Healthy Halloween Recipe for Kids

My daughter loves to cook with me. I found this recipe, among others, at Barefoot Books. They offer lots of great activities that can be downloaded for free. This is listed under “Healthy Halloween Recipes”:

Dracula’s Gelatin
A Barefoot Activity for Kids Ages 8 and up**
A spooky fruit and gelatin recipe straight from Dracula’s kitchen.
quantity Makes 3-4 small glasses (tubs)
kitchen rules
• Wash your hands before you start!
• Always have a grown-up in the kitchen with you when you cook

What to Find:
• 1 ¼ oz packet unflavored gelatin
(enough to set 2 ½ cups liquid);
For a vegetarian version, use agar-agar, following the instructions on packet
• 1 ½ cups blueberries or blackberries
• ¼ cups boiling water
• 2 ¼ cups dark red or blue berry juice
(e.g. blueberry or cranberry)

Kitchen Stuff
• Mixing bowl
• Measuring cup
• Tea pot
• Tablespoon
• Containers (for gelatin)

What to do:
1. Wash the fruit and pat dry with a paper towel.
2. Put the gelatin into the measuring cup. Pour ¼ cup boiling water over the gelatin and stir carefully with a spoon, to dissolve it.
3. Add the berry juice to the dissolved gelatin so that it fills the measuring cup up
to 2 ½ cups.
4. Divide the fruit between the containers and pour the gelatin mixture over the fruit.
5. Put Dracula’s gelatin in the fridge for about 45 minutes to set.
• Add more fruit than gelatin for set fruit.

**Barefoot Books classifies this as an “activity” for ages 8 and up, but I did it with my 3 year old. I did all the prep, while she did the pouring, mixing and measuring of everything but the boiling water 🙂

V’s Fantastic Party

Today was Violet’s 4th Birthday party – It was A BLAST! I had so much fun … oh yeah, and so did she 🙂

We booked the party at a local kids gymnastics venue. It started out with an hour of gymnastic basics – balance beam, trampoline, uneven bars and much more. Then, after a brief drink break, they blew up three inflatable bounce-a-rounds and the kids went C.R.A.Z.Y.!! They loved it! We then had snacks, cake and did presents.

It was a great party, and the our “party hosts” were fantastic – they did a great job with the kids and really kept the party moving and lots of fun!

I took a TON of photos, but the kids moved SO much and SO fast that only a few came out good. I LOVED the cake! It turned out adorable!


I decided a few days ago that it would be fun to make some Halloween decorations with Violet. My mom had gotten her a pair of “first scissors” a few weeks ago, and I thought that this would be the perfect time for her to use them.

I spent upwards of an hour tracing templates – making bats, ghosts, pumpkins and any other spooky thing I could think of for our “craft time” the next day. I cut out most of the big pieces, and left things like ghost and pumpkin faces for Violet to cut out.

We set up all our stuff the next day when the baby took his morning nap. To say that Violet was excited was an understatement. She was thrilled over the fact that we were making decorations, but almost giddy over her scissors. I showed her how to hold them, and the way to move them to cut out the triangles for the pumpkins eyes. She was very diligent, and spent almost 10 minutes on the first eye.

She looked up at one point and told me “This is my first pair of scissors, Mom”

“Oh yeah Violet? Well, you are doing a wonderful job.”

“Thanks Mom.” (back to work. Finishes triangle and puts it down on the table.)

“Wow, babe! That looks great! Good job!”

“Thanks!” (Picks up large chunk of hair on the side of her head, places scissors around said hair.) “Can I cut my hair?!?”

“NO!” (Grabs scissors.)

“Why not?” (pouts a little while asking this)

Gee, wonder why we waited so long to give her scissors.

Shutterfly Giveaway: Holiday Cards (CLOSED)

I don’t know about you, but I am a total picture freak! I take an obscene amount of photos, as I feel the need to obsessively document every single moment in my kids lives! OK, well, that might be pushing it a little far, but I do take a ton of pictures. That is the main reason that I started looking online for a photo developer – my local stores were just able to produce quality pictures and the photo booths didn’t always print right. TA-DA – I found Shutterfly! I have to say, I love Shutterfly! Their products are phenomenal (photo books, greeting cards, photos, stationary, and free personalized websites to name just a few!) and their customer service can’t be beat. They really go out of their way to insure you have an enjoyable experience on their website and that you are completely satisfied with your purchase – they offer a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. Members (membership is free PLUS they give you 50 free prints for signing up!) get access to their easy photo uploading, editing, printing/ordering tools, plus the convenience of photo storage – you can store unlimited amounts of photos for free, and they never delete them!

I love the many different options available for photo cards. Between styles available, number of photos on the card and the option to edit all writing/sayings on the card you are truly able to create your own masterpiece! These are custom cards designed by you! They offer cards for every holiday and event in your life – from Christmas to Halloween, to new babies, to party invitations, to everyday cards (plus lots more!) there is definitely something for everyone!

They are now featuring wonderful designs for all types of seasonal photo cards including Halloween Photo Cards, Halloween Party Invitations, and Christmas and Holiday Photo Cards!


