Have you ever wondered how ghosts, goblins, black cats, witches and haunted houses became associated with our October holiday? Or where the tradition of handing out candy to children originated?

Halloween can be traced back more than 2,000 years.

The color orange is associated with the Fall harvest and black with darkness and death.

Jack o’ Lanterns originated in Ireland where people placed candles in hollowed-out turnips to keep away spirits and ghosts.

Halloween was brought to North America by immigrants from Europe who would celebrate the harvest around a bonfire, share ghost stories, sing, dance and tell fortunes.

The ancient Celts thought that spirits and ghosts roamed the countryside on Halloween night. They wore masks and costumes to hide their facial features.

Halloween candy sales average about 2 billion dollars annually in the United States. Tootsie Rolls were the first wrapped penny candy in America. Chocolate candy bars top the list as the most popular candy for trick-or-treaters with Snickers as the most popular.

Sugar rationing during World War II put a halt to trick-or-treating.

Going house-to-house collecting food originated in 16th century Britain and Ireland, and Halloween as we know it began in the United States a century ago.

Origin of the term 'trick or treat' is unknown but the phrase became popular by 1951, when trick-or-treating was depicted in the Peanuts comic strip.

The most popular children's costumes are Batman and princess dresses.

Halloween is the second biggest holiday after Christmas.

Bobbing for apples originated from the roman harvest festival that honors 'Pamona' the goddess of fruit trees.

Black cats were believed to protect the power of witches.

[Sources:;; Wikipedia]

These cookies were decorated in only two steps: ice and sand. I was tempted to add some detail but preferred the Batman-type, silhouette effect. The mini size is just right for the kiddies.

Bat Cookies
Mini Bat Shortbread Cookies
Royal Icing for outlining and flooding tinted Dark Gray with AmeriColor Super Black AmeriColor Regal Purple
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Squeeze bottles
Wilton Decorating Tip #2
CK Sanding Sugar (Black, Silver, Purple)

Outline cookie with gray icing. Flood cookie with gray icing.

Sprinkle with sanding sugar. Gently shake off excess.

Let dry overnight.



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Sisters, sisters . . . There were never such devoted sisters. . .
All kinds of weather, we stick together, the same in the rain or sun. . .
Not a thing could come between us

Lyrics to Irving Berlin's 'Sisters' was sung by Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen in the 1954 movie White Christmas. The movie was originally entitled Holiday Inn until Bing Crosby's rendition of the song became the most popular Christmas song ever. 

When I hear the word sisters it brings to mind Rosemary, Gloria and Betty, devoted siblings, blue-eyed with stunning looks and beautiful inside and out. Rosemary … outgoing, confident and stylish; Glo … practical, fashionable and thoughtful; Betty … delicate, pensive and demure. The girls shared a bedroom, clothes and decided in their early teens which sister was to be each other's Maid of Honor at their weddings. 

Rosemary, Betty and Gloria
They are the daughters of a Scottish immigrant mother and second-generation Irishman who supported his family driving a taxicab. Born in New York City between 1924 and 1930, they grew up in a time which may seem simple compared to today but only in some ways. They walked to school, wore hand-me-downs and evening entertainment was reading a book or listening to a radio show. It was a time when the neighborhood boys played street hockey, dodging the cars with the soles of their shoes flapping. Their childhood took place during the Great Depression and like everyone else, witnessed their parents struggle to pay the rent and put food on the table. Aunt Betty remembers that her family faired better than most and when there was extra food and outgrown dresses, my grandmother would give to other families in the apartment house

During their high school years WWII broke out. Like most young gals, Ro and Glo were separated from boyfriends serving in the War and remember neighborhood boys who never came home. They took jobs in the city while Betty finished high school. Peace finally arrived and afterwards they married, lived in the suburbs, kept house and had a dozen children between them. They were traditional homemakers during the 50's, 60's and 70's, baking and sewing and maintaining immaculate homes. Yet, they evolved with the times and maintained their sense of self while being devoted to their families. My brothers, cousins and I often talk about our happy childhoods and how lucky to have such amazing mothers.

Gloria and Roy
The story of three sisters would not be complete without mention of their only brother, Roy. Tall and handsome he took the brunt of my grandmother's temper during his young years. She was old-school and this was long before the era of time outs. He managed to survive it … sisters, dolls and all. He became a self-made businessman, married and had seven children.

Gloria, Rosemary and Betty
Rosemary and Glo are missed but always in our hearts and memories. They would be filled with joy of the great-grandchildren never met. Aunt Betty celebrates her 87th birthday this month.

The small snowflake cutter was used for this cookie because to me it does not look like a snowflake, but rather a flower. What do you think?

