my life homemade


10/18/17

Red, White, and Boo - 15 Patriotic Halloween Costumes

CONTRIBUTING EDITOR ~ JORDAN

Halloween is just around the corner, so it is time to start buying candy for trick or treaters and planning your epic costumes. While most party goers will opt for the traditional scary and horror-themed costumes, why not think outside the box and try something to show your pride in our nation? Here are 15 patriotic Halloween costumes for you to try this year.


What is more patriotic than the American flag? The red, white and blue symbolizes our freedom and independence as a nation and marks the beginning of our country as we know it today.
You can easily incorporate the colors of the flag into a costume, or break out the face paint and show off your artistic skills.
After courageously fighting for the independence of America, he brought together the fractured factions and was unanimously voted as the first President of the United States. Celebrate our founding father by wearing his traditional red, white and blue military uniform (which Washington designed himself), complete with the iconic white wig.
Another favorite president is Abraham Lincoln. Beloved as one of America’s greatest heroes for leading the nation through the Civil War, preserving the Union and his role in abolishing slavery. He had a highly iconic look, usually represented as bearded and with a tall, black stove pipe hat.
Uncle Sam is recognized as the personification of the American government, or of the American people in general. No one knows exactly where the icon originates from, but he is most famously represented in political cartoons and military recruitment posters.
Depicted as a tall, thin man with white hair, he is most recognizable from his star and stripes, stove pipe hat and coat tails.
While Uncle Sam has become the icon representing the American government, the less known goddess, Columbia, is the official personification of our nation.
Columbia is the feminized version of the name, Columbus, the explorer who discovered America and carries deep patriotic meaning, going back to the founding of the country.
She is usually presented in a classical garb, printed with the stars and stripes, or wearing a star-spangled sash and brandishing a sword and shield.
Betsy Ross is widely credited as the woman who created the American flag, after convincing General George Washington to change the shape of the stars originally proposed for the flag. She has become a historical legend and a symbol of how women shaped American history.
She is depicted in art works in typical colonial dress, often presenting a flag to George Washington. Betsy Ross is a fun and educational costume for a young girl to show off her patriotic pride for our country’s historical heroes.
Possibly America’s most famous landmark, the Statue of Liberty symbolizes the ideals of freedom, compassion and the pursuit of the “American Dream.” Her iconic crown, gown and flame will make your ensemble easily recognized and is the ideal costume for showing your pride in our nation.
Depicting four of the country’s greatest presidents, the epic scale of Mount Rushmore represents how our nation was founded, and how it developed into one of the most powerful nations in the world.
Get creative and try to DIY your own Mount Rushmore costume, or turn it into a group costume by having a few of your friends dressing as the other presidents.
Created in 1940 in reaction to WW2, Captain America represents the epitome of human physical perfection, has a deep sense of patriotism and relentlessly pursues justice.
No other character in the Marvel universe has undergone such huge costume changes over the years, so you have lots of options to choose from, such as his original star and stripes bodysuit or his new stealth body armor.
Though technically Wonder Woman hails from Themyscira, the Amazon princess has been adopted as an American icon, thanks to her unwavering pursuit of truth and justice. She also has a seriously cool costume that shows off her sense of patriotism.
Wonder Woman has worn many different costumes over the years, so try one of her earlier styles for a modest vintage look. Or, don her gladiatorial armor from her most recent movie to look like a hero you definitely don’t want to mess with.
Take inspiration from one of America’s favorite pastimes, which is football. There is no better way to celebrate dedication to your country and team than by wearing your team’s jersey or colors.
It is a great low-key costume option, as most fans will have a jersey already in their closet. If you prefer a more elaborate Halloween costume, break out the cleats and shoulder pads to complete the overall look.

12. Football
Where would a football player be without his football? Include the pint-sized members of your family in a sports-themed group costume, by dressing your littlest patriots as a football.
You could DIY your own costume with a brown onesie, brown beanie and a black Sharpie. Or, there are many options available online for purchase for a fun costume that is sure to score a touchdown with neighbors on your “Trick or Treat” route.
Another cultural icon that celebrates American values is Rosie the Riveter. As a feminist icon, she represents the women that entered the workforce and kept the country going while the men were overseas fighting.
She is usually depicted as a strong woman wearing a red and white polka dot bandana and a denim shirt, though she has had many other incarnations throughout the years. This costume is easy to wear and is instantly recognizable
14. Bald Eagle
You can see the Bald Eagle on our money, stamps and the National Seal. He represents the authority and independence of America.
Though adults might feel a too cutesy in a fuzzy, bald eagle costume, it would make an adorable kids’ costume and a way for them to express how much they love their country. But, if you admire the strength and grace of our National bird, there are some amazing costume ideas online.
American patriotism goes into overdrive is at the Olympics, so show your pride for our athletes by wearing the U.S. Olympic team uniform.
Gather some friends and turn this idea into a fun group costume. There are bonus points if you have the national anthem playing while trick or treating. 

