Adorable Franken-Mallow Halloween treats

halloween-treatsAnyone that knows me knows that Halloween really isn’t my favorite holiday. I’m not thrilled with the idea of children running through the streets on a sugar high asking strangers to “trick” them. I’m not sure about you, but I spend the other 364 days in a year teaching my kid not to talk to strangers – and certainly not to take candy from them! That said, it seems unfair to deny her the chance to dress like a unicorn and parade around town in all her glory, especially as the other kids are walking past the house with buckets full of cavity-starters.

This year, there have also been a lot of “scary” clown sightings nearby, so the city has put a time limit on trick-or-treating. It’s only allowed between 5-7 pm. That’s perfectly fine by us. We plan to trick-or-treat a few stores in the shopping plaza and then come home, make our own treats, and watch Halloween cartoons.

We want to make something tasty, fast. and fun. I think these Franken-mallows fit the bill nicely! Aren’t they abso-freaking-lutely adorable? They’re super easy to make too. Here’s how.

  • Square Marshmallows
  • Green Food Dye
  • White Melting Chocolate
  • Candy Eyes
  • Black Gel Icing
1.       Begin by put your square marshmallows on skewers and trimming the stick if need be.
2.       Next, melt your chocolate however you desire. I used the microwave which only takes seconds. Follow the directions for the chocolate you purchased.
3.       Add 3-5 drops of green food coloring to the chocolate and mix. Do this quickly as the chocolate will begin to harden.
4.       Begin spooning the green chocolate over the top of each marshmallow, one at a time until it’s completely coated.
5.       Lay on a pan covered in wax paper.
6.       Immediately place two eyes on the marshmallows while the chocolate is still wet.
7.       Once cool and the chocolate is dry, use your icing to draw the hair (squiggly lines that are filled in) and the mouth (one straight line with three straight lines through the first line).
Easy as pie, right? They’re pretty tasty, too!
franken-mallow halloween treats
Do you plan on trick or treating this year? Does your town have a curfew?

10 Tips for Keeping Cool in Summer Heat

Cold drink on high temperature, summertime

It’s funny how we find ourselves pining away for summer all winter long, but then when it finally gets here, many of us start to complain that we’re too hot. Temperatures don’t have to be up into the triple digits for us to be hot, either – all they need to be is warmer than what we’re used to for us to feel uncomfortable.

It’s especially important for children and the elderly as well as people with diabetes or heart conditions to keep cool. Following are some tips to beat the summer heat without turning on the air conditioner.

  1. Don’t pick the hottest day of the year to do all of your outdoor activities. Stay in the shade whenever possible. The yard work can wait for a cooler day.
  2. Stay hydrated. Drink as much water as you think you need, and then drink more. By the time you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Different doctors and health organizations have different ideas about the recommended amount of water you should drink in a day, but in general, it’s more than you think. Ask your doctor what he or she recommends.
  3. Eat spicy foods. Spicy foods will make you perspire, and therefore you’ll be cooler. Feel free to break out the jalapeno peppers, but eat them in small amounts. The more food you eat, the harder your body will have to work to digest it, and that can be counterproductive.
  4. Cold treats are your friend! Stock up on ice pops, ice cream, and make sure you have plenty of ice cubes for water!
  5. Give yourself regular breaks. If you’re feeling overheated, take a quick break from whatever activity you’re doing and resume it when you cool off a little bit. Bonus points if you sit in front of a fan for a few minutes.
  6. Dress in light colored clothing. Dark clothing attracts heat, so that black tank top will feel warmer than a white T-shirt with more coverage.
  7. Have some water fun. If you don’t have a pool in your yard, you can use a community pool, a nearby splash pad, or a local lake or beach. If for some reason none of those are an option, you can also get water relief with a garden hose, a sprinkler, or your shower. Dipping your feet in a bucket full of cool water will even do the trick.
  8. Soak your hat in cool water and put it on your head. Then soak a towel and put it on your shoulders, neck, and arms.
  9. Keep your pulse points cool. Holding an ice pack on your ankles and the back of your knees for a few minutes and running cool water on your wrists will help cool off your entire body.
  10. Avoid alcohol. Sure, sitting poolside with a fruity umbrella drink is the reason summer exists, but alcohol on super hot days will just dehydrate you. Consequently, you’ll feel even hotter (not be confused with the kind of hot that people think they are when they’ve had too much alcohol!)

