Happy Halloween and a Spooky Letters Winner

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Happy Halloween Everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful and safe evening! I’m so glad that it is Friday, and we don’t have to wake up early tomorrow because I plan on getting lots of Wicked Witch and Dorothy snuggles tonight!

I’ve got a few things planned for the girls this evening. They have a party at school (and they get to wear their pjs for Drug Prevention/Awareness Week), so I’m sure they will be well rested and ready to party!

Tonight we are going to a few trunk-or-treats, maybe a neighborhood or two, and then we are going to a little Halloween carnival hosted by the local Women’s Club.

I’ve also got a few Pinterest recipes/ideas I’m going to try this evening:

Pin:Halloween Quesadillas

Website: Monster Mama

Pin: Black Halloween Punch

Website: Hip Hip Halloween

Yesterday the kids made little bags for their teachers with their little handprints. They loved making little treats! The idea was from the pin and site below:

Pin: Treat Bags for TeachersWebsite: By Stephanie Lynn

I just know we are going to have a great Halloween night!

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Hope you all do as well! And get lots of candy… I mean that your kids get lots of candy…

Now for the Winner of the Spooky Halloween Letters Giveaway:

Bev Feldman of Linkouture

Congrats Bev! I will be in contact with you soon!

If you haven’t had a chance to link up with Mommy Needs a Timeout Thursday, you can do so below! We party until 8pm EST tonight!

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Mommy Needs a Timeout Thursday #8

Halloween is almost here!!! I can’t believe it. Time flies! What are your last minute Halloween plans? Do you have posts of the costumes yet? If so we’d love to see them!

 
If you haven’t had a chance to check out our Party pin board you can find it here: Mommy Needs a Timeout Thursday Pin Board. Also make sure you check out our Featured Timeout Chair Rafflecopter Winner and if it is you, grab the button and flaunt it girl. And if you really love the linky party, grab our button and share the love.

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The Mommy Needs a Timeout Thursday Linky Party is hosted/co-hosted by an amazing group of women who enjoy a break from the hectic rush of motherhood. Join us each week to link up your favorite posts that are parenting-related or family-friendly (DIY, crafts, recipes, tips, etc.). Your links will be shared on 9 blogs. That’s 9 times the publicity for your posts.
Just a few rules for the linky party:
1- Follow all of the hosts/co-hosts on their blogs by clicking on the images below (it is a clickable collage) and on social media through the Rafflecopter. We will be sure to return the love.
2-Link up only what is yours. Also no links to other linky parties or blog hops or any online shops.
3- Check out at least 3 other links and comment, follow, etc.
4- Subscribe to our Newsletter for weekly reminders: CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP
Once you link up with us, we will pin your links to a party pin board. Also we will vote on our top 3 featured favorites. So be aware that by linking to the party, you are giving us permission to include your post in any round up and to be shared on social media. The links will, of course, be linked back to you. Don’t forget to also sign up with the Rafflecopter below. A random post will be selected from the drawing to be in the “Timeout Chair” to be featured for the week.
We will be tweeting throughout the day so be sure to look for us on Twitter #MomTimeThurs

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Joanna Lauren Lisa Samantha Denise

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Congratulations to Nancy from The Family Bucket List.
Her post, “Book Themed Thursday: Halloween” was selected as our Time Out Chair feature of the week! Go stop by and see what books she is readingfor Halloween! If you’d like a chance to be featured in our newsletter (and on nine blogs) just enter the Rafflecopter! Thanks for entering our Rafflecopter Nancy, you get to take a seat in our Time Out Chair! Why not visit Nancy’s blog now? Click on her picture to be taken to her site.
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Here are our 3 Featured Favorites. Click on their image to be taken to the site! Thanks ladies, your posts were awesome!

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Carving Pumpkins and Hayrides

Over the weekend, we went to a little community event near our house. We have a little gas station/convenience store right up the road that right now not only has the cheapest gas for 20 miles, but also has a little pumpkin patch. The kids were able to pick a small pumpkin from the patch to take home and decorate! As we were picking out pumpkins, I noticed that they store was having a hayride and bonfire that night. We didn’t have anything better to do, so J and I took the kids back that evening for the event.

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It was a lot of fun meeting and talking with a few people in the community. The girls saw a few of their friends from school, ate some candy, and drank hot chocolate around the bonfire. And they loved the hayride too!

