Friday, October 28, 2011

DIY Googly Eye Monster Halloween Books

My sweet friend gave my boys little monster pop-up books for Halloween. They were $1 books. I am sure she picked them up at the Dollar Store or in Target's $1 amazing section. Either way, we transformed them into awesome googly eye books this morning. If you have been following my blog for a while...this is nothing new. See the Googly Eye Post here on how to make these easy books.

We added googly eyes of all sizes. My son's favorite part is shaking the silly eyes while we read the books.

On a Haunted Halloween note, look at this amazing and intricate spider web we discovered this morning right after the rain.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Penne with Pumpkin Cream Sauce

Thank you everyone for all your sweet and inspiring comments on all the Halloween Posts. October is almost over, and thank goodness, because I am almost out of Halloween projects. I make this yummy pasta every year because it has such a unique and flavorful sauce.

I also have some adorable "pumpkin" peppers to share with you. My sweet aunt sent me a spoof of my blog for some fun peppers. They are precious and so clever.


1 bag of penne pasta
2 Tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped,
Salt and Pepper
Garlic salt to taste
Parsley to taste
Pumpkin puree 15 oz
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese


1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente.
2. Melt butter on medium-low. Add onion, salt and pepper. Cook 5-6 minutes until softened.
3. Stir in the pumpkin and heavy cream. Bring to a slow rolling boil.
4. Add the pasta to pumpkin cream mixture and toss.
5. Remove from heat and stir in parmesan, parsley, and garlic salt to taste.
6. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Peppers from my Aunt Brenda

Spanish rice, salsa, can of tomato soup, can of whole kernel corn

Cut, take out seeds, and blanch colorful peppers.

Stuff and bake until it bubbles.

Meet Mr. Jack-o-Lantern.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

DIY Cardboard Haunted House

Nothing reminds me of Halloween more then spooky old houses. My son is in love with Scooby Doo right now, and they always have a big team of monsters, goblins, ghosts...and haunted houses. We decided to build one out of a cardboard box. It is perfect for any small characters. His fireman have raced to fires at the old haunted house. My youngest has moved in some of his little people. Army men have even holed up in our spooky old cardboard haunted house. Leave it up to your little one's imagination and let the fun begin.


Box cutter (exacto knife)
Black marker
Black spray paint
Masking tape


1. Pick out piece of cardboard of desired size.

2. Draw a haunted house outline in pencil. I then went over it with a black sharpie. I looked at a picture online to draw mine. You could always print out the picture below if you want to use it as a template.

3. Carefully use box cutter to cut out the silhouette of the house, windows, and doors.

4. I cut another piece out for the floor and two small ones for the sides. This helps give it support to stand up.

5. Tape your floor and sides in place with masking tape.

6. The last step is to spray paint the whole haunted house black...and spooky!

Today, the haunted house was on a pirate's island. According to my son, "Arrgh...a pirate's not afraid of an old haunted house."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Halloween Hugs - Teacher Appreciation

My sons are blessed to have some amazing teachers. They spend so much time coming up with crafts, activities, and learning tools for my sons.We wanted to send something special to school to say thanks in return. I enjoy this fast and easy recipe for Halloween Hugs. They are such a tasty treat.


Hugs (candy)
Candy Corn


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Lay out pretzels on a cookie sheet.

3. Top each pretzel with one Hug.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 3 minutes or until hugs are slightly melted.

5. Remove from oven and immediately press candy corn into Hug.

6. Place in fridge to cool and set.

7. I just printed a pumpkin and the following saying to top off some clear cellophane party bags. I hope they like them. We all think they are delicious!

A Halloween Hug from me to you
For all the special things you do!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pumpkin Dip or Pumpkin Pudding

I am quickly trying to fit in all my pumpkin favorites before the Halloween season is over. I got this recipe from a dear friend I worked with at a fertility center. She shared this little recipe with me one day and it was" love at first bite." The easy prep is just an added bonus. We love to dip graham cracker sticks in it, or just eat it as pudding. It makes a perfect appetizer for Thanksgiving dinner as well.


1 tub cool whip
1 instant vanilla pudding mix
1 can pumpkin


Mix above ingredients and serve with graham cracker sticks, apple wedges, or ginger snaps. My kids like to eat it as pudding too!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Trick-or-Treater Witch Yard Art

Unfortunately, I have not done many crafts since we arrived back from our vacation to Mexico last week. We were welecomed home with the stench of skunk in our home. No, the skunk was not actually in our home...but it smelled like it. The generous skunk evidently sprayed right underneath our home near the kitchen. Oh yes. It was horrible!! Even scentsy products had nothing on the terrible smell in our home. It is finally going away. I finally had the motivation this weekend to finish some crafts I was working on before I left for Mexico.

Do any of you subscribe to BHG 100 days of holidays? I think it is so fabulous. They send you great crafts, projects, food and decoration ideas for the holidays. I saw a precious idea for a witch trick-or-treater silhouette. I gave it a try and made this little witch.

