Monster Tongues, an Easy Jell-o Snack

HalloweenHalloween Snacks is right around the corner, so why not make a delicious and fun snack for your kids (and kids at heart) to celebrate the season? Discover a recipe for Monster Tongues, an easy Jell-o snack. Of course, if “monster tongue” is too graphic for you, you could always call them Jell-o pinwheels. These snacks will go over great at your next Halloween party! Plus, Jell-o contains gelatin, which is a healthy ingredient that promotes digestive health, healthy hair, skin, and nails, plus much more!  Furthermore, these snacks are so easy it’s ridiculous!

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (3 oz) JELL-O Gelatin, any flavor you’d like.
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 ½ cups Mini Marshmallows (we prefer the Jet-Puffed brand)

Stovetop Directions

  1. Grease an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Heat the water until boiling.
  3. Add the Jell-O. Stir until it is completely dissolved.
  4. Reduce heat.
  5. Add marshmallows and stir continuously, preferably with a whisk, until they are completely melted.
  6. Pour into the prepared pan.
  7. Refrigerate for an hour or until set.
  8. Loosen the gelatin layer from the pan by running a sharp knife around the edges.
  9. Starting at the bottom edge, roll the gelatin up tightly with clean, dry, hands.
  10. Cut the pin wheel log into ½ inch slices. Cover. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Microwave Directions

  1. Grease an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Mix gelatin and water in a medium sized microwave safe bowl.
  3. Microwave on HIGH for 90 seconds.
  4. Stir until gelatin is entirely dissolved.
  5. Mix in the marshmallows.
  6. Microwave on HIGH for 60 seconds, or until marshmallows are mostly melted.
  7. Whisk the mixture until the marshmallows are completely melted into the Jell-O.
  8. Pour into the Prepared pan.
  9. Refrigerate the pan for 45 minutes or so, until it is completely set.
  10. Loosen the gelatin layer from the pan by running a sharp knife around the edges.
  11. Starting at the bottom edge, roll the gelatin up tightly with clean, dry, hands.
  12. Cut the pin wheel log into ½ inch slices. Cover. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

This recipe makes 8 servings of 2 monster tongues (pinwheels) each.

Other Suggestions

  • After you slice the pinwheel log, unroll a small part of each pinwheel so they look more like tongues.
  • If you so desire, slice the pinwheel log in wavy or jagged lines instead of straight ones to create more texture for the monster tongue.
  • Remember to keep each “tongue” from touching the other while they are chilling. It is best to store them in separated flat layers. You can separate them easily using wax paper.
  • If you are making this for a large Halloween party be sure to make several different batches with several different flavors and colors of Jell-o. If you choose contrasting colors, they will be sure to pop on the snack table!

Image Credit: pixabay.com

 

Great Halloween Treats to Make With Your Kids

Halloween Treats to Make With Your Kids

 

Halloween is one of the best holidays of the year for kids. Not just for the candy … and who doesn’t love getting a sack of candy? It’s a great time to let your kids’ imaginations run wild on the night when the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest.

Halloween is a way to be creative and have fun with food. Here are some tips for some spooktacular treats to make with your kids. These recipes are courtesy of bhg.com.

Frankenstein Treats

These are super fun and easy to make because it uses prepared cookie dough.

Steps:

  • Cut some ghoulishly fun shapes from rolled out prepared cookie dough and bake as directed
  • Spread a thin layer of green icing on top of baked cookies
  • Use brown icing and candies to add facial features
  • Secure mini peanut butter cups for that Frankenstein look on either side of the cookies

Spooky Pumpkins

These cookies are similar to the Frankenstein treats in using prepared sugar cookie dough.

Steps:

  • Cut pumpkin shaped cookies out of prepared sugar cookie dough and bake as directed
  • Spread orange icing on the face of the baked cookies and green icing for the stem
  • Add spooky jack-o’-lantern faces with brown and black icing

Eyeballs

Try putting these into Halloween drinks and watch the double takes as kids of all ages walk by.

Take marshmallows and microwave them for 5 seconds at a time to get them soft and then put an M&M right in the center. Perch them on top of the drinks.

