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Planning a Simple & Scary Good Halloween Dinner

Hellllllooooo, Kansas City! October 31st is literally days away, and with all the hustle and bustle of the holiday, it can be hard to figure out what to eat on Halloween night. While our kiddos, I’m sure, would love to stuff themselves to the brim with sugary goodness, we know we should actually get something “real” in their bellies too! Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, has some great options for easy (and yummy) Halloween dinner. Take a look…

Planning a Simple & Scary Good Halloween Dinner

 

 

Planning a Simple & Scary Good Halloween Dinner

 

 

Many of us look at Halloween as one of those holidays that it is perfectly normal to order a pizza before loading up on all that candy at the end of the night. And I know telling you to plan a Halloween dinner sounds just like a horror movie—kids too excited to eat because they want to go trick or treating, you working all day and then making a four course feast like it was any other night, husband just wanting to watch Monday Night Football in peace—no thank you! But before you reach for the phone (or the app) let’s throw some ideas around that will be easy to do and plan, guaranteed to get everyone together—table is optional!

If Halloween night is anything like it is in my house it means running in the door, changing clothes and doing last minute touch ups on the costumes or face make-up because those fall parties at school are brutal! How can a Cinderella dress lose so much tulle and it just happened that four butterflies fell off?! I mean they are just sitting in a classroom and maybe walking down the hall! Dinner, back to dinner! So there isn’t a lot of time to braise the meat and whip up some homemade mashed potatoes. The night before, which luckily this year is a Sunday so ideally we would have time to do this, do all your prep.

 

Sandwich Bar

Think about a sandwich bar—it’s quick and in most cases on the go. Buy all the lunchmeat and cheese your family likes and have it laying out on a tray or plate so you can grab it from the fridge. Lay out the bread as well; sometimes you can find bread in different colors for the seasons which would be a fun twist! If the kids are just too excited about getting out, grab a baggie and make a sandwich to go because you know about six houses in they are going to start asking to dip into the candy early!

 

Chili Bar

Another quick and easy “bar” food is chili. Some kids aren’t fans– like mine– but for them I always make sure to have a package of hot dogs cooking as well. That they will always eat, especially if you cut one end of the cooked hot dog into quarters, it will fold up making a friendly ghost to get them in the Halloween spirit! Chili is one of those brilliant things that can simmer in the crockpot all day, help yourself to a bowl before trick or treating, have it simmer a little more and then help yourself to another bowl when you get back! Plus it’s a wonderful pairing to a 3 Musketeers!

 

Decorate Your Own Pizza

I have always wanted to try, but never have, the decorate your own pizza dinner. For this little gem however, you will need one member of the household (preferably over the age of 18) to volunteer to hand out candy and man the stove while everyone else goes out trick or treating. First, gather everything needed to create the perfect personal pizza. No fighting over what toppings because everyone gets their own mini pizza to decorate. By the way, store bought crusts are perfectly acceptable here and try and bring in the Halloween theme– make it a pumpkin or a Frankenstein face or a moon with halved black olives for bats! Create your Halloween masterpiece, cook while TOT (trick or treating), and enjoy when you get home.

Let’s face it, the best laid plans usually get a plan B which includes me stopping at McDonald’s, rushing home to fix the costume (seriously though—how?!) eating quickly, getting out the door for trick or treating, coming home and putting their chocolate covered faces to bed while husband and I raid the candy bags for our favorite candy bar! You know what? That is a perfectly scary good Halloween meal as well! And I won’t tell anyone!

 

What are some of your go-to recipes for Halloween dinner? Share in the comments!

 

 

From iFamily to Yours,

ifam_sarah
 

 

 


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Throwing a Halloween Party in 5 Easy Steps!

Halloween is right around the corner, can you believe it?! Our newest Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, gives us some great ideas on throwing a Halloween party. So, give her a shout, an air hug, or a just a good ol’ fashioned Kansas City welcome, and take a look!

Throwing a Halloween Party in 5 Easy Steps!