I started by attempting to draw a similar witch as BHG with pencil. (They have a template you can print but I would never have gotten it to the right size) Once I was satisfied, I traced the outline with a sharpie marker and began cutting with my jigsaw.

I took the picture before I created her feet...I promise she has feet! After I cut out the witch, I spray painted her black. Then my husband helped me attach a T post to the back of her.

I altered my design a bit, and cut out a little slit under her hand so the plastic pumpkin would hang securely.

My son thinks she is great, and that we should actually put candy in her bucket. I am sure the minute her bucket had any real candy, he would quickly sneak back and eat the contents. It would be a fun surprise to fill her bucket for Halloween. Happy haunting little witch!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Googly Eye Utensils and Halloween Lunch

My son is very interested and intrigued by monsters, ghosts, mummy's and goblins right now. I am just happy he is not scared of them at three years old. He decided that it would be fun to bring a "spooky" Halloween lunch to school. It was a perfect activity for us. Our adventure began with some monster (googly eye) utensils. We just hot glued googly eyes of different sizes on some spoons and forks. These googly eye utensils would be perfect for a Halloween or monster birthday party.

Next, we cut out sandwich's with Halloween cookie cutters. It may seem like the same old boring idea to us as parents, but I can assure you, our kids still thinks it is creative and fun. The treasure is in the eye of the beholder.

We took a container of Mandarin oranges, and dressed it up like a Jack-O-Lantern, with a pair of eyes, a nose, and a mouth.

I had saved a milk carton from Chick-fil-A and we hot-glued googly eyes on it too. My son still loves milk and brings it to school every day. I covered a small box of raisins in orange striped paper and the googly eyes did their work again. I am not sure what it is about googly eyes... but they look silly on anything!

For desert, I cut a bat out of black paper and attached a Hershey bar for a treat. I think these would be fun for trick or treaters or Halloween class favors. our spooky, scary, and haunted lunchbox. If I would have thought of it sooner, I would have packed everything in a plastic orange pumpkin. A lunch box, is truly anything you want it to be. Never be afraid to be creative!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Host a Free House Party

I am so excited. My husband and I are leaving the kids with grandparents, and taking off to Mexico in the morning. If I were only done cleaning the house, packing, and preparing for the trip! I just needed a quick break and I wanted to tell you about the party I  had recently.

I stumbled upon an amazing website 3 months ago called I registered on the site and they soon began to send me upcoming party events. Some examples of past events are Budweiser beer, Wii games, Johnoinville Sausage, and Shutterfly. All I had to do was fill out a 2 minute online questionnaire and wait to be picked. I finally got my first party last month. It was for Chef Boyardee. I emailed out the invites and waited for my lucky guests to respond.

Two weeks before the party my "party pack" arrived on my front porch. I still could not believe someone was willing to send me free supplies to throw a house party. The box was full of goodies including a chef's hat, coupons for free cans of Chef Boyardee, recipe cards, a Chef Boyardee cooler bag, notepads, and coupons for my guests. I was so excited!! (Oh...and I am not being paid to write this post. I just wanted to share my discovery)

Last weekend was the party and we had a great time. I chose 3 out of the 5 recipes they sent me to make. The best part is they were fast, easy, and delicious. My favorite was the Ravioli Lasagna.

Ravioli Lasagna


Pam no-stick cooking spray
1 cup frozen loose cut leaf spinach
2 cans Chef Boyardee Beef Ravioli
1 can diced tomatoes, drained well
1 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1 cup 1% low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray. Place spinach in microwave safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high 2 min. Squeeze spinach dry.
2. Combine ravioli, drained tomatoes and Italian seasoning in medium microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high 3-4 minutes or until mixture is hot. Combine cottage cheese, spinach and black pepper in small bowl.
3. Place half or ravioli mixture in bottom of baking dish. Top with half cottage cheese mixture and 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Repeat layers. Bake 15 minutes or until cheese is hot and bubbly.

The funny thing was everyone had a different favorite recipe. The second one I made was a Pepperoni Spaghetti Bake.

Pepperoni Spaghetti Bake


Pam original no-stick cooking spray
1 1/4 cups original baking mix
1/2 cup reduced fat milk
2 cans Chef Boyardee Spaghetti and Meatballs
3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1/3 cup sliced turkey pepperoni


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray. Combine baking mix and milk in medium bowl; stir until soft dough forms.
2. Drop dough by spoonfuls on bottom of baking dish. Spoon 1 can spaghetti and meatballs over dough and sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese. Top with remaining can spaghetti and meatballs, remaining 1/4 cup cheese and pepperoni.
3. Bake 20-25 minutes or until dough is done in centers and browned.

The third recipe I chose was titled Taco-roni. I forgot to take a picture once I added broken tortilla chips and cheese on top.



