It’s that time of year to get the PEEPS out!  Even if you don’t enjoy eating them as much as the kids do… they are perfect for decorating this Easter.

Below are creative ideas on what you can do this Easter with PEEPS.


A festive way to serve lemonade or any drink this Easter.  Here is the detailed info.

Warm up with this little PEEP!  Check this out.

Easter Peeps Kabobs

It’s a PEEPS KABOB!!!  A little mix of sugar and fruit makes everyone happy!  Check out this site for more details.

Easter Peeps Cupcakes

EASTER PEEPS CUPCAKES – Adorable!  Details here.


Peeps Pies Recipe

PEEP PUDDING PIES – Say that five times fast!  Very cute…  Details here.

HOMEMADE PEEPS – Feeling creative?  Check out this recipe.

peeps in chocolate fondue

EASTER PEEP FONDUE – Both adults and children would LOVE this!

PEEPS S’MORES – S’mores aren’t just for summer!  Details here.

Little ones will love drinking from this decorated straw.  More info here.

chocolate peeps collage.png Homemade Chocolate Peeps

CHOCOLATE DIPPED PEEPS – I’ve got paper straws if you need any.  Detailed dipping info here.


Attn: Babies (Plagiocephaly/Flat-Head Syndrome)

This is a wonderful article regarding children with Plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome).   For those of you not familiar with Plagiocephly, it is a condition that causes a baby’s head to develop a flat spot.  As we all know, babies spend most of their time sleeping and tend to stay in the same position (laying on their backs) which puts pressure on certain areas of soft little skulls.  Within time this area can develop a flat spot where their head is resting on the mattress.  Eventually, some babies get the diagnosis from the doctor and are instructed to wear a white helmet in order to shape the head.  Here is detailed information regarding Plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome).

Maybe you were shopping when you noticed a small child wearing a plain white helmet and you had no idea why.  Maybe your adorable bouncing baby is wearing one right now as you are reading this.   In any case, Plagiocephaly is common, treatable and now thanks to a very talented artist it is very fashionable.

Paula Strawn is a creative artist/painter.  She brings sunshine to so many babies after parents get the diagnosis that there child must wear a helmet.  For many it can be devastating news, especially knowing that many parents enjoy putting beautiful bows or adorable hats on their babies.

Strawn paints gorgeous custom designs on helmets.  After reading this article today in HUFFPOST PARENTS, I couldn’t help but share this information.

It all started when Strawn was asked to paint a helmet for her friends granddaughter.  One thing led to another and 12 years later Strawn continues to paint gorgeous designs on helmets for babies all over the United States.  She currently runs her own business,  LAZARDO ART.

Such a wonderful way of adding a splash of positive sunshine after a child is diagnosised with Plagiocephaly.  Instead of people asking why a child is wearing a helmet they are now curious and can’t help but comment on the gorgeous design.  Parents are now able to educate others regarding Plagiocephaly.

I am writing this in the hopes that I reach families who are interested in having their helmets painted.  If you do decide to place an order… please send me a picture of your adorable child wearing their new fashionable helmet so I can post it on my site.

Below is contact information for Paula Strawn at Lazardo Arts.

Lazardo Arts: Website

Paula Strawn: Facebook

Email: paula@lazardo.com

Call or Text:  310 367 9589

Gallery of Helmets: http://www.lazardo.smugmug.com/

Below are pictures of some of my favorite helmets.


flat head

Go Patriots!!!  Can’t help myself… I’m from MA!!!

Love the beach art!  Perfect if your child is wearing the helmet during the spring/summer.




Valentine’s Day!

Only one more day until Valentine’s Day!  It was another NO SCHOOL snow day at our house and my kids were thrilled to be home.   Meanwhile, I continue to count the days until spring!

Below are 30 super EASY recipes and crafts for Valentine’s Day.  Most of the items needed are already in your home.  I bet you never thought you could add a little love to lasagna, grilled cheese and fried eggs.  Below you will find TEN recipes for breakfast/lunch/dinner, TEN delicious dessert recipes and TEN craft ideas that are perfect for Valentine’s Day.



Who doesn’t like heart shaped eggs and toast?  Simply cut out the center of toast with a cookie cutter.  This could be done for any holiday.  Get the four leaf clover cookie cutters ready for next month!  More info here.

Need some heart shaped bacon with those eggs?  Check this out.

How about cooking up a delicious pan of lasagna for that special someone this Valentine’s Day???  Try cooking it in a heart shaped pan or write a message on top with red sauce (put sauce in sandwich baggie and make a small hole at the bottom).  Check out this Hearty Lasagna Recipe.

