Family Friendly Halloween Playlist 2020

Family Friendly Halloween Playlist 2020Welcome 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
  • Thanksgiving Theme | Vince Guaraldi Trio

Family Friendly Halloween Playlist on Spotify

DIY Autumn Leaves Sensory Bottle

DIY Autumn Leaves Sensory BottleI love Autumn, it has to be my favorite season of the year!

After creating a Summer-themed ocean wave bottle, I felt inspired to create a sensory bottle for each season and I immediately thought of swirling multi-hued Autumn leaves!  Part of the fun in raising Zoey is making things that teach and fascinate her. And, if I’m being completely honest, I find sensory bottles fascinating too, so let’s make one!

DIY Autumn Leaves Sensory Bottle

SUPPLIES
  • 16 ounce clear, plastic bottle
  • 6 ounces of hot water
  • Clear glue
  • Slender whisk
  • Glycerin
  • Leaf-shaped glitter
  • Regular glitter (optional)
  • More hot water
  • Glue for the lid

DIY Autumn Leaves Sensory Bottle DIY Autumn Leaves Sensory BottleDIY Autumn Leaves Sensory Bottle

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Pour the 6 ounces of hot (as hot as your tap will run) water into your bottle.
  2. Add 2.5 to 3 ounces (or more) of glue to the hot water in your bottle. The more glue you add, the slower your leaves will swirl and fall.
  3. Whisk the glue in the hot water until well incorporated. You can also replace the lid of the bottle and shake, however this created a lot of foam bubbles for me. They will go away, but it will slow down your progress.
  4. Measure 1 to 2 tablespoons of Glycerin and whisk or replace the lid and shake again.
  5. Add your glitter. I used several different hues of leaf shaped glitter and a few pinches of regular gold glitter.
  6. Pour more hot water into the bottle. Stop before reaching the top, replace the lid and turn the bottle over several times to check how everything moves. At this point you can add more glitter, more glue to make it fall slower, and/or more glycerin to smooth everything out.
  7. After you’re satisfied with the flow of the bottle’s contents, remove the lid again and fill the bottle all the way to the top with the hot water.
  8. If your child is older and you worry about him/her undoing the lid, you can coat the inside of the lid with glue, then screw it back onto the bottle. This will secure the lid and make it harder for little ones to unscrew the lid and create a leak or spill the bottle’s contents.

DIY Autumn Leaves Sensory Bottle

Let’s try Oak – Meditation and Breathing Application

Let's Try Meditation with The Free Oak - Meditation and Breathing ApplicationLet’s be real, this year has been rough; we’re all just trying to adjust and survive the best we can. Current events have really revealed that there are some pretty rude, self-entitled people out there and I for one am way too sensitive to people’s actions and emotions. I’ve found myself absorbing and/or responding to their vibes, which results in living day to day with too many negative thoughts and feelings.

In an effort to bring the tranquility and positivity back to my life, I have begun meditating and it feels good! If you’re feeling anything but tranquil, I highly recommend taking some time to meditate each day or, if every day isn’t for you, less frequently yet consistently; you will feel better!

Interested, but not sure where to start?

I am using the Oak – Meditation and Breathing application. It is simple and straightforward, with enough content to get you started without becoming overwhelming.  It is also the only meditation app. I’ve found that is truly free. Other applications, like Calm and Headspace (both fantastic), are free to download and offer some free content and/or free trials, but if you want more you’ll have to pay for a monthly or yearly premium membership. After Oak, Insight Timer is probably the next application that has the most free classes, but does have a premium membership if you want to access certain practices. We’ll focus on Insight Timer at a later date.

So let’s take a look at Oak!

When opening the app., you are presented with three categories: Meditation, Breathing and Sleeping. Each category has two or three practice options.

Let's Try Meditation with The Free Oak - Meditation and Breathing Application

Once you’ve selected a category and practice, you can customize a few more details depending on the practice. For example, if you want to practice Mindful Meditation, you can select the duration, instructor’s voice, background noise and a warmup duration.

Let's Try Meditation with The Free Oak - Meditation and Breathing Application Let's Try Meditation with The Free Oak - Meditation and Breathing Application

The breathing practices do not give you customization options, but they will give you details about how long you will be inhaling, holding and exhaling.

Let's Try Meditation with The Free Oak - Meditation and Breathing Application

If you’re looking for something deeper, there is a Courses tab which (so far) offers one course on Mantra Meditation. You will be prompted to “Buy” the course for $0.00. I’ve “purchased” it (yes it is free) and I am very pleased with the quality and length. I hope there will be more free courses in the future.