Bag of Bones Snack Mix

These bags are great for trick or treaters. Try this:

Smash down some large marshmallows and draw some faces on them with a black food writer. Stick some white pretzels in a bag along with a marshmallow head and seal it. Label the bag with “Bag of Bones” on the outside and enjoy.

Hooting Good Owl Cupcakes

Take some store bought cupcakes and spread them with white frosting. You could also use pre-frosted cupcakes. Place two round raspberry and vanilla sandwich cookies side by side on top of the cupcake. Use some frosting to attach green mini M&Ms for eyes. Use a cashew for a beak and the cover the rest of the cupcake with rows of sliced almonds for feathers.

Open Face Bird Sammies

Give these hearty sandwiches to your troop of trick or treaters before they head out the door:

  • Take two hot meatballs in marinara sauce and place them on top of a split, toasted roll. You could buy the meatballs pre-made as well as the sauce to cut down on prep time
  • Roll two small pieces of cream cheese into balls and press gently onto the front of each meatball
  • Cut pitted ripe black olives into pieces and press a piece into each of the cream cheese balls
  • Cut orange or yellow sweet peppers into pieces and arrange as beaks and eyebrows
  • Use julienned carrots or chives on top as feathers

These treats aren’t tricky and can be made with the help of your kids for a howling great Halloween.

[Image 1] [Image 2]

 

 

How to Have a Happy and Safe Halloween

Halloween

Halloween is synonymous with sugar. The whole idea of trick or treat is really mostly treat so kids always look forward to this holiday.

Here are a few tips to keep your kids – no matter what age – happy and safe halloween as they scour the neighborhood for candy.

Costume Choices are Critical

When choosing a store bought costume make sure it repels fire and if you’re making it at home, ask the sales clerk about whether the material is fire resistant. This goes for material, wigs and masks.

One of the scariest things that can happen to a smaller child is that the mask she is wearing obscures her vision. Opt for a mask with large eye and mouth holes or, better yet, use a hypoallergenic face paint instead.

Light colors are easier for drivers to spot on dark streets and slapping some reflective tape on a costume will give you added peace of mind.

For smaller kids, make sure they aren’t wearing high heeled shoes that could be a trip hazard. And any props like wands should be short and flexible.

Safety First

Kids under 12 should have a chaperone or go in a group with an adult. Older tweens and teens should have a curfew.

If your kids plan to go trick or treating with a group, ask who she will be with and what the planned route is. And reinforce that she should call you from time to time just to check in and let you know she’s okay. If possible, suggest that the group go up a well-lit street on one side and down the other side to avoid crisscrossing the street.

Talk about what might happen if she is invited inside the home of people she doesn’t know and give her a way to back away from a situation like that easily.

 

Check the Loot Before They Eat It

Sift through the booty before doling some out to your kids. Not only will this give you a chance to see what’s there, you can pick through the pieces you like too.

Toss any candy with a torn or loose wrapper. Unless you know that your neighbor made the toffee apples, dump anything that isn’t wrapped.

If you think your child will scarf down candy on the go, try filling him up with pasta or pizza before he heads out the door.

You might talk with your kid about giving some of her Halloween candy to kids who are home bound or hospitalized and can’t go trick or treating.

Stress Free Visitors

For your home, make sure to use battery powered candles or, if you want to light a carved pumpkin, a votive candle is safest.

Make sure to pick up any rugs that could cause a trick or treater to trip and light up your porch and walkway for good access.

Carving Up Ol’ Jack

Pumpkin carving is a great activity with your kids but must be supervised. Let littler kids scoop out the innards with their hands. Pick up any flesh and seeds that fall to the floor and remember to save the seeds for roasting.

Have a happy and safe Halloween.

[Image 1] [Image 2]

Last Minute Halloween!

13-10-21 ghost costume 900x600

Quick & Easy Costume Ideas for Your KidsEvery mom knows that time is of the essence when making life happy and healthy for your child, and that is ever true around holidays and special seasonal times. If you are a mom who is struggling to come up with ideas late in the season, and is short on time and money this Halloween, then read this quick guide of tips for making Halloween party outfits that are easy and often use materials you have around your house or that you can buy on a dime!

