31 Halloween Crafts and Activities to do with Kids

I have Halloween on my mind! 🙂

Doesn’t Mason make the cutest little pumpkin EVER? 🙂

Anyway, last October, I made it a goal to do a Halloween craft or activity every day with Lizzie and she LOVED it.  She still remembers every craft and she is so excited to do it all over again this year!

I have compiled a list of 31 crafts and activities that you can do with your kids during the month of October.  I’m planning on using it as a Halloween Countdown and I’m going to do one each day with my kids, however, you don’t have to do it that way if you choose not to! 🙂

1. Halloween Countdown Craft (we have made this cute little pumpkin for the past few years and we have hung him on our front door.  This year, however, I think that I’m going to have Lizzie and Bryce each make their own and hang it on their bedroom door).

2. Make caramel apples (or a dip)

3.  Make and play with Pumpkin Pie Play dough (I’m giving my kids Halloween shaped cookie cutters and googly eyes to go along with the play dough)

4. Candy Corn Man Craft

5. Carve or paint real pumpkins (or decorate with sticky-back foam pieces)

6.  Eat spider sandwiches and make a  Hand Print Spider Craft

7.  Make mini pumpkin pies

8. Pumpkin Paint Stamping (cut a mini pumpkin in half and have the kids dip it in paint and then stamp it on construction paper)

9. Q-tip skeleton craft (I think that this was Lizzie’s favorite from last year!)

10.  Make Halloween necklaces or bracelets using Halloween colored pony beads.  Or, for boys, you can have them string the beads on pipe cleaners and make Halloween magic wands.

11.  Make candy corn cheese bread and make a  Candy corn tissue paper craft

12.  Make paper plate Jack-o-Lanterns

13.  Make and decorate Halloween-shaped sugar cookies (we are going to try out this recipe)

14. Make pumpkin candy bracelets or necklaces

15.  Eat ghost toast and make a Hand print Ghost Craft

16.  Pipe Cleaner Spiders

17.  Cotton Ball Ghost Craft

18.  Make mini jack-o-lantern pizzas for dinner and watch”The Nightmare Before Christmas” as a family

19.  Jack-O-Lantern Popsicle stick puzzle craft

20.  Eat edible eyeballs and make egg carton eyeballs

21.  Make marshmallow pumpkin pops

22.  Visit a pumpkin patch and make a toilet paper roll pumpkin patch craft

23.  Make a paper plate cat (here or here)

24.  Make spider webs (use a white crayon to draw a spider web on a piece of white paper.  Have your kids paint the paper with black water color and the spider web will magically appear).

25.  Make Spider Web Pumpkin Pancakes (they look like this)

26.  Make and eat banana ghosts and make some  Melting Ghoulish Ghost’s

27.  Eat mummy dogs and make a  Paper plate mummy craft

28.  Make a “Changing Jack-o-lantern

29.  Make and eat “Witch Hats

30.  Make Pumpkin Buddies

31.  Make paper plate ghosts

There are so many great ideas out there…it can be so hard to pick and choose sometimes!

I hope that I gave you a few ideas! 🙂

I know that I’m sure excited for all of these!  In fact, I may be more excited than my kids. 🙂

Advertisements

An Historical Endeavour

The Endeavour Shuttle took a farewell lap around Southern California last week and me and the younger boys waited anxiously to catch a glimpse.  I have to admit, I was screaming like a three-year-old when it was passing overhead.  We were jumping up and down and I think the word “awesome”, “cool”, and “wow” were exclaimed about fifty times.  It was so close to our house!  Of course I only took pictures when it was further away from us because we got all caught up in the moment, but I’m still happy with them.  I borrowed other pictures from some of Michael’s co-workers as well.  He got to miss an hour of work waiting for it 🙂  I don’t know if Riley will remember it, and I’m pretty sure Ty won’t, but I think it’s important to try to find these historical moments and make them important in your kids lives.

Mini Felt Halloween Picture Book

I made this little Halloween book last year for Bryce and was actually quite surprised at how much he liked it.  I’m not sure why…but he does!  I didn’t end up putting it away with the rest of the Halloween stuff and he as been looking at it all year.

It was super simple to make and so I thought that I would post a few pictures of it just in case any of you would be interested in copying it and making one for your little ones!