Hearty Lasagna Recipe

Grilled cheese and creamy tomato soup will warm your heart this Valentine’s Day!   Try dipping your grilled cheese in maple syrup.  Someone once told me it’s delicious.

Even Dominos in Japan is getting into the spirit by offering heart shaped pizzas.  This could be done at home with store bought dough.  Are you living in Japan and ready to place your order?  More info here.


Add some extra love by putting heart shaped pepperoni on your pizza.  Use your  smallest heart shaped cookie cutter or fold over the pepperoni and cut by hand.

How about serving a basket of warm heart shaped rolls with your lasagna?  No need to fuss with homemade dough.  Store bought will do just fine, especially if you are limited with time.  More info here.

Valentine Dinner Rolls

It’s heart shaped Spinach Turkey Meatloaf  for Valentine’s Day!  Feel free to replace with whole wheat bread crumbs if you’d like.

Turkey Spinach Meatloaf

How cute are these heart shaped pancakes and bananas?  Add heart shaped strawberries to this wonderful breakfast.


Everyone loves strawberries dipped in chocolate!  Here is the delicious recipe.  This is a fun project to do with little ones.

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

Hard to believe this is a TWO ingredient fruit dip.  The soft pink color makes it perfect for Valentine’s Day!

Heart shaped cake pops with red and white paper straws.  You can also make these with cookies, brownies or even Oreos.  I have straws in all colors at my Etsy store (bellabargains.etsy.com) if anyone needs any.  Mention this blog tomorrow only (2/14/14) and save $1.00 on every package ordered!  No limits.

These EASY Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies are perfect for Valentine’s Day.  Best part of all is that they are made from a cake mix!

The BEST Christms cookie you will ever eat and so easy to make!

Kids love helping with this fun pretzel dessert.  I’m almost certain your little ones will sneak bites when you aren’t looking.

Valentine's Day Buttons Post Image

It doesn’t get any easier than this… TWO ingredient fudge recipe.

2 ingredient fudge recipe

Strawberry hearts go on everything!  Simply cut in half and you are good to go.  Add to fruit salads, place on cupcakes or put on top of your child’s oatmeal.  Here is a strawberry muffin recipe.

Delicious heart shaped brownie/ice cream sandwich.  Use your favorite brownie mix and ice cream.  Strawberry ice cream would add just enough color for Valentine’s Day.  Try dipping the edges of the ice cream in white and red sprinkles for added color.

Here’s a fun way to decorate marshmallows with paper straws on Valentine’s Day.  This would even make a nice centerpiece for a baby shower.  Remember you can save $1.00 on every package of straws ordered tomorrow only at bellabargains.etsy.com.  Mention this blog before placing an order.

You don’t need to spend a fortune on a fancy heart shaped muffin tin to make heart cupcakes.  All you need is a marble or roll up a little tinfoil into a ball and place in the muffin tin near the wrapper.  More details here.

Heart Cupcakes


This card is one of my favorites and I’ve made it many times with my kids for grandparents, teachers, bus drivers, etc.  I always make an extra card for myself so I can tuck it away.

Crafting with celery!  This isn’t just for Valentine’s Day.  This beautiful picture and/or card could be made for other occasions such as birthdays, Mother’s Day, Easter, etc.

Celery Painting

We did this craft last year and it was a big hit.  More info here.

Anyone remember making these as  kids?  We make these every year.  We like to make the head smaller and add a heart for the body.  Then we add legs and arms with hearts at the end.

Little fingers will love this project!  Grab some leftover tissue paper and glue pieces on a piece of construction paper.  This can also be done with red tissue paper.  Not only will your kids have fun creating their own masterpiece but it will brighten up any room.   Here are the instructions.

Don’t worry if you don’t have special wiggly eyes for this owl.  Be creative and have your little one make their own eyes with markers or even hearts.  More details here.

Here is a fun bird feeder project for Valentine’s Day.

Hang these colorful sun catchers by the window for an extra splash of color.

Decorate paper straws for Valentine’s Day or any holiday.   Special ETSY (bellabargains.etsy.com) Valentine’s Day SALE tomorrow only.  Mention this blog and save $1.00/package of straws.  No limits.  Detailed information here regarding this craft.

valentine's straws

Hearts & Braids

Valentine’s Day is almost here!   The candy is hidden and ready to give my children on Friday.  I’m excited to surprise my kids with pink heart shaped bagels for breakfast from a local bakery.  Friday will be one of those days that it’s ok to have some candy for breakfast.   Good luck to the teachers on Friday!

