Pineapp-O-Lantern: A Tropic’alloween Treat

Who says you can only make a Jack-O-Lantern out of a pumpkin? 

Not me! 

Allow me to introduce you to a frightfully fun Halloween treat that makes a great presentation when serving a fruit plate, or fruit and cheese platter or even an awesome Halloween breakfast!

I’m calling it a Pineapp-O-Lantern: A Tropic’alloween Treat!
Instagram PineappOlantern3

It’s basically the same process as carving a Jack-O-Lantern, so I wont bore you with an in-depth how-to, but I will share some tips.

I went the traditional route – cutting the top to make the ‘lid’ of the Jack-O-Lantern and then scooping out the contents, but I’ll definitely be doing things differently the next time I do this (see tips below).

Instagram pinappolantern2

A much more efficient way (and what I ended up doing about half way through digging and scooping pineapple) would be to make the ‘lid’ cut at the top, and also chop the bottom off the pineapple so you can approach it from both ends.

Then you’ll only need to run the blade of your knife around the inside edge of both ends, hollowing out a¬†cylinder¬†and sliding it out. This will leave you with nice hollow shell for carving a face, as well as a nice neat tube of pineapple to core and slice for serving.

All that’s left to do is carve a face, and pop in a battery operated tealight candle (I got my candles 2 per pack at Dollar Tree, batteries included and they even flicker like real flames!).

Instagram PineappOlantern4



This project is great for bringing some whimsical Halloween fun to an unexpected place like a fruit platter, and I love that the pineapple top looks like spooky spiked hair!

EXTRA TIP: It’s not just for Halloween! Change the facial features slightly and you could carve a tiki face into the pineapple for an awesome display for a luau or other tropical themed summer party!

Instagram PineappOLantern

Well hello there Mr Creepy Pinapp-O-Lantern face!

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo Celebration!

Hola and Happy Cinco de Mayo!

This is one of my favorite celebrations to decorate! 

I just love all the bright bold festive colors. 

We’ve been collecting pieces for this celebration all year long!¬†

We scored a Mexican serape at Savers this winter for only $2.40. 

We folded it and used it as a table runner that gives a bright festive pop of color to the whole table.

We added the plates to our collection last May for Cinco de Mayo after admiring them for quite some time. 

The China pattern is Mambo by Royal Norfolk. We found these at Dollar Tree for a buck a piece. They sell the plates, bowls, mugs and they even have matching glassware and cloth items like tea towels.

We also scored some textured striped bowls at Savers — all four for $4.00. They say Avon on the bottom, but I cannot find the name of the pattern anywhere — it seems to be a retired pattern.

The Cactus Margarita Glasses are by Libbey and they are our newest pieces. 

We found ours at Dollar Tree, and they replaced a set of plastic cactus margarita glasses that we have had for many years. 

The plastic glasses were fun, but the new glass ones are so much nicer.

The centerpiece is more of a collection of colorful festive items — silk Ranunculus in yellow and orange, salsa bowls filled with fresh limes, and a decorative rope of Mexican chili peppers.

We also used lots of paper lanterns from dollar tree. We had these already for summer parties, and we plan to use them again in an upcoming birthday celebration. 

We LOVE when our decorations work for more than one celebration, it saves money AND storage space!

We finally tried Jarritos Mandarin this year after we found it on sale at Aldi with their Cinco de Mayo specials. 

It’s sweet and yummy but way too bubbly for me – I guess I have a sensitive throat, because all carbonated beverages feel like I am drinking acid!¬†

I guess I’ll just stick with water!

Peggo made awesome creamy cheesey filled peppers. 

We used some festive mini sweet peppers in red, yellow and orange, and she stuffed them with leftover Benedictine Spread from our Kentucky Derby Soiree. 

We garnished them with slices of the pepper and some chopped scallions. 

It was not spicy but it was delicious and some hot sauce would be awesome on top to give it some kick!

We don’t have any pictures of our Cinco de Mayo dinner, but we’ll be adding some soon. We have several Mexican recipes in mind that we are just dying to try, and we’ll use any excuse to pull out our fiesta-ware again!