Let's Try Meditation with The Free Oak - Meditation and Breathing Application Let's Try Meditation with The Free Oak - Meditation and Breathing Application

I will be testing out other options for meditation and let you know what I discover!

How do you meditate? Do you use an application, or something else? If you do use an application, what is your favorite and why? I’d love to know!

Thank you Ring Fit Adventure, I’ll Take it From Here!

Ring Fit Adventure

In my Ring Fit Adventure Challenge – Reboot post, I posed the question: Can playing a video game really help you and I get fit? More specifically, can Ring Fit Adventure help you and I get fit?

For three months now, I have played 30 to 40 minutes of Ring Fit Adventure a day and my conclusion is: yes, but it takes a lot of time.

Fit Ring Adventure 1
Fit Ring Adventure 2

Ring Fit Adventure was released Saturday October 18th, 2019 for the Nintendo Switch. It comes with a squeezable pilates ring to hold and an elastic leg strap for leg movement. It piqued my interest because the main part of the game is a story where you need to travel across maps and defeat monsters to get to the boss who you also have to fight using different work out moves. The more you experience you get, the more you level up and acquire new workout moves to complete your journey. It is delightfully entertaining, adding plot and challenges or battles to cleverly distract the player from their workout, but if you’re looking to get down to business and workout quickly and efficiently, this is not the experience you’re looking for.

Ring Fit Adventure
Ring Fit Adventure

Ring Fit Adventure

If someone were to play this every day for a long period of time they could make progress, I have lost six pounds since May and the exercises have become easier to perform and sustain, but the amount of time spent playing does not equal the amount of time spent exercising. When I say I played for 30 to 40 minutes a day, that equaled out to about 10 minutes of active workout time (which the game will track for you). The rest of the time is spent going through setup, menus, preparation, and story dialog. Calculating from my experience, you would need to play about 3 hours to reach 60 minutes of active workout time. Unfortunately a lot of people do not have the time for that, including myself.

Ring Fit Adventure
Ring Fit Adventure
Ring Fit Adventure
Ring Fit Adventure

I want to thank the game for its ingenuity and beauty, and for getting me started. I believe it inspired me to get up and get moving, but now I feel I would be more effective working out on my own.

Have you played Ring Fit Adventure? How is your progress? I would love to know!

Homemade Tinker Bell Smash Cake Recipe (No Added Sugar)

Disney Tinker Bell Smash Cake RecipeZoey, our little Tinker Bell, is one year old! This year has been an unusual one (understatement of the century), but it has flown by faster than I could have imagined and I have been fortunate enough to spend the majority of it at home with her; grateful for every moment.

Like many one year birthday boys and girls, Zoey has not been exposed to much sugar. Now I don’t mind a little sugar, but I did not want to sugar bomb her all at once so I created a homemade smash cake with frosting for her without adding extra sugar.

This Tinker Bell petal smash cake is a variation of a banana bread recipe my family has made for years without added sugar and a variation of cream cheese frosting without powdered sugar. I would consider the cake a tame banana flavor and the frosting a tangy cream cheese flavor, smoothed out with the addition of a natural sweetener (I used agave nectar). I purchased a used Disney Infinity Tinker Bell figurine off of Mercari, gave it a good cleaning, and used it as a cake topper with the obligatory “1” candle.

Disney Tinker Bell Smash Cake Recipe Disney Tinker Bell Smash Cake RecipeShe was very tentative about smashing  her smash cake, almost like she wasn’t sure if she was allowed to. Even with her audience coaxing her she only tasted a little bit of cake I broke off for her and mostly just played around in the frosting. Her favorite part of the cake was the Tinker Bell figurine up top and she ended up fixating on that. And what the hey, as long as she had fun!

So let’s make a smash cake for the little Tinker Bell in your life!

Disney Tinker Bell Smash Cake Recipe

BANANA SMASH CAKE
  • 3 bananas, overripe
  • 1/2 cup of butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup of flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
INSTRUCTIONS (CAKE)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Grease two 6-inch cake pans, or line them with parchment paper.
  3. Cream the butter and bananas together with a (hand) mixer.
  4. Add the eggs in one at a time, beating each in with the (hand) mixer.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a little at a time, mixing and scraping down the sides of the bowl in between each addition.
  7. Pour the mixed batter into the prepared cake pans about half to 3/4 of the way full.
  8. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean. The timing may vary depending on your oven so keep an eye on them!
  9. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool in their pans for about 10 minutes, then remove them from the pans and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.
  10. Mine were pretty flat. If yours do not turn out flat, cut the very tops off of the cakes to create flat tops for stacking and frosting.
  11. Frost your cake (see below).