The Mummy:  Grab a roll of toilet paper and get to wrapping up your sweet little one like a mummy! This outfit works well with strips of old white T-shirts or sheets, as well. Be creative, and make sure to wrap the toilet paper or cloth strips lightly. You can leave your child's face free and simply wrap a few strips around his or her forehead. (Make sure they go to the bathroom first!)

The Gardener:  If you have a pair of overalls, a plaid shirt, a sun hat and a watering can, then you have an instant gardener outfit! To add to the novelty of this outfit, you also could fill a basket with flowers or vegetables. When your child collects candy, he or she can trade your neighbor for it with a flower or fruit. Add a small garden tool sticking out of a pocket.

The Olympiad:  Celebrate the Olympics by outfitting your child in running shorts and a T-shirt. If it's warm outside, try goggles and a swimsuit, and if it's cold, try a track suit (or even add stripes down the side of some old sweats). Make your own Olympic gold medal with a piece of yarn and construction paper.

The Pumpkin:  Who doesn't love a cute pumpkin? Outfit your child in an orange T-shirt or sweatshirt and orange sweatpants. Use a black permanent marker to draw eyes and a mouth on the T-shirt or sweatshirt. Make sure to put cardboard in between the shirt or sweatshirt layers to prevent the marker from bleeding through the layers. Plop a green knit hat or headband on top for the finishing touch.

The Ghost:  Who hasn't been a ghost as a child?  It's the easiest costume of all. Find an old sheet at your local thrift shop, cut out some eye holes and a small mouth, if desired. Embellish with a marker (using cardboard behind the face).So what if you are a little late to the game this season? There's still time to outfit your child in some terrific duds for the ultimate candy season! Moms who want easy, quick and affordable Halloween costume ideas need look no further. You will be ready for the neighborhood party in no time by dressing up your child in one of these cute costumes!

October To-Do List

13-10-07 pumpkin patch 900x600

October is one of the most festive months of the year for plenty of Halloween activities that come with the new season. From pumpkin carving to apple picking, there is plenty to plan for moms looking to keep their family busy in the fall.

Carve Pumpkins

Take a trip to the pumpkin patch if you have a local one; the kids will love it. Then allow kids to get a bit creative with pumpkin carvings, or print out stencils that can be used for decorative designs or silhouettes on each pumpkin. You can then place a candle in each individual pumpkin on the porch for a fun way to celebrate the season as a family.

Bake Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are an affordable and healthy snack to make during October and are easy to bake with a touch of salt or cinnamon on a few cookie sheets. Roasted pumpkin seeds contain zinc and vitamin E for a treat that kids can enjoy both baking and eating for a nice break from candy.

Make Costumes

For those who want to trick-or-treat in an original creation, it's important to make handmade costumes that are unique in design and will make for a memorable look in the neighborhood. Ask each family member what type of Halloween costume they would like, and make a list of the materials you'll need and props you'll be using to complete the look.

Apple Picking

Fall is harvest time and the season to enjoy the fruits of the year's labor. Have fun apple picking on a local farm for fresh fruit that can be fun for kids to gather. Once getting home, make delicious recipes that include fresh apple cider or even warm apple pie for fall favorites.

Decorate

Make an activity out of furnishing the home with Halloween and fall decor with a bit of planning for how the house can be transformed. Include spooky cobwebs, decorative spiders, and even natural fall leaves for table decor, which may be found right in the front yard. Festive string lights can also be used, as well as melted candles for a great flickering effect.

Throw a Halloween Party

Celebrate the season by planning a Halloween party for both friends and neighbors to attend for a night that can be family-friendly and include spooky music, plenty of candy, and even bobbing for apples. Incorporate traditional games and a list of activities that will make for a haunted night to remember. Include a costume contest that everyone can participate in for both kids and adults, along with prizes for the winners. You can even team up with another family or two to split the work of preparing and paying for the party.

 

Start Costume Shopping Early!

13-09-30 zombie costume 900x617

As Halloween approaches, the countdown is on. Do you know what your child will be wearing? Halloween is easily becoming one of the hardest working holidays for moms. So here are a few tips to help save time, money and tears.

