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Thursday, July 28, 2011

FUN Autumn Activities for Kids

Autumn is the season when the leaves change and the scenery is simply gorgeous.  The weather is comfortable which makes it a perfect time for traveling and spending time outdoors.  
corn maze is so much fun
Enjoy an Indian summer day with your children by planning to tour a corn maze. Make a game out of the corn maze by splitting your family into two groups. Set your watch to see how long it takes you to make it out of the maze. The corn maze is a fun family activity. 

Have fun in autumn is to gather your family for a leaf leap. Section off the lawn and commence in raking the leaves to the center of the yard.  Compile all of the leaves so that you have a large leaf pile. Take turns leaping into the leaf pile.  Make a party out of the seasonal event and serve punch and cookies.  

Build a campfire and encourage your family to sit around the fire pit. Count the stars in the sky, and watch for shooting stars.

Roast marshmallows for S'Mores and tell your children a spooky tale or two. Autumn is the perfect time to share your childhood memories and to celebrate the season with your family.

    Saturday, July 23, 2011

    Halloween Party Planning - Menu Ideas

    Planning a Halloween party that features festive decorations, trickery, laughter, costumes, comfort foods and devilish desserts will be a spooktacular success.  Everyone enjoys going to a party where the host has organized the theme and the activities.  If you are thinking about hosting a Halloween party and would like to learn more about planning then here are some tips.

    Here is a Halloween set that I created on Poloyvore it will give you an ideas of the the things that you will need for a bewitching good time at your Halloween party.

    Home Style Halloween Party

    Other Halloween spooky home decor accessories that were designed by some really talented artist and there are also a few of my products too. 


    Party Plans:
    Select a date that would be agreeable for your guests Decide on the start and ending time of the party and the location.  Will you be hosting the party at your home or at a Haunted House?  Decide the location for the Halloween party.

    Organize your guest list.  Will your Halloween party be for adults, children, teens or  families?  Decide on the attendees for the party as this will help you with planning the theme, decorating, activities, and food / beverage menu.  Plan the activities for the party.  Will your guest wear costumes to the party or are Halloween costumes optional.  Will your party feature a costume contests, talent show, and pumpkin carving or bobbing for apples?  Decide on the theme of the party.

    Halloween invitation

    Send out invitations for the party.  Ask the invitees to RSVP by a certain date.  If you know how many people will be coming to the party you will be able to set up tables with chairs and prepare or order the food for your special event.

    Menu Ideas

    Plan the menu for your party based on the number of guaranteed guests.  What type of foods will you offer your guests?  Will you serve your guests a hot and cold assorted appetizers with dessert buffet?  Here is an appetizer menu with dessert.

     Party Menu
    Chicken Wings
    Spinach-Artichoke dip served in a bread bowl
    Fried Mushrooms and dip
    Tomato Basil Spookadillas
    Witches Fingers with dip
    Vegetable platter
    Italian meatballs
    Chips and dips

    Witch Hat Cake
    Pumpkin Cupcakes


    The menu choice is up to you.  If pressed for time you may want to consider ordering party trays from a restaurant or from a caterer.  What beverages will you offer to your guests; non alcoholic, beer and wine, stocked bar, or do you want your guests to bring their own bottle?  As the host of the Halloween party the food and beverage menu is your choice.

    Rent tables, chairs, and chafing pans from your local party store.  Purchase plastic tableware; glasses, plates, utensils buffet table cover, paper napkins and Sterno fuel.

    Get your home by cleaning it quickly before your decorate with festive Halloween displays, garland, lights, and candles.  

    Decorate the night before or the morning of the party, set up the buffet table so that all you need to do is serve the food when it is time for the guests to arrive.  Organize the party music.  Select some spooky tunes to set the mood of the party. 

    Discuss with party helpers the theme of the party and give them their assignment for the evening.  Have someone be in charge of trash disposal, have another watching the food on the buffet line so that nothing runs out.  You or your spouse need to greet all of the guests at the door and be on hand to make sure that the party is spooktacular.  

    Prepare for guests one hour before the scheduled start time of the party. Turn on the display lights, Halloween music, and light the candles.  Now you can relax, pour yourself a spooky brew and get in the mood for your  Halloween party. I am sure it will be a scream.


    If you would rather host a Halloween Party outside your home contact the Haunted Houses in your area and inquire about their party banquet rooms. Many large upscale haunted houses have separate rooms for business and personal Halloween parties. 

    You can rent the room, and they will provide the food.  However you may have to bring your own alcoholic beverages.  For more information, search the haunted houses in your area.

    Bailey's Irish Cream Fudge Recipe

    Baileys Irish Cream fudge is delicious and makes for a thoughtful gift during the holidays.  

    If you love fudge then this is a keeper recipe.  I enjoy this recipe during the fall and winter season and like to give gift bags and tins of the fudge as hostess gifts, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine's Day gifts.   

     Make this fudge recipe for your family and friends and I am sure they will love the melt in your mouth goodness of the chocolate and the Bailey's Irish Cream.

    Baileys Irish Cream Fudge
    Bailey's Irish Cream Fudge Recipe

    In a large mixing bowl combine all of these ingredients:

    2 packages of (12 ounce) Nestles milk chocolate chips,
    1 package (12 ounce) Nestles semisweet chocolate chips
    14 ounces of  marshmallow cream (jar)
    2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
    2/3 cups. Bailey's Irish Cream
    2 cups chopped walnuts  

    Add the sugar, evaporated milk and the butter to a saucepan and cook at medium heat.  Bring to a boil and continue to cook.  Stir continuously for 11 minutes.

