Our New Thanksgiving Family Tradition

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 Thanksgiving tradition:

The Friday before Thanksgiving we will gather and/or create buttered toast, popcorn, pretzels and jelly beans, all the food the kid’s feast on in Thanksgiving Charlie Brown. We will snack on these treats while we watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving!

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!

Skillet Roasted Pumpkin Seed Recipe

Skillet Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

I love snacking on roasted pumpkin seeds! So delicious, easy to prepare and eat, and with numerous health benefits, who could say no? Traditionally I make large batches every year after we carve our Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns and we snack on them for weeks!

I do not use oil in this recipe.

Skillet Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Salt
  • Seasoned salt (optional)
  • Water
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. As you carve your pumpkins, keep all the seeds in a bowl. I find it easier to separate the seeds and pulp into two separate bowls as I go, rather than sort that mess out later.
  2. Place the seeds into a colander and rinse them under cold water, stirring with your hands to make sure they are all rinsed thoroughly.
  3. Place the seeds in a medium saucepan, then add 4 to 6 cups of water and about 1 tablespoon of salt for each half cup of seeds.
  4. Bring the saltwater and seeds to a boil for 10 minutes, then remove them from the heat and strain.
  5. Spread the seeds out on a baking sheet or two and allow them to completely dry (this may take up to a week).
  6. Once the seeds are completely dry, prepare a small bowl with salt water. This is to crystalize on the outer shell, so dissolve as much salt as you want for a saltier outer shell, or less if you feel the brine was enough.
  7. Place the seeds into a skillet and roast on medium to low heat, stirring continuously for an even cook.
  8. When they nearly roasted to your liking, dip your fingers into the salt water and splash it as evenly as possible over the roasted seeds, then continue to stir until the water has evaporated.
  9. Remove the seeds from the heat and allow them to cool.
  10. Enjoy!
Skillet Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Skillet Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pastry Wrapped Baked Apples with Nutella & Granola Recipe

Have you ever had a pastry wrapped, baked apple? It’s like having our own personal apple pie and if you stuff it with something you love? Pure delight!

These pastry wrapped, baked apples are stuffed with something I love, Nutella! I also added some granola for texture, but you can go full Nutella if that’s what you’re into! This does take some work in preparation time, but it will be well worth it to eat! Enjoy it my friends!

PASTRY WRAPPED BAKED APPLES WITH NUTELLA & GRANOLA
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 4 Granny Smith apples
  • 1 package of frozen puff pastry
  • Nutella
  • Granola
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Set out the pastry dough to thaw enough to work with while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and ground cinnamon, then set it aside.
  3. In a separate small bowl, beat the egg and the water together until combined, then set it aside.
  4. Peel the apples and then use a melon baller to scoop out the cores, leaving the bottoms intact.
  5. Coat the outside of each apple with the cinnamon sugar mixture and set them aside.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a pastry sheet to about a 9 by 10 inch rectangle, then cut the rectangle into 9, 1 inch strips.
  7. Repeat step 6 with the second pastry sheet.
  8. Starting at the bottom of the apple, begin winding a pastry strip around and up, slightly overlapping the edges of the pastry. Once a strip ends, align another strip and continue winding until you reach the top of the apple. Strips can be attached to one another by wetting your finger with water and smoothing dough together.
  9. Repeat step 8 with each apple until they are all wrapped in pastry and place them all on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat.
  10. Use the extra dough to create leaf shapes and attach them to the top of each apple by wetting your finger with water and smoothing the dough together.
  11. Lightly scoop some Nutella into the hole in the apple, then press some granola in and add more Nutella on top of the granola.
  12. Repeat step 11 with each apple.
  13. Lightly brush the pastry dough with the egg wash.
  14. Chill the apples in the refrigerator for 20 to 25 minutes.
  15. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  16. Remove the apples from the refrigerator and bake them for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
  17. Allow to cool and enjoy!

Our New Halloween Family Tradition

Halloween Tradition

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!

Homemade Apple Cider Recipe

Homemade Apple Cider
INTRODUCTION

Welcome back friends! Autumn is my favorite season and while pumpkin spice has its charms, I prefer apple cider!

My family and I are starting a new Halloween tradition this year that includes drinking apple cider (check back on Friday for more details) and I thought it would be special to create our own!

Please feel free to use this recipe to create some delicious apple cider for you and yours! This cider is sweet and spiced; I used all Honeycrisp apples, but you can experiment with the combination of apples to change the flavor!

