Category: favorite things

Favorite Halloween Party Food Ideas

Halloween prep is in full swing around here. You guys, I LOVE Halloween. Our annual Halloween Bash is coming up in a couple of weeks so I am determined to get this place looking spooky. The food, though? That may be my favorite part. Here are a few of my favorite Halloween Party food ideas that I’m loving at the moment…

Five of my favorite Halloween Party food ideas!

  1. Slushy Punch Recipe – I love this! This is such a visually fun way to serve a Halloween punch to kiddos for a party.  I am totally adding this to our Halloween party this year.

Halloween party punch made the list of my favorite Halloween Party Food Ideas

2. Halloween Monster Apples – Fun and kid friendly apple treat for Halloween. I think my kids are going to love giving these a try! Not the scariest on the list of my favorite Halloween party food ideas but definitely one of the most colorful!

Halloween monster apple treat made the list of my favorite Halloween Party Food Ideas

3. Jack the Pumpkin King Pie – I wish I knew who to give credit to for this awesome idea but my Pinterest pin is a dead link. This is so cool! I think I may actually give this a try closer to Halloween with my favorite pot pie recipe for a spooky dinner treat!

Jack the Pumpkin King Pie made the list of my favorite Halloween Party Food Ideas

4. Avocado and Wasabi Deviled Eggs – WHAT?! A creepy deviled egg? Yes please. My kids love them some deviled eggs. Probably harkens back to the days when we were overrun with chickens in the backyard and more eggs than we knew what to do with. But, these look too fun not to try.

Halloween Appetizer Deviled Eggs made the list of my favorite Halloween Party Food Ideas

5. Creepy Brain Dip – This one is grown-up friendly, right? Classy-ish? I mean, as far as Halloween appetizers go it seems to be a good option. And I am always looking for an excuse to break out the $10 brain jello mold that I never seem to use. (Am I the only one who hates to make Jell-O? Ugh.)

Halloween appetizer cheese dip brains made the list of my favorite Halloween Party Food Ideas

Looking for more fun Halloween ideas? Check out my Pinterest board full of Halloween inspiration!

 

Songs of Innocence

When voices of children are heard on the green
And laughing is heard on the hill,
My heart is at rest within my breast
And everything else is still

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Then come home my children the sun is gone down
And the dews of night arise
Come come leave off play, and let us away
Till the morning appears in the skies

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No no let us play, for it is yet day
And we cannot go to sleep
Besides in the sky, the little birds fly
And the hills are all covered with sheep

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Well well go & play till the light fades away
And then go home to bed
The little ones leaped & shouted & laugh’d
And all the hills echoed

-William Blake, “Nurse’s Song (Innocence)”

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The Ordinary Life.

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I always have big plans for summer. Somewhere around March or April I start dreaming of what our days will be like. Long lazy trips to the pool with PB&J picnics on towels in the sun. Book after book after book marked off our summer reading list. Day trips and field trips and endless adventures. Maybe a weekend or two sneaking away to some seaside location.

The truth of summer always disappoints me a little. It’s not that we don’t enjoy it. It’s just that it never quite lives up to my hype and I spend most of August feeling guilty for not providing a more magical Pinterest-worthy, Instagram beautiful summer.

I’ve become so much more aware of how quickly time is moving. Kai is 12 and there are fewer summers home with us ahead of her than there are behind her and I feel an urgency to make them all count. Life moves so quickly and I find it so hard to cherish the moment I am in and seem to spend so much time wishing I had savoring the moments that have passed.

I’m working on being mindful of my present moment. I’m working to put my phone down, stop worrying so much about things being perfect, and start appreciating those seemingly mundane experiences together as a family. Because those are the memories my kids seem to love the most.

We moved a few years ago from the house we had spent most of the kids’ lives in. It was a cute quaint retro ranch when we bought it and it turned into a bit of a money pit that, in the last couple years we lived there, had no heat and no air and a basement full of mold. It took our kids nearly a year to stop crying about not living there at least once a week. And to this day they all have the fondest memories of that place. When I remind them that the house didn’t have heat they say, “But it was so fun to cuddle by the fire together.” When I remind them that it didn’t have air conditioning they say, “But that meant we got to eat popsicles on the couch all summer.” They don’t remember a single bad thing about that house. It occurred to me this summer that if they could cherish those memories of a too small house with so many discomforts that they will probably remember the mediocre summers we have with great fondness as well. It doesn’t take a whole lot to make a wonderful memory. It takes time spent together, a willingness to be present in the moment, and a whole lot of love.

When my kids look back on Summer 2016 they won’t have fantastic and exotic adventures to relive. But they will remember:

*Nights spent catching fireflies and listening to live music under the stars at Matilda’s.

*Eating blackberries and blueberries straight from the bushes until our stomachs were full and our faces were stained with juice.

*Days spent snuggled on the couch under quilts watching our favorite Netflix shows together.

*A Fourth of July weekend spent in the country with their grandparents splashing in a cheapo plastic kiddie pool.

