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9 Oct

Have you seen these floating around the interwebs?

I have no idea where the original idea came from but it’s genius.

Seriously, check out how easy these are to make:

1. Cut an apple into thin wedges

2. Smear some peanut butter onto each wedge.

3. Lay a few mini marshmallows on top of an apple wedge.

4. Top with another apple wedge.

That’s it!

For an extra gross factor, you could also add a couple drops of green food coloring to some shredded coconut and mix it up with your hands. Then stick some coconut strands in between the teeth.

7 Oct

gooey grapes


I hope you’re not tired of Halloween treats yet because I have another week of kid friendly party food to share with you.

Starting with these gooey grapes for your little ghouls.

I have to say, I was pretty skeptical about this combo when I first heard about it.

But these sweet and slightly tart little treats were much better than I had anticipated.

They’re actually quite addictive. It’s hard to stop at one.

And just like everything else I’ve shared with you so far, they’re pretty easy to put together.


You’ll need:

green grapes

a bag of caramels (I use Kraft)

toothpicks or Halloween themed food picks

heavy cream

sprinkles or chopped nuts, crushed cookies, small candy – whatever you want to adorn them with.


1. Add all the caramels to a medium sauce pan with about 2 tablespoons of heavy cream.

3. Heat the caramels/cream mixture on low and give it an occasional stir while everything melts together.

4. In the mean time, impale each grape with a toothpick and add some sprinkles into a small bowl.

5. When the caramel/cream mixture has melted, dip each grape into the melted caramel until the caramel comes about halfway up the sides of the grape. Then dip the bottom of each grape into the sprinkles.

6. Set each dipped grape on a piece of parchment paper or a silicone liner to set up.

7. Once the caramel has set, you can remove the grapes and transfer them to your spooky serving platter.

4 Oct


This is a great food project to make with kids and all you need is some dough.

The kind of dough you use doesn’t matter but the easiest way to make these is by using bread sticks from a can.

Just pop the can and separate the bread sticks.

To make the bony ends, you can either tie a knot at each end, or use clean kitchen scissors to snip a couple of inches down each end of the bread stick, and then roll down each side.

You can pretty much tell from that picture up there just how each one was made.

You can brush each bone with a little extra virgin olive oil and then sprinkle on your favorite seasonings before baking.

Or you can just shove them in the oven plain. Either way, they’re delicious.

Bake the bones at the temperature listed on the can and pull them from the oven when they’re light golden brown.

If you’re opposed to convenience foods, you can still make these bones using your favorite home-made bread or pizza dough.

Just roll out the dough to your desired thickness, cut into strips, make the bony ends, and bake as you normally would. Just remove from the oven when they are light golden brown.

Serve the bones with blood (naturally). Just warm a little pizza sauce or marinara and spoon into a serving dish for dipping.

Can be served warm or at room temperature.

3 Oct

I’d like to first point out that it’s a good thing my husband is somewhat artistic.

Otherwise, things like this just wouldn’t get made.

Or they might get made but they sure wouldn’t look as good.

We made these Freaky Frankenheads for our last Halloween party and they were a big hit with our little freaks. 😉

To make them for your favorite little freaks, first draw some faces on a few clear plastic cups with a permanent marker.

I found mine at my local dollar store.

Then, just dye some vanilla pudding green using a couple drops of food coloring and spoon it into a clear plastic cup.

 Once you’ve spooned your pudding into each of the cups, add some crushed Oreo cookies (or generic equivalent) on top.


Freaky Frankenheads.

2 Oct


Here’s an incredibly easy and kid-friendly party treat for you.

I almost didn’t post it because it’s one of those treats that are so simple to make, I tend to assume that everyone already knows how to make them.

So if by chance you’ve never seen this done before, today is your lucky day.

You could call also them Wizard Wands, Magic Wands, basically any occupation or lifestyle that demands a wand is covered here.


Wands For Witches & Warlocks

pretzel rods

14 oz. bag colored candy melts – You can usually find these in craft or baking supply stores if your local grocer doesn’t carry them.



Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Empty the entire bag of candy melts into a microwave safe bowl.

