If you wanna feel better about your family, just read about ours...

Starring: a dad, a mom, a son & daughter-in-law, a daughter & son-in-law, a teen, a tween, a grandson, a granddaughter, 3 dogs, 2 rabbits, 2 dwarf frogs, an unfortunate number of tadpoles, and a whole lot of love.




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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cheap tricks and a treat

If you read my post about the infamous Homecoming dress, I'm sure you've gathered that I'm a rather frugal person. Not cheap. Just responsible. (That's what I tell myself, anyway.) So when it comes to spending $20 or more on a child's Halloween costume, I cringe.

Last November when we walked into Walmart and found a rack of toddler costumes marked down to $1, we had a stroke of genius. We snatched up one of each style for both C and K. Half were in their current sizes and the other half were in their next size up. Complete the set with a mirror and a cute pink crate and you've got an awesome dress-up themed Christmas present that pleased both a two year old and a 10 year old. Many times throughout this past year, we were treated to the occasional fashion show, and once this summer I looked up to realize that two spooky ninjas were stalking me as I mowed the grass.

When Halloween rolled around this year, we dragged out the crate and asked the girls what they'd like to be. They excitedly dove in and had fun making their choices. And as an added bonus, they chose different costumes for different functions and we were even able to make a last minute swap when the weather took a cold dive on the night of trick-or-treat. A huge success and we're planning to repeat the process this year.

Onto the carving of the pumpkins. Asking me to pay $5 for something that we're going to take home and carve holes into is like asking me to take a $5 dollar bill, fold it up, and cut it into a paper snowflake to decorate for Christmas. (One per person, mind you.) It ain't gonna happen. But I'm all about tradition. Therefore, the first weekend in November of each year my family carves pumpkins.....that we get on clearance for .50 cents apiece. Let's face it, when you're looking at pictures of yourselves carving pumpkins from past years, does it really matter which month it was in? Waiting until November also means we've extended the life of the pumpkin and they're still in great shape by Thanksgiving. Why do we care what kind of shape they're in at Thanksgiving? Because we turn the faces toward the back and from the front we have a beautiful gathering of pumpkins on our porch to greet our guests.

The weekend after Thanksgiving is another family tradition. Some people do their Christmas shopping. Our family can be found in the backyard with our array of weapons; BB guns, bows and arrows, and of course the family favorite.....the shot gun....and we have target practice with those .50 cent pumpkins. Come on, could you actually shoot at a pumpkin that cost you $5? I think not. (FYI; our colored eggs suffer the same fate the weekend after Easter.)

Okay, I promised you a treat, so here it comes. This recipe has a minimum of two ingredients & a maximum of three. As if that's not reason enough to celebrate, it also has minimal calories & minimal fat grams. Before I share it with you, I'd like to ask one small favor.....please don't tell my husband that it's healthy! He loves this treat and would be devastated if he found out it wasn't clogging his arteries. Thanks!

Pumpkin Spice Cake
Ingredients: One box of Spice Cake mix
One 15 oz. can of Pumpkin
spoonful of cream cheese icing (Optional)
OR light whipped cream (Also optional)

What to do:
1. Combine the dry mix with the can of pumpkin. (Don't use any other ingredients. Batter will be thick but manageable.)
2. Spread the batter into 9 x 13 casserole dish sprayed with non-stick spray.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 35 minutes or until done in the middle.
4. Optional: Upon removing from oven, poke holes across the top of the cake, warm up a spoonful of cream cheese icing, and drizzle it across the cake allowing it to seep into the holes.
5. Optional: Or simply serve with a scoop of whipped cream.

**Whether you use icing, whipped cream, or allow it to stand alone, this cake is a crowd pleaser. Hope you enjoy it**

Wishing you all a wonderful, fun and safe Halloween!

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