Brie Jack-o’-lantern Appetizer

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I’d like to share with you another fun appetizer or light meal idea for the fall season.  Our family had this several nights ago.  Out of the seven of us (five 10 years and under), there was only one person who didn’t care for it.  We got the idea from the Betty Crocker Halloween Cookbook.  It’s another recipe that my 8-year-old picked out.

Brie Appetizer 3First things first–the recipe calls for Brie cheese which is a very buttery, soft, French cheese.  Warming it up really does wonders.  It also calls for Apricot fruit spread.  This matters because you need a spread that’s more fluid than jam or preserves.  If you can locate those two items, the rest is easy.

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I just eyeballed the jack-o’-lantern face, using a sharp knife.  I also scooped out a little of the insides with a toothpick.  You want to make some space to fill in with the apricot spread.

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How cute does that little face look?  Honestly, that’s the most difficult part of making this–carving the face.  After that you’re home free.  Once it’s warmed up (at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes), just serve it with crackers, apple slices and apricot fruit spread.  I especially loved the crackers, Brie and fruit spread together.  Yummy!

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LEGO Hand Soap

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As a mom of LEGO-loving boys, I couldn’t pass up this awesome idea from The Rockin Boys Club-LEGO Soap.  It’s such a simple idea and I hope that it will make handwashing more fun for the kids.  Without further ado…onto the soap!

Lego Soap 2The materials you will need are a pump bottle of hand soap or hand sanitizer (or both) and a handful of LEGOs.  I like the look of a variety of brightly colored LEGOs, but you could go monochromatic, as well.  Or match the colors of the room it will be in.

Lego Soap 3It was quite easy to peel off the front and back labels on the soap dispenser.  However, they left behind a filmy white adhesive.

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I used rubbing alcohol to remove the adhesive, but you could also use a product like Goo Gone.  I just didn’t have any on hand.  Once the adhesive is removed from the bottle, open the soap and push a few LEGOs in there.  You may want to try and remove some of the air bubbles, otherwise they’ll all bunch at the top.  Screw the top back on and you have some wonderful LEGO soap!

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Easy LEGO Clean Up

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I cannot even guess how many LEGOs we own.  It is an insane amount.  All of my children enjoy playing with them, but oddly enough, nobody likes cleaning them up.  After a royal fit the other day when everybody claimed that it was someone else who had scattered the LEGOs over the floor, I had a brain wave.

What if I found a way to make clean up easier?  Wow–what a thought!

The first thing that I did was purchase a small dustpan and broom from Walmart that will be exclusively for LEGO clean up.  It’s so easy to just sweep the pieces into the dustpan and dump them in the LEGO bin.  This solution works well for a mess that’s scattered across the floor, or for small piles.

My next idea, which I’d seen done at LEGO group at the library, was to have the kids play with their LEGOs on a flat sheet or blanket.  When they are done playing, it’s very simple to gather up the whole bundle and dump it out into the storage bin.

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For sheer quickness, the sheet/blanket method is best.  However, the dustpan and broom work really well for young kids who want to assert their independence.

St. Patrick’s Day DIY Shamrock Window Clings

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The kids and I got our craft on the day before St. Patrick’s Day.  Thanks to Scotch® Tape for this awesome idea!  The method for making these is rather simple and you could use this technique for any holiday.  I’m looking forward to experimenting with it in the future.

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First you’ll want to gather your supplies.  We used:

  • Clear Con-Tact paper (make sure it is the removable kind)
  • Colored masking tape (we used Scotch® because it was available at Walmart)
  • Washi tape
  • Permanent marker
  • Scisscors
  • Shamrock template (I found a free printable online and shrank it to the size I wanted)

Directions:

Cut out shamrock template from paper, or draw one and cut out if you don’t have a printer.  Unroll Con-Tact paper and trace several shamrocks on there.  Cut out shamrocks.  Lay Con-Tact paper shamrock flat on table, grid-side down.  Use masking and washi tape to make stripes on shamrock.  Decorate entire shamrock, then carefully peel the entire thing off the table.  Cut out around shamrock shape, trimming off excess tape from the edges.  Slowly peel paper backing off shamrock and affix it to the window.  Repeat!