Add a couple teaspoons of vegetable oil.  The oil will keep your candy from hardening too soon.

Heat for 30 seconds, stir. Heat for 10 seconds, stir.

If all of the candy isn’t melted, heat another 10 seconds, and stir.

Do not over heat the candy. There’s no saving it once it’s burned.

Once the candy is melted, pour it into a tall glass.

Dip your pretzel rods about halfway (more or less) into the candy, lift straight up and hold over the glass so the excess can run back into the glass.

Add sprinkles and lay the dipped pretzel onto the baking sheet to set up.

That’s it!


*If you can’t find candy melts, you can also use white chocolate died with food coloring to the color of your choice. The process is the same.

1 Oct

We love Halloween!

Really, what’s not to love?

It’s a night that specifically requires us to dress up like freaks and weirdos and go knock on our neighbors’ doors so that they can give us candy!

Seriously, a simple “Trick or Treat” = free candy!

Whoever came up with that equation is a genius.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t cool off around here until early winter so trick or treating on Halloween night was usually a very sweaty affair.

A few years back, we decided to just throw a Halloween party at our house instead of going out. We had plenty of treats here for the kids to munch on, lots of candy for them to take home, and games to keep them occupied.

Nobody ever felt cheated because they didn’t go trick or treating.

Our little party became a yearly event that everyone looked forward to.

Now, most of my friends with kids live in different states.

This will be the first year in a very long time that we probably won’t have a Halloween party.

But, lucky for you I still have quite a few Halloween tricks and treats to share.

The first of which are these sweet meringue ghosts.

They’re slightly crispy on the outside and marshmallowy in the middle.

Kids love them and they make an easy topping for a cake or cupcakes.

And as long as you have a mixer, they’re also pretty darn easy.

I make my ghosts using a fairly standard meringue cookie recipe. If you have a favorite meringue recipe, go ahead and use it.

Honestly, it all works.

Spooky Sweet Meringue Ghost Cookies

4 large egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or extract of your choice.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Using your hand or stand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they become foamy.

Reduce the speed of your mixer, add the cream of tartar, and slowly add the sugar.

Once all the sugar has been added, crank up the speed to high and beat the mixture until soft peaks form.

Add the vanilla.

Keep mixing until the meringue can hold stiff peaks and you don’t feel any grittiness from the sugar when you rub a little meringue between your fingers.

The meringue should be shiny and smooth and should hold its shape really well when you scoop a bit with your finger or a spoon. Remember, you want these ghosts to hold their shape while they bake, if your meringue isn’t stiff enough, you could end up with droopy or even flat ghosts.

To make the ghosts, you can either pipe them by holding the piping bag perpendicular to the baking sheet and making a large mound, followed by a slightly smaller mound on top, followed by an even smaller mound on top of that. You can also pipe rounds that gradually decrease in size as they go up.

If you’re really good with a piping bag, you can swirl the meringue all the way to the top.

Or you can dollop the meringue into a ghosty shape using a spoon.

If you’re using candy decorations, press them in now.

Bake the ghosts for 1-1 1/2 hours depending on their size. You’ll need to keep an eye on them after about 45 minutes.

When the outsides feel crisp and dry, turn the oven off and open the door but leave the meringues in for 4-6 hours to finish drying out. You can even let them sit overnight if your kitchen is small like mine and an open oven door is a safety hazard.

I painted eyes and mouths on my ghosts just using a little melted chocolate and a small paintbrush once they had cooled completely.

The ghosts should last about a week stored at room temperature.

Superhero Party!

20 Sep

I love to throw a party.

Birthdays, Christmas, Halloween, Groundhog Day, I don’t care. Any day is a good excuse for a celebration in my book!

Last year, I helped my pal Sara put together a superhero themed birthday party for her son, Ethan.

The party had to be done on a budget, in a couple of weeks, and would be held in a small space with just a few friends.

So I put my party planner hat on and got to work!

My husband likes to say that as long as I have enough scrapbook paper and scotch tape – I can throw anyone a party. He’s mostly right.

I was able to find pretty much everything we needed for this party at the dollar store and my favorite craft store. I used coupons whenever I could to help keep my out-of-pocket expenses down.

