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

Category: Uncategorized (Page 1 of 6)

Make Christmas Special

Whether you are creating your own Christmas cozy or you are shopping for that perfect gift, I have some great ideas for you!  Read on for some fun & unique ideas that you can order to make Christmas special!

I want to share with you some of the great companies I have partnered with.  By taking the time to research each company and then placing an order with them, my hope is to help take the guesswork out of it for you.  I pay close attention to the value of the product received as well as the shipping methods.  What is left are companies that I have come to love and feel very comfortable sharing them with you!

Decor Steals ~

I have absolutely fallen in love with this online-only company.  They offer affordable, timeless home decor pieces.  It is a daily deal site that offers three new products each and every day at 10 a.m.  The “steals” are available for 24 hours or until they sell out.  However, there are many other incredible items to shop as well.  In fact, I love their products so much that I signed up to get the daily email because their daily “steals” are gorgeous!

I have ordered several of their products and have been very happy with EVERYTHING!  *ps…I especially love the Love You More blanket!  They very clearly post in the description of each item how long it will take the product to leave their warehouse.  Every item has different shipping times, so pay attention to that!  Below is just a sampling of their vintage home decor:

Meddy Teddy ~

From previous posts, you all know how much we LOVE Meddy Teddy.  He is truly one of the best teddy bears out there!  Looking for that perfect gift for your child or grandchild?  This is it!!!  Seriously!  Not only is he fully poseable and huggable, but he also helps introduce yoga and meditation to children.

When you go to their site, you will see all of the cute little accessories as well.  Who doesn't love accessories???  While I cannot express enough how much my grandchildren love theirs, you will need to order soon to get this little guy in time for Christmas.

You will LOVE all the Meddy Teddy items!!!

ETSY ~

Please tell me you have ordered from Etsy.  In fact, if you have a favorite shop owner, please share it with me!  We all know the importance of shopping small business and this is your opportunity!  My girls and I LOVE so many UNIQUE items that we have ordered from this amazing site.

There are truly so many fabulous items to choose from so these following links break it down by section for you:

Check out this fabulous home decor--for gifting and of course to refresh your home decor as well! 😉
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Here are some great bath and beauty ideas for that special someone!
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Shop popular items on everyone's list!
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Because a girl can NEVER have too many accessories!
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Paper House ~

Are you tired of getting the same old stocking stuffers?  Then you MUST check out The Paper House.  What a fun company with loads of unique ideas!  This high quality company offers cards, magnets, papers, and clever gifts at great prices.  Some of the products include albums, bookmarks, bundles, paper crafting kits and washi tape.

Below is just a sample of what all they offer.....what are you waiting for????  You can click on any of the pics below or just go directly to their warehouse sale ➡➡➡Take me to the Paper House warehouse sale now!!!

Owl Post Books ~

There is truly NOTHING that tops the value of reading for kids!  We all know the many benefits of teaching the love of reading to kids at an early age.  Of course, it only gets better if they get to run out to the mailbox each month for their own personal subscription box.  Bonus...it comes in a fun box for them to color!

Owl Post Books offers different subscriptions for different age groups.  You can also choose for grab bags or book of the month club.  The craft that is included is icing on the cake.  Addi & Max get excited every time they get their subscription.  In fact, we have had to settle a fight or two over who gets what!

 

What could be better than finding unique products from companies you know you can depend on.  I hope that I can help you just a little bit in your Christmas preparations by bringing you some new stores to visit...online!  It is important to me that each and every follower knows how very much I appreciate them!  I will always work hard to find great values and share good ideas!  We are all in this together as we strive to make Christmas special...this year and every year!

 

 

You’ve Been Socked – A Christmas Game

The Halloween shenanigans have been put away for another year…now let’s start spreading some Christmas cheer!  Have you been socked?  If you haven’t, it’s time to start a new family neighborhood tradition.  Let’s do some ding dong ditching…”Christmas Style!”  Read on for directions and free printables for this festive activity of You’ve Been Socked – A Christmas Game!

