Friday, October 29, 2010

The Great Halloween Feast

Since I pretty much fell off the face of the blogosphere last year, I thought I'd share some photos from our "Halloween Feast of 2009". It wasn't actually a feast- more of a nice dinner, but I decorated more than usual because we were supposed to have family come and have a real feast, but Starlet was sick with strep throat so we decided to keep our germs to ourselves and the rest of the family took the feast elsewhere. There's still time to dress up your table if you haven't made preparations already- here are some ideas that might help you out!

I purchased most of the decorations from the Dollar Tree- the only ones we already had were the large candleabra and the wall sconces (and the framed picture, of course, but that's always there with the sconces).

We just used a black plastic tablecloth and paper plates and napkins.

I really think that the candles were a nice effect. I especially loved putting candles right in front of these little gargoyles to illuminate them. Creepy.

Peat moss also looks quite creepy when paired with some random plastic skulls scattered about!

For dinner I made Dinner in a Pumpkin (find the recipe here) along with cornbread pudding. Yummm.

Here's hoping you have a spooooooky Halloweekend. :-)

30-Minute Toasted Pumpkin Seeds! YUM!

I'm a little pumpkin, orange and round!
Here is my stem, there is the ground.
When I get all cut up, don't you shout!
Just open me up and scoop me out!

We had family pumpkin carving night last night! Well, we had kid pumpkin carving night last night. They had a blast and each made up their own designs (well, Little Boo had help from Daddy).

The pumpkin in the middle is Monkey's. He decided he wanted it to be scary- the mouth on the forehead, an eye next to the nose. He said that he wanted it to be really scary so that it would scare all the trick-or-treaters away and we could keep all the candy for ourselves. Hmm...I like the way he thinks...

Today Starlet and I made our family's favorite toasted pumpkin seed recipe. It's super easy, and if you've never roasted your pumpkin seeds before, I recommend having a box of tissues handy after you make your first batch. You will be shedding tears for the thousands of pumpkin seeds that have gone to waste over the years. It's a tragedy, really.

Ohhhh the golden crispy deliciousness! Here's the recipe:

No rinsing or soaking required- just get rid of any guts still clinging to the seeds.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Bring salted water and seeds to a boil- 2 cups of water to every half cup of seeds; 1 tablespoon of salt to every cup of water. (I usually reduce the salt by about a quarter- today I did 2 cups of seeds and I omitted 2 of the tablespoons of salt and they were just fine)

3. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and drain water from seeds.

4. Spray a cooking sheet with oil. Spread seeds across the pan in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees until golden.

5. Take them out of the oven and allow to cool. Then start eating them, realize you can't stop and devour the entire batch.

6. Go to the store,buy more pumpkins just for the seeds, make new batch, repeating steps 1-4, and this time instead of starting to eat them, put them in an airtight container and hide them where only you can find them. Because then you won't have to share.

The end! Enjoy those yummy seeds!!!

Do you have any tasty pumpkin recipe traditions? Leave a comment and share!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Spiritual Sundays: Chester the Church Mouse

"Reverence is more than just quietly sitting..."

Yeah, but quietly sitting is an awfully good start, don't you think? We have been having some serious problems with quietly sitting at church, and so I decided that a Family Home Evening lesson on reverence was in order.

I searched the internet looking for ideas that might help with my reverence topic. One of the first sites I found was from The Family Home Evening Spot. It was there that I found this poem:

“What If … ?,” by DaLee C. James, Friend, Sep 1996, 22

If a mouse would ride to church
In your pocket on this day,
What might he tell his family
That he heard you do or say?
Would he tell them you were reverent,
And you listened to your teacher?
Or would he say he’d never seen
Such a noisy creature?
Would he tell them how he loved the songs
You sang so sweet and clear?
Or would he groan from all the talking
That entered in his ear?
Could he take a little snooze
As you walked nice and tall?
Or would he scream with panic
As you galloped down the hall?
Would the little mouse get seasick
From the tipping of your chair?
Or would he feel safe and cozy
As you quietly sat there?
Would the chapel be a reverent place?
The sacrament the same?
Now tell me, would the little mouse
Be really glad he came?
If a mouse would ride to church
In your pocket on this day,
What might he tell his family
That he heard you do or say?

