Archive | October, 2013

Fun and Fast Halloween Snacks

31 Oct

What does everyone automatically think of when they think of Halloween?  CANDY!

But what I have found is that the kids that hang out at our house for Halloween night prefer snacks other than candy.  Of course they will dig in to their candy bags after Halloween, but for the party night that is Halloween in our neighborhood, here are some fun and easy ideas that you can try for your little ghouls & goblins!!!

Halloween Snack Mix

1 Bag Chex Mix

1 Bag Candy Corn Harvest Mix

1 Bag Peanut M&M’s

1 Bag Plain M&M’s

Combine in large bowl.

Could this be ANY easier???

halloween snack mix

Banana Pop Ghosts:


White Candy Melts

Mini Chocolate Chips (for eyes)

Popsicle Sticks (lollypop sticks don’t support the weight as well…)

Wax Paper

Cut bananas in half and freeze them for 30 minutes. Insert Popsicle sticks and dip them in melted white candy melts. Add eyes & freeze until ready to serve.

Kids love these little ghostly creations!

ghost banana pops


Courtesy of FamilyFun Magazine

Mozzarella string cheese

Green bell pepper

Cream cheese

Use a paring knife to cut each string in half and then round off one end to make it look like the top of a finger.  Carve out a shallow area where the fingernail will be – just below the rounded end of the ‘finger’.  (You may want to use gloves or plastic wrap so your fingers don’t smudge the texture of the cheese.)

Mark the joint right below the nail as well as the knuckle joint by carving out tiny horizontal wedges of cheese, as pictured.

For the fingernails, slice a green bell pepper into 3/8-inch-wide strips. Set the strips skin side down on your work surface and trim the pulp so that it’s about half as thick. Then cut the strips into ragged-topped nail shapes and stick them in place at the ends of the fingers with dabs of cream cheese.

Watch the kids (and adults) reactions when they check these out!

cheese finger food

Carrot-Finger Food

Courtesy of FamilyFun Magazine

Vegetable dip

4 long carrots

1 medium carrot

Softened cream cheese

Sliced-almonds (5 to be exact!)

Baby carrots

To prepare them, just fill a serving bowl with your favorite vegetable dip. Wash and peel 4 long carrots for fingers and 1 medium carrot for a thumb.

With a paring knife (a parent’s job), cut a flat, shallow notch in the tip of each carrot. Then use a dab of dip or softened cream cheese to glue a sliced-almond fingernail atop each notch.

Stick the fingers in the dip, as shown, and serve with plenty of peeled baby carrots for dipping.

A creepy way to serve veggies and dip!

carrot finger food

Dracula Donuts

Glazed donuts

Chocolate chips (for the eyes)

Plastic Dracula teeth

The Dracula teeth go in the center of the donut, press 2 chocolate chips point side down into the donut for the eyes.

This is ALMOST as easy to make as the Halloween Snack Mix and will get a great reaction!!!

dracula donuts

Stuffed Pumpkin Peppers

Since you have to eat dinner on Halloween, I suggest you make these to start your night out – I made these last week and my family loved them…

Green, red, orange and yellow peppers



Spaghetti sauce

Shredded mozzarella cheese

Using a paring knife, cut jack-o-lantern faces into the peppers.  Boil the peppers in water for 10 minutes.  While the peppers are boiling, brown the hamburger meat and cook the rice (I use minute rice for the quickest preparation).  Mix together the hamburger, rice, spaghetti sauce and mozzarella together and stuff in the peppers.  Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

stuffed peppers


This family friendly blog is provided by  We specialize in high quality, affordable Baptismal gowns, rompers & suits, First Communion dresses, girls headpieces and boy’s suits.  In addition, we have a full line of Confirmation robes for churches to choose from with sizes to fit any size Confirmation candidate.

Grandparents Sprinkle Stardust…

28 Oct

2013-10-28 grandparents offers a full range of Baptismal and First Communion apparel and accessories for boys and girls.

Pumpkin in the Morning….

