Friday, October 31, 2008

Charming Bliss Won an Award!

Crazy Crafty Cousins just gave my blog an award and I'm so honored especially since Charming Bliss is still pretty new! Thank you! You can check out their other blog awards here.

Ghost Hunters Live

I have fallen in love with the Sci-Fi series, Ghost Hunters. It's a show that follows a team of investigators as they search reportedly haunted locations trying to disprove the hauntings. When they gather substantial evidence they can't explain away, they deem the property as haunted or having paranormal activity. It's usually on Wednesday nights here, but today is a marathon. The show started running episodes at 6:00 am and will continue until they start their live investigation tonight at 5:00 and continue until midnight. If you need a good scare with your kids tonight, tune in and watch. It always sends a chill up my spine. Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

(Photo via

This is the recipe I use to make our own pumpkin seeds each year...

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

2 cups pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
Garlic salt

1-Rinse the pumpkin guts off the seeds and pat dry. The seeds need to be as dry as possible.
2-Place them on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 250 degrees for 15 minutes to dry them out so they'll absorb the sauce.
3-Melt the butter and combine with worcestershire sauce.
4-Put the seeds to a bowl and pour liquid over the top. Mix well.
5-Return seeds to cookie sheet. Bake at 275 degrees for 30 minutes, then turn them over with a spatula.
6-Sprinkle with garlic salt. Then bake for another 30 minutes or until crunchy.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Coldwater Creek Sale

Up to 70% off at Coldwater Creek and you can use the code WXH5320 to get free shipping. Now that's what I call a good deal!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Halloween Countdown Printables

I ran across this calendar with a new printable every day for your little witches and goblins to count down to the big day. You can print off new activities every day and you can go back and print all the way back to October 1st. Have fun!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Scary Scooby

Hold on, man. We don't go anywhere with "scary," "spooky," "haunted," or "forbidden" in the title. ~From Scooby-Doo

Family Packing List

Are you traveling any time soon? I'm going to spill my secret about organized packing for a family. As an avid list-maker, I have a family packing list that I use each and every time we go on vacation. I created it years ago before we had kids. It's an Excel spreadsheet. I have one column and one color for each member of the family. Hubby is blue, I'm red, and the kids are blue, green and purple.

I have sub-sections on the list.
1- The first section is travel essentials. This includes items like pillows, blankets, sleeping bags, car seats, camping chairs, airline tickets, suitcases, strollers, etc. I modify or delete these items on my list prior to printing the packing list, but I always have everything on my master list and I never save the changes.
2- The second section is clothing. Next to socks, underwear, and shoes I have a #______ to fill in the quantity needed. Then I have spaces for outfit #1, outfit #2, outfit #3....etc. This is especially helpful to list the outfits prior to packing them if you're OCD like me and make your family coordinate on the off-chance that you will capture a great picture to scrapbook one day. (That's an entirely separate post!) I also include hats, belts, swimming suits, pajamas in this section.
3- The next section is entertainment. I list the kids gaming systems, books, toys, DVDs, etc. here. I also list my books, magazines, etc.
4- Next I list toiletries. Toothbrushes, paste, makeup, vitamins, shaving supplies, combs, hair styling aids, etc.
5- The last section is for snacks. I list a couple of different snacks along with water bottles or sippy cups for the kids so I have some food on hand for hungry travelers.
6- At the top right of my packing list, I have a list of pre-travel preparations. I include things like stopping the mail, stopping the newspaper, asking a neighbor to take our garbage cans in or out, getting money from the ATM, setting lights to a timer, watering plants, gas in the car, prepaying bills, and asking the neighbors to watch the house or gather any special UPS or FedEx shipments that might arrive while we're gone.

Amazingly, this entire list fits on one page. I include checkboxes next to each item so we can color them in as we check off our list. I will say that being an organized packer makes it so we rarely forget anything. It's easier to enjoy your vacation with peace of mind. Happy packing!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dress Up Your Desktop

Here's a simple project you can do to dress up your computer screen for the season. Set one of these cute background wallpapers to your desktop and enjoy!

1. Smashing Magazine I love these. Every few days I change my desktop to one of these new backgrounds. I've used Fly by Halloween, Fairy Tale Forest, Sad Autumn, and Halloscene so far this month.
2. I love this red leaf wallpaper
3. A very cute Halloween wallpaper
4. A cute one to personalize with your own photos
5. Shabby Princess October desktop to customize with your own photos

What's on your desktop?

