Our weekend DIY project when finished will be sent out across few states for some little people on our list. It is an idea from Natalme and looks oh so easy to create.

We have a couple of jigsaw puzzles of the United Staates that will be perfect. Next step is attaching pieces of magnetic tape to each state. That’s it, back in the puzzle box and what fun they’ll have putting the states on their fridges.

The United States has a vast variety in the traditions, however, most comes in the taste of the Christmas feast:

  • New England has Lumberjack Pie ( a mashed potato crust, filled with meats, onion and cinnamon.)
  • Pennsylvania Dutch serve Sand Tarts (thing, crisp sugar cookies)
  • North Carolina features Moravian Love-Feast Buns (faintly sweet bread of flour and mashed potatoes.)
  • Baltimore serves Sauerkraut with their Turkey (which includes apples, onions and carrots.)
  • Virginia gives us oyster and ham pie.
  • Southern states have Hominy Grits Soufflé and Whiskey Cake (with one cup of 100-proof whiskey.)
  • Louisiana’s treat is Creole Gumbo. It can include ham, veal, chicken, shrimp, oysters and crabmeat.
  • New Mexico has the Empanaditas–little beef pies with applesauce pine nuts and raisins.
  • Hawaii blesses us with Turkey Teriyaki marinated and cooked over an outdoor pit.   
  • What is your favorite Christmas meal? Is it a traditional meal that you grew up with?

With so many school closings due to the snow that we’re experiencing from coast to coast, whatcha gonna do? You might venture outside and build a big snowman. Or, we might suggest that you stay safe and warm indoors. Here is a yummy idea for you and the kiddos!

How to Build an Indoor Frosty The Snowman.

Ingredients

  • Small powdered doughnut
  • Powdered doughnut hole
  • Decorators’ gel
  • Pretzel or potato stick
  • Haviland Thin Mint
  • Reese’s peanut butter cup miniature

Instructions

  1. Set a powdered doughnut hole atop a mini powdered doughnut. (For a taller version, use a pretzel stick or a potato stick to secure a second doughnut hole atop the first.)
  2. Use decorators’ gel to add a face, buttons, and a carrot nose. (If the gel won’t stick, try smoothing the powder with a dab of water first.)
  3. To add a top hat to a shorter snowman, stick a small piece of a pretzel or potato stick through a Thin Mint and into a Reese’s peanut butter cup miniature, then secure the hat in place on the snowman.
Sock and Glove

Easy to make…easy to love!

If your house is anything like ours you probably have a “Department of Missing Socks”. Do not mourn the sad loss a mate. Look what you can do with some of your favorite mateless socks.

Sock Elephant

Step-by-step illustrations and instructions can be found in the Sock and Glove book by Miyako Kanamori.  There are thirteen delightful projects that are quick to make-and certain to amuse and delight.  You can have new menagerie, including monkeys, elephants, piglets, bunnies, and even an insouciant fish.

These whimsical creatures make perfect gifts and inspiring companions.

Serve up Mummy’s Favorite Pizza a great way to get the kids to eat something good before they eat all that candy!  It’s also a good cook together recipe for fun eats.

Ingredients
English muffin bread
Pizza sauce
Black olives
Scallions
Red or green pepper
Cheese sticks or slices

Instructions
1. Heat the oven to 350º F. For each mummy, spread a tablespoon of pizza sauce onto half of an English muffin (toast it first, if you like).
2. Set olive slices in place for eyes and add round slices of green onion or bits of red or green pepper for pupils.
3. Lay strips of  pulled-apart cheese sticks across the muffin for the mummy?s wrappings.
4. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the muffin is toasty.

Bone Appetit! Ha ha ha ha…

“For children, play is serious learning,” Fred Rogers said. “Play is really the work of childhood.”

 Pretend play provides an outlet for children to practice coping strategies for stressful encounters. Imaginary play emerges around 3-5 years of age. It is important to encourage and allow opportunities for pretend play at home.

