Mario & Luigi Halloween Costumes

This year I decided to bite the bullet and make my children's Halloween costumes. In years past I have purchased nicer costumes for them and then either added accessories or made alterations where needed.

With all of the preparations for the hubs Mario themed birthday party, it seemed like there was no other choice than to have them go as Mario and Luigi. Plus I am not sure how long they will go for 'themed' costumes, so I am taking advantage as long as I can.

I'm not going to do a full tutorial since lot of it was flying by the seat of my pants. I will point out a few things though.

  • I used this tutorial for a base on the overalls. I found there weren't quite enough instructions on the bib and back, but great for the pants
  • I used a pair of denim skirt overalls to make a pattern for my Mario.
  • I wimped out on the button holes and just used sew-on velcro to keep the overalls on.
  • I was able to find the blue material at a Walmart "fabric road show." So it was a 5 yard bolt for $5. I have at least 2 yards left, so talk about a smoking deal!
  • Total Cost: About $5(material + buttons)
Shirts - Came from Dollar Tree! I also bought a long sleeve option for Mario, but it is so warm, I don't think she will be using it. Total Cost: $2

  • I found the Pattern for the Hats over on the Givers Log.
  • I am not so good with patterns so after a lot of frustration trying to visualize it, I just followed the directions and they turned out great. Lesson: If you don't know what you are doing, just follow the directions!
  • Total Cost: $3
  • I found some of those eyeglass/nose/mustache disguises at the Dollar Store. I found two where I liked the shape of the mustache and then just removed the mustache.
  • I super glued on some clear jewelry cording so they can wear it around their heads.
  • The cried that they were hurting at first, so I covered the back with black felt to make it softer.
  • Total Cost: $2
Gloves:(Not Pictured)
  • I bought some of those "magic stretch" gloves from the $1 bins at Joanns.
  • I had to make one pair smaller for Mario. It was a nightmare, and I hate hand sewing, but they will work.
  • Total Cost: $2
Total Cost for 2 costumes: $14
Yippee! I don't even think you can get a cheapy plastic one for $7. The store bought Mario and Luigi costumes were $20 each. Plus, I think these are way cuter.

Have a great Halloween!

Quick Halloween Project: Candy People

Here is a great last minute Halloween idea. Quick and easy but they still have that handmade touch to it too. I saw this idea on Trey and Lucy and totally loved it. She made them with her kids, so I decided I could too. (Go and check out how her's look. They are super cute and a little different.)
I let them pick out the combination of heads and bodies. They counted out the arms and legs too. I handled hot gluing everything together.

I used Pumpkin and Pirate lollipops for the heads. Glued on a fun sized candy bar for the body. Then I finished it up with four pack of smarties for the arms and legs. All the candy I used came from the Dollar store.



Close up of a pirate:

Our army of candy men:

My kids had a great time helping out with this. They were so proud of themselves and thought it was really fun.

Excuse 'ole crazy eyes and hair in the front. She does enjoy her candy with a sort of manic glee.

So run out to the store and pick up some candy for your parties and trick or treating OR..... pick up the heads and bodies on clearance after Halloween and wait for Christmas candy to show up in the store to make some Christmas themed candy men.

Wendy's Pick 2 Winner

Thanks to everyone that entered the Wendy's gift card giveaway. The winner is . . .

Comment #11 - Kathy! She said she would like to try the Cobb salad and a Frosty.
Sound yummy Kathy, now you get a chance to!

CLOSED: Wendy's Pick 2 Luncheon and GIVEAWAY!

This GIVEAWAY is CLOSED. Thanks for entering!

Wendy's has launched a new menu called the Pick 2. You choose one of four, 1/2 size salads and one other item out of seven options. They are so excited about this new menu that Wendy's and got together and hosted a luncheon for bloggers to come and try out the new options.

I went with the Apple Pecan Chicken salad and a frosty. It was seriously tasty. Two different varieties of apples, cranberries, pomegranate vinaigrette, pecans, oh and some chicken and greens too. ;) I have never ordered a Wendy's salad before, so I was pleasantly surprised that the half portion was so large. It was a great salad and as much as I would like to try the other options, I think I will order this one again next time. It was that good.