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Tastes of the Season

Last night after dinner at my in-laws' home, I tried the most delicious, yummy Dreyer's Apple Pie Ice Cream. It was divine. It made me realize another reason I love this time of year. There are so many delicious delectables that can only be found when the weather gets cooler. Here are a few of my favorites...

1. Dreyer's Egg Nog Ice Cream, Peppermint Ice Cream and Apple Pie Ice Cream

2. Brach's MilkMaid Candy Apple Candy Corns (Oh yummy I bought 4 bags!)

3. Pumpkin Pie

4. Pumpkin Pie Shakes (I know Arctic Circle has been advertising them)

5. Egg Nog (I saw some in my local grocery store this weekend)

6. Egg Nog Milkshakes (McDonald's starts to sell these pretty soon and they're quite good)

What seasonal foods do you love this time of year?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Autumn Weather

Now's the time when children's noses
All become as red as roses
And the colour of their faces
Makes me think of orchard places
Where the juicy apples grow,
And tomatoes in a row.
Come then, find your ball and racket,
Pop into your winter jacket,
With the lovely bear-skin lining.
While the sun is brightly shining,
Let us run and play together
And just love the autumn weather.
~Katherine Mansfield

Kitchen Storage Ideas

Got a small kitchen? Need to find some additional storage space for those kitchen gadgets, overflowing spices, and packages of food? There are some great ideas here. I especially love the idea of using a gadget bin or adding a corner cabinet (see #15).

Alternatives to Pumpkin Carving

I have to admit, I love the idea of carving pumpkins, but every year when we start scooping out the pumpkins and spend hours carving, I quickly lose steam. I thought I'd share some alternatives to carving your pumpkins.

1. Paint your pumpkins
2. Write words on the pumpkins with puffy fabric paint
3. Make a Mr. Potato Head pumpkin with a kit
4. If you can find it, make a Lego Pumpkin
5. Add vinyl silhouettes or lettering to your pumpkin
6. Punch holes into your pumpkin with a golf tee
7. Spray paint your pumpkins different colors
8. Get your pumpkin carving fix online

If you have any other ideas, let me know. I'm always looking for alternatives to getting ooey and gooey from slimy pumpkins.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Seasoning Chicken

(Photo via

I've compiled a list of some simple ideas for seasoning and flavoring your chicken.
1. Marinate in BBQ sauce
2. Rub with salt, pepper and season salt
3. Marinate in teriyaki sauce
4. Season with lemon pepper
5. Marinate in orange juice and ginger
6. Marinate in honey and mustard
7. Sprinkle with olive oil, chili powder, cayenne pepper and garlic powder
8. Use a premade marinade like Lawry's (they come in lots of flavors)
9. Marinate in italian dressing
10. Marinate in caesar's dressing
11. Marinate in Worchestershire Sauce and honey
12. Sprinkle with olive oil, garlic, basil and lemon juice

Do you have a favorite seasoning for your chicken? Share it with us!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Saving Money at the Grocery Store

(Photo via

Wednesday, Oprah Winfrey had a great show about being thrifty. She had a woman on there who had some great tips for saving money at the grocery store. I think they're definitely worth passing along. You can read a bunch of the tips here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

Today is a great day to take your family to a pumpkin patch and pick out your pumpkins. Do a little searching to see if you can find an authentic pumpkin patch rather than grabbing your pumpkins on your way out of the grocery store. Be sure to bring your camera. Most pumpkin patches have some great photo ops...bales of hay, tractors, signs, carved pumpkins, and fall decor. Even if they don't have any fall props, those bold orange pumpkins make for great photos...especially if you dress your kiddos in complementary fall colors or in contrasting blue. Get your pumpkins now while there are still plenty to choose from.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Cornflake Leaves

(Photo by me)

Cornflake leaves beneath the trees-- Are they a breakfast for the breeze?
--Thelma Ireland

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Everything Needs a Place

I have found it impossible to be organized if everything does not have a place. Think about your own home. What things get left out? What items pile up? Does your house feel cluttered?

  • You can make things so much easier if you create a place or a home for each and every item. If your bills tend to stack up in a pile on your kitchen counter, try buying a basket to hang on the wall just for bills.
  • If you have piles of clothes, laying around, is it because your closet or your dresser is too full? Maybe it's time to make some clothing donations so you can clear enough space in your closets and dressers to fit all of your clothes.
  • Are the cleaning supplies a jumbled mess under your sink? Buy a plastic container to corral everything. Not only is it great to give those cleaning supplies a home, but it's handy when you have to clean a room in another part of your house. You just pick up the container and go.
  • Do your kids have collections and tiny odds and ends that tend to pile up in random places? Give them a treasure box or a small container and let them decorate it and make it theirs.