Here’s how it all came together:

One of the things I always do when I throw any party, is to look around my house to see what I already have that I can use. For these cool Spiderman cupcake toppers, I actually used one of my son’s old graphic novels. He was going to donate it anyway so it worked out perfectly.

I carefully cut out the cells that I thought were cool and pasted them onto some card stock. Once the sheet of card stock was full and the glue was dry, I cut around the cell again. The card stock just makes each topper more sturdy. I used a small piece of scotch tape to attach toothpicks to the back of each one.

To make these reusable, you could laminate them or use clear packing tape like I often do. Put a piece of tape across the front of the topper, then flip it over a put a piece across the back. Trim with scissors to fit and voila! You can use them over and over.

Sara was able to give me a few old comic books to use to make party decor from which was great because it saved us a lot of money.

For Ethan’s super banner, I cut triangles out of comic book pages (using a ruler to make sure they were all exactly the same), then I glued them all to a ribbon and let dry. The letters came from a pack of die cut letters and numbers I found at the dollar store.

Once I figured out how to make treat cones, I was hooked! I’ve used them for every party since Ethan’s. They’re great for kids because you can fill them with so many things. The kids can just grab one and eat on the go. How often do kids sit still at a birthday party? Exactly. These cones are good to go!

The trick is figuring out how to make them stand up. There are all kinds of tutorials for this online but here’s what I did:

First, Sara and I went to the craft store together and chose scrapbook paper that would match Ethan’s party theme.

I used an inexpensive white basket that I already had lying around. I printed some comic book covers that I found online and glued them onto a strip of yellow construction paper for a pop of color. Then I used double-sided tape to attach it to the basket.

To make the paper cones, I laid a dinner plate on the back of each sheet of paper and traced around lightly with a pencil. Then I cut it out, folded it over into a cone shape (leaving a small opening at the bottom) and taped the seam on the back down.

To get them to stand up you can certainly buy styrofoam from the craft store but I’m way too cheap for that so I used the lid from an old styrofoam cooler. I washed it really well and cut it to fit the basket. Then I inserted small wooden dowels down into the styrofoam and slid each cone on top.

I ran a sheet of red, blue, and yellow construction paper through my shredder to make confetti and then filled the basket so you wouldn’t see the styrofoam.

I found the cute “Boom”, “Pow”, and “Zap” decorations online, printed them, cut them out, and attached the small ones to toothpicks and the large one to a wooden dowel. Then I just slid them into the styrofoam.

One way that Sara was able to save money on this party was by keeping the food simple. She made a few sandwiches and then cut them into easy to eat strips. Then she wrapped strips of comic book pages around each one.

Instant cuteness!

I feel like I should just take a sec to mention here that I’m not really sure how safe it is to put old comic book pages right up against food like that but the important thing is that all of the kids who ate them survived. I wouldn’t suggest doing it every day but once for a birthday party should be fine.

For the goodie bags, I bought a pack of yellow paper bags at the craft store using a 40% off coupon. Then we just attached strips of scrapbook paper and cute “Pow!” printable graphics.

Our craft store has a dollar section that just happened to have superhero stuff at the time! So for about $3 we were able to get coloring pages, pencils, erasers, and a little toy for each bag.

For the Superhero snack bar, I used printables yet again. Gotta love free printables! We just printed, cut, glued toothpicks onto the back, and they were done.

I realized at the last-minute that we didn’t have anything to put the “PICK YOUR SUPERHERO” sign in so I fashioned one out of a yogurt cup, some construction paper, and scrapbook paper scraps.

I’m telling you, I can make party decor out of anything.

For a sweet treat that matched the theme, I found some really cute free printables online that I forwarded to Sara so she could print them out and then do all that super fun cutting!

Actually, her eyes are better than mine and those superhero masks are tiny, so this task fell onto her shoulders.

Once cut, the masks are attached to the lollipops with tape and a hole punch is used to punch a hole in the cape for the stick to slide through.

Then she wrapped a box that she already had with tissue paper and decorated it with a strip of scrapbook paper. I made a little sign for the back out of scrapbook paper and all that was left to do was insert the lollipops!