These are just a few of the many tips to keep cool in hotter weather. Depending on your personal situation, you may have your own. Feel free to share them with us in the comments!



20 Terrific Teacher Gifts


Teacher gifts are one of the most difficult gifts to buy, since we don’t usually know much about their likes and dislikes. To top it off, many parents need to buy gifts for more than one teacher, so finding something cute and memorable that won’t break the bank is important. We really liked the following choices, and at the time of this writing, they were all under $15 on Amazon. Hurry, though – Amazon changes their prices frequently!

  1. Teacher Coffee Mug

2. #1 Teacher Appreciation 20 oz. Acrylic Travel Sippy Cup with Straw

3. “I’m A Teacher, What’s Your SuperPower?” 12oz Coffee Mug

4. Teacher Bracelet

5. What If There Were No Teachers?: A Gift Book for Teachers and Those Who Wish to Celebrate Them

6. Teacher Office Desk Name Plate or Door Sign

7. Teacher Bangle Bracelet

8. “Best Teacher” Polymer Travel Mug

9. Gift Boxed Teacher Wisdom Inspire Expressively Yours Bracelet

10. It Takes a Big Heart to Teach Little Minds Keychain

11. Teaching Is A Work Of Heart Teacher’s Coffee Mug With Gift Box

12. Golden Apple Stress Ball

13. Keep Calm and Teach On Journal for Teachers

14. Teacher Basket

15. Teacher Appreciation Gift Frame with Built in Easel

16. From the Heart Pink Crystal Rhinestone Heart Pendant Engraved with TEACHER Gift Boxed

17. Teacher Travel Mug with Card

18. Teacher Stretch Charm Bracelet

19. CafePress Teacher Appreciation Tote Bag

20. Excellent Teacher Tote Bag

How about you? Do you have a tough time coming up with teacher gifts? What are some of your favorite ideas?

35 Upcycling Ideas for Earth Day

25 Upcycling Projects for Earth Day Blank

Happy Earth Day!

One of the easiest ways to take care of the Earth and preserve our natural resources is to recycle, or the popular variation, upcycle. I love finding new uses for old things, and so do many other bloggers! Take a look at some of these amazing upcycling ideas!

1. Build a Birdhouse
2. How to make simple Recycled CD Spinning Tops
3. Upcycled Bud Vase
4. DIY Princess Hair Tye Holder
5. Upcycled Suitcase Table
6. DIY Wine Glass Candle Holders
7. How I Made 9 Srafts From one Pair of Old Overalls
8. Upcycled Blue Jeans Bowl
9. UPCYCLED & REPURPOSED CRAFT: Mason Jar Lid Jewelry Dish
10. Cereal Box Up-cycle: DIY Magazine Holder
11. Upcycled Container Gardens
12. Simple Upcycled Centerpieces
13. DIY Easy Kids Craft Bird House from a Milk Carton
14. Upcycled Button Wall Decor
15. Wine Cork Napkin Rings
16. Repurposed Lego Earrings
17. DIY Upcycled Ring Holder (From an Air Freshener Cone)
18. Kids Decoupage Craft Idea: A teacher gift
19. Upcycled T-Shirt Strip Headband {STEP-BY-STEP TUTORIAL}
20. No Sew Toddler Shirt Upcycle: Hair Wrap & Leg Warmers
21. DIY Pallet Sign
22. Upcycle T Shirts Into Super Cute Scarfs
23. Make a Carryall for Kids With a Recycled Cereal Box
24. Upcycle DIY: No Sew, Turn An Old Tank Top Into A Little Girls Sundress
25. How to Make Your Own Bear Rug
26. DIY One of A Kind Oil & Vinegar Dispensers
27. DIY Quick & Easy Chair Upcycle {Step-by-Step Tutorial}
28. DIY Denim Flowers
29. Upcycled Mouse Pad
30. Spill Proof Dog Bowl Recycled Tire DIY
31. DIY Upcycled Twine Vase
32. Cork Character Magnets
33. Office Organizer
34. Easy Upcycled Picture Frame
35. DIY K-Cup Tissue Paper Flower

Firing up the blog again…Happy New Year!

