A Grandma's spin on crafts, games, recipes & lifestyle

Category: Holidays

Making Halloween Gingerbread Houses With Kids

Gingerbread house making and decorating has found its way into the month of October.  What a fun Halloween craft idea to do with kids!   Whether you choose to make everything from scratch or select from the fun Halloween gingerbread house kits in stores, it will be spooky fun!  You really can’t go wrong either way.  A fun day is ahead when you plan on making Halloween gingerbread houses with kids!!!

The Basics of Gingerbread Houses ~

You must first decide if you are going to make gingerbread cookies from scratch or use an alternative ingredient, such as graham crackers.  Either way you choose to go is great and may be dictated by what your family likes.  Obviously, if you are making gingerbread cookies, you will need to do that ahead of time.   Here is a GREAT gingerbread cookie recipe for you to print out!   Create some extra family fun by having the kids throw on their aprons and do the baking with you!

What You Will Need ~

Plan ahead on what toppings you want to have available.  You may already have some great ideas on what will be included, but if help is needed, here are some festive ideas:

  • gumdrops
  • candy corn
  • pumpkins or jelly pumpkins
  • candy eyeballs
  • baking chips in several flavors (chocolate, white chocolate, butterscotch)
  • M & M’s (holiday ones are a plus!)
  • chocolate kisses
  • candy skeleton bones
  • various colors of icing in tubes or plastic bags
  • candy buttons

Here are some handy links to some of the items that are a bit harder to find in the stores:

The “Glue” ~

Next, you need to decide what you want to use for the “glue.”  Probably the most popular option is icing.  You can make your own or use store bought.  Be careful to not use a super creamy icing, as it is harder to make things stick!  Another option is burnt sugar.  I love Mel’s Kitchen Cafe’s post on this, which includes the directions for burnt sugar.    Check out Mel’s Kitchen Cafe post on haunted houses using burnt sugar!  *Might I suggest you save this recipe from her post as well.

Plan Ahead for Making Gingerbread Houses ~

Plan ahead and have all of your ingredients set out in bowls for everyone to easily reach.  It also helps the kids get their creative juices flowing when they can see all of the items they have to work with out in front of them.  Of course, it makes it even more fun if you serve a fun Halloween drink in a festive cup to enjoy while they are building.

Remember, the idea is not perfection when you are making these works of art with your kids.  The fun is in letting them make decisions and then you all get to enjoy it together!  Just have FUN making Halloween gingerbread houses with your kids!

Halloween Zombie Carrot Cake

Wickedly delicious “zombies” are heading your way….and just in time for Halloween!  Creepy food ideas are running rampant right now so I got the creative juices flowing to try my hand at something new.  The wonderful thing about this recipe is that it is simple to make and yet still festive enough to share with company.  Most people love carrot cake….so they have to love Halloween Zombie Carrot Cake too then, right???

This idea unfolded when I received a wonderful delivery of Edible Beach Chocolate Rock Candy from A Southern Girl’s Needs.  They sent these wonderful chocolates to me to sample in return for a review of their product.  Well, let me tell you…I love them!  There was such care in the packaging and shipping that I was immediately impressed.  What a surprise I had after opening the box to find these cute little confections.  This is definitely a small business that cares about their customers.

These perfect little chocolates  look exactly like rocks.  There is a nice variety of color tones which gives them a very realistic look.  We all loved the nice crunchy outer shell filled with delicious chocolate yumminess.   I, of course, had to make these “beach” chocolate rock candies into “graveside” rocks to create a fun Halloween cake.  I shopped for a couple of extra toppings to help create a fun grave site effect.

Making the Halloween Zombie Carrot Cake~

This step was easy as I purchased a carrot cake mix and followed the directions on the box.  After mixing the cake mix, I divided the batter into 2 prepared 9″ round cake pans and baked according to the directions.

Cream Cheese Icing~

We prefer homemade icing…and a lot of it!  I used the following recipe, and increased all of the measurements by 1/2.  Many times I double recipes, but I felt a little less than double would suffice for this cake.  It turned out that I had a little left over.  I put the leftover icing in a large zip lock baggie to use for my next small project.

Ingredients:

1 stick butter – softened

8 oz cream cheese – softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. salt

4 cups powdered sugar

*Reminder, I increased all ingredients by 1/2.  If you do not like a lot of icing, then the original amounts are sufficient!

Instructions:

  1. Mix softened butter and cream cheese in a bowl until creamy.
  2. Add vanilla extract and salt…continue to mix.
  3. Gradually add powdered sugar until completely combined

*If you need it to be a bit thicker you can add a small amount (tsp. or less) of cornstarch.