Get the whole family involved ~

I am all about family fun and creating memories!  This game delivers all of that!   You should start this activity out by letting the family decide who you are going to “sock.”  Typically each family will “hit” one or two homes.  Also, as the kids get a bit older, you may discover that they might want to “sock” their school friends.  Taking it to other neighborhoods just spreads the fun!

Whether you are going by foot or vehicle, you need to plan your escape route next.  Have you participated in ding dong ditching?  The idea is to go up, ring the doorbell and run without getting caught.  The catch to “You’ve Been Socked” is you are also leaving a fun treat before you run.   I wrote about the Halloween version of this in October.  Read the Halloween version called You’ve Been Booed!  We found ourselves rolling (literally) with laughter as we played You’ve Been Booed.

Over the years, you will find that there is much more to this than just spreading holiday cheer.  The memories you create will be relived over and over.  The kids also get the biggest kick out of trying to find out who “socked” them.

Get those stockings filled ~

The family togetherness continues as you head to the store(s) of your choosing to get the goodies.  Choose the stockings you would like to fill.  These can be whatever size you desire.  Select items that are age appropriate for the family you are socking.  Some fun ideas are listed below:

  • Christmas candy
  • Small toys
  • Homemade goodies
  • Small games
  • Holiday puzzles
  • Personal sized snacks
  • Stickers
  • Candles
  • Festive books
  • Lottery tickets
  • Seasonal socks

Final preparations ~

After you and your elves have filled the stockings, it’s time to complete the final steps.  Make a copy of “You’ve Been Socked” to include with the stocking.  You can attach it to the stocking or roll it up and put it inside.  Also include a copy of “We’ve Been Socked” for your recipients to display in their window.  The idea is that each house only get “socked” once!

You’ve Been Socked – A Christmas Game ~

NOW IT IS TIME FOR THE FUN!!!  Put those running shoes on…seriously!  This is important!  You don’t need to be dressed fancy when you are playing a good game of “You’ve Been Socked!”  Go over your strategy again with the whole family.  It truly brings extra fun by listening to your kids discuss their game plan.  Once you have agreed upon your escape route, gather your stockings and go deliver your goodies…WITHOUT GETTING CAUGHT!

It’s important to decide on a meeting place after you have rung the doorbell and dropped the goodies.  Everyone starts getting giddy and they will end up running all different directions.  The hope is that whichever way they go, you all end up at the meeting point. This is part of the fun as you reminisce later over what actions each of you took.

Free Printables for You’ve Been Socked ~

Use the link I have provided below to get the 2 pages needed for this game.   Hover over the pages and then click.  That will take you to the printable version.  Print as many as you need:

You’ve Been Socked & We’ve Been Socked Printables

Other Ding Dong Ditch Holiday Games ~

There are other versions of this game as well.  One that is especially cute is You’ve Been Elfed.  I have looked at several versions and really love the one by Craft.Create.Cook.  She includes printables for Elf Boot Bags to print as well as the We’ve Been Elfed papers.  Definitely another fun version of this very fun holiday activity.  The link for this version is included here ➡➡ You’ve Been Elfed by CraftCreateCook.com.

A second option is You’ve Been Jingled.  It’s Written on The Wall has provided a wonderful plan for this version of the game.  Be sure to check out her ideas as well here ➡➡ You’ve Been Jingled by Itswrittenonthewalls.blogspot.com.

Suffice it to say, there are MANY options out there.  I chose the sock version as it is easy to purchase a stocking.  Besides, I like the saying “You’ve Been Socked!”  However, the versatility and craftiness of all of the games are wonderful.  Regardless of the one you choose, just get out there and spread some holiday cheer!

 

 

 

Try Adding a New Thanksgiving Tradition

Why not?  It’s 2020…the year of everything different!  Are you having a small Thanksgiving gathering or will yours be a bit bigger?  Regardless of the size, I believe this is a great time to try adding a new Thanksgiving tradition to your tried and true favorites!

Thanksgiving Tablescapes ~

Do you have a favorite way you like to decorate your Thanksgiving table or do you prefer to change it up each year?  Here are some festive ideas along with little extras to make it fun as well as pretty.

