Monday, October 31, 2011

It is all about the Candy!

Halloween is all about the candy in my house.  Our kids want to see how much candy they can get and then they hoard it away in their rooms. Our older son has celiac and can not eat most of the candy he gets, but he still loves the thrill of the trick-or-treating, counting out his bounty and swapping with his brother.  In the end,  most of the candy goes uneaten and remains a temptation for little critters.  This year, I wanted to see if I could create a dessert out of the leftover candy.  I started doing a search for candy friendly recipes and, little did I know, there is a lot you can make with leftover candy! 







The hardest part will be making sure the kids bring home the right candy!  I am partial to the Snickers Ice Cream Pie...maybe I can ask the boys to grab those when they are trick-or-treating?!?

Have a Happy Halloween!


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Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Party Favors

Every year we host my husband's family for Halloween since our neighborhood is filled with kids of all ages. My husband and his brother take the kids out, criss-crossing the streets for maximum loot, while I stay home with the ladies of our family. We are in charge of handing out the candy to the neighborhood kids, and getting dinner ready for the adults. It sounds so civilized and organized but, in actuality, it is a mad house! Whether my kids have school or not it is the same craziness. They start getting excited and so jumpy that feeding them dinner is almost impossible and the frenzy builds so much that, by the time our nieces and nephew arrive, it is a stampede to get out the door, costumes trailing, to get the most CANDY!  It is all I can do to stay calm and let the revelers enjoy their night!

I like to make party favors for the kids to prepare for this night. I realize it seems counter intuitive to make party favors for kids who are about to get a pillowcase full of candy, but I like to entertain, set the table to match the theme of the event and who doesn't like party favors?  For Halloween, I try to get the kids things that are not candy and are little novelties for the holiday (meaning: Party City is my go to store!)  As I look at all these homemade party favors, I think my little bucket is not worthy... you be the judge!








Here is my party favor which includes silly string, glow in the dark bracelets, silly putty, ring pops, note pad, erasers, pumpkin tattoos, etc.....

Well, what do you think?


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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pig and a Blanket

It is slow cooker time again!  With a little planning and prep work you can have dinner cooking while you go about your day.  I particularly like to use our slow cooker on Sundays when we are usually far from home for most of the day at our sons' soccer games. Knowing dinner is waiting for us when we get home and we do not have to scramble to make something is such a luxury!

Pulled Pork, Slow Cooker
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Pulled Pork takes a little more cooking time than the average slow cooker recipe but it only has 4 ingredients!   Note: Be prepared, it takes 12 hours for the pork to cook before shredding so we usually put it all together and cook it over night.  When we wake up, we shred the meat and put it back in the slow cooker for another 6 hours.

We start out with 4 lbs pork shoulder or butt, 2 large (or 3 small) onions sliced and 1 cup of ginger ale.

Layer half of the sliced onions on the bottom of your slow cooker.

Place the pork on top of the onions and then cover with the remaining sliced onions.

Pour the ginger ale over the pork and onions.  Cover the slow cooker, set the temperature to low and let it cook for 12 hours.
 

In the morning we pull out the pork and put on a rimmed cookie sheet.

Below is what is left in the pot after we pull the pork out... you can either strain it in a colander or pick out the onions and set aside like we do.  Be careful, there may be some bones that you should take out.

We take two forks and shred the pork, removing the fat, any bones and taking the good meat.

 We put the shredded pork and onions back into the slow cooker.

 We cover the pork with Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce (the 4th ingredient!), using almost half of a 28oz bottle.  Mix it all together, cover and cook on low for 6 hours.


With the pulled pork cooking we head out the door to the game.  Sitting on the sidelines during our sons' soccer games can be a lot of fun, but not when it is freezing cold, windy and damp.  Sitting for up to 2 hours chilled to the bone, can actually be kind of miserable.   With this in mind, my husband discovered Mambe Waterproof Blankets a few years ago and now we use it every game day!


You can lay the waterproof nylon side face down on the ground and sit/lay on the cozy fleece side or..

wrap yourself up in the blanket.

We use the blanket as a wind shield and extra layer of warmth.


I wish I had pictures of my family bundled up in our blanket, but I think you get the idea.  Once the game is over we roll it up, store it back in its sack for the next event.  We head home for pulled pork sandwiches with homemade coleslaw. 

