Sunday, October 31, 2010

Easy Halloween Cupcakes


I despise Halloween, never been a fan, not even as a kid. But, now that I have kids I have to suck it up. And this year I even splurged on some first ever Halloween decorations for the house. After seeing ALL of the cute treats and cupcakes in Blog Land, I finally got inspired to make some cupcakes to take to my cousin's house tonight. It happens to be a birthday celebration for my God son as well. The only thing I couldn't find was Halloween/Birthday cupcake toppers. They all said Happy Halloween instead of Happy Birthday ;-(
Oh well. Anyway, because I believe in Good Things Simple, these are the cupcakes I made. They're cute, but I think they were the easiest designs I could have chosen. Mummies, spiderwebs, and festive...

Have a happy and safe Halloween everybody!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Non Sweet Festive Treat Ideas

Jack-O-Lantern Stuffed Peppers

Another cute idea from All Recipes that landed in my inbox this morning. So happy to see a festive recipe that's not a dessert or sweet snack! In fact, it's even healthy! I love, love, love it! Just cut out your jack-o-lantern face into Orange Bell Peppers, stuff with your favorite recipe, then bake!
Photo By: Rebecca D.

Here are some ideas I found from

Halloweenies with Mustard Dip


Vampire Away Garlic Bites
Jack-O-Lantern Sloppy Joe Pie
Some of these recipes however didn't get the best reviews, so I would probably just use these as ideas and use my own recipes.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Candy Corn Bark

CaNdy CoRn BArk

I just love All Recipes! I saw this on my All Recipes Newsletter this morning and wanted to share it. I may have to whip up a batch for Sunday. You can check the site for reviews and substitutions.

  • 16 Halloween-colored chocolate sandwich cookies, chopped

  • 1 1/2 cups broken small pretzels

  • 1/3 cup raisins

  • 1 1/2 pounds white chocolate, broken into squares

  • 2 cups candy corn

  • orange and brown sprinkles

    1. Spread the cookies, pretzels and raisins evenly onto a lightly greased small baking sheet. Melt chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, or in the microwave, stirring frequently until melted. Remove from the heat while there are still a few chunks, and stir until smooth. White chocolate burns easily.
    2. Drizzle chocolate with a spoon over the goodies in the pan, spreading the top flat to coat evenly. Top with candy corn and sprinkles. Let cool until firm. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.
    Some of the reviewers mentioned the candy corn made it overly sweet, and someone mentioned they added Halloween colored peanut M & M's. If I make this I'll probably cut down on the candy corn, add the M & M's, and omit the raisins.

    Click HERE to see the recipe with all of it's reviews.

    Recipe By: Julie G.
    Photo By: MeredithRae24

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    Custom Made ABC and 123 Book

    I adore this idea that my SIL's Mom did for her when she was pregnant. She assigned everyone in her family  a letter or number and had them create a design for each. She put it all together in a photo album to make this lovely little book that her granddaughter will truly cherish. She presented it to her when she was born. I can't think of a more fun way to teach the ABC's and 123's!

    Congratulations to my BIL and SIL by the way, who welcomed  sweet little Avery on September 18th, 2010. And thanks for letting me share this special gift that was made just for her!

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    Menu Monday

    This week's dinner menu:

    Monday: Potato, Ham, and Corn Chowder, Green Salad
    Tuesday: Honey Mustard Chicken, Broccoli, and Yams
    Wednesday: Blackened Salmon, Jasmine Rice, Green Salad
    Thursday: Roast Chicken, Sauteed Green Beans, Red Potatoes
    Friday: Date Night-Kids eat Spinach Quesadillas
    Saturday: Grilled Steak, Gnocchi Mac and Cheese (from Plain Chicken), Green Salad
    Sunday: Dinner out with the kids

    Speaking of food, I wanted to fill you all in on a delicious little secret. First, let me just say that I am in no way being compensated for reviewing this item. I just really dig it and wanted to share it with you all. I rarely eat frozen food, but a while back when I was monitoring my caloric intake I needed to find a good lunch option. The fine peeps at mentioned Healthy Choice All Natural Frozen Entrees. I tried a few, but the one I keep buying up is the Roasted Red Pepper Marinara. It's sooo good that even though I am no longer monitoring my calories I still eat it! Below is the information from their website.

    Fire-roasted red peppers, roasted garlic, and tangy marinara sauce complement whole-grain cavatelli pasta. With notes of Chardonnay wine and sea salt, this all-natural meal will tantalize your taste buds.

