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.

20 Fun Frugal Fall Activities

The official start of autumn is still days away. Cooler nights, harvest time, and the subtle changes to the landscape are signs of the fall season. Due to the pandemic, fall is different this year. Numerous community events are canceled. Social distancing and other guidelines are still in place. But even on a budget, you and your family can enjoy the changing season.

Family Fall Activities

  1. Play a game of toss football.
  2. Go apple picking
  3. Try an apple cider slushy
  4. Eat a Carmel apple
  5. Go for a hike (Your dog can go too.)
  6. Go for a nature walk (Don’t forget your camera)
  7. Go on a Sunday drive just to look at the changing leaves.
  8. Collect brightly colored leaves
  9. Rake leaves into a pile and simply jump in. (Great fun at any age)
  10. Bake an apple pie. Or bake two, one to keep and one to give away.
  11. Decorate your home with a fall theme.
  12. Wax leaves
  13. Make your favorite homemade soup or try a new recipe.
  14. Collect pine cones for crafts
  15. Go stargazing
  16. Have a fall picnic.
  17. Have a bonfire on a chilly night.
  18. East S’mores
  19. Have a fall-themed craft day.
  20. Go to the farmer’s market.

Despite canceled events, fall is still a fun season. Spend time with your family. Or grab your bestie and head out for the day.

Family Fun Month: Camping

Celebrate Family Fun Month by getting outdoors and going camping. View the stars while sitting around a cozy campfire. Even with the current health crisis, you and your family can enjoy camping.

Tips for Camping During the Current Health Crisis

With planning and social distancing, camping is a low-risk activity for you and your family. Plus many campsite allow pets, you can bring your favorite four-legged companion along to enjoy the fun.

Plan Your Trip

Before heading out, check your state or local park guidelines for camping during a pandemic. If you are heading to a campground, register ahead of time to secure your camping space. When picking your area, try to get a campsite further away from others.

Over Pack

Generally, road trips mean a lot of stops, fast food, and more. But due to the pandemic, purchase as much as possible before going to the campground. Minimize the number of stops to and from the camping area.

Along with food, drinks, a tent, and other necessary camping equipment, consider the following.

  • Hand Sanitizer: Pack ample amounts of hand sanitizer and wipes. If you are not near the public restrooms or outdoor facet areas to wash your hands, hand sanitizer is an excellent alternative.
  • Masks: Even though you are outdoors, specific areas inside the campground may require a mask. Be respectful. Follow the guidelines.
  • First Aid Kit: Bring your own fully stocked first aid kit to handle minor cuts and scraps. Do not forget to pack extra band-aids, anti-itch medication, and other supplies. A well-packed first aid kit allows you to treat your minor ailments right at your campsite.
  • Trash Container: Create a designated area for your trash. Put all your trash into a bag or other container. Empty your trash in the proper area. Never leave your trash behind.

Have Fun

Now the packing and the basics are out of the way—time to have fun. Yes, you will still need to practice social distancing with others outside your family. But enjoy your time together.

  • Swim
  • Go paddleboarding or kayaking
  • Walk the designated trails
  • Make S’mores
  • Tell stories around the campfire
  • Stargaze
  • Photograph nature

Or simply relax and enjoy the great outdoors while sitting around a campfire.

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.

10 Days of Harry Potter: Chocolate Frogs, Coins, and More

In J.K. Rowling’s beloved Harry Potter series, large feasts, parties, sneaking down to the kitchens, or devouring Molly’s home cooking, food is a common theme. Who wouldn’t want to eat their way through a Hogwart’s start of term feast or the extravagant Halloween festivities?

Are you wondering how to celebrate Harry Potter with special treats? Consider the following ideas.

Chocolate Frogs and Chocolate Coins

Materials Needed:

  • Frog and coin molds
    Silicone Frog Mold

  • Dipping chocolate

Instructions:

  1. Melt dipping chocolate as directed. You can melt the chocolate in the microwave or use a double boiler pan.
  2. Melt chocolate to desired consistency.
  3. When ready, carefully spoon the chocolate into the molds.
  4. Allow hardening.
  5. Serve.

Bertie Botts Every Flavor Bean 

Pick up a box of Bertie Botts Every Flavor Bean. Try and guess each flavor without looking at the guide.

Added Fun

When having a fun-filled Harry Potter food night, try something new. Many novelty stores or specialty shops sell edible insects. Make memories by trying something completely new. Who is the brave one in your family?

 

 

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.

Christmas in July: Pretzel Treats

Are you celebrating Christmas in July? Are you watching your favorite Christmas show? Do you need a quick and easy snack with a Christmas theme? Pretzel treats are a fun way to celebrate Christmas in July.

Materials Needed:

  • Dipping chocolate
  • Pretzels of any style
  • Sprinkles or other types of toppings (You can use anything to decorate the pretzels. Other toppings include nuts, miniature marshmallows, chocolate chips, etc.)

Instructions:

  1. Melt dipping chocolate as directed. You can melt the chocolate in the microwave or use a double boiler pan.
  2. Melt chocolate to desired consistency.
  3. Dip pretzels in chocolate.
  4. Add sprinkles. For extra fun, allow your children to help decorate with the sprinkles. Creating their own snacks is a great way to get everyone involved.
  5. Allow the chocolate to harden.