Here’s the front:

And here’s the rest of the book:

(a black cat and a spider)

(a candy corn and a jack-o-lantern)

(a Frankenstein and a ghost — ironically, Frankenstein’s neck fell off right before I took this picture and I didn’t feel like fixing it!)

(a bat and a witch)

All that I did was take a few pieces of black craft felt and cut it into rectangles for the pages.  Then I seriously just used scraps to create the pictures on the pages.  As you can tell from the pictures, I didn’t have a pattern of any sort when I made this and I’m sure any of you could come up with much more attractive pictures! 🙂  I used the hot glue gun to glue the felt and the googly-eyes on the pages.

After all of the pages were assembled, I used some sharp scissors to make a tiny hole in one corner of each of the pages.  I inserted a book-ring into the holes on the pages to keep the book together.  I didn’t like the look of the silver book ring so I cut skinny pieces of orange and white felt and tied them around the ring.  Not only did it make it look nicer, but it ended up making the book more sturdy as well.

Anyway, if you’re bored (ha-ha…when does that ever happen?!) and you want to make a cute little Halloween picture book for your kids, then feel free to copy (and improve upon) mine! 🙂

Bucket Full of Thirty

I’ve mentioned before on this blog that I don’t feel like I am the best mommy when I am not continually making myself the best person I can be.  I’ve been 29-years-old for a little over a month now, and recently I’ve been toying with the idea of making myself a bucket list of sorts that would contain items that I have wanted to check off before I turned thirty.  (A few FRIENDS episodes involving this very same subject come to mind so I know I am not alone in doing something like this).

I have started another blog to track my progress on my Bucket Full of Thirty.  Thirty things I want to accomplish before I’m thirty.  It won’t be updated regularly, but it will be updated when I check something off the list, so hopefully that will be often enough to finish it 😉

If you have any suggestions or contacts that will help me reach my goals, I would greatly appreciate it.  If anyone has their own list and it overlaps mine, please let me know and we’ll combine on a few.

Here’s to being a better person AND mommy by the time I’m thirty!

Homemade Beanbag Toss

I have been wanting to make the kids a beanbag toss game for a while now and I finally got around to it last week.

They love it!

All you need is a cardboard box (I used a box from a climbing toy that we had bought for Mason).

I drew a circle, triangle, and square on the box and then cut out the shapes with a utility knife.  Then I used large white paper to cover up the box in an effort to make it look a little nicer.  I’ll admit, I got a little bored of this and I never finished covering up the box!  I will get around to it eventually.  🙂

I made sure to put packaging tape around the perimeter of the shapes so that the paper wouldn’t rip when the bean bags were tossed inside.

And here is the almost-finished product!

You can decorate it any way you want to.  Get as fancy as you like, I just wanted to keep mine simple!

Grab some beanbags and play! 🙂

Heck, you can’t go wrong with a good ol’ game of beanbag toss! 🙂

Happy tossing! 🙂

Cleaning Schedule

With three boys (four if you count my husband) tearing through my house everyday, I need to be organized to stay on top of things.  One of the things I have found that helps me keep a clean house is staying very scheduled with my cleaning.

On my calendar, I have a day of the week that I do every major job (vacuuming, bathrooms, laundry, kitchen counters, dusting, mopping).  That way I’m not swamped trying to do all these huge jobs any random day of the week.  I take 10-20 minutes a day and just do that one job.

Of course I do little things everyday, too.

We get this clutter pile on our ledge that needs to be cleaned once or twice a day.

My kids and I play “pick up five” all day long.  Once I start seeing that they are taking out too many toys I shout out “pick up five” and we all pick up five toys until the house is clean again.

I also sweep at least once a day and do dishes after every meal when the time allows.

Key phrase “when the time allows”.

I do have those days where all the pillows are off the couch, none of the beds are made, toys are everywhere, coupons litter the table, dishes fill the sink, and dinner is cereal.  Those days are unavoidable sometimes.

But it keeps me sane to have that schedule to get me through the week.

Hopefully this helps if anyone gets overwhelmed with a messy house like I do, and if anyone has any other tips, please send them my way 🙂

****************Need some printables to help you along?  Clean Mama Printables are some of my favorite *****************

Potato Cheese Patties

This is another one of my mother-in-law recipes!  And it’s a keeper, for sure.  If you want to try a new potato side-dish recipe, than this recipe is for you!  They are nice and crispy on the outside, and soft and cheesy on the inside.  Absolutely perfect!