    Nutrition Information

    Serving size: 8.5 oz (241 g)
    Calories: 270
    Calories from fat: 60
    Amount/Serving %DV*
    Total Fat (6 g) 9%
    Saturated Fat (2 g) 10%
    Trans Fat (0 g)
    Cholesterol (5 mg) 2%
    Sodium (580 mg) 24%
    Vitamin A (10%)
    Calcium (15%)
    Total Carbohydrates (43 g) 14%
    Dietary Fiber (5 g) 16%
    Sugar (5 g)
    Protein (10 g)
    Vitamin C (15%)
    Iron (10%)
    Diet Exchanges Per Serving
    Very Lean Meat --
    Lean Meat --
    Starch (2.5)
    Carbohydrate --
    Vegetable (1)
    Fruit --
    Milk --
    Fat (1)

    Weight Watchers Points:

    Contains: Wheat, Egg, Milk

    Sunday, October 24, 2010

    Sometimes When You Lose You Win

    "When you lose you win."- Chloe

    Today we went to go support our team. Our support didn't carry them through for a win, but it was close. It was a great game. They didn't give up. Even though they lost, we didn't leave feeling as bad as we normally would have. I think it's because it was such a close game in the end. But, it was also mainly because we spent another quality day together. On the way home as we were talking about it, Chloe says very matter of factly,
    "Well you know, when you lose you win."
    I think what she meant to say is,  "You win some, you lose some." She is ALWAYS saying the funniest things, and she always uses that same tone. She exudes an air of confidence, and with good reason. Her comment, when you lose, you really did apply. Yes, our team lost, so we lost, but really we won. We got to spend a great day together. And we got to discuss themes of some important lessons. Don't put all your eggs in one basket, don't give up, and of course, you win some and you lose some. Don't put all your eggs in one basket was used when discussing Nash putting a ton of Chargers players on his fantasy team.
    Do you have any good sayings you share with your kids?
    Or any funny things they said this weekend?

    Friday, October 22, 2010

    Warm Italian Pasta Salad

    Warm Italian Pasta Salad
    A favorite of our family!

    1 lb. farfalle (bowtie) pasta, cooked according to package directions
    1 cup frozen petite green peas, rinsed with cold water, but not completely thawed.
    1 cup cherub (cherry) tomatoes, quartered
    1 cup mozzarella, shredded
    6 slices prosciutto, chopped
    1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped (not pictured below)
    1/4 cup olive oil
    2 tsp. red wine vinegar
    1 tsp. balsamic
    Salt and Pepper to your taste

    Cook pasta in boiling water with 1 Tbs. salt.
    Prep your ingredients while your pasta is cooking.

    Drain pasta and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add olive oil. Allow pasta to cool for about 5 minutes. Add meat, peas, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and vinegars. Mix thoroughly. Add cheese and basil last. Mix gently.

    Serve immediately.
     It is true this is amazing served warm, but it is also great the next day, cold. I bet you won't have leftovers though! Make adjustments as you see fit. Hubby likes lots of peas, and easy oil and vinegar, so that's how I make it. Make sure you don't rinse your pasta, and that you don't add the cheese or basil while the noodles are too warm. It will make the cheese too gooey and the basil will wilt and brown. I sometimes also use Mozzarella balls for this recipe.

    This post is linked to Tasty Tuesdays @ 33 Shades of Green.

    Coming next week, a very detailed cake decorating tutorial,


    Sunday, October 17, 2010

    My Fall Fireplace Decor

    I wanted to share my fireplace decor with you. I don't ever actually use my fireplace. So last year I decided I should at least decorate it. After some thought, this is what I came up with. I love it because it allows me to add a warm cozy glow to my living room without all the hassle of a real fire. Burning candles in a fireplace is also a good safe alternative to burning them in other areas of your house. Plus, if you use one fireplace, this might be a good alternative to a second fireplace you may not use. I love how I can change it up with the seasons and holidays. This is my Fall Fireplace. I bought the candelabras at Ross and the candles I always buy  are Aroma-Mix from Kohls. They have a strong scent when burning and they never seem to make any wax puddles! They are really quite amazing! For those of you who think putting candles in a fireplace seems silly, laugh all you want!


    Saturday, October 16, 2010

    New Blog! and problems with Flickr

    Hi! What a day! I started out looking for blogs about fashion so I could get an idea of how to pair these new ankle boots. I didn't have much luck finding exactly what I was looking for. So, I got a crazy hairbrained idea today and went with it. This morning I formed a plan with my long lost BFF to start a fashion blog. She liked the idea and was going to stew over a name. I told her a name that was available and I never heard back from her. Sooo, sorry Bex, but I rock n rolled it! If you hate it we can always change it! I worked on it all day, and in the process my Flickr account reached it's maximum bandwidth and for some reason it won't take my yahoo account info which for some reason they require for payment!!! That's why my signature isn't available at the moment. I want to change the signature anyway.
    Luckily I have a tutorial here

    My new blog is here! Please check out

    All that work made me HUNGRY!
    When I wasn't working I was having my one of my favorite snacks! I love these Trader Joe's salsa's! I always have a couple of each of these jars and a new bag of Tostitos in my pantry. That way, I'm always prepared for an unexpected visitor. I love it because I don't have to worry about them spoiling. It's great for those days when I haven't been to the grocery store in a while. I seriously urge you to try these. They are bold mild and even my kids eat them. They lend a certain sweetness. I even checked the jars to see if there was added sugar. There wasn't. I think the sweetness comes from the roasting.