Over the years I have seen lots of Pinterest pictures of kids wearing heart shaped braids.  Today we had a little extra time before the bus arrived so I decided to give it a try.  Surprisingly, it was much easier than I thought and my daughter was thrilled to wear this new style to school.  She is such a good sport (on most days) to allow me to do all kinds of different hair styles.  Not sure how her heart braid will look upon her arrival to school since it was ZERO degrees out this morning and I had no choice but to put a warm hat on her head.  Oh well…

Below is a picture from this morning.  Feel free to check out my hair folder on Pinterest for other terrific hair styles for both children and adults.  There are several heart shaped styles in that folder.   Also check out my Valentine’s Day folder that is overflowing with recipes, crafts, etc.

With any luck I’ll  have time again tomorrow and on Friday to try different Valentine’s Day hair styles.

Have a great day!


Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

Tonight I made healthy BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER BITES and they were delicious!  If you like the taste of spicy buffalo then you will love these little spicy bites.  I have never been a big fan of cauliflower until tonight.  These were a big hit at  my house and I can’t wait to make them again.  They took all of 5 minutes to make.


I found the recipe here on Gal on a Mission.  Below is a much better photo from their website.  No sooner did I snap the photo (without a flash!) my family dug in to eat them.



Snow day!

It’s been a while since I last posted.  I ended up getting sick over the holidays with walking pneumonia which wasn’t fun.  Thankfully, the basement flood is finally cleaned and we are at the beginning stages of remodeling.  I look forward to eventually sharing photos of the new and improved basement.

In the meantime, it’s been a fun stay-at-home snow day with my kids.  We baked delicious red velvet whoopie pies this morning which were a big hit.   Here is the recipe from a previous posting as well as lots of other terrific whoopie pie recipes.  Not sure what it is about the magic of whoopie pies… but they certainly made our snow day that much more special.

Below are some photos of my kids and our dog (Frankie) having fun on their day off of school.

Stay warm…

Aviary Photo_130360913152886010


Aviary Photo_130360911424205581

abby feb 14


Happy Thanksgiving…

There is nothing better than baking during the holidays.  In between meeting with restoration guys who have spent days at my home trying very hard to dry out my finished/carpeted basement after a 2″ flood (pipe came out of water heater) I still managed to find time to bake.  I even sent the guys off with some goodies.

Today I made pumpkin bread and fudge.  Both were delicious.  I have one more dessert to make tomorrow before spending the day with my family.

In the meantime, I wanted to share my easy White Chocolate Reese’s Peanut Butter Fudge recipe.  This wasn’t your average fudge.  The Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups gave it a nice twist compared to traditional fudge.  With all the other desserts tomorrow I can’t help but think this will be the perfect bite size treat.

Best part of all… the fudge was a huge hit with my family.  My little ones are by far my best critics.





Sweetened Condensed Milk, White Chocolate Chips & Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups


Layer 9 x 9 pan with tin foil.  Place 16 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in pan.


Melt Condensed Milk and White Chocolate Chips (I used the entire bag)

I attempted to speed up the process by using the microwave.  No sooner did I turn it on I blew a fuse.  Many of the kitchen lights went out.  In the middle of my Cake Boss moment I remembered about the industrial fans (at least 10 of them!) and dehumidifiers running 24/7 in my basement.  Ughh…  It was then I decided to follow the directions by using the stove top.


Pour melted mixture over Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.


BEWARE of little girls like this running around the kitchen.


Set aside candy for the top of the fudge.  The recipe says to use 6 but I used more knowing that my kids would like it.  I put the candy in the refrigerator so it would be easier to chop.


Chop candy when it is finally cold.   I put mine in a bag so it wouldn’t be messy.  If your kids are driving you crazy… now is the time to hammer the heck out of the bag.


Now you have a  lovely bag of chopped candy.


Sprinkle chopped candy on top.  Press candy into fudge mixture and put in refrigerator.


Cutting the fudge into small pieces works best, especially because it is very filling.  This a great bite size treat for any event.  I cut the ends off to make it look nice.  My family enjoyed sampling the edges.


Doesn’t this look delicious?  Lets hope no one has peanut allergies tomorrow!


Find a  pretty dish for Thanksgiving and fill it with fudge.


Hide pretty dish so kids don’t find it!

Here is the original recipe.




Almost three years ago this December we adopted our daughter from China.  We spent Christmas and New Years in Hangzhou.  It was a holiday I will never forget and it was by far the Happiest New Year I have ever had.


