Halloween Food

I firmly believe that nest feathering involves family traditions. Maybe I'm not the best mom all of the time, but when my kids are grown, they'll be able to approach the Halloween season with feelings of nostalgia and remember our festive table decorations, getting the costumes just right, making crazy Halloween food, pumpkin carving, and campfires out back with dad.

Maybe, just maybe, some of my mistakes as a mom will be wiped out somehow when they look back and remember these good things! (Maybe after the therapy sessions...)

So with that thought, here's our breakfast menu for tomorrow morning! Feel free to join in on our tradition!

Rat Dropping Muffins
Bat Brains
Troll Urine

(Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, Scrambled Eggs with food coloring, Apple Cider) The urine thing is a little extreme, but I honestly can't find anything more suitable for cider, can you?! My kids LOVE this opportunity to be totally disgusting!

For dinner, we're getting together with a bunch of friends before we go trick-or-treating and I'm in charge of bringing soup. So, naturally, I've decided to make Maggot Stew. Any old stew will do, just toss in a few handfuls of orzo pasta or rice and before too long, you've got maggots in your stew! (About 1 c. orzo for 6 servings of stew)
After the fact: THEY LOVED IT! My Halloween breakfast was pretty easy, tasted good, and filled the kids up nicely.


Free Fonts

If you haven't discovered the treasure trove of free fonts out there, here are two great websites that offer some of my VERY favorite, free fonts. DaFont has many themes and is organized so well. 1001 Free Fonts is another great site, though you do have to sift through a lot of strange fonts to collect the ones you like. These two sites have a lot of seasonal fonts that I love to use during the Halloween and Christmas seasons.

Once you get your fonts in the download que, you'll probably have to go to your Fonts file on your computer hard drive and install them there. If you get stuck, feel free to email me and I can help you out. Otherwise, enjoy browsing the fonts!!!

Howl-o-ween Bingo

Here's a FUN, last-minute Halloween game you can make up real quick and turn into the Halloween Hero!

I downloaded this graphics package for under $5.00 on PC Crafter called "Howl'oween Fun" and quickly made up the game using a Print Master program I've got on my computer. I'm sure you could do up this game in Microsoft Word, using the Table feature - just plug in a graphic into each square of your table.

You'll need about 6-8 different Bingo cards, each with a different character placement. You don't want two alike! I used cardstock, but HEY, if this is last-minute then use what you've got!

Then make "cards" out of all of the characters.

I happen to have a GREAT laminating place down the road that I go to so I had mine laminated real nice so they'll last a good, long while. I definitely suggest you laminate your set if you're going to put the work and materials into the project!


Now you're ready to play! One person (probably Mom or Dad) draws a character from the cauldron and if someone has that character on their card, they put a candy on that space. Keep going until someone has 3 across, down, diagonally, or a full card!


Cooking 101 - Chicken Pot Pie

We had the most SCRUMPTIOUS dinner yesterday and I have to share this recipe with all of you. I got it from (I know, I know, roll your eyes) Martha Stewart's Comfort Foods cookbook - a must-have for every kitchen shelf. What can I say?! Martha does know how to make an awesome chicken pot pie. It's a MAJOR effort, but worth every drop of sweat!!!!

(Oh, and I didn't have any fresh thyme like the recipe calls for, so I just use dried thyme - but half of what it calls for fresh.)

I've simplified it here by giving you the three major steps:
Prep time: 1 hour & 20 minutes Total time: approx. 2 hours

1.) Start cooking the chicken (1 hour cook time)
2.) Mix dough, get it in the fridge (1 hour chill time)
3.) About 20 minutes before chicken is done, cut veggies, chop parsley, measure milk, chicken stock, & flour, get casserole pan ready

STEP 1: Cook Chicken:

3-4 lbs. Chicken
4 c. Chicken Stock (or 4 c. water + 4 bullion cubes)
1 Yellow onion, split in half
2 dry bay leaves
1/2 t. whole black peppercorns (or ground pepper, whatever)
1 small bunch fresh thyme
1 rib celery, cut in 3 pieces

Combine all ingredients above in a large stockpot, add enough water to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered 1 hour. When chicken is cooked, remove the chicken and reserve the stock. Remove the skin & bones, shred into bite-size strips, set aside. Strain stock and save for later.

STEP 2: Crust:

1 c. flour
1/4 t. salt
1 T. fresh thyme leaves
10 T. chilled butter, cut into small pieces (1 cube + 2 T. of another cube – save the other 5 T.)
3 T. ice water
1 egg yolk

Pick enough thyme leaves to make 3 Tablespoons. Set 2 Tablespoons aside. Combine flour, salt, thyme either in a food processor or in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water and egg yolk, mix until dough holds together. Try not to over mix. Turn dough out onto plastic wrap, flatten into a circle, wrap well, refrigerate at least 1 hour.

