Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween Game Night with Spiderweb Layered Nachos and Pumpkin Carving

This past week we have been having fun gearing up for Halloween. One thing that our family really loves is family game night. So I decided it would be fun to have a Halloween themed game night and play some of our games that would best fit the Halloween theme.

I chose Monster Fluxx, which was really fun, we normally play Star Fluxx which is really fun too so when I saw Monster Fluxx I knew it would be fun for Halloween, we played a couple of rounds of It's Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown themed UNO, we have had this UNO game for years and play it every Halloween. A new game we tried out is called Gloom, this is a fun game that involves a little creative story telling and strategy and features interesting families of gloomy characters, we look forward to playing this one again too!

I thought a nice simple dinner of our family favorite layered nachos would be the perfect dinner for game night, and to make it fit our Halloween theme, I topped it with a "spiderweb" sour cream topping and an olive "spider". Here's how I made it.

In a round pie dish spread 1 regular size can of refried beans, you can heat it up in advance on the stove top or heat it for a couple of minutes in the microwave after spreading it in the pie dish (of course if it is a microwave safe dish). Then top with a thin layer of shredded Mexican cheese blend, and a thin layer of your favorite salsa, next, add half of a can of drained and rinsed black beans along with half a can of drained and rinsed corn, then add a layer of thoroughly cooked and browned hamburger, about a pound, you can season it with a little dried minced onion and cumin or a teaspoon of your favorite taco seasoning, then add another thin layer of salsa, cheese, the other half a of the can of drained and rinsed black beans and drained corn, top with a bit more cheese then either heat it through in the microwave, which is pretty quick, or heat it in the oven at 350 F. until the cheese is melted and everything is heated through. When the layered nacho dip is heated through, top with sliced black olives if you like them ( I made two batches, one with olives and one without). 

To make the spiderweb sour cream topping, scoop about a cup of sour cream into a large ziploc bag, down into one corner of the bag, then cut out the corner and it works just like a decorator bag. Pipe on a spiderweb shape to the top of nachos. To make the spider for the center of the web, I cut a large black olive in half, one half makes the body, the second half I cut into eight thin slices and place around the body as legs. Using a toothpick I added two red eyes to the spider out of ketchup. To serve, scoop a pile of layered nacho dip onto a plate and serve with tortilla chips, I love the little round chips because they are sturdy enough to hold the dip. I have made this recipe before you can read my original recipe for layered nachos here.

We have also been busy lately carving pumpkins. I am allergic to raw pumpkin so I can't carve them myself, luckily hubby carved in my design for me, the kids had fun carving their pumpkins into themes that they are interested in, we lit a fire in the fire pit as well, and carved after dark since it gets dark so soon these days. The weather held out and it was a very nice evening.

Then a couple of nights ago I saw a local news story about The Teal Pumpkin Project. The idea is to paint a pumpkin teal and set it outside your front door to let children with allergies know that you have non candy treats available that are kept in a bowl separate from any candy that might contain allergens. Since I too have tree nut and shellfish allergies as well as allergies to a host of other random things, I can definitely understand what a struggle this might be for kids with life threatening allergies. Allergic reactions are scary, my allergies didn't surface until I was an adult, it is difficult now as an adult to constantly check things, I can't imagine how hard it is for parents of children with very serious allergies. So when I saw this I knew I had to take part and raise awareness by setting out a teal pumpkin and posting a sign. Click the link below for print outs, information, and ideas for non candy treats.

Here is the teal pumpkin I painted and will be setting out tomorrow night. What a great idea this is! :)

I am looking forward to tomorrow night, I will be making up a spread of appetizers like I do every year, and enjoying passing out treats to the neighbors, and having fun with the family. I hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween! :)

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Beautiful Fall Sky

This fall the sky has been putting on such a show. Just about every other day the sunset or sunrise has me running for my camera. Midday storms with dark and rainy skies and the evening moon have been equally mesmerizing. I love watching the sky, and I especially love it during the fall, so I thought I would share a few of the pictures I have been taking since the beginning of fall last month. (Click on the pictures to see a larger picture.)

At the beginning of fall I had to pull over and take pictures when I saw the big round moon rising over the foothills over a recently harvested grain field.

This sunset again had me pulling over and getting out of the car to snap a few pictures, this time I only had my phone's camera, the sun was so massive, and the sky was so pink, it was truly amazing.