A Thanksgiving Table Glowing with Candles ~

One of the things I love about tablescaping is “shopping your house” to find new ways to bring old pieces back to life.  Les Cultivateur demonstrates this so well by using a lot of old candlesticks to create a new look:

Check out these great tips from Lecultivateur.com on how to use everyday items to create a beautiful Thanksgiving table!

Candles, candles, candles!  Such a cozy and intimate display.  She also gives a great tutorial on how to make your own “rustic” candlesticks from unfinished wood pieces purchased from a craft store.  Please also take the time to see how she crafted a wood riser as well.  This exquisite table is finished off by “shopping outdoors” to add some beautiful greenery to finish the look.

A Thanksgiving Table with Nature’s Bounties ~

Simple and beautiful ideas from Eat.sleep.decorate.blogspot.com for a beautiful Thanksgiving table!

Do you have trees around you with various nuts or other fun seedlings?  Shop outdoors for natures beauties and fill different glass votives and hurricanes (but remember to leave some for our furry outdoor friends).  She also suggests adding some dried peas or kidney beans for additional color…what a fantastic idea!  Place beautiful greenery from evergreen or holly trees and bushes underneath the glassware to complete the look.

A Thanksgiving Clad with Turkeys ~

Homeiswheretheboatis.com shows beautiful turkey displays as well as a napkin folding tutorial!

I must say, while it is not a necessity, I LOVE the idea of working a turkey or two in on the table somewhere…in addition to the one you will be eating!  Whether you have a beautiful turkey to display as the centerpiece, small turkey napkin holders or maybe you want to fold your napkins in the fancy fantail design.  Home is where the boat is gives a great tutorial on the fantail napkin folding to create a nice “turkey” tail.

Let’s Not Forget the Kid’s Thanksgiving Table ~

Free printables and GREAT ideas for the kid’s Thanksgiving table from Thinkmakeshareblog.com

The creative studios of Hallmark at Think.make.share.blog have included numerous fun Thanksgiving printables.  Make the kid’s Thanksgiving table festive and fun!  They have supplied everything from placemats and activity books to turkey place cards.  Place terra cotta pots filled with crayons at each setting.  Add small bowls of appetizer snacks to keep them busy while you are finishing the cooking!

Fun Conversation Starters ~

Conversation starters from Ohmy-creative.com is a fun addition to your Thanksgiving Table!

You may not NEED these in your family, however, please give them a second thought.  If you have been following my blog, you saw the Kid’s Gratitude Tree for Thanksgiving.  (If you missed it, here is the link:  Kid’s Gratitude Tree for Thanksgiving from Mimiblog.org) There is great value of anything written by family members over the years.  If you are diligent at saving items, these handwritten gems can become great mementos over the years!

Traditions are so important!  Everyone looks forward to those “special” Thanksgiving recipes each year.  This year more than ever, we need to add some fun and festive ideas to the remainder of the year.  Keep those old traditions, but why not add a new Thanksgiving tradition into the mix this year!

Early Toy Flash Sale – Round 2

“I’m going to get my Christmas shopping done early this year!”  How many times have you heard yourself making this statement?  For those of you who follow through, great job!  I always have great intentions but don’t always follow through.  However, I’m doing it this year! 😁 The great part about that is I am trying to help all of you as well.   Welcome to the Early Toy Flash Sale – Round 2!

Below are some GREAT deals on toys.  If they seem interesting to you, click on them to check them out further on Amazon.  What’s the catch?  PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THE DATE THE SALE EXPIRES!  These are special deals they allow us to offer to our readers, but they only last a short time.  It is also first come, first served.  The deal lasts as long as they have the product.  Once it sells out, the deal is over!

So what are you waiting for????  Check out these great deals on the Early Toy Flash Sale – Round 2!!!

Deals Good From November 8 – November 10 ~

WATER DOODLE MAT ~ 30% OFF

Large, portable water mat with water pens and 2 drawing molds.

5 FOOT 10 KEYS FLOOR PIANO MAT ~ 61% OFF

5 foot 10 keys floor keyboard mat with 8 instrumental sounds AND adjustable volume!

DINOSAUR STATION CLEANING SET ~ 30% OFF

6-1 Cleaning tools with detachable dinosaur doll!