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We then went home and let the kids color their pumpkins with *gasp* sharpies (hey it’s better than giving them a knife and saying, here you go carve away). You can tell they are all about writing their letters because most of their pumpkins are covered with names and words instead of faces. Meanwhile, I attempted to carve my pumpkin, with help from the kiddos getting out all of the seeds. I’m not the best at carving. I started out trying to carve a spiderweb. It turned into a Jack o’ Lantern with one “spider web eye.” Yeah I don’t know… my kids liked it.

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It was a fun little Saturday night… until I got sick and thought I was going to die later on but that’s a different “scary” story in itself. We are one step closer to Halloween night and I can’t wait to take the girls Trick or Treating. Let’s just hope that they have costumes at that point and don’t have to go as trash bag monsters or something.

Have you carved your pumpkins yet? If not, check out the round up below of my favorite pumpkin carving and decorating pins from Pinterest. Each image is clickable and links to the website. All pins can be found on my October Pins Featured on TTPA board.

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Preserving Pumpkin Bat Pumpkin HP Pumpkin Crayon Pumpkin Carving Trick Carving Ideas SpideyPumpkin Cinderella Pumpkin

*Some of the pins were to broken links or non-existent websites, so I linked the image to the pin.*

If you haven’t had a chance to enter the Spooky Halloween Letters Giveaway, it ends tomorrow and you can enter by clicking on the image below:

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LeapFrog Kids Activities and Q-Tip Skeleton Craft

I have had so much fun crafting with my little ones this Halloween season. They’ve helped me in the kitchen with recipes, made some things on their own, helped with decorations, and worked on some amazing activities from LeapFrog Learning Path geared towards preschoolers for Halloween. Last year, the kids all got LeapReaders from Santa, and when we registered them online, we were signed up to receive activities to print specialized for the academic needs of our children. I never really used the activities because I assumed they came with a price tag. Well, to my surprise, the activities are free for everyone, not just product owners. The worksheets are printable in PDF form and are fantastic. My girls spent the afternoon on their day off from school yesterday doing the Halloween activities. There are new printables each week, and you can select the age range of your child from newborn to 8 years old. Great ways to help foster the learning of your children and engage their minds. Especially great for those days that you need a little peace and quiet and want the kids just to SIT STILL for 5 seconds haha.

We also did a little craft found on Pinterest that I thought was absolutely adorable. I’m sure you’ve seen it, the Q-Tip Skeleton. The pin and site are below:

Pin: Q-Tip Skeleton

Website: Bee in Your Bonnet

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The girls had so much fun talking about the parts of the skeleton and bones. They loved gluing on the q-tips and making their own little skeleton. We read a few books with skeletons in them to supplement the activity, and I roasted some pumpkin seeds for them to eat. Definitely a fun and approved activity for the twins as well as any preschooler!

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Only a few more days until Halloween, and we are very ready to celebrate! Well sort of… I still have a dining room table full of fabric and unfinished costumes. Nothing like the last minute.

 

If you still are looking for some last minute decor, enter the Spooky Halloween Letter Giveaway by clicking the image below! Giveaway ends October 30!

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How to Give Back This Halloween

It’s the week of Halloween, and I’m about to be super busy. As of now, I have two unfinished costumes on my dining room table. Unfinished means that I have yet to cut the pattern out with the fabric. Yikes. Yikes. Double Yikes. I like being a procrastinator. Not. So my week may get a little stressful.

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I’m pretty sure that while Halloween is one of the most fun days of the year, it is also the most selfish day. We go to houses practically uninvited dressed up in sometimes scary costumes without any consideration of the mental stability of the inhabitants of the home and their ability to handle frightful situations. We then proceed to demand candy all of which we stuff into our mouths without consequence. None of this is unacceptable and nearly the entire population of the United States follows the aforementioned “Halloween protocol.” And we may sneak in a “thank you” which sounds like “mank foo” with a mouth stuffed with Hersheys.

*My kids always say “mank foo/thank you.” I’m not a perfect mom, but my kids will not be rude even on Halloween.*

We’re pretty dang selfish on October 31st. You have to admit. So I decided to come up with a few ways that we can give back on Halloween and to think of others just a bit.

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1) “Boo” Someone

I’ve seen this pin on Pinterest for quite a bit now that gives instructions for “booing” your neighbors. Basically the concept is to print out the little poem or saying and attach it to a goodie bag to leave on your neighbors doorstep. The idea is to be completely anonymous. It’s a fun way to give a little Halloween joy to elderly neighbors who don’t have many visitors.