I LOVED this little poem, and I knew that my kids would love it, so I decided to actually make a little mouse and call him Chester the Church Mouse. I created him in about 5 minutes using an old baby sock, a rubber band, some felt, googly eyes, my hot glue gun, and a permanent marker.

After reading the poem to the kids, I picked the child who was being the most reverent while listening and I told them where Chester was hiding. The child brought Chester in to Family Home Evening and I explained to them that Chester was going to come to church with us on Sunday. During Sacrament Meeting (when we are all in the chapel/sanctuary together) he would sit with whichever child was being the most reverent. He did not like to be around loud noises or wiggly children, so the person would have to be very quiet and still, or else Chester would want to go somewhere else.

Well, Chester made the journey to church with us today and he had two very reverent children to sit with. When one of them would start to get a little wiggly or noisy, I would *help* Chester move over to the other one who was being quiet. On occasion, the children would forget about Chester even being there and start to get a little rambunxious, but once they saw me move Chester, they would remember and get very quiet and still again. And they were very pleased to have him come back and sit with them.

I'm sure Chester probably won't be with us forever, but the goal is to have him be the reminder and to get the kids into the habit of being quiet and reverent at church. It was such a relaxing experience for me to actually be able to sit and listen without constantly saying, "SHH!", breaking up arguments, and trying to keep them from kicking the backs of the seats!

Here's to Chester the Church Mouse.

Anyone else have any tips or tricks for reverence, or any other FHE ideas that have worked well for your family? Leave a comment and share!

To learn more about what I believe as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, visit

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Perfectly Imperfect Goodwill Butterfly

Meet Mr. Wooden Monarch Butterfly. He is getting ready to get painted. Don't get me wrong, I love me a good monarch butterfly, but he doesn't go with my daughter's room. And he only cost about 25 cents. Sorry Mr. Wooden Monarch Butterfly. Your black and orange just have to go. So we spray-painted him white.
Since he was to live in Starlet's room and I am trying to spend more quality time with her, the two of us (well, three if you count Mr. Wooden Butterfly) sat down with some mod podge and sponge brushes and some paper shapes cut with my Quickutz (I let Starlet choose the patterned paper and pick what shapes she wanted) and went to town. She only let me mod podge two of the shapes.

Is it perfect? Nope, far from it. I should have sanded down Mr. Butterfly's rough spots and probably primed him first (once a monarch butterfly, always a monarch butterfly) and I don't think I personally would have chosen to place the big flower right on his little body, but he now hangs in Starlet's room over her bed as a happy reminder of a fun afternoon. He looks like he might even land on her giant Pink Metal Goodwill Flower. Fun times.

Have you done any perfectly imperfect projects lately? Leave a comment and share!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Goodwill Goodies

So today I hit my favorite place to shop- the Goodwill Outlet Store! All of the following items cost me less than $5:

First, how cute is this shelf? I know, it's completely random, but the wood color matches my kitchen and living room finishes and the wood tones in my office. And it's a teeny tiny street scene! Behind glass! It's just one of those things that I can imagine my kids staring into and dreaming of the little people going into the little stores. (okay, I admit it- I'll be staring into it and dreaming of the little people going into the little stores too...)

Speaking of tiny cute things, check out this bookend/pencil holder/mail holder!

And last but not least, these two beautiful little music boxes. Well, technically the one on the left isn't an actual music box- it's just a small pedestal/stand thing that plays music. The one on the right has a clear plastic piece inside that allows you to see the workings of the music box- the kids loved that one!

Here's a closer look at the pretty shamrock inlay in the music box. I am a box person, I
can't help myself!

Have you found any beautiful thrifty goodies lately? Leave a comment and share!

