Pumpkin Puree

Hello Sunshine! It's that time of year when pumpkin is king! Fall and pumpkins are synonymous. Everyone talking about there PSL and taking selfies time of year. Are you one of those individuals? Taking over my beloved instagram with their pumpkin drinks with a side of coffee.

Putting drinks aside, it's time to start baking pies for Thanksgiving, breads and waffles. All with pumpkin! I must confess, I'm not a fan of anything pumpkin. Please don't send me hate mail. I just can't like it but my family loves it.

Being on my health kick, I decided to forego the canned stuff for natural and preservative free. I always shied away from making my own but let me tell you it's so easy. And the best part there is only one ingredient, pumpkin!

How to make your own homemade pumpkin puree:

You will need two sugar pumpkins or pie pumpkins. They are smaller than the carving pumpkins we use for jack-o-lantern. They are sweeter, less stringy, and full of flavor than their bigger counterpart.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse pumpkins and dry well. With a sharp knife cut off stem and then cut in half, from top to bottom.
Remove seeds and pulp with a spoon or ice cream scoop. Set seeds aside for roasting later!
Place halves on baking sheet, flesh side down on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes or until a fork or pairing knife can easily be inserted and removed.
Allow pumpkin to cool for an hour. Remove skin. Puree batches of your roasted pumpkin in a food processor or until smooth.
Store in ziplock bags in the freezer in one cup increments or use in your favorite recipe. Enjoy!
     - store in fridge for up to a week
     - store in freezer for up to 3 months

Next week I will be using my puree for my daughters favorite Orange Pie. Give this simple recipe a try and make up some of these delicious waffles this weekend. Your family will thank you! See ya soon!

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Halloween 2015

Hello Sunshine! Halloween was a blast. We kept it simple this year and trick -or-treated in our neighborhood. We have a lot nice neighbors who give out goodie bags full of candy so needless to say we had tons and tons of candy.

It rained pretty much the entire month of October and Halloween was a gloomy but the rain held off until after the festivities. The kids had a lot of fun coming up with their costumes. I always love what they come up with!

For the first time, ever, our porch was decorated for Halloween. Our kinda spooky front porch turned out to be really scary for the little kids. I made polka dot treat bags but ended up leaving candy out in our skeleton's serving tray.

Halloween 2015
 Rosie the Riveter
This iconic feminist is dressed in denim with a red polka dot bandanna, red socks, and red lipstick. We can do it! 
Skeleton Robber
Watch your vaults closely cause this robber is dressed to steal! A cool skeleton mask with glow in the dark bone gloves are perfect for camouflaging ones identity. Paired with a pop gun and a white pillow case for his candy loot.
DJ Cornflake
Available for your next mixer, this party machine is decked out in gold slit glasses, two chains, a bboy hat and earphones. Mixing at a party near you!
Next year I hope we can do themed costumes and I have a bunch of ideas. What did you or your kids dress up as this year? See ya soon!


Halloween Movie Night

In the weeks leading up to Halloween we love to gather around the TV and watch our favorite holiday movies. It's a fun family tradition that the we look forward to.

Today I wanted to share some of our favorite Halloween movies ranging in maturity levels, so you're sure to find something right for your family.
Now grab some popcorn, gather up the family, and enjoy one of your favorite movies! Tonight marks the first of many Halloween movie nights this month. I will serve up this delicious recipe while we either watch Frankenweenie, Ghostbusters, Monster House or Arachnophobia. Not sure the kids haven't made their mind up.

What is your favorite Halloween movie? Did it make our list? Leave it in the comments, we'd love to see which movies are your favorite.

See ya soon!

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Polka Dot Drop Cloth Treat Bags

Hello Sunshine and Happy October! I had to check my calendar twice because it just can't be October already. For the past couple of days it has definitely felt like fall, the air is crisp and sweaters are in order.
As part of my Halloween Style Challenge, I created some cute, festive treat bags made out of drop cloth. You know the stuff painters use to protect the floor from splatters and such. I love to find new, useful ways to utilize materials that was otherwise intended for another purpose.

The great thing about this project is that you can adapt it to any holiday or occasion! Birthdays and classroom parties come to mind. Today, I'm going to show you just how to make these polka dot Halloween treat bags. It's pretty simple!
For this project you will need:

- canvas drop cloth
- rotary cutter or scissors
- cutting mat, only if you are using a rotary cutter
- ruler
- craft paint
- foam pouncer
- sewing machine and thread (or fusible webbing)
- iron and ironing board
- ribbon
- treats of choice

ONE | Cut the drop cloth for your bags. My bags measured 4.5 x 13 inches unfolded and 4.5 x 6.5 inches folded. You can make these bags any size you wish by either making a template of your measurements out of cardboard to use or you can tear this material at your measured location, it does tear in a straight line, but I did mine a tad bit different.
After cutting off the hem of the drop cloth, I folded the cloth so that it measured 6.5 inches from the folded edge and pressed the fold into place with my iron. Using a rotary cutter, self-healing mat, and ruler as a straight edge I cut along the raw edge to separate my unfinished treat bags from the rest of the material.

You should now have a long folded piece of cloth that measures approximately 5 feet by 6.5 inches. Using the rotary cutter, mat, and ruler cut out individual bags from your material every 4.5 inches. You will end up with roughly 12 to 13 bags.

TWO | This is where you can get creative. For my bags, I chose orange polka dots. It was simple and paid homage to Home Depot. Using a foam pouncer, I added the polka dots in various patterns. Each bag is slightly different. On one bag I just put one dot, it cracked me up!
Remember to offload the excess paint on a plate or paper towel before stamping the bag. Once you are done painting, let your unfinished bags dry completely for at least two hours.