In September, on the drive to church one Sunday morning, I noticed a huge plume of smoke off in the distance. When we arrived at church and got out of the car the air was filled with the smell of forest fire and little bits of ash falling! I soon found out that a town about half an hour away was having a very serious forest fire, it was unnerving how bad the air was, I can't imagine how it was for the people living closer!! My son has asthma so I was really concerned about the air quality. The smoke in the air however made for some amazingly vibrant dark orange sunsets. We had a very dry early fall and I was glad when the rain finally arrived to help the air and the fire!

Early on October 8th I stayed up nearly all night long to catch the second of the lunar tetrad full lunar eclipses, also called a blood moon because the moon can turn a reddish hue. I was lucky that I could keep watch on the moon right outside of my office window, so I was able to keep myself awake by staying busy in my office. I have seen a few lunar eclipses over the years, and they always amaze me. I was especially happy that we had clear skies! I woke the whole family up when it was just a sliver of moon left so they could see the moon completely cover, it was a really neat thing to see. We saw the last one back in April as well, and hope to see the third one in April 2015.

Lately the rain has arrived, we have had lots of stormy cloudy skies, however the sun always peeks back out, and we have had some remarkable rainbows lately, quite a few double rainbows as well.  :)

The clouds have been so big and puffy, I think they look so pretty against the crisp blue fall sky!

One thing I always think is interesting, is when you can see the whole round sun filtered through a very cloudy sky, sometimes it almost looks like a moon. I look forward to sunrise and sunset every day.

I also have been enjoying the moon, the last couple of days the moon has been a beautiful crescent.

I am looking forward to the rest of fall, the weather is definitely moving into the more stormy and rainy time of year, and the temperatures have been dropping. Such a beautiful time of year!

Linking to:
Tuesdays at Our Home
Inspire me Tuesday
Tuesdays With a Twist
Be Inspired
Wake Up Wednesday Linky
What's It Wednesdays
Project Parade
Wow Us Wednesdays

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Decorating Pumpkins with Washi Tape, Glitter, and Twine

On my recent trip to the pumpkin patch I picked up a bunch of little cute tiny round pumpkins. This week I had fun decorating them. Here's how they turned out.

For this project I knew I wanted mini pumpkins, but instead of the normal mini pumpkins, I thought these rounded mini pumpkins would be easier to decorate.

I gathered up my art supplies, Tacky Glue, fine glitter in harvest colors, some orange twine, and my newest crafting supply- washi tape, which I have been wanting to try out for some time now. I found Halloween print washi tape at the craft store earlier this fall and thought I'd pick some up to try out.

I had fun with this project and ended up with a bowl full of decorated pumpkins. I glittered polka dots on one using gel glitter glue, I wrapped twine around a couple using tacky glue, some I just wrapped a band of washi tape around the middle, I really loved the chevron patterned tape.

Washi tape was fun and easy to use, I am glad I picked some up, I have found a few more to use with paper crafting and I'm already thinking of Christmas projects to make with Washi tape- it comes in so many fun patterns!

I really love the way these pumpkins look on my table, definitely a fun and easy craft.

Have a wonderful fall week!

You may also be interested in my post about our trip to The Pumpkin Patch.

Also feel free to stop on my my 2014 Harvest Hop Linky party and check out all of the great fall ideas and link up your own fall themed posts.

April's Homemaking

Linking to:
Keep Calm Craft On
Fabulous Fall Linky Pumpkin Party
Halloween Categorically Crafting Show
Wow us Wednesdays
Project Parade
What's it Wednesday
Wake Up Wednesday Linky Party
Be Inspired Link Party
Tuesdays with a Twist
Inspire Me Tuesdays
Tuesdays at Our Home

Our Day at Fir Point Farms Pumpkin Patch

Last Sunday we decided it was the perfect day to visit the Pumpkin Patch. We always drive past Fir Point Farms when we take back roads into Portland, and often stop during the fall for their delicious Apple Cider donuts that are made on location, fresh and delicious! Last week we drove past Fir Point Farms and I decided we should definitely come back on the weekend for a Pumpkin Patch visit.
(Click on the pictures for a larger view)

I had only ever seen the farm on weekdays, so I had no idea that so many people would be there. There was quite a crowd of happy families ready for some fall fun! There were so many fun activities to choose from, "cow train" rides, farm animals, a giant slide, bouncy houses, a dark hay maze, a corn maze, good food choices, and of course the pumpkin patch. We decided to go on a hay ride, go through the corn maze, see the animals, and then pick out pumpkins.

The wait for the hayride was pretty long since there were so many people, but the surrounding forest was so pretty that it kept us busy enjoying scenery while we waited.