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Chocolate Monsters

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Some time ago, I subscribed to All You magazine, thinking I’d save tons of money using their coupons.  That hasn’t happened, but I have come across a few cool ideas to try out.  The last issue featured chocolate-covered rice krispie treats that were decorated to look like monsters.  Perfect to try out with the kids!  Here are photos showcasing the process.

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Camping Cake

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I’m a bit geeky about cakes. When I have the time and energy, which isn’t always, I like to go a little over the top with them. At least it’s over the top by the standards of the cakes I got as a child. Anywho, here’s my eldest son’s birthday cake. He had a camping/sleepover themed party. The beauty of this cake is that it didn’t require perfect frosting skills, and he could help me decorate it. When I make a cake that depends on near-perfect frosting, I get a little, okay a lot, crazy. Don’t come near me, or you may lose your head.

I saw a picture like this on Pinterest, so that’s where we got the idea. If you want to create one of these yourself, here’s how:

Supplies: box cake mix, 2 tubs white frosting, green food coloring, blue food coloring, 1 Twinkie/Cloud Cake, 1 Pop-Tart, pretzel rods (large & small), sugar cones, 2 birthday candles, mini marshmallows, Raisinets, green sugar crystals, blue sugar crystals, Tootsie Rolls (optional), toothpicks, snack-size Hershey bar, paper, clear tape

Directions:

1. Bake cake in 9″x13″ pan according to package directions. Let cool.

2. Tint 1 tub of frosting green for grass and trees. Place 1/3 to 1/2 of frosting from other tub into bowl; tint blue for water.

3. Carefully spread green frosting over cake, leaving an open trail for the river/stream. Try not to get too many crumbs mixed in with your frosting.

4. Carefully spread blue frosting in the area you left clear for the river. Sprinkle blue sugar crystals over blue frosting, being careful not to get it on the grass.

5. Line bank of river with Raisinet rocks.

6 . Cut Pop-Tart in half. Cut that half in half again. Place these on cake to make a tent. Break off one square of Hershey bar and place inside as sleeping bag.

7. Cut scrap of paper to make flag; check proportions against toothpick. Write desired text on paper. Fold around toothpick and tape in place. Stick in ground near tent as flagpole.

8. Break off bottom of cone until it is desired height for tree. Broken edge can be ragged. Break off piece of Twinkie and stuff up into cone. Break off piece of large pretzel rod and shove into Twinkie, making sure some is poking out the bottom. You will hold this while frosting the tree.

9. Frost tree with green icing. Hold over sink while sprinkling on green sugar crystals. Carefully push cone down into cake where desired. Pretzel rod should help hold it in place. You’ll have to push down on the top of the cone; fix frosting at top with knife.

10. Push two candles into cake where you want the fire. Break small pretzel rods into pieces and lean against the candles to look like logs. Surround this with Raisinets as rocks. Place Raisinets/Tootsie Rolls around fire, as stones/logs to sit on.

11. Cut mini marshmallow in quarters. Wrap one of these pieces around end of toothpick to resemble marshmallow on a stick. Prop against sitting rock/log. Repeat as desired.

12. To make marshmallow person, use 1 mini marshmallow as torso. Break toothpick in pieces that match proportions of figure for arms and legs. Take 1/4 piece of mini marshmallow and wrap around toothpick as head. Break off and insert into top of mini marshmallow figure. Place on cake where desired. Make as many of these guys as you want.

I hope you have fun making this–I sure did! I had the idea that maybe you could use this design if you wanted to make a LOTR cake, or something else that takes place in the wilderness. If you had a small character token or figure, you could just set them on a piece of tinfoil, trimmed to fit the figure’s base, and place them on the cake. Then you wouldn’t have to worry about the figure getting wrecked or leaching stuff into the frosting. Just a thought.