FLOWER BUILDING TOY GARDEN BLOCKS ~ 50% OFF

101 pieces are included in this flower building toy garden set!

Deals Good From November 8 – November 12 ~

MEXICAN TRAIN DOMINOES WITH ALUMINUM CASE ~ 40% OFF

91 Tile Number Dominoes, 1 Aluminum Case, 1 Instruction Booklet, 9 Colorful Small Trains, 1 Scoreboard, 1 Octagon Hub

6 IN 1 SOLAR ROBOT STEM SCIENCE KIT ~ 50% OFF

Create 6 different working models!

3D WOODEN TOY BLOCK SET ~ 50% OFF

Kids can use their imagination for hours with this 3D wooden toy block house set!

PRETEND MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLE SET ~ 45% OFF

Anyone will love this adorable makeup and hair set that also comes with a lot of accessories!

Deals Good from November 8 – November 13 ~

3D COLORING PUZZLE SET ~ 50% OFF

4 Animals that each form into a puzzle.  12 markers are included in this fun set!

REMOTE CONTROL TOY CAR ~ 50% OFF

Remote control, double sided, toy car with rotating 360 degree flips…this one will go fast!

Deals Good from November 8 – November 14 ~

BATH TOY ~ DIY BATH PIPES ~ 40% off

2 Modes for Basic & Advanced bath time play.  Multiple combinations are available for creative play.

MATCH & SPELL BOARD GAMES ~ 40% OFF

Kids will LOVE learning alphabet and spelling skills with this match & spell board game!

LARGE JEWELRY MAKING KIT ~ 20% OFF

This is a must have for all craft lovers.  A large jewelry making kit with 24 colors!

Deals Good from November 8 – November 21 ~

BLUETOOTH WIRELESS KARAOKE MICROPHONE ~ 45% OFF

Many colors available in this fun gift that all children LOVE to perform with!

Deals Good from November 8 – November 23 ~

18″ DOLL CLOTHES & ACCESSORIES – 19 PIECES ~ 23% OFF

19 Pieces which includes outfits, shoes, underwear, headbands and caps.

32 KEY PIANO KEYBOARD ~ 40% OFF

Musical kids piano keyboard with micorphone!

KIDS EASY FEED GOLF SET ~ 50% OFF

Kids will love this easy ball feed golf set with adjustable clubs.

I hope you find some of these deals perfect fits for all of your little ones!   I love finding great deals.  Even better…I love sharing great deals!  If there are specific toys you are on the hunt for, drop me a note and I will be happy to keep my eye out for good deals!

Happy early shopping to you all on this Early Toy Flash Sale – Round 2!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kid’s Gratitude Tree for Thanksgiving

There are many great ideas out there to help children learn gratitude.  Honestly, I don’t think you can ever focus on this too much.  Of course, in the month of November everyone is looking for fun ideas to help foster thankfulness.  Making a kid’s Gratitude Tree for Thanksgiving is at the top of my list of favorite activities.

Family Tradition ~

I started this AWESOME activity with my kids years ago.  Through the years, I have found this to be one of those projects that all ages enjoy.  What’s even better is that the  fun goes on throughout the whole month of November.  I would draft a letter each year to print out and send to all of our friends and family members.  Seriously, the more you send out the better.  If you would like the kids to help, they can address the envelopes, stick on return address labels or adhere the stamps.

This project takes some time, but it is WELL WORTH the effort.  Swordfights & Starry Nights has done a great job on writing about this amazing activity as well:  Click here to see Swordfights & Starry Nights Gratitude Tree project!

They did such a great job of explaining the process of how they made the tree.  Be sure to check out the link above for detailed instructions.

The Letter to Mail Out ~

You must first draft a letter (or use the one I have included below) explaining what your project is all about.   Explain that your family is making a Gratitude Tree and you would love for them to be a part of it.  Tell them you have included one leaf for each member of their family.  They should write what they are thankful for on their individual leaves.

Once each family finishes their leaves, they are asked to return them back to you.   All of the returned leaves will help create a very colorful Tree of Gratitude.  This letter needs to go out to everyone in early November so there is ample time to receive them back.  The following link is ready for you to print and send out right away.  Click here for FREE Thankfulness Tree Letter to Mail to Family and Friends!

