“Tack”ful Pumpkins

Pumpkin FaceI LOVE the fall.  I Love the beautiful autumn leaves, and the nip in the air.  I also LOVE the harvest: First, corn and berries, then peaches, cherries, and apples and then… FINALLY. The pumpkins. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cookies and bread…. I’ll take one or all of those anytime.  HOWEVER, with that said I will mention that I have a little love/hate relationship with the beloved Halloween punkin’.  All that searching through fields, or bin digging and grocery store aisle seeking, looking for the perfect pumpkins.  Picking them out and lugging them home for the carving.  The kids love it.  Music playing, happy chatter, smiles and laughing. Newspaper covers the table as you dive into the stringy insides and remove the seeds. Very Norman Rockwell.  Next, you put your pumpkins on your porch with the a pride that could only be grander if you had raised your pumpkin from a seedling.  Creativity was on steroids as everyone carved away at their masterpiece.  And so you arrange a magazine worthy photo-op on your porch. Everything is perfect. Halloween can begin…..but then 5 unseasonably warm days later, that beautiful front porch of yours is making fruit flies and organic baby food all over your steps. OR somebody kicks one, rolls it a bit and you’ve got the snow shovel out for the wrong reason.  No thanks.

Tack Spiders

This year why not try something new and fun?  Your pumpkins will last longer with no mold. It’s Easy Peasy.  Think Mr. Potato Head with cooler, scarier parts. All you need is a glue gun, thumb tacks (small or large) eyeballs, spiders, little mice, fangs or bats. Anything fun you can think of. Simply glue the objects to the thumbtacks and poke them in. Your pumpkins won’t go moldy, and you can change them around and reuse them every year, adding fun new finds. Tack with Decorations If you’re in charge of the class party, this is easy and very inexpensive. The Dollar stores and party stores will have tons of items and you can use whatever you can find. Go after Halloween and buy the clearance to keep for next year. Creations are endless Happy Halloween! Make it a “tacky” one this year!  They’re bootiful!

Christmas Light Basket

Christmas Light Basket

Finished product

This picture does not do this basket justice.  It really is beautiful. Beautiful, and super easy to make. This one took about forty five minutes. It would be a fabulous gift and would be a great addition to your Christmas decorations because it adds light and a festive atmosphere wherever you put it. It can be simple, made with just a few objects, or a fun and light-hearted basket with children in mind. You could use lots of colors and ornaments with a theme in mind. These baskets make wonderful “solo” decorations for a college dorm, apartment, grandma’s house, retirement center, small apartment or office even a hospital room. If you make them as gifts, you’ll definitely on the “good list”

Plug in your glue gun so it can heat up while you stuff the basket. To begin, simply loosely roll up a paper grocery bag and push it into the basket to form a mound.

Christmas Light Basket

Pinecones and Lights

Next, begin gluing pinecones to the mound in the basket. Place them 1-2 inches apart until they have filled the basket. Leaving the plug side of the lights outside the basket, begin to wind the lights around the pinecones. Don’t worry about it looking perfect or completely filled in because you will be adding pine pieces and ornaments and berries to fill in.

Christmas Light Basket

Add Tree Branches

 

Now just cut your pine boughs off the wreath and glue them in strategically around the pinecones and lights. Add berries, ornaments, bells, small wooden toys…the possibilities are endless with themes and colors you may pick.

Make one. I make one for someone every year. It’s fun, fast, and easy. Try it. Make it merrily.

 

Ore oh’s

Plate Full

Looking for a quick and easy Christmas treat? These yummy dipped Oreos are a family favorite and an easy neighborhood gift. They look like they took all day to make and are ready in minutes. (I love to LOOK like I work harder than I do).
These little gems are DELICIOUS and beautiful. No one will know how fun and easy they are. It’ll be our little secret. Well, as secret as you can be on the internet.

Oreo Bliss

Here’s what you need:

*White chocolate chips ( I also buy premium white chocolate by the pound).
*Vanilla flavored almond bark
*Mint Oreos ( or any other cookie you enjoy)* Trader Joes peppermint Jo Joes are yummy too.
*Crushed candy canes or Andes white chocolate peppermint crunch for decoration (pictured).
*Chocolate flavored almond bark ( to dip or decorate tops).

Oreo Ingredients

Use equal parts white chocolate and white almond bark. Place in a 2-3 cup microwave safe dish and melt 30 seconds at a time. Remove bowl from microwave and stir after each 30 second interval until completely melted.
Place an Oreo in the chocolate and spoon chocolate over it until covered. Lift out the Oreo with a fork and gently tap on the edge of the bowl to discard extra chocolate. Place Oreo on wax paper or parchment. Make 3-5 cookies and then place mint pieces on top before chocolate hardens.

