Simple Halloween Ghost Cookies

Halloween (or any holiday) is an excellent time to start new traditions. Whether you are staying close to home due to the pandemic or avoiding the cold weather, making simple Halloween ghost cookies is a great way to celebrate. Anyways, who doesn’t like warm, gooey marshmallow cookies?

Grocery List

  • Cookie dough or the ingredients to your favorite cookie recipe.
  • Marshmallow shaped ghosts
  • Halloween sprinkles (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven.
  • Bake cookies as directed.
  • Remove at the proper time.
  • Place the ghost marshmallows and sprinkles on to the warm cookies. The marshmallow begins to melt from the heat.
  • Serve warm.
  • Enjoy the extra sweet, gooey goodness of simple Halloween ghost cookies.

These simple but tasty Halloween ghost cookies are a perfect snack for family movie night.

Halloween Crafts: Pumpkin Suncatcher

Halloween is not canceled. The holiday is just a little different this year. For those staying close to home, finding other family-friendly activities is a great way to celebrate. With adult supervision, create pumpkin suncatchers to display outdoors or hang in your windows.

List of Materials

  • Pony Beads
  • Cake Pie (The round cake pans from dollar store ones work well. You do not have to worry about ruining your favorite cake pan.)
  • Nut (Use a nut to hang your suncatcher. Drilling a hole in your suncatcher is another option. But you always run the risk of cracking your finished project.)

Instructions

  • Place your pony beads in your desired design into the cake pan. Arranging your beads is the longest part. If you are having trouble placing your beads, use a toothpick to gently move them into position.
  • When you are ready, preheat your oven to 400˚F. Keep in mind, pony beads are plastic. As the beads melt, they give off a strong odor. Opening a window for proper ventilation is highly recommended.
  • Melt your beads for about 35 minutes.
  • When your beads are completely melted, remove from the oven.
  • Allow cooling.
  • Gently tap your pumpkin suncatcher out of the pan. Be careful; the bottom of the pan may still be warm to the touch.
  • Display proudly.

October: Family History Month

Did you know all of October is Family History Month? As the weather turns colder, finding indoor activities is essential. Chilly autumn days are excellent for learning about your family history. Asking questions is one of the best ways to learn about your family. Visit or call your parents, grandparents, great grandparents, or other elder family members. Remember either record or have a pen and paper ready to take lots of notes.

Do you need help with the type of questions to ask? Go beyond simple dates and locations. Ask about family stories too. Check out the following areas for inspiration for finding out about your family.

Marriage

  • How did you meet?
  • How did Grandpa (or other elder relatives) purpose?
  • What was your maiden name?
  • Do you know how your parents or grandparents first met?
  • What was your mother’s maiden name for both sides of your family?
  • Is there any story surrounding your proposal?
  • What was your wedding day like?
  • Did you have a big wedding?
  • Where did you get married?

Family

  • How many brothers and sisters did, or do you have?
  • Tell me about them.
  • How many aunts and uncles?
  • If you had lots of cousins, did you stay in touch with them?
  • Did you have family reunions?
  • What was your family gathers like?

Childhood

  • What is your favorite childhood memory?
  • Describe an average day from your childhood.
  • Where were you born?
  • Where did you grow up?
  • Did you move around a lot or stay in one location?
  • Do you know where your parents grew up?

School

  • Where did you attend grade school? Junior high? High school?
  • Did you like school?
  • Did you attend college, vocational, or a trade school?
  • What was your favorite subject in school?

Religion

  • What was your religious upbringing?
  • Did you go to church regularly?
  • Where did you go to church?

Occupations

  • What was your first job?
  • Do you remember how much you made an hour?
  • How many different jobs did you have over the years?
  • What was your favorite one?
  • What was your parents’ occupation?

Military

  • Did you serve in the military?
  • What branch?
  • How long did you serve?
  • Were you ever in a war zone or other conflict?
  • Where did you attend boot camp?
  • Were you drafted?
  • Do you know any other family members who served in the military?
  • Describe a typical day for you in the military.

The more questions you ask, the better understanding you will have of your family history. Enjoy your time with older relatives. Their knowledge will be lost once they are gone.

Family Fun Month: Hiking

Exploring the outdoors is a wholesome activity for the entire family (including the dog) to enjoy. Hiking provides physical exercise, reduces stress, and boosts creativity.

Find the Right Trail

Before heading out, do your research. Find the right hiking trail for you and your family to safely enjoy. Trails generally run from easy to extremely difficult with numerous obstacles. Finding the best one for your family requires research. If you are uncertain about where to start, set out on an easy trail than work your way through the rest.

What to Pack

If you are just beginning, day trips are the best. Heading out on the trail for a day gives your family a chance to familiarize themselves with the trails and the equipment.

Do you need ideas for the basics for backpacking essentials for day trips?