While your letters are printing, you can begin the next step.

Cutting Out Leaves ~

This part can get time consuming so you will want all hands on deck!  There are many options of getting the leaves ready to be mailed out:

Option 1: 

Download these free leaves templates and cut them out.  There are three pages here to allow for a colorful kid’s Gratitude Tree.  A blank box has been inserted in the middle of each leaf for easier writing .  A picture is included below  for you to look over.  Keep in mind that these leaves have more detailed edges which requires more intricate cutting.  However, if kids understand they do not have to be “perfect” this step will go much smoother.

   

If you like this option, you can download the templates here:  Use this link to print the 3 different pages of Thankfulness leaves!

Option 2:

Real Imprints has a wonderful page dedicated to the Grateful Tree.  She has included 3 different size of leaf stencils for you to print out.  I would print these on card stock paper in different colors.  She also includes how she makes the tree (which we will discuss later).  This is a perfect rendition of the tree the kids and I would make each year so check it out.  Free Printables of the Grateful Tree from Real Imprints

Option 3:

There are several places you can purchase pre-cut leaves.  I would recommend this option if you are short on time….or patience!  Personally, our family found it fun to work on the leaves together, but I do understand that may not be everyone’s cup of tea.  Here are some good options for locating ready to go leaves:

*Hobby Lobby ~ they have some pretty ones on nice card stock.  They are a bit smaller than I like, but they will definitely work.

*Michael’s Craft Store

*Jo-Ann Fabric

*Amazon ~ As always, there are several options here:

Set of 50 Yellow “I Am Thankful For” Leaves ~ These will create one beautiful solid color tree.  The leaves are all pre-printed with the beginning phrase, “I am thankful for…”

Set of 9 different leaf styles and 7 different colors to make a colorful Gratitude Tree ~ Would you like a colorful fall tree?  No need to look further!   The leaves are not pre-printed which gives the option for each person to write it as they wish.

Set of orange, yellow & brown all maple leaves for one style Gratitude Tree ~ An option for those who prefer all of the leaves to be the same style yet still add some color.

Make a List ~

Make a list of every family you are sending the letter to.   After each family name, write the number of leaves you will need to include in the envelope.  This is a fun way to work on counting with smaller children.  For those who are a bit older, it is a good lesson on sorting as they choose different colors for each family.

Assemble and Mail ~

Have everyone help in folding the letters and include the correct number of leaves in each one.  Let the children mark off each family on the list as it is completed.  Apply your return address and stamp.  Now go mail those babies out!  Phew!  BIG PROJECT…LOTS OF FUN!!!

Creating the Tree ~

You can choose to do this part now or wait a few days.  I always liked to go ahead and make the tree and let the kids fill out a couple of leaves themselves.  This helps them to see what you are creating together.  They will get more excited as the leaves start to be returned.  My kids looked forward to going to the mailbox each day to see if there were any new ones they had received.  It doesn’t take long for this kid’s gratitude tree for Thanksgiving to come to life!

The most important thing to remember is that perfection is not key here.  Just make the tree and it will come together as you fill it with leaves.  I used a roll of butcher paper and started with a large tree trunk.  We assembled our tree on a door in our kitchen so that everyone could easily watch it slowly fill up.  After your trunk is drawn, start adding branches.  When this is complete, cut it out and adhere to the door or wall.

I many times get lucky and find rolls of butcher paper for the kid’s Gratitude Tree for Thanksgiving at the Dollar Tree.  If you do not have luck doing this, here is a handy link from Amazon:  Click here for brown Kraft butcher paper roll.

A Blooming Tree ~

As the leaves start getting returned, let the kids start putting the leaves on the various branches your have drawn.  It doesn’t take long for this beautiful tree to burst with colorful leaves of thankfulness.  The whole family will enjoy reading the different responses.  This also helps them to understand the many, many things we all have to be thankful for.

Save those Leaves ~

When Thanksgiving has passed, it is time to disassemble the tree.  I chose to save the leaves every year.  This has proven to be a very beautiful thing.  As each year passes, it is fun to look back on what everyone was thankful for each year.  Have those things changed or stayed the same? Also, as we unfortunately lose some of our beloved family members, it creates great memories to hold on to.  A perfect example is this little gem I recently came across….