You can find the poem and idea from the pin and site below:

Pin: You’ve Been Booed

Website: Crazy for First Grade

2) Trick or Treat in Reverse

Instead of going door-to-door asking for candy, give candy instead. Take the extras that your kids have or buy candy on sale the day after Halloween and head to the nearest nursing home or retirement center. Visit the residents and hand out candy. Of course clear this with the staff ahead of time and make sure there aren’t any specific allergies or diet restrictions. The residents will love the visitors!

3) Canned Food Drive

When going trick-or-treating, ask for canned foods instead. Take along a paper bag, wagon, or old school pillowcase and ask for canned food donations. Food pantries start running low this time of year with the holidays approaching, so what better time to donate. And I’m sure your kids will get candy too.

4) Costume Donations

I know it’s tough to part with sentimental items, but if you know that your kids will never wear their costumes again, give them to someone who may not can afford to buy a costume. Or if you can’t part with yours, buy one for someone in need.

5) Teacher Gifts

With report cards coming up and crazy sugar-induced kids roaming the halls, teachers need a little extra. Send a little something-something to your child’s teacher. Even if it is something small, they will appreciate the thought. Here is an idea and pin for those teachers in your lives:

Pin: Teacher Treat Bags

Website: By Stephanie Lynn

6) Turn That Frown Upside-Down

So many people have bad feelings about Halloween. I’ve heard every reason in the world for not celebrating from witch craft to candy rots your teeth. Why not change it up by helping out the week of or after Halloween. Instead of rolling a neighbor’s house, offer to rake leaves. Instead of playing pranks, bless with baked goods or something sweet. Any gesture you make will help that person appreciate not only Halloween but every day.

I know this post is on Mommy Monday which is a day of Mommy-selfishness, but sometimes the best way to feel good about yourself is to help someone else. Maybe you know a mommy who is having a hard time this Halloween. Help her out and lend a hand. Offer to take the kids off of her hands while she cleans the house. Maybe she needs some adult conversation. Sit down and let her talk your ear off for a while. Give back this Halloween in any way you can.

We may love the treats, and sometimes the tricks, but take time this year to treat someone other than yourself.

If you want a little treat, don’t forget to enter the Spooky Halloween Letters Giveaway. The contest ends October 30. Enter by clicking on the image below:

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Halloween Kiddie Snacks: Oreo Dirt Pudding Parfaits

My family loves some dirt pudding. I remember when I was little, I had an aunt who would bring dirt pudding to family events. She put it in a sand bucket and topped it with some gummy worms. Some of you may be questioning the sanity of my family. Don’t worry, I do that daily. But relax… we don’t eat dirt. It’s pudding mixed with whipped cream and Oreos. And crushed up Oreos look like dirt hence the name: Dirt Pudding. I did my own little take on the creation for Halloween, but I did find really fancy little treats on Pinterest. I know they’re fancy because they call them “parfaits” instead of “dirt pudding” or “dirt cake.” They must be from somewhere fancy like Charlotte. Here are the links to the pin and site:

Pin: Halloween Oreo Parfaits

Website: Frog Prince Paperie (so they’re royalty… see fancy)

I chose not to use the recipe specifically because they used “non-pariels” or “nonpareils” which apparently are the little tiny sugar balls that bakers use for cakes and cookies (I had to google it). So I stuck to my roots and make a dirt pudding with Halloween Oreos instead.

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This dessert is so simple to make it’s embarrassing to put up directions. But I will for good measure.

Ingredients:

2 boxes of Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix

1 tub of whipped cream

1 package of Halloween Oreos

Milk

Directions:

First you whisk together the pudding mix and cold milk (4 cups I believe but the directions are on the box). You chill the pudding for 5-10 minutes. While waiting on the pudding, crush up some Oreos to your liking. I usually do two rows and leave the last row for the top. In a glass dish or plastic bowl or sand bucket if that’s your thing, spread a layer of cookie crumbles (about half of what you’ve crushed). Top the layer with half of the pudding then top that with half of the whipped cream. Repeat. On the top layer of whipped cream, sprinkle some more Oreo cookies or you can even top with with whole Oreos. And eat the heck out of it.

