Halloween Cookie Pops

cookie pops

I usually make sugar cookies for my kids to take to school on Halloween but this year I am just not feeling it. Decorating sugar cookies is incredibly time consuming and I needed something quick and easy to make that still looked yummy and cute.

I thought about making cake pops but then I remembered that I attempted to make them in the summer for Sofie’s birthday party. While they tasted great they were not aesthetically pleasing. I may have also gotten incredibly angry during the making of said cake pops. The memory of that nightmare is still too fresh so I decided to pass on trying to make them again.

While on Pinterest I spied some cookie pops. Now that I can do. All you need is some Oreo cookies, lollipop sticks, candy melts and some sprinkles. Easy peasy lemon squeezy as Sofie would say.

Halloween Cookie Pops

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Melt your candy melts. I melt mine in the microwave in 20 second intervals.

Take your lollipop stick and push it into the side of a cookie

Dip the end of the stick into the candy melts and put it back into the hole in the cookie. Let this harden for a few minutes before you dip your cookie.

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Dip your cookie into the candy melts. Let the excess drip off.

Immediately cover with sprinkles.

I cover a cookie sheet in sprinkles and press the cookie into the sprinkles. I find it easier and not as messy.

Let them dry for a few hours or over night

Package in little bags and tie with a cute ribbon

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I made 60 of these in 2 hours and that includes packaging them. Sugar cookies would have taken me 6 hours to bake and decorate, and it took me over an hour to make 16 cake pops in the summer. I will definitely be doing these again. They are quick, easy and tasty.

A perfect little snack that the kids can give to all their friends.

Happy Halloween!

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DIY Peacock Costume

feathers

 

 

For the past several years I haven’t had anything to do with Sofie’s Halloween costumes. Shannon, her dad’s girlfriend always took care of it. Shannon is very crafty and can sew a straight line so I had no problem handing the Halloween reins over to her. This year Sofie asked me to make her costume. I was hesitant but I said okay.

She decided she wanted to be a peacock. Piece of cake I thought. Then she told me she wanted to look like Katy Perry. Well that wasn’t going to happen so we set about designing our own version.

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While the costume was neither difficult nor time consuming, it was messy. Glitter and feathers all over the place.

Despite sweeping, vacuuming and mopping the floor there are still traces of glitter from the tulle I used.

But the mess was worth it. Sofie is very happy and she looks like a gorgeous peacock.

Here is the cost break down:

I ordered the feathers off Ebay. They were shipped from China and only cost $7 for 50 feathers. I thought that was a bargain.

I used four different colours of tulle. Each was two yards. This was the most expensive part at $40

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The body suit and shoes came from a consignment shop and were $10 for both

The hair clip and pin on the front of her costume are from Hobby Lobby, it was $5 for both

So it wasn’t the cheapest costume to make but the look on her face when she saw it completed was priceless.

DIY Peacock Costume Instructions

Measure the elastic around your child’s waist. Sew the ends together.

My tulle was 54 inches in width. I folded the tulle in half and layered the four colours on top of each other.  Starting at the fold I cut the tulle in to three inch sections.

Knot the layered tulle around the elastic. I put my elastic around the back of a chair to make the knotting easier.

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Glue the peacock feathers into the knots.

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For the hair clip I glued several feathers in the middle of the plume. The extra weight made it tip backwards a bit so I added a thin piece of card board for some stability.

I knew that Sofie would love the sparkly shoes but I thought the bow on the front didn’t fit the peacock vibe. I cute out two pieces of black felt (one for each shoe) that was the size and shape of the toe. I then glued 3 trimmed feathers on to the felt and attached it to the shoe with hot glue. I finished it off with 3 faux gem stones.

I used an electric blue eyeliner and purple, green and blue eye shadow on her eyes. Believe it or not those are not fake eye lashes. Sofie has the most beautiful lashes. I am so jealous.

 

 

sofie peacockFor an inexperienced costume maker I think it turned out pretty well. Most importantly Sofie is thrilled with it.

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10 tips to help you sell your home

There are some houses that sell the day they hit the market and there are others that languish for months. In amongst the real estate folk it is often said that you can think of listings as being a swamp. In the first two weeks you are floating on top and easily visible but as time progresses you sink to the bottom and are forgotten. Nobody wants their house to be at the bottom.

So how do you stay on top?

Well there are some simple tips that anyone can do to help up the resale value of your home and help it to sell quickly.

 

tips to sell

1. Clean

Yep it’s that simple. Clean like you have never cleaned before. Buyers are superficial and judgmental and not because they are terrible people but because they are spending a ton of money and want to know that you take pride in your home and that it is well looked after. The smell of Pine Sol goes a long way.

Of course you will tidy up before prospective buyers come through, but do you go the extra mile and clean around the bottom of the toilet? Make sure everything is spotless. Clean the finger prints off the oven door, mop behind the toilet, dust your baseboards and clear your fridge of art work, school notes and schedules. It’s those little details that show buyers that you care about your home.

2. Clear the clutter

This goes hand in hand with cleaning. People want to see your home not your stuff. Put away the stack of magazines on the coffee table, remove your children’s art work from the fridge and clear the counter tops in the kitchen and bathrooms. Storage is something that buyer are always looking for. If your home seems cluttered they will assume that if there isn’t room for all your stuff there won’t be room for theirs and they will move on.

A perfect example of a cluttered room is my office. Things pile up quickly and I don’t always put things away when I am done with them. A buyer needs to see how big the work space is, not how much junk the desk can hold.