STEP 3: Filling:

Remaining 5 T. Butter
9 oz. red potatoes, scrubbed, cut into 1/2” pieces
1 large onion, diced (or 12 pearl onions, peeled & cut in half)
1 medium leek, white and light-green parts only, sliced into 1/4” thick rounds
2 carrots, peeled & cut into rounds
6 oz. mushrooms, sliced or cut into chunks
5 T. flour
2 c. reserved chicken stock (save the rest for another use.)
1 c. milk
2 T. fresh thyme
2 T. chopped, fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 t. fresh ground pepper
2 t. salt
Zest of 1 lemon (optional)

Heat oven to 375º. Melt 5 T. butter in large sauté pan or stockpot over medium heat. Add potatoes and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, 4-5 minutes, until potatoes begin to turn golden. Add leeks, carrots, and mushrooms, cooking 4-5 minutes more. Add 5 T. flour, and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Stir in reserved chicken stock and milk, bring to a simmer. Cook until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly, 2-3 minutes. Add reserved chicken pieces, chopped parsley, and remaining thyme, lemon zest, 2 t. salt, and ground pepper. Transfer to a large casserole dish. Set aside.

Working quickly so you keep the dough cold, roll out the dough until it is 1/4” thick, transfer to a baking sheet and chill if necessary. Otherwise, place dough over the top of the chicken mixture, tuck extra dough around the edges. Cut slits on top to allow steam to escape.

Optional: Brush top of dough with egg wash: 1 egg yolk + 1 T. heavy cream. Bake 35-40 minutes, until crust is golden. Serve hot.


Cute Girly Activity

Jenny B. Harris from Allsorts has put together another dress-up doll activity for Halloween. I'm an adult, for crying out loud, and it captivated me! I was putting outfits on and having a good old time! My daughter is going to LOVE this!


My Halloween Clips!

These clips are just samples because I had some leftover ribbon from all of my ribbon tying today.

We already covered the Korker bow and the bow on top is just the Figure 8 bow with a little Korker spiral in the middle.

I only had one little Korker spiral left over from my other clips only to show you that you can add little bells & whistles before you put the top knot on the bow. If I had more black spirals, I probably would have used them. But you get the idea, right?!

So here's the general idea and you can get as creative as you want.
You make 2 figure 8 loops and wire your spirals in the middle all together.

I wired the bow onto my clip because hot glue tends to come off pretty easily.

The wire should be flat so it doesn't bother your little one's head.

Here is my model again. Like I said before - it's just not the same on him as it would be on a cute little girl - but I wanted to give you a general idea of how CUTE this little bow is!

Simple Figure 8 Bow

Isn't he a great model?! I guess this bow doesn't have the same "look" on him as it would some cute little girl. But you get the general idea, right?!

This one is pretty basic and looks harder than it really is.

First of all, you don't have to cut your ribbon from the spool until you get the bow tied how you want it. You could save a lot of ribbon that way.

So start the bow by making a loop like this - kind of like an Awareness Ribbon. I don't have a better word to describe it! Leave a long enough tail at the bottom so your bow has tails.

Then cross over and make the same kind of loop on the other side, making a Figure 8 shape. Do the same thing two more times, making a total of 4 loops.

This is what it should (sort of) look like. I need to adjust my bow here, but you get the general idea.

Using a piece of wire bent into a "U" shape and some needle-nose pliers, secure the wire around the bow nice and tight.

Like this.

For the center knot, cut yourself a medium length piece of ribbon - maybe 5 inches or so - and fold it over again in that same loop.

Draw one of the tails through the loop to get a knot in the middle.

Hot glue (if you want) the knot to the center of the bow and tie a knot in the back of the bow like you see here. Now you should have two sets of tails.

Adjust your bow how you want it, trim the tails the way you want, and glue it to your clip or baby elastic.

Hair Bows

My little one is sporting the "Super Simple" Hair bow featured earlier. She saw all of my ribbons out and wanted to know if I could make one for her to wear with her dress.

Anyway - I've dedicated a section on this site just to hair bows because I have this irritation in the depths of my soul regarding hair bow instructions. You can look all over the internet for HOURS and not find any free instructions! What's the big deal?!

So this is for all of you out there who, like me, just want some basic instructions and don't want to infringe on the hair bow making business!

Girly Things is a webside strictly dedicated to hair bow instructions - go check it out! And if you're interested in some fancy bows and are willing to purchase instructions, then this site is for you.

If you would rather buy your bows than make them, my good friend, Chantel, has an adorable website called Kidcessories Boutique and her prices and styles are the best, in my opinion!

While you're checking out cute hair bows, don't forget to look at the cute Turkey Clippy since Turkey Day is coming!

Korker Bow

This is one of my FAVORITE hair bows of all time!

I would suggest that you use 2 or 3 different colors, but for the sake of time today I just did the one color.


The smaller the dowel, the tighter the curl. I cut a goove in my dowel on either end so I could wrap the ribbon through it and keep it secure.

