acorn cake

acorn-cake

This season isn’t all about Halloween; there are beautiful fall colors and shapes we can celebrate too. I came across this acorn cake from Bright Ideas and just had to share it. It’s actually pretty easy. The recipe makes two cakes and each serves about eight people. Here’s what you need:

  • Snickers and Twix fun size candy bars (1 bag KID’S FAVORITE MIX FUN SIZE® 48 count Variety Bag)
  • 1 can (16 oz.) chocolate frosting
  • 2 (18.5 oz.) boxes Devil’s Food Cake mix
  • 1 (16 oz.) can vanilla or cream cheese frosting
  • brown food coloring (or green and red to make brown)
  • 1 1/2 quart oven safe glass bowl
  • 1 (9″x13″) cake pan
  • wax paper

steps:

  1. Prepare both cake mixes according to the box directions and divide the batter between a buttered oven safe glass bowl and a buttered and waxed paper lined oblong cake pan.
  2. Bake both cakes in a preheated 350-degree oven for approximately 40 to 50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool cakes in their pans for 10 minutes, then remove them and place them on a cooling rack to cool completely before decorating.
  3. Cut both cakes in half using a serrated knife and using the photo as guide, cut the flat cake into the bottom portion of the acorn. Use the half moon shaped cake as acorn top. Push the half moon shape cake against the straight edge of flat cake to form the acorn.
  4. Tint the frosting beige with several drops of brown food coloring and apply a thin crumb coat to the bottom of the acorn. Let it dry for a 5-10 minutes and then apply a generous coat with a cake spatula (or butter knife) pulling the icing to you in straight lines.
  5. Cover the acorn tops with chocolate frosting, arrange Snickers Bars around the acorn using a Twix Bar for the stem and place M&Ms as seen in the photo.

Enjoy fall!

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pumpkin crispy treats

Pumpkin Crispy Treats

You’ll likely notice that I use a lot of crispy cereal to make goodies (e.g., Pirate Pops). Since my youngest son has severe food allergies, they have proven to be a fun way to include him in all the fun party treats and the guests don’t even realize (or care) that the treats are egg and dairy free. I’ve outlined the easy steps on how to make these fun goodies for your Halloween bash.

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long legged spider suckers

Spider suckersThis easy craft made my little guys smile. Not only could they make them, but they could quickly pull them apart to eat them! All you need are:

  • Suckers
  • Black pipe cleaners (4 per spider)
  • Plastic eyes
  • Glue

Here’s how:

  • Take four pipe cleaners in one hand and one sucker in the other
  • Wrap the cleaners around the stick portion of the sucker once and then twist the cleaners to make the wrap tighter (the knot will be on the bottom of the spider)
  • Extend four legs onto either side and bend the ends (for feet) about a ½ inch to ¾ inch from the end of each pipe cleaner
  • Next bend the pipe cleaners (legs) so that the spider stands up
  • Finally apply the eyes using any white non-toxic glue (although on the outside of the wrapper, better safe than sorry)

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masquerading pumpkins

Pumpkins MasqueradingThe craft room was abuzz this weekend working on ideas for our block’s Halloween party. My oldest helped with this one; he cut out the Frankenstein template for me, minus the bolts… okay, so I had to cut it out again, but his version was adorable.

Here’s what you need:

  • Halloween cookie cutter shapes (bat, owl and Frankenstein shown)
  • Black or orange ribbon
  • Rectangle hole punch (available at most any craft store)
  • Craft paper (fall and Halloween colors)
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Double sided tape
  • Small pumpkin

I simply picked out a fun cookie cutter, the bat was my favorite, and traced the outline on a piece of craft paper. Once I had the outline, I cut out the shape, punched a rectangle hole on each side and inserted the ribbon, tying a knot in each end. Finally I put a piece of double sided tape on the back of the mask and slipped it over my pumpkin pressing the mask in place.

Have fun!