27 Oct

The Autumn season brings with it hearty stews, rich flavors and spices.  It doesn’t necessarily bring a slower pace in my house though, so meals need to be fast, filling and flavorful.  One very quick breakfast item in my house are pumpkin bites.


These pumpkin bites are very rich and have a denser consistency than a muffin or cake since there are no flour or egg like ingredients.  Three mini muffin size bites and a glass of milk are more than enough for breakfast to get your day started…


1/2 cup peanut butter

1 15 ounce can pumpkin

1/2 cup whole nuts (I used pine nuts which gives a distinctive flavor, but you should choose your favorite)

1 ½ cup total of dried fruits (cherries, cranberries, apricots, raisins, coconut, etc.) – I happen to use 1/2 Craisins and 1/2 raisins

1 cup rolled oats

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (optional)

3 tablespoons maple syrup (or to taste)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

350 degree oven

In a food processor, coarsely chop nuts and dried fruits.


Mix peanut butter and pumpkin until a well blended.



Add the rest of the ingredients and mix.


Spoon into lightly greased mini muffin pans and bake for 15-20 minutes.


Let us know what you think – do you use a lot of pumpkin in your cooking this time of year?

Anne-Marie Dunn is the Owner of  We specialize in Baptismal, First Communion & Confirmation Apparel for both boys and girls.

Are You Hosting Thanksgiving?

24 Oct

Although Halloween has not yet passed, now is the time to think of Thanksgiving — especially if you are hosting the holiday.

Modern Family Thanksgiving

Plan your menu now including appetizers, main course (turkey, of course!), dessert and beverages.   Purchase any non-perishables early since many of these meal items are on sale now.  Cranberries can be bought and frozen and butternut squash can be stored in a cool place.  Beer, wine and soda can also be purchased in advance.

Thanksgiving Day Menu

If you are serving dinner for a crowd, designate which food items are being contributed by your dinner guests.  Ask them to bring items that require advanced preparation so they will prepare them before arriving at your house.  This will free up more kitchen space and time for you!

family at dinner

Finally, if you are having overnight guest, now is the time to prepare the guest room.  Change the sheets, dust and find some pretty towels.

guest room preparation

Most importantly, don’t sweat the small stuff and have a happy Thanksgiving!

May your Thanksgiving be

Are you hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year?  What preparations can you possibly do in advance to prepare yourself so you can enjoy the day and not be as stressed out? specializes in Baptismal, First Communion and Confirmation apparel for boys and girls.


Kids are like a…

21 Oct

Kids are like a mirror, what they see and hear they do. Be a good reflection for them. – Kevin Heath

How to Make a Pumpkin Planter

17 Oct

how to make a pumpkin planter

Some of my favorite things about this time of year are pumpkins – and mums – so I thought it was the cutest thing ever to put them together!!!

Most of the supplies that you will need to make this planter are pretty obvious – a pumpkin, and a plant.  You can certainly use any plant you would like, but I think the mum is the seasonal favorite…  You will also need something to cut the pumpkin with, something to scrape out the pumpkin with (forgot to put this in the pic below), and the supplies to make a bow – or use a pre-made bow.  Instructions for making a bow can be found in last weeks post:

pumpkin planter - supplies needed

Step 1:  Cut the top off the pumpkin and clean out the guts.  It took me a little while to get the diameter of the circle right so that the pot fit in the pumpkin snugly.  Start a little smaller than you think and gradually make the hole bigger until you’ve got it right.

pumpkin planter - clean the pumpkin

Step 2:  Bleach the inside of the pumpkin to attempt to keep the mold away… and hopefully keep the planter from rotting right away.

One note of caution – to avoid the pumpkin from rotting prematurely, take the pot out of the pumpkin before you water the plant.  Let the excess water drain away for just a few minutes and then replace the flower pot back in the pumpkin.

pumpkin planter - preserve

Step 3:  Put it all together

Once the inside of the pumpkin has dried out a little, and once you made your bow – come on, you can do it – here are the instructions…

Put the flowerpot in the pumpkin – add the bow – and put it somewhere where you can enjoy it for the season!

pumpkin planter - put it together

What do you think?  Will you try to make one of your own?  Please share what type of planter you will make and where you will put it in the comments section.

