Thursday, October 30, 2014

Friday Favorites - Halloween Edition

Happy Halloween!! I've always loved this holiday. We don't do anything scary - just all things fun and full of make believe. :) Unfortunately, it's supposed to be very cold and possible snowy (NO!!!) Friday night, so we are just going to make best of it here at home. :)  Here are my favorite things about Halloween:

1. Costumes

I already shared all of our kids' costumes from the past few years (check them out here). This year, I made Abby a Jessie the Cowgirl costume, and Tim was probably the cutest Buzz Lightyear of all time. I think I will officially retire from making costumes - it is fun, but so time consuming! 

Jess went the smart route and got a Dorothy and Lion costume this year from a consignment store  - aren't J and B adorable?!

2. Fun Food

So, my husband and I are super cheesy and love themed dates/food/etc. Pinterest has so many great ideas, so I've been pinning and meal planning for Halloween the past week. We are having biscuits and grave-y for breakfast, sand-witches for lunch, and mummy pizzas for dinner. Nothing too elaborate, but just fun for the kids! :) I mean, how cute is this pizza?

Fun Halloween Dinner Idea for kids

3. Candy

I'm a candy freak. I love it, and not ashamed to take my babies out trick or treating for the candy. Favorite candy = Reese cups, hands down. I'll definitely be over at Target after Halloween stocking up on candy to throw in the freezer to use for Christmas cookies...and to snack on for the next few months. :) 

4. Television Shows

Remember TGIF back in the day? I loved those shows (and still do!). I remember the Halloween episodes always being hilarious. I loved the Boy Meets World episode where they were all in detention with the bad, bad killer man on the loose in the school ... and Jennifer Love Hewitt guest starred. Here's the full episode in case you don't know what I'm talking about! But the best one was on Family Matters when Stevil the dummy terrorized the Winslow family. Ah, memories!! ;)

Anyone else remember this? 

5. Crafts/Decorations

We've been having lots of fun here at home making fun Halloween crafts. Abby loved her spider hat, and we're doing ghost footprints tonight! :)  I think the biggest hit so far are the Halloween window clings from the dollar store - cheap thrills! Any fun holiday crafts you'd like to share?

The only spider allowed in my house :)

We're getting our costumes on and heading out for some Halloween fun! :) What are you/your kids dressing up as?

Happy Halloween!!

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Sharing my Thoughts for Thursday with Natalie and Annie,
5 on Friday/Friday Faves along with DarciNatashaChristinaApril,  
JennieLauren ElizabethKarliAmyAndreaErika, and Narci,
Week's End with Elizabethand Halloween Costume Party with Julie and Natasha

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Taco Chili (Freezer Friendly!)

This past week at our house has been full of teething babies, ear infections and strep throat, and a weekend spent away for a wedding. We've all been off of our 'normal' schedule, so I've been leaning on my freezer meals to get us through dinner time. One of the easiest ones that I make is Taco Chili. It's great to freeze in small sizes for lunches at work, or in big bags to give away to friends who have just had babies. :)

Taco Chili


1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 can (15.5 oz) mild chili beans, undrained
1 can (15.5 oz) black beans, undrained
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (14.25 oz) corn, undrained
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 pkg taco seasoning mix
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese or Mexican cheese blend


1. Brown meat with onions in large saucepan; drain.
2. Add all remaining ingredients (except cheese) and stir.
3. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 5 minutes (stirring occasionally).
4. Serve topped with cheese (and any other toppings like crushed tortilla chips, sour cream, etc).

This recipe can also be made in the crock pot - just cook it on low for about 4-5 hours!

While I'm browning the meat, Abby's job was to dump and stir :)

Probably one of the easiest and most delicious chili recipes....hope you enjoy! :)

This recipe is a slight modification from one found in a Kraft Foods magazine years ago.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Five Fall Faves, Part 2

There's a definite chill in the air everyday now and hardly any leaves are green anymore.  Autumn is here, and winter is around the corner.  But before the snow hits, we are really enjoying the beauty and fun that comes with fall-time in the Midwest!

My Top 5 Fall Faves, Part 2 (because now we've been able to go out and enjoy them!):

1.  Festivals.  The corn maze and hay mountain were huge hits with the kids this year!  The mountain had slides and tunnels, and they kept going through them again and again and again...


In the corn maze, J was our fearless leader.  We didn't get too lost...thanks to some navigational tips from Daddy. ;)  And B loved carrying around his own little ear of corn. 

You know you're from the Midwest take a family picture in a corn maze. ;)


2.  Cardigans and scarves.  I hate cold weather, but I love the outfits that come with the lower temps!  I've worn a cardigan, scarf, or both nearly everyday since it's gotten chilly out.  My favorite combo right now is my "Notre Dame" outfit:  my green cardigan with my white scarf with gold sunbursts...

The kids wanted in on the could I say "no"?  Silly selfies with the kids are the best!

3.  Football.  Every year, we take the kids up to Notre Dame on a game day to just have fun on campus and watch the game at the athletic center on the big screens.  But this year, we actually got to take the kids to their first game!  We had a blast and so did they.  Our daughter even learned the cheers and watched the game.  Jim wanted our kids to be fans since birth.  Well, they're fanatics.