 

Throwing a Halloween party in 5 (somewhat) Easy Steps!

So you want to throw a Halloween party? But it can’t just be a bowl of candy sitting on the table and a couple plastic spiders lying around. Oh no! I won’t have that my friends! Forget Martha and The Food Network, I will give you the perfect recipe for a fun, impressive (and inexpensive!) Halloween party in 5 easy steps!

 

First, pick a theme.

This is your cornerstone of the whole thing, what will bring everyone and everything together. Think scary, think kid-friendly, think what are my kids dressing up as this year—all idea starters. Just make sure that you pull this theme throughout the whole party. And how big you go is all up to you, I have thrown some parties that are simple—a kid friendly witch and warlock party and I know some of my neighbors have gone all out to build a crashed UFO in their front yard! (Yeah! Try and compete with that!) So for our interaction here, let’s use the example of a “drive-in” Halloween movie party; mainly because I did this one last year so I know some personal tips and tricks, but also because it was simple. A Halloween “Drive-in” movie party in 5 easy steps!

Next, it’s all about the invites.

This sets the theme in the obvious ways! Let’s do impressive but keep it simple. Pinterest is our friend, repeat, Pinterest is my friend! Search for “drive-in” movie party invites and a ton will pop up. Pick a design you like and then recreate it; but do it on PowerPoint– much cheaper and easier! Make sure you answer the 5 W’s (who, what, when, where, why). I like to take a screen shot of the slide and then copy it into email, again much cheaper and easier! If you are so inclined, or if you don’t have everyone’s email, feel free to post on Facebook as well.

Okay now the fun part—Decorations!

Pinterest is still our friend! It will give you plenty of ideas to take things from around the house to make into decorations. Taking into account the movie theme, you are probably going to show a Halloween themed movie, take ideas from that movie and work them into decorations. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown has some great décor. Lots of pumpkins, a big moon, a polka dot sheet or yellow with black chevron stripes for the table cloth will really tie in the Charlie Brown theme. The best part—decorations for Charlie Brown theme parties are everywhere since the movie is celebrating a big anniversary this year. You have to make a pumpkin patch as well; this will tie into the games step later. Place pumpkins on a green plastic table cloth and cover with fake (or real if you want a use for all those in the yard!) leaves to make your patch. If you are feeling really creative, cut a piece of cardboard or poster board to make a fence for the backdrop and a moon to hang above the patch.

As I mentioned before, tie in your decorations with the games or entertainment of the evening. You will be showing a movie as this is a “drive-in” movie night. If you want to go really big, borrow a projector and set up a “drive-in” movie on the garage door using a plain white sheet for the screen. You will find neighbors you have never met pulling up lawn chairs in your front lawn just to watch! Or bring it inside, this is easy and if there is bad weather a no-brainer! I would suggest having that on continuous loop, or show several kid-friendly Halloween movies to mix it up. Your guests will sit down and watch for a little while and then get up and do other things.

I mentioned the pumpkin patch above—great decoration but also the source of some great crafts and games. Use the pumpkins as blank canvases and have the kids or adults glue on decorations to make a spooky pumpkin smile! This will triple as a favor to take home as well! Need a little more convincing to make the pumpkin patch? You can also use it as a photo op! Great memories and a favor to go home with your guests!

At this point, I will go against my cardinal rule and say that we can stray from the theme for a minute because this game is one of the funniest I have ever seen. Tie one end of a string around the hole in a doughnut and the other to a tree or use a shower curtain rod if you are inside. See how fast your guests can eat the doughnut without using their hands—an updated version of bobbing for apples!

Finally, the best part of any party—the food and drink.

Go back to the theme, but use caution about making everything pumpkin! Anyone who walks through the grocery store knows that every food now comes in a pumpkin spice flavor. Stay simple and make a big crock pot of chili with all the toppings and inclusions you can imagine. This can be cooking all day while you are doing everything else and usually is a favorite among most guests. Those that aren’t fans can have a chili dog hold the chili—have those hot dogs warming in another crock pot, too—DO NOT ask your husband to start the grill! (Personal experience, this turns out just as bad as straying from the theme!)