Benedictine Spread – Kentucky Derby Soiree

Benedictine Spread Recipe

This Kentucky Derby staple was brand new to us, and it definitely received rave reviews from all in attendance at our Kentucky Derby Soiree!

I¬†didn’t¬†take any pictures of the process of making the spread or the canapes, but I’ll¬†do my best to describe it all!

The ingredients were just the basics:

1 block of Cream Cheese
1/4 cup of Sour Cream
1 whole Cucumber, finely grated
1/4 of a White Onion, finely minced

The key to this recipe was the draining of the excess moisture from the Cucumber and the onion. 

The way we accomplished this was by pressing in a fine mesh colander lined with paper towels. 

It was a lot of pressing and squeezing, because cucumbers hold a tremendous amount of water, but it was well worth it in the end!

Combine the Cream Cheese and the Sour Cream and then add the well drained minced onions and cucumber ¬†— that’s pretty much it!¬†

We made ours the night before to give it some time for all the flavors to mingle.

The canapes were made by spreading the Benedictine Spread between two slices of soft fresh white bread and then stamping them out with a canape cutter. 

The garnish is thinly sliced cucumber.

In my research I found that many people make this spread with green pepper Tabasco Sauce, which gives it both a little kick of spice as well as it’s signature light green coloring.¬†

We¬†didn’t¬†have any of the green Tabasco Sauce, and it just¬†didn’t¬†feel right to add¬†green dye, so ours is in it’s natural white.¬†

I slightly regret the lack of green now because it makes it very difficult to see the spread between the slices of white bread (especially in pictures) — it still tastes fantastic though!

In my research about this Derby Day treat, I found that Benedictine Spread was created in Louisville Kentucky by a fellow Jenny (Jennie Carter Benedict)Рso you know I had to give this recipe a try!

For more Kentucky Derby check out the links below to other Magical Giggles articles packed full of Kentucky Derby decorating inspiration and winning recipes for yummy treats like Benedictine Spread and Kentucky Hot Browns!

Kentucky Derby Decorating Inspiration  
Benedictine Spread Recipe 
Kentucky Hot Browns Recipe
Mini Derby Pie Recipe







A Kentucky Derby Soiree

Kentucky Derby Festivities underway!

Here in the Hickey home, we have never attended the Kentucky Derby, or a Kentucky Derby soiree, but with a little bit of research and creativity we have cobbled together our own little version of the festivities here at home.

My fear was that it would end up looking too much like a Christmas party in May, but I think we actually pulled off a festive Derby look!

The only things we knew would definitely be part of the table design would be lots of plaid, silver, horses and red roses. 

We used some dollar tree finds like mini trophies and toy horses to pull the look together, along with some printable graphics that we designed for the occasion. 

As most celebrations go, there are certain traditional foods and drinks that go hand and hand with the event. 

Though we are not from the South, we have been attempting more Southern celebrations and foods like when we celebrated Mardi Gras and made our own version of King Cake and Monte Cristo. 

For Kentucky Derby our menu plan includes Benedictine Spread, Kentucky Hot Browns, Derby Pie, and Mint Julep Brownies.

I have been dreaming of making a virgin version of Mint Juleps ever since our Mardi Gras celebration, but have not yet found a make-me-buy-it price on those gorgeous silver beaded mint julep cups.

So far we’ve made and tasted the Benedictine Spread,¬†the Kentucky Hot Brown Bake, and the Mini Derby Pies.

All three are so very yummy and received rave reviews from everyone who joined us for our Kentucky Derby Dinner. 

For more Kentucky Derby check out the links below to other Magical Giggles articles packed full of Kentucky Derby decorating inspiration and winning recipes for yummy treats like Benedictine Spread and Kentucky Hot Browns!

Kentucky Derby Decorating Inspiration  
Benedictine Spread Recipe 
Kentucky Hot Browns Recipe
Mini Derby Pie Recipe









Birthday Party for Feather

A Very Merry Birthday Party for Feather!

We had a small birthday party for Feather on his birthday this Sunday. 

There are no pictures of the Birthday Boy, or the guests because we were able to keep the Paparazzi at bay for the entire event.

