Taste Testing Tuesday – #16 – Pumpkin

Sorry I’m slow in getting today’s taste test posted! It’s been a cooking day here! Are you getting ready for Thanksgiving at your house? We are, but this year I’m sad to say it will just be my hubby and I for Thanksgiving due to Covid restrictions. We will miss our family but we are trying to make the best of it. Back to our taste test – what is one ingredient that is often used around Thanksgiving time and can be eaten many different ways? Pumpkin! (Yes, turkey would have also been a great answer!) Maybe you are having something for Thanksgiving that has pumpkin in it. Today I made 3 different recipes that use pumpkin.

#1.) Pumpkin pie

I actually don’t care for pumpkin pie, but my hubby loves it so I made one for him to enjoy. Some whip cream on top adds the finishing touch.

#2.) Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin bread is something my mom used to make for us when I was a kid. In fact, the recipe I used today came from her. It’s baked in a loaf pan and then sliced to enjoy.

#3.) Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin Bars are made in a cookie sheet. They can be eaten with or without frosting on top. I frosted half of the pan and then other half I froze for a later time.

What other kinds of dishes can you think of that use pumpkin in them? There’s pumpkin soup, pumpkin rolls, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin butter, pumpkin waffles…and the list goes on! Pumpkin is considered a super food and really healthy so I hope you will try some soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

Crazy Letter Writing Fun

Do you write letters to your grandkids? Letter writing seems to be a thing of the past for a lot of people, but who doesn’t love to get mail? A hand written letter does something special to warm the heart and is appreciated by almost everyone. Not long ago, we received a very special letter from our grandson, Hunter. The grandkids had spent a week with us and Hunter wrote us a special thank-you note. Look at what he did:

He wrote it in the shape of a heart! Isn’t that neat? ๐Ÿ™‚ What an original idea!

The words he wrote were also very sweet but I did laugh when I saw that he said we are “historic”. LOL (Is that a nice way to say “old”? Haha!) His letter got me to thinking of funny ways to write letters that could cheer someone up. So the letter I wrote back to him looks like this:

Can you see how I wrote it? I started out the usual way of writing in the first space. But when I got to the right side of the page, I turned the page and wrote down the right side.

When I came to the bottom of the page, I turned the paper again and wrote along the bottom.

So I wrote all around the outside edge, around the entire paper. Each time I came back to the beginning, I moved in another space and continued going around and around and the space got smaller and smaller until I ran out of room to write.

When Hunter gets his letter, he will have to turn the paper around and around to read it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Another way to write a goofy letter is in a circle. I drew a circle with a pencil to start my next letter to Hunter’s brother, Kendan.

As you probably guessed, I wrote this letter in a circle with each line moving a little closer inside.

Can you think of any other fun ways to write a letter? In a triangle shape? Maybe a square or an oval? I’m pretty sure I will think up some other fun ways to write letters, but maybe these 3 ideas will get you started on your own letter writing adventure! Have fun! And you just might get a letter in return! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Taste Testing Tuesday – #15

It’s that day of the week again! Welcome to another round of Taste Testing Tuesday! This week’s tasting is a pretty simple one, but these suggestions are for a little bit older kids, not for the really young. We’re testing out different kinds of nuts, so please be cautious of your children’s ages before you try this one. And, of course, if your kids have a peanut or tree nut allergy, please bypass this week’s test. Today we have 5 nuts on hand to try, but the list of nuts you can experiment with is a long one. Hint: to do the same test we’re doing here, just buy a can of mixed nuts and separate the different kinds of nuts out into cupcake papers or into little sections on a plate.

The nuts we are taste testing this week are…

#1.) Cashews

#2.) Hazelnuts or Filberts

#3.) Peanuts

#4.) Almonds

#5.) Pecans

I hope you grabbed a piece of paper and a pencil and made yourself a quick chart to record your taste preferences for each kind of nut. Did you like all of the nuts you tried? Which one is your favorite? It would be a close call for me to pick a favorite, but I think I would go with cashews. Do certain nuts make you think of certain foods they are made in? For instance, when I think of peanuts, I think of peanut butter…or Mr. Goodbar candy bars. When I think of pecans, I think of eating them on a salad or in a pecan pie or a sweet pecan roll. Mmmm!

If this taste test seems a little too tame for you, you can find lots of variations of nuts in the store. There are spicy nuts and sweet nuts…honey roasted cashews or peanuts…chocolate almonds…spiced pecans…maple walnuts…and this list could be a very long one! Whichever kinds of nuts you decide to try, I hope you find a new nut or flavor that you really like. Happy tasting! ๐Ÿ™‚

See Ya Later, Alligator!

No, Iโ€™m not leaving! Just thinking about the fun sayings there are that can help ease the pain of leaving a child or grandchild when you would much rather stay together longer. โ€œSee ya later, alligator!โ€ is probably one of the most well known sayings but I found the following picture with a lot more and just had to share it with you.