J told me not to make this again. He said it is too good, and it will interfere with his smoking hot physique. As for the youngins, they hands down approved!

Hope you all enjoy!

If you haven’t had a chance to enter the Spooky Halloween Letters Giveaway, you can do so by clicking the image below:

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Also if you haven’t linked up to the Mommy Needs a Timeout Thursday linky party, there’s still time! You can link up below!

MT Tribe Showcase: Babies, Bloodhounds, and Booze, Oh My!

Today’s MT Tribe member was one of the first to join our little group, and we have become such good friends despite her having terrible taste in football teams (GO NINERS). I am so proud to know Alyssa of Babies, Bloodhounds, and Booze, Oh My! Here is a little about Alyssa:

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I’m Alyssa, a stay at home mom in Eastern Washington. I have a beautiful toddler named, Audrey. My dog, Tara, is a big and slobbery bloodhound, oh and did I mention that I love booze? My life is a crazy one and full of so much excitement. I’m just a mom trying to pave her own yellow brick road.

As moms, we struggle with body image. Let’s face it, after we have babies, all of us, ALL of us, is never the same. And we beat ourselves up about it constantly. One of my favorite blog posts of Alyssa’s is “Getting My Confidence Back After Baby” Alyssa reminds us that our bodies are so much more than pretty pictures, but were little baby-making apartments that helped grow and form our precious little ones. All moms should read it. It’s beautiful!

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Head over to Alyssa’s blog and show this mama some love today:

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Happy Birthday Sweet Arlene

Today is my Nanny’s birthday. Now we never would’ve made a fuss over her on this day. She probably spent the majority of birthdays celebrating others rather than herself. I remember the last birthday I spent with her. I’m not even sure in the hectic rush of that day that I gave her a card even. I remember a lot of lasts with her. I miss her more than words can even begin to say. She was one of my best friends and role models. I strive to be like her. She would love that I used Pinterest for ideas for my home and that I’ve started a blog hoping to inspire others to create. She would probably be in my kitchen half of the week helping me with my projects. In fact, I think she was probably the first person to see some of my crafts when I first started Pinteresting. I’m sure by now she would’ve been using Pinterest for everything too. I take that back… that woman didn’t need Pinterest. She was original and had ideas that you couldn’t find in any pin anywhere.

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My Nanny didn’t grow up in the best environment. She grew up dirt poor in the mountains of West Virginia. She had a hard life as the oldest daughter. She cared for her siblings and eventually her parents. The stories she would tell are priceless. At one point I remember sitting out in the carport listening to Nanny and Papa, her husband and my grandfather, compare recipes for moonshine. This was crazy because neither of them are drinkers, but their fathers both went to jail at one time for running shine. I grew up at her house, lost myself, found myself, all under her loving eyes. She never judged me. Always prayed for me. She was there even in my middle school years when I hated even her. She drove me nuts sometimes. But she was my hero.

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Our lives are very similar in that we found ourselves as single moms with very young children. My mom was only 2 or 3 years old when her parents got divorced. My girls were a little younger when I split from their father. I felt ashamed that I got pregnant and wasn’t married. I later found out after I was pregnant that Nanny was also pregnant before she was married and tried to make it work unsuccessfully with my mom’s biological father. Nanny never gave up, and eventually married a man that raised a daughter that wasn’t his own and loved my Nanny for the rest of her life. In those days when I thought I was going to lose it. When I thought I couldn’t handle anymore. When my child pooped in the bathtub 3 times in a row. I thought of Nanny. I knew I could do it because she did it. I held on to the hope and looked to my hero. She kept me going when I couldn’t go anymore.

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A lot of the things that my mom and sisters and I do are very “Arlene.” My dad used to poke fun of mom when she did something like Nanny would do saying “Alright Arlene.” Now we welcome any comparison we get to Arlene. I would live my life striving to be “Arlene.” Not only did she overcome personal strife in her own life, but she gave of herself more than any other person I know. She cooked for the homeless weekly. She fed families and the elderly. She volunteered even when she was sick. I remember the last time I went to church with Nanny. She had met a lady in the hospital who had cancer that was worse than her own at the time. My aunt donated a quilt that she made, and Nanny and my girls and the rest of the little children prayed over the blanket during the children’s service. The quilt never made it to the friend, because Nanny died shortly after that day. Instead my aunt passed the quilt on to me. It is now the Nanny blanket. I cover up with it daily. It a piece of her with me. And her chicken pie recipe was out of this world. She loved cooking. My last conversation with her was about pies on Thanksgiving. She died two days later. I’ve mulled over that moment time and time again thinking I would change it, but Nanny wouldn’t have had it any other way. She would’ve wanted our last conversation to be about a recipe. It may sound crazy, but every time I see her recipes, I hold them to my face and take a deep breath smelling the warmth of her kitchen, the sweet potato pies in the oven, the green beans bubbling in a pot, the smell of Dawn from washing our hands, the sweet smell of Nanny. It’s all still there.

