Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Have you Experienced a Ghost? & How do you Know if you Have? Ghostly Experiences...

photo courtesy-

I was visiting author Deborah Hughes' blog Ghostly Dramas, reading her blog post about 12 signs a Ghost is Near where of the twelve, one particular one stood out to me- #10 Hearing a knock or several.

 Well, I had just experienced this such phenomena!

A few nights ago my husband, seated at the dining table with our eldest daughter, working on a Pre- Algebra assignment together (good luck with that!)  suddenly heard a knocking come at our back door. Our back door is probably twenty feet or so away from where they were seated. OK, no big deal, we all get knocks on our doors, so what makes this paranormal?

Well, here's the curious thing about that.

It was a little after 8 pm and  pretty much already dark outside. This was also at our back door. Beyond that backdoor where two dachshunds. They bark at pretty much anything that nears the fence and are not to keen on just letting anyone in our back yard. They are good guard dogs. When the knocking came, these two were right outside that back door. They were also not barking. Hmm...

In response, my husband went to the door, peered out the window and said "Hello..?"


He looked to the switch, flipped all the back lights to our back yard, flooding it with severe brightness,sending it void of any shadow, and looked out the window again.

No one.

There was no one at our back door or in our back yard. There was ABSOLUTELY nothing out there. Well, nothing besides the two pairs of blinking eyes of our pooches sitting by the back door begging to come in.

 And again, they are not barking...

Well, this had us curious as well as perplexed. My husband was sure he heard knocking and so was our daughter. So, the pair of us together, my husband with his bat and I with my knife, go out into the dark night to further investigate. Going out our front door, we stick tight against each other and head around to the back gate leading to our back yard. We lift the latch (ok, not together) and enter. From there, with great caution, we proceed with our "further investigating". Searching every square foot of our back yard, we again come up with nothing.

No one. Just the two dachshunds standing at our feet, wagging their tails and giving us strange looks.

We return inside. We lock our front door, assure our kids everything is well and then return to our locked back door. We stand staring at it still perplexed and feeling a little stupid realizing we are still holding onto our bat and knife. What the heck?  What had it been? After putting his bat away and me my knife back to its sheath between the mattress of  the bed we share(of course on my side), we let our doggies in.

A new revelation...

You see, when my husband went to let our dogs in, he opened the door and then had to open the screen door to let them in. This act sent a question suddenly arising in our minds. We heard a knocking on the wood door and not on the screen one. So how, if the screen was closed, if  it were someone outside, did they knock on the wood back door without opening the screen and not have our dogs barking at them?

So, the knock had to have come from the inside.
photo courtesy:

Hmm....again, interesting...

Now, I know this wasn't a spooky story or even near amazingly creepy, but it was my ghost story. And a lot of the time, this is how many of our ghost stories tend to go. This is not the first paranormal experience I have encountered and I'm sure it will also not the last. I am fine on how un-scary my encounters tend to be, and regardless, they still seem pretty cool to me. I have yet to experience a scream your head off kind of ghostly drama, and so far I only get those kinds from watching scary movies or a ghost stories on TV.

Would I want a really creepy ghostly experience? Umm, probably a big NO. I' m not stupid. (She smiles) These subtle experiences are probably enough for my heart. (She smiles again).

Now, A.D. How do you know for sure that you did have a ghostly experience?  (you are welcome skeptics) Well, we really don't know for sure. It's mostly a gut feeling, unless we have hard core proof, and that is even better. Most of the time, its just a firm belief and a fun story to share. I will admit, I am a strong believer in the paranormal, but I am also pretty level headed. I am not what you would call a paranormal sucker (you know, those who will believe almost everything) and do have the common sense to know if I'm being duped.
I do practice de-bunking and I should, I've watched enough Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures to know better (Another smile).

Well, thanks for the drop by and please, if you have a ghostly experience, please share!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Panera Bread's Autumn Squash Soup---Ever Love Something and Want It For At Home? Well, Here Ya Go...

Friday (the 13th by the way) I was at Panera Bread having lunch with my grandpa- our usual routine for Friday after I clean house for him (grandma passed away a year ago) and I have to tell ya, I enjoyed the most tastetastical (yes I made that up) cup of soup ever!