If you want to decorate the Oreos with any of the chocolate flavored bark, melt equal parts of chocolate bark and chocolate chips. (Dark or milk) in 30 second intervals, just as you did with the white chocolate.
Place warm chocolate in a Baggie and cut a small piece out of the corner to “draw” a design on the dried Oreos or dip half of the cookie in the chocolate.

And one last shot of these beauties! Can you believe it started with a single Oreo?

Transformation

No Effort Halloween Treat

Halloween Treat Donut

Whether you decide to lean on the healthy side, or not this Halloween, these little fangs will dress up the loneliest bagel or donut. You can go from a zero to a hero in a snap. Go to your local grocery or craft store and pick up some plastic fangs. We purchased 18 fangs for $1.50. It was perfect for a dozen and a half donuts or bagels. You could complicate it as much as you like adding eyes and a gummy tongue. The tongue is this picture is a gummy treat, the eyes are sixlets. Use anything you have. The possibilities are endless. The greatest part of this treat is after you have eaten it,voilà, you have part of a costume! These treats are great for school, office, church or family Halloween parties. So if you are a procrastinator sit back and enjoy yourself. You can use all the unwanted, picked over, undecorated donuts. But, if you’re an overachiever, get moving, you have a donut to dress up!

Halloween Treat BagelHalloween Treat Donut Face

April Fools

I had no clue that my daughter’s teacher had prepared her for April Fools day, so when she offered me a brownie, I gladly accepted.  Little did I know I would be getting a brown “e”.  I thought this was too cute, easy and clever not to share.  You still have time to make brown “e’s” for dinner.

No Green Thumb Required

Spring has sprung and my kids have loved watching their world (the neighborhood) blossom and grow.  They had an absolute blast making these charming little Easter grass baskets.  Everyday they run downstairs to the kitchen window to check the progress the grass has made.  And just like flowers, bringing the grass indoors adds to any room.

Procrastinators read carefully if your planning this for Easter or you will be enjoying a basket o’ dirt if you don’t start by Saturday. Even if you do it later, it would be a darling addition to your home that could be enjoyed for weeks. The grass pictured above was planted a week ago. If you start today you may need to give your grass a trim by Easter.  My kids are looking forward to giving the grass it’s first haircut.  All you need for a spring grass centerpiece is Hard Red Winter Wheat, small rocks, soil and a container.  You can find the Hard Red Winter Wheat at any health food store. It is also known as wheatgrass and is only about $1.20 lb.

Day 5

Once you’ve gathered all your items you can get started.  First you need to put a small layer of rocks, (about 1/4 of the container),in the bottom of the container. Then add soil leaving about an inch to spare at the top.  Spread a generous layer of seeds along the top of the soil.  Next, cover the seeds with a very thin layer of soil. Water immediately and keep the soil damp daily.  I sprayed mine every morning with a spray bottle.  Put your container in a well-lit window.  You’ll start to see the sprouts moving the dirt around on day 2 or 3.  You could even juice the grass for some health benefits when they’re ready!

Hoppy Easter!

Shamrock Brownie Cut Outs

I pride myself on trying to be a fun person.  That doesn’t mean that I’m fun all the time mind you.  You catch me from Halloween to Christmas and I will be on my “A” game, but when it comes to the other holidays, I struggle.  I was trying to decide what the equivalent of a  Christmas  ” bah humbug”  would be for St. Patrick’s Day.  I came up with a ” Crabby Paddy”. (Any Sponge Bob fans out there)?  Maybe when you look at this blog you think I’m being too hard on myself. Maybe you imagine I just run around doing festive things for my children from dawn till dusk.   Nope.  As you read, please remember this:  There are two sisters creating this blog.   ONE of us is a little more into the kid “hoopla”. ( Rhymes with:  “It’s her”).  Anyway…this post is to bring hope to the hopeless.  You don’t have to own a Cricket or a Silhouette.  You don’t have to have printables with cute St. Patrick’s Day themes, or spend a lot of money to be “fun”.  Most kids don’t care how much effort you put into something, they’re just happy when you do.

If you own a shamrock cookie cutter, here are some quick and easy St. Patrick’s day ideas. If  you don’t own one, get one. (unless you can freehand it).  Bahahaha.

  • Brownie shamrocks (Make the mix in a jelly roll pan instead of a 9×13 so they are thinner).* Eat extra pieces.
  • Rice Krispie shamrocks (Same as above.  Thinner is easier). Eat extra pieces.
  • Pancakes with green food coloring added to the mix.  Make pancakes and cut them with the cutter.* Eat extra pieces
  • Cut their sandwich with the cutter for lunch.*Eat extra pieces
  • Use the cutter to trace a shamrock on paper for backpack for a note in a backpack. * Don’t eat extra pieces.

