Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everybody! Happy Candy Day! Happy October 31st! After weeks of Halloween crafts, recipes and projects, you are all probably like, "Get me outta here!". So, let me just say, me too. Although I am wicked excited to go trick or treating with the girls tonight. Pun intended. I'm mostly excited about watching how cute they will be in their costumes, but also a little excited for the warm adult drinks my husband and I will be carrying around. Yum! I know I promised you all a look at my front porch decorations, so I thought I would keep my promise and share that with you today. Even though its not as exciting as I aspired for it to be and I did consider not sharing it. Oh well, there's always next year! Anyway here are some pics of the front porch as well as a sneak peak of the girls costumes. I will share pictures of them in full costume tomorrow morning.
See, nothing too exciting. Simple. You can't really see her, but there's a cute little witch in the dirt on the right. Her sign says, "Boo Hoo". Which I never really understood.....I may change that next year.

 Still loving my Halloween Chalkboard Sign.
Our little "beware" sign. Scary, I know. You've been warned!
Halloween isn't Halloween without those annoying fake spider webs right? I cringe at the thought of putting them up every year. They are such a pain in the butt!
My glorious Halloween wreath that I got 60% off at Micheal's after Halloween one year. If you need decorations, that's the way to do it. Just wait until the holiday is over, then everything is on sale. My cute Fall Wreath had to get booted for awhile.

And here is the sneak peak of the girls Halloween costumes. I still have one or two finishing touches to put on them. Good thing I started weeks ago! I can't wait to see them all dressed up tonight!
Hope you all have a perfect Halloween filled with lots of candy and fun costumes! Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

First comes the pumpkin, then comes the seeds......or is it seeds, then pumpkin?
I'm not a huge fan of pumpkin seeds. I mean, I'll try a few here and there as I'm making them, but I am never one of those people who is like "OOO PUMPKIN SEEDS!" But I feel like its a necessary tradition to make them every year though after sifting through pumpkin guts to collect them all. I like to make them. It's part of Halloween. So every year I make them. And in recent years I have made several different kinds. Who wants one plain boring flavor of pumpkin seeds? I have to say, this year's batch turned out probably the best I have ever made them. I was "testing" way more than usual. I used this recipe from Rachael Ray Magazine. This year I made the BBQ, Cheesy, Sesame and Cinnamon Sugar flavors. I have made the Zesty before as well and it is delicious too. Important note: The online version of this recipe is missing the / marks. So when it says 12 tsp. ground nutmeg, it really means 1/2 tsp. of ground nutmeg. This happened on Sugar, Nutmeg and Smoked Paprika. Let me know if anyone has questions. I have the original recipe as well, so I can tell you what the real measurements are. I should have just re-copied the recipe for you all, but I am too lazy to do that today.  If these flavors aren't your favorite why not try......

Pumpkin Pie Seeds
1. Rinse the seeds well in cold water, removing all the strings and goop. Bring 4 cups of water and 1 tsp. salt to a boil and add 1 cup of seeds. Simmer for 10 mins. Then drain and dry the seeds. I recommend laying them out on a tray lined with parchment paper to dry. I have tried "patting" them dry with paper towels and they just stick to the paper towels.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and roast for 10-12 mins.
3. Toss with 1/2 stick melted butter and 3 Tbls. brown sugar, 1 1/2 tsp.cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. allspice and a pinch of nutmeg, ground cloves and salt, then roast for an additional 5-6 mins.

Curry Seeds
Follow step 1 in the previous recipe. Then toss seeds with 1 Tbls. Olive Oil and a pinch of salt. Follow step 2. Then toss the seeds with 1 1/2 Tbls. curry powder and a pinch of cayenne. Roast for an additional 5-6 mins.

Herb-y Seeds
Follow step 1. Then toss with 1 Tbls. Olive Oil and a pinch of salt. Follow step 2. Add 1 tsp. dried Thyme, 1 tsp, dried Basil and 1 tsp. dried rosemary and roast an additional 5-6 mins.