Of course Halloween is nothing without candy and sweet. Play up the pumpkin themed cookies or cupcakes and don’t worry if they are store bought, take them out of the box or container and put them on a plate and no one will ever know! If you find that all the pumpkin cupcakes are gone from the bakery at your local store, no worries just get some plain cupcakes (iced but no décor) and decorate them with candy corn in the shape of pumpkins and a half an Oreo cookie to represent the moon in your Great Pumpkin theme! For drinks, apple cider is a must, have that simmering in another crock pot or on the stove at very low temp—it will double as that great fall scent that will greet your guests as they come in.

There you have it! Planning a Halloween party in 5 (somewhat) easy steps! The most important thing is that you and your guests have a great time; share some laughs and enjoy the season! Happy Halloween!

From iFamily to Yours,
ifam_sarah

 

 


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Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

Helllooooo, Kansas City! I don’t know about you all, but I am ALWAYS looking for easy (and cheap) ways to get organized. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Darcy, has a fantastic calendar that has helped her reign in the chaos of every day life. Check it out!

Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

 

Organize Your Family Chaos with this
Simple & Cheap Calendar!

 

Fall is always a time of change. School is back, sports are in full swing, the holidays are on the horizon and wardrobes need to be adjusted. I don’t know about you, but it seems to take me awhile to get used to my family’s new schedule. Having young ones in the house makes it a bit tougher. My kids are too little to read a calendar, and anyway their sense of time isn’t the best. (My littlest says everything, from her latest nap to her last birthday, happened “yesteryear”.)

 

Around the time I was getting dizzy explaining when gymnastics was (tomorrow’s tomorrow’s tomorrow) our French teacher gifted the girls with a train depicting the days on the week. (Merci, Madame Zoé.) It was large, with each car the size of a sheet of paper, and the kids and I dutifully colored it and hung it on the wall. Staring at it, inspiration hit and I decided it could help me keep the kids (and me) aware of our schedule.

 

Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

 

I went online and found free clip art that worked for our activities. We had a girl with a backpack for school days, girls doing gymnastics, an Eiffel Tower for French class and we even found an elderly couple for when grandparents were coming to visit. (Not that you are in any way elderly Mom and Dad!) I also printed of a sun, which symbolized ‘today’.

 

Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

 

Every morning my kids move the sun and they can see what they have going on. If they want to know how far away something is, they can count the train cars. It has worked out AMAZINGLY for us. Granted, it only represents a week, but my kids don’t really understand more than that.

 

Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

 

The best thing about this is it is FREE and totally customizable. Do a theme, size and activities that work for you. We keep our spare clip art in an envelope and I update the train as needed. Also, now that my eldest is learning to read, we have labeled some things, to help her learn. What do you think? Could this help in your home?

 

From iFamily to Yours,

iFamMomSqdDarcyv2

 

 


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Top 10 Simple & Fun Fourth of July Family Traditions

One of the best parts of any holiday is the chance to create new memories, and carry on family traditions. This weekend, as the city grills out, lights off fireworks, and enjoys the warm weather, try on a few of the traditions below. Our own Mom Squad Ambassador, Leah provided us with a great jumping off point for some easy family traditions you can start this weekend! Take a look…

Top 10 Simple and Fun 4th of July Family Traditions

Top 10 Fourth of July Simple & Fun Family Traditions

The Fourth of July is a time of celebration, food, freedom, family,fireworks, and fellowship. One of the best things about holidays are the traditions that come along  with them. There is something euphoric about seeing everyone  being together. Life gets so busy that often times the value of togetherness gets lost. I find solace in traditions. They have a way of creating a sense of  comfort. I hope this Fourth Of July you able to smile,laugh, and enjoy the value of simply being together. I have created a list of traditions that many families  enjoy doing every holiday. My hope is that you are able to find something that you all can do together for many years to come.