Our journey was not easy, especially since we ran into nothing but problems throughout the entire trip.  Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong but in the end it was well worth it.  I hope to one day document and share our amazing story.




In the meantime, now that I am an adoptive mom I love hearing stories about other adoptions.  A while back I read an article on a site called mom.me regarding celebrity moms who adopted.  Mom.me is a great site for mom’s who want to learn about What’s New, parenting (from pregnancy – empty nesting), information about health, recipes, fashion and much more.

The information below regarding CELEB MOMS WHO HAVE ADOPTED was found here.

Did you know…

Diane Keaton adopted both of her kids.  A daughter back in 1996 and her son in 2001.  She was a single mom in her 50s.  She is now 66.  Her children are the loves of her life.

At the age of 35, Michelle Pfeiffer was single after her divorce and decided that she wasn’t going to not have children because she wasn’t married.  She met the love of her life two months after applying to adopt her daughter who is now 18.  A year later her son arrived who is now 17.

Jamie Lee Curtis adopted her daughter and son.  She feels that adoption is a beautiful way to make a family.  I couldn’t agree with her more.  

Kristin Davis (Sex & the City character, Charlotte) couldn’t wait to be a mother.  At 47 she was still single.  She just assumed that everyone wanted the white picket fence domestically until she got in touch with an agency in Haiti.  She now balances Broadway and baby Gemma who she brought home last summer.

Kristie Alley adopted her son who is 21 and 19 year old daughter.  She adopted both children with her ex-husband after having struggles getting pregnant.

Mariska Hargitay is a 48 year old mom who stays busy with her three children — August who is 6 and adopted kids Amaya who is almost two and Andrew who is one.  Mariska has vivid memories of being in Thailand and India when she was around 9 or 10 years old and seeing kids alone in the street.  She couldn’t help but think where their moms were and yet they were so smart.  At such a young age her heart was touched and she new she had that maternal instinct.  She remembers thinking then that she wanted to take them all home.

Sharon Stone stays very busy with three adopted sons who are 11, 6 and 5.  She decided to adopt after having several miscarriages.  Even when she was young she used to look up how to adopt.  At the age of 54 she loves raising her children.

Angelina Jolie seems to be one of the most well-known celebs who have adopted.  We are forever hearing about her children on the news and in magazines.  Out of six children, three were adopted.  Their son Maddox is from Cambodia.  Daughter Zahara is from Ethopia and Pax is from Vietnam.  Each child learns about each other’s cultures, as well as being proud of their own.  Jolie is 37 who visits regularly to her children’s homelands.

Nicole Kidman adopted two children (Isabella and Connor) with then-husband Tom Cruise.

Sandra Bullock adopted Little Louis.  He  is another adorable face in the celebrity world.  Sandra’s adoption process was long and the same process that every other adoptive parent goes through.

At 50 years old, singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow is a single mom of two adopted boys.  She agrees to diving in with parenthood and make your life work.

In 2005 Madonna adopted her son from Malawi.  Malawi was in a state of emergency when Madonna was filming a documentary.  She then brought the 1 year old boy home but his father later came to reclaim him.  She was already a mom to her 15 year old daughter and 12 year old son.  Her social worker warned her because there were no known adoption laws in Malawi.  The 54 year old mom ended up being able to keep her son, now 7, and in 2009 adopted a Malawi girl, Mercy who is now 6.

Back in 2009 Katherine Heigl and her husband adopted then 10 month old Naleigh from South Korea.  Katherine admitted that her daughter quickly bonded with dad instead.  She fought hard to be accepted as a mom and her daughters rejection almost broke her heart.  The minute she realized this she immediately stopped working so much.  She quit Grey’s Anatomy to spend time with her daughter.  Katherine’s sister is Korean and was adopted three years before she was born.  I had heard that she always wanted her own family to resemble the one she came from and always knew she wanted to adopt from Korea.

Denise Richards is a busy mom of her daughters who are now 7 and 8 years old. Denise adopted her baby girl who is now 13months, last July.  She always wanted more children but wasn’t sure if she should wait for the right partner or do it on her own.  She decided to do it on her own and the process took two years.  She is now 41.

At the age of 37, Charlize Theron adopted her infant son after years of waiting.  She believes it feels exactly how it’s supposed to feel.

Last year Viola Davis and her husband adopted their daughter who is now 2.  At the age of 47 she feels like a star at home because her daughter loves her so much.  Every day is a red carpet day in Viola’s eyes.