    1 (12 ounce) can of evaporated milk
    4 ½ cups of sugar

    ½ pound of salt free butter

    Pour the cooked milk mixture over the chocolate and Bailey Irish Cream mixture that is in the large mixing bowl.  Mix all of the ingredients with a spoon. Stir well; it takes me approximately 5 minutes to stir all of the ingredients.  When the Bailey’s Irish Cream fudge is completely mixed, pour the mixture into foil lined 10 X 15 pan and chill in your refrigerator to set.  This recipe makes 5 pounds of fudge.

     Here is a basic recipe for making homemade fudge. 

    Friday, July 22, 2011

    Favorite Persimmon Pudding Recipe

    Persimmon pudding has been one of my favorite comfort foods in autumn. This recipe has been modified to low fat so that it is healthier for ones diet.  

    When I was growing up there was a home on the corner that had a mature persimmon tree. I remembered the tree being laden with fruit and when the fruit was ripe; soft to the touch and amber brown in color, the fruit was wonderful, it tasted as if it was sweetened with honey.

    If you enjoy the persimmon fruit then I know you will love this recipe.  This recipe is delicious when served with fresh whipped cream . I will be serving persimmon pudding along with pumpkin pie for dessert at Thanksgiving.

    Gather your ingredients for the Persimmon Pudding
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 2 cups persimmon pulp
    • 2 1/2 cups white sugar
    • 2 eggs, beaten  (or low fat egg beaters substitute )
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 pinch of salt
    • 2 1/2 cups low fat milk
    • 4 tablespoons low fat melted butter
    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease with low fat butter one 9x13 inch baking pan.
    2. In a mixing bowl, combine persimmon pulp, baking soda, sugar and eggs. Mix well.
    3. Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, milk and melted butter. Stir to mix all ingredients.
    4. Pour into baking pan and bake for 55 minutes. The pudding will rise but will fall when removed from oven.(do not worry it is okay)
    5. Allow the pudding to cool at room temperature and then chill one hour before serving.
    6. Garnish the pudding with whipped cream....enjoy! 

    Autumn Family Activity - Removing Leaves from Yard

    Autumn is the season when the leaves fall from the trees and cover your entire yard. Everywhere you look you will view leaves and it can be an overwhelming sight.

    The best way to remove the leaves from your yard is make it a family activity.  Organize the leaf removal so that everyone is working together. Make this project fun and one that everyone will remember.  If you stay focused you will be able to remove the leaves from your yard quickly.  

    Don't forget to take time to fall into the pile of leaves before you remove them from your yard.

    Things you'll need:
    • Plastic tarp
    • Metal tines rake
    • Garden gloves
    • Mulching lawn mower
    • 3 in one blower, vacuum and leaf shredder
    • Lawn and leaf bags
    • Volunteers: enlist family members to help with the leaf removal.

                      Get Organized
      Study the leaves in your yard to determine what products are needed to remove the leaves quickly.  

      For small or medium size yards, you will need a classic 20-30 inch metal tines rake. This rake is tried and true; it is efficient in removing leaves as well as aerating your lawn by removing thatch.  

      For larger yards use a rake or leaf blower to gather the leaves into piles and then vacuum the leaves into a leaf shredder.  Assign leaf removal duties to each family member.

      Get Focused
      Section off the yard, divide it into four’s.  The sections will keep you organized and you will not become overwhelmed with your yard work.  I prefer to start my leaf removal on the far left hand side of my yard and work toward the center. 

      Get Job Done
      Learn to use a rake properly.  In order to rake proficiently you must use both of your hands. Extend the rake out in front of you and then place the rake head down and over the leaves. You will then pull the leaves back toward you. 

      Continue pulling the leaves toward you to form a leaf pile in the center of your yard.  When all the leaves are compiled in the center of your yard you would then allow everyone to take a turn at playing in the leaf pile.  Now is the time to break for a hot chocolate and some homemade cookies. 

      Remove the leaves from your yard with tarp; if your city removes the leaves from the curb then transport the leaves to the curb with a tarp. 

       The best way to utilize the tarp is to lie it flat directly next to the leaf pile.  Move the leaves by raking them on top of the tarp or by flipping your rake over so that the tines face upward.  Everyone should help will scooping up the leaves and putting them on the tarp.  

      When the leaves are transported to the tarp you would then fold the tarp diagonally so that the leaves do not fall out when you move the tarp.  Drag or pickup the tarp and move to you curb.  

      Empty the leaves at the curb only if your city provides a leaf pick up. 

      If your city does not pick up the leaves then remove the leaves from your yard and gardens with a leaf vacuum/shredder or buy a leaf shredder and put the leaves from the pile into the shredder.  

      Use the recycled leaf mulch in your yard or add to your compost. 

      • Select a rake with a cushion handle this will prevent blisters.
      • Rake your yard when the leaves are dry. Wet leaves are heavier, and will be harder to remove.
      • Don't use leaf vacuum when leaves are wet, it will clog the vacuum.
      • Recruit volunteers to help with the leaf removal.  Spend the day with the family cleaning up the yard.  Take time to play in the leaf pile.
      • There will always be a few leaves remaining in your yard. Remove the leaves by running your lawn mower over them.