carving pumpkins with my boys

We live in Ohio so there are pumpkins galore this time of year and the kids always want to carve them. It’s not always the easiest task to keep the boys clean during that process, but they always have such a good time.

We picked up a few pumpkins at the nursery last weekend and the kids simply couldn’t wait so I let them carve one (we’ll save the others for a bit closer to Halloween).

We used these new Pumpkin Masters carving kits. The boys sat on the front porch for 30 minutes selecting which template to try and in the end the dragon won out. Although, we’re going to try these new eye and teeth (plastic) picks on our next pumpkins. They’re really neat because they stick right into the holes you’ve carved and they’re mostly clear so the candle light will shine through and make them extra creepy. Boys really like extra creepy! {wink}

My youngest wanted to use the crayon that comes with the kit first to draw on a smiley face.

Then, down to business. We taped on the stencil and he used the little hole punching/tracing tool to outline his dragon.

After our template was on, he wanted to color it in before we carved it out. And he wanted color so he went in the house and got a small can of crayons.

They didn’t work as well as the crayon in the kit, but he was determined. {proud momma smile}

Then came the real work… dipping the ick out of the pumpkin into a garbage bag. If you’ve not ever done this before… it’s really, really messy so be prepared.

The kids of course thought it was cool. And using the little scooper in the Pumpkin Masters kit makes the process a lot easier when you have to scrape the sides clean. (NOTE: If you spray the inside with a bleach and water mixture the pumpkin will rot slower.)

So now we’re back to my smiling little boy and his dragon pumpkin. Happy weekend everyone and as always, I hope you’re inspired to do something fun!

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introducing Trick or Treat

I’m so excited to share our new Trick or Treat Halloween collection with you this morning!

We shot this collection and our new harvest collection, which I plan to share with you next week, in late July. Both were photographed by my good friend Angie of Angie Arthur Photography and both on an actual working farm, Freeman’s Farm, not too far from my home. There was tons of rain and super hot days in July leading up to the shoot and then the day of was a mild 82 and beautiful. Thank goodness for us and for our little monsters!

This collection was inspired by traditional Halloween costumes. You know. The ones we wore as kids. Witches, mummies, Frankensteins (or Frankette in this case) and vampires. Okay, so maybe I was a princess a time or two… and maybe Strawberry Shortcake… but I digress.

I love Halloween, but I’m more of a “treat” kind of girl than “trick,” so I wanted to style a fun party without the fright. The farm turned out to be the perfect backdrop, a large white barn, raw wood interior, there were even a few real bats living in the barn. I’m glad to report that they didn’t come over to investigate.

For the table décor, we hung large pumpkin lanterns. 

I asked Sew Jewell to create table runners and chair backers monogrammed with the collection’s screech owl. Both are available in the shoppe with the rest of the collection and through Sew Jewell!

We designed an entire printables collection full of placecards, beverage wrappers, napkins rings, favor tags, cello toppers, banners, and much more!

We crafted several DIY ideas like the cauldron centerpiece and spider forks. I found mod orange and white polka dot tableware with black crepe placemats (both available in the shoppe). And the little glitter pumpkins holding the placecards are last year’s find from the dollar store.

For the dessert table, I raided the candy store. I mean, it is Halloween, right?! {innocent smile}.

And we invited guest’s in with a witchy grin.

For the cupcakes, playing on the name of the collection, we created “trick” and “treat” printable designs. You’ll notice that the “trick” cupcakes are a little wiggly. {wink}

We also created cello toppers, perfect for bulk candy confections that aren’t individually packaged or homemade sweets.

And we teamed up with our cookie partners at Sweet Tooth Cottage. As usual, their yummy butter cookies were to die for!  

Not to mention, owl-dorable. {I kill me!} Both cookie designs are available in shoppe with the rest of the collection (Baked, packaged and shipped from Sweet Tooth Cottage. Shipping cost included in the price.)

But my absolute favorite craft for this project…

are my monster pedestal candy dishes. Super simple to make and a great focal point for any spooky fun you have planned this season!

And last, but in no way least, 

are the fabulous costumes created by Sew Jewell, from the capes, to the skirts, to the mummy wrapping, it all turned out perfect! You can find the witch, Frankette and the vampire cape in her Etsy shoppe in the next day or so.

 And with all this cuteness, you must get tons of pictures so we created a few photo props just for the occasion.