They really did have fun at their first Notre Dame game...even though they don't look it!

Doing the "push ups" when we scored a touchdown!

Yep, true fanatics:  the Saturday following their first Notre Dame game, we were coming home from visiting family.  When we pulled into the driveway, J started whimpering.  We asked her what was wrong.  Her response?  "I want to go to Notre Dame!"  She was sad because we came home.  This girl is a hardcore fan at 3 years old!!!   

4.  Projects.  We have to checking off one project after another from our to-do list.  I have been crafting like a crazy woman...Halloween decor, fabric pumpkins, and a burlap wreath.

We finally painted our entryway - goodbye, peach-color-that-the-previous-homeowners-chose!  Next, are the hallways and dining room (also an awful peach color - yuck!).

I'm nearly done with the wall art for our daughter's bedroom.  And I finally finished the kids' dresser turned changing table!

We're on a roll here, and I plan to keep it that way for awhile because we are usually slow going at getting projects done!

5.  Holidays.  I'm so excited for Halloween!  It was always my favorite as a kid because I loved dressing up.  Now, I get to "dress up" my own house with lots of decorations, and I get to dress up my kids too!

The last two years, I've made the kids' costumes - Minnie Mouse one year and Hobbits last year.  But no DIY costumes for this Halloween!  I came across some awesome deals that I couldn't pass up...especially because they were characters from their current favorite movie - the "Vizard of Oz" as they say.

Here's a sneak peak of the cuteness! 

Eek!  I can't wait til Halloween!  It's going to be a blast!

Fall has always been my favorite season, and we have been having the best time so far!  How about you?  What are your favorite things about the season?  What have you and your family been up to this fall?  

Instagram  ǀ  Bloglovin'  ǀ  Pinterest  ǀ  Tsu

Hey, friends!  Have you heard of Tsu?  It's a new social media platform that pays you! 
It's invite only right now (like Pinterest was when it first started!), but you can join for free here.  
Check it out and follow along!

Sharing my Thoughts for Thursday with Natalie and Annie,
5 on Friday/Friday Faves along with Darci, Natasha, Christina, April,  
JennieLauren Elizabeth, KarliAmy, AndreaErika, and Narci,
Week's End with Elizabeth, and Jenna and Jenna for Coffee Date

Monday, October 20, 2014

DIY Hobbit Halloween Costumes

DIY Hobbit Halloween Costumes -

Last week, Katie wrote about all of the Halloween costumes we've made for our kids.  But my all time favorites were the Hobbit costumes I made.  Seriously, I don't know how I can ever top them!

The idea to dress my kids as Hobbits came to me as an epiphany moment.  Or maybe it was more of a Pinterest inspiration....  While surfing for Halloween costumes ideas, I came across this cute little girl dressed like a Hobbit on the blog Falafel and the Bee.

And oh my goodness!  My husband and I are huge Lord of the Rings fans, so I knew this would be perfect for our curly haired kiddos!

I used tutorials from 2 different blogs (links below), but I did change up a few parts.  This took me a total of two afternoon naps (but I made 2 sets of everything so it could easily be done in one afternoon!), and it truly was very easy to make.  No major sewing skills required!

DIY Hobbit Halloween Costumes -

Here is what I did for our DIY Hobbit Costumes(And I'm sorry for the lack of pictures - these were made before I began blogging.  The tutorials listed below have great step-by-step pictures.)

DIY Hobbit Halloween Costumes -


Green felt (amount depends on the size of who will wear it)
Fabric scissors
Embroidery thread
Yarn sewing needle
Regular thread
Regular sewing needle
Small elastic hair tie

I used a combination of these 2 tutorials to make the Fellowship cloaks: tutorial #1 and tutorial #2.  I did not add the hood because I can't sew to make the project easier. 

DIY Hobbit Halloween Costumes -


Computer paper and printer
Sewing pins
Dark green felt, 1 small sheet (mine had sparkles in it too)
Fabric scissors
Silver embroidery thread
Yarn sewing needle
Button (with loop on the back of the button)
Hot glue gun and stick
Hair clip (optional)

Instead of just using a button to fasten the cloak like what was used in the cloak tutorial (tutorial #1 listed above), I made the Fellowship brooch to cover the button.  You could just use a gold or silver vintage-looking button and completely skip these steps.  But I really wanted the cloaks to have the brooch because I'm only a little bit of an obsessed Tolkien fan!

First, I printed out a picture of the brooch and then cut out only the leaf part of it.  Then, I pinned the leaf pattern on the felt and cut it out.

Next, I took the embroidery thread and stitched in the main veins of the leaf, using the printed out brooch as a visual guide.  I also kept the stitches very tight together so it would look seamless.

Finally, I hot glued the brooch to the button that was already sewn on the completed cloak.  Perfection!

*I also made an extra leaf and hot glued it to a hair clip for my daughter to wear in her hair to go along with her costume.