One of my dad’s leaves!!!  Oh how happy I am to have this very special leaf!!!!

I hope you all find this craft to be a very worthwhile experience.  My family sure did!

Happy Thanksgiving to all~

Shelly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pappy Got Boo-Booed! 🤣

One of my favorite annual Halloween memories is our house getting “Booed.”  The doorbell rings…the kids run to see who it is…instead of a person they find delicious Halloween treats festively displayed on the doorstep.  Quickly, everyone darts outside to see if they can catch a glimpse of who has left this Boo-tiful gift for them.  Sadly, those years have faded into the past for us.  But wait….we may be getting older but that doesn’t mean we can’t still take part in this Halloween fun!   So this year…Pappy got Boo-Booed!

You’ve Been Booed!

If you are not familiar with this FUN Halloween tradition, below are images of the 2 documents needed to carry out the plan:

 

There are a lot of fun images you can find on the internet but many you have to pay for.  I created these images and have included the link to download for free:

Once you read the page labeled You’ve Been Boo-ed, you will understand what all you need to do.  Basically, you need to print out 2 copies of each of these pages, put 2 goody baskets together and choose who your phantom will visit!  It’s that easy.  When you get visited by the phantom, then you need to put your copy of the We’ve been Boo-ed! page in your front window.

Now, you are probably wondering why this is titled Pappy got boo-booed!  As stated earlier, our days of enjoying this activity with our kids is long gone.  Enter our grandchildren!  I must say that I had not initially thought of doing this for Addi and Max until our daughter, Lauren, asked us to do so.  Our other daughter, Karleigh and I were the phantoms last year.  This year I asked Pappy to help out!

We made a grand plan of how to deliver the goodies to our grandchildren without getting caught.  Let me tell you, if you have seen their house, you understand this is no easy feat.  It’s guarded like Fort Knox, hard to get in and out of and windows galore.  Need I remind you that we are now 50+!!!  But we are old athletes.  We can do this!  Right????

Pappy Got Boo-Booed!

So, we park far away and decide to tackle this feat on foot.  We trek to the front porch, crawl under the windows, ease up to the door, place the goodies on the step, knock and run!!!  WELL, Pappy steps in some mud and sprawls face first onto the sidewalk.  Amid concern (well, a little anyway) and much laughter, he rolls like the young quarterback he once was and hightails it out of there!  We made it safely to our hiding place.

Did I mention our son-in-law got home while all this was going on.  I wish you could have seen the confused look on his face.  We wait for what we believe is a good amount of time to trek back to our truck and head home.  Both winded and standing by our get away vehicle, Brad looks over at me sheepishly and states, “I don’t have my keys!”

Seriously?  We have to go back to the scene and retrieve said keys from somewhere in the mud!  Yes, our son-in-law is still sitting in his truck as Brad creeps back by and searches for the lost set of keys.  Do you wonder what he is thinking about his in-laws???

We finally escaped, unseen by the grandkids I might add!  However, as you guessed, Pappy did not remain unscathed by this little incident.  YES, he got a Boo Boo!

Suffice it to say, we are adding new “You’ve Been Boo-ed” memories to our family photo albums.  I just wish I had taken my camera on this little escapade to capture Mimi and Pappy to add to the photo album along with these cuties!

It is now late in October, but if you have never done this before, please remember this for next year and add it to your Halloween family traditions.  Hopefully, you like the fun images I created and will use those next time!

Happy Halloween!

 

Spooky Stuffed Pepper Pumpkins

Have you planned your Halloween night family dinner?  I mean, you still have a couple of days to figure it out, right?  Well, if you are still searching, I have a great idea for you.  Spooky stuffed pepper pumpkins were on our menu last night and wow!  Seriously, the whole family loved them!  And, if that sounds good, let me fill you in on the rest of the kid-friendly Halloween menu!