  • Backpack: Use a high-quality backpack to protect your basic hiking necessities. Even younger children can carry a lightweight backpack.
  • Water: Staying hydrated is critical when hiking.
  • Food: Pack plenty of food to get you through your hiking trip. Small children may require frequent stops with extra snacks. Pack to meet each family members’ needs.
  • First Aid: Bringing a first aid kit is essential for handling minor scrapes and cuts on the trail.
  • Compass: Do not always rely on your cell phone. If your battery goes dead, you may need an alternative navigation device.
  • Hand Sanitizer: Use to clean your hands before eating.
  • Mask: Once you are on the open trail away from people, you will not need a mask. However, certain areas of the park may require a face covering. Be respectful of others. Pack a mask to follow any restrictions.
  • Extra Socks and Hiking Shoes: If you accidentally get your feet wet, having additional foot attire is a priority, especially with children. You want to make hiking a positive experience.

Before You Hit the Trail

Before heading to your destination, check the weather forecast. Dress in weather-appropriate clothing. Remember, clothing layers are the best option for being outdoors. If you are uncertain what to wear, add an extra layer. If the weather is too warm, a sweatshirt is easy to remove.

Have Fun

Hiking is not a race to get through the trails as fast as possible. Take your time with your family. Pause to view numerous scenic areas or enjoy nature.

Ask your children open-ended questions or make up stories. Being outdoors increases creativity. Encourage conversation among your family about the experience. Bring your camera or use your cell phone to take lots of photos to create a memory book. Wildlife and nature discoveries can lead to a lifetime love of the outdoors.

 

Family Fun Month: Sunday Dinners

With school fast approaching, either virtual or in-session, daily homework, work, and other commitments will quickly fill your schedule. Did you know August is Family Fun Month? Celebrating the small moments is essential for you and your family. One way to celebrate Family Fun Month is hosting Sunday dinners.

Hosting Sunday Dinners

Keep in mind, when you start planning, there is no right or wrong way to host a Sunday dinner for Family Fun Month. If you need a little inspiration, check out the following ideas.

  • Traditional Meal: Cook a full course meal. For example, turkey or ham with baked potatoes, vegetables, a side salad, and apple pie is a great traditional dinner.
  • BBQ: With the weather being beautiful, starting up the barbecue grill is a wonderful way to celebrate Family Fun Month.
  • Picnic: Make sandwiches, snacks, and other treats and go on a picnic. Get outdoors. Numerous state and local parks have picnic areas. Or pack a blanket, sit on the ground, and enjoy your meal under the open sky.
  • Try Something New: Use Sunday dinners as a way to explore new cultures. Research recipes from different cultures around the world. Pinterest is a great resource. Try something new. Who knows, the new recipe may quickly turn into a family favorite.
  • Cook Together: Even a simple meal can turn into a learning experience. Cook together as a family. Share stories and enjoy them.
  • Order Take Out: If you don’t feel like cooking, order take out. Yes, when you are all together, pizza counts as a family meal.

Family Fun Month is a great time to celebrate with Sunday dinners. Enjoy your time with your family. Small celebrations quickly turn into long-lasting memories for you and your family.

End of Summer Activities

Summer is quickly coming to an end. Soon, either virtually or in-person, school will back in session. Homework and work commitments will rapidly fill your schedule. Practicing social distancing and other guidelines in your area, you and your family can enjoy numerous fun-filled activities.

Do you need some inspiration? Check out the following list.

20 End of Summer Activities for the Entire Family

  1. Go on a hike
  2. Go on a nature walk
  3. Go camping (yes, the backyard counts)
  4. Make a fort in the backyard
  5. Blow bubbles
  6. Water balloon fight
  7. Play in the sprinkler
  8. Go for a bike ride
  9. Host a treasure hunt or scavenger hunt
  10. Go on a picnic
  11. Go on a walking tour of local sites
  12. Gather rocks to paint
  13. Go swimming
  14. Go out for ice cream
  15. Go on a scenic drive
  16. Have a craft day
  17. Host a game night
  18. Go stargazing
  19. BBQ
  20. Have a bonfire

The recent health crisis is a cause for concern. Staying safe and healthy is always a priority. But you can still enjoy the outdoors.  Get outside with your family, including the dog. Enjoy the remaining days of summer. A simple nature walk or hike can transform into long-lasting memories for your family. Grab your camera and go.

Happy 40th Birthday, Harry Potter!

Today, July 31st, 2020, is J. K. Rowling’s character, Harry Potter’s 40th birthday. If you do not know by now, J.K. Rowling’s birthday is also today. So, here is wishing a Happy 40th Birthday to Harry Potter, “the boy who lived” and the author who brought magic alive for millions of fans.

Why celebrate? Well, the real question is, “why not celebrate.” Stay at home orders, social distancing, and other restrictions lead to canceled plans for you, your friends, or your family. Finding little things to celebrate is a great way to make memories during this current health crisis.