3 LUCKY WINNERS will receive 10 free 5 x 7 flat stationary cards!

To enter:
Check out some of the seasonal cards, and leave a comment letting me know which one you would order if you won the 10 free cards. (Make sure to leave your e-mail address in your comment!)

For additional entries:
Follow this blog and comment that you are following.

This giveaway closes at 11:59 pm EST, Sunday, October 17, 2010. Winners will be chosen via on or after October 17, 2010.

This giveaway is CLOSED.

The winners are:
Comment #6 – Boobies
Comment #4 – QueenB
Comment #10 – MamaChocolate


Fine Print: Shutterfly is sponsoring this giveaway and is providing the free photo cards. Winner is responsible for shipping, credit must be used all at one time. Only one credit per winner.

*Shutterfly has provided me with the product (photo cards) featured in this review and giveaway. The opinions expressed above are my own and were formed after using the Shutterfly website.

Poop Attack!

My daughter has decided that Ian is similar to a doll – she can pick him up, carry him and basically force him to sit with her. After all, the “poor” baby can only crawl, she has the advantage. It is also a benefit to her that he loves to be with her.

Every morning, Violet and Ian play together, largely due to the fact that they are the only two in the household that want to wake up at 6 am. This usually happens in one of two places – the living room or on the floor in my bedroom. This morning they happened to be playing in the living room.

Things were going along fine. I was in my room getting dressed to bring Violet to school (she wasn’t ready yet – thankfully!) when she came running in screaming that Ian had an “explosive poop” and it “exploded all over her!”.  Now, the way she ran in was very comical, mainly due to the fact that Violet HATES to be dirty. She had a big poop spot on the front of her sweatshirt, and her arms were way out to the side to prevent further contamination.

She continued to scream, “It’s all over me! Even on my hand!”

As I tried not to laugh, I walked out to get the baby. She was begging for a baby wipe as I was trying to carry Ian over to the couch to check the damage. Lucky for Ian, it seems that most of the poop ended up on Violet, as his pants and shirt were still poop free. How may that be you ask? Well, right before this whole debacle occurred, I had peeked into the living room and saw Violet holding Ian on her lap as he struggled to break free. She must have let him go, only to realize that the struggle had caused the poop to “explode” out the top of his diaper!

Thankfully, no one was too upset, and everything was fine within 5 minutes – both Violet and Ian were changed and were “enjoying” breakfast. Ian’s had thrown his on the floor and Violet’s was a whole other story!

Did I ever mention that the cats love to drink the milk out of the cereal bowl? How about the fact that they like it the best when they are eating with you? 🙂 Violet, unfortunately, knows this waaaay too well – She spent the 10 minutes prior to leaving the house fighting Romeo off of her Mini-Wheat’s!

All in all it was a pretty good morning.


I love makeup. Who doesn’t right? Recently, I tried COVERGIRL’s NEW LashBlast Fusion Mascara in Very Black. I have to say, it is by far one of the best mascaras that I have ever used. All it takes is one dip of the wand and you just sweep it on. There is no fussing with either the brush (to clean off excess) or with your lashes after. They just look great and stay that way. The formula doesn’t flake, and when you wash it off, it doesn’t leave the black “smudge” under your eye (come on now, you know what I’m talking about! And it is a terrible thing to try to get off!!).

Some features of the LashBlast Fusion:

COVERGIRL’s first ever volume + length mascara!

The fiberstretch formula and oversized brush make every little lash bigger, fuller, longer -looking and more dramatic (vs bare lashes):

-Super-volumizing and Buildable fiber-strength lengthening.
-Thickens and extends the look of your natural lashes.

Available colors:
Very Black, Black, Black Brown and Brown

All in all, this is a great mascara. I have been using it for about a month and a half, and I am very happy. Some of my close friends and family members have commented on my lashes and said how good they look recently. I have even stopped wearing eyeliner because this makes my lashes look so good that my eyes pop! I am very happy with this product and would recommend it anyone.

I have a BRAND NEW full size COVERGIRL LastBlast Fusion in Very Black to giveaway!
I love this product and I think you will too!

To enter:
*Leave a comment on this post stating which mascara you use now, and why you want to try LashBlast Fusion! (make sure you leave your e-mail address in your comment!)

For additional entries, you can:
*Follow this blog! Comment that you are following.

This giveaway closes at 11:59 pm EST Saturday, October 16, 2010.
The winner will be chosen by after OCTOBER 16, 2010!
Good luck 🙂

The Winner is: Comment #15 – Jessica. Congratulations! 🙂

*I was given this product as a free trial/sample by a marketing company, BzzAgent,  to try out and provide my honest review/opinion for both them and COVERGIRL. I have not been paid for this review, and it is my own, completely honest opinion of this product.

Apple Picking

This is my daughters second year in preschool (she is in the “big kid” class this year) and each year they take a field trip to a beautiful Apple Orchard to pick apples. It is a really fun trip, and the kids just have a blast! This year, Violet ate waaaay more apples then she put in her bag, and she climbed up a huge ladder! We took a hay ride and had cider and donuts. It was a wonderful trip, and I had a wonderful time with my little girl!