10/16/17

After School Spooky Snack Station

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SnackItAndPackIt, #SeasonalSolutions #CollectiveBias


Halloween has got to be one of my favorite holidays. It falls just when the seasons are changing, the weather is getting cooler, and the crisp smell of pumpkins are in the air. I love seeing all the oranges, deep reds, and browns. Hot apple cidar, hot coco, and coffee fill the cups and kids dressed in Halloween costumes is a must see sight.

I love to add a bit of fright and spookiness whenever I can. This Spooky Snack Station is no exception. Full of both my boy's favorite treats and snacks like make your own monster treats with Kellogg's® Rice Krispies Treats®, freighteningly delicious chocolate covered Pringles® Original and Keebler® Cookie Mini Fudge Stripes for a sneakely sweet snack that is perfect for after school school fun. 

Click on your favorite snacks above to purchase the products I used to create our After School Spooky Snack Station.




Creating your own spooky snack station for after school is simple! I used Halloween decorations I already had on hand. Plus, added our favorite Kellogg's treats placed in Halloween bowls and on plates and paired with fun pumpkins and Halloween sprinkles and chocolate for decorating our chocolate monsters.







Create your own Kellogg's® Rice Krispies Treats® Chocolate Monster Treats:


What you need:

  • Kellogg's® Rice Krispies Treats®
  • Pringles® Original
  • Keebler® Cookie Mini Fudge Stripes
  • Halloween candy sprinkles and candy 
  • Chocolate candy melts
  • Halloween monster eyes
  • Wax paper
How to create:
  1. Grab your Rice Krispies Treats®, open and place on a tray or plate.
  2. Melt your chocolate candy in a small bowl, according to directions per package.
  3. Dip your treat into the chocolate to coat on all sides. Either halfway or fully covering treat.
  4. Quickly coat your chocolate covered treats with sprinkles, candy, and/monster eyes.
  5. Place your treats onto a tray or plate covered with wax paper and let dry completely, about 15-20min.
  6. Dig in and enjoy!!!
Use your Pringles® Original in place of the Rice Krispie Treats for a sweet and salty treat everyone will scream for! 




I just love surprising my boys with fun and exciting treats for the holidays. Plus, I love that they are the ones that get to decorate and create their own monster masterpieces. It not only creates fun memories, but it also teaches them how to share, teaches them to use their creativity, and creates a delicious treat they will love to enjoy after a long, hard day at school. 


Check out great offers and limited time special pricing on Pringles Snack Packs and Keebler Cookie at your local Kroger or Kroger banner store! I visited my local Kroger Marketplace but you can visit any Kroger or Kroger banner store. For more Kellogg Halloween inspiration, visit the social hub! Plus, for more great deals, check out this digital coupon, from 10/02 - 11/02, to save even more on your favorite snacks. 


22 Tips for Planning the Ultimate Halloween Block Party

CONTRIBUTING EDITOR ~ JORDAN

You can feel it in the air. The breeze becomes crisper, the cascade of red and yellow foliage has begun, and there’s an eerie feeling in the back of your mind. Whether it’s the prospect of the holidays that’s rattling your nerves or the creepy spider decorations that are suddenly crawling around your neighborhood, that feeling is your signal that Halloween is drawing near.
As the ghostly trimmings of Halloweens past begin to haunt your house, kick up your block party plans with the following 22 ideas to make your bash the best yet.


THE FOOD:
This appetizer is easy to prepare and can be made in smaller or greater quantities, depending on the size of your party. Scrape the seeds from the jalapeno pepper if you don’t want the dip too spicy, or use a poblano pepper instead, which has less heat.
Another appetizer idea is these spider deviled eggs that will make your guests’ skin crawl! They’re simple to assemble and contribute well to the Halloween theme. If you wish to take it a step further, check out these spider web deviled eggs and consider adding avocado and wasabi to your deviled mixture.
This is your opportunity to get creative. These melon monsters can be as harmless or as scary as you want. Try cutting out arms from an additional melon that extend out from either side and encircle the fruit. Eyes can be slanted inward to make an angry face, and other features like horns, antennas and spikes can be customized to your liking.
4.   Ghost Pizza
If you’re serving a main course, you’ll want to make sure it’s something relatively inexpensive that can serve a lot of people. This Ghost Pizza is your perfect solution, while still staying in the Halloween spirit. Don’t limit yourself to just ghosts, but instead think of the possibilities of Frankenstein faces that can be created with a selection of veggies. Your options are endless.
Another option for a main course is these Jack-O-Lantern Cheeseburgers. Serve the burgers on a platter with bun tops off so kids and adults alike can admire your creativity.
For a sweet finish, try these pretzels covered in an orange candy coating with a green M&M accent to make the sweetest pumpkins you’ve ever tried. 
Don’t forget about the classic caramel apple that complements the fall season. This will give your overstuffed guests a taste of a traditional favorite without having to leave behind the bulk of the apple. For variety, try a peanut butter drizzle with chopped Reese’s on top or coconut flakes and diced almonds for a take on Almond Joys.
With a focus on food, it’s easy to let drink options slip the mind. For a beverage that celebrates autumn and Halloween combined, try apple cider inside a hollowed-out pumpkin. The pumpkin punch bowl can also be used for alcoholic beverages for adults. Try adding these ghoulish shrunkenapple heads to give your guests a shock!
If you’re strapped for time this year and can’t plan for food preparation, don’t panic. Look for a party rental vendor who offers products like popcorn poppers, pretzel machines, hot dog machines or even cotton candy machines to give you a break, but also lend a classy touch. These rentals are not very common at block parties and will surprise and intrigue your guests.