Monday, October 11, 2010

CVS Savings

Along with trying to get back into blogging, I've also been trying to get back into couponing. I've been able to hit CVS the last couple of weeks, so I went in with $8 in Extra Bucks to spend. I did two transactions:

1. Azo Itch Relief- on sale $6.99, get $5 ECBs, used $2/1 printable
Colgate Total Advanced- on sale $2.99, get $2.99 ECBs, used $1/1 coupon from 10/3 SS
Dial 3-pack bar soap- on sale $1.99, get $1 ECB, used $0.35/1 coupon from 10/10 RP
Dawn Hand Renewal- on sale $0.97, used $0.50/1 coupon from 9/26 P&G
Brach's Candy Corn- on sale $0.99, used $0.99/1 coupon from CVS coupon-printing kiosk (woohoo!)

Total after coupons and ECBs = $1.41

2. 6 Renuzit Adjustables- on sale $0.88 each, used buy 6 get 6 free coupon from 10/10 RP

Total after coupons and $2 ECBs from first transaction: $0.85

So I spent $2.26 total out of pocket and I now have another $7.99 in ECBs to use next time (same amount I'd brought with me!)! Could I have done better? Probably, but I was tired so I didn't feel like getting all mathematical. And I forgot to ask for a raincheck on the Purex 3-in-1 sheets (B1G1 @ $7.99, use 2 $3/1 from 10/10 RP = $0.99 each) but oh, well! I'll stop at another CVS later this week and see if they've got them. :-)

Have you gotten any good deals this week? Leave a comment and share!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Perfect $5 Fall Jacket

The last time I posted I mentioned going to the Goodwill outlet where I picked up a very fine crock. I also snagged this super cute fall jacket- don't you just love the red color and the gorgeous pattern in the lining? Because the Goodwill outlet is pay-by-the-pound, I am pretty sure I paid less than a dollar for this jacket (I bought ten items and paid $7 will see more of those items in future posts!). The only problem was that it had two buttons missing!

I was going to be in the neighborhood of a fabric store today, so I brought the jacket with me so that I could match up some buttons and thread (and buy sad is it that I don't have needles??!). I found some buttons that weren't an exact match, but they were close enough that you wouldn't really notice a difference unless you were actually comparing buttons. I spent less than $5 on materials.

After a few minutes of handiwork (and only a few expletives), voila!

How cute am I? LOL! LOVE the color and LOVE the fitted look. I can't wait to wear this to the pumpkin patch next weekend. ;-) (by the way, a special thanks to my husband's grill and the timer on my camera for taking this lovely shot)

Have you picked up any great thrifty finds lately? Leave a comment and share!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Comeback Take 2?

I have been so inspired lately by surfing from gorgeous blog to gorgeous blog (Abby's Garden, The Shabby Chic Cottage, and A Little of This, A Little of That) and I realized- I WANT TO BLOG!!! Problem? As always, TIME!

But today I came to a realization: I can still blog, just maybe on a slightly smaller scale. I don't have to publish a fully illustrated novel every time I post. So I shall start now, with the photo you see above. Ahem.

This morning I was watching Martha Stewart (I call her my grownup Mr. Rogers) and she was addressing viewers' kitchen organization problems. A photo popped up on the screen, and I thought, How on earth did Martha get a picture of my kitchen utensil drawer???! Well, of course it wasn't my drawer- it was a viewer's, and Martha shared her advice: clear out some space in that drawer by gathering some of your more frequently used items and place them together in a container (I believe she used the word "crock") on the countertop.

Now, I know that this is not rocket science. I have seen these "crocks" at many people's houses, but for some reason today I thought, Yes! A crock! That is what I need! And I happened to be going to the Goodwill outlet. So while I was there, I put myself on the lookout for my very own crock and I spotted this little beauty. It is simple, solid, a perfect size, and come on, who doesn't love sugar?

The end.

P.S. Crock crock crock. I just love that word. Crock.
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