decorating with dodi

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Fair Warning!

Just want to be up front about this. This post contains a LOT of photos...but you knew that was coming, didn't you?

We had the start of our Halloween "season" this weekend. The little kids were here for their Nana and Papa celebration. This used to include all 7 grands, but once the older girls started getting more and more involved in their own activities, I knew it would change. But, they'll ALL be here for the party so I will take what I can get. The little kids still look forward to it and just love anything we do.

Tradition says we start with our photos - and with the rest of the gang all coming here for our big Halloween party, I will be able to get all of the rest of my "witches" captured in photos as well. Love having all 7 together and seeing how the pictures change each year!

These three came up with this picture idea a few years ago and now it too is tradition.

I got Papa involved with the lunch making too cause it can get a bit hectic until everyone is busy with a job.

Today's lunch consisted of monster sandwiches, screaming ghosts, chips, ghoulade and Halloween Oreos and candy corn marshmallows.

We didn't go all "fancy dining" for lunch as we were about to clear this table and "let the crafting begin"!

I know I have mentioned before that I like the kids to make something worth keeping, so our first craft this year was a painting. I saw the idea in a JoAnns ad and decide that it would work best if we kept the design simple so I downloaded 3 very simple Halloween shapes - a pumpkin, a ghost and a bat. I cut the shape out, traced it on the canvas and painted in the background area. Harrison decided he wanted to add a moon, so he traced a cup and voila!

Then the kids were able to paint the fill-in space. While that was drying, the two boys made our cupcakes. This little one really loves her art. Her mom thought I did her painting but she was so patient painting those straight areas. Then, she used a dabber for the whites of the eyes and a pencil eraser for the black. I did trace around a Mason jar lid with the Sharpie for her so she could see the bat's head but then she grabbed that marker and drew on the most perfect smile ever - all by herself!

Once the cupcakes were in the oven, the kids came back and added in whatever details they wanted. I decided it would be easier for the fine lines just to give them a Sharpie marker as it is difficult to get a straight, thin, painted line on that bumpy canvas.

Mission accomplished and they are excited about hanging their works of art in their rooms.

They also decided they are over having their pictures taken!!

That is, until I break out the crazy glasses that I found. Then, Harrison decided he and his brother looked like mad scientists and they wanted to do a photo shoot in front of my laboratory vignette. Hard to see but they are mixing up some kind of potion with eyeballs and test tubes full of sprinkles! Fun!

Since the day was picture perfect, we headed outdoors for a little break and fresh air. Gotta love a box of sidewalk chalk!

This is Har's skeleton...

...and not to be outdone, here is Presley's.

Once the cupcakes had cooled, we were back in to decorate them. Once Presley heard there was chocolate involved, she was all over this part!

The witch hats were made from a chocolate covered Oreo creme rim with a spot of frosting to hold on a Hershey's Kiss and then pipe on the brim.

After that, all they had to do was frost the cakes with butter cream icing - that I bought already made in the Publix bakery and we simply tinted orange -  and assemble. They couldn't believe I was going to make them wait until dinner to taste but I did!

We always try to make a new decoration for their house each year as well and it gets harder and harder to find things we haven't already done over my many, many years of holiday crafting. This year I simply bought 3 wood letters that spell out BOO. I gave each child one with bits and pieces of Halloween scrapbook paper and embellishments. They cut out strips of paper, adhered them with Mod Podge and added their embellishments. We left them loose so Mom could sit them on a shelf but she also has the option of stringing them together vertically if that would work better in this year's decor. Restraint on the "embellishing" is always hard, but I think they did a good job.

By now, we were all hungry again so dinner preparations began. Our menu consisted of mummy pizza bread, mummy celery sticks, "spooky" trees, eyeball cocktails and, of course, our yummy cupcakes.

We have tried about every variation of mummy or ghost pizzas over the years but this has to be the very best and thank goodness we made two, because the kids devoured these.

Hudson, Presley and I made a cheese mummy and I left Papa and Harrison to their own devices to make the pepperoni mummy. It is so easy, that even these two by themselves could do it - haha. Just start with a roll of Pillsbury pizza crust - and an added attraction is that the kids always LOVE how those rolls "pop". Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray (we used olive oil spray because we figured any extra Italian authenticity would be good), spread out dough to pretty much the size of the pan. Then, go along the sides and cut in strips about 1" thick and 2 1/2" long. Remove the 3rd strip completely because this is where the eyes will go. Spread out your pasta sauce, cheese, pepperoni or anything else you like on your pizza and then add 2 pepperonis for eyes with black olive slices for pupils where the dough is missing. Next, just bring the strips over the main part of the "body" wrapping your mummy. Into the oven they went for about 16 minutes at 400 degrees. And, let me tell you, these things were delicious. Harrison told me when he grows up he is going to own a pizza restaurant and serve these the month of October. Well, I'm not sure about that but I do know he talked about it so much the whole 21 mile drive to the pumpkin patch the next day, that Mom will be buying these supplies soon so the kids can make dinner for their parents!

The celery mummies were also very well received. We have done celery witch fingers with peanut butter in the past but we had peanut butter on our ghosts for lunch so I thought a change might be in order. I bought cream cheese and pimiento cheese and the kids spread it in the celery sticks. Then, they shredded string cheese and criss- crossed it over the "bodies" and passed them along to Papa who added black olive eyes. They were really, really good and the kids discovered that they like pimiento cheese. Success. They also love my steamed broccoli. They say it tastes better than their moms - could be because I finish it off with a dusting of Kosher salt and more than a pat of real butter!

Our eyeball cocktails weren't quite as successful. This thing is going all over Pinterest and looked like so much fun that I was willing to go to the 20 stores it took to find all of the supplies. First, we started by pushing the Halloween Peeps onto Halloween straws. We had to be very careful doing this as the only straws I could find are paper and a bit flimsy. We pushed a chop stick through first but then you have all kinds of sticky going on and it kind of got a bit messier than even the kids thought was fun. After a few minutes of heavy duty hand scrubbing, they were back to add a gummy eyeball (which is a cupcake topper, not candy) and green Nerds - thanks to Papa who had to sit and painstakingly pull out the green ones from the only Nerds I could find anywhere which were rainbow! Then, as we sat down to eat, we filled the glasses with sugarfree, caffeine free Sprite - yeah, now I decide to start to monitor our sugar intake - haha. The idea was that the eyeball would float and the Nerds would start to give off their green color but that didn't really happen. We threw more eyeballs in hoping that maybe they would float as promised, but, no go! The kids still loved these things but after buying enough supplies to do this all over again with all 7 at our Halloween party, I quickly nixed that idea and we will find another ghoulish drink of choice!

By the time we were done and had dinner cleaned up, it was time for the kids to watch "The Dog Who Saved Halloween" in the sun room while Papa and I headed to the family room for the Gator game...let's just say we would have been better off ALL watching the movie...enough said. Go Gators - next week we will try again!

Just as a side note, as we were tucking the kids into bed, Harrison told me this had been the best day of his life. I'm sure he will think of others as the novelty of today wears off, but I will take it as it comes. Kind of what it is ALL about!

On Sunday morning, we started the day with fresh fruit and ghost pancakes then sat quietly while we concentrated on making Halloween beaded creatures. Very fun but a bit frustrating for Presley - well all of us if the truth be told, but we persevered!

And, before we knew it, Jen was here and we were off to the patch. More on that later. Stay tuned.


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