Assembling the Halloween Zombie Carrot Cake~

Once your cakes have finished baking, let them cool completely.  Carefully remove first cake from round cake pan and place on your desired serving dish.  I turn the cake “upside down” on the cake platter to have the smooth portion on top (which is the bottom of the cake).

Completely ice the sides and top of the first cake.  Repeat with the second cake…carefully placing it on top of the first layer.

You are now ready to decorate.

Other Ideas for the Edible Beach Chocolate Rock Candy~

  • Ice Cream Toppings
  • Displayed in Candy Dish as Graveyard Gravel Candy
  • Added in a Festive Fall Snack Mix
  • Packaged with a Gift and a label, such as “My Dad Rocks!”
  • Pudding Cup Dessert Topping such as Dirt Pudding
  • Dirt Topping for Flowerpot Cakes Made in Terra Cotta Pots
  • Gingerbread Houses
  • Bag of Coal Treat

Check out A Southern Girl’s Needs Website Here….

We still have plenty of time to enjoy this wonderful month of Halloween.  Get in that kitchen and create some spooky family delights!

 

Fun Halloween Dinner Ideas

It’s very important fill those bellies of your little ghosts and goblins before they head out trick or treating.  However, those kiddos are usually so excited about filling those goodie bags that they would prefer to skip the healthy meal part.  Parents can alleviate this issue  by preparing a spooky dinner to entice them.  Make Halloween fun before the haunting begins by making some of these fun Halloween dinner ideas!

Feet Loaf ~

Do you have a favorite meatloaf recipe your family already loves?  You can still follow that recipe, however, once your ingredients are all mixed up, you will shape the meat into feet.

Shaping the feet:

Shape the feet, bringing the back up to form the top of the ankle.  Then snip small sections to create toes and spread them out a bit to keep them separated while baking.  Hollow out the top of the ankle and place half of an onion in the hollowed area to keep ankle formed.  This also adds extra flavor from the juices of the onion as well.  Cut 10 small sections of onion to create toenails and place one on each toe.  Drizzle some ketchup around the ankle where you have placed the onion.

Bake at 350 for about an hour or until cooked through and browned.

Frankenstein Corn Dogs ~

This simple recipe uses frozen corn dogs.  Make a simple egg wash of 1 egg and 2 Tablespoons of water.  Mix in green food coloring until you get a nice dark green  color.  Cover the entire corn dog with the green egg wash and bake as normal.  Lightly coat the top of the corn dog in honey and then roll in crushed black tortilla chips to create the hair.  Push pretzel pieces in the sides of corndog for arms.  Use candy eyeballs and either black olives or more black tortilla chips to create the mouths.

Make an easy side dish of green beans and corn.  Top with a couple of plastic eyeballs for a spooky finish.

   ⬅Don’t have plastic eyeballs???  These are so realistic and eerie!

Breadstick Spider Bowl ~

Use a loaf of frozen bread dough for this eerie delight.  Follow directions on package to thaw out dough.  Divide the dough into 8 smaller balls, 1 medium sized ball and 1 larger ball.

Roll out the 8 smaller sections of the dough into long breadstick shapes.  Then fold in half to form the legs and place on greased baking sheet.  Let rise according to directions on package.  If you desire, season with garlic powder, grated parmesan cheese, seasoned salt and red paprika.  Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until a light golden brown.

Using the remaining dough, form 2 balls, one larger one for the body and a smaller one for the head.  Let rise according to directions on package.  If you desire, season as stated above.  Bake according to package directions until they are a light golden brown.

Let legs and body cool.  Place 2 black olives in the head for eyes.  Cut 8 small incisions along the side of the body to anchor the legs.  Cut out a small circle in the body make room for bowl of nacho cheese sauce.

Monsterghetti ~

Make spaghetti as you normally would, with the exception of dying the noodles to the color of your choosing for noodles to soak in.  Once noodles are prepared, place a heaping spoonful on plate, top with meaty spaghetti sauce and 2 olives for the eyes and voila, you have monsterghetti!!!

Festive Halloween Serving Ware ~

Of course, you have to finish off your fun Halloween dinner ideas with a cool serving platter.  There are so many to choose from, whether you want simple or fancy.  Here are some great deals below:

Make the rest of this month fun celebrating Halloween in every way you can.  Make these fun Halloween dinner ideas leading up to Halloween as well as Halloween night!  Make memories with your ghosts and goblins!

Happy Haunting!

 

 

DIY Halloween Spell Books

Utilizing books for home decorating has been a popular trend for quite some time.  Whether you are using them as a riser to heighten something small or wanting to display the whole book to add to your ensemble, books can definitely finish off the look!  Decorating for Halloween is no exception, and you are going to love making this spooky DIY Halloween spell book to proudly display with your other festive decor.

