Halloween Block Party

Celebrate with your neighbors by organizing a block party this Halloween.  Yummy food, a few games and an excuse to don your costumes an extra day makes for a fun evening with friends and family.

We served “Halloweenies” (i.e. hot dogs) and Delicious “Ghoul”ash DinnerEven our healthy food fit our spooky theme with the Carrot and Raisin Jack-o-lantern.Bewitching Cupcakes for a spooky treat.Really, the kids just enjoy running around with their friends, but we did set up a few games for all to partake in.  Party goers could play:

Ghost Pin Bowling

(bowling pins from the kid’s toy stash decorated with white cloth, black string and marker faces)Mash the Mummies

(used veggie cans wrapped in toilet paper adorned with googly eyes)Jack-o-lantern Bucket Toss

(scored for 75% off after Halloween at Target last year!) Have a FABULOUS Halloween!!

 

Pretty Fall Planters

If you’re like me, most of the flowers in your planters were sufficiently dead by mid-August.  However, it seemed silly to plant more summer blooms when I knew that they, too, would soon die in the summer heat.  Little by little, I started pulling out the flowers as they met their demise.  By the time fall rolled around, I was left with my vinca vine and those spiky things that look great in the middle of pots.

For a simple seasonal update, I added a few pansies and some creeping Jenny to the survivors and Voila!  I had beautiful fall planters with very little effort and money.

Spiked Apple Cider

Everyone loves a warm drink during the chilly days of fall, and this one is a delicious twist on traditional apple cider.  Ingredients:

  • 2 quarts apple cider
  • 1 cup apple brandy or Apple Jack
  • a few cinnamon sticks
  • a few cloves

Combine all ingredients in a large pot on the stove.  Bring to a simmer and then lower the heat and keep warm. This was a wonderful compliment to the brunch served at the Festive Fall Bridal Shower for Holly’s sister-in-law.  It is great in the slow-cooker, on the stove, or in a thermos for tailgating.  Just be sure the kiddos don’t sneak a drink!

Better Bake Sale

Bake sales have been a popular (and lucrative) hot spot at fundraisers for years.  The elementary school our children attend has included a bake sale at its Fall Festival and Winter Wonderland events since their inception.  When asked if we would help, we decided to kick things up a notch.  Bake Sale - fall 3Adding seasonal decorations around the baked goods attracts the eye.Bake Sale - fall 1Using glass cake domes and lidded trifle dishes make the treats more appealing.  Also, offering whole cakes and pies for sale generates more money and is a popular item during the holidays.Bake Sale - fall 5Bake Sale - fall 6Bake Sale - fall 7

Our Winter Wonderland Bake Sale rivaled Santa’s Bakery

Store bought cookies have bakery appeal when nestled in a large glass hurricane.Bake Sale - holiday 12Use a paper straw to anchor a sign.Bake Sale - holiday 4Everything seems more delectable when displayed with pizazz!Bake Sale - holiday 2Bake Sale - holiday 5Cake Pops are always a hit and make a colorful display.Bake Sale - holiday 8

Bake Sale - holiday 11Look in the background.  I brought a white bookshelf from home to display more baked goods as well as wrapping supplies.  Customers wishing to take their treats home could have them beautifully boxed or bagged at no extra charge (we even tied it with a pretty ribbon just for fun).

Add height by using stools, baskets, pedestals, trays and buckets.  Displaying items in a variety of elevations adds visual interest and beauty to your table.

In the end, the goal is to make money for your cause.  Hopefully with these tips and ideas, your efforts will draw a crowd anxious to satisfy everyone’s  sweet tooth.

Dusted Apples

Snacking doesn’t get much easier or healthier than this.  A high fiber, vitamin C packed apple has always been thought to “keep the doctor away”.  Add the benefits of cinnamon and you have yourself a wonderful snack.  BONUS?  The cinnamon adds tons of flavor without any added calories.  Dusted Apples 1 Dusted Apples 2Slice apple and sprinkle with 1 tsp of cinnamon – ENJOY!

Festive Fall Bridal Shower

We love a fall wedding and a fall bridal shower can be just as beautiful.  Autumn colors like reds, oranges, and golds lend themselves to beautiful natural decorations.

Simple arrangements of sunflowers, mums, and other fall favorites in mason jars wrapped with raffia ribbon.