So, I’m firing up the blog again.

Don’t ask me why. I’m not sure why I’ve been feeling the need to.

I’ve learned a few lessons over the years, though, and this blog is being totally revamped this year.

Because I don’t want to write 400 words for every post. Sometimes I can say whatever it is that I need to say in a few short sentences. (67 words so far).

Because I’m not going to write about stupid stuff I don’t care about.

Because I have a million things in my head that I really want to get out.

Because I am on a mission to be in better shape at the beginning of 2017 than I am now, and maybe blogging will help that in some way. Probably not.

Because I might want to write about Days of Our Lives sometimes. No one sings and there are no princesses involved. (You don’t have to watch DOOL to continue reading this blog for other reasons. Go watch Dr. Who Cares. To each his own.)

Because blogging is like everything else to me. Once there are a bunch of rules, it’s no longer fun. Which is why I stopped in the first place.
“If you EVER want to have a successful blog, you must do XYZ. Daily.”
Well, guess what? When it becomes work, it’s not fun. I have enough work already.

FYI Any promoting will be done by a great VA (Feel free to apply at crmvirtualassistants (at) gmail (dot) com!)

So if you’re one of the 37 readers that are left after my almost two years of non-blogging, stick around, share with your friends, take up watching Days, or whatever. Let’s have some fun!

Happy New Year!

20 Adorable Easter Treats

20 Adorable Easter Treats

Spring has sprung and Easter is just around the corner. That means lots of goodies like chocolate, jelly beans and marshmallow Peeps are popping up in stores. With a little creativity, you can turn these standard holiday candies into something really special.

Surprise and delight your family and friends with these adorable Easter treats!

Flower Pot Cookies

adorable easter treats

Cadbury Skillet Brownie

Chocolate Dipped “Carrot” Strawberries

Peanut Butter Crunch Chicks

adorable easter treats

Peep S’mores

Hidden Carrot Cupcakes

Easter Bunny Bait

Hollow Chocolate Easter Eggs

adorable easter treats

Easter Peeps Cupcakes

Jellybean Tailed Peeps Pops

adorable easter treats

Rabbit Holes

adorable easter treats

Easter Bunny Cinnamon Rolls

Easter Bunny, Chick and Nest Carrot Cake Cupcakes

adorable easter treats

Easter Egg Pudding Cups

Mini Easter Cheesecakes

adorable easter treats

Easter Bunny Racers

White Chocolate Bunny Peeps

adorable easter treats

Easter Lamb Marshmallow Pops

Easter Bunny Cupcakes

Bird’s Nest Pudding Tarts

What are your favorite Easter treats?  Share them with us in the comments!

25 Scrumptious Super Bowl Party Recipes

25 Scrumptious Super Bowl Party Recipes no url

The Super Bowl appeals to two different kinds of people – sports fans and food fans.  Those of you who are in it for the food (like me!) are going to love these recipes for some of the best Super Bowl party fare ever.  The best part is that even if your team loses, you’ll still be a winner because of your amazing party food!

Bonus if you guess the winner…in all honesty, I have NO idea who’s even playing, but I know what I’ll be eating!  And I can’t wait for the halftime show!

Wanna make a winner prediction or share your favorite party recipe?  Or at least tell me who’s playing?  Feel free to add your two cents below!