I started this process a year ago. Since then I've consolidated and created spaces for every trouble spot in my house. It makes putting things away so much easier and it makes finding those items easier when you need them.

I issue this challenge to you today. Find one thing/group of things that needs a proper place. Identify the need and solve it. Buy a cute container or label a shelf for those items. Whatever it is, start with something small and continue until everything has it's own place.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mini Witches Brooms

(Photo and idea via
I love this idea! I think it would be great to have the kids make these and take them to grandparents or teachers on Halloween. All you need are some paper lunch bags, sticks or twigs and some black twine. You can find all of the simple directions here.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Yummiest Caramel Apples

I got this from my friend Cheree who got it from her friend Brooke. Anyway, you know the recipe has to be good if it keeps getting passed along. I made some of these last year and I plan to make them again very soon. So yummy!

4 large, firm green apples(store at room temperature)
1 bag white chocolate chips*
1 1/2 Tbls. Crisco1 (14 oz.)
1 bag Kraft caramels (comes with sticks)
2 Tbls. room tempurature water
parchment paper
Rice Krispies*
Cinnamon and Sugar

Wash and dry apples and remove stems. Push stick through top center of apples about 1/2 way down. Unwrap caramels and combine with water in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 second intervals, stirring each time until creamy. Immediately roll apples in caramel, coating completely. Place on parchment paper.

Melt chocolate chips and shortening also in a microwave-safe bowl for same 30 second intervals, stirring each time. Roll apples, covered in caramel into Rice Krispies, then in the white chocolate chips, then cover with cinnamon and sugar. Place on paper in the fridge until serving. Cut into slices for easier serving and eating.

*You can also use milk chocolate, peanut butter or mint chocolate chips. Can also top with nuts, sprinkles, cookie crumbs, M&M's, Reeses Pieces.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Shopping Online Outlets

Did you know that many stores have a regular online website, but also have an online outlet where you can find items even cheaper? If the store doesn't have an entirely separate outlet website, most do have clearance pages. Be sure to check them regularly to find great deals.

Here's a list of some online stores and their corresponding online outlets.
1. Coldwater Creek and the Coldwater Creek Outlet
2. Eddie Bauer and the Eddie Bauer Outlet
3. Chadwicks and the Chadwicks Outlet
4. Crate and Barrel and the Crate and Barrel Outlet
5. JCPenney and the JCPenney Outlet
6. Land of Nod and the Land of Nod Outlet
7. Talbots and the Talbots Outlet
8. Lands End and the Lands End Outlet
9. Overstock is nothing but an online outlet for many larger retailers

If you know of any others, please share them with me! I love a good deal!

Friday, October 3, 2008

31 Things to Do in October

(Photo via

My friend Jill made this list with fun ideas to do every day in October. A few of the ideas are local to Utah, but most can be done no matter where you live. Pick a few from the list or try them all. October is a great month to do fun things as a family.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Delicious Autumn

(Picture taken by my hubby)

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns." ~George Eliot

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Color-Coded & Labeled Containers

Happy October! Have you pulled out your Halloween decorations yet? I started this afternoon, but got stopped in my tracks when I realized that the totes all look the same. Some have labels and some don't. (For those of you who know me, you're shocked, I'm sure!) So today my post is organizational advice for myself and for any others who want to organize their holiday decorations.

1. Buy storage totes that are all the same size. It makes stacking and storing them easier.

2. If you can, buy the colored totes. They make orange and black ones for Halloween, red and green for Christmas, and pastel totes for Easter. If you keep your eyes open, you can probably find about any color to coordinate with your holiday.

3. Label, label, label! Make your labels detailed. For example, I have one container with pumpkin decorations. I use the Avery adhesive address labels and I put a pumpkin icon next to the title "Pumpkins". I make sure to stick the labels on the side of the container that faces outward.

4. Next I make a list of all the items that are stored in that box. I print the list on Avery adhesive paper, trim to size, and stick that beneath the title. This makes searching for just the right item easier and it makes putting the decorations away easier too. Hubby knows just which container items go in and they get packed back up so they all fit!

5. As you buy or receive new decorations, keep a list of them and update your content list when you pack your decorations back up at the end of the holiday season.

Hopefully these tips will help you organize your holiday cuteness. Happy decorating and even happier organizing!