This is yet another quickie decor project for a spot that just needed a little something.

Ethan is always doing superhero or ninja poses and I happened to snap a picture of him doing a ninja move one day. So I printed it out, trimmed it up, and made him a cape and a mask out of construction paper. Instant superhero!

I attached it to a wooden dowel with tape and slid it into a mason jar that I filled with some of that construction paper confetti that I told you about previously. A free printable, a die cut number from the dollar store, and a strip of scrapbook paper were all it took to complete this project.

This was a background that I made so that we could put the kids in front and take cute pics.

To make this background I cut a cityscape out of black poster paper and attached yellow squares and rectangles (which were cut out of yellow poster paper) to make windows. I also made a search light with an E in it. Had to have that.

I glued the cityscape onto some blue poster paper and attached another little Super Ethan.

We put comic book pages around the outside to finish it up.

There is not a single picture from that party where all of the kids are looking the same direction or not goofing off but that just made for some really funny pictures.

Every superhero should have a cape so I made Ethan his very own out of some felt from the craft store. This project was really easy and inexpensive.

I found a cape tutorial online. It was just a matter of drawing an outline with chalk, cutting, and gluing.

He loved his cape and everyone took turns wearing it. It was a big hit with all the Dads too.

So that was Ethan’s birthday party. It wasn’t expensive or time-consuming but he loved it – which is the most important thing.

All of the printables and tutorials I used can be found online. Just search “free superhero party printables” and tons of ideas will come up for you.

To get you started, I made a few printables for you. Just click on them to save them to your computer. Then you can resize them if you need to and use them however you want to. Print them out on card stock so they’ll be extra durable.

Superhero Collage

Super power food table labels

8 Aug


Dear super creative and majorly talented moms of Pinterest,

Thanks for sharing your awesomeness with the rest of us.

I’ll bet your kids had an amazing summer.

From the looks of things in your perfectly lit photographs, you made tons of awesome crafts, ate lots of healthy yet delicious recipes, and participated in loads of fun activities.

I’ll bet there were no kids whining at your house about how bored they were over the last three months or refusing to get out of their pajamas.

Nope, those kids were at my house.

Let me paint you a picture of what a typical day looks like at my house during the summer…

Kids complain of boredom and/or hunger. I suggest an activity and/or food idea to eliminate their boredom and/or hunger. Kids refuse any and all suggestions and take off on a new tangent about how we never go anywhere and how they don’t get enough milkshakes.

There can never be enough milkshakes!

We are counting the days with glee until school starts.

Occasionally, when my kids aren’t being extra picante, I’ll make them a little treat.

About three years ago when cupcakes were all the rage (do people even say “all the rage” anymore?) my kids were really into them so I made cupcakes all the time.

I even had a cupcake business based out of my home for a while but quickly realized that the best way to suck all of the joy out of something you love is to start charging people money for it.

I used to love when people would contact me for an estimate on something crazy like ninety cupcakes with ninety precisely detailed fondant parrots perched on top and then have the nerve to ask me “It’s just flour and eggs, why does it cost so much?”

Really? Like, are you for real?

Also the idea of strangers coming to my house for pick-ups or me going to theirs for drop-offs always seemed a bit too murdery to me, so my cupcake business was short-lived.

What I’m sharing with you today is one of the cupcakes that I made way back in August of 2010, before I started my business and before Pinterest squashed all my dreams of ever having an original idea again. Ever.

To make it really easy on yourself use store-bought cake mix and frosting.

Sure, you could make cupcakes and frosting from scratch but I’m showing you the easy way today.

Make these for your kiddos and their friends or make them for yourself to eat for breakfast after the kids shove off to school.

I think the fact that there are eggs in the cupcakes and eggs on top more than justifies them as breakfast food.



cupcakes (cooled) – from a mix or homemade

white frosting – store-bought or homemade

vanilla Tootsie Rolls *

light pink, dark pink, and orange Starburst candies *

blue food coloring – enough drops to turn the frosting sky blue

rolling pin, sauce jar, wine bottle – whatever you’ve got that will flatten the candy


For the cupcakes:

Add 4-5 drops of blue food coloring to the frosting and stir. Add more if needed until the frosting is sky blue.