FIRST, Preheat your oven to 275 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. (We're cookin', sister)

Wrap your ribbon all the way down the dowel and secure at the ends. If you don't have slits in your dowel, use wooden clothes pins. (Obviously, plastic will melt.)
This dowel will only do one bow, so if you want to do two bows or multi-colored bows, you're going to need to wrap more dowels.

Bake at 275 for about 15-20 minutes. When you gently slide the ribbon off of the dowel, determine if the curls are tight enough. If they're loose, put them back in the oven for another few minutes.

I like to mist a little water on the ribbon so it comes out a little crunchier.

When your curls are as tight as you want them, cut them about 3 to 4 inches long.

DON'T FORGET THE FRAY BLOCKER! You can purchase bottled Fray Check liquid, or use clear nail polish.

Then you'll need to bend a medium size piece of wire like this.

Lay your curls on top of the wire and secure tightly.

Twist the wire, clip it, and bend it over like this.

And that's it! It's ready to be glued on to your headbands or clips.

Loopy Bow

FIRST of all, I am SO sorry for the horrible pictures! It is so dark and cloudy outside and since I'm still waiting patiently for my dream studio(hehe), I have to suffer with limited lighting today.

So let's make some more bows then, shall we?!

My only complaint with my finished product here is that I wish I would have done one more loop with the skinny ribbon. But oh well - here's how you do this bow:

(HORRIBLY blurry...) Start with 5 or 6 strips of ribbon like this. It doesn't matter exactly how long they are - but measure if you feel like it.

Then glue each strip together like this.

Next, you're going to wire each set of looops together like this. It can be an incredibly frustating thing to keep the ribbons from overlapping each other, but try....without saying any swear words...

Here's what it should look like all wired together.
Do this exact same thing on your 2nd set of loops and leave yourself plenty of wire so you can wrap this set around the first set.

So attatch the 2nd set of loops to the first set of loops, wire them tight together, and trim the wire in the back and fold over so the rough edges aren't sticking up.
Then with your final loop(s), take a long piece of wire, and secure that loop on top of the other two sets like this picture.

Be sure to hold everything really tight and wrap the wire tightly without breaking it.

Here's what it should look like in the back with your wire all twisted, clipped, and folded down nicely.

Now we're ready for the topper.

Fold a piece of ribbon like this - shaped like an Awareness Ribbon. Then bring one of your tails into the loop and tie a knot.

Glue the knot on the center of the bow and wrap the tails around to the back of the bow. Trim them and wrap them tight - glue in place.
And you're done! You can glue this onto a clip or a baby elastic.

Don't forget to make a matching Ribbon T-Shirt or Onesie!


SUPER Simple Hair Bow

I've had several requests for hair bows, so here's part ONE of many. This is probably the easiest, most basic way to do a quick bow.

You can adjust any bow to fit a baby's head - just use the stretchy baby headband elastic if you've got bald babies like I do.

Also, I can't get a hold of the "pinch" style clips that you pinch the back and they open like an alligator mouth. If you can find those, they can be covered by ribbon a little easier than these clips that I've used that get bigger in the back. Either way, it doesn't matter as long as the bow is cute!

So let's get started! For you beginners out there, play with this method for a while so you can get used to holding ribbon in one hand and tying with the other. The more familiar you are with slippery ribbon, the easier it will be to tackle the more complicated bows!
So start with a strand of ribbon - I didn't cut it off of the spool. You might not know how long to cut the ribbon length, so don't cut it until you're ready later.

Start with a loop and keep a tail on the end of it.
Then go back across and make another loop. It looks like I've cut my ribbon in this picture, but it's still attached to the spool. I've just got some slack still.

Go back & forth, making as many loops as you want. Try to keep them straight, the same size, and on top of each other. When the bow is as full as you want it to be, then you can cut it off of the spool.

Cut a second piece of ribbon from the spool, giving yourself plenty of ribbon for tails.

Tie a square knot with the 2nd strand of ribbon. This is where it gets tricky because you're holding the bow in one hand and having to tie with the other. Get creative - just don't let go of the bow! Use your teeth if you have to!

Then play with the bow and arrange it how you like. If it didn't work out, then you can start over because you know that you have exactly the right amount of ribbon for your bow.

If you're making a pair of clips, then of course you'll need to do two bows exactly the same size.

Now you're ready to glue them on to your covered clip. Just hot glue the ribbon on the clip, overlapping on the ends so you don't see the edges of the ribbon.

Depending on how you want the bow to look in the hair, you'll have to decide what angle to glue the clip. If you're only making one bow, then I'd glue the bow on the clip horizontally (length-wise). I'm doing a pair of clips, so I've glued the bow vertically here.

When you get familiar with how to do this bow, mix it up a little and throw in one or two more strands of ribbon for a more colorful bow. Make one for every outfit and every occasion!