HALLOWEEN IS UPON US


The cake above is my Halloween Project. I am attempting to recreate it for my Halloween Party on October 31st. The bottom layer is pumpkin spice cake with apple pie baked into it, the middle layer is chocolate cake with pecan pie baked into it and the top layer is spice cake with pumpkin pie baked into it. Covered and layers filled with a cream cheese frosting. I have got everything bought and ready to make on Saturday. Hoping it goes well. Look for pictures in a future blog.


I had hoped to have a big Halloween Party. I had it all planned out with the outside patio, the pool area and fun games out front while trick n treaters came by. But the Covid 19 fear has struck again and many have cancelled. Those that come will have fun though and certainly lots of cake to eat.


The cake if it turns out, I will recreate once again for my sons' Thanksgiving dinner.



6 Ways to Use Pumpkins After Halloween


Don’t Toss Your Leftover Jack-o’-Lanterns—Here are 6 Ways to Recycle Them

Wondering what to do with your pumpkins after October? Don't let your jack-o'-lanterns go to waste with these ideas!


Once all the trick-or-treating is over and it's time to change your decor to the next holiday, you may be wondering what to do with all your Halloween pumpkins. Tons of them just get tossed in the trash; according to the U.S. Department of Energy, about 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins in the United States end up in landfills, which is pretty scary


1. You Can Eat Most Pumpkins

Of course, you can always bring any clean, uncarved pumpkins to the kitchen to eat yourself! Toasted pumpkin seeds make a healthy snack, and you can use fresh pumpkin puree in any recipe that calls for the canned version. You'll need to do a little conversion: Keep in mind that one 2-1/2 pound pumpkin is equivalent to about 15 ounces canned pumpkin—the standard grocery store can. Some varieties like Jarrahdale, Hubbard, and Pie pumpkins are grown specifically for eating, so they have naturally sweet, smooth flesh. But you can also doctor up other pumpkin varieties to use in sweet or savory pumpkin recipes (we'd recommend only eating pumpkins that you've kept inside your house though, where they've been safe from insects and other critters).



2. Pass Along Your Pumpkins

Don't want to deal with the pumpkins yourself? No worries! There are plenty of places that may take them off your hands. See if you can donate leftover pumpkins to zoos, animal shelters, farms, or community gardens. They'll be grateful for the compost material or animal snacks. Look local; some towns do a pumpkin collection drive after Halloween, and some farms put out calls for local pumpkin donations. Organizations like Scarce and Pumpkins for the People also have drop-off sites where you can take your old pumpkins, and then they'll compost them to keep them out of landfills.


3. Feed the Birds

Attract feathered friends to your yard by turning your Halloween pumpkin into a bird feeder. Just cut a pumpkin in half horizontally, empty the cavity, and fill it with birdseed. Either leave it out as is or hang it from a tree with several lengths of thick twine or rope wrapped under the base.

You can add the pumpkin's seeds to your regular birdseed, too! Rinse and dry the seeds before mixing them in. Don't flavor or salt the seeds; the birds will eat them as-is.



4. Create Compost

Pumpkins make a great addition to your compost pile! Because they're mostly water, they decompose quickly, but it'll go even faster if you break them apart first. Turn pumpkin smashing into a fun family activity; you probably won't have to look far to find willing participants.

Pumpkin composting is pretty simple. Just remember to remove the seeds first so your gourds don't root in the pile. If you'd like, you can save them to try your hand at growing your own pumpkins next year. Just rinse the pulp away from the seeds and allow the seeds to dry. Store them in an envelope in a cool, dry place until you're ready to plant.


5. Play With Your Pumpkins

Even when Halloween's over, you can keep the festivities going strong with fun activities using your leftover pumpkin. Try pumpkin bowling by filling plastic bottles with water and setting them up in a 10-pin triangle. Take turns rolling your pumpkin bowling-ball-style to see who can knock down the most bottles. Or, look for a pumpkin chucking catapult event in your area for a chance to send your pumpkin flying through the air.

6. Feed the Wildlife

Your old Halloween pumpkin also makes the perfect snack for neighborhood wildlife, which you mayhave already noticed, especially if you have resident squirrels. Once you're done displaying your pumpkins, cut them up into fourths and place pieces around your yard. Deer, rabbits, and other creatures will make short work of them.