I also loved that I was able to meet up with a bunch of my local blogger buddies. I didn't get nearly as many pictures as I wanted of everyone, but here are a few:

Tenille, Jax, and Denise

Steph hamming it up for the camera.

Here was how this fun lunch date ended, I was in the clean plate club

Yummy! I would definitely recommend trying out this Pick 2 menu.

Here is the good news, you CAN try out the Pick 2 menu. As part of our luncheon I was given a $7 gift card to Wendy's to giveaway to one of my readers. Sweet!

Here is how you can enter to win the $7 Wendy's giftcard:
Go check out the Wendy's Pick 2 Menu and leave me a comment with which two items you would pick. That would be one salad, and one additional item from the list. That's all I need for this one! Please include your email address, so I can notify you if you win.

The giveaway will run until next Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 7pm AZ time. The winner will be chosen using the number generator. The winner will have 48 hours from the time I notify them to claim their prize. After 48 hours, I will pick a new winner.
Good luck to everyone!

Fine print time: Just in case it wasn't clear earlier, I am working with Wendy's and The Motherhood. I will be receiving a stipend for attending and promoting the Pick 2 menu.
(I would have given it a glowing report regardless. It was mighty tasty!)

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Monsters

My 4 year old was assigned to bring the snack into Preschool on Wednesday. I was excited it was so close to Halloween, so I could come up with a Halloween theme.
I have seen lots of Halloween food ideas, but a lot of them are very sugary and candy filled, so I wanted to avoid those for a preschool snack.
I saw these ghost pretzels featured on Craft Gossip, Edible Crafts and knew I had a winner.Align Center
(Originally posted on PBS Parents)

I decided I wanted to branch out a bit and try some other monsters too. So today I am going to show you my Pretzel Mummies and Frankensteins.

What you need:
  • Rod Pretzels
  • Candy Melts or Candy Coasting - I used White Chocolate, Regular Brown, and 'Spooky Green' candy melts
  • An edible ink pen or toothpick to draw on faces
Step 1. Dip all your pretzels once. White for mummies and green for Frankenstein.

Step 2. After the chocolate has set draw on your Mummy eyes.

Step 3. Using a spoon or cutting a corner in a ziploc bag, drizzle the chocolate back and forth over the pretzel. This will make th bandages. I like to get reallly close to the eyes. I even went in between some of the eyes or partially covered them.

Step 4. Let them set lying down just to make sure your bandages don't run and drip. You don't want to get those eyes covered up!
Step 5. Optional: Once the front has set, you can add more 'bandages' to the back. I didn't, but you may want to.

Step 1: Dip your pretzel rods in green candy melts and let it set.
Step 2. Dip just the tip in brown or black for Frankenstein's hair. Let set.

Step 3. Using your Food dye pen, draw on some eyes, a stitched up mouth, and neck bolts.

My pen started giving me fits half way through so I decided to switch to using the melted chocolate for the faces. It was late and I was tired, so I just went at the rest of my Franketsteins with a toothpick and the chocolate. I think putting some chocolate in a ziploc and cutting a teeny tiny hole in the corner would work much better.

Here are my finished pretzel monsters again. They were a huge hit at preschool! That is a good thing, because making 48 of them sure did take a long time! Each child got 2 pretzels and some apple slices. Sounds like a snack I wouldn't mind having myself!

Spooky and delicious!

Tie-Dyed Pumpkin T-shirts

In one last effort to procrastinate before I start the kids costumes, let me share this fun project with you.
I saw these Tie-dye pumpkin shirts in the Family Fun Magazine Halloween edition and fell in love.

Arizona weather for you: Shorts, t-shirts, and sandals on October 19.

They were very easy to make and very fast with the hands-on tasks(Pre-washing the shirts and letting the dye soak in took some time)

Here is the Family Fun Magazine example.

I will link up to there directions, but here are the simple steps.
1. Get a white t-shirt and some fabric dye.
2. For one big pumpkin, gather the shirt in the middle and put one rubberband to make the white outline.
3. Dye your shirt according to the package instructions. I used dye in a bottle, and it said to let it sit for 6-8 hours.
4. Use Fabric paint or markers to draw in pumpkin faces.

