31 October 2012

happy halloween!

Wherever there is injustice, you will find us.
Wherever there is suffering, we'll be there.
Wherever liberty is threatened, you will find...
the 3 Amigos!

We hope you had a fun and safe Halloween. 

30 October 2012

dinner in a pumpkin [tradition]

A few nights ago, we were the lucky dinner guests of a good friend who let us be a part of one of her family's favorite Halloween tradition: Making Dinner in a Pumpkin. 

This is something that has always been on my Fall bucket list, but I've never been brave enough to try it. However, now that I have  done it  seen it done (she did all the work!), I think we'll be adding this to our list of Halloween traditions as well.

The recipe she used contained hamburger, rice, mushrooms, water chestnuts, cream of chicken soup, and a few other things. Although, I bet there are a million different recipes out there that you could find one that satisfies your style of cooking. I've heard of stews, soups, and other casserole type dishes. 

If you've done this before, share the recipe with us! 
One more day until Halloween! Are you ready? We are excited.  

29 October 2012

simple celebrations: october 29-november 4

This week's simple celebrations:
29-International Internet Day
30-National Candy Corn Day
November 1-Cider Day
2-National Deviled Egg Day
3-National Men Make Dinner Day
4-Peanut Butter Lovers Day

28 October 2012

the switch witch [tradition]

I heard this fun tradition from my cousin whose friend gave her this Halloween tradition idea. 
For the full story, visit her blog, but the gist is this: It's called the Switch Witch.
After the kids get back from trick-or-treating, they get to keep some of their favorite candy.
Then, they leave the rest in a place for the Switch Witch.
While they are sleeping, the Switch Witch switches out the candy they left for a toy. 
You can then save the good candy for when you need a treat 
and throw the rest away that you don't want to eat. 
The kids are happy with their new toy and they don't eat too much candy! 

If you try it out, let us know how it goes. I won't be doing this for a few years. :) 

27 October 2012

a new way to carve pumpkins

If you haven't already carved pumpkins this year, try something new!
I saw this idea on Martha Stewart and I knew I had to try it. 
I wouldn't recommend it for children, but there are so many possibilities with this method. 

What you need: pumpkins, newspaper, and a drill

How to: Clean out your pumpkins like you normally would.  Then instead of using a knife to carve, use a drill to make holes of all sizes and patterns.

I loved it so much because usually my pumpkin carved looks like a 10 year old did it.
Not that there is anything wrong with that, but just saying :)

26 October 2012

a halloween music mix

Every season needs a good music mix to get you in a festive mood. We've been playing songs from a Halloween Music Mix I created. Simply playing this music while cleaning up the house, doing dishes or laundry makes even the most of mundane tasks festive. And let's not forget that it can create a spontaneous dance party that is suitable for any age. Here is what we've been listening to...

Turn on some festive music and have a happy weekend!
And don't forget to check out our weekend posts coming up...
a new way to carve pumpkins and more!

25 October 2012

halloween surprise cupcakes [recipe]

At a recent family Halloween party, there was a giant platter of cupcakes*. 
They had festive toppers and looked delicious.

But it wasn't until I took a bite, that I realized actually how delicious they were.
They had a perfect cream cheese center that added just the right pop of flavor to a chocolate cupcake.
And, simply put, the orange just made them even more festive, which made them taste better, too!

And the great news is that they are rather simple to make. Here is the recipe: 

Halloween Surprise Cupcakes (aka Birthday Cake Surprise Cupcakes)
1 devil's food cake mix
8 oz. milk chocolate chips
8 oz. cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
food coloring, optional

Mix cream cheese, sugar, and egg together. (If you want to add a color, now is the time to add in food coloring.) Set aside. In a separate bowl, make cake according to box directions. Fold in chocolate chips.

Line muffin tins with liners. Put a few spoonfuls of cake mix batter in bottom of cupcake paper. Then put one spoonful of cream cheese mixture on top of cake mix. Finish the layering by putting enough batter in each tin to cover the cream cheese mixture.

Bake according to package directions. It may require a few extra minutes of bake time, but they are done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Top with frosting or whipped cream.

*Idea and recipe from my sister Kristin Martha

24 October 2012

Trick or Treat Bags

Hey this is Andrea popping in with a fun little idea today.  Snag some cheap cloth bags from Walmart, or your local craft store, and spruce them up to make them just a little more festive!

I don't know about you but these "Three Little Pigs" are getting pretty excited for Halloween!

23 October 2012

our favorite event of the year + halloween preview week!

There are only 8 days left until Halloween! Here on So Festive this week, we're going to be featuring all things Halloween. Stay tuned for recipes, costume reveals, and more! 

the last few spudnuts
To begin, I'm going to show you some snippets of our Sunday Spudnut Sunday party that we host every year. Here were the invites I made up:

I can't believe we've been doing this for 5 years as a Sunday family. Although to keep the record straight, this tradition started decades ago in my grandmother's kitchen. She found this wonderful recipe and decided to dedicate a day each year to making spudnuts. My mother did this with my family each year, and I loved it so much, I have done it each year since I've been out of the house. It was a hit in college. And I even made them when I was in Germany! I made sure my husband would be on board with this before I married him. And good thing he is, because it definitely is not a one-man show. 

Every year it gets better. This year, we made sure we had extra lighting in the backyard by using tiki torches and orange twinkle lights. And we made sure to have plenty of cups and apple juice. We ran out last year!

Here are few pics of the pre-event. It is too crazy to ever manage getting photos during the event. 