The Quietest Dog Breeds That Aren't Likely to Bark


Dogs make great companions, but if you live in a condo, co-op apartment, or a neighborhood with its own homeowner's associations (HOAs), you may find yourself beholden to a noise ordinance. And while that constant yipper can be adorable and fun, a quieter dog may be better suited to your home environment

You may be surprised to learn that some of the biggest dogs, like the Saint Bernard, also happen to be the quietest. If you're looking to bring home a quieter four-legged friend, know that the temperament of the dog goes a long way, as does training them to only bark at appropriate times. "Essentially, it is about developing a relationship with your dog so they are happy to comply with your requests," explains Andrea Arden, New York-based dog trainer, pet expert on Animal Planet, and the author of several books including The Little Book of Dog Tricks and Barron's Dog Training Bible. "In the case of barking, the request would be for a behavior that refocuses them on you and stops the barking."

This is best prevented through positive training, adequate physical and mental exercise, and ensuring the dog's overall well-being. That said, there are dog breeds that tend to be less vocal than others. This does not mean that they never bark—only that they tend not to bark excessively. Here, learn more about breeds like the Whippet or the Basenji, which are ideal for people who just want silent companionship every day.



Akitas are quiet, fastidious dogs. The large, independent-thinking Akita is hardwired for protecting those in their pack, so they often need training to keep his intolerance of strangers in check, but this breed makes for a very loving and loyal addition to the family.



Australian Cattle Dog

Once you've established yourself as the pack leader, the Australian Cattle Dog is fiercely loyal. The calm demeanor of this dog is in line with its even-keeled temperament. This breed is very high energy and loves wide, open spaces to run off excess energy



Basenji

Instead of a traditional bark, the Basenji makes a vocalization that sounds more like a yodel. This, at least in part, has to do with the anatomy of the breeds' voice boxes: In a Basenji, the voice box is narrower as well as more uniform in diameter than most all other dog breeds.



English Bulldog-The Bulldog is an easygoing breed that isn't one to bark. These dogs have a blocky build and furrowed brow that is distinctive; despite their gruff and tough exterior, they make loyal companions who are just as happy to sit in your lap.



This Historic Casino on Catalina Island Is Hosting an Exclusive 1920s-themed Sleepover

It's your chance to sleep in a stunning piece of history.



The Catalina Island Company wants to help you escape the pace of modern life and head back to the Roaring 20s instead. Even if it’s just for a weekend.

The hospitality company announced this week that for the first time the famed Catalina Casino on Catalina Island, California, will be hosting guests for a limited sleepover experience unlike any other.


The 91-year-old Casino, which sits on a cliff’s edge overlooking the Avalon Bay below, has long been a symbol of the island’s history. First commissioned by William Wrigley Jr., the casino opened its doors in 1929. Inside, guests will get to explore the casino’s 20,000 square-foot ballroom, which happens to also be the world’s largest circular ballroom without supporting pillars. There, they’ll find an art deco-themed accommodation outfitted with vintage furniture and accessories from the casino’s history.


The stay comes with a personal tour with a local Avalon historian, a three-course chef’s dinner for two on the Casino’s veranda featuring a time period-appropriate menu,  a glass of champagne and other signature drinks, a private screening of a Hollywood classic film, daily breakfast, and a $100 resort credit.

The Casino Sleepover will be available for reservations starting at $899 for a two-night stay. The first night guests will stay in the casino while the second night will be spent at the historic Hotel Atwater, a landmark in its own right celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.


Bookings open on Tuesday, Oct. 27, at noon PT. However, if you want in, you better act fast as it’s available for just five exclusive stays for two from Nov. 10-12, Nov. 12-14, Nov. 14-16, Nov. 16-18, and Nov. 18-20. Transportation to and from the island via Catalina Express is also included.

Book and check out more on the historic sleepover on Visit Catalina Island now.





This is a Siberian Tiger hugging a tree in Russia. Photograph by Sergey Gorshkov. This is such a remarkable photograph, I wanted to share it. The Photographer won a major award for it.






The picture below was a recent picture taken of me for an ongoing Campaign Partnership with Mary Ruth Organics (featured on Instagram). This one features Vitamin D-3 & K-2 Vegan Gummies. I'm bringing this up because of the Vitamin K-2 part of it. About 30 years ago, Vitamin K was taken off the market by the FDA. One of the things I liked about it was because I bruise very easily, with taking this vitamin, my bruises didn't always show. I guess the FDA wanted you to see your bruises. Well, now I'm older and I get those horrible blood bruises on my arms and hands. After 3 days of taking this though, my bruising is no longer showing-thank goodness. So, I don't know if this will work for you, but it is for me!


I really enjoy doing this blog. Hope you are enjoying reading it.

Val



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