Try some of these funny sayings the next time you must part from your special kids and I hope they will help everyone part with a silly grin on their face. Teach a few to the kids so you can take turns saying them to each other. Now…Iโ€™m out the door, dinosaur! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿฅฐ

Taste Testing Tuesday – #14

Hey, there! We’re back for another Taste Testing Tuesday! Today’s yummy food is…..waffles! Ooo, are you drooling along with me? We’ll look at 5 suggestions of tasty ways to eat a waffle.

Waffles come in different shapes and sizes. You can buy them frozen from the grocery store or if you have a waffle iron, you can make your own. For today’s test, I made waffles “from scratch” and cooked them in our waffle iron. In case you’ve never seen a waffle iron, here’s what they look like.

You can mix up your favorite waffle batter…I used the recipe in my Betty Crocker cookbook.

A handy-dandy tip is to pour the waffle batter into a container that has a lip for pouring.

Once your waffle iron is hot, pour some batter in and close the lid. 4-5 minutes is how long it took my waffle iron to cook 1 waffle but be sure to check the instructions that came with your waffle iron. Our first suggestion today uses a plain waffle with nothing cooked into it. But there are so many tasty things you can put on TOP of your waffle! Like butter, maple syrup, molasses, honey, jelly, fruit syrups, etc, etc. I love them with butter and maple syrup. Mmmm!

Suggestion #2…sprinkle a few blueberries on top of the batter in the waffle iron before you close it to cook your waffle.

Here’s a picture of the cooked version.

Suggestion #3…sprinkle some roasted pecans on top of the batter before cooking.

It might be hard to see the pecans, but they are there and taste sooo good!

Suggestion #4…sprinkle some grated cheddar cheese on top before cooking.

Again, it might be hard to see the cheese after the waffle has been cooked but it tastes pretty yummy!

Suggestion #5…cooked up apples spread on top. I put some butter in a skillet and peeled and sliced an apple. After the apple slices started to get soft, I sprinkled in some cinnamon and brown sugar. Then cooked it just a little longer till the brown sugar melted and everything was mixed together. OH YUM! This was delicious!!

I’m sure you can think of many more ways to eat a waffle. Maybe 2 pieces of waffle with some scrambled eggs and cheese inside? How about some peanut butter? Are you hungry now? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Did you make a chart so you can remember your favorite way to eat a waffle? I hope you have fun with your Waffle Taste Testing Tuesday! ๐Ÿ™‚

Is It Too Soon to Build a Snowman?

How do you feel about snowmen? I love them!! Especially the crafty kind that you can make in your house and they never melt! ๐Ÿ˜‰ We had some cold days recently that felt like winter and we even had a light dusting of snow, so I got to thinking about snowmen and decided to make some. (Now it’s warmed back up and the temperature has been in the 60’s.) This is an easy craft for kids and takes just some “normal” kind of things you might have around your house. Let’s take a look at my snowmen…

I thought they turned out to be pretty cute! Some things that you’ll need to make these snowmen are empty toilet paper rolls, white paint, paint brush, pipe cleaners, small pom poms, ribbon or yarn or felt, maybe a button or two, wiggly eyes, orange and black markers and either a bottle of glue or a glue gun. (I used the glue gun.)

The first step is to paint the empty toilet paper rolls with white paint. Let them dry however long your type of paint requires.

Glue on 2 wiggly eyes. It doesn’t really matter what size the wiggly eyes are. I used 3 different sizes for my snowmen.

Cut a pipe cleaner in half…or even smaller…to use for the top part of the snowman’s ear muffs. Glue the 2 ends to opposite sides of the toilet paper roll. Place the ends on either side of the eyes in a place where the snowman’s ears might be if he had some. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Next glue a pom pom over each end of the pipe cleaner to finish making the ear muffs.

Use the orange marker to draw a triangle below the wiggly eyes to be the snowman’s carrot nose. Use the black marker to draw on a mouth and eyebrows. (I drew the eyebrows on after I took the next picture. Oops!)

For the snowman’s scarf you can use pieces of yarn or ribbon or felt or fabric…you get the idea. ๐Ÿ˜‰ For this snowman, I put 3 pieces of yarn together. Glue the scarf in one spot on the back of the snowman. Then wrap each side around to the front and cross one side over the other and glue in place.

I glued a little star button on top of where the 2 sides cross in the front. You can add 3 black dots for the stones or buttons on the snowman’s tummy, if you like.

And there you are! Great job! You’ve made a snowman! ๐Ÿ™‚

For my second snowman, I followed the same steps, but for his/her scarf I took 3 pieces of yarn and braided them together. I tucked one end around the other in front, like you do when you are beginning to tie your shoes. Then I glued it in place.

For my third snowman, I again followed the same steps, except this time I made his/her scarf out of a piece of ribbon. And I glued on a matching button.

You can make your snowman look however you like. He/she might look different because you have different materials to use than what I had. You can shape his/her mouth in different ways to make him/her look happy or sad or silly. I’m sure he or she will look great! The important thing is to have fun making your snowmen! ๐Ÿ™‚

Taste Testing Tuesday – #13

Welcome back for another round of Taste Testing Tuesday! What fruit is plentiful this time of year in the United States? Apples! Now is the time to get your favorite apple from your local orchard or grocery store. Wait, you don’t know what your favorite apple is? Then you are in the right place! Today we’ll taste test 6 apples that are available here locally. Make yourself a little chart so you can keep track of who likes what in your family.