Disney Tinker Bell Smash Cake Recipe

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING (NO ADDED SUGAR)
  • 5 tablespoons of butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 packs of cream cheese (8 ounce), room temperature
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons agave nectar, honey or maple syrup
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • Green food coloring
INSTRUCTIONS (FROSTING)

*You can make the frosting up to several days in advance and store it in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature before frosting.*

  1. Whip the butter and cream cheese together in a large bowl until well combined.
  2. Add the agave nectar (or sweetener of choice), milk, salt and vanilla extract. Whip again, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of corn starch and whip until well incorporated. If at this point the consistency is right for you, you can move on to the next step. If not you can add cornstarch one teaspoon at a time until it reaches the desired thickness (careful not to exceed 2 tablespoons total).
  4. Divide the frosting four equal parts in separate bowls. Add green food coloring to each bowl of frosting, ranging from dark to light green. Put each shade of green frosting into a pastry bag.
  5. Pipe and smear frosting on the top of the first layer of cake and gently place the second layer on top of this.
  6. Begin the petals by piping a dollop of dark green frosting on the side of the cake at the base. Take a flat slender spatula or butter knife press gently into the dollop and smear it to the right. Pipe another dollop of dark green near the end of the smear and repeat all the way around the cake.
  7. Repeat this process with the next shade of green and repeat, but stop before you reach the lightest shade of green and the top of the cake.
  8. Pipe and smear a healthy dollop of the lightest green frosting onto the top of the cake and smooth it out with a flat spatula, then continue with the last layer of petals in the lightest shade of green around the top of the cake.
  9. Adorn your cake with decorations.
  10. Enjoy!

Disney Tinker Bell Smash Cake Recipe

Homemade Teething Cookies Recipe

Homemade Teething Cookies RecipeLast week, we brought some of the beach to Zoey with edible “sand” made out of graham crackers and oatmeal. After she was done playing, I could not let good food go to waste so I made her some teething cookies with the remaining “sand”.

Not too sweet, but sweet enough to be called cookies instead of crackers, these treats are a hit! They are springy, yet firm enough to soothe her teething gums and she likes them!…Although so does my husband so I’m going to have to convince him not to eat all of them before she can knaw on a few.

Homemade Teething Cookies Recipe

INGREDIENTS
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Grease a baking sheet and preheat the oven to 325 F.
  2. Combine the ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir them with a mixing spoon until a thick dough has formed. You may need to adjust the amount of water or coconut oil you add depending on how juicy your bananas are.
  3. Section the dough into smaller portions and (using a flat surface and a rolling pin) roll out your dough to 1/4 of an inch thick. You will need to use flour to keep the dough from sticking to the rolling pin and surfaces.
  4. With a circular cookie cutter or a drinking glass (I used a drinking glass), cut cookies out of the dough and place them onto the greased baking sheet.
  5. Cook each sheet of cookies for 12 to 15 minutes. Be careful they are hot! Use the spatula or a spoon to test their springiness. They should be firm yet springy when pressed as they are brought out of the oven.
  6. Allow the cookies to cool before serving. These can be stored in the refrigerator for a little more firmness.
  7. Serve and enjoy, but please watch your baby as they eat this to make sure they handle the texture well!

DIY Frozen Mickey and Minnie Baby Treats using Candy Molds

DIY Frozen Mickey and Minnie Baby Treats using Candy MoldsDuring these Summer months, and even into Fall, we get some pretty warm and sometimes uncomfortably hot days. To cool Zoey off and soothe her teething gums, I thought it would be fun and refreshing to make some frozen treats using the food she already eats and candy molds!

DIY Frozen Mickey and Minnie Baby Treats using Candy Molds

SUPPLIES
  • Candy mold of your choice (I used Mickey and Minnie)
  • Baby food
  • Yogurt (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Wash and dry the candy mold.

    DIY Frozen Mickey and Minnie Baby Treats using Candy Molds
  2. Choose the flavor of baby food and/or yogurt you would like to freeze and spoon it into the candy molds until it’s even with the top of the mold. I wiped the top of my mold down to make it look better, but you do not need to do this.

    DIY Frozen Mickey and Minnie Baby Treats using Candy MoldsDIY Frozen Mickey and Minnie Baby Treats using Candy Molds
  3. Place the mold in the freezer for an hour or more until the contents are frozen.

    DIY Frozen Mickey and Minnie Baby Treats using Candy Molds
  4. Remove the mold from the freezer and pop out one or two frozen treats at a time for baby to enjoy!

    DIY Frozen Mickey and Minnie Baby Treats using Candy MoldsDIY Frozen Mickey and Minnie Baby Treats using Candy Molds

Happy 8 Year Wedding Anniversary!