Sometimes it’s nice to just live in the moment and see things through your own two eyes rather than on a tiny screen while you snap pictures!

In the afternoon we had a small family get together and had some delicious home-made ‘mud pie’ (his absolute favorite) — my aunt makes this for him every year on his birthday.

This yummy pie is served with whipped cream piled high on top of it.

I didn’t get any pictures of it topped with whipped cream because I know better than to stand between a hungry birthday boy and his chocolate puddin’ pie!

After the party, once the guests had all gone home, we had a small dinner party with just the four of us.

Peggo made Veal Parmigiana for dinner (another one of Feather’s top requests).

I personally have to suspend all thoughts of what Veal is, and even then I have a hard time getting through dinner — but I kept that to myself!

After dinner we surprised him with his favorite Carvel Ice Cream Cake.

I don’t know if it is a Long Island thing or just a Hickey family thing, but Carvel Ice Cream cake is like the official taste of birthdays. 

A million childhood memories of birthdays past flood into my mind when I see or taste a Carvel Birthday cake.

It seems like this frosty confection made an appearance at the birthday celebrations of just about every one of my family members — nearly every year.

I can remember family members soaking knives in hot water just to be able to cut through the cake with a house packed full of family members just waiting to get their piece!

If you’ve never had a Carvel Ice cream cake, it’s vanilla and chocolate ice cream with that signature Carvel crunchy chocolate cookie crumble between the layers (that I thought was coffee grounds when I was a small child).

You can buy these cakes in grocery stores nationwide now, but when I was a child we would get them straight from the Carvel Ice Cream Parlor, and they would write a personalized Happy Birthday message on the cake.

I loved that blue gel they used for writing, and always hoped I got a piece with some blue gel letters on it!

The party decorating was quite a mish-mosh of holidays. 

We are still all decked out for St Patrick’s Day so there is lots of Irish green around. 

We swapped out a few pots of gold for birthday party decorations and we were set for a party.

Paper plates can actually go quite a long way in decorating for a birthday party!

Here we have a paper plate sandwiched between a gold charger plate and a clear glass plate so that it has the look and feel of a ‘real’ plate as opposed to a flimsy piece of cardboard (and oh boy do I have a lot of decorating plans for these clear plates!)

It was a day of family and fun with pie and cake and smiles all around.

That about sums up our celebration of Feather’s 88th Birthday Celebration! 

We’re looking forward to giving him many more birthday parties to come!

Chinese New Year Celebration

Happy Chinese New Year! 

Is it the year or the sheep? ram? goat? 

Nobody knows! The Chinese word for all three of the above is “yang” which translates to ‘horned animal” so nobody is really sure which one it is!¬†

That won’t stop us from celebrating the new year though.¬†

Late last night the decorating fairy came through the house and transformed our Mardi Gras themed dining room into Chinese New Year! 

There is something a bit odd about eating left-over King Cake for breakfast in China, but I guess this is what it would feel like to be a jet setting globe traveler! 

Back to the celebration at hand, Chinese New Year is here! 

We’ve gone with a color palette of red and black and gold.¬†

The buffet is all gussied up in black with gold chargers and lovely red accents like our red fans and decorative fire crackers from Oriental Trading Company. 

We’ve also added some garden lanterns that I painted with Chinese symbols and various other Asian inspired knick knacks.

The table is wearing red with bands of gold and black though the center. 

The table is adorned with gold charger plates, black melamine plates, red fans and this adorable flatware with faux bamboo handles (these will be back for any tropical summer parties ahead!).

There are chocolate gold coins scattered through the center of the table to symbolize prosperity in the new year! (can you see how these decorations work all year round? Those are the Christmas coins, that came back for Mardi Gras and Chinese New Year, and you can bet your lucky charms that they will be filling my pots of gold for St Patrick’s Day too!)

We have little black soup bowls for Wonton or Egg Drop soup on small round bamboo-like mats and chopsticks resting atop. The mats are decorated with our red paper dragons (also from Oriental Trading Company).

(Pssst….those black bowls are actually salsa bowls and you can bet your burritos they will be back for our Cinco De Mayo celebration. I won’t tell anyone if you won’t!)¬†

I am very excited about my fortune cookie fortune, because it feels like it is affirming everything I am doing here on the blog. 