THE DECORATIONS
Warn your guests of their impending doom by decorating your house with monstrous features. This project can be done on any part of the house if you don’t have a garage door. Try adorning your front door frame with an upper and lower jaw so that guests must step through the teeth to enter.
This simple do-it-yourself project will be a sure sign to neighbors that your house is haunted. The cloth over the ghosts can be tied together as if they were joined in ghostly hand dancing around a fire, or they can be separated throughout the yard and left to eerily blow in the wind.
An easy way to give your house a creepy vibe is by throwing sheets over the furniture. This will make the impression your house hasn’t been lived in, in addition to being a fast way to decorate just before guests arrive. Spider webs attached to dark corners and crevices will also make your house seem vacant and mysterious.
Give your friends a fright when they walk into your bathroom and see cockroaches pouring from the vent. Get ready for a few screams!
No Halloween party is complete without scary faces breaking free of their picture frames. You can also use forms of hands or fingers to show that spirits are escaping from their haunted pasts in your home.
Although this idea was taken from the world-famous Harry Potter series, these floating candles will give your house a dim and chilling ambiance. Keep the lights low to give these candles their full effect.

THE ACTIVITIES:
Here’s a new twist on an old classic. Provide your visitors with a fun way to celebrate throughout your party with a soundtrack that’s on-theme. If you’re wondering what prizes to have on hand, try a pumpkin trick-or-treat bucket filled with little toys for the kids, or a ticket into a raffle which will be drawn at the end of the night for the adults.
A fun and busy activity for the kids is a t-shirt costume decorating contest. Set up a table for them to work on and provide kids t-shirts in a variety of colors, as well as sharpies, glue, glitter, paint, ribbon and other adornments. Once the shirts have had an hour to dry, have the kids put them on and do a Halloween fashion show!
Another game for the kids, or perhaps some very flexible adults, is this acrobatic challenge that can be easily assembled in your hallway. Hang toilet paper across a hallway so that anyone who wants to pass must climb through the spider web maze.
A Halloween party wouldn’t be complete without the opportunity to bob for apples!
Halloween Charades is a great way to get in the spirit of the season, and all ages can participate. Make up your own cards with famous Halloween movies, characters or creatures, and have your guests show off their acting skills.
If you’re wrapped up in the zombie craze, maybe your party is the perfect time for a little zombie action. This game can be modified if you don’t want your guests running around your house.
An example would be to give everyone three clothes pins as they walk into the house to clip somewhere visible on their clothes. One person is secretly selected to be the zombie and goes around sneakily stealing clothespins off of other guests. If you lose all your clothespins, you are now also a zombie and must steal other people’s clothes pins. Trust us; there will be no survivors.
Bean bag tosses are games that can be played while carrying on a conversation, and are great for block parties. To increase the competitive natures in your guests, add a point system and make smaller holes worth more than bigger holes. 

FINAL THOUGHTS:
Any of these block party ideas will contribute to your celebration’s success. After all the party preparations are finished, remember to kick back, relax and enjoy the fun of the fall season. After all, that’s what having a happy Halloween is all about.

10/13/17

Win with the New OREO Mystery Flavor

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MysteryOREO #CollectiveBias

Have you been loving the new OREO flavors as much as I have?! It’s like every time I go to Walmart, I never know which new flavor I might find. With Halloween right around the corner, I’m loving their new Mystery flavor the most + who doesn’t love a fun guessing game?!

Here’s the deets-

#MysteryOREO #Sweepstakes (10/13 to 11/30)
Go buy the Mystery OREOs at Walmart, (online OR in-person) and submit a photo of proof (in-store selfie at shelf with product or a pic of the receipt), and you’ll have a chance to win a $20 giftcard. Enter here!

THEN after you’ve bought the new Mystery flavor, taste it & go online or text in your guess in to 59526 - if you’re right, you’ll be entered in for a chance to win $50K! Enter here!
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Legal residents of 50 US/DC, 18+. Ends 11/30/17. To enter and for Official Rules, including odds & prizes: oreomystery dot com. Void where prohibited.
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