When we got on board for the hayride the driver introduced himself as Tractor Bob, he gave us a really nice ride all around the farm and told us a lot of interesting facts and stories about the farm. I hadn't been on a hayride in quite awhile and we all had a great time. Thanks Tractor Bob! :)

After the hayride, on our way to the corn maze, we stopped to look at all the farm animals. There were cute little pigs, a turkey, a couple miniature horses, and the most darling bunch of goats ever! Quite a few of the goats were still little and their play fighting was extremely cute! There was also a large Noah's Ark play house that looked like a lot of fun for younger kids to climb on.

After the animals it was time for the corn maze. I had never been in a corn maze before so I was pretty excited, although a little nervous I would get lost. :)

The corn maze was Charlotte's web themed, and was 6 acres of corn maze! I have no sense of direction, thankfully my hubby does and was keeping track of where we were going, otherwise I may have been in the maze 'til dark!

They had cute little activity books available for children, and the rows of corn were really pretty to see against the blue sky. I had a lot of fun taking pictures!

Rows of corn really can be spooky, I would never be able to go into one of those haunted corn mazes, no way! However, we did have fun taking pictures of Sarah and Joe looking like menacing "children of the corn". I knew I would have fun playing with filters and making some spooky Halloween pictures of the kids. :)

We had a fun time in the corn maze, I look forward to going again next year! After the corn maze it was time to find our pumpkins. Me and the kids both had certain criteria in mind for our various pumpkin projects so we hunted through the field until we all had the pumpkins we needed.

We had fun filling up our wheelbarrow with pumpkins, most of the pumpkins we got were smaller sized for various different projects. The kids still want to head up the road to our local farm stand for some extra large pumpkins for our classic front door Jack-o-lanterns. :)

Overall it was a great day, I would highly recommend Fir Point Farms for a fun fall family outing if you live nearby.

In my next post I'll be sharing how I decorated my tiniest batch of pumpkins using twine, glitter, and washi tape!

You might also be interested in stopping by my 2014 Harvest Hop Linky Party for lots of fun fall ideas! Feel free to share your own fall themed posts as well, I'm keeping the list open until mid-November.

April's Homemaking

Linking to:

Fabulous Fall Linky Pumpkin Party
Halloween Categorically Crafting Show
Wow us Wednesdays
Project Parade
What's it Wednesday
Wake Up Wednesday Linky Party
Be Inspired Link Party
Tuesdays with a Twist
Inspire Me Tuesdays
Tuesdays at Our Home

Friday, October 17, 2014

Halloween Air Plant Terrarium

Last month I posted a tutorial on how to make Air Plant Terrariums. When I was making these terrariums for around the house, I knew I wanted to make a Halloween themed terrarium to set out with my Halloween decor.  I followed the same method that I used in my Air Plant Tutorial, and just added some little Halloween decorations.

I found a larger round glass bowl that was just large enough to the little tombstone that I have had for years. You can find glass bowls like this in most craft or floral departments, and I found this mini tombstone years ago at a craft store, and usually see similar ones in the craft stores' Halloween section.

I filled the base with the same pebbles I used before, and sunk the tombstone into the pebbles. I added two little air plants, and used some bright green moss, a mini pine cone that I pulled off of a fall floral pick, I also pulled off a mini orange pumpkin from the same floral pick, you fin find autumn floral picks in the floral department of most craft stores. Just arrange the little details the way you want.

I also found a little bag of miniature skulls, they are about the size of a marble, I thought they would be perfect for this terrarium, I tucked one next to the tombstone and another in the front peaking out. They are so similar to the pebbles they fit right in, and give this terrarium a spooky touch.

I set the terrarium out next to some of my other Halloween decor, another mini tombstone, and my little Ghost Potbelly figure. This was a fun project, you could be so creative with all of the different Halloween minis that are available in the craft stores. :)

I am having so much fun with these terrariums, I am already thinking of what minis I have to make one for Christmas when it is time to pack away my Halloween decor! :)

You might also be interested in some of my recent posts-

My 2014 Halloween Home Tour .

You might also want to stop by and check out all of the wonderful fall ideas shared in my 2014 Harvest Hop, and feel free to link up you own fall themed posts! :)

April's Homemaking

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

2014 Halloween Home Tour and Boney Bunch Collection

Every October I look forward to getting out all of my fun Halloween decor and transforming our home with whimsical Halloween decorations. Every year I add a few new decorations to our collection, and its fun to mix up my old decor with the new. Here is a tour of my 2014 Halloween Home. (click on the photos to see a larger image)

This is the decor in my little foyer, I love the new crow silhouette lantern I found at Target, it matches some of the metal pieces I have from previous years like my spooky tree candle holder. The orange and black metal pieces coordinate nicely with my growing Yankee Candle Boney Bunch collection.

