Tag Archives | october

spooky dinner. free printables. for you.

If you know me, you know I heart the holidays. Big or small. I like to think of it as a chance to make the kiddos smile and a way to make the days a little more interesting. Well, at least that’s what I tell myself.

Last year I posted a Spooky Dinner Menu. A little somethin’ that engrossed {get it!} the kiddies and made Halloween a bit more memorable. You can find our spooky dinner menu from last year here.


But for now, a chance to make your own spooky dinner a little cuter and whole lot easier. For you? Some {free} spooky dinner printables. Creepy and cute. I’m sold.

spooky banners with label

{you will need}
thick paper | cardstock
halloween menu template

mummy wrap

{your task}

 step 1. print the spooky menu item template. You can find it above or here.

 step 2. cut out the spooky menu items.

 step 3. fold cut banner around a skewer stick and tape the backside.

 step 4. That’s it. Easy, right?

spooky dinner

frightful bats

Maybe you want to add a new tradition to your Halloween? Want some free spooky menu banners? Now you have them and a chance to make your Halloween a little bit spookier. Boo.

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J  XO

Want some more Halloween ideas?
Take a lookey loo at what you may have missed before…

{free} printable Halloween tags 

Treat Tags Button

{yum} double trouble cookies
Cookie Button


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healthy. yummy. butternut squash banana muffins.

Yep, I love to bake. And, I am a little over the moon when I can settle on a quick fix for breakfast either for myself or the kids. Do you ever feel like you are constantly running around and never stop to sit down and eat? Well, that is the story of my life at the moment. I wouldn’t trade it, but I have decided that I need to come up with some easy, quick fixes for breakfast on the go or something I can toss the babes before heading to school.

Brace yourself. My kids are ridiculously in love with these. Did I share exactly what was in them to the little ones? Well, no. But, that is beside the point. The point here is that I have fine-tuned this recipe a few times and have found the perfect marriage between {healthy} and {yummy}. Don’t let the butternut squash part throw you off. They are the perfect veggie packed treat that are not only tasty, but also moist and I think your family might be smitten with them too.

Muffins in Crate 800px


  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup, 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg


  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup butternut squash, cooked & pureed
  • 2 bananas
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

{to prepare pureed butternut squash}

If you plan a little in advance, pureeing your butternut squash takes no time at all and you will have plenty leftover to make additional batches of muffins, add to sauces, or disguise elsewhere. To create your puree…

  • Preheat oven to 400°
  • Wash outside of squash and dry
  • Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds with a spoon
  • Place squash on foil lined baking sheet
  • Spread coconut oil {or drizzle olive oil} over both sections of squash
  • Sprinkle kosher salt, pepper, a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg over each section
  • Place in the oven and roast for 40 minutes, or until squash is tender
  • Remove from oven and let cool
  • Once cool enough to handle, use a fork or spoon to scrape out insides of squash
  • Place in a blender or food processor and ‘puree’ until you have reached a smooth, creamy consistency

Muffins with twine

{mix it up}

Preheat oven to 400°. Grease muffin pan or place muffin liners in pan.

  • In a large bowl, mix the together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, chia seeds and spices. Set aside.
    {a big xo to kari who inspired the chia seeds… she mentioned she added them to the blueberry muffins and i thought they were fitting for this recipe too! thanks, k!}
  • In a blender, mix together the bananas, pureed butternut squash, milk, egg and butter.
  • Fold the squash mixture into the flour mixture until  just moistened.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean.
  • Remove from muffin pan ad cool on a wire rack.
    {tip 1: the muffins will appear to be a bit doughy at first, but let them cool completely and I assure you they will maintain their moist texture for several days to come}
    {tip 2: store muffins in an airtight container to keep from drying out}

Muffins with Flower

I hope your family falls in love with these {fall inspired} muffins just as mine did. May your mornings be a little less hectic with a breakfast treat that is quick to grab and even quicker to eat.

eat. enjoy. share.

Letter J  XO

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spooky dinner. halloween night. tasty?

It’s officially the last day of October, better known as October 31st or in our house halloween! We have been counting down the days until this spooky night would arrive. And, the perfect opportunity to wish every one a…

happy halloween

On a spooky note, a friend of mine, Traci, {thx, t! xxoo} mentioned that she makes a spooky dinner  for her kids and they absolutely love it! In fact, they talk about it all the time. Well, I kept thinking about her fabulous idea and thought I would try it out with our family.

Now no need to fret. The day has just begun and I have come up with a {simple} menu for our spooky dinner themed meal. Maybe you have a few extra minutes to pop by the store and throw together your own spooky dinner or maybe you can tuck this idea away for next year. Whatever it is, I hope you try out a spooky dinner {someday} at your own house. Who knows? Your kids might be talking about it again and again just like Traci’s kiddos.

The only thing is that I needed this task to be simple and easy. I pulled this together Tuesday night with the help of my boysies. The boys and I sat down and they browsed pinterest to decide what they wanted to include on our dinner menu. The mama had to nix a few things that were a little too time consuming. But, I think we settled on some quick, memory making fixes and a majority of the grocery items I already had in my pantry.