The possibilities are endless.  Remember you can keep it simple and be “fun”.  Oh, and if you happen to run into a lady with a shamrock painted on her face on the 17th, make sure to say, “Hi!”….Cuz it might be me!

Following a Rainbow Trail

Imagine coming home from an errand with your kiddos in the car… It’s March 17th.  Wait.  What the?….  Is that the end of a rainbow sticking out of your front door?  Yes.  Yep,  that is definitely a rainbow!  What’s going on here? You better be hopping out of that car to see what shenanigans have been going on while you were gone.

The rainbow, (ribbon, crepe paper or material), can be arranged through out your house.  Up and down stairs, around chairs, sofas and beds. One long continuous strand can lead your children on a fun leprechaun hunt that ends up in a leprechaun’s pot.  The pot at the end of the rainbow.

Our pot has stickers, art supplies and treats (some of them rainbow treats of course)!  Skittles, rainbow licorice or even Jolly Rancher Rainbow Pops from our previous blog post!  Rollos and gold coins are a fun addition too.  Start a new St. Patrick’s Day tradition at your house.

Top O’ The Mornin’ To Ya!

When my kiddies were small, a leprechaun used to come to our house and turn Cool Whip green!  Our leprechaun left a container of Cool Whip on the counter while we were gone.  Below you will find a note he left.  It’s such a fun thing to do and the kids literally can’t believe their eyes.

Here’s the trick:  Buy a container of Cool Whip. DON’T open it.  Turn the container upside down and poke a nail hole in the bottom. Add 3-4 drops of green food coloring in the hole.  Clean the container of any spills and cover with white duct tape if possible.  If not masking tape will do.

Make sure your children open the Cool Whip.

It’s always fun to leave a little treat for the leprechaun.  I saw “elf donuts” on Pinterest and thought they could easily be made into a leprechaun treat.  The donuts are made out of frosted Cheerios.  If you leave a fun treat for the leprechaun to sample, I bet he’d leave you one! 

 Click here for a free 5×7  printable

 I’m a leprechaun!  Hooray for me!

I’ve brought a trick for you to see,

I know you won’t believe your eyes,

My trick’s so fine–A BIG surprise.

But you must do some things for me,

If my trick you want to see.

Tap your head and turn around,

stomp your feet upon the ground.

Clap your hands, (your’e doing fine).

Now you’ve got to say this rhyme:

” I believe in the leprechaun man,

he’ll show me some green just as fast as he can.”

Take the lid off the cream,

stir with all of your might,

and it will change colors,

if you did it right!

* Sometimes a leprechaun leaves chairs upside down or leaves a mess in another area of the house!

Jolly Rancher Rainbow Pops

My mom used to make red-hot cinnamon suckers for our birthdays.  She made one for each person in our class at school.  Keep in mind, this was in the 60’s and 70″s when no one cared that your treats were homemade.  Someone’s mom could have been making birthday cookies in a latrine with ten cats.   We wouldn’t have cared.  We lived through that and pounds of raw cookie dough.

Anyway, she made them the old-fashioned way with corn syrup…the high fructose kind, and sugar and cinnamon flavoring.  I remember watching her stir the boiling syrup.  She tested it continually, pouring a bit of it into a glass of cold water until it cracked just right.  When they were ready, she poured them into circles on wax paper.  That’s devotion.  Now, I’ve done it, really.   I have molds and flavorings and everything.  But that was BEFORE.

Now there is such a fun, delicious, cool, and easy way to make a sucker.  A rainbow sucker for St Patrick’s day.

What you need:

  • Jolly Rancher candies
  • Large and small sucker sticks (cake decorating isle in Wal-Mart or a craft store)
  • Parchment paper

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Unwrap 15 to 20 Jolly Rancher candies.

Arrange the candies on a parchment lined, heavy cookie sheet.  Make sure you leave enough room between suckers to put the stick on later.   They can be as tall as you like but three to five is best.  You can line them up side by side as well for a fatter sucker.  After you have arranged the flavors you like, carefully place them in the oven.  Cook them for 5 to 51/2 minutes.  Take the candy out.  They are HOT.  Wait 30 seconds or so and push a sucker stick into the sucker and twist it to coat the stick and secure it.  That’s it.  So easy and fun to do.  Make some.  You’ll have a jolly time.

*If your suckers have lost shape in the oven, spray a butter knife with Pam and  reshape them bit.