Have you ever intentionally created a family tradition? I haven’t, until now!
My family and I grew up watching the Charlie Brown/Peanuts holiday specials around this time every year with our parents; they all have a special place in my heart, but none more than It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and A Charlie Brown Christmas!
Continuing on with these good feelings and memories, embellishing it to make it our own, here is our new Halloween tradition:
The night before Halloween (or a few nights before), we will carve our pumpkins and light them for the first time. After, we’ll sip on cold or warm apple cider (depending on the weather) and watch It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!
It’s simple, yet fun and heartfelt like any family tradition should be! Create happy feelings and the happy memories will follow! Feel free to use this idea for your own family tradition, or take it and change it to make it your own!
I had every intention of making naturally dyed eggs this year. Every. Intention. Then I realized I did not leave myself enough time to prepare and create the dyes. Going natural is a labor of love that I would still love to do…next year.
This year, I dyed a small amount of eggs using food coloring, vinegar and water. It was a lot quicker, a lot simpler, and I was pretty happy with the results!
4 16 ounce mason jars
8 teaspoons of vinegar (2 for each color/jar)
4 cups of water (1 for each color/jar)
Food coloring of your choice
8 hard boiled eggs
Prepare each mason jar by adding two teaspoons of vinegar to each one.
Boil the four cups of water and carefully pour one cup into each mason jar.
Add drops of food coloring to create the desired shade (don’t be afraid to add a lot, I used 40 drops of blue in one jar) and stir until the color, vinegar and water are well incorporated.
Gently add two eggs to each color, allow the the water to cool slightly, then seal the lids and put them in the refrigerator overnight.
Remove the mason jars from the refrigerator and carefully remove the eggs from the dye, then drain the rest.
Rinse the eggs, gently rubbing with your fingers to remove the darker colored film covering the eggs.
Gently pat the eggs dry with paper towels.
I used the mason jars I had available, which were 16 ounces with regular mouths. I dyed two eggs within each jar; I probably could have crammed 3 eggs into each jar, but I didn’t think that would have given them an even coating of the dye. Please feel free to multiply the recipe and enjoy!
Welcome to the spooky month of October my friends!
My family and I have created a playlist of family friendly Halloween music for you and yours! Halloween may be celebrated a little differently this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t kindle a little Halloween spirit!
This year we’ve decided to focus more on jazzy halloween inspired music with a few other songs sprinkled in that fit the mood. The Disney and Danny Elfman presence in this list is strong and I found myself wishing I could find more jazz covers of the Disney Villains songs.
Please let us know if we missed or left out any of your family friendly halloween favorites you feel should be included! We’d love to hear from you!
Family Friendly Halloween Playlist 2020
Linus and Lucy | Vince Guaraldi Trio
Monsters, Inc. | Randy Newman
Charlie Brown Theme | Vince Guaraldi Trio
The Scare Floor | Randy Newman
Great Pumpkin Waltz | Vince Guaraldi Trio
The Piano Duet (The Corpse Bride) | Danny Elfman
Overture (The Nightmare Before Christmas) | Danny Elfman
This is Halloween | The Citizens of Halloweentown
Grim, Grinning Ghosts | The Haunted Mansion Happy Haunts
Sally’s Song | Catherine O’hara
Jack and Sally Montage | Danny Elfman
Jack’s Lament | Danny Elfman
Ball & Socket Lounge Music #1 | Danny Elfman
Remains of the Day | Danny Elfman
They Don’t Scare Me | Mickey Mouse
Monster Mash | Bobby “Boris” Pickett
The Munsters | Jack Marshall
Trust in Me | Scarlett Johansson
Snuff Out the Light | Eartha Kitt
Witchy Woman | The Eagles
I Put a Spell On You | Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
Friends on the Other Side | Keith David
Man with the Hex | The Atomic Fireballs
The Headless Horseman | Thurl Ravenscroft
Superstition | Stevie Wonder
Remains of the Day (Combo Lounge Version) | Danny Elfman
Cruella De Vil | Dr. John
Ball & Socket Lounge Music #2 | Danny Elfman
Little Birdie (Instrumental) | Vince Guaraldi Trio
Although Halloween may be celebrated a little differently this year, that doesn’t mean we can’t kindle a little Halloween spirit!
Today we’ll be making what I like to call a “pinched” felt garland. Pinched felt garlands are made by pinching small ribbons of different colored felts, poking a threaded needle through the pinched portion of the fabric, and stringing them close together onto a garland.
In the spirit of Halloween (and this tutorial), we’re going with traditional black, orange and white. Other fun variations would be candy corn colors or general fall colors so you can display it from the Autumn Equinox through Thanksgiving.
Black felt, cut into 1 x 3” strips
Orange felt, cut into 1 x 3” strips
White felt, cut into 1 x 3” strips
Scissors or a rotary cutter
Black cotton crochet thread, size 3
Cut the felt into 1 x 3” strips. I started with about 200 pieces of each color, but I only used about 175 of the orange and white and 176 of the black. You can use fabric or sewing scissors to do this, or you can use a rotary cutter. If you use a rotary cutter, please make sure you have a cutting mat so you don’t damage the surface below the felt. I use a ruler to keep my cuts straight.
Measure out 7 feet of the cotton crochet thread, 6 feet for the garland and 6 inches on either side for the ties and knots.
Thread the needle, then knot the tip of the opposite end (I often triple each knot).
Six inches from the first knot, tie another knot in the thread again to create a section to tie the garland up when it’s finished.