Every year, Cameron and I always find it hard to believe we have been married for five years, six years, seven years! This year we’ve been married 8 years and it’s still hard to believe! It’s not that we’re in total shock or disbelief that we lasted this long, it’s more that we can’t believe how fast the time has flown by.

Cameron and I are just right for one another and I am grateful every day that we found each other instead of settling for less. We love one another, we have fun together, we give each other space for our friends and hobbies, and we never fight. Oh sure we get a little irritable from time to time, more-so when we’re hungry or tired, but we’ve never had a fight and for that I am thankful.

Last August, we welcomed our first baby, Zoey. I have heard horror stories of how babies can be a real strain on a couple’s relationship, but we’ve squashed that stigma too. We support one another in raising her; we trade off feeding her, changing her diapers, we comfort her together, we’re united.

The moral of my story is that being with someone doesn’t have to be hard; if it’s right, it’s right. It should come naturally being in your person’s presence and you shouldn’t settle for anything less.

Let’s try Intermittent Fasting!

I am now a fledgling intermittent faster. Do you want to try it with me?

If you’re not familiar with intermittent fasting, it is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It doesn’t specify which foods you should eat (although healthier foods yield better results), but rather when you should eat them.

I’ve chosen the 16/8 schedule, which means that I am restricting my eating to an 8 hour timeframe and fasting the remaining 16 hours of the day. This is what is working for me, but there are several other schedules out there if you’re looking for something different.

  • 20/4: Restrict eating to 4 hours of the day and fast the remaining 20.
  • 5/2: Eat regularly for 5 days of the week, on days 6 and 7 only consume about 500 calories per day.
  • 24 hour: Fast for 24 hours straight, once or twice a week.
  • 36 hour: Fast for 36 hours straight once a week.

Why am I doing such a thing you ask? Odd as it may sound, I wanted to conserve food during the pandemic. After breaking my fast, I usually don’t feel hungry again until right before the 8 hours are up. Everything is simpler, there are fewer meals to prepare, cook or clean up after!

In addition to conserving food, I would love to reach my pre-pregnancy weight or lower. As I mentioned above this eating pattern has me eating fewer meals and consuming less calories a day. I’ve also read that intermittent fasting can boost metabolism and that’s encouraging!

There are several other potential benefits, but the best thing I can do is tell you about my personal experience. I will practice intermittent fasting for the next three months at least and report back with my findings. How about you?

Ring Fit Adventure Challenge – Reboot

Fit Ring Adventure 1Can playing a video game really help you and I get fit? I believe Ring Fit Adventure can and I’m going to test it out!

Fit Ring Adventure 2Ring Fit Adventure was released Saturday October 18th, 2019 for the Nintendo Switch. It comes with a squeezable pilates ring to hold and an elastic leg strap for leg movement. It piqued my interest because the main part of the game is a story where you need to travel across maps and defeat monsters to get to the boss who you also have to fight using different work out moves. The more you experience you get the more you level up and acquire new workout moves to complete your journey. It is delightfully distracting and entertaining!

Fit Ring Adventure 3
Fit Ring Adventure 5

Fit Ring Adventure 4Fit Ring Adventure 6
Fit Ring Adventure 7

As you might have gathered, I am not the epitome of health I would love to be, and to speak plainly, I haven’t been for a long time. This is uncomfortable for me to tell you, but I currently weigh 170 pounds. I feel heavier and far less graceful on my feet than I ever used to, and I want movement to feel easy and comfortable instead of a chore. When I was a teenager, I was more active and fortunate enough to have a good metabolism; I weighed 110 pounds and, at 5’2” tall, I felt comfortable in my own body. Since then I have put on more and more weight as my metabolism has slacked off and my bad habits have grown. Now I am a freshly minted, new mama and I’m looking to get back into shape and lose my baby weight plus a little extra! I’ve indulged myself for a little too long and it’s time to get back on track!

In addition to the game, let’s talk about my variables:

  • I’ve been practicing up to 20 minutes of yoga daily.
  • I’ve been taking my daughter out in her stroller for 30 minute walks daily.
  • During this shelter-at-home order, I’ve started intermittent fasting and only feel like eating 2 large meals a day.
  • I am making an effort to drink at least 78 oz. of water a day.

Confession time: I started this challenge back in October when the game released, and I dropped the ball. Months went by and I started doing my daily yoga and walks. This has made me feel better than I have in a long time (being pregnant and having a baby is no joke on your body) and with a stronger foundation, I wanted to give this challenge another try!

Let’s do this! Follow along with me on here and Instagram!