Shop custom invitations, table decor, printables, custom cookies, table runners, and even t-shirts in the shoppe. And as always, I hope you’re inspired!

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marshmallow monsters

Playing around in the kitchen with my boys, I whipped up these marshmallow monsters. First I dipped all my marshmallows in green candy chocolate, available at most craft stores. I picked mine up at JoAnn Fabric and Craft Stores.

For the witch, her hat is the bottom half of a Keebler Sugar Cone and a Keebler Grasshopper cookie (painted with purple chocolate). Her hair is a Starburst (melted, rolled flat and cut into strands) and her nose is a purple candy corn.

For Frankenstein, his bolts are Smarties and his eyes are just small round yellow candies. Both are frighteningly simple. {wink}

As always, I hope you’re inspired! And stop over at Snackpicks.com for more of my Kellogg’s ideas.

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DIY mummy costume

We had four little monster’s for this year’s Halloween photo shoot: a witch, a Frankenstein (or better yet, Frankette), a vampire and a mummy. This morning I’m going to share our adorable mummy and how he came together. 

You’ll need: white t-shirt, white pajama pants (if you can’t find them, Sew Jewell on Etsy will make them for you. Just convo her), strips of white fabric (cheap, thin fabric works best to give it a gauze look) cut 2″ in width and about 4′ in length, Tacky Glue.

Start at the waist and rap upwards.

Then finish at the feet. Tacking the strips all along with Tacky Glue. The stuff works wonders and washes out so you can do it again later. I picked up both the fabric and Tacky Glue at JoAnn Fabric and Craft Stores.

As always, I hope you’re inspired! Come on and see our entire Halloween collection and DIY ideas!

Join us on facebook and follow us on twitter. Top image by Angie Arthur Photography, DIY images by The Celebration Shoppe.

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creepy crawly utensils

We shot our new Halloween and harvest collections several weeks ago and I’ve just been dying to share. I know what you’re thinking… what have I been waiting for?! Well lots of things, none of which I can tell you right now {raising eyebrows up and down with a sneaky grin}. But now it’s finally time to start sharing some fun and frightening ideas.

This is a simple DIY craft, but I just love it. You know those plastic spider rings that you can get at the dollar store in a bag of 50 for a $1? Just cut off the ring part with a pair of your kid’s scissors (not your good crafting scissors!) and hot glue the spider to plastic forks. This was the brilliant brainchild of my assistant Bridget.

By the way, those fun orange and white polka dot plates & napkins and black crepe placemats will all be available with the new collection in the shoppe by the end of the day.

As always, I hope you’re inspired! And happy haunting!

Join us on facebook and follow us on twitter. Photography by Angie Arthur Photography. Participating in Tip Me Tuesday with Tip Junkie and Get Your Craft On with Today’s Creative Blog.

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featured in BHG Tricks & Treats

I’ve been so very excited about this project for such a long time and now I’m so thrilled to be able to share it with you. I have been a fan of Better Homes and Gardens Tricks and Treats Special Issue for years. I would flip through and ooh and aah at all the fun and crafty ideas.

Well this year I’m so proud to announce that you can find my ideas and designs on pages 50 through 57! Okay. And I have to tell you, you can also see a small image of my cupcake printables on the cover. THE COVER! And again on page 1 as part of the table of contents. Yay! Then yet again on pages 104 – 106 with instructions. WOW! And finally on page 118 in the resources, along with my fabulous cookie partners at Sweet Tooth Cottage. It’s more exciting than I had hoped. You know how you tell yourself not to get too excited about something until it actually happens? That was me. For months now. But now I’m officially over the top excited!

Go out right now and pick one up! Please! I know they’re on shelves at Barnes and Nobles already because I picked up a copy… okay, maybe it was five. Or, if you can’t wait, my article’s name is “Wicked Easy” and you can find tons of details on the Better Homes and Gardens site at bhg.com/wickedeasy. If you like it, I’d love a thumbs up on facebook or a tweet!

But you still need to pick up the mag because it is just full of fabulous ideas from the editors! There’s a Mad Hatter Tea Party that is the perfect twist on Halloween fun. There are kid crafts and lovely black and white party details perfect for an adult soiree. The entire magazine is a must have!

And the best part of this fabulous project, I’m giving away our Candy Corn collection to readers for FREE (the non-personalized version). It includes an invitation, cupcake picks & wrappers, cello toppers, beverage wrappers, favor tags, dessert labels, a pennant banner and more! You can still find the personalized invitations, personalized printables, cookies, and orange and white polka dot table decor in the shoppe.