Well, wait. I'm getting ahead of myself in my excitement. Rewind. Ok, let me start from the beginning...

 At eleven am (our usual time- grandpa likes routine) we arrive to those beautiful doors of Panera Bread. We walk in, say our hellos to the other usual's ( Usual- meaning any gentlemen or ladies who frequent Panera more than just once in awhile), grandpa sometimes lingering  to thank a solider, Veteran or police officer for their service,and then we slowly (Grandpa's 83, so it's not a dart) make our way to the ordering counter . When we reach it, we both then  proceed  to say our hello's to the staff we consider friends, even family (yes, they know us pretty well- heck, they know our orders by heart) and then make our orders.

Grandpa's order: Cup of chicken noodle or wild rice soup (thanks to me by the way) with the baguette (knife & 1 butter to go with it), small cup of coffee and sometimes (more often than not) a peanut butter cookie-grandpa's a diabetic, he is trying to watch his sugar levels, he's been a good boy.

My order: Either the tomato,broccoli cheddar or clam chowder (they don't put this one out often:) soup, with baguette, a half of a Mediterranean veggie sandwich, medium fountain drink and of course a shortbread cookie-that is yum by the way! (Click here for that copycat recipe)

Like I said, these are our usual orders. Changing up my soups is my way of living on the wild side. (Honestly, I commonly order the same because if I like it then why not). Well this Friday (did I mention it was the 13th?) I spot  Autumn squash soup on the soup menu. I love squash, I mean I really, really love squash! Steamed squash, fried squash, raw squash, squash casserole and now squash soup. Before this day that will forever hang in the history, I had never ventured into the squash soup realm.(I kick myself now for that). Truthfully, I have never been to a place that ever offered it.

 This day (Friday the 13th by the way) I change my order up. I pick the Autumn Squash soup.  We get our drinks, grab our cookies and then find our table to sit and wait for our meals to arrive. The wonderful server, who knows us well, shows up with our plates of yumminess and sets them down. Before me, I find a cup full of some yellowish soup with toasted almonds at the center of it.

I pick up my little silver wide mouthed spoon and take my first bite...


I do not know how many times I mention this to my grandpa(lost count really); it was like eating my lunch and dessert at the same time( I said this quite a few times too)! There was a sweetness to it that reminded me of pumpkin pie and yet a distinct taste that reminded me it was a soup and meant for a meal, not a dessert. The soup was creamy, smooth going down and as much as I wanted to inhale it, I took my bites in leisure. I wanted to enjoy this for as long as I could. Each bite was like discovering it for the first time again.

Over and Over...and over.

I liked the LOVED the soup. So of course the gears of my mind went into action-well they are always in action, but just a pick up in pace:0)- trying to make it clear I do think:0)

I wanted to make this at home. As much as I love going to Panera, I wanted to eat this soup every day and going everyday to Panera to eat it does make a dent in your pocket book (still love you Panera!) I knew (I am a mom of 6) that I could make this soup at home and for a lot less and get a lot more. So where do you find a recipe for something you like?


I googled squash soup like Panera's and found a few recopies. They varied a little, but then were the same a little. So of course, I wanna find out the best combination of ingredients to make this soup as fabulous as Panera's. This means experimentation time.

Note: My results will be in another blog post. 

For now, I want to share these recipes with you.  You can try them out individually and compare, pick and choose which ingredients you want and then make the soup or even make up your own version. Share the  results with me if ya want, cause I sure would  LOVE to hear them!

Panera Bread Company Butternut Squash Soup Sources: 

 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 small onion 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (1 teaspoon dried) 1 small butternut squash, chopped 6 1/3 cups chicken stock (50.4 ounces) 1 1/4 cups heavy cream 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon white pepper 1/2 cup chopped walnuts Hot pepper sauce Melt butter over moderate heat in large saucepan. Add the onion and rosemary and cook until soft (approximately 5 minutes). Add chopped squash, chicken stock, heavy cream, salt, white pepper and hot sauce. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for approximately 2 hours - or until squash is tender. Use blender to puree the hot soup. Toast walnuts to use for garnish. Serve in a bread bowl. - this came from Recipe Goldmine.
2-3 TBS butter/vegetable oil
1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 red apples (I used Gala), peeled and diced
1 carton of chicken stock
Sweet curry (look for curry with a brownish color - it contains more cinnamon.)