Homemade Apple Cider
HOMEMADE APPLE CIDER

INGREDIENTS

  • 10 medium apples, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cloves
  • 4 – 6 tablespoons of sugar
  • Water

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Place the apples, cinnamon, cloves and sugar into a crockpot, then add enough water to cover the apples.
  • Cover the crockpot and cook the contents on low for 6 hours.
  • Once the 6 hours have passed, use a spoon to gently crush the apples, then allow them to cook for 1 more hour.
  • Once cooked, turn off the heat and allow the contents to cool slightly.
  • Slowly ladle and strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a large pot or pitcher, then strain it a second time; discard the solids.
  • Enjoy warm or cold!

Family Friendly Halloween Children’s Books – Ages 5 and Under

Family Friendly Halloween Books

Welcome to the boo-tiful month of October my friends!

To inspire you and your little ones into the Halloween mood, I’ve curated a list of Halloween-themed books for ages five and under! These selections are festive, without frights or scares that could upset a younger audience.

There are a handful of books on this list with a reading age that start under the age of five and peak at the age of 7 or 8.

If you have a favorite Halloween book for children ages 5 and under that you do not see here, please let me know! I would love to add it to this list!

My AncestryDNA experience

Have you tried AncestryDNA or something similar? I finally treated myself to a basic AncestryDNA kit this Mother’s Day past, and it has been very enlightening, slightly surprising, and fun!

Unbeknownst to me, I am a whole lotta Scottish! I expected English and Irish, I’ve been told about relatives from those regions my whole life, but I suppose I missed the mention of any Scottish ancestors. I felt the need to create a family tree before, but now I am very enthusiastic about finding out more about our ancestors; where they came from, who they were!

So let me take you through the process…

Once purchased, they mail you a package. I strongly suggest activating your kit as soon as you open it and find the activation number. If you don’t activate your kit before sending it in, you may never get your results back!

Before you start collecting your saliva sample, make sure you don’t eat or drink anything at least 30 minutes before drooling into the test tube. Follow the instructions within the kit to submit your sample.

Once you mail it out, you can follow your progress on the AncestryDNA application or on the website, whichever is easier. They’ll send you notifications every step of the way until your results are in!

I’d love to hear about your experience with DNA testing! What were your results? How did the whole experience make you feel? 

Please let me know if you have any questions!

DIY – Felt Cookies

DIY Felt Cookies

What child (or inner child) doesn’t love preparing toy food in a play kitchen? 

I had a play kitchen when I was a little girl and loved baking cookies for myself, my sister and my parents. Now that I’m grown and have a daughter of my own, I want to make her some handcrafted play food so she can enjoy making meals for everyone during play, or while we cook in the kitchen next to her!

Please feel free to use these patterns to create some play food for you and yours! This pattern will make one circle cookie, one heart cookie, one star cookie, one triangle cookie, one square cookie and one rectangle cookie, each with frosting. I made one extra of each cookie shape so Zoey will have two of each. You can duplicate it as much as you want to make multiple pieces of each food!