Here are some ways that pretend play impacts a child’s development:

  • increases use of language and vocabulary
  • expressing positive and negative feelings
  • increases self-regulation
  • helps in expressing empathy
  • encourages problem solving
  • allows for new communication
  • teaches cognitive flexibility
  • creativity in general
  • teaches organizational skills

Start by cooking up some good pretend fun with a colorful kitchen.

Add a pretend waffle maker and you can enjoy delicious pretend waffles all day long.

It is that time of year to begin planning holiday cookie baking.

There are so many options each day to help your children with the importance of pretend play.

It all begins with imagination, both yours and theirs.

Albert Einstein once said: “Logic will take you from A to B, imagination will take you everywhere.”

FINGER FOOD

PREP TIME: Requires 30 minutes chilling
COOK TIME: 25 minutes
YIELD: About 30 Cookies

INGREDIENTS
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon Amaretto
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 cup sliced almonds
3 tablespoons strawberry jelly
1 teaspoon water

NEXT:

1.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, egg, Amaretto, and vanilla extract.  In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.  Working in batches, add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing until fully incorporated.  Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

3.  Meanwhile, combine the strawberry jelly with 1 teaspoon water in a small saucepan.  Over low heat, melt the jelly.

4.  Working with one quarter of the dough at a time and keeping remainder refrigerated, roll a scant tablespoon full of dough into a thin log shape, about 4″ long for each cookie. Squeeze the dough around the center and close to one end to create knuckle shapes.  Keep the logs somewhat skinny, as they tend to expand in the oven.

5.  Make a small indentation at one end of the dough.  Drop a small bit of jelly onto the indentation, and press an almond slice firmly into the end of the cookie for a nail.  With a paring knife, make three slashes at the knuckle.

6.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Bake at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until pale golden.  Allow the fingers to cool on a cooling rack.

Serve if you dare!


Take me out to the ball game or at least let me have some baseball fun at home. Start with this vegan leather baseball mitt chair and baseball storage ottoman.

Pitch this great Spot it! MLB game for your next family game night. Fans and rookies alike will have a ball learning all the teams by logo in this fast-paced baseball card game.

What little slugger would not enjoy making these tasty Rice Krispie baseball treats? They are an easy peasy cook together with even the youngest kiddos. Whether you are rooting for the Astros or the Nationals Keeping it Simple will share the recipie with you.

Then buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks!

Have you visited the pumpkin patch yet this fall?

If you have  picked the perfect pumpkin and it’s not yet carved, thought there may be a little inspiration to be found here. Smashing pumpkins, aren’t they?

After the guts are removed and your Jack-O-Lantern has been wiped clean inside and out, use silica gel packets to keep pumpkins from molding.

Another tried and true method for preservation is mixing a solution of 1 tablespoon of bleach per quart of water in a spray bottle. Spray the pumpkin inside and on all cut areas of the pumpkin with the solution.  Wait about 20 minutes, then rub all of the carved surfaces with petroleum jelly. This will help reduce bacteria and molds growth, as well as lessens the dehydration.

One more hint is keeping it out of direct sunlight. Erin, our marketing manager, even kept her pre-carved pumpkins in her refrigerator.

What to do with the guts?

Roasted Seeds recipe from Southern Food

Ingredients:

2- cups pumpkin seeds, rinsed and drained

2- T Canola oil

1-1/2 t salt

Preparation:

Let the pumpkin seeds dry on paper towels. Toss cleaned pumpkin seeds with oil and salt; spread out on a cookie sheet. Bake in a 250° oven for about 1 hour, or until the pumpkin seeds are dry, stirring occasionally.Categories

 

 

Wrap up some mummies and put them on your plate. Surprise the kiddos with the hot dog tucked inside. This how-to is found at Family Fun

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for a no brainer? This Mummy has no brain, just unwrap it and you will find Halloween Playdough and un-candy treat. Another recipe from the Idea Room.