  Textures like burlap and wood add a warm touch to the elegance of grandma’s silver and smooth white china.

Notice the burlap table runner along with mismatched, yet coordinating, napkins and chairs.

Uniformity is unnecessary when mixing and matching create the ever popular shabby chic feel.  Coordinating borrowed items makes the cost of hosting a shower more manageable, too.

Borrowed pumpkins coordinated with the fall theme.

Framing the invitation added visual interest to the table among the delicious spread of food.

Menu:

  • Egg, sausage, and cheese breakfast casserole
  • Roasted potatoes
  • Cheddar apples
  • Mixed fruit
  • Cream cheese breakfast bars
  • Mixed greens with pears, blue cheese, and candied pecans dressed in a maple viniagrette
  • Carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
  • Bloody Marys
  • Spiked apple cider
  • Orange juice, water, coffee, and assorted teas

    The adorable fall banner from Etsy looked beautiful on the beverage table.

The lovely bride (in red) and a few of her bridesmaids.

Baseball Treats

I live in a household full of baseball players.  That means that between birthday parties and end of the season parties, I’ve made quite a few baseball themed treats.  Now, in the midst of baseball playoff season with the World Series quickly approaching I thought some of you might be interested in trying your hand at some of these treats.  Whether you want cupcakes, cookies, or cakes, feast your eyes.

2012 thru 2013 2250

2012 thru 2013 1803

2012 thru 2013 632

Baseball Party cupcakesDSC_0196DSC_0181DSC_0370GetAttachment[1] (2)

National “Do Something NICE” Day

Wouldn’t you LOVE to get a nice note in the mail. You know, the mailbox, not your “in-box”.  Keep reading!

October 5th is National “Do Something NICE” DayThis one should be easy.  Take time to be nice just for the sake of being nice. Pay for the latte of person behind you in Starbucks, offer to pick up a few things from the store for your neighbor, take a plant to that friendly teller at the bank, bring in the recycling bins for your husband, you get the idea.

Make a real difference by sending a nice note. Not an e-mail, text message, voicemail, facetime, post, Instagram or other digital gesture.  Get a blank card or choose a witty or sentimental greeting card.  Sit down and write a note to someone.  It can be someone you see every day or someone who touched your life in years past.  In your notes, express your feelings about this special person and tell them what makes him or her so special to you.

This act will change your life and the lives of those around you.  Watch, you’ll see.  Please comment on how this gesture has affected you and those you care about.

Help us generate good in the world one nice move at a time.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”  Ephesians 4:32

Bewitching Cupcakes

This adorable cupcake will make a frightening impression on your guests.  We served them at our Halloween Block Party.

Supplies

  • 1 chocolate cake mix
  • green frosting (you can just used food coloring to dye vanilla frosting)
  • black and white straws (cut into 2″ lengths)
  • black witch shoes (use construction paper to cut shoes shapes)
  • glue

I found the straws on Very Jane.

Make cupcakes as directed on the box and frost with green icing once cooled.

Cut witch feet from black construction paper and glue to straws.  Stick into the cupcakes, feet up.

DING DONG!  The witch is dead!  Happy Halloween!

Delicious “Ghoul”ash for Dinner

This is nothing more than an 8 year old’s play on words for a standard family favorite.  This is actually “Bobby’s Goulash”, as in – Paula Dean’s son Bobby’s goulash.  While recently dining on this dish one night, Emily commented that is was a great dinner for October because perhaps Ghouls eat goulash.  And there you have it – a blog-ortunity!In addition to hotdogs and junk food, this “Ghoulash” was a hit at our Halloween Block Party this year!  Our thanks to Bobby Dean and his fabulous cooking Mama!

Ingredients:

  • 2lbs ground beef
  • 2 large yellow onions
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 cup water
  • 2 – 14oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 2- 14 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp season salt (the original recipe calls for Paula Dean’s seasoning, but I like this version just as well)
  • 2 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 3 bay leaves

Cook ground beef until brown.  Drain fat and then add onion and garlic.  Cook until onions are tender.  Add all of the remaining ingredients (except macaroni) and simmer covered for 20 minutes.  Stir in macaroni and cover, cooking for another 25 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit for 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

This can be kept warm in a slow cooker if serving over a long period of time.