Anne-Marie Dunn is the Owner of  We specialize in Baptismal, First Communion and Confirmation Apparel for both boys and girls.

Parenting Without Humor…

14 Oct

2013-10-14 parenting without humor offers a full range of Baptismal and First Communion apparel and accessories for boys and girls.

Step by Step – How to Make a Bow

10 Oct
Make a bow - step by step guide

Ever wonder how folks make beautiful bows out of ribbon? Turns out, it’s not nearly as hard as you might think. Here is a step by step guide for you to follow so you too can make beautiful ribbon bows for every holiday or occasion.General things to consider before you begin:
• How many ‘loops’ do you want in your bow? When making a bow, you make it from the center outward (and backwards) – the more loops, the fuller the bow
• What kind of ribbon do you want to use? Wired ribbon can be molded and will keep its shape
• Is your ribbon one sided or two? One sided ribbon means that there is a front side (with a pattern or glitter) and a back side (that is plain). Two sided ribbon is the same on both sides. In the instructions below, two sided ribbon doesn’t need to be ‘twisted’ between loops since both sides are the same. 

make a bow - supplies needed

• Spool of ribbon
• Scissors
• Floral wire – green or silver – I prefer to use the wire that blends the best with the ribbon

Make a loop with the ribbon and then twist the one sided ribbon a 1/2 turn so it's ready for the next step.

Depending on how large you want your bow to be, make the center loop by making a circle with the ribbon that will be proportional and hold it with your fingers (front side of ribbon showing). For one sided ribbon, you will need to make sure that the top of the ribbon is facing upward before you start the next step. Where you are holding the ribbon loop together, you need to twist the ribbon a ‘half turn’.

Make the left side of the loop - like when you make the loop when you are tying your shoes...

This first loop will sit on the top of the bow – next to the center loop – so it should be the smallest of all the other loops. Other ‘left side loops’ will be slightly larger than this loop and will sit ‘behind’ this loop. This loop of ribbon is similar to the loop you make while tying your shoe. Hold the loop with your thumb and pointer finger.

If you are using one sided ribbon, you need to twist the ribbon a 1/2 turn so that when you do the next step the pretty side of the ribbon is face up.

On the back side of the bow (the side away from the center loop), twist the ribbon so that the front side of the ribbon is facing upward and ready to make the right side loop. If you are using a double sided ribbon, you can skip this step.

Make the right side of the loop - remember - like tying your shoes...  and don't forget to twist!

From the back side of the bow, make the loop for the right side of the bow – same loop as when you tie your shoe. Hold the loop with your thumb and pointer finger.

Repeat steps 2, 3 and 4 to add as many loops as you would like to your bow - the more loops, the fuller the bow.

Continue to make as many loops as you want for your bow
Repeat steps 2,3, and 4 as many times as you want (left loop – twist – right loop) for your bow.

Make a large loop with the ribbon which will eventually represent the "tails" of your bow.  The loop will be cut in half so make the loop as large as you'd like so that 1/2 it's length will become one "tail".

To make the part of the ribbon that hangs down, you need to make one larger loop from the back of your bow. This single loop of ribbon will become 2 ‘tails’ that hang from the finished bow, so the length of this loop should be twice as long as a finished ‘tail’. Secure this loop to the rest of the ribbon by using approximately a 5 inch length of floral wire. The floral wire should be thread through the center loop of the bow and twisted several times (10x or so) at the back of the bow. The bow can be cut away from the remaining spool of ribbon. Any excess floral wire can also be cut away.

To separate the ‘tails’ of your bow, stretch the bow, press the bottom of the tail flat, fold in half(so there are 4 layers of ribbon) and cut the ribbon diagonally from the center of ribbon toward the outside edge.  If you are working with a wired ribbon, you are cutting from the plain edge toward the wired edge.  When you unfold the ribbon, you will have 2 tails that have a triangular cutout.