SUPPLIES
  • Cookie patterns (see above) 
  • Paper scissors
  • Pale tan felt material
  • Pale blue felt material
  • Pale brown felt material
  • Dark brown felt material
  • Pale pink felt material
  • White felt material
  • Pale yellow felt material
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Embroidery floss (pale tan, pale blue, light brown, dark brown, pale pink, white)
  • Sewing needle
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Print out the cookie pattern I’ve provided, then cut the patterns from the paper.
  2. Pin the patterns on the appropriate colored felt, then use sewing scissors to cut the felt.
  3. Align and pin the pale blue circle of frosting to one half of the circle of pale tan felt, then thread pale blue embroidery floss onto your sewing needle.
  4. Begin sewing around the outer edges of the frosting using a whipstitch, concealing the first and ending knots underneath the layer of cookie.
  5. One at a time, thread three of the other colors of embroidery floss onto your needle and create randomized stitches within the frosting to make sprinkles. Conceal the first and ending knots of each color underneath the layer of cookie.
  6. Thread a sewing needle with pale tan embroidery floss and pin the bottom cookie layer over the stitching on the back of the frosted top half. 
  7. Using a whipstitch, begin sewing around the edges of the circle cookie, concealing the first knot and end knot in between the layers.
  8. Align and pin the pale pink heart of frosting to one half of the heart of pale tan felt, then thread pale pink embroidery floss onto your sewing needle.
  9. Begin sewing around the outer edges of the frosting using a whipstitch, concealing the first and ending knots underneath the layer of cookie.
  10. One at a time, thread three of the other colors of embroidery floss onto your needle and create randomized stitches within the frosting to make sprinkles. Conceal the first and ending knots of each color underneath the layer of cookie.
  11. Thread a sewing needle with pale tan embroidery floss and pin the bottom cookie layer over the stitching on the back of the frosted top half. 
  12. Using a whipstitch, begin sewing around the edges of the heart cookie, concealing the first knot and end knot in between the layers.
  13. Align and pin the pale yellow star of frosting to one half of the star of pale tan felt, then thread pale yellow embroidery floss onto your sewing needle.
  14. Begin sewing around the outer edges of the frosting using a whipstitch, concealing the first and ending knots underneath the layer of cookie.
  15. One at a time, thread three of the other colors of embroidery floss onto your needle and create randomized stitches within the frosting to make sprinkles. Conceal the first and ending knots of each color underneath the layer of cookie.
  16. Thread a sewing needle with pale tan embroidery floss and pin the bottom cookie layer over the stitching on the back of the frosted top half. 
  17. Using a whipstitch, begin sewing around the edges of the star cookie, concealing the first knot and end knot in between the layers.
  18. Align and pin the white triangle of frosting to one half of the triangle of pale tan felt, then thread white embroidery floss onto your sewing needle.
  19. Begin sewing around the outer edges of the frosting using a whipstitch, concealing the first and ending knots underneath the layer of cookie.
  20. One at a time, thread three of the other colors of embroidery floss onto your needle and create randomized stitches within the frosting to make sprinkles. Conceal the first and ending knots of each color underneath the layer of cookie.
  21. Thread a sewing needle with pale tan embroidery floss and pin the bottom cookie layer over the stitching on the back of the frosted top half. 
  22. Using a whipstitch, begin sewing around the edges of the triangle cookie, concealing the first knot and end knot in between the layers.
  23. Align and pin the dark brown square of frosting to one half of the square of pale tan felt, then thread dark brown embroidery floss onto your sewing needle.
  24. Begin sewing around the outer edges of the frosting using a whipstitch, concealing the first and ending knots underneath the layer of cookie.
  25. One at a time, thread three of the other colors of embroidery floss onto your needle and create randomized stitches within the frosting to make sprinkles. Conceal the first and ending knots of each color underneath the layer of cookie.
  26. Thread a sewing needle with pale tan embroidery floss and pin the bottom cookie layer over the stitching on the back of the frosted top half. 
  27. Using a whipstitch, begin sewing around the edges of the square cookie, concealing the first knot and end knot in between the layers.
  28. Align and pin the pale brown rectangle of frosting to one half of the rectangle of pale tan felt, then thread pale brown embroidery floss onto your sewing needle.
  29. Begin sewing around the outer edges of the frosting using a whipstitch, concealing the first and ending knots underneath the layer of cookie.
  30. One at a time, thread three of the other colors of embroidery floss onto your needle and create randomized stitches within the frosting to make sprinkles. Conceal the first and ending knots of each color underneath the layer of cookie.
  31. Thread a sewing needle with pale tan embroidery floss and pin the bottom cookie layer over the stitching on the back of the frosted top half. 
  32. Using a whipstitch, begin sewing around the edges of the rectangle cookie, concealing the first knot and end knot in between the layers.
  33. Enjoy!

DIY – Felt Pizza

DIY Felt Pizza

What child (or inner child) doesn’t love preparing toy food in a play kitchen? 

I had a play kitchen when I was a little girl and loved preparing pizza for myself, my sister and my parents. Now that I’m grown and have a daughter of my own, I want to make her some handcrafted play food so she can enjoy making meals for everyone during play, or while we cook in the kitchen next to her!

Please feel free to use these patterns to create some play food for you and yours! This pattern will make four slices of pizza with sauce and cheese. Toppings include 4 slices of bell pepper, 4 slices of mushroom, 12 slices of pepperoni, and 6 slices of olives. You can duplicate it as much as you want to make multiple pieces of each food!