I chose to paint before I sewed up the bags, you can always do this step afterwards, there is no right or wrong way to do this.

THREE | Using your sewing machine, with right sides facing, sew up sides of the treat bags using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. I did not finish the top edges of the bags, I simply left them raw and I love the look.
Clip the corners on the folded edge and turn right sides out. You clip the corners to have nice flat, squared off edges, it looks professional. Make sure you don't snip to close to your stitching. Press flat.

FOUR | Fill with treats and tie closed with ribbon!
Now you have a set of super cute treat bags to hand out to trick-or-treaters, partygoers, or a wonderful someone who you want to make smile! I hope you found this tutorial helpful, feel free to shoot me an email or comment if you have any questions.
I hope you all had a chance to check out my Home Depot Halloween Style Challenge, if you haven't check it out HERE.

See ya soon!

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Summer Photo Series: San Antonio

Through photos we preserve memories and capsulize time to remember fleeting moments. I love to take pictures everywhere we go especially nature shots. Last week I shared our 5 week Houston summer vacation in a photo series and today I am back with a few more pictures I took in San Antonio during our one day stay.

With only a few days before the kids and I needed to head back home before the start of school we tagged along on a business trip my husband took, since it was in driving distance. San Antonio is only a couple hours drive from Houston. We stayed in a hotel right off the Riverwalk and a few steps away from the Alamo.

That morning the kids and I took a boat tour, which was a great way to travel the San Antonio River and learn a bit of history along the way. We explored the shops at La Villita, a historic art village along the banks of the river, finding beautifully handcrafted local art, textiles, jewelry, pottery, and copper bowls.

We discovered The Alamo and the details surrounding it. I had never heard of it before so this was a great learning experience. We packed in a lot of sightseeing in our one day stay and I wish we could have stayed longer.

Our Summer Photo Series: San Antonio

See ya soon!

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Home Depot Halloween Style Challenge

Hello Sunshine! In August I participated in another style challenge with The Home Depot. You may remember my colorful back porch I designed for The Home Depot last spring. Well, they asked me back for a second time around but with the emphasis on Halloween.

They challenged a group of bloggers to decorate a space for fall and Halloween. My room assignment was any outdoor space of my choosing and they sent me several mystery boxes full of spooky elements to get me started.
I had a ton of fun styling my porch. It's spooky yet whimsical. Decorating for Halloween is new to me and this challenge definitely stretched my creative muscles, in a good way. I got a lot of stares on installation day but the collective consensus was good. I received many honks and thumbs up of approval on my design!
My goal for this challenge was to have several simple DIYs that anyone could feel confidant in completing. I hope you check out the stenciled bat rug, felt hanging bats, the infamous levitating candelabra, and my super cute polka dot drop cloth treat bags. I will have a full tutorial on how to create the treat bags soon.

To read more about our Halloween style challenge head on over to the Home Depot Blog!

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Summer Photo Series: Houston

Hello Sunshine! This summer we had an unique opportunity to stay 5 weeks in Houston for the summer. This was like no other family vacation we have ever taken. My husband had business and it was up in the air if we would in fact move down there. So the kids and I got to explore Houston and neighboring cities. We had a blast!

We visited the Museum District and The Menil Collection is a must see if you are ever in Houston. They had the late work of Barnett Newman on exhibit and that sparked a lot of conversation between my daughter and I. The kids learned that art is up for limitless interpretation. I was in awe when I saw a Rothko. He is the inspiration for my painting in the works and I was ecstatic to see one in person.

We visited the Rothko Chapel. It's a place of quite, peace, and meditation and not good for restless children. Needless to say we left as soon as we entered. One of our last stops during our tour of the Menil Collection was the Byzantine Fresco Chapel to see The Infinity Machine. If I had to describe it in one word it would be hypothesizing.

The Houston Museum of Natural Science was amazing. We saw dinosaurs! Which was the crowning glory of the museum trip for the kids. You feel very small but in awe of the creatures that once roamed the earth. The giant sloth was one of the many show stoppers in this exhibit. I can't believe a sloth was ever that big and they were ginormous earning the name slothzilla.

However, the piece de resistance was the Hall of Ancient Egypt. Many of you may not know but I am in love with everything ancient Egypt especially King Tut. Insert eye roll from my family! Many beautiful artifacts were on display and I could have stayed for hours.

The Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park is breathtaking. The water wall is a 64 foot semi-circular fountain that circulates 11,000 gallons of water per minute. It's a cool spot to visit on any of the many hot days Texas has to offer.

The Space Center Houston was a great experience. We took the NASA Tram Tour where we visited the Rocket Park and the Saturn V facility, saw many of the buildings NASA still uses today to train astronauts, and we even walked through one of the buildings. The Space Center is called a working museum because it is still operational. We even touched a moon rock!

One of the best things that happened this summer was my boys conquered their fear of swimming. Living in an apartment with a pool, that we visited several times a week, did the trick. A nice resident named Lisa taught the kids a few skills and I wish we didn't have to leave so soon so she could have taught them more. She was a retired school teacher and swim instructor and she was amazing!

We won't be moving to Houston like we once thought but we had a blast while we were there. We experienced big city living, cultural diversity at its best, interesting places, and delicious food. I must name a few of our favorite eateries like Torchys, Kata Robata, House of Pie, Smash Burger, and Black Walnut Cafe.

Our Summer Photo Series: Houston

Summer Photo Series: Houston Rothko Chapel
I will be back next week with another photo series from our San Antonio trip. Did you do anything or go anywhere interesting this summer? See ya soon!

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