Halloween House 2016


I don’t know about where you live, but here in Central Indiana it has been quite a warm autumn so far. Right now, every window in our house is open and there is a breeze blowing through the tree outside my dining room window. I have on jeans and a tank top and I’m not the slightest bit chilly. In fact, at one point this afternoon, I contemplated closing all the windows and turning on the AC. Our thermostat said it was 81 degrees in the house! It seems a bit strange to be decorating for Halloween and figuring out costumes, especially since I was told that it would be quite chilly, even cold for trick-or-treating in just two weeks. We’ll see about that. But, the calendar says that it’s time for all things fall decor, so I decked the halls, walls, table tops, and porches with whatever we moved here from Virginia. I tried so hard not to make any new purchases, but it’s just such a fun time of year, I couldn’t hold back on a few little purchases from my two favorite places. At Home and Homegoods have so many reasonable decorations for autumn and Halloween. We even took the kids with us to At Home and they chose, well, you can guess:


…. a bag o’ bones! Yup. The skeleton was all them. I feel I have displayed it rather tastefully, thank you very much. One of the least expensive things you can use to decorate for Halloween are photos of your kids from Halloweens past. I keep the photos in the Halloween decoration bins and then just add a couple of my favorite pics each year. The kids love to look back at their different costumes over the years.


When we bought this house, the previous owners left all their drapes and cornices as well as the black silk lampshades on the dining room chandelier. Black silk doesn’t really jive with my color palette, but I kept them in our basement storage specifically for Halloween. I know, I’m nuts. But don’t they look great?


For me, the best part about decorating our home for holidays is playing around with what we already have. Something I used a certain way at any of our former homes can be reinvented and refreshed. Last week, while the kids were at school, I spread all of our Halloween decorations all over the entryway and dining room table. Over the course of the school day, I took my time placing items here and there, taking a step back to look at it, sometimes snapping a photo on my phone to look at it from a different perspective. By the time the kids came home from school, the house was decked with all things autumn and Halloween. It was so cute watching Little One’s excitement over every little detail. They were so excited to see all the familiar decorations from our old house, displayed here in our new home. It conjures up fond memories and creates a space for new memories to be made. That’s what home is, right?


Truth be told, I never really liked Halloween that much. I guess as a kid I did, but you know how it is when you’re older. Things that were magical and exciting in your childhood lose their luster when you get older. I sort of surprised myself and my spouse when I started getting into Halloween as a mom. It’s such a child-like holiday, one where I can create memories with our children and maybe be a bit of a kid again myself.


Admittedly, some of the decorations I’ve added to our collection are for me. The candy corn I have displayed in the kitchen is totally for me. It’s my favorite candy, so when I saw this metal painted giant candy corn, I just had to have it. It’s such a cheerful candy, isn’t it?


This is our guest bathroom as well as the only bathroom on the main floor, so it gets a lot of use. My favorite Halloween touch are the bat finger towels I found online last year. Aren’t they the cutest? Totally impractical, but completely adorable.




I hope you and yours are enjoying this fun season! Here are some other posts you might enjoy…


Halloween party graphic FB


Memories of John Paul II and a book list for you!


Pope John Paul II was canonized on April 27, 2014. When I pause and think about the many times I was blessed to be in his presence during his papacy, it takes my breath away, really. My memories of St. John Paul are like family memories. In October, 1979, Pope John Paul II came to Philadelphia. I was just eighteen months old, so when my mom ventured into the city with a couple of my siblings and their friends to stand on the Parkway for Mass, I was at home with our neighbor. This Papal visit, his first to the United States, was the beginning of a long relationship between American Catholics and JPII. My parents shared their love for the Holy Father with me, and so when we first heard that he was celebrating World Youth Day in Denver, Colorado, my parents didn’t hesitate to put me on a bus, alone, at the age of sixteen. I didn’t know a single soul on that bus, but the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal accompanied us on our three day journey, one friar on each of the fourteen buses that left from Franciscan University. I became fast friends with Br. Terry, and even attended his ordination by Cardinal O’Conner at St. Patrick’s Cathedral just a few years later. We drove from Eastern Ohio, across Indiana, first stopping at Belleville, Illinois at the Shrine of Our Lady of Snows. We drove through Missouri to Wichita, Kansas for a candlelight youth rally. Then, Denver. We slept on cots in a catholic school gym and ventured out to the city center each day for daily Mass, catechesis, concerts, and prayer services. The anticipation built as we awaited the vigil, camping out at Cherry Creek State Park, spending the evening with JPII. I fell in love with him that night. I’m serious. It was a love that a grandchild feels for their grandfather. I believed that he came all the way to Denver to show us the love of Christ, so reveal to us the beauty of the catholic faith. His mere presence moved me to tears, and now that he’s gone, when I think about my experience there in that State Park, I get emotional. I have a lump in my throat at the reality of his absence. Yet I feel his presence in such a palpable way, even more than my encounters with him, whenever I pray for his intercession.