All the kids in an apple box
Taking a break to pick some flowers
My beautiful daughter and me
The view from the top of the orchard

Helpful Tip: How to Freeze Fresh Herbs

This is the first year that I have gardened, and to my great surprise, my garden was a huge success! I had a ton of fresh herbs left that there is no way I can use before the frost. SO I froze them! There are many different ways to freeze fresh herbs, but this is the way that worked out the best for me.

To Freeze Fresh Basil:

Pick and wash basil leaves. Place in a salad spinner, then blot dry with paper towels. These need to be VERY dry!!
Rough chop the leaves and toss with a very small amount of olive oil (the oil prevents them from changing color when you freeze them.) I then measure about 2 – 4 Tablespoons of my chopped basil/oil mixture and I place it in the bottom of a sandwich bag. I roll the bag and place it in a large zip top bag.
Repeat with the rest of your mixture until your large zip top bag is full. Squeeze out any extra air and freeze. When you need fresh basil just take out enough baggies to meet your recipe’s requirement.
If you are using the basil in a hot dish (like tomato sauce) you do not need to thaw the basil before using it.

* If you would like to freeze some basil without the olive oil, you can wash and chop it. Then place it in an ice cube tray with just enough water to cover it. When the cubes freeze, pop them out and place them in a zip top bag. Just make sure to measure how much basil you place into each cube so you can take the right amount out. And same as before, if the basil is being used in a hot recipe, you do not need to thaw the cubes.

To Freeze Fresh Parsley:

Pick your parsley  (keeping the stems semi-long helps with washing) and wash thoroughly. Dry completely with paper towels (You can roll the parsley in the towels and squeeze to help get all the water out).
Rough chop the parsley – I recommend using kitchen shears as this is the easiest way – and discard the stems. Measure your chopped parsley (about 2-4 Tablespoons) and place into a sandwich bag. Roll up sandwich bag and place into zip top bag. Repeat with remaining parsley until the zip top bag is full. Squeeze out any extra air and freeze. When you need fresh parsley just take out enough baggies to meet your recipe’s requirement.
If you are using the parsely in a hot dish (like tomato sauce) you do not need to thaw it before using it.

Both these freezing methods can be used to a higher scale. Small, freezer safe containers also work for larger amounts. I have used the plastic jelly jars (Ball 82000 8-Ounce Plastic Freezer Storage Containers, 30-Pack) as well as tupperwear containers (Tupperware Freezer Mates Starter Set). Just make sure when using a container like this that it is FULL when you freeze it to prevent freezer burn.

Enjoy your fresh herbs (and the savings from not having to buy them!) all winter long! 🙂

The Bottle!!

I have done it! I have (finally) found a bottle that Ian will drink!! THANK GOODNESS!!!
I bought it last minute at Target on Friday, and figured that I was just (once again) wasting money on yet another bottle he would just bite and throw on the floor. But no, not this time – he liked it! AND he actually drank 3 bottles from it! I know, so exciting!!
Life Fact # 142 – Once you become a mom, it really is the “simple” things that make you happy! 🙂

Hylands Teething Tablets REVIEW

I worked in a dental office for over 5 years. My mom worked in one for 15, and my Uncle is a dentist. To say that I am obsessed with teeth is a complete and total understatement. So when my daughter, and now my son, reached the teething age I was very excited. Bring on those adorable baby teeth! I was also nervous – I knew that most of the teething gels on the market didn’t work that well because babies have so much drool that the medicine would be washed away before it could really help. My chiropractor at the time recommended that I try an all natural, homeopathic teething tablet made by Hylands. I really admired and trusted my chiropractor and decided to give them a try (hey, she had 3 kids of her own!) and I was so happy!

The first thing that I love is that this product really works! Just a few tablets into the babies mouth and that’s it for about 4 hours or more. The tablets dissolve really easy, so there is no chance for them to choke. The relief they bring is almost instant as well. My daughter would give a sigh of relief within 5 minutes of taking them as a baby.

The next best thing – they are all natural and homeopathic. There is no “medicine” in them. My daughter was great at getting into everything that she wasn’t supposed to as a baby. One day, she got into the bottle of teething tablets and ate half the bottle! Needless to say, I panicked and called poison control. Their response? They laughed, told me she would be fine because they were all natural (herbs, supplements, etc) and to give her a snack because they might give her a slight stomach ache. Great, my daughter ate a bunch of “medicine” and gets rewarded with a snack! I was so thankful that what she ate wouldn’t cause any damage or need a trip to the hospital. I love the fact that they are so safe!

Overall, I tell everyone that I know with a baby about these tablets. They are one of my go-to baby shower gifts because of the fantastic way that they work. I trust Hylands to provide excellent products, and I tend to look to them for other needs as well. (They make a really fantastic earache product as well – Hyland’s – Earache Tablets, 40 tablets – which I have used as well. They work like a charm!)

Look into them – you won’t be disappointed! 🙂

*Hylands has not asked me to review this product, nor have they given me this product to review. I purchased this product for use with my children, and I am sharing my honest opinion and feelings about it.