To separate the ‘tails’ of your bow, stretch the bow, press the bottom of the tail flat, fold in half(so there are 4 layers of ribbon) and cut the ribbon diagonally from the center of ribbon toward the outside edge. If you are working with a wired ribbon, you are cutting from the plain edge toward the wired edge. When you unfold the ribbon, you will have 2 tails that have a triangular cutout.

Did we inspire you to get creative and make your own bow for something special?  Please share what type of bow or where you are planning to add one in the comments section.

Anne-Marie Dunn is the Owner of  We specialize in Baptismal, First Communion and Confirmation Apparel for both boys and girls.

You Are Super Mom

7 Oct

2013-09-30 super mom offers a full range of Baptismal and First Communion apparel and accessories for boys and girls.

Having a Baby? What Not To Buy…

3 Oct

I recently wrote an article on what are 5 things you don’t need to buy for your new baby.  I thought I would share those thoughts with you to see if you guys agree.

I remember going in to Babies R Us when I was pregnant thinking we would go in and pick out some needed baby things, add them to a registry and hope to see those items again at my baby shower.  Who knew that you need to plan several shopping trips and LOTS of research to figure out what you do and don’t want for your baby?

baby superstore

mom doing research

Unfortunately I can’t take away your need to do research, but I may be able to save you a few minutes and save you a few dollars, by pointing out a few simple things that you simply do not need when preparing for a baby.

time and money

Expensive Crib Bedding

When shopping for your nursery “theme”, the crib bedding often takes center stage.   Just remember that as adorable as that is in the crib, most of it needs to come out of the crib before the baby can go in.  I remember “needing” the Alphabet Pooh bedding set, at more than $300 over 12 years ago, only to be totally disappointed that the comforter and other ‘accessories’ had to go before the baby could be placed in the crib to sleep.  The comforter became a wall hanging and the other items just seemed to disappear after a while.

alphabet pooh bedding

Strollers for Every Activity

Bottom line, you do not need a different stroller for every day of the week.  Figure out what you will really use a stroller for, and choose one decent stroller for most activities.  You may also opt for a small stroller that can be used for quick errands, or a really good jogging stroller IF you really jog.  If you will just be going for a walk around the block with baby, you don’t need a $500 jogging stroller – no matter how much you think you need one…


Diaper Genie

We had one when my son was a baby, and honestly used it for a pretty long time.  Problem is, you are storing wet and soiled diapers in it for quite a while.  (Don’t kid yourself about promising you will empty it often – they are a pain to empty so you won’t empty it nearly as often as you would want to.)  After a while, it’s gonna smell and there isn’t too much you can do about it.  Save yourself the hassle and just throw the diapers away in your normal trash.  Wrap any soiled diapers in tin foil to reduce the smell in your trash.

diaper genie

Baby wipe warmers

Baby wipe warmers can be very tempting, but all they really do is dry out the baby wipes too quickly.  You can either rinse the baby wipes in warm water in the sink prior to changing baby, or you em in your hand for a few seconds – your body heat will do the trick quite nicely.

baby wipes warmer

Too Many Baby Clothes

You change a babies clothes pretty frequently, but not so frequently that you need to have mountains of clothes ready for them to wear in every size.  And please watch the excessive ruffles on baby girl dresses.  Crinoline should be reserved for older girls dresses or special occasion dresses that are fully lined (such as Baptismal gowns).  Announcing the gender of your child before birth is sure to send many of your guests out to buy as much pink or blue clothing items as they can.  Take a hard look at what you have for your baby – especially small sizes – and try to return some of it before the baby is born.  You can save the store credit for later use.  It’s also helpful because you really don’t know what size your baby will need.  Big babies in our family have always flown through newborn and 3 month sizes and were wearing 6 month clothing at a pretty young age.

baby girl dress

Can you think of any items that new parents may be tempted to buy, but may later on find unnecessary?  Please share those items in the comments section.

Anne-Marie Dunn is the Owner of  We specialize in Baptismal and First Communion Apparel for both boys and girls.