jp-ii-magazinesFrom top left, the memory books from World Youth Day Denver, 1992 and Paris, 1997. Under that, the commemorative edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer, kept all these years and given to me by my parents, and the iconic Time magazine that was published just after his first visit to The States. The four magazines on the right were all published just after JPII passed from this earthly life. These are all such treasures to me. 

Just as my parents handed on to me a love and respect not just for Pope John Paul II, but for the Papacy itself, we try to do the same with our children. I want our kids to get to know him and love him. I don’t know that it will ever be the same relationship as mine. Each one of us who were blessed to be in his presence over the twenty-seven years of his papacy could claim the same closeness, I think. When you had an encounter with JPII, whether you were at the back of the crowd, or in the front seat at a Papal Audience at Castel Gondolfo, you were encountering Christ Himself. I pray that our children will experience Christ in this familiar way, specifically through an encounter with a pope. It is such a uniquely catholic experience, one that makes you know, you are part of a family, and he is our Holy Father, leading his sheep to Our Father in Heaven.

One simple way I try to instill knowledge of St. John Paul in my children is by reading books to them, and offering them books to read themselves. I think all of these books on my list are excellent, so I can’t really advise you to order any one of them over the other. However, the first one is the most appropriate for little ones. The comic books are obviously for older children, I’d say nine and up. The Feast of St. John Paul is October 22nd! If you have Prime, you have time! Just click on the image of each book below to see the listings on Amazon.








I hope and pray that you and yours do something to remember our beloved JPII this coming feast day. He is a powerful intercessor, this we know!

Pope Saint John Paul II, pray for us all!


Books about Owls




Books about Apples


7 things I love about living in Indiana

Living in Indiana for five months doesn’t make me an expert, however it does give me a bit of a compare and contrast perspective. Certainly, these opinions and perceptions may change over time, I’m sure they will. Some of my friends back East have been asking about what the differences are between living in Northern Virginia and Indiana. I think instead of offering comparisons, I’ll to give you a list of seven things I love about living here in Indiana. Then wherever you dwell, you can make the comparisons for yourself.

So how are we, really? An update on our move to Indiana

The moving process is exhausting, there’s no question about that. Beginning with the sale of the old house all the way to unpacking the last box in the new house, it takes a lot out of a person. But what also takes a lot out of you is the letting go and the attaching too. I miss my friends in Virginia. Like a lot. I think of them often, wondering how they’re doing, especially as it relates to the things we used to do together: dance carpooling, Back to School activities, standing on the sidelines at games, running into each other at Mass or at the grocery store.

New Home Tour: Family Room and Kitchen

Welcome to the heart of our home, the family room and kitchen. This is where our family spends most of our time, lounging around, reading books, watching movies, and of course, cooking and eating. None of the houses we’ve lived in have had this open concept. I must say, I love the convenience and practicality of this layout.

New Home Tour: Entryway and Dining Room

Welcome! I wish I could actually have you over for a cup of coffee and a tour of our Indiana home. Wouldn’t that be fun?

New Home Tour: The Sitting Room and Master

One of the most enjoyable aspects of moving has been to re-imagine where to place our furniture and how to put it to good use in a new space.

New Home Tour: The Girls’ Room

Decorating a space for two girls can be a challenge, especially when one girl is ten, entering her tween years, and the other is six and still very much a little girl. I think the key is to think long-term. What colors, patterns, designs, and styles will stand the test of time for both of them? What furniture will grow with the girls as they get older?