Emma Thompson already had a daughter who is now 12.  She adopted a then-16-year old Rwandan refugee, Tindy, whom Emma and her husband took in to prevent him from being deported back to his homeland where his entire family had been murdered.  Emma is 53 years old.

Back in 2001 when Calista Flockhart was single she decided to adopt her son who is now 10.  A few months later she met Harrison Ford who was already a father of four.  Ford embraced her son with open arms.

After waiting two years, Jillian Michaels who is now 38 adopted one child with her partner, Heidi Rhoades.  In late April they adopted 2 year old Lukensia and then Rhoades gave birth to son Phoenix days later.


Not sure if you are aware of the wonderful world of CAKE MIX RECIPES.  I had no idea until Pinterest entered my life way back when.  Because I am constantly jugging kids activities, sports, etc… I’m all about quick and easy whether it be baking/cooking or DIY projects, especially when I know my time is limited.

For a while I’ve been saving cake mix recipes in a folder on Pinterest.  Today I am featuring DUMP CAKES.  There is nothing better than a recipe that tells you point blank to dump-it-all-in-a-pan… don’t touch it… don’t mix it… don’t do anything but bake.  Not only do I love these simple instructions but the best part of all is that there is only ONE pan to clean (yahoo!) AND it doesn’t get cleaned until everything is eaten.  Can you say… EASY PEASY?

Below is a small collection of DUMP CAKE RECIPES.  I’ve made a few in the past and they are delicious.  They are also perfect for large parties, cookouts and events with a lot of people.  They can easily be made before an event and delivering warm is an added bonus.

It’s sunny but cool (36 stink’n degrees!) in Massachusetts!  Sick of the cold already and it hasn’t even snowed yet.  Ughhh…  It’s going to be a long winter.  Time to get the oven warmed up and do some CAKE MIX baking!

Happy Thursday!

Image for Mom's Apple Cake {Apple Dump Cake}

APPLE DUMP CAKE… Key word:  DUMP!!!  Dump all 4 ingredients in a pan!

PEACH COBBLER DUMP CAKE – Here is the recipe.

www.myveryeducatedmother.com Classic Dump Cake #recipe #cakes

CLASSIC DUMP CAKE – Pineapples & Cherries – FIVE ingredients!

DUMP CAKES – 2 EASY ways – Blueberry & Cherry

LEMON CAKE MIX – Check this recipe out!

APPLE/BLUEBERRY DUMP CAKE – Here is the recipe.


I dream about having a MUDROOM!  A beautiful… gorgeous… HGTV/House Beautiful mudroom.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve trip over football/hockey equipment, shoes/sneakers and coats that are thrown on the floor of my front entrance.  Ughhh…

It’s pretty sad that a mudroom is top on my list of things I want.  Not a trip to Hawaii… not a new car… not a diamond necklace… but a blessed mudroom.  Unfortunately, our house does not have the space needed for a mudroom.  After repeatedly tripping over things my head couldn’t help but spin.  The spinning was not caused by tripping in the front entrance way nor did I hit my head and suffer a concussion.  Instead the DIY ideas were going a mile a min.

I’ve got some pretty solid mudroom plans sketched in my head.  I managed to be very creative with limited space.  After much thinking (& googling) I finally came up with the perfect plan.

I decided that I could create a mudroom in my oversized two car garage.  It will definitely work.  Problem is it’s not on the top of the TO DO list.  We have so many other projects (new bathroom, new floor in kitchen/family room, new tile floor in front entrance, new garage doors, new windows, etc.) ahead of mudroom plans.  Unfortunately, I have no choice but to put my amazing idea on hold.

In the meantime, I continue to search for new ideas.  Today I decided to share some creative mudrooms.  Below you will find pictures and links to each mudroom.  I absolutely love all of them.

Happy Sunday!

LAUNDRY/MUDROOM in the GARAGE!  Here are the details.

Love the draws at the bottom.  Here is another fabulous DIY mudroom.

Feb 2010 061
Would you believe that this was once a coffee table!  AMAZING!
LOVE the look of this.  Loving the soft blue color.
If only mudroom dreams could come true.  Here is the link.

Feels like summer in this mudroom.  Perfect for a beach house.

Amazing before and after photos!  Check this out.

Check out  this IKEA MAKEOVER!  Such a fabulous idea.                 

Closet turned mudroom.  Here are the DIY details.


It’s the day after Halloween and if you have little ones at home like I do… then chances are your house is filled with Halloween candy.  I don’t know about you but I am already counting the days until the candy is GONE.  If you don’t have kids at home but purchased candy for the little neighborhood goblin’s then I’m guessing you might have leftovers as well.

