Spider Web Cookies

More halloween treats anyone?

Making these cookies at Halloween has become a tradition with my kids
ever since Martha taught me (on her show) how to do them 4 years ago.
The kids are really good at them and the ones they do actually turn out really cute.

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I've seen them all over the internet this year. They are so popular.

Here is what I've learned if you want to give it a try.

Start with your favorite sugar cookie recipe. Then I used my web cookie cutter.
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Then you make the royal icing. Scroll down, I put the recipe in my very first post.

You need to make it a little thicker at first. I put some in the small bottle since you use less of the thick stuff.
Then set some aside and tint it black.
Then add a little water to the white to thin it out and this will be your "fill" bottle.
Experimenting with consistency is the learning curve in this project.
Add more powdered sugar if you get it too watery.

Now outline your cookie with the thick white.

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Now finish filling it up with the thin stuff.
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Now take your bottle of black and make a spiral. Uneven and imperfect is fine.
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Here's comes fun....

With a toothpick, start at the center and drag it to the edge.

The trick is to do this right away, when it is good and wet.
Then it flattens itself out and dries smooth, glossy and beautiful.

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Then you can wrap it up and tag it with a Halloween greeting.
We made quite a bit so my kids gave them to teachers, office staff, their principal, friends, neighbors...
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By the way, if you don't have a web cookie cutter, they are just as cute with a good old circle.
Go through the same steps.
round webs

No excuses now.

Set your butter out to soften for that sugar cookie dough.

p.s. This go around, Justin requested some bats too. So we did bats and I thought they needed a moon.
I used a bowl to cut a huge moon and made the bats fly on it. They turned out cute too.
bat cookie
p.s.s. I made a little cake for the cake walk at a Halloween party.
Just made a plain old cake and put 3 huge spiders crawling up the sides. Kinda creepy.
spider cake

Last Minute Halloween Costumes

I know you all are on top of your game and have your kids Halloween costumes all set to go, but just in case you need some ideas I thought I would share some of our easy/thrift store combo costumes over the past few years. Then, let me know your easy ideas 'cause I'm looking at figuring out six costumes next year.

Your classic Hobo
Thrift store pants and vest with fabric patches sewn on, a bowler hat (if that's what those are called), a stick, bandana, some fake facial hair, and not making your kid brush his hair. Voila!

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Little Angel

This little girl of mine pretty much wants a pretty dress, wings and sparkles in her hair every Halloween. For our angel we found a basic mostly white church dress, bought pink wings and a halo, oh and lots of glitter hairspray. She was in heaven.

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Ballerina Fairy

More wings, this time with a tutu and tiara, and more glitter hairspray.

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Belle for your pre-teen on her last year of trick-or-treating

This was a yellow prom dress courtesy of a cousin, that looked enough like Belle to make it work.

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Frankenstein

One of my favorites, especially with the acting job. For this I took another trip to the thrift store for a jacket that I ripped the sleeves off of. It was in the womens section (don't tell him) which was great because we needed the shoulder pads. Thrift store greenish small pants which I zig-zag cut along the bottom and a green long sleeve shirt we had. The best investment were the bolts that went on his neck from a Halloween store, they looked awesome. Add some black hairspray and green face paint.

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Gingerbread Girl

Get out your hot glue gun girls! Take a brown shirt and pants and glue on rick rack and pom poms. Then have a treat because it turned out so cute.

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Wilma Flintstone

Since I refuse to spend lots of money for my teenager for just a church party, this Wilma costume was perfect. Find a white dress at the thrift store, cut jagged along the bottom and one strap off. Make sure not to hem that, it looks more authentic. For the necklace I covered ping pong balls with a little masking tape, spray painted it white and ran some fishing line through them with a needle. Add some red hairspray and a shirt underneath because she's only 14.

