Halloween is definitely the start of my favorite part of the year , it is the lead up to Bonfire night and my birthday and of course Christmas , so we always start to get little excited come the end of October.
Every year we have our own little party.
We decorate the house , make gruesome food and design home friendly frightful games , and on the weekend closest to Halloween, we have our special Hallows Party, just us and the kids.
This year , things have been on a tight budget for us.
We gave the kids a budget of just £50 to decorate the house , the table setting and we even bought a door mat for just £1 too and was surprised when we ended up with so much from Poundworld that the house looked wonderful .
From Tablecloths to hanging Trick Treat decorations ,huge wall murals and even haunted cake stands , the party was looking amazing , it just needed a few extra personal touches.
I have not taken the kids trick or treating for a couple of years now, I kind of stopped doing it after a spell of cold winter nights , blistering frost and poorly children getting too cold after school that it just was not fun anymore so this year we took the idea of 'You've been booed?' from Happiness Is Homemade .
A fantastic idea where you place a sign on two of your neighbors doors with a sweet (treat ) and they then pass it to two more neighbours or friends which I have never seen before but made me think a little more differently about the experience , especially suited for the younger children who like to celebrate , and more than that made the whole experience more safe .
We went a little further due to the fact there are only 2 children in our small cul de sac street and made three and filled a Halloween treat bag with Halloween themed sweets and trick spiders and a skull trinket. We also made Halloween bookmarks, added a little book we picked up out and about and printed of some colouring , puzzle and craft pages to keep them entertained .
Not just for the treaters but we also made these into some fun activities to keep the children busy at home to.
On the Friday , our local community center held their party and as always , my children like to dress up and with them getting a little bigger now , getting a bit bored of the same outfits, we decided to make our own this year to use up old clothes and save a few pennies.
My girls still had their flower girl dresses from our wedding years back , there were a few different sizes so luckily we had two that were able ot be used and so we decided to decorate them ourselves. Again we printed of templates and cut them onto foam sheets, had them sewn on to the dress and added some grey mesh fabric as well as some old Halloween themed cloth we had lying about and we were so impressed with the end results , I really don't know why I had not done I before.
With a little tissue paper and PVA glue for the wounds and some face paints to bring it all together they both looked fantastic .
We went to the party, it was fantastic and because their dad was working we met him there and enjoyed hot-dogs and homemade cakes and toffee apples.
The main event for us is always our own party we decide to hold and so after printing of lots of banners and buying a few essentials , we decided to make a rather frightful feast .
My neighbour does not celebrate Halloween but she loves to send us homemade cupcakes over which she adds spooky themed sweets onto and so we always make our theme around these.
This year we decided t make a gravestone trifle instead of a cake and it went down even better than we had hoped.
What could be better than jelly, angel delight flavours mixed and lots of fresh whipped cream ?
We had the children making grave stone biscuits earlier on as an extra activity for them and when it was all added together it looked fantastic.
Seeing so many great ideas on the web inspired me to try something new and so we also bought some ready to roll puff pastry and let the children make their own mummy sausage rolls, I have to admit these tasted amazing and even surprised me how well they turned out , we even added a little passata to give it that extra flavour.
We based all of our food around Halloween and even made more treats such as Bogeyman's Bogeys (popcorn covered in green icing sugar ), witches hats (pizza cut into triangles), tongue sandwiches (ham and tomato ketchup sandwiches), teeth (yogurt covered fruits), and so many more things.
Our little pumpkin absolutely loved his Gooey brained spiders they made (Jaffa cakes with sugar strand laces and chocolate buttons to decorate).
We always do so much its usually hard to share it all but not just the food was frightful, you should have seen our Slow cooked Hot chocolate .
We literally made most things and anything possible such as the photo props which we just printed and laminated.
We had so many different games to play throughout the day and night.
Of course the classic , bobbing apples in the sink with a frozen hand we made with a glove filled with water, add some red jelly or tomato ketchup to the water with the odd floating spider and they love it .
This was a new one for us ,We all love pin the tail but we needed a more appropriate theme so came up with the idea of making a web made of wool which we had spare and printed a spider , added it to some wool t replicate the web and played pin the spider on its web.
The younger ones loved this especially.
We placed point markers on plastic cups and threw little spiders in , another great game to get those motor skills working .
We printed our some bingo grids and loved matching our spooks to the bingo sheets.
For each bingo shouted they got a treat.
We did play so many more games.
Our favourite had to be the musical ghouls game.
We filled black and orange balloons with sweets, spiders and fangs and when the music stopped they had to choose one balloon and pop it with their bottom, it was very fun and a great laugh to watch especially. Everyone's a winner every time the music stops so no twisting kids complaining they never won anything .
We had a fun filled packed day, baking , crafting, games and so much more . We never finished until around 9pm to which we then sat and wached 'The nightmare before Christmas' movie, our favourite. Honestly ,my children know all the words and sing along to all the songs .
On the Sunday , Our local Intu shopping center at Gateshead was hosting a few different things for the children to enjoy . We had already had such a busy weekend so another day would not hurt, after all we had not spent much at all with all the savings we had made , so what better way to unwind than to go for a little window shopping in the run up to Christmas.