2 cans Chef Boyardee Beefaroni
1 can diced tomatoes drained
1 can Premium whole black beans, drained, rinsed
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cup shredded mexican cheese blend
1/2 cup broken yellow tortilla chips


1. Place beefaroni, drained tomatoes, beans, corn and cumin in large saucepan; stir to combine.
2. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and broken chips just before serving.

Which recipe will you try?????

Monday, October 3, 2011

Scrumptious Pumpkin Bread

Does anyone else look forward to October for all the pumpkin treats that pop up in restaurants and shops? There are pumpkin lattes, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin shakes, and more. I love capturing the spirit of Fall and Halloween by filling my home with the aroma of pumpkin bread. The amazing smell is a sensory treat.  I acquired this recipe for pumpkin bread from a patient several years ago. It would like to think the hand mixing, oven position, and ingredients make it special and unique. Did I say...YUMMY!


3 cups sugar
3 cups flour
1 cup regular oil
1 cup Libby's pure pumpkin
2/3 cup water
4 eggs
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon


1. Pre-heat oven to 375.  Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in the center of oven.

2. Grease bottom only of loaf pans.

3. Mix all ingredients together by hand in large bowl. Divide batter evenly between pans.

4. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove and allow to cool.

5. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature up to 4 days, or refrigerate up to ten days.

I saw a precious pumpkin on the front of a fall magazine...possibly Southern Living or Country Living. I wish I could remember. I decided to try and replicate it and make pumpkin bread in a pumpkin shape. I started off with two small bundt cakes from the pumpkin bread recipe. I cooked the bundt cakes, allowed them to cool and then placed them together like a pumpkin.  I took two caramels and shaped them into a stem and leaf.

I placed my stem and leaf on top of my "bundt" pumpkin.

As we all know...everything is better with a sugar glaze on top. I mixed up some powdered sugar glaze and drizzled it on top. Scrumptious!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Halloween Pillowcase with Book Pocket

I am so excited it is finally October. I pulled out a special present I made for my oldest son two weeks ago. I LOVE books and fortunately he has picked up on this, and may just LOVE them more then me! We pull out books for each holiday and decorate his room. Halloween may just be one day...but we appreciate the 30 days leading up to it as well...or even more.

This year, I created a special pillowcase for my three year old. It has a pumpkin "book pocket" on the front of it. The countdown to Halloween begins. Each evening, I sneak a new book in the pocket before bedtime. We have an amazing collection of Halloween books that I have either bought at garage sales, purchased through Scholastic, or books that have been passed on to us from my mom (the teacher). This new tradition is already a huge hit!

I thought of tons of adorable fu-fu girls pillows...but I have a sweet boy. I finally decided on a bat and his name.

I am not a seamstress by any means. I do everything the "cheater" way. I cut out an orange pumpkin from some cheery orange polka dot material. I then pinned it to a piece of wax paper and zig-zag stiched around the top edge to give it a finished look. Then I carefully tore away the waxed paper.

I stiched the pumpkin, leaving the pocket opening on top, on the Halloween pillowcase I created. There are plenty of great pillowcase tutorials out there if you need a pattern or direction so I spared these details.

I just sneak a book in each evening, and bedtime is a lot more exciting. Here is us on the bunk bed reading our first book.

These are the wonderful Halloween books on our list:
(*16-23 are 0-3 age books and the rest are approx  age 2-6)

1. Monster Mischief by Pamela Jane
2. Pumpkin Town! by Katie McKy
3. Corduroy's Best Halloween Ever! by Don Freeman
4. Wee Witch Halloween by Jerry Smath
5. T. Rex Trick-Or-Treats by Lois Grambling
6. Sixteen Runaway Pumpkins by Dianne Ochiltree
7. Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper
8. I Like Pumpkins by Jerry Smath
9. Magic Matt and the Jack-O-Lantern by Grace Maccarone
10. The Itsy Bitsy Spider
11. The Halloween Play by Felicia Bond
12. Which Witch is Which? by Michaela Muntean
13. Say Boo! by Lynda Graham-Barber
14. Black Cat Creeping by Teddy Slater
15. Max and Maggie in Autumn by Janet Craig
*16. Halloween Countdown by Jack prelutsky
*17. Where is Baby's Pumpkin? by Karen Katz
*18. Spot's Halloween by Eric Hill
*19. Biscuit's Pet and Play Halloween by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
*20. I love you Little Pumpkin! by Sandra Masamen
*21. Corduroy's Trick or Treat
*22. The Cheerios Halloween Play Book
*23. Autumn Walk by Ann Burg
24. Boo by Robert Munsch
25. Halloween ABC by Sarah Albee
26. Little Ghost by Vivian French
27. Even Monsters Need Haircuts by Matthew McElligott
28. Mrs. McMurphy's Pumpkin by Rick Walton
29. Pumpkin Cat by Ann Turner
30. Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler
31. Scary, Scary Halloween by Eve Bunting

Do you have some Halloween favorites to recommend???

In case you missed last week...this is the no sew monster pillow pictured in the first photo.

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