Kid’s In The Kitchen ~

   

What I love most about this menu is that the kids were able to get involved.  Aprons were thrown on (I think this is pretty important for these recipes I’m about to share) and the fun began!  I should mention, however, that a little prep was done before the kids arrived.  We were packing a lot of stuff into one night so that was a huge help!

Stuffed Pepper Recipe ~

FOLLOW THIS LINK TO PRINTABLE VERSION OF STUFFED PEPPER RECIPE!

As mentioned earlier, some steps were done before the kids arrived.  It is important to get some of the cooking done ahead to make it easier for them to participate!  Otherwise, they will quickly lose  interest.  Here is what I did earlier in the day:

EARLY PREPARATIONS ~
  • Slice tops off of bell peppers
  • Cut jack-o-lantern faces in the peppers
  • Boil peppers
  • Cook meat mixture

The kids were very excited to stuff the peppers, add the cheese on top and find the right bell pepper top to fit on each one.  Finding the tops were somewhat like a puzzle which makes it even more fun!  I then placed them in the oven to start cooking and make room for the snake breadsticks!

SNAKE BREADSTICKS ~

We followed a festive breadstick recipe that we found on Pinterest from Flawlessfood.co.uk.  They give very detailed instructions to make this delightful Halloween side dish.  It is a perfect accompaniment to the spooky stuffed pepper pumpkins.  Follow this link for Snake Breadsticks from Flawless Food!

Our breadsticks did not turn out as professional as the ones  from Flawless Food, however, the kids had a blast making them.  If you prefer a deeper color, please follow their directions and paint the wash on for the last 5 minutes of baking.    This being said, I wanted the kids to be able to complete this step, so to keep any burns from occurring, I had them paint the breadsticks before baking.  They still turned out adorable and the kids were delighted when they came out of the oven.

OREO TRUFFLE BATS ~

Many of us have already discovered this sinful dessert of Oreo truffles.  What is even more amazing is while they are always such a HUGE hit, they are truly so EASY to make.  We went a step further for our Halloween themed dinner and made them into bats.  This was achieved with a little help from One Sweet Appetite.  YOU ARE DEFINITELY GOING TO WANT TO PIN THIS BAT OREO TRUFFLE RECIPE FROM ONE SWEET APPETITE!!

Below you see Addi’s  Oreo truffle bats!  *We have officially lost Max’s attention at this point!  😂 Please note that if you are making these for something other than a Hallowhttps://mimiblog.org/aob6een family dinner, you may want to do these on your own. 😁

She truly had so much fun with every step of this recipe, from crushing the oreos and rolling the dough into balls to adding the finishing touches.  We had bats with different eyes, bats with 1 eye, and bats with 3 eyes.  Much laughter was heard while creating these masterpieces.  Since we had such a packed evening, we tried to concoct our own method of attaching the bat wings.  Next time I will definitely follow the instructions from One Sweet Appetite.

Addi was so perplexed on how we were going to make the bat wings.  I pulled out the wax paper and she started laughing.  “Mimi, we can’t eat paper!”  I then drew bat wings on the wax paper.  My little princess was understandably still confused.  It was when I taught her how to cover the bat wing stencils with melted chocolate that it started to make sense.   She was amazed that we could create our own chocolate images this way.  Once again, follow the link above for more detailed instructions on this fun step!

Needless to say, we had a VERY busy night filled with festive Halloween recipes!  We topped it off with the annual pumpkin carving.  The kids went home with full bellies and carved jack-o-lanterns.  More importantly, we created another fantastic evening of wonderful family memories!

Happy Halloween!

 

 

 

Early Toy Flash Sale

Are you ready to start shopping for Christmas?    I’m excited to tell you that I am learning more about how to find special deals for all of you!  This post is basically a short and sweet one with quite a few toys I have found and can help you get some pretty deep discounts.  What’s the catch?  Well, pay close attention to the dates as most of these run for only a short time.  I have provided the expiration date after each one to help you out!  So what are you waiting for????  Let’s get started on the EARLY TOY FLASH SALE!

DEALS AHEAD ➡➡➡

PLEASE NOTE, IF YOU CLICK AND IT SAYS NO LONGER AVAILABLE, IT JUST MEANS THAT PARTICULAR ONE HAS SOLD OUT BEFORE THE EXPIRATION DATE….DON’T GIVE UP ON THESE AMAZING DEALS!