It says “You are a fun loving person and will find much happiness.” Fortune telling aside, I can agree with the psychology of this fortune!¬†

Finding happiness is more likely to happen if you are looking for it — I can word that better — If you choose to look for the good and the beauty in this world as opposed to focusing on the negative, your world is a happier place, and you’ll find things that bring you happiness all around you.

If you believe in the law of attraction this works well, but as I often say, if you don’t believe in the Law of attraction and you try this — spending your time focusing on positive things — and it turns our the ‘law’¬†isn’t¬†real, you just ‘wasted’ all your time being positive and thinking about things that make you happy! I can live with that!

We feasted on delicious General Tso’s Chicken with mini ¬†Kung Pao egg rolls and mini spring rolls on the side. We also had Black Rice with carrot garnish (so mega healthy and delicious! more antioxidants than blueberries!).We scored a big bag of the black rice at Costco!

Peggo made the General Tso’s from a kit at Aldi and the Mini Kung Pao egg rolls also came from Aldi freezer section.¬†

The Mini Spring Rolls are from Jennifer’s Garden — how could I resist them with a name like that?

Everything was delicious and we all gobbled it up happily before opening our fortune cookies and reading them aloud.

As usual, Evie, my adorable little grandmother declared that all fortune cookies must have the phrase “…in bed” added to the end of the fortune.

Evie’s fortune: “There is a prospect of a thrilling time ahead for you…in bed”¬†

Feather’s fortune: “Have patience, it will benefit you….in bed”

Peggo’s fortune: “Fame and fortune lie ahead…in bed

My fortune: “You are a fun loving person and will find much happiness…in bed

So, there you have it! Looks like another exciting lunar year ahead for all of us…in bed!




Mardi Gras Celebration – Decorating

Happy Mardi Gras!

This is our first year celebrating Mardi Gras, so we’ve been doing some research!

Mardi Gras already has its own signature colors of Purple Green and Gold, so the color palette is already set as far as decorating, and each color has a special meaning. 

– Purple for Justice
РGreen for Faith 
– Gold for Power.

Purple can be a difficult color to work with. Finding the right shade is quite a task, and it can be nearly impossible to find other items to match!

One way to get around this is to find items made by the same company, or from the same line, so that they least match each other. 

We made sure to do this with our tablecloth and napkins. Having that one consistent base to work with really helped pull the look together.

Our decorating goal for the dining room is to design the buffet and the table so they look like they are meant to be together. We want them to compliment one another instead of competing for the spotlight.

Here we have the buffet covered in a purple tablecloth, and the dining table is covered in a gold tablecloth with purple napkins placed diagonally as place mats to give the table a harlequin pattern. 

It brings the exact same color from the buffet to the table so they stay harmonious without weighing down the entire room with two dark purple table cloths.

We went with the literal¬†metallic¬†gold as opposed to introducing yellow accents. We did this mainly in the form of gold¬†charger plates, gold platters, gold flatware, gold tablecloth, and an assortment of gold beads and baubles to simulate over-sized Mardi Gras beads (mostly Christmas decorations…sshhh!! don’t tell anyone!!)

Once again the dollar store saves the day with lots of awesome inexpensive bead necklaces to drape from every available surface. 

They had lots of other cute items as well, such as our cute little masquerade masks.

We’ve even wrapped beads around the napkins instead of napkin rings so guests can join in on the fun and wear them if they’d like.

We’ve draped beads from the candlesticks and on the pedestal in the centerpiece.

With the decorating complete, we can focus on our Mardi Gras feast!

The plan as of now is to make Monte Cristo Sandwiches — probably using a copycat recipe of the recipe used in The Blue Bayou Restaurant in New Orleans Square in Disneyland.¬†

We’re also planning to make King Cake for the very first time — or a modified version of king cake, just as long as it has the traditional colored sugar.

UPDATE: We made  the King Cake and the Monte Cristo sandwiches, read more about it here;

Check out our King Cake HERE!
Check out our Fat Tuesday Monte Cristo HERE!