There an actual trick of treat event where the children were given treat bags , they had to look for pumpkin stickers that retailers and restaurant had placed in the windows and if they went inside the shop , the shop would give them a treat. This consisted of sweets and lots of them , one of the restaurants in the food court even handed out special chocolate cookies which were delicious .
In house of Fraser , we even had all the children's faces painted all for free and even more added sweets for their treat bags. Joshua decided on a paw patrol ,while his brother chose a scary zombie .
We all had a wonderful day. I loved that they had thought about the new and inventive ideas to keep little ones entertained while us adults shopped. We loved seeing their little faces light up each time they saw a new window sticker and it was a great family bonding day .
On Monday night , after a good night sleep we went to our regular church where although they do not celebrate Halloween , we spent our time away from the dark side of things , making some wonderful cakes, decorating some pretty pictures and making some crafts that spoke and taught us about stories of the bible . It was nice to have the children still have the church included in their lives throughout this week , I think its an important addition to our lives lately I try to keep encouraged.
Because the weather was not so cold during the day on Halloween on the Tuesday and the children are home educated so this year had no excuses for having to wait til night time, we were able to take them earlier on in the day , less frightening, less cold and more safe .
They loved it and got quite a large amount too which we never expected .
Usually we would carve out pumpkins on the up running to Halloween , this year we left it a little late and actually done this on Halloween Day itself .
This time however we decided to decorate them rather than carve them . This was more for the idea that we could use the pumpkins after we had used them for decoration for the trick or treaters to make something tasty, such as soup or curry.
My favourite was the Starry night and flying witch , but I also loved the sequins toppers too , so fun and so easy and a wonderful wsy to get creative, they don't have to look scary to be in the theme .
To end the night we grabbed some bubbles witch we made stickers naming them Orbs for and pretended to have a Seyonce .
The children all sat in a circle , we told scary tales and told them to close their eyes, blew the bubbles and when they opened their eyes they saw the spirits floating by (bubbles ). They were fascinated and it finished of the Halloween week perfectly.
Sharing Halloween traditions is something I love to with my children just like my mum did with me .
I remember every year the old lady next door would send me a big bag of pear drops to ensure I would not go knocking on her door later on, my mam would allow me to invite one special friend and she would make us a fantastic Halloween themed tea party before sitting down to watch The Worse witch or Hocus Pocus . I remember the chocolate Frijj milkshake she would place in a bowl and call is poop (to put it nicely ). Makes me giggle every time I remember it but its those moments I want my children to have and grow up remembering .
Do you have traditions you keep for Halloween, maybe your making new ones?
Let me know in the comments below.
Our youngest son has just turned 2, yes 2 whole years since I held my youngest baby for the first time and I was actually a little emotional that it was going to be his 2nd birthday , meaning no more babies in our home , for the first time in 15 years we were now a baby free zone and our youngest had finally reached toddler years.
Although sad for us mums , we all know its also a time to celebrate , and I love nothing more than organizing parties for our children.
We as a large family of 10 never have a lot of money to splash on fancy parties and organisations that come and do it all for you , not even able to buy the decorations in and hang them ourselves so I have come to learning that as long as you have paper and a printer (which we have lots of Eco friendly , refill inks for), we can always be assured the party will look good as well as being fun .
Joshua is an absolute Paw Patrol fan , he loves watching it and playing role of one of the pups on a daily basis s we knew it was the right choice to chose the theme .
All I had to do was find free printable pages available online and download the banners and party decorations , games and ideas and get to work.
I literally bought his presents, the wrapping paper a table cloth and some balloons and the rest we printed of .
Joshua woke up to find he had some wonderful presents .
We even brought the old dog cage out from the loft , filled it with pup teddy bears and one wrapped and made it into a puppy adoption center .
He thought it was wonderful , he jumped straight inside and played pup and opened his first present , his very First and own Paw patrol Chase.
I found some wonderful ideas for games and printed of things such as pin the badge on Skye poster, laminated the badge and made some paw patrol masks which we also laminated and covered the eyes to use for our blindfold, he loved it .
In one corner of the sitting room, we hung hula hoops and made paper airplanes , just like Skye from Paw patrol, we flew them through the targets .
There was a lot of games available , we had , Pup Pup Boogie, a game where children spun the curser on a wheel (also printed) , which then give them an instruction on which dance move they had to do , a little like musical statues . We found this and many other things we used on Nickelodeon .
There were so many colouring and activity sheets to do to keep him busy while I prepared for the Tea party . In fact so many I could not do them all but spent a whole week organizing the few bits I was using . All those free printables really did make the party what it was , it looked fantastic .
The children even made their own certificated for their adoptions and invitations for themselves to the party on the run up to it so they had some great fun .
Even down to making party hats and then making pompoms to add on the top , little 3D cubes and vehicles, badges, food labels and cake banners , we made everything , even little hot dog wraps and doggy bags ( or boxes as we made them into ) .