1) Go to a local parade or create your own neighborhood parade.

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2) Hang a flag together. You can use this as a teaching moment. Let this be an opportunity to educate your children on our history.

Top 10 Fourth of July Simple & Fun Family Traditions

3) Wear your red, white, and blue proudly. Take this as a time to capture adorable photos. You can find many festive pieces at your local Dollar StoreTop 10 Fourth of July Simple & Fun Family Traditions

4) Host a neighborhood block party… who doesn’t enjoy getting to see all the neighborhood kids interact. You can have each families serve different items and create a potluck feel. You can crank up the music, have fire works, and just let the kids be kids.

 Top 10 Fourth of July Simple & Fun Family Traditions

5)Host a back yard cook out. You can have relay races, play horse shoes, get out the slip and slide, play football,have a pie eating contest, water balloon fight, etc.

Top 10 Fourth of July Simple & Fun Family Traditions

5) Go to your favorite park, local lake, or even your own back yard  and have a family picnic.

 Top 10 Fourth of July Simple & Fun Family Traditions

6) Go to your local pool or get one for your back yard

 Top 10 Fourth of July Simple & Fun Family Traditions

7) Bake up something fun in the kitchen. Let the kids get messy and be apart of the fun.

  Top 10 Fourth of July Simple & Fun Family Traditions

8) Eat some ice cream… you can go to a local ice cream shop or create your own sundaes together. Don’t forget to stock up on sprinkles.

Top 10 Fourth of July Simple & Fun Family Traditions

9) Go catch a free  out door summer concert. Our city has so many free concerts to choose from.

 Top 10 Fourth of July Simple & Fun Family Traditions

10) Go see a fireworks show . It is safe to say that nearly every city hosts a free fire works show. Get out there and enjoy one of the best parts of The Fourth Of July. There is also the option of putting on your own fireworks show. What kid doesn’t love to pick out their own fireworks?

Top 10 Fourth of July Simple & Fun Family Traditions

From iFamily to Yours,

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Fast, Easy, and Yummy Holiday Treats! Only 3 Ingredients Each!

Peppermint Bark

Easy to prepare, no bake time and only three ingredients! The kids will enjoy crushing the candy canes in a gallon size baggie.  We love making this with any remaining candy canes from our tree before we take it down!  We get the traditional peppermint candy canes…but this might be good with other flavors as well.

 

Ingredients:

1 package white chocolate chips

¼ teaspoon peppermint extract (optional)

6 candy canes (slightly crushed)

microwave the chocolate chips in a glass bowl until just about melted (about 1 ½ minutes) stir with spoon until silky.  Add crushed candy cane and peppermint extract! Spread on cookie sheet lined with wax paper and let harden (about 15 minutes in freezer)  then break apart and eat.  These freeze well.

Rolo Pretzel Delights!

These are easy and always a hit with both big and little kids! if you like the turtle chocolates, you will love these! There are only three ingredients, and the kids will love putting the pecan on top!

 Ingredients:

Rolo candies

Small pretzels

Pecans

Lay the pretzels out on a cookie sheet and top each with a Rolo candy.  Put in oven for 3 to 5 minutes.  Take out and lay a pecan on top of Rolo and press down.  That’s it!

Donut Snowmen

These guys are extra cute and extra easy!  No cook time and three ingredients!  Let the kiddos help out with this one, they will be so proud of their finished snowman!  Great treats to take to the school holiday party! Found this on Sandy Duffy’s Pinterest site under Holiday foods!  There is also a reindeer version using chocolate donuts, gumdrops and pretzels!

 

Ingredients:

Mini Powdered donuts

Candy corns

Mini chocolate chips

Simply lay donuts on serving platter and place the candy corn bottom side down into the hole then make eyes and mouth with chocolate chips by pressing slightly into donut!

  Fast, Easy and Yummy Holiday Treats the Kids will Love to Eat and Help Prepare!
Submitted by Shari Jacobs