SUPPLIES
  • Pizza patterns (see above) 
  • Paper scissors
  • Light tan felt material
  • Red felt material
  • Dark red felt material
  • White felt material
  • Off-white felt material
  • Green felt material
  • Black felt material
  • Stuffing
  • Sewing pins
  • Sewing scissors
  • Sewing needle
  • Embroidery floss (light tan, red, dark red, white, off-white, green, and black)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Print out the pizza patterns I’ve provided and cut them from the paper.
  2. Place the patterns on the appropriate colored felt and pin them in place, then use sewing scissors to cut out the felt pieces.
  3. Align and pin the two halves of pizza crust together and thread light tan embroidery floss onto your sewing needle. Then, with a pencil, lightly sketch a curved line along and about 1/2 inch in from the arc of the crust.
  4. Starting to one side of the pizza slice’s point, whipstitch along that edge and the top arc of the crust, stopping at the far end of the arc and setting that thread aside for a moment.
  5. From the open edge of the pizza slice, use a running stitch along the pencil line to seal off the crust, concealing the first and ending knot between the layers, then use a little stuffing to inflate. 
  6. Pick up the previous thread and continue stitching down the remaining side of the pizza slice, concealing the end knot in between the layers.
  7. Repeat steps 3 through 6 to create the three other pizza slices.
  8. Align and pin the two halves of pizza sauce together and thread red embroidery floss onto your sewing needle.
  9. Begin sewing around the edges of your pizza sauce using a whipstitch, concealing the first knot and ending knot in between the layers.
  10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 to create the three other pizza sauces.
  11. Align and pin the two halves of cheese together and thread off-white embroidery floss onto your sewing needle.
  12. Begin sewing around the edges of your cheese using a whipstitch, concealing the first knot and ending knot in between the layers.
  13. Repeat steps 11 and 12 to create the three other cheeses.
  14. Align and pin the two halves of bell pepper together and thread green embroidery floss onto your sewing needle.
  15. Begin sewing around the outer and then inner edges of your bell pepper using a whipstitch, concealing the first knot and ending knot in between the layers.
  16. Repeat steps 14 and 15 to create the rest of the bell pepper pieces.
  17. Align and pin the two halves of mushroom together and thread white embroidery floss onto your sewing needle.
  18. Begin sewing around the edges of your mushroom using a whipstitch, concealing the first knot and ending knot in between the layers.
  19. Repeat steps 17 and 18 to create the rest of the mushroom pieces.
  20. Align and pin the two halves of pepperoni together and thread dark red embroidery floss onto your sewing needle.
  21. Begin sewing around the edges of your pepperoni using a whipstitch, concealing the first knot and ending knot in between the layers.
  22. Repeat steps 20 and 21 to create the rest of the pepperoni pieces.
  23. Align and pin the two halves of olive together and thread black embroidery floss onto your sewing needle.
  24. Begin sewing around the outer and then inner edges of your olive using a whipstitch, concealing the first knot and ending knot in between the layers.
  25. Repeat steps 23 and 24 to create the rest of the olive pieces.
  26. Enjoy!
DIY Felt Pizza
DIY Felt Pizza

DIY – Felt Sandwich

DIY Felt Sandwich

What child (or inner child) doesn’t love preparing toy food in a play kitchen? 

I had a play kitchen when I was a little girl and loved preparing sandwiches for myself, my sister and my parents. Now that I’m grown and have a daughter of my own, I want to make her some handcrafted play food so she can enjoy making meals for everyone during play, or while we cook in the kitchen next to her!

Please feel free to use these patterns to create some play food for you and yours! This pattern will make two slices of bread, a slice of American cheese, a slice of Swiss cheese, a slice of provolone cheese, a slice of deli meat, a lettuce leaf, two slices of tomato, two onion rings, two slices of pickle, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, peanut butter and jelly. I made an extra slice of deli meat and an extra (darker) leaf of lettuce. You can duplicate it as much as you want to make multiple pieces of each food!