Enjoy discovering your favorite flavors of Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pumpkin Carving

We got our act together this past weekend and carved pumpkins! I always forget how much work it is. I really don't blame people who don't do it because its freaking exhausting and I am really impressed with people that do super intricate designs because it probably takes them forever! It's one thing to carve 1 pumpkin. But 1 Mommy pumpkin, 1 Daddy pumpkin and 2 baby pumpkins, means a whole lot of work for Mommy and Daddy! Especially Daddy who is the best carver, scraper, artist and seed separator. Thank you my love! I learned last year that you don't want to get super crazy with the little ones pumpkins (or yours for that matter), otherwise you'll be up til midnight with pumpkin guts all over the kitchen. So we kept the girls pumpkins pretty simple. It was a fun night. I think our jack-o-lanterns turned out pretty cute this year.
 The Master Carver himself. My man.
 Our littlest pumpkin watching hers get carved while eating her dinner. Rough life right?
I made a yummy pasta with butternut squash and sage for dinner. Princess of course ate every part of her dinner except the squash. Go figure.
 I couldn't believe that she actually wanted to scoop guts out!

Since obviously it would be a little silly to let a 3 year old handle a knife to carve a pumpkin, my husband came up with this genius idea. He carved all the pieces out, then stuck them back in with toothpicks so that she could pull them all out. It was a perfect way to let her be involved without injuries!
 She thought it was great. Talk about the Princess way to carve a pumpkin!

And then she decided that raw pumpkin looked like a yummy treat. Boy was she surprised! Too funny. She wouldn't eat the cooked butternut squash at dinner, but the raw pumpkin somehow looked totally appetizing!
 Ta da!

Here is the little Peanut's pumpkin. Her bedtime rolled around before we finished hers so we didn't get a picture with her and her pumpkin. We'll have to get it on Halloween night.
 My pumpkin! I got this cute idea from the HGTV website. It seemed simple enough. But it took forever!
4 lil pumpkins all in a row.....

All ready for Halloween! 2 more days til Candy Day!!!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Stuffed Pumpkins

Good morning!
So far most the projects I have been showing for Halloween have been for adults only. I decided it was time for little miss to get her turn making a Halloween craft. She already claims that she made the ghosts that hang in our front entry. Uh huh....Sure Toots. This is really fun and easy for kids to do and you may just have everything in your house for it. Just how kid's crafts should be.

You will need:
1 brown paper lunch bag (or white. I don't even know how we happened to have one)
Orange, Black, Green paints and a paintbrush. (Note. I tried using watercolor paints first, and it doesn't show up very well. So use either tempera paint or acrylic)
Newspaper or a thin paper magazine that you don't want anymore
Rubber band

1. Crumple all the newspaper and stuff it into your paper bag so that it gets full and round like a pumpkin. Kids will love doing this part too. When it is as full as you want it, wrap the rubber band around the top and form the top to look like a pumpkin stem.

2. Get out the paints and let them go wild painting their pumpkin orange and then painting a jack-o-lantern face.

Princess's pumpkin ended up looking a little like a spooky tree.
Momma had to do one too!
3. Let dry.

Now you have a sweet little kids decoration for the kitchen table, the playroom or your child's bedroom. Your little one can show off his/her artwork with pride.

Enjoy and happy weekend!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sushi Pet Costume

About a week or two ago, my sister texted me and told me she wanted to buy a costume for her cat. She said she had seen a mermaid and a sushi at the store (my guess would be Target). I couldn't help from squealing at the thought of her fat cat squished into a sushi costume! For whatever reason, yesterday I got inspired to make that sushi costume. After I looked around and found everything I needed, I decided, "Yep!" I'm making a sushi cat costume. I have seen baby sushi costumes sewn onto onesies and I thought I could use the onesie for her cat too. All I would have to do is cut a tail hole. Haha! The best part is that it only took me half an hour to make. Anyone with dogs rejoice, because this costume will work for your little roo roo as well. Here is how I made this hysterical costume.

