Monday, August 6, 2012

Haunted Housekeeping: Halloween 2011

Since we have been a little busy in the Barry household these days, I have not gotten around to posting pictures from Halloween 2011...I know this is blasphemous in a Halloween-loving family such as ours.  As I begin preparations for Halloween 2012 (the 7th annual Barry Scary Halloween Party...yikes!) I figured it would be good to get these pictures out there.  I am also working on getting our previous years off of other social media sites and onto one concise Halloween blog stay tuned!

Ok, here we go!

Preparations, as usual, began in August and my little Halloween goblin is always all too willing to assist.  Although, instead of helping me work on food name labels, we had too much fun playing with our witches fingers! 

Madelyn and Patrick continued our preparations with a little pumpkin carving...we do have lots of pumpkins to display in the yard (photos to come!)

I am ashamed that I didn't get better pictures of the entrance hall on party night...I blame pregnancy brain...but here is Eduardo, our faithful butler, waiting to greet the guests.



This is Bernard, our newest servant.  He has a pet raven (we lovingly call him Edgar) who can get pretty feisty at times!


This is my new "Bust of Pallas" that I made to go on top of my Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe...I thought it looked pretty creepy!

 The hall table always features our candy buffet with "twisted treats" (green apple sour straws), "dead man's toes" (green Dots), "devilish morsels" (Hershey kisses), gummy worms, candy eyeballs and black licorice.

The foolish mortals are then directed to the banquet hall where one of our lovely maids awaited them to make sure that they had their fill of dreadful edibles.

Speaking of dreadful edibles here are a few buffet shots...again the pregnancy brain was in full effect and limited the amount of awesome food shots and pictures of the table name cards...I will do better this year!  Some of my favorites on the buffet is the cheese display with tombstone name markers (you can sort of see them below)...

 The cocoons (mini corn dogs) with skeleton hand serving spoons...

 The perennial favorite...Patrick's homemade bat wings...

Spinal slices (pinwheels)...

 And what's a boo-fet without some creepy table cloths, fog and floating candles a la Hogwarts (see ceiling)??

 Ok, moving on to the important parts...the toxic tonics and potent potions room.  Here I am whipping up a little witchy family secret recipe for our glowing green witch's brew punch (always a hit!).  The scowling face is probably due to the fact that I would not be able to partake in the adult libations due to one tiny Benjamin inhabiting my tummy...I have a whole year's worth to make up for at this year's party.

 Here is the final is a bit foggy to see the glowing green elixir in this photo.

Here is the wine and mixed drinks portion of the potion lair...

Here is the rest of the punch display...spiked cider in the mummy dispenser and a non-alcoholic sangria-esque concotion in the skull punch bowl (this is also usually housing an adult potion but due to the overwhelming number of new "mummies" in attendance, we went baby friendly this year.)

 This is our in house witch supervising potion making...Hazel...get it?...Witch Hazel?...nevermind...moving on...

We now are moving on to the dessert boo-fet portion of our tour.  

Below you will find Maggot Morsels (rice krispie treats..these usually get shaped like tombstones but something about pregnancy hormones wore me out this time around!),  Ooey Gooey Pumpkin Butter Cakes, Cake Pops and Fudge.

In the center of the boo-fet is the severed heart (jello mold of a heart), witches finger cookies and cauldron corn (brought by one of my dear friends and one of my very favorites!).

The right side of the boo-fet finds more cake pops, sludge dipped oreos (chocolate dipped) and Buck-"eye" brownies (brownies with peanut butter butter cream and chocolate ganache...oh my!)

Moving to the outside of the Barry manor, our little witch would like to show you our haunted graveyard.

Come...follow along...

This would be Madelyn's pumpkin that her and Patrick carved above (like all of it's green warts and boils?)

Tombstones, dead bride and groom and creepy skeleton crawling out of his grave...the usual in suburban front yards...

The poor guy below who didn't even make it into a grave sings lead singer in the Haunted Pumpkin choir on the porch...he is really quite good...I should post a video for everyone to see, maybe it will be his big break that he had been waiting for??

 Fog, lots of fog.  I have to take the fog photos before it gets dark because once it gets dark you can't see a thing (except fog for miles around).

As darkness settles, the spotlights highlight the grave crawling guy and other various inhabitants of our graveyard.

 Although the photo didn't turn out well, Madelyn insisted that I show everyone the witches lair and the bubbling cauldron that Witch Hazel has enchanted to produce fog filled bubbles.

 Here is one of the few dark photos that you could see through the fog.