I made the colored the sugar for the King Cake myself for the very first time — so fun and easy I should blog about it! — except the whole blog would be;

1 – put some sugar in a ziplock bag
2 – add a few drops of food coloring
3 – shake-a, shake-a, shake-a
4 – the end

Maybe if we are lucky we’ll be able to score some Packzki this year. Though it’s not traditional New Orleans Mardi Gras fare, it is a traditional Fat Tuesday food.

I’ll update this post with how it all turned out! Until next time, Happy Mardi Gras y’all!

Check out our adventures in making a King Cake HERE!
Check out our Fat Tuesday Monte Cristo HERE!

Valentines Day Celebration


Wow, these winter holidays seem to be one after another with very little time between!

We get to enjoy the Valentines decorations until the 14th but then Mardi Gras and Chinese New Year are right after – only days apart on February 17th and 19th!

So little time to plan, prepare and decorate!

Anyway, back to Valentines Day – the decorations are up and the house is looking a bit like a cupid sanctuary.

We went with a white Battenburg lace tablecloth over a red tablecloth, so the red peeks through all the openwork in the lace.

There are red roses and various other sparkling red baubles scattered through the center of the table. 

We chose white China and red cloth napkins with silver charger plates and flatware.

Hearts and roses are all standard Valentine’s decor, but in honor of this blustery winter that just won’t quit, we’ve incorporated some frosty accents. It is a February holiday after all. It lands squarely in the middle of winter, despite what any groundhogs say!

My love for snowflakes is no secret, so I am happy to pull them into any design. This one really tickles me pink.

Sure, Valentines decorations can easily go from elegant and romantic, to gaudy and garish, but – it’s Valentines Day!¬†

It is supposed to be over the top and flashy and as far as it can go without crossing the line into hopelessly and irrevocably tacky.

So bring on the fancy froo-froo design and let your Valentine’s Day spirit show with sparkly shiny heart, flowers and cupids!¬†

Especially in a cold and snowy winter, the bright cheery red and sparkle of Valentine decorations really warms the heart.

We haven’t figured out what to serve for the perfect Valentines Day dinner yet, so that plan is still being worked out, (will update blog when we figure it out) but we’ve got breakfast covered with our super-simple heart shaped strawberry’s for breakfast.

Check out how to make them HERE.

We’ve also got some PINK chocolate chip pancakes planned – YUM!

And lets not forget Dessert. Though I certainly wish I had baked these myself, we actually found these delicious cookies at Aldi.  
Shortbread Cookies with Strawberry Fruit Filling and a milk chocolate Base. 

The Strawberry and Cherry versions of this cookie both somehow ended up in our cart and we¬†don’t¬†even have a¬†toddler with grabby hands to blame!

In my dreams, I also have one of these gorgeous baroque silver heart candy dishes at each place setting filled with chocolates and those little pastel candy conversation hearts.

For now that fantasy only exists in my mind and my amazon wish list.

Let’s not forget the tradition of watching the Charlie Brown Holiday Specials. This year, Valentine’s Day Eve, we’ve got a movie date with Snoopy!

Hot buttered popcorn, hot cocoa with whipped cream on top, Hershey’s Kisses in Valentine red foil and the big comfy couch with the fluffy warm blankets! Cuddle party!!

Until next time, Happy Valentines Day! 

May your day be filled with Love and Abundance!

Superbowl Party!

So, here’s an embarrassing confession. Up until a year or so ago, I had NO idea that people celebrate Superbowl Sunday!¬†

I have made it my mission to celebrate every moment, so to discover a new ‘holiday’ was a jackpot for me!

Last year was our first Superbowl Party. All we knew was that guacamole was the official snack of the Superbowl, so we bought guacamole and seven layer dip and called it a day.

This year I amped it up a little bit. I decorated! 

I imagine that the way I decorated is unusual and odd to most Рprobably because I know NOTHING about football, or Superbowl parties, or any of the teams playing. 

I just looked at all of it from an artist and decorators point of view. A nice green color astro-turf, a nice brown color for the football. Then I assumed there must be some sort of trophies involved so I brought out the silver and twinkle lights for some razzle dazzle.

This is probably the girliest football party ever, but I don’t mind.