1. Chili Stuffed Potato Skins
2. Smoked Tortilla Turkey Wrap with Pepper Cheese and Southwest Sauce
3. Cranberry Chipotle BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders
4. Italian Salami Sliders
5. Olive Cheese Balls
6. Chicken and Tomato Meatballs
7. Football Krispie Treats
8. Sweet Microwave Meatballs and Pepped Up Tomato Soup Shooters
9. Copycat TGI Friday Potato Skins
10. Shredded BBQ Beef
11. Roast Beef Sliders With Onion
12. Old Bay Wings
13. Crockpot Bourbon Glazed Kielbasa Bites
14. Football Cheese Ball
15. Amazing Crab Dip Stuffed Bacon Cups
16. Zesty Ham Rollups
17. Spicy Pull-Apart Bread
18. Football Shaped Meatloaf
19. Mini Hot Wing Chicken Waffle Appetizers
20. Sweet & Sour Meatballs
21. Buffalo Mozzarella Sticks
22. Mini Taco Bowl Bites
23. Simple Football Pizza Pockets
24. Inside Out Garlic Cheese Bread Bites
25. Buffalo Chicken Biscuit Poppers

What to Do With Unwanted Holiday Gifts

When the holidays are over and you’ve got a pile of ugly Christmas sweaters and a bunch of toys you would never let your kids play with, what do you do with them?

Since they were (hopefully) given with good intentions, you’d feel bad throwing them in the garbage, but seriously, that’s where that sweater with the blinking Rudolph nose belongs.  Here’s how to tactfully get rid of them.

Donate them.  There are lots of places that you can donate to.  Churches, women’s shelters, and the Salvation Army are the first to come to mind.  Someone there may absolutely love that sweater. Those are also a great place to bring toys, especially unopened ones.  You may have a problem with your daughter playing with that Barbie because you don’t like the message she sends, but another mother may think she’s absolutely beautiful.   (Note that Goodwill is a business, not a charity.  The name “Goodwill” makes you think that they are some sort of charity, but the reality is they have tricked people into giving them things for free to sell.  The money goes right into the pocket of the owner, not toward helping anyone.)  So if you want to donate to help someone in need, do it at Salvation Army.  The money they make in their stores goes toward helping people in bad situations.

Sell them.  There are so many options for this I can’t possibly get into them in one blog post, but you can sell them to consignment shops, second hand stores, and in online venues like eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook yard sale groups.  Be careful about the online options.  Only meet people in public places to sell your things.  Don’t ever give your home address or agree to meet them at their home.  Grocery store parking lots are great places to make trades.  Also, if you go the Craigslist or Online yard sale route, be prepared for no-shows. Don’t drive a half hour to sell a $5 item.  If they don’t show, you’re out your gas and time.  The best way to do it is to plan to meet at somewhere you’re already going to be.  If you’re going grocery shopping on Friday, plan to meet on Friday at that store.  You won’t be out of time and gas, and if they don’t show up, you still have another reason to be there.

Re-gift.  This probably won’t work for the Rudolph sweater unless you want to hang on to it for a year, but if your son ended up with 3 of the same action figure, it’s perfectly acceptable to re-gift them to his friends throughout the year as birthday gifts.  The same goes for other types of gifts too.  Feel free to take that As Seen On TV grilled cheese maker and give it to your mother in law for Mother’s Day (unless she’s the one who gave it to you in the first place).

Re-use them.  This is actually the option that is the most fun.  Take that sweater and turn it into something great!  Browse Pinterest and magazines for ideas.  Cut the arms off and use them for leg warmers under boots.  Take the blinking reindeer nose off and use it for a craft.  Give the rest to your cat to make a snuggly bed.

Remember that you were given these gifts because people thought you would like them.   The only way to prevent it from happening again is to gently redirect them to gifts you may like.  Send them links to things and show them what you bought and you love throughout the year.  If you’ve already tried this and Aunt Sally still brings you a horrible sweater every single year, ask her to donate in your name to your favorite charity next year.  That’s a gift you can both feel good about.

Do you get a bunch of unwanted gifts for Christmas?  What do you do with them?