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Penelope

If you haven't seen the movie, skip ahead, you won't get it. I found this long purple coat on clearance at Target last week and bought the girl a pig nose. For most of the night she had the scarf on her nose like Penelope. I bought bright buttons to sew on the coat but since she actually likes the coat and says she will wear it the buttons were ditched.

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Stick Man

Ok, I don't have a picture of this yet but it really was fun when we did it for a church party. It was my son's idea and I had no idea if it would work, but it did and it was totally cool. He wore all black and then we taped and pinned the thin necklace glow sticks to him to look like a stick man, don't forget the round one for the head. He would go out in the field and dance around and everyone loved it. Soooo cheap and easy. Maybe he should patent it.

Pretty Pony Party

Camille wanted a pony party based on a pink and purple cake here in Family Fun. In my search for ideas all I could find was western, cowboy etc pony parties. That's not what my girly girl four year old wanted. So, the pretty pony party evolved.

The invitation which is not my favorite, but I made with paper and fabric on hand so, bonus.

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I looked on the internet for hobby horses to buy, I really did. But, they weren't pretty. So I met Karen on this video series here and it looked so fun, I officially had a bee in my bonnet to make 12 pretty pony hobby horses.

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It's not that I regret that decision but you should probably start on the project sooner than two days before the party. It will make your husband happier.

The party guests arrived and put on "pony tails."

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Then they chose their pretty pony, they were all a little different and then they chose a pony name like "Buttercup" "Fancy" "Magic Star" etc and we attached their tag.

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We went outside with our ponies to play games like "Pony, Pony, Horse" instead of "Duck, Duck, Goose," "Mother May I" (Mother may I take three pony gallops, two clip clops, one pony leap etc), and then just pranced around like a pretty pony should.

Then the party guest arived at the Pretty Pony Beauty Shop where I had all sorts of little clips, bells, curling ribbon on barrettes, feathers etc out for them to fancy up their pony by decorating their yarn manes. I put out Camille's pretend makeup kit from Build A Bear, too. I cracked up when the little girl whose mom is a hairdresser actually did a really cute hairdo for her pony.

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Then we had our pretty pony cake and presents.
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Then the girls went home with their pony and their Adoption Certificate. I had to convince a few of them that they could actually keep their ponies. Apparently I'm not usually that nice.

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Making those ponies did almost put me over the edge but considering that was all I had to do for games, activities, and favors, it was worth it. The purple fabric wasn't my first choice but it fit the budget and the ponies only ended up being about 5 dollars each. I would like to thank the academy... oh, I mean Dave for cutting my dowels, Dad for bringing the circular saw over to my house and helping me score the dowels, my hubby for painting all the dowels pink, my oldest for helping my curl loads of curling ribbon, Ash for making me (I mean encouraging me to) post this party, and my kids for watching me make the yarn manes and telling me they were cool, it helped ease the pain. Happy Birthday little Camille!

Candy Corn

Candy Corn begs to be mimicked.
Pretty much you can turn any food into halloween refreshments by
forming a triangle and adding the colors white, orange, and yellow/ brown.
I've seen so many cute things done.

I love doing sugar cookies with royal icing, but this week after the triangles were baked, I ran out of time.
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So the much faster route was to use the squeze bottles I love
and put some melted chocolate in them instead.

Then I zig-zagged like a crazy lady.
Really, I did the whole 3 pans in about 10 min.
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The result was not fabulous.
But I think it successfully resembled a candy corn, so I called it a halloween treat.
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And chocolate on a sugar cookie is a very close second to frosting on a sugar cookie.

p.s. Are you bored of my food posts? Or just bored of pictures with a brown granite backdrop?
Stay tuned because any second now, Kathryn is going to post her fabulous "pretty pony party."

It's chili... Make chowder!

It's getting cold. It makes me feel like my favorite soup, corn chowder.
To really warm your soul, put it in a bread bowl.
Then you can pretend you are eating it on a wharf in San Francisco.
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This recipe came from my mom and I tweaked it a tiny bit.
Peel and dice 6-7 potatoes. Set aside

Chop 3/4 cup carrots and celery, 1/2 a yellow onion and 1 tsp. fresh garlic.
If you're Martha, you can call these four ingredients your mirapois.
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Now in a healthy sized pot, pour a little e.v. olive oil. Heat.