Ways to Celebrate Harry Potter’s Birthday

Are you looking for simple ways to celebrate? Well, binge-watching the Harry Potter series is one of the best ways to celebrate. For extra fun, make popcorn, order pizza, or host a watch party online.

For the love of a fandom

Other ways to celebrate include:

  • Read: The new illustrated editions draw you right into the Wizarding World.
  • Join a Group: Social media hosts numerous groups, including Adult Fans of Harry Potter. Connecting with other Harry Potter fans is a beautiful way to chat about the growing fandom.
  • Subscribe: GeekGear and other monthly subscription boxes brings your love of the Wizarding World right to your doorstep.
  • Listen to a Podcast: Finding a new podcast or listening to an old favorite provides insight into the world of Harry Potter.
  • Do Crafts: Let your creativity shine.
  • Make Food: Pinterest has thousands of recipes relating to the Wizarding World. Maybe you can discover your inner chef.
  • Host a Zoom Session: Invite friends to chat with you about Harry Potter.
  • Write Fan Fiction: Put your pen to paper or start typing to write a story about the Wizarding World, Hogwarts, or the characters in the books.
  • Join a Cause: The Harry Potter Alliance advocates different worthy causes. Learn different ways to transform your love for Harry Potter to real life situations.

Celebrate July 31st; small occasions can quickly turn into lasting memories for you and your family.  For millions of fans, the day is just the beginning of Harry Potter’s magical tale.

10 Days of Harry Potter: Owl Craft 2

In J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, owls are useful for sending letters, packages, and more. If you were attending Hogwart’s, wouldn’t you want an owl?

Now think about your owl:

  • What is the color of your owl?
  • What color eyes does your owl have?
  • What is your owl’s name?
  • Who would be the first person you sent a letter to via your owl?

Materials Needed:

  • A ceramic owl (Wal-Mart sells ceramic owls for under $4).
  • Paint in the colors of your choice
  • Paintbrushes

Instructions:

  1. Put newspaper or other protective material down for painting.
  2. Paint your owl.
  3. Allow your owl to dry.
  4. Display your owl, proudly.

Write a story about your owl. Enjoy the entire creative process of making your owl.

 

Christmas in July: Homemade Gift Wrap

Are you celebrating Christmas in July? Do you need more easy crafts to keep kids busy? When staying close to home, being creative is an excellent way to pass the time. Consider making homemade wrapping paper to use later during the Christmas season. The handmade gift wrap is an easy project for all ages.

Materials Needed:

  • Sponges
  • Scissors
  • Butcher paper, newsprint, or other types of packing paper
  • Paint
  • Containers for paint
  • Markers

Instructions:

  1. Cut sponges into various shapes, for example, Christmas trees, gift boxes, stars, and ornaments. (Help younger children cut the sponges into shapes.)
  2. Spread your choice of paper on a flat surface.
  3. Squirt small amounts of paint in your container.
  4. Dip your cut sponge into the paint.
  5. Make sure the paint covers the entire sponge for a precise shape.
  6. Press sponge on to the paper. When you are finished, simply rinse the sponges of the entire paint residue. You can use the sponges more than once.
  7. Continue the process until you reach your desired design.
  8. Allow the paint shapes to dry.
  9. Use markers to add outlines, Christmas songs, Bible verses, names, or other designs to your gift wrap.
  10. Now, wrap your Christmas gifts and enjoy your finalized product.

Homemade gift wrap is an excellent way to provide a personalized touch to your presents. Use your imagination to create numerous sheets of wrapping paper. You can always set the mood by playing Christmas music.

Christmas in July: Making Ornaments

How is your Christmas in July celebrations going? Are you still looking for family-friendly activities to keep kids busy? Consider making ornaments from plaster. One of the best aspects of making ornaments now, you can save them to hang on your Christmas tree in December.

Materials Needed:

  • Christmas themed molds or pans (The plaster does not harm them, just wash thoroughly after use.)
  • Plaster
  • Throw away containers for mixing plaster. (Remember not to pour remaining plaster down the sink.)
  • Water
  • Paint in various colors
  • Paintbrushes

Instructions:

  1. Place newspapers or other protective materials on your counter.
  2. Mix plaster as directed. Always add the plaster mixture to the water for a smooth and consistent mixture. (Keep in mind, the plaster hardens quickly. You need to have your molds ready to go. You can add a little extra water to provide a bit more time).
  3. Fill molds.
  4. Place hangers into your mold. (Paper clips or pop can tab work great for an instant, inexpensive hook).
  5. Allow your ornaments to dry.
  6. Gently remove the ornaments from the molds. You may need to tap on the mold to loosen the ornament.
  7. Paint the ornaments.

Even younger children can help with the painting process. Just do not forget to add the date on the back. The ornaments can quickly turn into a lasting treasure.