Download your FREE HALLOWEEN PRINTABLES and start planning your party!

As always, I hope you’re inspired to craft, bake and create!

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visiting Disney for Halloween

the-celebration-shoppe_disneys-not-so-scary-halloween-party

At the beginning of October my hubby and I took my boys to Disney for a long weekend and we attended the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. We had the best time from the nighttime parade to the fireworks to the constant trick-or-treating around the park! And not only was the party itself lots of fun, but it wasn’t overcrowded. My two favorite times of year to go are early March, before all the schools let out for spring break (I know… I won’t be able to do that much longer since my oldest in now in Kindergarten) and fall (again, difficult with school age children, but worth all the homework you’ll have to make up!).

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The night of the party the boys were dressed up as swat team officers, but when we ran across the face painting Alex really wanted to be a pirate, and

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Cole really wanted to be a puppy… aka Goofy.

And not only did we go to the Halloween party we visited all the parks. I have over 500 images and I swear I could sell some to Disney for advertising they were so cute {proud mama}. I even turned around backwards (cart in front of the boys) on a few mini roller-coasters and took pictures of them screaming. The pics were great, but I was nauseous for 30 minutes afterwards! 

But instead of sharing those with you, I’d rather tell you what a fabulous company Disney is from the perspective of a family struck with food allergies. I’ve been on my soap box about this lately (with my allergy free Halloween treats and sorry, I can’t eat cow milk posts) and while I’m on the topic I want to share with any families who are waiting or debating about going to Disney because of the allergy (and I’ve talked to many moms and dads who are), go! I’ve taken Cole now twice and both times I’ve been overjoyed. Soy milk and fresh fruit choices are on every menu, a chef comes out at all the restaurants and a manager comes out at the “fast food” locations to discuss options with you and to prepare something special that doesn’t come in contact with other ingredients. And it doesn’t stop there, at the Magic Kingdom (and likely the others) there is a restaurant, the name is alluding me at the moment, that offers vegan (great for egg and dairy allergies) choices including treats! They even sell Divvies, a fabulous little company created by a mom, who like me, wanted her son to be able to enjoy the same foods that other kids do. Long story short, Disney is fabulous at Halloween and takes special care of food allergy families!

Happy Halloween everyone!

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allergy free Halloween treats

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Each year we get together with all of our neighbors and I host our annual Halloween block party. The premise is that everyone brings their favorite Halloween or fall treat and we all reminisce about the summer and tell any plans for the upcoming winter (besides hibernation of course!).

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This year I used my Candy Corn collection and gave it a little lighter twist from how I styled it in August for the shoppe.

And since I couldn’t control the desserts, or their ingredients, I made mostly dairy and nut free goodies. As many of you know my youngest has severe food allergies and I can’t stand for him to feel left out! There is nothing worse than that little face looking at me with sad eyes and asking me “Mommy, is that my kind?” His “kind” meaning made with soy milk or vegan butter. Of course unless I made it myself the answer is typically “I’m so sorry baby…” And any mother with a child who suffers from food allergies can attest that it breaks your heart!

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All of my desserts that night were inspired by the yummy candy corn and the first on my list was a cupcake… imagine that! By the way, Brach’s candy corn has milk in it, but the Kroger brand is dairy free (has egg though)!

So using a Duncan Hines Butter cake mix and Smart Balance Light vegan butter (be careful that you get the light; the others have dairy in them) I whipped up these cupcakes. My only advice on the butter is to use a little less than the recipe calls for because it has a very buttery taste.

And if your little one also has an egg allergy, which my little guy did for the first three years of his life, try making your cupcakes out of a brownie mix instead. Just make according to the recipe and fill your cupcake liners higher than normal. I would also suggest that you either use the tin/silver liners or you use cupcake wrappers, like we create for our collections, to hide the wrapper as brownies have oil in them and will discolor your wrappers.

For the icing I simply used Pillsbury Cream Cheese icing and tinted it using gel food coloring (liquid food coloring  thins your icing). Using resealable bags with a slit corner (for easy cleanup) I just piped one layer at a time. It was as simple as that!

the-celebration-shoppe-candy-corn-krispie-pretzels

Next I made rice krispie treats, a dessert every kid… and let’s face it, every adult loves! These were gone in a flash! I used the normal ingredients, but in the place of butter I used Smart Balance Light vegan butter again.