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witch broom favors

Witch broom favorAll of your guests can fly high (sugar high that is) this Halloween with these fun broomstick favors. For each broomstick you’ll need:

  • Two lunch-size paper bags
  • Small branch (you could use a wooden dowel from the hardware store if you don’t have access to branches, but you’ll lose some of the spooky appeal)
  • Black twine
  • Candy

Steps:

  • Unfold one bag and push out its base (don’t tear the bottom like I did the first time) while folding in the left and right sides (see how)
  • Using scissors (or a rotor cutter and quilters mat if you have them), cut the bag into thin strips, stopping short of the base
  • Cut thin strips into the top inch of the second bag
  • Open both bags, and place the second bag inside the shredded one and fill with candy
  • Insert a small branch 1 to 1 ½ inches into the bag; cinch the top and secure it closed with black twine
Idea source: marthastewart.com

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witch brooms

witch broomsThis was my second experiment of the weekend and it also turned out well. It’s really simple and once again can be made egg and dairy free for the little ones with food allergies simply by using dairy free chocolate.

Ingredients:

  • Pretzels, small sticks (Tip: Look at your local brands, you want the thinnest pretzel stick you can find so that the chocolate holds it together easily)
  • Melting chocolate (I used Wilton’s orange candy mold chocolate; it melts easily with no clumps)
  • Decorating sugars

Tools:

  • Wax paper
  • Tie wrap
  • Resealable bag

Steps:

  • Taking 10 pretzels, tap them flat so that they are all the same length and then place a tie wrap about a 1/3 of the way down (I left one on in the picture for reference)
  • With your hand, gently turn the bottom of the pretzels to give them a fan effect so that they will stand on their own
  • Place about 4-5 chocolate blocks in a resealable bag. Heat it in the microwave for no more than 15 seconds at a time, massaging between, until you have a smooth chocolate to work with
  • Snip the corner, no more than a 1/8 inch, of your bag and pipe a dollop on the top of the pretzels. Allow it to set for a moment and then apply one pretzel stick as the handle. You may need to pipe a little extra chocolate on top so that the bottom of the stem is covered
  • Hold the handle with your finger for about 10 seconds and then it should stand on its own while it dries (Tip: You want your chocolate warm, but not hot, when you apply the handle, otherwise you’ll have to hold it much longer.)
  • Embellish with sprinkles immediately before the chocolate hardens
  • After the broom has been allowed to dry for at least 15 to 20 minutes, you can pick it up, remove the tie wrap and pipe on an icing band as decoration

Tip: Store your brooms in an air tight container if you’re not serving them immediately, otherwise your pretzels will get stale.

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no carve pumpkins

no carve pumpkinOur boys get so excited about the season each year that we typically buy our pumpkins in mid September. So that we can enjoy our pumpkins longer, we outline a carving template on our pumpkins and then color them in with a black sharpie (we ran through two large ones last year). Our neighbors and guests think they’re carved and marvel at how perfect they are. And since we can’t illuminate them from the inside, we use purple and orange lights all around our display so you can see our creations in the dark.

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caramel apples

caramel appleOne of my favorite fall treats is the caramel apple. I used to buy the sheets of caramel from the grocery store… okay, I still do sometimes, but mostly I melt down my own so that I can decorate the apples with chocolate, nuts and even crushed candy bars. These are dipped in caramel and then rolled in Butterfinger candy bars and finally topped off with drizzled chocolate. As many treats as I make, I can’t eat them all, so I often package them up and give them away. These are best in clear cello bags with a nice ribbon.

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memorable thank yous

Building on yesterday’s idea, develop the pictures you took of each child and insert them in your thank you notes. It’s a guaranteed way to make the moms smile and to make your thank you note (and party) memorable to your guests.

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buckaroo photo op

Cowboy cutoutA fun craft for any child birthday is to create a character photo op. We made this one for our cowboy birthday party so that the children could stand behind it and wear the cowboy hat. All you need is:

  • 48″ dowel, ¾ inch in diameter (available at the hardware store)
  • Two wire ties
  • Hot glue
  • Razor/box cutter
  • Sheet of craft board
  • Western shirt, jeans and vest
  • Plastic sheriff badge
  • Cowboy hat
  • Rope for belt
  • Bandana

Have your child lie down on the craft board and draw an outline of him/her. (You’ll notice that our cowboy is a little bowlegged and has one arm raised). Cut the board out using the razor and then poke holes in the center of the chest and at the belt level. Insert your wire ties and secure the cutout to the dowel. Now dress your cutout and secure the clothing with hot glue if necessary. (Tip: We used an old shirt and jeans and cut them to fit the child size.) Pin on your sheriff badge, insert the dowel in the ground (in front of a hay bale if you have one) and set the cowboy hat on top. The kids will have a great time and you’ll get fun pictures for your scrapbook.

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