Regardless of how you got the candy… Today I posted 20+ creative and fun ideas on what you can do with leftover candy.   The ideas include delicious recipes, creative craft ideas and much more.

Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!


OPERATION SHOE BOX – Candy Donations for our Troops

This is by far my favorite idea.  Donating individually-wrapped candies is a wonderful way to give back to our troops.  It’s also a great way to teach our children how important it is to do random acts of kindness.  Let the kids pick out their own candy for their donation.  Older kids won’t be overly thrilled with this idea but even if you get a few pieces from them at least it’s something.  If your heart is in it more and you want to give a larger donation then stock up now since Halloween candy is currently on sale.  Keep in mind that candy donations can be made year round and that heat-resistant candy is best during spring/summer months.

Candy donations may be mailed to:

Operation Shoebox
8360 East Highway 25
Belleview. Fl. 34420


I know this sounds crazy but many local dentists and orthodontists offer candy exchanges.  In my area there are several dentists that will pay you money if you donate your candy.  It’s worth checking out and a great way for kids to get a few extra dollars.


If your answer is YES… Take that extra candy and have a ball stuffing the birthday piñata!


Almost everyone I know loves snacking on candy regardless of age.  Bring your candy to work and leave it on the lunch room table.  I guarantee it will disappear fast!


Peppermint Patty Brownies

PEPERMENT PATTY BROWNIES – Check this delicious recipe.

Candy Corn and Pretzel Bark

CANDY CORN PRETZEL BARK – The kids will love helping out with this colorful dessert.

Frozen Peanut Butter Cup Banana Pops


Sweetarts Milk Shake

SweeTARTS MILKSHAKE – Click here for the recipe.


ANYONE LOOKING FOR A NEW PURSE?   Here are the details.

This is the perfect rainy day craft.  It’s also a great way for children to make handmade gifts for friends.   Here are the details.



CANDY WRAPPER BRACELET – Instructions here.

Skittles, candy, candy wrapper, pouch, candy wrapper pouch, Sweet tooth pouch, Punkin Patterns

SKITTLES ZIPPERED POUCH – Here are the instructions.
DECOUPAGE CANDY WRAPPERS – Pick your child’s favorite candy for this craft.  Such a fun way to add a splash of color to a playroom or a child’s bedroom.  Here are the instructions.

Halloween Crafts

CANDY WRAPPER BUCKETS – Love this colorful and fun idea.  Use this decorated bucket in place of a gift bag for the next birthday party.

CANDY WRAPPER BARRETTES – Upcycled barrette instructions here.


HOMEMADE TRAIL MIX – This is the perfect family movie night snack.  Recipe here.


SUPER THICK MALTED MILK SHAKES – Delicious recipe here.


HALLOWEEN S’mores – This is the best time of year to hang out around the fire pit while enjoying warm s’mores with family and friends.  Hurry and have fun before the cold winter snow arrives.  Ghost peeps are now on sale with all the other Halloween candy.  More info here.

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We all know from my last posting that I do NOT like carving pumpkins.   I am, however, thrilled to share some amazing crafty/non carving ways to decorate pumpkins this Halloween.  The ideas are endless and some are very easy to do with children.

I have listed 20 of my favorite pumpkins.  You will find the link directly under each photo.  I hope you enjoy these creative ideas as much as I have.

Happy Monday!

B is for BRILLIANT!  No carving necessary…  Click here for more info.


This is creepy and creative BUT I love it!!!  Details here.


BOO!!!  This button bumpkin is not only EASY but the kids can join in on the fun!  Count the buttons before and make it a Halloween math lesson!   I found the picture here.


What’s Black & White and spiders all over? Click  here for more info.


Spider Web Pumpkins!  Click here for more the details.


The Blinged-Out Pumpkin

Every pumpkin should have a little BLING on Halloween!   This pumpkin is #2 on the list of 37 fabulous ideas.


Black pumpkins with chalk drawings

Use chalk board paint and decorate with chalk.  Spice it up with colored chalk.   Wash off and draw a new design whenever you want to.  This craft idea will definitely keep the kiddos busy!


My favorite is the black and gold  polka dot pumpkin that I found here.