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  1. While the treats are still warm mold them into triangles and insert lollipop sticks. Do this before you ice them or your could crack your icing, plus you want to form the treat back around the stick so that there aren’t too many pockets of air. 
  2. Gently push down, don’t crush the cereal, on the top of your treats. You’ll want a flat surface, or as flat as you can get it, for icing.
  3. Using a #7 tip, a connector and a resealable bag, outline your treats with white icing, leaving no gaps or your icing will run.
  4. Melt a small bowl of white, yellow and orange icing (one at a time) in eight second intervals. Carefully spoon the icing into the sections and pull icing to the corners with a toothpick. You want your icing warm, but not too hot and soupy or it will remelt your marshmallows. 
  5. Allow treats to dry completely before inserting them into cello bags.

I also served dairy free licorice, candy corn inspired pretzels sticks (made with tinted “real” milk chocolate so I’ll share those in a separate post) and my little guy’s favorite, gummy worms. My oldest will eat anything sweet so I knew he was covered! {wink}

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As for decorations, instead of using my cupcake picks in the actual cupcakes, I hung them from tree branches to create a dramatic and tall centerpiece (you all know how much I love height on a table!).

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And filled the glass apothecary jar, turned vase, with what else… candy corn!  You’ll notice that candy corn was also the fillers for the rice krispie treat bowl and the pretzel jar. Inexpensive and bright, just my style!

I can’t let you go without pointing out the crepe trim on the cake plate (shown in the first and third images). I just made tiny folds back and forth to give it a ruffled look and then attached it to my square cake plate with just a drop of hot glue here and there. It looked lovely, only took minutes and came right off with a light tug.

As always, I hope you’re inspired!

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simple spray painted pumpkins

spooky-skeleton-pumpkin-wl

This weekend was beautiful and we packed each day with baking new Halloween treats (some dairy free for us moms who deal with food allergies), decorating pumpkins (the super easy way) and spending time with some great friends. 

I’ll share the treats soon, but I wanted to start with the pumpkins. I’ve never been much for cleaning out pumpkins. It’s messy and in Ohio some years it can just be down right cold. Long story short, I look for alternatives. This year we thought we would go the super easy route and just spray paint the pumpkins so that the kids could help (at least a little; it’s too toxic for them without a mask and taking breaks every 30 seconds or so).

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I started by going to Better Homes and Gardens and letting the boys select their own template. My oldest chose a Frankenstein stencil and my youngest chose a spooky skeleton stencil. (We also made a “Enter if you DARE” stencil with a cricut and circle punch.) Next we cut out the stencils and attached them to the pumpkins. For the Frankenstein pumpkin and Enter if you DARE pumpkins we wanted a menacing effect so we just attached the stencils with hot glue, leaving the edges up so that some of the paint would get in around the stencil. For the spooky pumpkin we wanted harder lines so we covered the area with painters tape, attached the template and then I trimmed it out with a straight edge.

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Using a piece of burlap to protect the grass, we lightly sprayed both pumpkins with a constant back-and-forth motion, allowed them to dry and then peeled off the stencils.

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The entire process took about an hour and the boys were thrilled with the outcome!

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easy Halloween candy apples

living-locurto-halloween-party-apples

Hi everyone! I’m Amy from Living Locurto and thrilled to be guest posting today for Kim. As a fellow party girl, I thought sharing one of my favorite recipes would be the perfect topic for today. I served these last year at my Halloween Boofett and they were the hit of the party! Make these for any fall event and your guest will love them! You can also wrap them up with a bow for teachers gifts as well. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 bag (14 Oz.) Caramels
  • 8 Apples
  • 8 Wooden Sticks(or real sticks from outside for a rustic touch)
  • 1 Large Bar of Your Favorite Candy Bar (I used Snickers)
  • 1 Cup Melted Chocolate Chips

And here are a few simple instructions: 

  1. Melt the caramels in a microwave safe dish for about 3 to 5 minutes until melted.
  2. Put sticks in the apples.
  3. Melt chocolate in the microwave. Chop up the candy bars.
  4. Dip apples in caramel and roll in the candy bar.
  5. Place on a cupcake wrapper and pipe chocolate over the apple.

YUM!

I hope you’ll visit my blog for lots of free printables and fun! Thanks for having me here today Kim. I’m sure you’re having a wonderful time at Disney!! – Amy

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