SUPPLIES
  • Sandwich patterns (see above) 
  • Paper scissors
  • Light tan felt material
  • Light brown felt material 
  • Green felt material
  • Vibrant green felt material
  • Pale pink felt material
  • Purple felt material
  • Red felt material
  • Dark red felt material
  • White felt material
  • Off-white felt material
  • Yellow felt material
  • Dark yellow felt material
  • Vibrant yellow felt material
  • Stuffing
  • Sewing pins
  • Sewing scissors
  • Sewing needle
  • Embroidery floss (light brown, green, light green, vibrant green, pale pink, purple, red, dark red, white, off-white, yellow, dark yellow and vibrant yellow)
  • Hot glue gun
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Print out the sandwich patterns I’ve provided and cut them from the paper.
  2. Place the patterns on the appropriate colored felt and pin them in place, then use sewing scissors to cut out the felt pieces.
  3. Align the two pieces of bread crust onto one another and thread your sewing needle with light brown embroidery floss. Whipstitch one of the shorter sides together, then pull open the strips to reveal what will be the dip in the top center of the bread.
  4. Align the joined point of the bread crusts to the dip in the top of one half of the bread slice and begin to whipstitch around and down one side to attach. When you reach the bottom center, stop and tie it off. Begin at the top dip again and whipstitch down the other side of the bread until the two halves of crust meet, then tie it off. Within the piece of bread, join the two ends of the bread crust together and stitch them for reinforcement.
  5. Lay the other half of the bread slice over the bread crust and whipstitch all the way around the bread, stopping 2/3 of the way around to insert stuffing, then complete the bread slice and conceal the knot between layers.
  6. Repeat steps 3 through 5 to create the second slice of bread.
  7. Align and pin the two halves of American cheese together and thread dark yellow embroidery floss onto your sewing needle.
  8. Begin sewing around the edges of your American cheese using a whipstitch, concealing the first knot and ending knot in between the layers.
  9. Align and pin the two halves of Swiss cheese together and thread yellow embroidery floss onto your sewing needle.
  10. Begin sewing around the edges and inside the holes of your Swiss cheese using a whipstitch, concealing the first knot and ending knot in between the layers.
  11. Align and pin the two halves of provolone cheese together and thread off-white embroidery floss onto your sewing needle.
  12. Begin sewing around the edges of your provolone cheese using a whipstitch, concealing the first knot and ending knot in between the layers.
  13. Align and pin the two halves of deli meat together and thread pale pink embroidery floss onto your sewing needle.
  14. Begin sewing around the edges of your deli meat using a whipstitch, concealing the first knot and ending knot in between the layers.
  15. Thread your sewing needle with light green embroidery floss and create the veins on each half of the the lettuce using a backstitch. Check before you begin to make ensure your stitches and knots will be concealed between the two halves.
  16. Align and pin the two halves of lettuce together and thread green embroidery floss onto your sewing needle.
  17. Begin sewing around the edges of your lettuce using a whipstitch, concealing the first knot and ending knot in between the layers.
  18. Align and pin the two red halves of tomato (with the dark red base in between them) together and thread red embroidery floss onto your sewing needle.
  19. Begin sewing around the edges of your tomato using a whipstitch, concealing the first knot and ending knot in between the layers.
  20. Use small dabs from the hot glue gun to secure down the inner ridges of the tomato.
  21. Repeat steps 18 through 20 to create the second tomato slice.
  22. Align and pin the two different onion rings together and thread white embroidery floss onto your sewing needle.
  23. Begin sewing around and over the white ring of the onion using a whipstitch and concealing the first and ending knots between the layers.
  24. Repeat steps 22 and 24 to create the second onion ring.
  25. Align and pin the two halves of the pickle (with the dark green base in between them) together and thread vibrant green embroidery floss onto your sewing needle.
  26. Begin sewing around the vibrant green of your pickle using a whipstitch, concealing the first knot and ending knot in between the layers.
  27. Align and pin the two halves of ketchup together and thread dark red embroidery floss onto your sewing needle.
  28. Begin sewing around the edges of your ketchup using a whipstitch, concealing the first knot and ending knot in between the layers.
  29. Align and pin the two halves of mayonnaise together and thread white embroidery floss onto your sewing needle.
  30. Begin sewing around the edges of your mayonnaise using a whipstitch, concealing the first knot and ending knot in between the layers.
  31. Align and pin the two halves of mustard together and thread vibrant yellow embroidery floss onto your sewing needle.
  32. Begin sewing around the edges of your mustard using a whipstitch, concealing the first knot and ending knot in between the layers.
  33. Align and pin the two halves of peanut butter together and thread light brown embroidery floss onto your sewing needle.
  34. Begin sewing around the edges of your peanut butter using a whipstitch, concealing the first knot and ending knot in between the layers.
  35. Align and pin the two halves of grape jelly together and thread purple embroidery floss onto your sewing needle.
  36. Begin sewing around the edges of your grape jelly using a whipstitch, concealing the first knot and ending knot in between the layers.
  37. Enjoy!
DIY Felt Sandwich
DIY Felt Sandwich