I have been sensitive to those with food allergies since we moved into the neighborhood. My typical approach has been to have both non-peanut candies and peanut candies to pass out to ghouls and goblins that knock on the door. This year, I am joining the Teal Pumpkin movement. I’m inspired to do this for a couple of reasons. One, toys last a bit longer than candy. Secondly, not every child can enjoy candy whether it’s a food allergy or a lifestyle preference of a parent.
Let’s face it, it’s fun to dress up for Halloween, but not much fun if you trick or treat and have to toss your loot when you get home due to a food allergy. That’s where the Teal Pumpkin Project comes in. It is a wonderful movement started by FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) that encourages the giving away of small nonfood trinkets.
I first heard about the project last year when I was blogging for a certified nutritionist. It’s been around for a couple of years and it looks to be catching on more commercially now. I spotted many reasonably priced toys in the Halloween section of Target this year. Their options were impressive, from cups of slime to monster themed erasers. I scooped up small containers of bubbles to give out this year. I may still pass out some candy, but rest assured if I do, it will be nut free.
If you would like to get involved, simply place a teal pumpkin or two outside your door to let all the ghouls and goblins know you are passing out allergy friendly treats. You can turn this into a family affair by having your kids paint plastic pumpkins in shades of teal and decorate however, they wish to. Use the pumpkins again next year as the project grows with more and more families supporting the project.
Have you noticed more and more men pairing window pane plaids, or gingham checks with bold solid colored ties? It seems they have adopted the pairing of casual yet masculine patterns, rather than the tired look of a solid or striped shirt with a busier tie pattern. Since fashion sets the tone for interior decor, lets’ follow this lead and look at mixing masculine patterns for a gentlemen’s den.
Houndstooth, window pane plaids, checks, or pinstripes, all of these are thought of as masculine patterns. They offer strength and steadiness, unlike a feminine floral pattern which is softer. Incorporating these patterns in to a man cave, or men’s home office sets a rugged powerful tone to the room. But how do you pair these patterns for a cohesive pulled together look?
The trick is to stay within a color family and stick to the color scheme. Brown, beige, gray, and cream are fabulous neutral choices that allow you to bring in any accent colors you may like. When picking out fabric for the window treatments, upholstery or accent pillows, I like to keep the number of patterns to about three in coordinating colors. Using more than that, can look a little busy and chaotic.
Another pit fall is not including solid colors into the plan. A room filled with all pattern can appear dizzying, ans chaotic. Solids allow your eye to rest and not be barraged with pattern all at once. A solid color peppered in with coordinating patterns calms the room down a bit and makes it more pleasing to the eye. Pull a color from the patterns and run with it. Use it for a pillow or two, let it stand alone as the color of the couch, or opt to use it as window treatment.
I have a confession to make…. I like gummy bears. I could easily go through an entire bag on my own in one sitting. Lately, I have seen a lot of recipes for gummy bears, including wine gummy bears. Being the curious hostess that goes all out to entertain friends, I thought it might be a fun treat to serve for Girl’s Night In.
Here’s what I learned from the wine gummy recipe experiment, and yes I’m calling it an experiment.
Buy good wine. I bought 2 buck chuck to save money on the trial run. The consensus was they looked pretty but tasted like crap. In hindsight, the recipe only calls for a cup, so buy a bottle you will drink and the gummy bears will taste better too.
Don’t add in the food coloring. It’s gross and does nothing for the flavor. Instead, use a good red wine for the same result.
Make sure you fill the molds to the top. I didn’t do that and had a few with really thin heads when I removed them.
Despite them not being a great success the first time, I wasn’t giving up on the idea. I tried them again using a better wine, instead of the cheap stuff. The results are still pending.
Here’s the recipe for the wine gummy bears:
6 packages of unflavored gelatin
1 cup of wine (or juice)
1/2 cup sugar (omit if using a sugary juice)
In a small stock pot, warm the liquids and whisk in the sugar and gelatin. Stir until they dissolve. Bring mixture to a boil and remove from heat. Using a eye dropper, fill in the gummy bear molds. Place molds in an air tight container or in a baking pan and cover with foil. Chill up to two hours before serving.
When they are ready, gently remove them and serve in fun little vessels. I used square bowls, but you could use crystal or champagne flutes. Another idea is wrap a few into pretty cellophane bags and tie with a bow for favors as friends leave.
Last weekend I had the pleasure of hosting a few girlfriends for a quiet evening in. Every event calls for something sweet, but not heavy. I turned to my favorite sugar glitter cookie recipe discovered on Martha’s website. She calls these Glitter Ball Cookies as they are rolled in glittery sanding sugar. I love them because they have just enough buttery sweetness without being over the top and they can be color coordinated for your event. I opted for gold and white for our evening in. Aren’t they pretty?
The recipe calls for:
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
They are super easy to make too.
Start by pre-heating your oven to 350. Cream the sugar, butter and salt in a stand mixer on medium-high until pale and fluffy; about 3-4 minutes. Mix in the vanilla and then gradually add in the flour at a low speed. Mix until well combined.
Roll cookies out into 3/4 inch balls, then roll balls in small bowls with sanding sugar to coat. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes.
Martha makes these into sandwich cookies with a ginger cream filling. I opted to skip the filling and honestly, they don’t need it.
I have made these for Christmas, and Valentine’s Day. It’s fun to mix and match sanding sugar colors for any holiday or event. There are so many colors available too. I was surprised to find it in a pretty gold.
The only problem with these is that they are so light and gently sweet that you’ll find it hard to just eat one. I had a tray of them on our coffee table and found all of us enjoying one and then another all evening. I think I may have the most though…. oops. There were a few left over for tea the next day….
A few summers ago I became infatuated with chalk paint. It requires no sanding, or priming. Simply prep a piece to be painted by wiping it down and then starting to paint. I was thrilled to be asked to review Dixie Belle Chalk Paint and I knew exactly which project I would tackle.
A while back, my mother gifted me these amazing cake tables. I loved the shape and height of them, but the color left a lot to be desired. They were an odd royal blue and went with nothing in my house. I knew that at some point I would paint them; it has not been a priority though. Now I can say they are done and they look fabulous!
I have tried other chalk paints before on the lower end of the price scale, but had not tried theirs yet. It is a better quality than the chalk paints I have used from Michael’s or JoAnne’s and sells at a higher price, still it’s not as expensive as the brand that shall remain nameless. I like that Dixie Belle comes in two sizes and a wide variety of colors.
For my cake table project, I choose their Buttercream. It’s a warm cream that brightened up the tables beautifully. I expected it to take multiple coats of chalk paint to cover the blue and it did. I painted almost three coats over the blue and let each coat dry before applying the next. I then painted a clear coat over it to give it a little glossy shine.
They sent me stain and a wax, but for this project, I wanted the tables to be less aged and more one-dimensional. I have a few other small projects I intend to work on as well, and will try the wax out then.
I have to admit; I did not follow the instructions, and realized I could have thinned out the paint with a little water. It may have helped it to go on more smoothly. Honestly, I do not think I would have had a better outcome had I watered it a bit.
Tell me what you think? Did these come out beautifully? I think they are my new found favorites.
*Sponsored Post – Dixie Belle Paint Company sent me some paint for the purposes of this review.