observed to be directly above the Earth's equator, occurring around March 20 and September 23 each year.

--The fall equinox is also known by the following names: Alban Elfed, Autumn Equinox, Autumnal Equinox, Cornucopia, Feast of Avilon, Festival of Dionysus, Harvest Home, Harvest Tide, Mabon, Night of the Hunter, Second Harvest Festival, Wine Harvest, and Witch's Thanksgiving.

--The fall equinox occurs when the sun moves out of the astrological sign of Virgo into the astrological sign of Libra.

--On the day of the equinox, the Sun rises, for every place on Earth (except at the poles), at the same time in the morning as it sets in the evening local time (example, if it rises at 6:00 am, then it will set at 6:00 pm). But these times are not exact for several reasons - mainly the different time zones for different areas.

--The Christian churches calculate Easter as the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the March equinox.

--One effect of equinoctial periods is the temporary disruption of communications satellites. For all geostationary satellites, there are a few days near the equinox when the sun goes directly behind the satellite relative to Earth.

--During the autumn equinox the Wiccan Sabbat of Mabon is celebrated.

--The harvest festival in the United Kingdom is celebrated on the Sunday of the full moon closest to the September equinox.

Also visit: Bobbi's Book Nook, Mrs. Greenhands, and My Muse and Me.

If you have an interest in my column from the Harrodsburg Herald's Mercer Magazine, also visit my new site at Mercer's Magazine.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #13 - Trixie Belden

This past week, I've become obsessed with a book series from my past - The Trixie Belden Mysteries. When I was a pre-teen, Trixie Belden made my life bearable. I loved reading her books over and over again. In honor of a new segment I'm starting on my book blog - Way Back Wednesday: Trixie Belden - I'm giving you the first 13 books in the series:

1.) The Secret of the Mansion (1948)

2.) The Red Trailer Mystery (1950)

3.) The Gatehouse Mystery (1951)

4.) The Mysterious Visitor (1954)

5.) The Mystery Off Glen Road (1956)

6.) The Mystery in Arizona (1958)

7.) The Mysterious Code (1961)

8.) The Black Jacket Mystery (1961)

9.) The Happy Valley Mystery (1962)

10.) The Marshland Mystery (1962)

11.) The Mystery at Bob-White Cave (1963)

12.) The Mystery of the Blinking Eye (1963)

13.) The Mystery on Cobbett's Island (1964)

To read my Trixie Belden Way Back Wednesday entries, please visit me at: Bobbi's Book Nook.