Brush Embroidery Cookies
Snowflake Shortbread Cookies
Royal Icing for outlining and flooding tinted Teal Blue with AmeriColor Sky Blue and AmeriColor Leaf Green
Royal Icing for outlining tinted Navy Blue with Wilton Navy Blue and AmeriColor Super Black
Royal Icing for outlining tinted Light Teal Blue with AmeriColor Sky Blue and AmeriColor Leaf Green
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Squeeze bottles
Wilton Decorating Tip #2

Outline cookie with #2 tip in teal icing
Flood cookie with teal icing. 

Let dry overnight.

Pipe dots with #2 tip in Navy Blue icing.

Using a paintbrush, pull icing to create design. Repeat process.

Paint some cookies with light teal icing. Let dry two hours.

 Hint: Occasionally dip paintbrush in water to remove excess icing on brush. Dab on dry paper towel.


(Remembering Aunt Rosemary)

(Remembering Mom)


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I grew up in the 1960s and 70s when the word recycling and ecology were not common terms in the vernacular. This was also a time before plastic was used in common, everyday items. The one thing that stands out in my memory was shampoo in glass bottles. At the time we didn’t think much about it but imagine, glass in the shower and the possibility of breakage.

Recycling erupted in the 1980’s and has been a nationwide trend in recent decades. It certainly makes sense to recycle as much as possible instead of adding to our country’s landfills. It is something all of us do every day, separating recycled items from garbage and we feel good about doing our part for the environment. We toss newspapers, plastic containers, glass bottles and soda cans into our recycle bins, place them at the curb for pick up and do not give it another thought. We know it goes to the recycling center and is later repurposed for use in the manufacture of various items. Well, have you ever thought about the recycling process? I had not until viewing this video on the webpage of our waste management company. Call me a nerd but I found it interesting and thought you may enjoy seeing what becomes of our used items.

This Lemon Loaf Cake recipe was cut out of the newspaper years ago and has been in my recipe box ever since. I recently made it for the first time. It is a very refreshing cake with a subtle lemony flavor. It comes together very quickly using only a whisk. It is a great last minute cake for breakfast or dessert; delicious alone or served with summer fruits. And, if you are crazy about everything lemon like Deb at Cooking on the Front Burners, check out her many lemon recipes.

Lemon Loaf Cake
4 Eggs
1-1/3 cups Sugar
Pinch of Salt
Zest of 3 Lemons (or 6 tbsp Lemon Juice)
1¾ cup Flour
½ tsp Baking Powder
½ cup Heavy/Whipping Cream
5½ tbsp Butter, melted & cooled

Grease and flour 9” loaf pan. (Mix with whisk)
In a separate bowl mix Flour and Baking Powder. Set aside.
Whisk Eggs, Sugar and Salt until smooth. Whisk in grated zest of Lemon.
Add flour mixture in three additions, just until incorporated.
Whisk in Cream. Fold in Butter with rubber spatula.
Bake at 350 for one hour.


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I've got a weakness for anything nautical ... docksiders, bold stripes and of course, sailing. There is nothing like being on the water on a breezy day working the lines and enjoying the peaceful sound of the water slapping alongside the hull. Maybe it's in my DNA as my Dad loved sailing and was in the Navy during WWII.

Dad joined up after graduating high school like most guys, instead of waiting to be drafted. He chose the Navy because he wanted to sleep in a dry bed and eat three square meals a day. Now that's smart thinking! It was also a natural choice because during his adolescence Dad spent time on the Long Island Sound where he and a buddy fashioned a canoe into a sailboat with a stick and homemade sail from a bed sheet. Dad was fortunate to be stationed in Miami, where the Navy patrolled the Atlantic waters off our southeastern shore for German submarines, even sinking one. He served nearly four years until the war ended. There was no one-year tour-of-duty back then; you were in for the duration. During his service, he experienced a Florida hurricane and came home with a tan!

These cookies were decorated using two stencils and two design methods. Airbrushing with the striped stencil creates the background of the cookie, and royal icing using the anchor stencil gives the cookies added dimension.

Like the idea of these cookies on a card?
Antonella at White House Crafts has this design on note cards you can print out at home. Click Here

Anchor Cookies
Plaque Shortbread Cookies
Royal Icing for outlining and flooding tinted White with AmeriColor Super White
Royal Icing for detail tinted Navy Blue with AmeriColor Navy Blue and AmeriColor Super Black
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Squeeze bottles
Wilton Decorating Tip #2
Narrow Stripe Stencil
Anchor Stencil
AmeriColor Airbrush Colors (Leaf Green, Sky Blue, Avocado, Lemon Yellow, Orange)
Dinkydoodle Airbrush Color (Super Red)
Airbrush Kit

Outline cookie with #2 tip in white icing
Flood cookie with white icing. Let dry overnight.

Place stripe stencil on cookie. Spray with airbrush color. Gently lift stencil.

Let dry 30 minutes.

Center anchor stencil on cookie. Spread navy icing with spatula. 
Remove excess icing. Gently lift stencil.

Let dry one hour.



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