3. Use storage containers

If your closets are barely able to close because you put all of your clutter into them it will turn a buyer off. Instead use storage bins. It keeps everything looking clean and organized and as an added bonus you will be getting a head start on packing.

4. Open the windows and let in the light

Fresh air and sunlight are synonymous with happiness. Showing off all the natural light your home gives your house a warm and welcoming feel. If you don’t have a lot of natural light turn on accent lighting or any decorative lights you may have.

5. Make your home smell good

I have had experiences where I have walked into homes and been knocked over by the smell of pets or a musty basement. It is not pleasant. A simple trick is to simmer some water, cinnamon sticks, apple slices and vanilla on the stove. I use that in the winter. In the spring and summer I simmer lemon grass oil, lemon slices, vanilla and rosemary. Both smells are fantastic and cover up any odours that some people may find offensive. Try to avoid room sprays as many people are allergic or sensitive to them.

6. Have a plan for your pets

I don’t mind going into a house with cats as they usually keep to themselves. I do take issue with being knocked over by an excited or protective dog. Please take your dogs with you. Most showings last 15 minutes to 1 hour so take Fido for a walk to avoid a potentially unwelcome interaction.

7. Outdoor maintenance

Some quick weeding and mowing the lawn can make a huge difference in the curb appeal of your home. Clear the sidewalks and driveway of obstructions such as snow, leaves and children’s toys. Make sure that if there is any rot on your porch or pillars that it is taken care of before you list your house.

8. Finish the unfinished

This is a picture of my kitchen ceiling. It has been like this for over a year. There was a leak but it has since been repaired and Chris hasn’t gotten around to finishing it off. If I were selling my home this would probably raise more than a few red flags for a buyer. Not only does it look awful but it makes buyers think that there are plumbing issues.

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9. Stage your home

Make sure your home is staged to appeal to buyers. Keep the décor neutral and make sure your whole house is organized. Place throw pillows on the couch and add a couple of blankets for a comfy look. set your home apart from other houses the buyers have looked at. Arrange the furniture so that your home has a good flow. If necessary hire a stager or rent furniture that you think will showcase your home best.

 

10. Leave

This is so important. If you are lingering during a showing the buyers will not feel comfortable. If they don’t feel like they can properly inspect the home they may take a pass on your house. That being said it is your home and if you do not feel comfortable with having strangers in your home then please sit outside or in a room that the buyer isn’t in.

Trying these quick and easy tips should help you sell quickly and end up with a few more dollars in your pocket.

 

 

Lobster Mac and Cheese

I think I have strep throat. It feels like there is a grapefruit sized lump in there that is making it impossible to swallow. The sickness isn’t the only thing making me feel crumby. I have left over Lobster Mac and Cheese in my fridge and I can’t eat it! I’m sure Chris and Callum don’t mind. They love it just as much as I do.

Lobster Mac and Cheese is a fall/winter staple in our house. It’s decadent, rich and flavourful but also easy to make. In the time it takes to cook your pasta you can make your cheese sauce. The bread crumb and butter topping adds a nice crunch and an extra bit of rich flavour. The best part is that there are always left overs so you can eat it for days.

Lobster Mac and Cheese- Serves 6

lobster

1/2 lb penne

2 cups whole milk

4 table spoons butter divided

1/4 cup flour

2 cups (6 oz) grated gruyere cheese

1 cups (4 oz) grated sharp cheddar

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1 lb lobster meat cut into chunks

1 cup bread crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Cook pasta to al dente

3. While pasta is cooking heat the milk in a microwavable container or warm in a small sauce pan on the stove. Do not boil

4. In a large sauce pan melt 3 tbsp. of butter. Add in the flour and cook, whisking constantly for 1-2 minutes.

5. Whisk in the hot milk and add the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook until thick. You will know it is ready when it clings to the back of a spoon.

6. Add cheese and whisk until completely melted.

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7. Add pasta and lobster to the sauce. Stir to combine. Pour into a casserole dish

8. Mix remaining melted butter with the bread crumbs and sprinkle over top of the Mac and Cheese

9. Cook at 375 for 30 minutes

This recipe can be doubled. I have doubled it several times and always turns out amazing

 

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Cheesy deliciousness! I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I do.

A mother’s love

 

I would like to take a moment to introduce you to a friend of mine. Her name is Kyla and she is the mother of two beautiful girls and a precocious little boy.

Kyla shares the struggles that most mothers can relate to. Being over tired, feeling over worked and playing therapist, maid and care giver to her family.

There is one struggle that I can not relate to. Her daughter Mischa has Asperger’s Syndrome.

Mischa is a wonderful girl. Sweet and loving with an affinity for animals. To see her and listen to her you wouldn’t know that internally she struggles to feel comfortable in social situations.  To see her in class you wouldn’t know by her quiet and well behaved demeanour that inside she is struggling to keep up with what her teacher is saying.

Last year Mischa had support in her class. She had an educational assistant for 3/4 of the day. This year her support was removed.

Kyla and I joke that she needs to start throwing chairs and behaving badly, and although it would be totally out of character for Mischa it sadly would be the most direct route to getting her the support that she needs.

Mischa is not alone in dealing with her Asperger’s. It is a family affair that Kyla has bravely chosen to document on her new blog Embrace Aumazing.

I hope all of you will enjoy reading her blog as much as I did and that it can help to remind all of us that just because you can’t see the struggle it doesn’t mean that it isn’t there.