DIY Hobbit Halloween Costumes -

Hairy Feet:

Computer paper and printer
Skin colored felt (amount depends on the size of their feet)
1 small sheet of felt that is one shade lighter than the skin colored felt (for the toenails)
Fabric scissors
Brown curly doll hair
Hot glue gun and stick
Black sharpie or pen
Safety pins

Oh, the hairy Hobbit feet.  It wouldn't be a proper Hobbit costume without them!

I used this tutorial to make their hairy feet.  I did not make the feet into slippers, however, because sigh, I can't sew! we were going to be walking around outside in them.  I just made the top part of the foot as laid out in the tutorial, and we safety pinned them to the tops of their tennis shoes.

DIY Hobbit Halloween Costumes -

To finish off their Hobbit Halloween costumes, they wore nice dress pants, dressy vests, and white collared and button-down dress shirts.  These clothes are easy to find (I found them inexpensively at a children's re-sale shop), and the best part is that they can be worn again after Halloween.

DIY Hobbit Halloween Costumes -

Aren't they the cutest Hobbits you've ever seen? ;)

Edit (Halloween 2016): A couple years later and another child - of course he had to have his turn at being a Hobbit for Halloween too!

Have you made your kids Halloween costumes before?  What were their costumes?

Happy Halloween!

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

DIY Halloween Costume Ideas

I love Halloween, especially now that I have kids to dress up. :) We always made our own costumes growing up, so that's what I'm going to try to do for my kids...which is easy right now because I'm picking the theme. Once they are old enough, I'm not sure if I'll be able to pull that off! :)  I'm currently making Abby and Tim's costumes for this year and can't wait to share those next week! :) Jess and I thought we'd share our previous Halloween ideas with you - if you have a glue gun and felt, you should be good to go! :)

Here are our five favorite costume ideas for kids:

Wonder Woman
DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids and Toddlers - Wonder Woman -

Abby was Wonder Woman for her first Halloween (she was 6 months old). I traced the WW emblem on yellow felt, cut it out, and attached it to the red shirt with fabric glue. I cut out 3 red felt stars for her headband and cuffs. For the headband, I just attached the star with a safety pin. I used fabric glue again to put the stars on yellow felt cuffs, and then glued the cuffs onto her shirt. I never had any issues with the glue not staying, but you could use hot glue for a stronger hold if you want! As for the tulle skirt - I used this tutorial. Now that I've made more skirts, I would recommend using a crochet headband for the waist. I originally used ribbon, and that didn't hold up very well.  So for this costume, you could easily pull it off for about $10 and finish in 1-2 hours. :) This is what I do during halftime of football games ;)

Minnie Mouse
DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids and Toddlers - Minnie Mouse -

This was J's second Halloween and she was so adorable! Jess found a red dress with white polka dots on it (I think the top had lady bugs on it, but it was covered by the black top). For the ears, she just used black felt circles attached to alligator clips. J had her hair up in pigtails, so the ears were on the top of her head. Talk about really easy and super cute! :)

DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids and Toddlers - Hobbits -

Jess and Jim are Tolkien fanatics, so it was quite fitting to have their kids dress up as Hobbits last year. And with curly hair, they totally pulled it off! ;)  Jess used green felt to make their capes, and sparkly felt/silver embroidery thread for the leaf pin in the front. Now, if you know anything about Hobbits, you know they have really large, hairy feet. Jess made felt feet to attach to the kids' shoes, and added curly doll hair on the top. It was hilarious looking, but so accurate to what they would look like! They were adorable little Hobbits. :) She got the idea from this blog, and is going to do a full post on this next week!

Edit (10/20/14):  Here is Jess's post on the Hobbit costumes!

Cat in the Hat
DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids and Toddlers - Cat in the Hat -

This was Abby's costume last year...she is a very spirited girl, so this is the best picture I have of her standing still. :)  I glued the white circle onto a black onesie, and pinned on a pre-made red bow that I found at Michael's. I made a black tulle skirt to make the outfit a little more girly. :)  As for the hat, I just used a toilet paper roll! I glued on red and white felt, attached it to a cardboard base that I painted white, and then glued that onto a black headband. We happened to have white gloves, which helped pull it all together. Abby loved this costume!

Harry Potter
DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids and Toddlers - Harry Potter -

Now, this isn't Tim's outfit for this year, but I thought I'd share one more simple idea for a boy. If you have a little baby, this is perfect! I used eyeliner to draw the lightening bolt on his forehead. Wrap your baby up in a blanket, and now he is The Boy Who Lived. Bonus points if your husband is dressed up as Dumbledore carrying the baby around! ;)

And because I hate secrets, here's a sneak peek of what the kids are this year...any guesses? :)

DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids and Toddlers -
Abby and Tim's costumes...these pieces of felt need to be cut and glued on some shirts :)

DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids and Toddlers -
J and B' costumes...Jess found an amazing deal at a consignment shop that she couldn't pass up (so no DIY for her this year ;)!

What are your favorite Halloween costumes? I'll need suggestions for next year! ;)

DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids and Toddlers -


I'm linking up with these awesome parties!

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DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids and Toddlers -
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