 

SANTA PANTS GIFT BAGS ~ Ok, it’s not a toy, but wait to you see the cuteness of these gift bags.  A festive pair of red felt suspenders ready for you to fill with goodies and present a gift in style.  This offer is 50% off until October 29, 2020.

ELECTRONIC DRAWING PADS ~ The modern day etch-a-sketch…and at 20% off until October 28, 2020.

KIDS DIGITAL CAMERA ~ A fun kid-sized camera that is offered in pink or blue at 25% off until October 29, 2020.

TODDLER BATHTUB WHALE SQUIRTER ~ Can this submarine bathtub whale squirter be any cuter…and at 50% off until October 30, 2020.

LIGHT UP TERRARIUM KIT WITH DINOSAURS ~ This STEM science kit lets kids create their own mini dino world garden.  This is offered at 30% off until October 28, 2020.

WALKIE TALKIES ~ What kid doesn’t LOVE walkie talkies???  These 22 channel sets also have a backlit LCD flashlight.  Get these now at 40% off until November 1, 2020.

SET OF 4 SUPERHERO CAPES & MASKS ~ Need I say more???  A set of 4 superhero capes at 40% off until November 1, 2020.

GARBAGE SWEEPER TRUCK SET ~ This is one of my absolute faves on this list!!!  A garbage street sweep truck with lights and sounds.  Runs by friction.  *It is also detachable and compatible with Legos*  This is 40% off until October 28, 2020.

WOODEN ALPHABET PUZZLE ~ A must have for all toddlers…bright colorful letters and 40% off until October 28, 2020.

WOODEN MEMORY MATCH STICK GAME ~ This one is PERFECT for parent-child interaction.  Offered at 40% off until October 29, 2020.

STAINLESS STEEL TOY COOKWARE ~ Stainless steel cookware pots and pans along with an apron and cutting play food in one set and offered at 30% off until October 31, 2020.

MONTESSORI WOOD MATH BLOCKS ~ Shape Sorter & Stacking Learning Toy at 50% off until November 5, 2020.

DOCTOR KIT WITH BACKPACK CASE ~ I LOVE the uniqueness of this one.  All kids love a medical set but the case of this one converts to a backpack for easy carrying.  This is a whopping 40% off until November 24, 2020.

60 PIECE DINOSAUR PUZZLE ~ These are so darn cute.  A pack of 2 floor puzzles that are stored in dinosaur eggs.  How fun is that???  This set is 40% off until October 31, 2020.

CRAB PULL TOY/BATH TOY ~ This fun little guy can be pulled OR played with in the bathtub.  You have to check out the cuteness overload!  He is 40% off until November 23, 2020.

RIDE ON BIKE BALANCE TOY ~ 3 adorable color options in this fun little balance bike.  You can get 10% off until November 2, 2020.

KIDS JAZZ DRUM SET ~ This bad boy is a heftier price BUT it’s 80% off until October 29, 2020.

MONTESSORI WOOD SIGHT WORD GAMES ~ Wonderful stocking stuffer idea!  These are 40% off until October 31, 2020.

WOODEN TODDLER JIGSAW PUZZLES ~ These are just too cute!!!  They are 15% off until October 28, 2020.

18 PIECE DOLL LUGGAGE TRAVEL PLAY SET ~ If your child loves the 18″ dolls (ex. American Girl, Our Generation, Lakeside Collection) you can be sure this will be a great Christmas gift!  Offered at 20% off until October 28, 2020.

22-PIECE REAL KIDS TOOL SET WITH BELT ~ This is truly one of the best sets I have seen…I LOVE it!  It is 30% off until October 28, 2020.

PAINT BY NUMBER SETS ~ Many great sets to choose from for kids and adults.  These are 40% off until October 28, 2020.

I truly love helping others out…especially with good deals.  My wish is that  you have found some fun gifts from this early toy flash sale.  I would love to do more of these so let me know if this is helpful.  ALSO…is there something special you want me to keep my eye out for?  I am very happy to do so….just let me know!

Happy shopping!!!

 

 

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!

 

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