Roughly chop everything and sauté with 2-3 Tablespoons of butter or oil for
20 min or until onions are translucent.

Add 1 carton of chicken stock and simmer for 1 hr.

Blend with an immersion blender, reg blender, or food processor to
desired consistency. Add 1/2-1 cup (or as desired) 2% or whole milk.

Season with salt and curry powder to taste! I think I used about 1/2 to 1 tsp curry powder...Enjoy!
-This came from Kristi's Home Kookin'

Butternut Squash Soup Recipe
Recipe below was also on photo courtesy of justapinch

2 Tbs unsalted butter
1 small onion,minced
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 small butternut squash, chopped
6 1/3 c chicken stock (50.4 ounces)
1 1/4 c heavy cream
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 c chopped walnuts
Hot pepper sauce
Over low saute onion and rosemary in butter and cook til soft (5 min).

Add chopped squash, chicken stock, heavy cream, salt, white pepper and hot sauce. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer 2 hours - til squash is tender.

Use blender to puree the hot soup.

Toast walnuts to use for garnish.

Serve in a bread bowl.
- this came from Mommysavers

So, there ya go! Have fun, make a mess and enjoy! I will get back to you on my results and let's pray they are good ones :0)

Thanks for the drop by!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Who Says You Have to Be Martha Stewart? Get Your Halloween Crafting on with A.D.

  "The proof is in the pudding."

Photo courtesy - Click to get the recipie and check out their other Spooktacular goodies

         Yep, it's true... you really don't have to be Martha Stewart to create an amazing craft. Pintrest alone gives testament to this. With so many bloggers sharing their creativity with the world, you will never run out of ideas or amazing things to make. So with Halloween nearing, why not create something this holiday that would even send crafting queen Martha Stewart giving applause.

Well, here's that perfect craft for you. Not only is it super duper easy, the results are spectacular- or rather  SPOOKtacular! Of course being an honest gal as I am, I can not take credit for this brilliant conception. I believe in giving credit where credit is due and the credit all goes to Joann's fabric store. Yep! That fabulous store with all your crafting needs as well as some nice holiday decor (I clench my coupons in anticipation for the fifteenth to get some of that wonderful  Halloween decor at 40% off- awesome!).

 So, the other day I was at Joann's in search  for some spooky fabric to make into a Halloween skirt for my thirteen year old daughter, when low and behold, I spotted the shelf. You know...that shelf filled to the brim with all those "free" craft ideas. Yep, Joann's fabulously gives out pamphlets of all kinds of crafty things for you to make and for FREE! You can find them online as well. Click here. In this fantastic stack, I found this one below and WOW!  Is it easy and fabulous!

The craft is called The Crafty Spider web.
Joann's photo

Here are the supplies you will need:

* Embroidery Hoop (size to accommodate doily)
* Doily of choice
* Spider of course (Dollar tree, Walmart, General Dollar, Joann's)
* Black Ribbon (or color of choice)
* Black Acrylic Paint
* Paintbrush
* Scissors
* Hot glue gun & glue sticks

Joann's deems this a level one (easy peasy) craft

Now here are the directions:

1. Remove inner hoop and paint the whole hoop black. ( Neon colors could be a consideration)

2.Center doily on the liner of the hoop. Hot Glue the top edge to the side of the liner. (I did not need to glue. Just pulled taunt) Stretch the doily and continue to glue each edge to the liner.

3. Replace the outer hoop. Secure the fastener.

4. Glue a spider to the doily web.

5. Cut a 12" length of black ribbon. Slide one end under the fastener. Bring the ends together and knot.

Ok, here are my photos.

I did not do the ribbon yet (didn't have on hand) but will by Halloween! I just love them. The black doily is available also at Joann's. It actually has a spider weaved into it, but my hoop was too small to show it, so I just glued  a spider onto it. I'm visualizing several of these inside my home. Different sizes, hanging together to  add to that Halloween ambiance...

Well there ya go! Easy and Amazing!

If this got you into the festive and crafting mood, well ya don't have to stop here! Click the link to my Pintrest board- Halloween Crafts  and find what other great crafts I've found. All kinds of levels, all kinds of fun!

Thanks for the drop by and Happy soon to be Halloween!