Pinch the center of a black piece of felt and poke the needle through the folded pinched fabric and push it down to the knot.
Pinch the center of an orange piece of felt and poke the needle through the folded pinched fabric and push it down onto the black piece.
Pinch the center of a white piece of felt and poke the needle through the folded pinched fabric and push it down onto the orange piece.
Repeat steps 5, 6 and 7 until you’ve created 6 feet of pinched felt garland. The pieces of felt will be pretty close together to hide any exposed thread in between the pinched felt.
Thread one last piece of black felt to frame the garland and then tie a knot in the thread.
Remove the needle and tie a knot on the very end of the thread, creating another tie section on this side of the garland.
Welcome back friends! This week we’ll be cooking up Little John’s beef stew featured in Disney’s animated feature, Robin Hood!
This recipe is featured when Robin Hood and Little John are taking a break in the woods. Unfortunately Little John leaves Robin to tend the stew, and Robin starts daydreaming, effectively burning the stew (don’t worry we won’t burn ours). Friar Tuck shows up while Little John is trying to salvage the food; he tries the stew, coughs a bit, and comments “well done, ain’t it?”
I love a good, hearty stew! I thought burning it would be in poor taste (#momjoke), so I kept an eye on it. I also feel like Little John takes pride in his cooking so I kept it simple based on ingredients they may have been able to obtain, but not so simple as to insult his enthusiasm.
2 tablespoons of butter
1 pound of beef stew meat, cubed
1 large onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon of basil
1 teaspoon of black pepper (plus a few sprinkles more to season the meat)
1/2 teaspoon of oregano
1 teaspoon of rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt (plus a few sprinkles more to season the meat)
1 teaspoon of thyme
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 ribs of celery, chopped
1 cup of tomatoes, diced
2 cups of water
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 potatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons of flour
1/4 cup of water (additional)
Melt the butter in a dutch oven or large pot on medium heat.
Season the stew meat with a little salt and pepper, then add it to the pot and brown all sides.
Once browned, remove the meat and allow it to rest on a plate with its juices.
Add the onions, basil, black pepper, oregano, rosemary, salt, and thyme to the meat drippings within the dutch oven and sauté for about four or five minutes.
Add the garlic and celery, then sauté for another two to three minutes.
Deglaze the pan with a little water (enough to loosen up the food particles left behind from cooking the meat and aromatics) and stir, then allow everything to cook for another five minutes.
Add the beef (and its accumulated juices) back into the pot, along with the diced tomatoes and two cups of water.
Bring everything to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about an hour to an hour and a half, or until the beef is fork tender.
Add in the carrots and potatoes and bring the liquid back to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for another thirty to forty minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
In a separate bowl, mix the flour into 1/4 cup of cold water and add it into the stew.
Continue cooking and stirring the pot until the sauce has thickened (about 10 more minutes).
It’s the middle of Summer and I would love to take Zoey to the beach for the first time, but just about everything she picks up is quickly introduced to her mouth! I understand she’s figuring things out (and more power to her), but I’m not super enthusiastic about her ingesting beach sand. So, until she gets a little less eager to put everything in her mouth, why not bring a little beach experience to her?
Part of the fun in raising Zoey is making things that teach and fascinate her. We can make edible “sand” that’s fun to play in and safe to eat out of graham crackers and oatmeal; let’s make it!
2 cups of oatmeal (I used whole grain old-fashioned oats)
A food processor
A mixing bowl
A mixing spoon
A container for playing in the “sand” (I used a heavy casserole dish)
Beach or ocean themed toys (optional)
Open the graham crackers and blend them in the food processor until they are a fine sand-like texture.
Remove the graham crackers from the food processor and pour them into a mixing bowl.
Measure the oatmeal into the food processor and blend it until it is also a fine sand-like texture.
Remove the oatmeal from the food processor and add it to the mixing bowl with the graham crackers.
Using a mixing spoon, stir the graham crackers and oatmeal together until well combined.
Pour the edible “sand” into the container you’ve chosen for your baby to play in. I used a heavy casserole dish since Zoey’s not strong enough to flip it yet. You can always double or triple the graham cracker and oatmeal ratio if you want to fill a larger container.
Arrange beach and/or ocean themed toys in the sand for your little one to play with (optional).
Introduce the edible “sand” to your baby and enjoy!
I’m always on the look out for a fun, entertaining way to pass the time like a good tabletop game! Blokus was introduced to us by my husband’s parents and we enjoyed playing it so much we purchased it straightaway!
Blokus is a two to four player strategy game that can be played with reckless abandon, or the studied care one would reserve for Chess or Checkers.
Players each choose a color and a corner, then decide who goes first; turns proceed clockwise around the board. To begin, each player must use their first turn to lay down a piece that covers their base corner’s square. Play then continues with each player placing one piece each turn that must touch the corner of one of their colored pieces, but only the corners! Full sides of the same color may not touch one another.
When a player reaches a point where they cannot place another piece, they are done. The game ends when no player can place anymore pieces. Once the game ends the players count the number of squares in their unplayed pieces, the player with the lowest number of squares left, wins!
My only complaint is based on the packaging or storage. The version we purchased has no storage for the 84 colored pieces which is surprising and disappointing. I use four sandwich bags, one for each color to store them. This cuts down on the amount of time spent sifting through the pieces before starting each game!
If you’re looking for a fun, fresh take on a timeless strategy game that feels like a spiritual successor to Checkers and/or Chess, check out Blokus!