My kids really loved their shirts. I loved that I got the white shirts from the dollar store! I probably spent about $3 on each completed shirt. That includes the shirt, dye, and a fabric marker.

Here is the family fun tutorial including pictures:

Sign up for Swagbucks today!

If you haven't yet joined Swagbucks, today is a great day. They are offering a bonus 20 swagbucks for signing up today through 4pm Pacific.

Here is a brief intro I wrote about Swagbucks awhile back:
Have you ever heard of Swagbucks before? Essentially it is a search engine where you can earn "bucks" for your everyday internet searches. Then you can trade in those bucks for prizes or gift cards on their website. They have tons of gifts to choose from, but my favorite is the Amazon $5 gift card. What can't you find on Amazon? I am saving up my bucks and am planning to use the money I've earned on Christmas presents. I know some people us their Swagbucks to buy Toilet Paper and essential items on Amazon as well.

I do want to interject that I am one of the most skeptical people in the world when it comes to stuff like this. Before I was willing to sign up I talked to other people and did lots of research. SwagBucks really is legitimate.

In addition to doing your regular internet searching there are a lot of other ways you can earn Swagbucks. They are:
  • Swagbucks Toolbar
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Swagbucks Blog
  • Swag Code "hunts" - these are usually announced on their blog

Here is how you can sign up and get your extra 20 swagbucks. Below is the Swagbucks Widget or Swidget. First click on the Swagcodes button and it will give you a special code to use when you sign up. Then click on the sign up link and you can get all signed up and on your way.

You can also follow this link to sign up!
If you have any problem seeing the code in the widget, let me know!
Happy Swagging!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

As most everyone knows, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Most of my followers probably also know I have been raising money for my sister so she can participate in the Susan G Komen 3 day for the Cure. Here in Arizona that will occur starting on November 11, 2010.
Here's Cedar with her rocking pink hair. She went pink to show her support and raise awareness.

Cedar is getting so close to her goal. She needs $400 more dollars to reach her $2300 required donation.
We really need your help to get that last final jump to the goal. I have had a standing deal since the end of July. Donate $15 and receive a washer necklace or keychain as a thank you gift from me! This is the last time I am going to advertise these Breast Cancer Awareness Accessories, so if you have been waiting to donate, now is the time.

Here is the deal:
1. Donate at least $15 through the Susan G Komen website to Cedar Bennett's page.
2. Forward me a copy of the PDF receipt that they send you. You are welcome to black out personal information you don't want me to see.
If you choose to make your name and donation amount public, you can email me that you have donated and I can check her account that way.
3. We will work out if you want a necklace or a keychain and any sort of personalizations you might like.

About the Washer accessories:
  • Each washer is two sided. One side has a pretty design and the second side has the Breast Cancer ribbon and some wording. How you choose to wear it is up to you. Either way you have a cute accessory. :)
  • Each washer(necklace or keychain) has a pretty clear bead with a pink ribbon running through it that dangles in the center of the washer
  • You get to pick between a 30" necklace or a keychain

Necklace Example Side 1:
Necklace Side 2:

Keychain Example Side 1:

Keychain Side 2:

Here are the wording options for the awareness side:
  • Once you choose hope, anything's possible(pictured)
  • Find a Cure (pictured)
  • I survived!
  • In memory of . . .
  • Celebrate Life

What do you get out of donating?
  • Warm Fuzzy feelings
  • A tax deduction - (You are donating directly to the charity so the tax deduction is all yours)
  • A pretty accessory
  • Getting closer to a cure for cancer. Who doesn't want that?

I have linked up keywords to Cedar's account but here is the link again:
If you have problems with the link:
You can go to
Click on Donate to a Participant
Search for Cedar Bennett
Click on her name and then click on "Click to donate to Cedar in 2010".

Both Cedar and I are so appreciative to everyone that has donated up to this point. Thanks for taking the time to read this post, and thanks in advance for supporting the search for a cure for Breast Cancer.

Here is the link to the original post about the washer necklaces, if you missed it the first time.
I also have a button on my sidebar, please help me spread the word. I would be so thankful.

I'll keep you posted if we make it to the $2300. I have such awesome readers, I know we can get there. Thanks again everyone!