Potato Cheese Patties

Ingredients:

Approximately 4 large potatoes (you need to have 5 cups of mashed potatoes)

1/2 cup diced green onion

2 Tablespoons flour

Approximately 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

Peel and boil the potatoes.  Drain the water from the pot and mash the potatoes together until smooth.  Add the flour, green onions, salt, and pepper.  Mix thoroughly.  Allow to cool for about 15 minutes (you can also place them in the refrigerator to cool it down faster).  You want the potatoes to be cool enough for you to handle with your hands.

Poor a thin layer of oil in a frying pan (just enough to thinly cover the surface of the pan…you don’t want soggy potato balls).  Turn the stove on medium heat and allow the oil to warm up while you prepare the potato patties.

To prepare the patties,  grab approximately 1/3 of a cup of potatoes and flatten it out in the palm of one hand.  Using your other hand, grab about 1-2 tablespoons of cheese and place it on top of the flattened mashed potatoes.  Grab an additional 1/3 cup of potatoes and flatten them on top of the cheese.  You are essentially making a sandwich, using the potatoes as the “bread” on both sides of the cheese.

I can usually only place 4 patties in my pan at a time, so I make 4 patties and place them on a plate.  Then I transfer the patties to the pan with the heated oil.  They need to cook on one side for at least 5 minutes.  You want the side to be brown and crispy before you use a spatula to flip it to the other side.  Cook both sides until they are nice and crispy.

Eat while hot…enjoy! 🙂

Oh Brother

This picture is worth a thousand words.  Let’s see if I can get what I want to say out in less than that.

The boys have a quote on their wall that says, “Sometimes being a brother is way better than being a superhero.”

Mikey had Riley have wholeheartedly agreed with that statement for the last year or so and it has made my heart happy.

Then Kindergarten happened.  Although Kindergarten is good for Mikey and I see all that he is learning and Riley gets to do preschool with me and we are happy with the situation in general, there are things that have really got me down in the dumps lately.

I think Mikey only has a certain amount of “behaving” time in him.  I think that time is equal to the amount of time he spends at school.  His teacher goes on and on about how sweet he is and how helpful he is and how smart he is.  I couldn’t be prouder.

But…….

We get home from school and Mikey pouts about some decision I make 90% of the time.  The other 10% he is fighting with his brother.  Like rolling on the floor, punching, slapping, kicking, “YOU ARE NOT MY FRIEND ANYMORE” shouting brawls.  It’s crazy!

They have never fought this much before but now I can’t get them to play nicely together.  I feel like all my time with Mikey home is disciplining him.  Because of that I feel like our relationship is suffering.  I feel like the boys are constantly in need of something fun and we have to-do lists to accomplish that take away from that.  Even though I try my hardest to make sure their lives are happy, carefree, and full of play.

Riley still has a lot of one-on-one time with me while Ty naps in the morning.  Mikey isn’t getting as much one-on-one time as he’s used to, so I wonder if that’s affecting him?

I am struggling with my role as a mommy lately.  I’m barely getting stuff done around the house, let alone indulging in my hobbies, because I’m trying to help my children feel loved and not act out.

Any advice?

To end it on a lighter note, Ty is quite the pincher.  He pinches the back of my arm  a lot, but his favorite spot is my collarbone.  He’ll just click it with his fingers all day long.  Sometimes he pinches hard and it leaves a mark.  Not a good place, if you know what I’m saying ;).  We were camping at the beach and I was pushing Ty’s hand away after a nasty pinch and my mother-in-law said, oh, those marks are from him?  I thought it was from something else.  She had a big smile.  I could’ve died.

Fall Learning Activities

Since Lizzie has been at school during the day, Bryce and I have had the opportunity to spend a lot more one-on-one time together (well, with Mason too, of course).  Since I didn’t put Lizzie in pre-school I have been collecting a bunch of educational activities and ideas for a few years now.  As I was looking into my stash, I realized that I have collected quite a few activity ideas based on the fall season.

There are so many free resources on the web to take advantage of! 🙂  I just google a subject and tons of ideas pop up!  Most of these ideas, however, come from this website, and Oopsey Daisey’s Mommy School Lesson Plans that she offers for free!  I really wish that I had a source for all of these activities but I often just glance at an idea and then just store it away in my memory for later (like I mentioned, some of these ideas have been floating around in my head for a few years!).  I also came up with some of these myself.