DIY Halloween Spell Books

Here is What You Will Need:

  • Embellishments
  • Craft Letters (wooden, puffy–any with a raised surface)
  • Hard Cover Book
  • Paper Towels (cheap ones 😆)
  • Mod Podge
  • Black Paint
  • Metallic Paints
  • Paint Brushes – sponge and small craft types
  • Hairdryer
  • Old Coffee or Distressing Ink
  • Glue Gun & Glue Sticks

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Coffee & Halloween

Just a quick drop in to help you get ready for Halloween.  This post contains 3 of my favorite things…Shopping, Halloween & Coffee.  I spent a little time rounding up some fun new items for you to add to your Fall and Halloween Decor….it’s everything Coffee & Halloween!!!!!

Pictures & Links~

Check out the pictures below and if you just HAVE to have it, click on the green link below each pic….how fun is this????

Funny Halloween Shirt Halloween Shirt Halloween Tshirt Pebble

Such a festive Halloween shirt (and I like how they have it paired as well!)….a little different than what you see in the stores…Check out “This Witch Needs Coffee Before Any Hocus Pocus” shirt

 

Black Cats N Pumpkins Iced Coffee Cozy image 0

I am LOVING this Black Cats & Coffee print.  I have seen it on shirts as well.  Hurry…this Black Cats & Coffee Cozy is going fast!

 

Small 6 x 5.5Wood SignCoffee Spelled Backwards EEFFOC image 0

Ok…..so it’s not Halloween related, but this is just way too funny to not share…come visit and you will see this hilarious sign at my coffee bar!    😂😂You Will Definitely Want to Add this to Your Sign Collection!

 

OMG I'm Like Literally Dead Coffee Mug Halloween Mug Funny image 0

Another hysterical play on words….LOVE!  Because it’s just too funny…..I need to get this one…do you?

 

Hocus Pocus Coffee Mug Halloween Decor Fall Halloween image 0

When do you EVER have enough of the Sanderson sisters?  Because we can NEVER have enough Hocus Pocus!!!

Handstamped spoon coffee spoon magic potion spoon Halloween image 0

I love adding that little something extra when entertaining.  Coffee/Tea spoons are a must in my household!  You Always Need Festive Spoons When Sharing Coffee & Tea!

Halloween Tags/ Wooden Tags/ Tiered Tray Decor/ Halloween image 0  Halloween Tags/ Wooden Tags/ Tiered Tray Decor/ Halloween image 4

Whether you have a small or large coffee serving station, it is so much fun to spice it up with extra festive decor!  Those Little Extras Make Your Decor Complete!

Halloween Witch Mini Sign Collection 6x6 Farmhouse image 0

And finish that coffee station off with some whimsical and festive signs!  These Whimsical Signs Add Just the Perfect Touch!

I hope this helps you get in the spirit of Halloween…..don’t you just love Coffee & Halloween?????

The Best Halloween Picture Books

Are you tired of reading the same Halloween picture books to the kids every year?  Yes, there are always the favorites that everyone looks forward to each year, but maybe it’s time to spice up your collection.  You are going to want to try this list of the best Halloween picture books.

Last year I hosted a Witches’ Tea Party for the kids.  I’m not sure who had more fun…me preparing for the big event or the kids when they got to partake of it.  I will do a separate post on that later, but suffice it to say that it was a huge hit!  As I was planning all of the festivities for that day, I was overjoyed to discover that there are actually books titled The Witches’ Tea Party….how frightfully awesome!  (I was happy to see that there are other crazy Halloween lovers like myself out there in the big world 😉)

Below are some of the new books I have purchased over the last couple of years…and one that I am ordering this week to add to our spooky collection of Halloween books!  There are also some fun FREE printable coloring pages🖍 included at the end of this post!!!! Continue reading

Planning for HALLOWEEN!!!🦇

The verdict has not yet been reached, but many statistics are showing Halloween 2020 will still be taking place!  I am hoping that is true.  It may look a little different than the past years, but surveys are showing that a high percentage of people are still planning to celebrate whether it be the traditional trick-or-treating or through new social distancing events.  Not to mention, it is now more socially acceptable than ever to wear a mask!!!  So let’s start planning for Halloween now!!!

I am so excited to announce that I have partnered up with HalloweenCostumes.com to share the amazing costumes, accessories and decorations they have…many being UNIQUE to their company.  AANNNDDD…..we have coupons!!!  Get Coupon Codes Here!!!👻

I’ve been perusing their site, and I must say I am completely hooked!  We all know I LOVE Halloween, and I am beyond excited about all of their unique products.  Here are pics of some of my favorite costume ideas…

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Grandparent’s Day- September 13, 2020

 

Celebrating Grandparent’s Day!