Coleslaw
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I use the Dole Classic Coleslaw...

and make my own dressing:  
  • approximately 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • skim milk to thin it out.

Combine all in a bowl with a whisk.  I eyeball the mayonnaise and do the same with the milk to thin the dressing out.  I then taste it to see if it is the right flavor.



We always use Martin's potato rolls!

Viola!  Dinner is served!


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Monday, October 24, 2011

Make it Personal!

I think it is very thoughtful to give (and receive) a present that has been monogrammed.  With the weeks flying towards the holidays, there is no better time to start thinking about ordering your personalized presents.   I like to do my shopping online to avoid the impulse purchases, busy stores and carrying packages.  I found quite a few chic and special gift ideas for personalizing presents this season. 




1. iPhone/ Blackberry case to order please contact Sincerely Susan  /  2. Lunch Bag/ Cooler   /  3. Stationery Set Teacher Gift  /  4. Personalized Dopp Kit  /  5. M&M's  /  6. Canvas Tote & Small bags  /    7. Single Letter Notepads  /  8. Necklace  /  9. Yoga Mats  /  10. Monogram Pillow  /  11. Longchamp Custom Bags  /  12.  Nylon Thermal Party Tub  /  13. Chevron Stripe Personalized Stationery  /  14. Letter Belt Buckle available at the C. Wonder Stores  /  15. Mesh Bags  /  16. Custom Pet Mat

Note: be sure to check the "order by" deadlines so you do not miss out on a good thing!



The hardest part is choosing the font...Happy Shopping!



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Friday, October 21, 2011

Spring 2012

While I may be blogging for you, I also work at Paul Wilmot Communications where several times a year we host Press Previews.  These in-house events showcase our clients' new products to magazine editors and stylists.  Yesterday evening we hosted our Spring 2012 Press Previews and, as I looked around the showrooms, I seemed to notice that everything appeared to be either yellow, orange or red... just like candy corn!  Do I have Halloween on the brain?


 


 

 

 







 

 



Maybe this is what got me thinking about candy corn...



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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Getting Ready for my Close-Up!

I am finding more and more that I need to be camera ready! (Did you just burst into laughter? Because I just did when I wrote that sentence!)  I am the one who is usually taking the pictures in my house but, lately, it seems that I am the one being photographed.  This is unfamiliar territory and I want to look flawless!  Yesterday I was asked by my friends Liz Lange and Jane Wagman of Shopafrolic.com to model in their "Un-Mommy-fy your Wardrobe" for Kathie Lee and Hoda on The Today Show.  Too bad I didn't get to wear a mask, that would be too easy, but at least I did get to have my hair and makeup done for the segment.  This was the perfect opportunity for me to get some first hand tips to share with you on how to get glamorous with items you may have at home and a few new beauty secrets I picked up on set.

The make-up artist applied L'Oreal True Match Super Blendable Makeup to my face and told me that it is the best coverage for all skin tones.  It was smooth, light and I did not feel like I was wearing any makeup. The best part was it really made my skin even and flawless! ( I ran off set and bought it for $9.99 at Bed, Bath & Beyond on my way home!)

Next came the concealer.  The make-up artist had a painter's tray filled with different colors, but she liked my choice of  Laura Mercier Secret Concealer that I use at home.  She recommended that I dab it on with a flat concealer brush to get an even coverage.



Next, she dusted a pink/coral shade of bronzer/ highlighter (Similar to the one pictured from Iman Cosmetics in the shade afterglow) on the apples of my cheeks and then did a light coat of the color combination all over my face to brighten.  Be sure to use a big fluffy brush and blow off the excess so it does not go on too heavy.


She took a few seconds to fill in my brows with a powder similar to Anastasia Brow Duo.  This was one step I do not do and it made a big difference!


To make my eyes really pop on camera, she used two colors of eyeshadow; one sweep of this L'Oreal Infinite Eye Shadow shimmery taupe color on my eyelids and then the dark brown along my top lash line with a hard angle brush.


A swipe of L'Oreal Lash Out Mascara on the top and the bottom lashes and then I applied my own Anastasia lip gloss . I was DONE! (typing this took longer than her applying the makeup)



  



Here is a look at our "De-Mummified" Group.  It was much easier being in front of the camera knowing my makeup was working for ME.

To see us in action - click play on the video!
video



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