Frost the cupcakes and set aside.

For a smooth frosted top like the cupcake in the picture, just heat up your store-bought frosting in the microwave for 8-10 seconds, stir, then spoon on top.


For the eggs:

Roll out a vanilla Tootsie Roll until flattened. Cut a small circle using a cookie cutter, shot glass, or freehand with a knife. Tap the sides gently with your finger tip to get a smooth edge. Then use the back of a butter knife to push in on the sides a bit to create an egg-white like shape. You can also keep it round if you like.

Roll out an orange Starburst and cut into a smaller circle. Tap sides down with your finger tip to smooth the edges.

Place the orange circle on top of the white circle.

Ta da! You’ve made a candy egg!

Now let’s make candy bacon!!


For the bacon:

Roll out a piece of dark pink Starburst until it’s fairly flat. Don’t go too far though because you’ll be rolling it out again soon.

Pinch off a piece of the light pink Starburst and roll it into a log or snake shape with your hands, like you used to do with play-doh when you were little.

Repeat this process with various sizes of the light pink candy and then lay them on top of the dark pink candy going in various directions. This is your bacon fat.

At this point you should have a flattened piece of dark pink candy with smaller strips of light pink on top. Make sense? I sure hope so.

Now flatten everything out with your rolling pin and it should all fuse into one even mass.

Use a knife or a pizza cutter to cut out strips.

Crimp the candy and gently press in the sides until it resembles bacon.

Place your adorable and delicious bacon and eggs on your cupcakes and enjoy!

*Use any candy/color combo you like. As long as it’s pliable, it will work.

Lunch for the 4th

4 Jul

7-4 lunch


For lunch today Camryn had a BLT on a hot dog bun (BLT dog?) It’s so much easier for her to eat that way. Bacon is straight, hot dog buns are straight, how did I not think of this before?

She also has some cheesy cut-outs made to sort-of resemble fireworks and of course she had to have a cheese pig since there’s bacon on her sandwich. 😉

In the smaller sections she has apple fries, some star-shaped cereal, and a scoop of homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream with a few rainbow sprinkles on top.

Happy 4th!

16 Jun

pretzel collage

Need a really last-minute Father’s Day gift?

Yeah, I can’t really help you there but I did whip us up a quick Sunday snack.

I should probably tell you that my husband ate them all though.

He’s a big fan of the whole chocolate & peanut butter combo.

Personally (and I know this is crazy talk) I could do without it.

My heart belongs to chocolate & caramel.

I did eat a couple of these, for quality control purposes of course, and I can attest to the fact that they are yummy.

They’re also really quick and easy to make which is always good because that means we can eat them faster!


1/4 cup chocolate chips (milk chocolate or semi-sweet)

1 Tbsp nut butter (I used natural peanut butter)


Sprinkles (optional)


In a microwave safe bowl, heat the chocolate chips and peanut butter on high for about 30 seconds, stir halfway through.

If the chocolate still isn’t melted after 30 seconds and a good stir, give it another 10 seconds in the microwave but don’t overheat it. There’s no saving burnt chocolate.

Once the mixture is smooth, dip your pretzels. You can completely submerge or just go for halfsies like I did.

It’s easier to dip into a bowl or container that is taller than it is wide. I use a small plastic container but something like a juice glass would work too.

Give each pretzel a few taps on the side of your bowl after you dip to get the excess chocolate off.

Lay the pretzels on wax paper or a silicone liner to set up. If you plan on adding sprinkles, now would be the time to do that.

Once you’ve dipped all your pretzels put them in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes to set up so you can eat them.

If you want to make a lot of dipped pretzels, just double or even triple the amount of ingredients listed. You really can’t mess this one up. You can even mix nut butters. Go for half cashew butter & half almond butter if that floats your boat. Try peanut butter and white chocolate. Biscoff would work here too – just sayin’.

And why stop at sprinkles? Crushed cookies, mini chocolate chips, or crumbled potato chips would also be great on these.