I have been collecting the Yankee Candle Boney Bunch Halloween Candle holders now for four years, this year they came out with a bunch of new cute items, like the bird plane votive holder that lights up and looks like it was inspired by Victorian Steam Punk.

On my dining room bookcases I have tucked in a bunch of little Halloween ornaments, including the new Fish Skeleton Boney Bunch, and one of my favorite 2014 Boney Bunch pieces the orange cab. Below, on top of my bookcases I have Frankenstein and his Bride taper holders and a caged animated crow. I don't normally buy animated electronic decor, but for some reason this year I thought it would be fun. I actually had this caged animated crow in and out of my cart at Target multiple times on two separate shopping trips, the second trip and in and out of the cart a couple more times, I decided I must really like it if I was so torn, and I am happy he came home with me. He fits in well with the dining room decor and it's fun when his eyes light up and he caws. :)

On my craft cupboard in the dining room I have a couple of haunted houses, the new one in the center under the dome, also from Target, lights up and little plastic pieces fly around inside to look like bats, all while playing a spooky tune. Me and the kids all thought our spooky phone (Target) was another fun addition. Our actual home telephone is a vintage black reproduction of a turn dial phone, so this Halloween phone fits right in. When you dial, it has an old fashioned ring, and when you answer a very spooky man's voice gives one of a five or six spooky messages.

Also on our craft cupboard is a framed vintage looking lenticular old fashioned picture of a man. When you walk by his face switches in between his face and a skeleton face. This is our only really scary decor, I don't go for scary for the most part, but now that the kids are young adults I felt we could have something like this for a little spooky fun. We are pretending that the man in the photo is the sinister voice in our Halloween phone. :)

These metal bell crow topped trees are some of my oldest decor that I have enjoyed for years, the cat and pumpkin figures have a vintage folk art look and are also some of my favorite older decor. The School Bus is another 2014 Yankee Candle Boney Bunch piece, the bus lights light up, and it holds three little tea lights, the school bus looks cute with my little Halloween costumed figures that look like they are waiting for the bus on a fall school day.

Throughout the house I have various candy dishes. We have Cow Tales in the new Boney Bunch Coffin candy dish, a Tootsie Roll assortment in my old Boney Bunch candy dish, my childhood favorite Sixlets in Halloween colors in my everyday candy dish, and of course candy corn in another of my Halloween Candy dishes. Between the multiple Trick-or-Treaters and all my candy dishes we go through quite a good supply of candy in October!

I absolutely love the Peanuts, and love It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. I have been collecting some of the Hallmark Peanuts Halloween ornaments over the years and think they are so cute. The newest one is Snoopy on top of his dog house with little hanging Woodstock vampire bats, Here is the Hallmark link so you can hear it's sound, which is really quite good for a little ornament, every time snoopy chuckles I can't help but chuckle myself, so cute!

In my living room I have decorated all the little end and side tables, I love my little Halloween metal tree with painted wooden balls I got a few years back, and have lots of little trinkets that I have collected over the years.

Last year Yankee Candle put out this Boney Bunch Train that is perfect displayed under my Hiawatha Train print, it lights up and holds tea lights, it is one of my favorite decorations.

Just a side note, I have a multitude of candle holders that I use in my Halloween decor and fill them with pumpkin and candy corn scented candles, however I don't usually light the candles that are sitting throughout the house because I worry about candle flames. I usually light jar candles in my kitchen window and mantel where they are away from where people walk and flammable material. If I do light one of the tea lights in my candle holders, I move it to a safe spot and keep my eye on it. Even without being lit though all the tea lights put off a subtle scent which I really enjoy. :)

The mantel is decorated almost the same as last year with the Boo Banner I made last year and fall floral picks among candles and Halloween trinkets. Sitting next to the fireplace is our Halloween book basket which I like to keep out for any young visitors, and because I love children's literature so its fun to sit down and page through these beautifully illustrated books. :)

I think the best way to build holiday decor for any holiday is to collect favorite new pieces every year, store them carefully in organized totes during the off season, and over the years your collection will grow. I have been decorating our home for Halloween now for twenty years, and I really love all the Halloween treasures I have found over the years.

So that is our 2014 Halloween Home Tour, I had fun decorating this year, and am looking forward to our annual Halloween Open House as well as as many nights as possible with popcorn, cider and a fun Halloween special with my family. :) I hope you are all enjoying autumn as well! :)

You may also be interested in my 2014 Harvest Hop Linky Party, click on over and link up your Harvest and Halloween themed posts and check out all of the great Fall ideas!

April's Homemaking