Now toss in the carrots for a minute or two. They need a small head start.
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Throw in the celery, garlic and onion. Toss them around for one more minute. "Sweat them."
(Don't cook all the way or they will be too soft by the end).
Add a generous amount of salt and pepper.
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Now throw in the potatoes and cover them with water.
I don't measure, but enough to boil them, about and inch over the top.
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While it's boiling, make your white sauce.
Or if you're Martha, you can call it your b├ęchamel sauce.

Start with the roux (equal parts butter and flour).
1/2 cup butter (melt it in another sauce pan) and add 1/2 cup flour.
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Now add 2 1/2 cups of milk. (Make sure you heat it to room temp before you add it. It is a must).
Add 1 cup grated parmesan cheese.
(At no point in making the white sauce do you stop stirring. Burning on the bottom is against the rules).
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Your potatoes should be firm, but almost done.
After the cheese is melted in, pour everything into your undrained veggie pot.
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Stir. Add 2 cans cream corn. Stir. Add 1 cup frozen sweet white corn.

Now just warm it all up another minute or two. Keep stirring. Burned chunks are gross.
Salt and pepper more to taste.
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Fall in love with this soup.
Please, if you don't put in a bread bowl, you must dip some french bread in.
Garnish with more parmesan cheese and little chopped Italian parsley.

Spiders in my bonnet- (lame joke, I know)

Here's another halloween treat for ya.
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I know, I know, the last thing you need in your life is more junk food around the house.
-Just give them away, so someone else has to deal with mustering up the will-power.

So I made red velvet cake for the first time. I used this recipe.
I mixed the red food coloring and coco before hand and set it aside...

...........and when we added that ingredient, I told my kids it was blood. He he he.
I had Jenna and Justin believing me. Lindsey didn't buy it though.
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Of course we would use blood in spider-web cupcakes.
That's what spiders like.

I slathered them with some cream cheese frosting (which was the best part).

Then for the web....
Let me introduce you to my little melty chocolate/ frosting bottles that look like clear ketchup bottles.
They are some of my best friends. I love them a lot.
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You just draw a little web on wax paper then put em in the fridge (flat) for about 5 minutes.
They will pop off and jump right onto your cupcake. Almost.

So here they are.
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The only thing missing is the spider.
That is on purpose.
I hate spiders in the most serious way.

p.s. I would like to refute my sisters comment on the pumpkin popcorn balls...
My mess was on the other counter.

pumpkin popcorn balls

When Lindsey and Will get together, they always beg to do a project.
This time they got together, they were hungry and bored....

Here was the remedy.
popcorn balls

Jello popcorn is tried and true around here. So easy. Surprisingly tasty.
I had orange jello on hand and happened to have some leftover candy from a candy mix bag.

Genius moment.... I actually had the stuff and didn't have to run to the store.

Here's the recipe:
In microwavable bowl, melt 1/2 c butter,
Stir in a 3oz. box of jello (orange in this case). and 1/4 cup corn syrup.
Microwave again until it reaches a full boil (try 1 min. then more if needed). Stir.
Mix in 1/4 tsp. baking soda. Stir for 2-3 minutes.
Mix in 12 cups popcorn. I never actually measure, I just add until its all covered evenly.
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Microwave the whole thing for 30 seconds more.
-You can do more if you prefer it crispy instead of gooey.

Then have the kids form them into balls.
We use plastic bags with a little non-stick spray on them as gloves for the kids.
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I had green laffy taffys, green sour licorice and green and brown tootsie rolls.
The brown miniatures were the stem and I found the green tootsie rolls were easy to form into the leaf.
pumpkin popcorn balls

It was fun, quick, kid friendly and cute.
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