*A weekend visit with a special Hawaiian cousin and a night spent camping out on the living room floor with her.

*Days spent playing throughout the neighborhood with their best friends.

*Countless kisses on sweaty heads and skinned knees.

It doesn’t really matter if these moments were glamorous. Because they will likely grow up to view these things through their own magical sepia toned filter. As adults, its the ordinary childhood moments that always feel more fantastic in hindsight. I know that is certainly true for me. As a kid I did get the chance to travel a lot and spent a lot of my childhood adventuring across most of the country on road trips. We took fun trips and made great memories. But one summer memory always stands out in my mind. My sister and I spent our days playing all over our family’s 8+ acres of land most days and getting into as much outdoor trouble as we could. One particular day we found what had to be the biggest mud pit we had ever seen in our lives. We spent what felt like hours playing in the mud. We jumped in it and rolled in it and threw it at each other.  I know for a fact that neither of us even once worried what our parents would say. We finally showed up on the doorstep for dinner fully clothed and covered from head to toe in the worst smelling mud you can imagine. I will never forget my mom’s face when she saw us and realized we had been playing in the septic tank drain field all day. Turns out our greatest adventure was actually a big field of sewage. Seriously.

And that, my friends, is one of my favorite childhood memories. Swimming in a pool of crap for an afternoon. And I guess I only share that to remind myself (and all of us parents) that if I can grow up and cherish a memory of playing in the grey water of a septic drain field then surely my kids will be able to grow up and cherish these less than picture perfect summers.

So, I’ve decided to cut myself some slack on my stress over memory making. Because ordinary and special don’t have to be opposites. We make memories every day. And some of them will be extraordinary once-in-a-lifetime adventures. And some of them will be moments spent discovering a new favorite movie on Netflix. And all of them will be special.

Even the ones spent covered in crap.

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This post has been shared at Thank Goodness It’s Monday at Nourishing Joy.

Summer.

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It’s firefly catching time again. The southern Summer heat has wrapped around our city like a hot wet blanket and the sun has come out to play for longer hours each evening. And as dusk descends the landscape is peppered with the blinking lights of mating fireflies.

My kids, bug haters on any other day of the year, squeal with glee and run to get jars to trap these flying twinkles of light. They place them gently and lovingly into their clear glass jars. They watch them. And marvel at them. And treasure them. And as they do I watch these children of mine and cherish their unadulterated happiness at such treasures.

Tonight my bed is filled with children. Grass-stained elbows and feet poke me in the ribs. A sweaty head rests against their daddy’s shoulder. Our queen size bed is filled with three little ones and two adults while the older girls slumber on the floor. It’s summer concert season and they have fallen asleep the minute their head hit their pillows. Saturday nights we head down the road to Alpharetta’s best kept secret, an outdoor concert venue with folk art and picnics and local bands and hippies all around. The kids play in the field with glow-sticks and hula hoops forming friendships for the night while the adults sit on colorful quilts drinking wine and enjoying the art of doing nothing.

It is nights like this that I hope my children remember when they have families of their own. It is nights like this that I will carry into my old age like a tender package. Despite my sometimes grouchy complaints to the contrary, when kids fall asleep in our room with their hands and faces stained with watermelon and their bare feet dark with the dirt of a well-worn field I am filled with so much beauty that I nearly suffocate from the weight of it.

On these nights, I run to capture the perfection of these moments and imprison them in jars in my memory where I will cherish them forever. These are my summer fireflies. And they fill me with such joy and and wonder. On the days when my living room is a mess and my four-year-old loses her gum only to find it minutes later in her hair it is these moments I call upon to remind me how thankful I am for this crazy life.

 

For remembering.

There are days when things around this place are crazy. Days when it gets so chaotic I wonder how I’ll stay sane until bedtime. But those aren’t the days I’ll remember in 5, 10, 15, 20 years. These are the days I’ll cherish…

Snowmageddon 2011

Snowmageddon 2011.

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Ringing in the New Year with Friends.

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That (sometimes) rare moment when sisters aren’t fighting.

What memories are you vowing to cherish today?

A few of my favorite things…

1. Keepers at Home: Thanks to Dawn I’ve been introduced to this cool program that combines Girl Scouts, 4-H & life skills for girls. I’m starting a group with the girls and we’re going to be learning cool new skills. I’m totally excited!

2. Food, Inc. This documentary is amazing. Thomas and I watched it last week and it has completely changed the way I’m looking at food. I picked up Michael Pollan’s Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, too, and although we haven’t totally given up processed food (it’s only been a week!) we’re definitely reading labels more carefully and buying organic whenever possible. It’s going to be a long process but I’m excited about feeding my family better foods.

3. Girl Scout Cookies: Okay, this probably seems ridiculous after what I said above but if I cut out bad food everywhere else then I can eat Girl Scout cookies without too much guilt, right? Kai has been selling cookies this year and set a goal for herself of 500 boxes. That’s a lot of boxes for a 5-year-old. And that means selling Girl Scout Cookies has become my new job.