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In memory of my sweet Nanny on her birthday, I’ve decided to link up ten pins my Nanny would’ve loved from my various pin boards. Here they are, Nanny’s Pins:

1) Give Thanks Board:

Pin: Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Website: Ciao! Newport News

2) Meals for the Family Board:

Pin: Chicken Pot Pie Turnovers

Website: I Thee Cook

3) Good Morning Board:

Pin: Breakfast Casserole

Website: Taste and Tell

4) Decadent Delights Board:

Pin: Chocolate Reeses Cookies

Website: Inside Bru Crew Life

5) Sewmazing Board:

Pin: DIY Bowl Covers

Website: The Farm Chicks

6) Lookin Good Board:

Pin: Soothing Foot Balm

Website: Blooming in Bedlam

7) B&L&R Projects Board:

Pin: DIY No-Sew Barbie Clothes

Website: Stella 123

8) How Does Your Garden Grow Board:

Pin: Magic Corn Trick

Website: Holm Family Cookbook

9) Kitchen Board:

Pin: Kitchen Drawers

Website: The Pioneer Woman

10) Gifts Board:

Pin: 31 Ways to Wrap Gifts

Website: Older and Wisor

Happy Birthday Nanny. I love and miss you. In every craft I make, house I decorate, and recipe I cook, I think of you.

Mommy Needs a Timeout Thursday #7: Mummy Time

Once again it’s time for Mommy Needs a Timeout Thursday. Your Halloween-related posts have been fabulous. I’m about to begin the process of making a few costumes this weekend, and sometimes I need a reminder to take time out for myself. So in all of your Halloween rushing, remember to have Mummy Time. What are some of the things you do for Mummy?

 
If you haven’t had a chance to check out our Party pin board you can find it here: Mommy Needs a Timeout Thursday Pin Board. Also make sure you check out our Featured Timeout Chair Rafflecopter Winner and if it is you, grab the button and flaunt it girl. And if you really love the linky party, grab our button and share the love.

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The Mommy Needs a Timeout Thursday Linky Party is hosted/co-hosted by an amazing group of women who enjoy a break from the hectic rush of motherhood. Join us each week to link up your favorite posts that are parenting-related or family-friendly (DIY, crafts, recipes, tips, etc.). Your links will be shared on 9 blogs. That’s 9 times the publicity for your posts.
Just a few rules for the linky party:
1- Follow all of the hosts/co-hosts on their blogs by clicking on the images below (it is a clickable collage) and on social media through the Rafflecopter. We will be sure to return the love.
2-Link up only what is yours. Also no links to other linky parties or blog hops or any online shops.
3- Check out at least 3 other links and comment, follow, etc.
4- Subscribe to our Newsletter for weekly reminders: CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP
Once you link up with us, we will pin your links to a party pin board. Also we will vote on our top 3 featured favorites. So be aware that by linking to the party, you are giving us permission to include your post in any round up and to be shared on social media. The links will, of course, be linked back to you. Don’t forget to also sign up with the Rafflecopter below. A random post will be selected from the drawing to be in the “Timeout Chair” to be featured for the week.
We will be tweeting throughout the day so be sure to look for us on Twitter #MomTimeThurs

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Linkouture Mommys Bundle Inspired Housewife Verified Mom

Congratulations to Christine Carter from The Mom Café.
Her post, “House Rules for Our Family” was selected as our Time Out Chair feature of the week! Go stop by and see what her house rules are! If you’d like a chance to be featured in our newsletter (and on nine blogs) just enter the Rafflecopter! Thanks for entering our Rafflecopter Christine, you get to take a seat in our Time Out Chair! Why not visit Christine’s blog now? Click on the link below her picture to be taken to her site.

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Here are our 3 Featured Favorites. Click on their image to be taken to the site! Thanks ladies, your posts were awesome!

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