As you can see, I made a little sign to keep beside each type of apple. I bought 2 of each apple so one could be cut into slices to taste test and one to look at and see the differences between the apples I chose. Some differences you can talk about with the kids are the color, shape, size, if the flesh of the apple is soft or crunchy and is it sweet or tart? Here are the ones I used:

Gala

Honey Crisp

McIntosh

Ida Red

Paula Red

And last but not least, Golden Delicious.

I like apples that are a little sweet or a little tart and I especially like the softer flesh. What are your favorites? Now I’m hungry for an apple pie or apple crisp! haha! Hope you have fun tasting apples and you discover some new favorites. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for stopping by!

Halloween-Party-In-a-Box

Halloween 2020 is looking a bit different from other years, isn’t it? Here in Ohio we’re being discouraged from having Halloween parties or getting together with people we aren’t around much and it’s all because of the Covid-19 virus. Should you take a chance on taking your family to a party? What about trick or treating? Is it safe? For those of you looking for a way to stay home with your kiddos but still let them have a fun time, I created Halloween-Party-in-a-Box. We don’t live close to our grandkids and in the interest of keeping everyone healthy, we won’t be seeing them this year at Halloween. But I wanted to do something to help them still enjoy this crazy holiday. Maybe you can use some of these ideas for your own celebration.

Let’s start off with coloring pages. There are quite a few free coloring pages that you can find on the internet. I just “Googled” “coloring pages” and found some cute free ones that I printed out for the grandkids. I added some new crayons or colored pencils and ta dah, there’s one activity.

Walmart had lots of odds and ends of Halloween fun for a low price so I found it fairly easy to come up with things for a party. Glow bracelets, for example. Halloween is all about being spooky and doing things in the dark so glow bracelets fit right in. You can get 8 glow bracelets for $.98.

Decorating a small paper bag with Halloween stickers and anything else they’d like to draw on, makes up activity #2. I found a pack of Halloween pencils so I threw some of those in too.

In order to keep the items for each activity all together in the same place, I used quart and gallon sized zip plastic bags.

Activity #3 is decorating pumpkin cookies. Yum! I found a box of 16 cookies with icing and sprinkles which I shared between 2 sets of grandkids.

I divided the sprinkles into 2 small containers and purchased 2 extra small tubes of icing gel so that each group had 3 colors to decorate with…orange, green and black. Again, I put everything for this project in a zip plastic bag and wrote on the bag what the project is.

If you’re having cookies to eat, you need something Halloween-y to eat them on, right?

Halloween colored crazy straws will make drinking more fun too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Some tiny Halloween puzzles will be fun to put together for activity #4.

If you want to make it more interesting, have the kids race to see who can get their puzzle together first. I think they are cute!

I found tiny pumpkins in a clearance sale and decided to add in some markers for a drawing faces on a pumpkin activity. (#5)

Activity #6 is the grand finale with a “Wrap a Mummy” game. All you need is some toilet paper. ๐Ÿ™‚ There are different ways to play this game so pick the one that fits your family best. If you have enough people, divide into 2 teams and divide the toilet paper rolls between the 2 teams. Pick someone to be the mummy and the rest of the team wraps them in the toilet paper. The winning team is the one with the best looking mummy. (Remember to leave eyes and mouths uncovered for breathing and seeing where they are walking!) This could be extra fun if the mummies are mom and dad and the kids are doing the wrapping. Another version could be if all the kids become mummies. After they are all wrapped up, they could have fun walking around with their arms out in front of them, making spooky noises! ๐Ÿ˜‰ (And probably chasing their siblings or parents!)

I included a little note to the grandkids that is on the top of everything when they open the box.

One little tip I have is if you are sending the Halloween-party-in-a-box to kids that you don’t see often or are young little munchkins, you might include a picture of yourself to help them know who sent them their box of fun. Grandma and Grandpa, this would be a great thing to do if mom or dad is feeling stressed out and out of time before Halloween…you could offer to take care of the Halloween party this year and show up with your Halloween-Party-in-a-Box all ready to go. ๐Ÿ™‚ (Depending on your situation, of course.) I hope these suggestions will help you still have a great Halloween 2020!

FREE Mr. Mummy Pancake at IHOP

This cool deal showed up in my email and I wanted to share it with you. In case you haven’t heard, you can get a FREE Mr. Mummy pancake at your favorite IHOP restaurant, now through October 30th! Here’s the details:

FREE! Mr. Mummy Pancake Oct. 26-30
Celebrate Halloween With
A Freaky Freebie From IHOPยฎ!
Happy Halloween from IHOPยฎ! Halloween from home & snag a FREE Mr. Mummy Pancake between October 26-30 when you spend $20 on your online order โ€“ no tricks! Use codeย FREEMUMMYย at checkout.

Come On In For Seasonal Treats
You can also head to your local IHOPยฎย to treat yourself to some delicious seasonal bites and kids 12 & under to a FREE Mr. Mummy Pancake!