Are you a plan ahead kind of person or last minute kind of person?  I will admit, I am more of a last minute person myself.  However, I am more of an online shopper, and I think we all know that shipping lately has been much slower than normal.  With that being said, Grandparent’s Day is 3 weeks away.

Crafting Ideas ~

There are so many different ideas for recognizing your favorite Mimi & Pappy…ooops, I mean Grandma & Grandpa! 😉  I personally love hand-made cards and crafts.  It’s a great way for the kiddos to put some thought and love into letting their grandparents know how special they are to them.

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4th of July Fun – Keeping it Simple

It’s the eve of July 4th.  If you are a planner, then you have your menu and activities laid out for the family celebration.  However, if you are more of an impromptu person like myself, you are frantically searching through Pinterest and other websites for new and exciting ideas.  I always feel like I have to find the latest and greatest ideas that surface each year.  It’s great to add new and exciting ideas to family events.  But as I get older, I many times ask myself, “What is wrong with some of the simpler foods and activities that we have always had through the years?”

Don’t we all love a good barbecue with hamburgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob and watermelon?  Does anyone ever play bocce ball and frisbee anymore?  Remember when we ran through sprinklers after eating big slices of watermelon and having seed spitting contests?    We giggled and laughed, and our parents loved it because because our sticky faces and bodies got cleaned up a bit during the process.  Good memories indeed!

Then everyone puts on the bug spray, grabs their blankets and sits down for the fireworks show!

Unfortunately, many of the fireworks have been cancelled this year due to Coronavirus.  However, this does not have to keep you from celebrating this very special day.  Great memories are made with or without fireworks!

READ THE FOLLOWING AND REMEMBER ABOUT KEEPING IT SIMPLE~

This poem, which was written by Patrick Hall,  went around the internet in a frenzy when the Coronavirus first entered our lives.  Whether you have read it already or not, take a minute to read and absorb:

 

 

My wish for everyone is while we are all going about creating new 4th of July traditions, take some time to enjoy the simple fun of the old family fun.  Take some frisbees to your family gathering.  Teach the little ones to play jacks.  Have a coloring contest.  Throw up a net and play badminton.  Have a water balloon fight!  Play ring toss.  Play Patriotic bingo~who doesn’t love a good game of Bingo?

FREE 4th of JULY COLORING PAGE LINK~

There are many wonderful links on Pinterest for free coloring pages.  Here is an example from chrissiegrace.blogspot.com:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/158540849356925077/

 

Maybe you can quiz everyone on their knowledge of the lyrics in The Star Spangled Banner….😉   Here is a little cheat sheet for ya:

I hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July!

Family Fun on the 4th of July

July 4th is right around the corner–it’s time to get the grills cleaned and find all of your red, white & blue apparel!  Let’s have some family fun this 4th of July!

We, like most families, always get together to celebrate Independence Day!  Recipes, new and old are made, fireworks are purchased, and fun family crafts are decided upon.  As I get older though, I realize I may not have done a great job instilling in my children “why” we celebrate this great day.  Don’t get me wrong, they knew the importance of the day, I just don’t think I took the opportunity to teach some historical facts like I could have.  If I had it to do over, I would have used this time to create fun ways to teach the kids more about our history.  This is truly a great time to have family fun AND teach some history about why we are celebrating.

Did You Know???
    1. Two of our presidents (who also were signatories of the Declaration of Independence), died on July 4, 1826.  Literally the same year!!!  Do you know which presidents they are?
    2. Another president (who was not a signatory of the Declaration of Independence) died on July 4, 1831.
    3. We also have a president who was born July 4, 1872.

Do you know the answers?  Follow this link to check your knowledge:  https://mimiblog.org/2020/06/30/fun-facts-page/

 

Sooo, how did you do?          Don’t get upset if you didn’t know all of them.  I must admit that I learned some new facts today too.  See, I told you I should have taken the time when my kids were younger…I guess you are never to old!

July 4, 2020

So what’s in store for this year?  We have decided to do some tie dye shirts now that the kids are getting a little older.  I’m sure it will be messy, but it will be fun.  After all, that is  what makes good memories.  This is the tutorial (by Happiness is Homemade) that I am going to follow.  I did not create this pin, but I like the way it walks you through step by step if you have not tie dyed before:  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/730709108282309018/

I am also including this link (by Leigha Doran) as I love the way this one turned out (this is an image only pin):  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/730709108282308707/

The girls and I are working on the rest of the details….I will share them with you when they are finalized.  Until then, I hope you are inspired to add some new fun to your family celebration, and I look forward to hearing about your ideas!

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