I know the standard fare for these parties is usually things like chicken wings and beer and other manly options that involve meat and alcohol, but again I went a different direction.

To start with, we made COOKIES shaped like footballs!

..and Coco Krispy Treats shaped like footballs!

..and Chicken salad¬†with Montreal Chicken Seasoning¬†on Croissant sandwiches …that vaguely in the shape of footballs!

For dinner we feasted on Hot Dogs, Steakhouse seasoned baked beans, and our traditional family recipe for Macaroni Salad and Potato Salad – always a crowd pleaser (all of which was gobbled up before I could even think of pulling out the camera).

We watched the half time show, on the couch with warm cuddly blankets while munching on hot buttered popcorn and drinking hot coco with mini marshmallows left over from the coco krispy treat ingredients. 

We even tried watching some of the game, and Peggo cried during the ‘like a girl’ commercial. What a girl! hee hee

There are about a million Superbowl Party ideas that floated around my head that I just never got around to completing in time.

My avocados did not ripen in time so my guacamole dreams were dashed! I was going to spread the guacamole in a sheet pan and pipe on the yard-lines and numbers in sour cream. 

The obstinate avocados also put an end to any hopes of a respectable seven layer dip.

Oh well, there is always next year!

As much as I’d like to say we spent the whole day celebrating Superbowl Sunday, I have to admit that we spent a good part of the day laughing hysterically as we worked on a project for tomorrow’s big event, Groundhog Day! Check back tomorrow to see what sort of mischief we got into!

Here is a sneak peek  at what we were working on that gave us a serious case of the Groundhog Day giggles.


Holiday Home Tour 2014 – Better Late than never!

As I mentioned in a previous post, home renovations and stressful events had delayed the start of our holiday decorating until mid-to-late December.

We’ve got our Evie Bird home now after a nearly 4 month hospital stay. 

Though most people have taken down their Christmas decorations by now, we’ve extended the season a bit so that she can enjoy that home-for-the-holidays feel a bit before we move on to the next holiday.

So, though it’s late for a holiday home tour, we’re on our own holiday schedule this year and it’s still Christmas at our house!

With the snow coming down for Winter Storm Juno, I am definitely enjoying the extra cozy feel of still having Christmas decorations. 

Come on in from the cold and blowing snow and stay a while!

Pictured above is our Dining Room Table and Sideboard set with deep red brocade table cloth and napkins. 
The centerpiece is a white china cake pedestal with dried pomegranates and vintage silver salt and pepper shakers shaped like ornaments on an oval silver tray. The centerpiece is flanked by mistletoe kissing balls mounted on silver candlestick holders.

The sideboard is covered in deep red poinsettia patterned brocade fabric with sheer white draped fabric, and pine boughs adorned with sparkling snowflakes and white twinkle lights.

Each place setting is a pure white china set atop silver baroque charger plates. 

Matching baroque silver nut dish added on top for some extra sparkle along with cloth napkins that match the table cloth, wrapped in silver napkin rings with crystal accents.

Our dining room french doors are decked with pine boughs covered in pine cones and little white twinkle lights. 

On the french doors you’ll find two matching pine wreaths covered in deep red poinsettias, over-sized snowflakes and a single white candle in the center of each wreath with a flickering flame bulbs.

Our tea cart is set with our freshly polished silver tea set resting on cheery Christmas tartan tea towels, and the most adorably whimsical plush gingerbread men that look like they are related to the Fraggle Rock Doozers!

Our silverware caddy has been re-purposed for the season as a candy cane caddy. So that we are always ready with a fresh candy cane for every cup of eggnog or peppermint chocolate milk.

A small gingerbread creation station has been set up with some candies in small clear bowls on a silver tray, and a small decoration station has been set up with spare Christmas ornaments on a silver tray.
Here is a blurry picture of most of the above items all together in one shot, along with our Christmas tree.
Want to find out how I created this entire opulent Christmas look with practically no decorating budget? Check here!(article and link coming soon)
China pattern: Alsace by Farberware
Silverware Pattern: Baroque by Godinger
Silver Chargers and Nut Dishes: silver plate baroque style – unknown discontinued line.