Paper Witch Hat Treat Boxes

Last week at church we had a card making night. One of my friends, Chantae, made a sample 'card' that I LOVED! Check out these cute little witch hat treat boxes. She even had the instructions for how to make them.

It's a little treat box . This would be perfect to tuck a few pieces of candy and take to your Visiting Teaching sisters or for your kids class.

Then when I got home, I decided to recreate the directions and make some more treat boxes to share. Of course I had to make a shortcut and create a SVG file so making these hats are super quick. Perfect if you decide you want to take these for a whole class of kids.
Don't worry though, if you don't have a Cricut and Sure Cuts a Lot, I also have directions for making this from scratch in a PDF document.
You can purchase Sure Cuts a Lot here for your Cricut if you don't have it already.

Download PDF instructions and picture tutorial:
Download the Treat box SVG(zip file):

This is a picture tutorial for putting the hat together. It is part of the PDF instructions. Read the PDF for complete instructions and all the dimensions.

Here are a few more of my completed hats:
This one has 1" orange grosgrain ribbon with silver 'fuzzy' ribbon on top. A big purple button acts like the hat buckle.

I wanted to make one for the more sophisticated witch. I had this cute lace trim and I threaded some silver ribbon through the trim. The spider stamp is stamped directly onto the hat in silver.

Here is the first one I made at Relief Society. I stamped that little spider on some paper for the band.

If you have any questions or have problems downloading the files, let me know. I'd love to see if you make any!

Cooking for Geeks and a Recipe Request

My sweet husband went on a limb this year and got me a birthday gift that was a surprise. I love surprises but I can also be impossible challenging to shop for, so he has his work cut out for him.
Well he did GREAT! He got me a book called Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food. It has some recipes but it teaches more about the science of cooking and why things taste good.

I have only thumbed through the book so far but it is full of awesome tips that I can't wait to share.

Here's the first one on calibrating your oven without a thermometer.
Place a spoonful of sugar in a oven safe bowl or foiled cookie sheet and set your oven to 350 degrees F. The sugar should stay in a powder form even after an hour. If it melts, your oven cooks hot. Then turn your oven up to 375 degrees F and the sugar should be melted within 15 minutes. If it doesn't melt then your oven is colder than it says.

I love this tip. Way less expensive than buying an oven thermometer!

Now a call for some recipes. I am wanting to expand my recipe horizons and have a goal to try one new recipe a week. I'd love to hear some recipe suggestions from you. It doesn't have to be an original recipe, just something you really enjoy to make and eat.
Leave a comment with a link to the recipe or you can email it to me at

If all goes well I plan to share the recipes as I make them.

Happy Birthday to me!

Sorry no project today. It's my birthday and I am just relaxing and having a fun day. I'm 29 years old today. The last numbered birthday I'll ever acknowledge. Ha ha!
This morning, I took the kids to the zoo and I plan on cozying up with Mockingjay during naptime. I'll be back to crafting soon.

To get your crafting fix, go check out some nightstands that Anne Marie at Twice Lovely redid. She is on a big metallics kick right now and I LOVE everything. Seriously, Anne Marie is amazing with her makeovers.

Here is the before shot:

If you want to see how amazing they look afterward go follow this link. Twice Lovely: go check it out!
Have a great day and I'll be back soon!
Today I was making a Peanut Butter Ball to take in to a friend and I realized that I NEED to share this awesome measuring cup. This particular one is called the Kitchen Art 2-Cup Measuring Adjust-A-Cup.

If I recall, I originally saw it on an episode of Good Eats with Alton Brown. He is one of my culinary heroes. He is one smart cookie!
Anyways, back to the measuring cup. It is the best thing ever for measuring sticky and gooey ingredients. You pull the plunger to the correct measurement and fill up the cup with your ingredient. Then you push the plunger back up and your ingredient comes right out. No mess or fuss. In this case it was sticky peanut butter, I needed to measure. I've also used it for honey and it works great for that too. (It's also easy to clean too. That's a must for me, I stink at doing the dishes!)

I'm not being paid or compensated in any way for this. I just really love this measuring cup. Christmas is coming up, so you can add it to your Christmas list. Or buy it now to make all your holiday baking easy.
You can click on the picture above to see it at Target. You can find it on Amazon too!

What are your must have kitchen gadgets??