Visit my {spooky dinner menu} board on pinterest. Here you will find links to others’ fabulous ideas that have become part of our {2013 spooky dinner menu}.

our menu

Brains & Eyeballs Covered in Blood
{spaghetti squash topped eye-popping meatballs slathered in a chunky marinara sauce}
{if i can find black spaghetti… totally going that route!}

Mummy Wraps
{lil’ smokies wrapped in crescent rolls and candy eyeballs for a frightful effect}

Frightful Fruit Bats
{melon slices cut in the shape of bats}

The Case of the Missing Teeth
{apple slices, peanut butter and mini marshmallow}

Sickly Cider with a Side of Eyeballs
{spiced cider spiked with cinnamon sticks and some candy eyeballs on the side for a spooky effect that I am sure the kids will add to their cider}

Are you ready for a spooky themed dinner? Get spooky. Get scary. Get creative. Get cooking.

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J  XO

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treat for you. printable halloween tags.

You’ve already figured it out. I love tags. Treat for you and for me.

October was in desperate need of a cute little tag that I could attach to some cookies and gifts. What’s better than that impromptu fall gift for a neighbor, teacher, friend, or family member? I have already used mine on some ‘you’ve been booed’ goody bags. treats for the big’s teachers and a cookie package for a friend.

For you, a special a {treat} that you can use to make someone smile. No tricks. Just a treat. Your very own {trick or treat for you} tags.

Halloween Tags 1

{you will need}
hole punch
trick or treat tag template
thick paper
{my favorite? A white, linen cardstock)

Halloween Tags 5

{your task}

step 1. print the template. find it {here}.

step 2. cut the tags out of the attached template.

step 3. punch out the circle using your hole punch.

step 4. loop some twine. tie in a bow. give.

Halloween Tags 2

Adorable. Simple. An easy way to add a little {treat} to someone’s October.

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J  XO


Take a lookey loo at where I linked up you might find some more inspiring ideas…i heart naptime and design, dining & diapers.

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spellbinding halloween potions. mix it. stir it.

What says spooky like some spellbinding potions? Not only is this simple project absolutely adorable, but the little ones might just be over the moon to try something like this at home. Can you say {science project}?

Earlier this week, I shared three October decorating projects that you can do in your own home for less than $20. If you missed it, take a sneaky-peek of it here. One of the tasks that was on our October Bucket List included mixing and concocting some seriously {dangerous} potions.

My boys were grinning from ear to ear the entire time we were mixing and stirring. It truly was one of those moments where I thought, “they are in heaven and this is just so silly. but, so worth it. priceless.” I hope that this spooktacular project will create some memories for you and your family in your own home. My advice:  be silly, think like a kid and put on that poker face. I never cracked a smile and I had them wide-eyed the entire time.

1-DSC_0393 (2)

{you will need}

potion bottles
{I found these bottles at our local craft store for $1 each}
small bowls or cups for water
supplies from the pantry
thick paper

{my favorite? A cream parchement cardstock)
matches or lighter

hole punch

Now comes the fun part. I set out some different supplies from pantry and had a {mixing} station for the boys to use. See a list below of the things I included for our spooky potions. Be creative. Use the ideas below as a starting point. The possibilities are endless.

{step 1: concocting your potions.}

  • water in small cups {yes, I am a dork and every moment is a learning moment, so they had to use their syringe to fill it up to a certain measurement and pour it a particular number of times}
  • green food coloring
  • salt {magic crystals}
  • ground coffee {dirt from the magic forest}
  • fennel seeds {rabbit poop. don’t ask. if you have boys you know they eat that stuff up.}
  • sesame seeds {minion eyeballs}
  • human hair {don’t freak. this was the best part. they LOVED it. i let them each cut a piece of my hair. they were dying.}
  • animal hair {poor max. i let them each cut a few pieces of our poor shih-tzu’s hair. but, everyone knows that no potion is complete without one part human hair and one part animal hair. it was necessary.}
  • slowly shake. your potion is complete.

{step 2: deciding on a spell. attaching a tag,}

  • Once you have finished your potions you can attach a cute tag to complete the spooky look. My oldest couldn’t think of a enough potions and spells he wanted for his potion bottle, but eventually settled on one.
  • Use the attached tags to either {create your own} potion tag or use the {spell ready} tags to attach to your potion bottle.
  • Print the spells on a thick cardstock. I had a creamy parchment paper that did the trick.
  • Cut out the tag and hole punch the center circle.
  • Safety first. Find a place where you won’t start a fire.
    {big deal in this house. i don’t want to hear about any fires starting.}
    Then, with your little ones have them help you blow out the flames to create the spooky edge. My ‘big’ was totally into this step and loved to help.
  • Attach the tag with twine. Done.

Spellbinding. Spooky. So silly. Oh, and the kiddos will love it. Start concocting.