You will need:
One old white baby onesie (I went digging in the garage for this. Try on your pet first to make sure you have the right size. 9 months seemed to be a little snug on my ginormous cat, so I knew it would be perfect for my sister's cat, who is a little bit smaller)
Orange, Pink, Green and Black fabric (in whatever kind of fabric you have. I had cotton, felt, and flannel)
Spray adhesive
Sewing supplies

1. Lay the onesie out back facing up. I made the sushi on the back of it, since you wouldn't see it if it was on the front of the cat. Cut out your pieces of sushi making sure that they fit on the onesie. I have no idea what this orange thing is.....shrimp? I don't know what it is because I never eat it when we get sushi. Anyway, cut out one of those and a long strip of black for the seaweed. Then spray with the spray adhesive. This will hold them in place until you can sew it down.

2. Sew all the way around each orange cut out. I didn't get crazy perfect with this. Because it is a cat costume after all. I didn't sew the bottom part of the tail either. I thought it would look better loose. Then wrap the black strip of fabric or the "seaweed" around the middle and sew to the front of the onesie or where the belly of your cat or dog will be.


3. Cut 2 green circles and 2 pink circles of felt or fabric. Use the hot glue gun and shape them almost like you would a felt flower. This will be your ginger. 

4. Now sew on the ginger and a pair of disposable chopsticks (if you have them). We always seem to have a plethora of extra chopsticks in our house. We have a love of all foods Asian.
5. Now all you need to do is cut a hole for the tail. I didn't cut one yet because I didn't want to cut it in the wrong place. So I will let my sister do it when she gets it on her cat.

In the meantime, my cat Punk was good enough to model it for us. He even purred....weird cat.
Sushi Cat!!!
Now you can whip up a costume for your pet this Halloween for pretty much nothing. I didn't spend a penny! Good luck and have fun! As always let me know if you have any questions or need help.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Halloween Sugar Cookies

I feel like every holiday needs sugar cookie cut outs. Hearts for Valentine's Day, Shamrocks for St. Patty's and Trees and Gingerbread men for Christmas. What did I say about cookie cutters? They come in handy a lot! Princess asks to make cookies with me at least once a week and I wanted to make some Halloween Sugar Cookies with her this Halloween. I usually just buy one of those blue pre-made logs of sugar cookie dough. I think its Pillsbury. But this time I wanted to try making the dough from scratch. Its a lot easier than I imagined it to be. Not sure why I was so scared of sugar cookie dough when I make other cookies all the time. Anyway. Its a great activity to do with little ones, or hey yourself too, if you enjoy decorating cookies. The nice thing about it, is that you don't have to devote a whole afternoon to it. You can break it up into parts. One night mix up the dough, then throw it in the fridge. Most recipes recommend keeping it in there overnight. Then the next day you can bake them and cool them. Then if you really want to stretch it out, you can store them and wait yet another day to do the decorating. So no excuses about not having enough time!
Here is the recipe I used for making our Halloween Sugar Cookies. The original recipe makes 5 dozen! Which is way too much for us. I mean, we like sweets around here but there's no way we could eat that many! So luckily you can change the amount. I changed it to 3 dozen and ended up with about 35 cookies.

For the icing I just mixed powdered sugar with water and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. You want the frosting to be thicker than you think. It kind of loosens up after a minute or two. Once I got a big batch of icing the consistency I wanted, I added food coloring and put it in three bowls. I left one white and made the other two black and orange. If you don't have any fancy frosting dispensers, just put the frosting in a ziplock bag and snip the corner with scissors. I am way too lazy to go through all that trouble, so I just spread it on with a baby knife. Those knives are great for little hands too, because they aren't sharp and they can hold onto them.

Then pull out all the sprinkles you own and start decorating!
 Concentrating VERY hard.

 Look at that pile of frosting!
 Ghosts, kitties, bats and pumpkins, oh my!
Yay! Happy Halloween! And happy decorating!