Thursday, October 17, 2013

Halloween Spooktacular!

 
Don't you just love this time of year?  I love sweaters and the crisp fall air in the evenings and to crunch leaves underfoot (just ask my Nursery class) and afghans with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate and soup for dinner and chopping down my peony's and replacing the foliage with tombstones, skeletons and candles.  So glad that we live in an area with seasons...

My inspiration for Matt's Halloween package came from others this year.  I am grateful that others are so willing to share their talents and inspiration.  Whatever did we do prior to Pinterest?  I love coming up with my own ideas and the excitement I feel inside when I get a sudden burst of inspiration  however...when experiencing a time crunch GOOGLE IT!!
 
Here's what we did and the links to where we found it...
 
Ghost Cookies:
1 pkg. Nutter Butter Cookies
2 pkg. White Chocolate Chips
(for best results use Nestle)
1 pkg. mini chocolate chips or frosting eyes
(can be found at your local
cake decorating store)
 
Line a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper.  Using a mug, melt white chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second increments stirring in between until fully melted and smooth.  Add a tsp. or so of shortening and stir until smooth.  This goes a long way to smoothing out your chocolate and helps it to flow smoothly.  Dip cookie about 3/4 of the way down making sure to cover the back as well as the front.  Let excess drip off then place on cookie sheet.  Add mini chocolate chips or frosting eyes.  Allow to fully set.  Place in a sandwich size Ziploc bag.  Apply bag topper and staple.
 
(NOTE:  Go to the end of this post for the link to the bag toppers.)
 
 
Krispie 'Monster' Treats:
1 pkg. Rice Krispie Treats, unwrapped
1 pkg. chocolate chips
1 pkg. mini Oreo cookies
Lg. frosting eyes or brown M&M's
(can be found at your local
cake decorating store)
Cake Mate Writing Icing
(found at the grocery store by the other frostings.  Comes in a set of four small tubes -
red, yellow, blue and green)
 
Line a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper.  Divide the mini Oreo's in half keeping the half with the frosting still on.  Set aside.  In a shallow bowl, melt chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second increments stirring in between until fully melted and smooth.  Add a tsp. or so of shortening and stir until smooth.  This will help smooth out your chocolate and help it to flow smoothly.  Dip the Rice Krispie treat halfway in the chocolate.  Let excess drip off then place on cookie sheet.  Top your cookie with the Oreo cookie giving it one or two eyes as desired.  Using the red Writing Icing, apply generously to the back of the icing eye then press firmly onto the Oreo cookie.  This will allow some of the red to 'squish' out making it look like it has blood-shot eyes.  Give your Monster a wiggly smile.  You can decorate with Skittles while the chocolate is still soft which looked incredibly cute on the magazine cover (don't know which one it was...sorry) that I saw while standing in the checkout line but just looked messy when I did it.  Maybe they used larger Rice Krispie treats?  Allow to fully set.  Place in a sandwich size Ziploc bag.  Apply bag topper and staple.
 
(NOTE:  Go to the end of this post for the link to the bag toppers.)
 
Nutter Butter Bat Cookies:
1 pkg. Nutter Butter Cookies
1 pkg. chocolate chips
brown M&M's (for the head)
confetti sprinkles
(for the eyes)
or small icing eyes
(can be found at your local
cake decorating store)
toothpicks
 
Line a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper.  Melt chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second increments stirring in between until fully melted and smooth.  Add a tsp. or so of shortening and stir until smooth.  This will help smooth out your chocolate and help it to flow smoothly.  Dip the cookie about half way into the melted chocolate.  Let the excess drip off then place on cookie sheet.  Using a toothpick, drag some of the chocolate down giving your bat it's 'winged' appearance. My cute little Maren, did that for me.  Place a brown M&M in the center for your bats head.  Place icing eyes or use confetti (see Brenda's post...I actually like the eyes using confetti a lot better than the icing eyes for this project).  Adhere eyes to M&M with a little of the melted chocolate.  Use a toothpick and the melted chocolate to create ears and a dot for the center of the eye.  Allow to fully set.  Place in a sandwich size Ziploc bag.  Apply bag topper and staple.
 
 
 
(photo is from Whipperberry at whipperberry.com and links to their site)
 
'Boolicious Halloween Treat Bag Toppers'
 
These bag toppers were a gift from heaven.  Not kidding.  I came home late from work one night and knew that I had to spend the next few hours whipping up something in Photoshop (which I am slowly learning) to go on the treats that we had made the night before.  Checked my email and...insert the sound of angels singing the Hallelujah Chorus...there they were in all their glory.  Beautiful!  I could have cried but instead I did a little happy dance.  The kids don't like it when I do that but I was alone so it was ok.  Thanks, Heather!  You're an angel!



 
 
(photo is from Somewhat Simple and links to their site)
 
'Something Wicked This Way Comes' printable:
From the same Blog Hop as the bag toppers comes this little gem from Sarah at Somewhat Simple.  I love it!  I printed it out onto white cardstock and trimmed it down a bit and used it for my package topper.  Love the washi tape...but yeah, I didn't have any of that.  Don't forget to write a message to your missionary on the back.  The pi├Ęce de r├ęsistance.
 


Thank heaven for little GIRLS!

My oldest daughter Kiri and her husband Brad, are expecting their first and MY first grandchild in March (2014).  They made the big announcement just days before Matt left on his mission and this week was the 'big reveal' to let us know what they're having.  I wanted to send something fun for Matt to let him know and get him as excited as we are and to help him feel a part of the big event.  In my mind, I wanted to send him a large box with a pink or blue helium filled balloon inside.  He'd open the box and the balloon would float up and it would be so cute.  Realistically that won't work though.  Sad day.  All his mail has to go through the Mission Home and the Zone Leaders only come in once a month to pick up packages and the helium AND the balloon would most definitely be totally dead by then. ...heavy sigh...  My husband came up with this idea and it will be just as cute and useful as well.



and just in case you're announcing a boy...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Conference Journals

 
Just before General Conference I stumbled upon this little jewel from Colette at My Computer is My Canvas.  A printable Conference journal with designs for him OR her.  I love it!  I quickly downloaded it from her ETSY site and sent it off to the print shop via email.  (Don't you just LOVE modern technology?)  I asked them to copy the front and back cover onto their heaviest stock available then laminate both for durability.  The inner pages come two to a page.  I had them printed on regular stock but double-sided.  With Colette's printable you can insert as many pages as you desire.  I had them put in 25 double-sided pages for a total of 50 pages in each journal, then had them cut and spiral bound.  Finished size is 5.5" x 8.5". Total price for the 4 journals was $16 (not including the purchase from Colette's site).  Not bad.  My mission companions daughter just went into the MTC so I had a set made for her and her companion and Matt and his.  Thanks Colette!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies


Exciting weekend around here...we received a FIVE PAGE letter from Elder Brown and a camera memory card.  PHOTOS!!.  Oh, happy day!!  One of the things that he asked for was his winter things.  Matt is a big time snowboarder so he has lots of cold weather gear and it seems that the temperature is dropping in Seattle and he's getting a bit chilly on a bike so during General Conference I whipped up this family favorite.  Double batch.  Some for him and his companion and some for us 'cause what's Conference without treats?  Good thing it only comes around twice a year...
White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies
3/4 cup butter flavored Crisco
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs. milk
1 Tbs. vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
Heat oven to 375 F.  Combine Crisco, brown sugar, milk, and vanilla.  Beat egg into creamed mixture.  Combine flour, salt and baking soda into mixture.  Add nuts and white chocolate chips.  Bake for 8 minutes.  Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.
Click here and here for some ideas on how to mail cookies to your missionary.