    Yes, I finished off this bag today, but don't worry, I already ran out for another along with some Corona's to stave off any weekend hunger pangs!

    Have a great weekend!

    Friday, October 15, 2010

    Fashion Blogs?

    I'm looking for a fashion blog that has pictures of real people wearing great outfits. I have no problems eyeing and buying cute trendy shoes, clothes, and jewelery. My problem comes in when I have to put everything together. I would love to find a blog that shows me pictures of some persons really cute, real life outfit. That way I can get some ideas of how to wear my new ankle boots, military jacket, or pencil skirt.

    If not, I may have to start my own!

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    Pick Your Battles

    This morning I just wanted to share a little life lesson we sometimes forget. It can make life so much easier if we are able to brush off the things that really don't matter. Of course it's annoying when someone doesn't follow proper loop etiquette when dropping off the kids at school, and it's annoying if you can't get someone to see things your way. For example, toddler Joe Bob wants to wear a striped shirt with plaid shorts. But, does it really matter? Does it need to drain you of your precious energy that could be spent sharing a laugh with your kid over the literal spilled milk. If we can get rid of all the negative energy that consumes us over the things that don't really matter in the long run, we will be able to calmly remind our child for the third time to pick up his socks. So today's lesson is a reminder to PICK YOUR BATTLES. Pick them thoughtfully with your spouse, boss, child, sister, neighbor, PTA mom, or whoever. Choose to smile politely at that guy who just gave you the bird because he thought you were driving too slow. It will give you a sense of satisfaction to be the bigger person. But, by all means, definitely stand up for yourself if you believe in it, if you believe it really does matter.

    Try this today and tell us how it went!

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    Homemade Halloween Costumes

    My Best (and one of the worst)
    Homemade Halloween Costumes

    After last years SpongeBob costume I promised I would never buy another Halloween costume.

     My cousin and I made this last year for Chloe. I got the perfect box (for free) from our local hardware store. I think we got really lucky on the box. It was tall and narrow, already had those narrow holes for the eyes, and it had perforated circles where her arms could come through. I purchased the tight's on EBAY for $6 and I also grabbed a small can of yellow paint at the hardware store. The rest of the colors we already had.

    We downloaded an image from Google and freehanded it in pencil on the box. Then we painted it. It was barely dry when we left to go trick-or-treating.
    The whole costume took about an hour and a half.
    She got sooooo many compliments.
    Little kids where very excited to see Spongebob.
    They were pointing to show their parents!
    Toilet Paper Mummy
    I don't remember what led to this homemade mummy costume. I do know that we showed up at my friends house with Nash in his white pj's and a roll of TP. I wrapped him up and we were off. By the time we got home he was back in just his pj's because a little toilet paper fell off every time he walked. I guess we inadvertently TP'd the neighborhood. OOPs!

    The following are all costumes I made last year and sold on Ebay. I bought the onesies and I learned how to make the tutu's, bows, and baby legwarmers from YouTube.
    I just love YouTube!

    Do you have a great costume that you
    have made for Halloween?
     Tell us about it!


    Nash's Birthday

    Yesterday was Nash's birthday. It wasn't just any birthday, it was his 13th birthday! That means I am now the mom of a teenager ;-(. Lucky for me, he is the sweetest and smartest boy ever. I couldn't be more proud of all that he has accomplished this last year, and how he has composed himself in all his fame. I know this is only a tidbit of the wonderful and amazing things he will do in his future.

    To celebrate his birthday milestone we took him to go see family in North Carolina. My in-laws live there, and my SIL just had a brand new baby girl who we just had to visit. She is amazing and just like they use to say about Nash, she too has a pleasant disposition. When I look at her it is as if I am looking at my kids again when they were babies. Being first cousins they all have very similar features.

    Our family is really loving North Carolina, and I wonder how long it will be before we pack up and leave California...

    Here are some photos of a little farm we went to while we were there.

     She literally stopped drinking and looked at me as soon as I pointed my camera in her direction. What a ham! Haha, get it? It's funny because it's a cow and not a pig.
    They call her the Chick Fil-A cow.

                We took a ride around the farm in a covered wagon.
    Reminds me of the Oregon Trail!

     Feels like fall!