25 Mouthwatering Pie Recipes

25 Mouthwatering Pie Recipes

Christmas Dinner always includes pies, and generally we make the same ones every year. How about changing things up this year a bit?

In my search for something a little less ordinary, I came across some really great recipes I never even thought of!

Since I love to share with you guys, I’ve put together a nice little list of pie recipes for you to try out. Try a couple and let us know what your favorite is.

Happy Baking!

1. Pecan Pie
2. Old Fashioned Apple Pie
3. Caramel Apple Pie
4. Lemon Sour Cream Pie
5. Classic Southern Chocolate Pie
6. Nutella Chocolate Cream Pie – I can’t wait to try this one!
7. Homemade Baker’s Square French Silk Pie
8. Peanut Butter Pie
9. Apple Streusel Pie
10. Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie
11. Coconut Pumpkin Pudding Pie
12. Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie – Can you believe that something so delicious even exists?
13. Upside Down Butterscotch Apple Pie
14. Dulce de Leche Apple Pie
15. Easy Plum Pie
16. Raspberry Peach Pie with Cream Cheese
17. Swedish Apple Cranberry Pie
18. Magic Cream Pie
19. Fresh Strawberry Pie – Wish I didn’t live in NY.  I know some of you still have fresh strawberries!
20. Chocolate Chess Pie
21. Shortcut Blueberry Cheesecake Pie
22. Candy Apple Pie
23. Sweet Potato Pie
24. Perfect Pumpkin Pie – Perfectly Classic.
25. Lemon Chiffon Pie

The great Santa debate – do you deliberately lie to your kids?

So today I took my daughter to see Santa at the grocery store, where the middle child works, and the middle child was helping out Santa.  How cool is that?

She wouldn't let me take her picture...can't imagine why not!

She wouldn’t let me take her picture…can’t imagine why not!

Visit With Santa 2

After visiting Santa, the kids get to go to the bakery and make their own cupcakes.

Anyway, I was talking to someone the other day who said that her son asked her not to bring presents from Santa for her granddaughter on Christmas, because she is 5 and no longer believes in him.  He doesn’t want her to think of her grandparents as liars.  He wants his daughter to know the presents are from grandma and grandpa.

I have another friend who has a son in 5th grade that still believes in Santa, as do all of his friends.

I asked my older daughters, and they said that the first year they were on a school bus they were told by other kids that there was no such thing.  Which means they were about 5.

I look at my 4 year old, and she has so much fun thinking of Santa and talking about Santa and reindeer and presents. And I think it’s really sad that next year she may not.  This may be the last Christmas I’m able to bribe her for 2 months about being good so Santa doesn’t put her on the naughty list.  This may be the last year we watch Santa feed the reindeer nightly on and order a video from  (If you’re not doing those, do them.  So cute and free!)  This may also be the last year we see Ana, our Elf on the Shelf.  (Okay, so I really won’t miss her at all – I think she may have an accident on her way back to the North Pole and end up in the back of a garbage truck on Dec. 26.) But since A is my last child, this may be the last Christmas Santa is even thought of in my house.  It makes me want to cry.

edited for blog 2

I don’t think telling your kids about Santa is lying.  I think it’s believing in the magic of Christmas.  My daughter goes to a bible-based preschool, so she knows the meaning behind Christmas, but we tell her that Santa brings presents to children to celebrate Jesus’ birthday because Jesus doesn’t need presents. He doesn’t, so I’m not lying about that part.

I believed in Santa till I was around 7 or 8.  Then it was over.  And that was 30 years ago.  Kids are much smarter at a much younger age now, which is probably why it’s over in Kindergarten.  Some kid on the school bus with a big mouth messes it up for the rest of them.  I remember when my oldest daughter found out, and I threatened her that if she told her sister there was no Santa, she would get nothing.  And her sister believed for 2 more years till she went to Kindergarten.  Then, it was over for her too.

So my question to all of you is this – do you do Santa in your house, or do you feel that it’s lying?