Over the next few weeks or so, Bryce and I are going to be talking a lot about apples!  Here are some of the things that we’ll be doing together!

Apple seed counting: I’ll put a number next to the apple and he will put that amount of seeds (mini chocolate chips) on the apple).

Apple counting:  This is the same idea as the one above only he’ll be placing the correct amount of apples on the tree.

Apple letters:  The green apples are capital letters and the red apples are lower-case.  We’ll talk about the letters, match them, etc.  I put magnets on the letters of his name (I want to especially focus on those letters).

Apple Jack fun:  He’ll sort the Apple Jacks by color and then string them onto a pipe cleaner in different patterns (if he doesn’t eat them all first, of course!).

We’re going to read this book by Dr. Suess (both of my kids love it!) and do a few activities to go with it.

I printed out a picture of Bryce and he puts 10 felt apples up on top.  I don’t know why, but he gets a kick out of this activity!

Apple number matching: He’s going to match the number to the correct apple.

We’ll play with this little worm and apple and read the book that goes with it.  (If you look at Oopsey Daisey’s Apple Packet she has the source for this idea).

Apple sorting: He can sort the apples by color and then put them in patterns.

We’ll look at these apple seed number cards.

We’ll talk about the life cycle of an apple tree.

He’ll lace around the letter “A”.

I just cut out some apples of different sizes and he’ll sort them from big to small.

We’ll discuss the parts of an apple (skin, flesh, core, seeds, stem, and leaf) using this felt apple.

We’ll do a few simple apple puzzles.

He’ll put green pom-poms on top of these green apples.

He’ll play with this apple math mat.  He can roll a die and cover up the correct number of apples until the mat is covered.

He’ll do this apple shape puzzle.

We’ll do this apple seed math activity.  He’ll place mini-chocolate-chips on both sides of the apple and then add them up.

I printed out 12 apples and used a hole punch to punch holes in each apple.  Then Bryce will place the correct number of “worms” (green pipe cleaner) on each apple.

He will do this pattern block letter “A”.

I’ll tell a few flannel board stories to him.

He will color this apple.  Well, I’ll try to get him to.  He doesn’t like to color much!  I’m sure if I put glue on it and let him sprinkle glitter on top than he’ll be game though! 🙂

He’s going to poke through the black line with a toothpick (while the green paper is laying on the carpet) and then hold it up to a window to see how cool it looks!

He’s going to create an apple mosaic man using little foam sheets and google eyes.

We’ll play with this “A” play dough mat using homemade apple pie scented play dough!

We’ll also do a few activities focusing on leaves.

Like this leaf toothpick poke activity.

We’ll play with these fake leaves since we don’t have any real ones around here! 🙂

He’ll practice his cutting (which he needs a lot of practice!) by cutting in between these fall stickers.

He’s going to make this google-eye leaf puppet.  Lizzie made one last year and she played with hers for weeks!

He’s going to create a fall scene using these fall stickers that I got from the dollar section at Target.

He’s going to practice his letters by lacing these letter leafs through yarn.

He’ll practice number sequencing with these numbered leaves (from Oopsey Daisey).

I made him these leaf puppets with the letters of his name.

Well, that’s about it!

Hope you got an idea or two for something to do with your little ones this fall season! 🙂

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Got this recipe off of Six Sister’s Stuff a couple of months ago and finally got around to trying it.  It was SO yummy!  Easiest chicken cordon bleu I’ve ever made.  If you don’t like cream of chicken soup, you can use this substitute HERE and it tastes just the same (even better in my book 🙂 )

 

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole Recipe:

Ingredients:

1 (6 oz) pkg. chicken flavored stuffing mix

1 (10 3/4 oz) can condensed cream of chicken soup

1 tablespoon prepared, Dijon mustard

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite-size pieces (I boiled mine)

3 cups fresh broccoli florets

2 cups cooked, chopped ham

6 slices of extra thin Swiss cheese

Directions: Preheat oven to 375ºF.  Prepare stuffing as directed on package.  Mix soup and mustard in medium bowl; stir in  chicken, broccoli and ham.  Spoon into 2-qt. casserole dish sprayed with  cooking spray; top with cheese slices and stuffing.  Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until heated through.

(Confession:  I forgot to add the broccoli in it and it still tasted great.  We just ate the broccoli on the side but you could even mix it in after.  Just in case you notice there’s not broccoli in my photo above 😉 )