4. Savoring my offline time with the kids: I haven’t been blogging and Twittering as much lately because I’m just enjoying spending time with my kids in real time. If there was one thing I heard over and over from my girls lately it was, “Please don’t get on your computer.” or “You’re always on your computer!” The tipping point was when we were discussing a trip to Disney and Kai said, “But when we go there are no computers allowed.” I decided to finally start listening to what they were saying. And I’m trying to get online primarily when they’re asleep. It’s a change we’re all enjoying.

5. This cupcake icing smile. Really, what’s not to love?

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A few of my favorite things…

With the holidays just around the corner I’ve been shopping Etsy again. ‘Cause, y’all, I love me some Etsy. Seriously, I’m becoming just slightly obsessed with the cool things I’m finding on there. Here are a few of my new favorites…

I love the look of this felt magnetic alphabet set from Etsy seller MiChiMa and I’m thinking it would be a really great addition to the homeschool room. Anytime I can avoid colored plastic and have something cute and educational I consider it a win.

I found this double-sided wool playmat from Etsy seller MuddyFeet when I was looking for some cool things for the girls for Christmas and I just had to share it. I think it is too adorable. I’m a sucker for woodland themed toys and gnomes and faeries so the look of this little set made me want to sit down and play with it.

Now, enough about the kids. It’s time for my favorite things for me. Thomas has kind of gotten me into the whole Steampunk aesthetic lately and so I’m loving this necklace by Etsy seller birdzNbeez. It’s so pretty, feminine and unique. I think it’s totally adorable.

It’s funny how much I love the jewelry on Etsy considering aside from my really simple wedding band there is almost no jewelry I wear. Ever. Mostly because I’m lucky to be able to take a shower most days let alone pull out my fun jewelry. But, still I love to look at jewelry. And I think this braille necklace from Etsy seller Celula is really fun and would be a really cool Christmas present for someone who likes unique and different things. You can have it personalized with your (or your friend/relative/favorite blogger’s) name in braille. So cool.

So, there you have it. My new favorite Etsy finds. Do you have any to share?

A few of my favorite things…

Whether you’re hosting a Thanksgiving Warm-up of your own or your hosting the “real” Turkey day at your house, here are a few cool Etsy finds for things to make your party special.

Eco-Friendly Tree Branch Holders & Place Cards by A Remark You Made.

“Be Thankful” Fabric Banner by Simple Whimsey.

Vintage Pilgrim Salt & Pepper Shakers from Ruth’s Attic.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving finds?

A few of my favorite things…

I’ve mentioned I love Halloween, right? One reason why is that there is seemingly no end to the cool crafts you can make on Halloween. Here are a few of my favorite Fall/Halloween kids’ crafts from the internets…

Pumpkin Patch Creatures (above) from Martha Stewart are such a fun alternative to pumpkin carving. We’ll definitely be trying these!

No Time for Flash Cards came up with the most adorable and easy spider cookies ever. The best part? There’s no baking involved.

The Crafty Crow featured these fun (edible) monsters on a stick from Little Nummies. I can’t wait to try these with the girls!

Motherhood Rising has a great Skull lacing craft that my kids are going to love.

And don’t miss this precious Halloween paper doll printable from Babalisme. It’s easy, free, and too cute for words!

Those are a few of my favorites this year. What are your favorite Halloween craft ideas?

A few of my favorite things…

I spend an obscene totally reasonable and healthy amount of time online during the week. So, I thought I’d take Fridays and share my favorite links from around the blogosphere.

Like the rest of the world I have developed quite an Etsy addiction. And I’m only joking a little when I say that I wish they would make it just a little bit harder to buy things on their site. Because a shopaholic like me doesn’t need it to be too easy for her to buy stuff.

So, this week I had to share my most recent favorite Etsy finds. These two things are hands-down my favorite geeky baby presents for the Star Wars fan in your life. In fact, we bought both for our friends Dewde & Dewdette who are expecting a little boy in December. Of course, I couldn’t resist picking them up for Traveler, too!

The first is a knitted Yoda hat for winter. Oh my gosh, I can’t even tell you how much I love this hat. Traveler has already worn his out on a cool & rainy day because I was looking for any excuse to put it on him. It was a huge hit in public and he looked adorable. In fact, he is totally going as Yoda for Halloween this year.

Adorable Yoda Hat from PrettyPeapods Etsy store

Adorable Yoda Hat from PrettyPeapod's Etsy store

And what budding Yoda would be complete without a baby-sized green light saber? When I stumbled upon this knitted light saber from Carbonscoring’s Etsy store I knew I’d struck gold. You’re guaranteed to be the only person at the baby shower with this gem! And the cool thing is they also offer other colors or the pattern itself in case you’re more of a DIY Star Wars knitting geek. So awesome.

Baby-sized knitted light saber from Carbonscorings Etsy store

Baby-sized knitted light saber from Carbonscoring's Etsy store

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