Absolutely amazing!!!  I highly doubt I’ll be doing this one but check out these beautiful painted pumpkins.
Painted Pumpkins | Faux Bois Pumpkins
How cute and creative are these pumpkins?
Well… Hello Mr. Potato Pumpkin Head…  LOVE IT!!!!  I can totally handle this one.
painted pumpkin
EASY PEASY!   Pumkins + Black Marker = NO CARVING!!!  Click here for more ideas.
Seriously…  Who thinks of these adorable ideas???
Click here for 5 more fabulous ideas.
The decoupaged pumpkin.
This one is so pretty I’d hate to toss the pumpkin.  I’d much rather create this on a fake pumpkin so I could save and enjoy it forever!

It’s Mr. Poppers Penguin Pumpkin!   Here is the site on found him on.  He’s #27 on the list.


This is an EASY and yet adorable chevron pumpkin!!!  Would also look good in black.
Here are the details.
Time to glitter up your pumpkin this Halloween!  Detailed info here.
Monogrammed Pumpkin

Another lovely monogramed pumpkin.  More info here.
Cookie Monster pumpkin - no carving necessary!

Here is the…  Cookie Monster Pumpkin.
Soooo cute!  More creative ideas on this site.


Pinkberry Pumpkin

Tis the season to break out the PUMPKINS!  Not sure if I’m the only one who feels this way… BUT I am being honest when I say I do not like carving pumpkins.  Never have.  Never will.   I can’t stand the mess, hate the smell and I do NOT like sticking my hand inside to clean it.  BAHhumbug!  Not once was it mentioned in WHAT TO EXPECT THE FIRST YEAR that I needed a PhD in pumpkin carving.  Sorry folks… I have zero pumpkin carving skills.

However, every year I pretend I know what I am doing.  One would think after all these years I would pick up the skill but no such luck.  Who cares if our pumpkin has a lopsided face or his smile is in need of some serious dental work.  There are no rules that state the eyes have to be perfect triangles.  For goodness sakes it’s a pumpkin.

Halloween is just another reminder to everyone that mommy is not the queen of carving.  As a mother of two, it doesn’t make any sense to skip the thrill of pumpkin carving during Halloween.  No one seems to care that I am a much better crafter than carver.  Every year I manage to suck it up while putting on my best carving face, especially since the kids get so excited to carve them.  Notice the word KIDS.  Plural.  TWO pumpkins.  Ughhh…

This year I was determined to find an easy and yet creative way to carve pumpkins.  To my surprise, I was thrilled to find what I believe is one of the best ideas I have seen in a while.  God bless the person who came up with the brilliant idea of using power tools to carve pumpkins.  Granted I am fully aware that I am in no way creating a typical Hallmark moment/memory with my children, especially with the loud sound of a drill echoing at the kitchen table.  This year I have no choice but to chalk it up as a creative Home Depot Halloween project.  I’m almost certain that adding protective goggles will make it that much more exciting.

Below is a creative way to carve beautiful Halloween pumpkins.  Click here for detailed instructions at Crafty Nest.

Stay tuned for my next posting about the many different and yet EASY… I repeat EASY ways to decorate… NOT CARVE pumpkins.

Happy Tuesday!

Pumpkins carved with a drill!

I am truly amazed at what you can do with…

PAPER STRAWS – Some weeks I sell hundreds of papers straws.  Other weeks I sell 1000+ straws.  Just recently I have been working with a new crowd of amazing bakers that use Bella Bargains straws for cake pops.  Today I decided to check out paper straw craft ideas.

After googling “paper straw crafts” I honestly had no idea what I would find.  I was shocked to see how many images came up with fabulous craft ideas.  My absolute favorite is the first photo.  I can wait to make a paper straw frame covered in pretty shades of pink for my daughters room.  Such a cute idea and an easy DIY project.  I also want to make a nautical frame out of our new blue/red sailor stripe straws.  I will use that frame in one of the bedrooms at my summer house.  Shades of light blue or pink straws would make a perfect gift for a baby shower or a newborn.  New parents love frames.  The ideas are endless!

Below are some of my favorite paper straws crafts.  Links to the craft are located under each photo.

Have a good weekend!



English translation can be found below the Swedish text.



Halloween Paper Drinking Straws via Bowdabra Blog



Craft with Kids: Jewelry


There are so many different ways to make lasagna.  Since I’m half Greek… I have to say that my absolute favorite is Pastitsio.  Even thought it’s not called “lasagna” it is a delicious pasta dish.

Just recently I enjoyed an amazing Pastitsio dinner at a nearby Greek Festival.  Local festivals are so much fun and the food is always delicious.  I strongly suggest that if you ever have the chance to attend a festival that you give it a try.  It’s a fun night out and a great way to try new foods.  We lucked out and enjoyed watching Greek traditional dancers.  When I asked my daughter (who by the way was adopted from China) what her favorite part was about the Greek Festival she immediately said she LOVED the music and dancers.  Not the bouncy house.  Not the face painting.  Not the Greek salad (her favorite!) but the music and dancers.  She is forever telling everyone that in her heart she is Greek & Irish just like her mom.  Meanwhile, I am forever saying that in my heart I am 100% Chinese.