Start early

The more time you have to plan ahead the better. Especially for homemade costumes, adequate preparation is a necessity. As soon as possible, start getting ideas from your children; however, remember that they are prone to changing their minds often so do not run out and buy an expensive outfit that you will not be able to return. When you do have an idea on what type of fairy, superhero or creature your child will be, start looking in thrift shops and secondhand stores for any lower priced items or accessories. With time on your side you can also call on family and friends to provide hand-me-down options. For example, a relative's old nurse’s scrubs or a friend's too-small uniform can be a great way to save money and recycle at the same time.

Encourage creativity

Zombies are definitely back in style, and any old clothes can be repurposed into a whole new undead version with a little make-up and scissors. The sky is the limit; do not feel trapped into traditional characters. Plan ahead and look for unorthodox ideas that can be made at home. Creations like these can be endearing and comical, and are usually the popular stand-outs for festive enthusiasts.

So you have decided to forgo the Halloween madness of costume shopping and are taking your child’s fate into your own hands? Where to start? Arts and crafts stores are a great way to find individual pieces that you can use to enhance an original outfit. Also with a little tailoring, and a lot of faith, a few yards of fabric can make a whimsical wizard or a baby bumble bee. When buying for multiple children, outfits like these can save money and provide a theme for the entire family. For example, the materials needed to make a farmer, animals and a scarecrow can be found in your closets and in a craft store.

Plan ahead, find your creative flair, and stay safe -- and you can take a lot of the stress out of Halloween and find yourself having a scary good time.

Tricky Halloween Treats

12-10-22 candy apples 900x718

Thousands of children look forward to Halloween each year for the sole reason of getting huge bags filled with candy. For parents who are trying to teach their children good eating habits, this can be an extremely challenging time of year. After all, no parent wants to deny their child the fun of Halloween, but no kid needs to eat five pounds of junk food in one week, either. Fortunately, there are dozens of treats that go great with the holiday and are good for the body, as long as parents know the proper way to prepare them.

Pizza With Spinach Sauce

Pizza is one of the favorite treats for children everywhere, but most parents aren't too happy about feeding their child such an unhealthy dinner. Fortunately, there are several tricks to making the meal healthier. To start, parents should always make the pizza from scratch so they know exactly what's going into it. To save time, these pizzas can be made in advance and frozen to be baked later.

The next step to making pizza healthier is to use the right ingredients. Instead of using regular crust, parents should opt for whole wheat whenever possible. For the sauce, sneak some vegetables in by blending a half cup spinach with a few spoonfuls of water. This creates a baby food like texture, so parents won't have to worry about their child seeing any "gross" leaves or "green things" in their food. Next, add the spinach to two cups of tomato sauce. Stir until the spinach disappears, spread it on the pizza, then top with skim mozzarella. Children are sure to love this recipe, and even better, they're getting multiple servings of vegetables with every slice they eat. If your kids will eat them, try adding some fresh diced tomatoes or pieces of broccoli, or other veggies you kids will eat.

Candied Apples

Apple treats are a favorite fall snack, and while most parents won't like the idea of covering a fruit with sugar, it is possible to make this treat a little less unhealthy. To start, parents should switch milk chocolate with dark chocolate and avoid caramel completely. After the apple has been dipped, children can roll it in healthier alternatives to candy, such as peanuts, coconut shavings, or pumpkin seeds.

Monster Ice Cream

Ice cream may not seem like the best thing to eat, but when it's actually made from bananas and spinach, it definitely is. To make this, parents will need two frozen ripe bananas, a few drops of peppermint extract, 1/16th teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoons milk, 1/4 cup spinach and optional chocolate chips. To prepare, all parents have to do is add the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. The spinach is impossible to taste due to the mint flavor, but it still gives the ice cream a fun ghoulish color.

 

Making a Safe and Fun Halloween Party

Four young friends and a woman at Halloween eating treats and sm

Boo! It's that time of the year for trick o' treaters, delicious candy, haunted houses and ghoulish parties. Yes, some people go to great financial lengths to pull off a Halloween extravaganza, with dry ice machines, pyrotechnics, catered food or even hired actors to play zombies and vampires! However, let's get real, the materials needed to make a fun, yet safe, Halloween party can easily be found. This would be a good time to check the garage, kitchen, bedroom and basement, for potential decoration ideas. Ghosts, spiderwebs, tombstones and traditional luminaries are decorations that can be made from everyday objects found in home.