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J  XO

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three october decorating ideas. less than $20.

I love holidays. It’s true. Ever since having kids I can hardly wait for the chance to make our home come alive with whatever season it may be. A part of me gets excited to create memories for the little ones that they will mentally document and store away until another day. And, it feels like time is quickly slipping away. Before I know it, there will only be my other half to decorate for.

As much as I love to add a little holiday spice to our home, I also know that it adds up and gets so ridiculously expensive.
{side note. am i the only one freaking out that christmas decorations are already displayed in stores?} With that said, I have come up with {three} ideas of how you can add a little October ‘ghoulish’ flare for under $20.

Idea 1 Halloween Wall Art 
cost: $8


What makes this so inexpensive? Use frames you already have around your house and exchange the existing pictures with October themed prints.

I’ve mentioned this company before for my back to school pictures and they have me hooked! {caravan digital downloads} is an online gem that allows you to purchase and download their prints. Amaze-ing! My sis-in-law passed on the Halloween themed prints and they are the perfect decorating addition to my existing framed pieces.


The task is simple.

  • download halloween themed prints from caravan digital downloads{$5}
  • print at your local Staples store {$3}
    note: my frames required an 18×24 and 11×14, which cost me a total of $2.63
  • exchange existing pictures with your new themed prints {$0}
  • put back on wall {$0}
  • smile. {priceless}


Idea 2 Haunted Wine Labels
cost: $5


Truth be told, I did not include the wine bottles in the estimated cost, but I am sure you can round some up from your recycling bin or pick some up at the store. Martha Stewart has a simple treat for you. Simply remove original wine labels and adhere the ‘haunted’ labels to your own wine bottles. I purchased this last year at Michael’s and also found them here.

These spooky labels are the perfect way to add some height and dimension to your space and they are not to shabby of a price either. You can display them as is or add some waxy candles to complete the spooky look.


The task is simple, yet again.

  • round up some wine bottles and remove the original labels {soak in hot water does the trick}
  • adhere the Martha Stewart Haunted Wine Labels to the bottle {$5}
  • place around your home {$0}
  • smile for the second time {priceless}


Idea 3 Spellbinding Potions 
cost: $5

1-DSC_0393 (2)

Potions feel like the perfect addition to  ‘spooky’ themed decor. And, they are ridiculously fun to make with your big or little ones. A simple, inexpensive way to have a little fun and add something unique and cute to your home.

The boys and I found these small bottles at our local craft store for $1 each. They were the perfect size for their own experiment and they had me sold at ‘a dollar’ each. I am sure your local craft store, Michaels or JoAnn’s would have something similar within the $2 to $5 price range.

The task is simple. I know, these are too easy.

  • find some small potion bottles {$2 to $4}
  • add water, green food coloring and other interesting treasures to your bottle {free for all in your pantry & cupboards}
  • add a cute tag and tie with twine {$0}
  • smile for the third time {priceless}

Start collecting your potion bottles now and follow along later this week as I share what my family did with our secret potions. Find out more about what we concocted from our own cupboards AND a printable tag that you can attach to your spellbinding potions.

Three easy, simple October themed decorating ideas for under $20. What could be better?

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J  XO

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chalkboard wall. october. spooky.

It’s that time of year. Weather changing. Leaves turning colors. Smells of pumpkin and spices. Spooky decor. Truly, one of my most favorite times of the whole year. I love the smells, the smiles as my kids get excited for the last day of the month and the plethora of things to do inside and outside. My favorite.

Not only are the leaves changing, but our chalkboard wall is too. As I have admitted, it is a serious problem. But, one I secretly love.

With that said, I now introduce you to my fall inspired friend,
October Heading

The theme for this month? Everything and anything fall. This month, we get a chance to check things off our October ‘bucket’ list. If you’re like me, a visual checklist will ensure that I actually make the time to do it. Sometimes I just need that. And, our October wall gives a chance for my two oldest to design their own jack-o-lanterns, which I am sure will be changing just about every single day. We already have a ‘half human – half pumpkin’ creative addition. What’s on your ‘bucket’ list? Perhaps a chalkboard wall addition in your own  house? Whatever may be on your list, may your October be filled with fall memories, treasures and smiles.

October Chalkboard Wall


My fingers are crossed that my wall might give you some ideas or a bit of inspiration for your own house. The good thing about anything chalkboard? You don’t likey? Just erase. Seriously, so simple.

I try to use things around the house to make my life easier, like my printer to trace images {visit this post to learn how to trace things in a snap} and cookie cutters or shapes to use as an outline guide. Some other quick tips that may come in handy are below.

Trace Image October

Shading October


Thick Words October

 I hope you will try a {chalkboard wall or frame} yourself.  And, you use some or all of the elements above as inspiration. Show off your ‘bucket’ list and the things in store for you and your family this month.

{If you missed it, learn how you can make your own {DIY Chalkboard and Magnetic Wall}. Take a quick peek {here} to find out just how easy it is to transform an empty space into something that will make you smile.}

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J  XO

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