If you'd like to host your own Spudnut party, let us know! We'd be happy to share some tips. 
Here is the recipe I posted last year.

22 October 2012

simple celebrations: october 22-28

This week's simple celebrations:
22-National Knee Day
23-Soccer Player Day
24-Nachos Birthday
25-Make a Difference Day
26-National Sleep-In Day
27-Birthday of the Pencil
28-Statue of Liberty Birthday

18 October 2012

The Great Soup Search Recipe #1

Hello there! A BIG thank you to all of you who sent in your best soup recipes. We were pleased with the plethora of new recipes to try out. It is going to take a little while to get through all of them, so please be patient with us. However, once a recipe becomes a favorite, we will post it so you can enjoy it as well. Prizes will be mailed out after The Great Soup Search has ended.

The first soup we made was Quick Chicken Corn Chowder, submitted by Ann. For years, we have made a similar soup. However, it calls for cream soup, which we are trying to get away from. So we were pleased that this one is nearly just as easy and the ingredients are a bit healthier. Needless to say, my husband deemed it as a new favorite. Here is the recipe:

(*And just for the record. I had intentions of posting photos of all the favorite soups. But, I'm afraid that trying to get a perfect photo of all the best soups will take away from the nature of the contest. So, don't be mad, okay? Plus, I wouldn't want you to pass up any great recipes just in case my photo skills aren't up to par.)

Quick Chicken-Corn Chowder

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
 2 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2 breast halves)
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (about 3 ears)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and jalapeño; cook for 3 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; cook until thick (about 5 minutes).

*Variation: We used just a little jalepeno so it wouldn't be too hot. Also, I forgot that I didn't have any cream-style corn in the house, but it was still yummy! It took less than 30 minutes to make. We served it with french bread.

16 October 2012

halloween dinner decor

This was the spread for a Halloween dinner party we hosted last year.
The favors are jello popcorn.

15 October 2012

simple celebrations: october 15-21

This week's simple celebrations:
15-National Grouch Day
16-National Dictionary Day
17-National Geographic Birthday
18-The Jungle Book Day
19-New Friends Day
20-National Fruit Day
21-Garbanzo Bean Day

11 October 2012

candy corn

I don't know what it is about candy corn, but how can you not love it?
Even if you don't like to eat it, it sure makes things festive this time of year!

halloween rice-krispy treats [recipe]

I needed a quick, but festive treat to take to a get-together.
Rice krispy treats are always a winner, but sometimes they can look a little boring.
I experimented sprucing them up a few years ago, but this time they turned out even better. 

I followed this simple recipe:

Festive Rice Krispy Treats
1/2 cup butter
10.5 oz marshmallows
6 cups rice krispy cereal
orange food coloring (or red and yellow)

Melt butter and add in marshmallows on medium heat. Once the marshmallows are 90% melted, add in the food coloring. For a bold color, use about 20 drops. Once you have reached the color you want, stir in the rice krispy cereal. Make sure you seperate the marshmallow mixture before you add food coloring if you are going to do two different colors. Mold into desired shapes before its sets up. Cool on wax paper and then store in air-tight container. 

To mold, I found it easiest to form them directly into the cookie cutter, as opposed to putting them in a pan and then cutting the desired shape. For the pumpkins, as soon as I molded them, I put them on wax paper and then sprinkled green sprinkles on the stem before they cooled.

And here are the ghosts. I think mini chocolate chips would look even better, but when you don't have time to run to the store, just use what you have! 

Enjoy these simple, cheap, and festive treats! 

09 October 2012

orange + white

Aren't these mini gift bags adorable? I couldn't resist them.
It makes me SO excited for Halloween!

08 October 2012

simple celebrations: october 8-14

This week's simple celebrations:
8-American Tag Day
9-National Sneakers Day
10-National School Celebration
11-World Egg Day
12-Farmers Day
13-National Peanut Festival
14-National Dessert Day

04 October 2012

room on the broom

We've been reading lots of Halloween/Fall stories around here.
But this is perhaps one of my all-time favorites.
I've always been a big fan of Julia Donaldson books, 
so it makes me happy that she has one that ties in with a holiday.

02 October 2012

how to make a witch

My mom made this witch years ago. I have always liked it and finally got around to making one for me. This is a very inexpensive and fairly easy craft.

What you'll need:
-a piece of dog-eared fence. (The older, the better. If you don't have a scrap of it, you can buy one piece of fence for $2 that will make 3.)
-2 tree branches about 12 inches long
-Scraps of Halloween fabric or ribbon
-Green and black paint
-Plastic spider

Here's how to do it:
1. Paint the top 5" of the wood black (the dog-eared part--this will be the hat)
2. Paint the tree branches black and set aside.
3. Paint the witches face green and let dry.
4.Once the face is dry, paint two black dots for the eyes
5. Tie about 20 strands of raffia together in the middle. Then hot glue it at the top of the face in the middle.
6. Hot glue the one of the branches for the hat brim right above the hair.
7. Hot glue the ribbon above the hat brim.
9. Put a little raffia at the end of the other branch for the broom. Attach some ribbon.
10. Hot glue the broom. Add a spider for even more festiveness!

01 October 2012

simple celebrations: october 1-7

This week's simple celebrations:
1-Homemade Cookie Day
2-Name Your Car Day
3-Look at the Leaves Day
4-National Frugal Fun Day
5-National Story Telling Day
6-Garlic Lovers Day
7-National Flower Day


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