Typically, Halloween luminaries are not safe; lunch bags with votive candles are a recipe for disaster, but there's a way around this problem. Rather than using a candle, try scrunching up sheets of yellow tissue paper and place them inside the lunch bag. For a little shimmer, add some glitter to the tissue, or apply glitter spray to the outside of the bag. The finished luminaries would look great surrounded by some creepy spiderwebs. If you happen to have small, battery operated lights, you could add those as well.

There are a few different approaches for making spiderwebs. Webs could look sleek and shiny or old and fuzzy. By far, cobwebs are the easiest type of spiderwebs to make, and they're probably the most creepy. Cotton balls, gauze and poly-fiber fill are all good materials for cobwebs. For fresh webs, try knotting together some silver holiday tinsel, or use an entire roll of plastic food wrap and twist it up to make webs. These webs would look eerie, when draped upon some haunting tombstones in a graveyard.

A do-it-yourself graveyard is a real treat to make! Along with luminaries and spiderwebs, homemade tombstones and ghosts add a spooky touch. For tombstones, find any cardboard box laying around, and cut out the desired shape and paint it. A coffin shape would also be a grand idea! To make the tombstones and coffins extra scary, add some blood red paint. For little ghosts, wrap up balls of old socks in white towels, sheets and construction paper; use holiday ornament hooks and string to hang them from the trees. The finished graveyard, or haunted house, would be a perfect place to set up tables, chairs and food, for the party. To make the party even spookier, have a CD of scary sounds playing in the background!

 

It’s Not Too Early to Choose a Costume

12-10-01 Halloweed costumes 900x675

Having a tight budget does not mean that your children can't have a fabulous Halloween. Making homemade costumes for children doesn't have to be limited to those who are talented with needle, thread and sewing machine. Plenty of no-sew costumes look great.

Dress-Up Ideas for Girls

Fairy and princess outfits are popular for little girls these days. Thankfully, these ensembles are very simple to recreate. Don't settle for cheaply-made, expensive store-bought dresses when making your own is so quick, easy and inexpensive. To make a lovely tulle skirt suitable for a princess or fairy, you will need a length of quarter-inch waistband elastic and several yards of tulle. Knot the elastic around the child's waist so that it fits comfortably. Trim the excess. Cut the tulle in 12 to 18 inch wide strips, and then tie the strips lengthwise onto the waistband. Continue in this way all around the circumference of the waistband. Outfit your little girl in a leotard and tights topped with this skirt. For a fairy, you may want to pick up a pair of wings at the local dollar store and add a flowered headband. For a princess, an inexpensive tiara and wand can be found at the same place.

Other easy ideas for girls might be Little Red Riding Hood or a gypsy. For Red Riding Hood, simply wrap a red tablecloth or shawl around your little sweetheart, and secure it under the chin with a safety pin. Give her a basket to carry, and she will be ready to head to Grandma's house for trick or treat. If she would like to be a Gypsy, dress her in a brightly-colored tiered skirt and peasant blouse. Add a gaudy fringed shawl or scarf and plenty of bangle bracelets. Don't forget large hoop earrings.

Dress-Up Ideas for Boys

If your little fellow likes Charlie Brown, recreating his favorite comic book character is simple. Buy a bright yellow T-shirt and black fabric paint. With a sharp pencil, sketch in the distinctive zigzag pattern along the bottom hem of the shirt. Tuck cardboard or several layers of newspaper inside the shirt to prevent the paint from bleeding through it, and paint the zigzag using black paint.

A solid-colored hoodie can be many things. On a white hoodie, you can glue floppy ears made of felt and black felt circles to make your boy a Dalmatian puppy. Alternately, an orange hoodie can be decorated with pointed ears and black stripes to make a child a tiger. Use your imagination, felt and fabric glue to create interesting outfits out of hoodies.

Loads of costume ideas are available for creative parents who have a little time and some ingenuity. However, since Halloween is in just a few weeks, you may want to get started right away.