After a successful Halloween season here at Barry manor, nothing feels better than a nice warm cup of hot chocolate.   We hope you enjoyed our little tour and will come back to see new projects, decorations, food and frightful fun for Halloween 2012!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

We Found Nemo: Madelyn's Finding Nemo Birthday Party!

It's that time of year again...the culmination of months of's Madelyn's birthday!  This year, because of Benjamin's March arrival, we decided to host the party at an offsite location to minimize the cleaning, set up and clean up that would have to take place at home.  Finding a location, however, was a huge challenge since I knew that I wanted to be able to bring all of the decorations, food, drinks and desserts myself (even though we were having the party offsite I didn't want it to be any less personalized since Madelyn and I have so much fun working on our parties together).

Finally we settled on Charlotte Aquatics for a few reasons:
1. this is where Madelyn takes swim lessons (and we HIGHLY recommend those) and she considers this her pool
2. the pool only hosts one party at a time so the entire facility would be ours alone
3. we could bring all of our own food, drinks and decor
4. we just love everyone there and knew they would make it a very fun event!

Once we had a pool we then easily decided on a Finding Nemo theme since it is one of Madelyn's favorite movies.  Once again, however, this is not a very current movie and party accessories were NOT easy to come by.  Here is what we cobbled together for, what I think, was a pretty nice birthday for a 4 year old.

Here was our invite that Patrick designed in Photoshop:

Like all parties, planning started early and Madelyn and I decided on, shopped for and assembled favor bags (with some help from Grammy).

The ribbon below is from Jo-Ann Fabrics and was used as our accent for everything.

Here is what we selected for our big kid favors: Nemo goggles (Dollar excited we found these!), orange and white dive sticks (also Dollar Tree, very Nemo-esque), Nemo fruit snacks and water bottles (Michaels with tags I designed in Photoshop).

Here are the finished bags all tied up pretty!

On party day, me and my crew of party set-up professionals swarmed Charlotte Aquatics with bags and boxes and laundry baskets of food and decorations.  In a cloud of dust that Pigpen would be proud of a party was formed.  Here was our o-fish-al (I just cant get enough of that) result!

A few buffet table shots...I love the Nemo ribbon that Patrick's mom found (although I am not sure where) matched my little Nemo ribbon perfectly so we used it as a table garland.  The centerpiece of the table was delicious blue punch made with blue Hawaiian punch, lemonade concentrate and pineapple juice.

Fish (gold fish of course) and Chips with Dip and Veggies and Dip.

Bait (gummy worms and gummy octopus)

Bell Pepper Octopus on Hummus (thank you Pinterest!)

Patrick's awesome shark watermelon bowl (another Pinterest find)!

"Jelly" Fish Sandwiches for the kids plates (fish cookie cutter from Jo Ann Fabrics) and finger "sand"wiches (egg salad, ham salad, chicken salad, pimento cheese and cucumber tea sandwiches) for the adults.

Another Pinterest find- wrap your silverware in napkins and tie with twine and a "lifesaver"...very nautical and has the added benefit of lending a minty aroma to your party!  (Silverware from the Dollar Tree, napkins from Party city, blue caddy from the Target Dollar Spot, twine and lifesavers from Walmart).

The kids table all set up with place settings and favors.

Everyone worked up a hearty appetite with a little swimming, sliding, rope swinging, water gun fighting and water basketball playing before lunch.

Lunch is served!  The kids got their jelly fish sandwiches and a little aquarium cup of blue jello with Swedish fish in them.  They could then choose any other items from the buffet that tickled their fancy!

Up close of favor bags and bottles:

The babies (we have a lot recently) all got under the sea tub books from Dollar Tree:

One very excited 4 year old and her Nemo before lunch!  (note: the Nemo balloon was impossible to find anywhere near us in Charlotte...this one came from a grocery store in Ohio with Grammy and Grandpa)

And during lunch...

After lunch we brought out the good stuff!  Crush Cookies (chocolate dipped oreos to look like Crush)...

Pearl Pops (cake pops made to look like Pearl the octopus)

Peach Pastries (cake cookies cut and decorated with frosting and sanding sugar to look like Peach the starfish)

And CAKE!!!  Grammy made the Nemo and Dory bouncing on Jelly fish cake from Here and a personal cake for Maddy with a fondant sea gull on it that said "Mine"...hilarious!

Madelyn was very excited that the inside of the cake was all different shades of blue and got darker as you went deeper in the "ocean" since blue is "totally" her favorite color.

After a fabulous day of playing in the pool and eating a lot of food, we had one exhausted baby...

And one worn out little lady!

Happy Birthday Maddy!!