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Mummified Oreos could be your next surprise treat.

You can ask How She Does It, she will show you how to do it too.

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Mummy? No, it’s a baby silly!

Well… maybe a baby Mummy.

Babble claims all it takes is a roll of gauze. But of course you will need a very cute baby and presto change-o – you’ll have your own baby Mummy.

All you Mummys and Daddys have fun with your babies on Halloween.

 

prisoner-dog1So, you have a super cute costume ready for your dog this Halloween but have you thought about his or her safety? Here are a few helpful tips.

Halloween Safety Tips For Dogs

1. Avoid chocolate and other candy.  Make sure to keep any candy that you are going to hand out safely hidden from your dog. Notify kids in the house to put their candy bags away. Chocolate is a big no-no for dogs as it contains theobromine, which their bodies cannot properly digest. The darker the chocolate, the worse it can be. Small amounts are typically not lethal, so if he does snag a bite don’t freak out. But also don’t let it happen.

Candy wrappers, tinfoil, and other dangers can be found in candy bags, so keep your dog safe by putting these away.

2. Put your dog in a safe place, either a separate room or his crate, when the trick-or-treaters are coming by. You should not let him be at the door to greet the kids. Costumes, commotion, and loud noises will stress him out and can cause problems ranging from stress to aggression.

3. Don’t leave your dog around kids without supervision. The erratic movements and loud, startling noises can really upset him. Add in a scary costume and you have a formula for disaster.

4. Be careful about the placement of electrical cords for decorations. If your puppy or dog chews on these, trouble will follow. Arrange them for safety and use a bitter apple spray on the cord to keep pets at bay.

5. Don’t leave candles unattended. Carved pumpkins look great with a candle burning inside them, but they can be tipped over. They can also be investigated by curious pets which can lead to burns or worse.

6. Make sure that your dog’s costume is the right fit. Don’t put him in a costume that is too small or tight. Also, check for loose ends that could be chewed on and swallowed or cause other problems. If your dog hates having the costume on be a friend to him and take the costume off.

7. Watch out when the door is open. If your dog is not secured in another room or in his crate then he might bolt out the door. With all the activity outside it may be even harder to get him back in.

8. Walk your dog before the festivities begin – all those costumes can be scary.

9. If the noise is bothering him, try adding background sounds (radio, TV) to distract him from the neighborhood hubbub.

10. Be careful when out walking your dog after Halloween – loose candy can be found and he may grab a big piece if he sees it before you do.

11. Think twice about taking him out with your family to trick or treat. There’s a lot of costumes and commotion which can put any dog on edge. He might be happier at home.

12. Tell kids the dangers of the treats and to not feed the dog any.

13. Be firm. Don’t let anybody who wants to greet your dog just to be polite. Be willing to say “no thanks” if your dog is feeling anxious or if the other person (perhaps an excited, sugar-filled child) is approaching inappropriately.

14. If you take your dog with you, do not take him up to a stranger’s door – the resident dog may not take kindly to that and it could end up being a bummer. Someone should wait at the end of the driveway with the dog.

15. Do not leave your dog outside. There are plenty of rumors that dogs are taunted and teased, that gates are opened, and that candy is tossed in yards. It’s unlikely that lots of kids are running around causing harm to dogs on Halloween night, but the commotion is enough to unnerve your dog and it is conceivable that a youngster might toss a treat toward your dog with the best of intentions but bad results.

It may seem like a lot, but the truth is that Halloween is a fun time for parents and kids and can easily be fun for dogs too. Many dogs enjoy being the center of attention and will tolerate wearing a costume (which we get a huge kick out of!) to do so. Keep an eye out for the dangers of candy, keep your dog secure in your house, and be ready to ward off over-excited kids and all will be well. Happy Halloween.

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Halloween Treats For People

Pupcakes recipe from Gourmet Mom On the Go.

dog-cooking