My family also loves traditional lasagna.  I remember one year making three different lasagnas for a party at my house.  I served baskets overflowing with warm Italian bread and a big Greek salad.  It was the perfect winter menu and everyone could pick their favorite lasagna or taste test all three.  Another favorite of mine is spinach lasagna.

One of the best things about making lasagna is the leftovers.  There is nothing better than getting TWO meals out of ONE!  I actually think lasagna tastes even better the next day.

Below is a collection of lasagna recipes including one made in a crockpot.  I haven’t tried the crockpot recipe but will certainly test it out one day soon.  The link to the recipe is listed below each picture.

The air is cool and the sun is shining in MA.  I hope everyone is having a wonderful day!

Post image for The Best Meat Lasagna Recipe – How to Make Homemade Italian Lasagna Bolognese


Pastitsio. Photo by iLuv2cook 2
PASTITSIO (I do not use a chicken bouillon cube in the Béchamel sauce) – Greek Lasagna

World's Best Lasagna





Baked Spaghetti on Simply Recipes

BAKED SPAGHETTI – Kind of like lasagna & something different!


Slow Cooker Lasagna Recipe



Easy Spinach Lasagna



Burlap + Mason Jars = LOVE IT!

If you are like me and love mason jars… then you are going to love this easy DIY.  Simply wrap a piece of burlap around a mason jar, add twine, top off with an adorable colored straw and fill with a beverage of your choice.  I’m thinking apple cider would be the perfect beverage in these jars for Thanksgiving.

I have blue straws in stock as well as many other colors if anyone needs them.  Check out detailed information about this DIY  here from Ivy in the Bay.  It’s a fabulous site with terrific party ideas.

Have a good weekend!


Tis the season!  It’s fall here in New England but I have to say these last couple of days felt like summer with 90 degree weather.  Thankfully, it has finally cooled down but it still doesn’t feel like fall.

Today I wanted to share a fun find about candy apples.  The picture below isn’t what you think.  A wooden skewer was used first and then for added color they put a paper straw over the skewer.  Brilliant!  I love this simple and yet decorative idea, especially for Halloween.  I found this on Ode to Inspiration.  Click here to go directly to the site for detailed info.

Stay tuned for more delicious apple recipes.

Happy Friday!




BUT I LOVE WHOOPIE PIES – There is something about the fall that reminds me it’s time to warm up the oven and bake a big batch of old fashion WHOOPIE PIES.  Maybe it’s the cool crisp air that puts me in the mood but whatever it is I absolutely love making them.  My kids love them too!  Such a fun and delicious treat for everyone.

Since I’m from the Boston area… I couldn’t help but include a Boston Cream Whoopie Pie recipe.  I am amazed at how many different recipes there are.  Today I have listed my favorite ten recipes.

Every year I try to make at least one new recipe.  This year I am excited at the thought of making heart shaped Red Velvet Whoopie Pies for Valentines Day.

Below each picture you will find the link to the recipe.

Do you have a special whoopie pie recipe?  I’d love to hear about it.


Old-Fashioned Whoopie Pies Recipe














football whoopie pies






For some reason my kids were begging for chocolate chip cookies yesterday.  No clue why since they had choc chips in their pancakes that morning.  In any case, I eventually gave in knowing they had a day off from school.

I wasn’t in the mood to make cookies from scratch so I looked on Pinterest for something  quick/easy.  I was thrilled when I found a Bisquick recipe.  Talk about a Bisquick overload for my kids yesterday.

The recipe was perfect since I whipped them up within minutes.  The cookies were a  HUGE hit.  However, I do have to say they were not as good as Toll House Chocolate Chip cookies… not sure there will ever be a recipe better than the original one.  In any case, we all agreed that the Bisquick cookies were still delicious.

Happy Friday!




1/2 cup butter, softened 1 cup brown sugar, packed 2 teaspoons vanilla 1 egg 2 3/4 cups Bisquick baking mix 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (6 oz) 1/2 cup nuts, chopped, if desired (optional)


1. Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, mix butter, sugar, vanilla and egg. Stir in Bisquick mix, chocolate chips and nuts.

2. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet, d about 2 inches apart; flatten slightly.

3. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.

Recipe and photo found on Juju Good News.

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