All the food had a theme too of course. There were chicken drumsticks named dug up bones, chocolate rolls named poop rolls (I know, sounds gross , but the kids love it ), we had Rubble Quiche and dog biscuits and even Pupperoni Pizza and Hot Dogs of course.
It looked wonderful all put together and Joshua's eyes really did light up when he saw it .
We waited fro his daddy to come home before we had our Tea party though , Joshua loves his daddy , but he had been working so missed the day, we obviously waited to sing happy birthday and cut his special cake with him, he was so sad he had missed the rest of the day.
He had a wonderful Paw Patrol birthday , If it was not for the wonderful ideas I found on Nickelodeon , I know it would not have been so Special, Hopefully Joshua will get some more Paw Patrol toys or presents from Santa , but for now he is just enjoying still playing pup roles , crawling around n all fours pretending to be his favorite characters from his favorite show Paw Patrol .
With the new release of the much loved Fantasy and Science Fiction film 'Justice League' being released this November , there is no surprise that there is also going to be a batch of toys available , especially on the run up to Christmas .
Makes perfect timing for many little ones to get their Christmas lists in with all their wishes and wants to Santa.
I have 6 children of all varied ages and sexes that love Justice League so I knew this would be a hit when it arrived through our Letterbox .
This is the 'Stretch mini , Justice League - Superman'.
The Stretch mini Superman is aimed for ages 5+ and costs just £12.99 .
It is available from Character-online.com as well as other leading toy stores and retailers and is a handy 7 inches of stretch power.
My two youngest boys especially love the theme of Superman so when this came through the down , needless to say there were a few squabbles but eventually they decided to take turns and actually play together as the stretch needed for this believe it or not is just as fun with two people pushing its limits than it is with just the one set of hands.
The fantastic thing about Stretch and his companion Stretch's is that you can pull, twist and stretch him and he will always return to his normal self in seconds.
No matter how much you play with him , no matter how hard or far you pull him , he will always go back to himself and his original size.
Stretch his arms and legs and torso and he will prove to you how super strong he really is. He has a fully stretchable figure .
There is not just Superman available but they have also released Flash and also Batman another of the favorites in this house.
We tested the toy to see what would happen when played with and having all these children to contend with it had its testing power pushed.
In honesty though it survived the stretch and twists and tie in knots but on looking at the Figure closely after just 15 minutes play, we released that the print on the figure had almost rubbed of leaving just a messy looking print , peeling and not so new looking as it had been before the play started.
This did not effect the main purpose of the toy though. The children still carried on playing but my younger son was a little disappointed that the print had been ruined as he likes to keep his toys new looking .
We also noticed that if you stretch the figure , the belt that was around Superman's waist , (a plastic ring which in my opinion should have been left of and printed the same as the rest of his outfit ), was easily able to come away from the figure by the figure being stretched so that the belt could fall over the feet of Superman.
For us the figure seemed a little disappointing in regards to the look of it after play but still fun and very much a durable item to have around a heavy handed child.
Superman comes with a cape and so to make sure it looked like Superman , they also ensured he came with his big red cape to finish the full look of .
Me and my son enjoyed playing with this together and it really is a great way to encourage your child to do a little exercise and strength testing in your own home .
This was super fun and super stretchy.
Do you remember the original Mr Stretch, who would you choose now to stretch to the limits?
Let me know in the comments below .
*We were not paid for this review , all opinions are honest and based on our own experiences and thoughts.
We're nearing the end of October already and what an exciting time of year.
I have to admit this is my favourite time of the year for many reasons, one of which is the Frightful Halloween events and those dark , cold nights meaning more time for home comforts .
Now I have to admit , I'm not a great fan of Breakfast , I really do not know why , but for as long as I can remember , I've never been able to enjoy breakfast such as flakes or Rice based cereals . The thought of soggy breakfast really does not bring any desire to eat it in any form . I can however eat Ready Brek and for someone who as struggled to eat a daily routine breakfast for years this has become some what of an achievement at now 33 years old.
My children have always enjoyed the Oatey smoothness and it is only recently I've started to join in on sitting with them for our start to the day which in my opinion and many others is the most important meal of the day .
Over the years I have woken up feeling tired and groggy and not eating any breakfast has not helped my metabolism and so I have found I also put on a lot of weight due to missing my main meal.
For the past few weeks I've decided to take drastic action and give the nutritional morning meal a regular routine and so now I wake up to Ready Brek and really enjoy it.
Ready Brek is made with Wholegrain oats and is packed full of goodness, meaning it is the go to healthy meal to get you ready for any day .
My son who is just 7 years old says that Ready Brek is his all time favourite breakfast meal. He eats it not just as a breakfast but also for his supper and what is more he knows exactly how to make it , perfectly , himself.
My son uses a small teacup to make his mix, then adds double the amount of milk, places it in the microwave for just 1 minute and this ensures it is not too hot for him to then remove and devour in seconds because he loves it much.
Sometimes he will add a small amount of Chocolate or jam spread but most times he eats it on its own .
Ready Brek comes in a variety of flavours set aside from the Original such as Chocolate, honey, Seriously Oatey and if your lucky enough to find any , Gingerbread flavour is also available, back in the 70's a Butterscotch flavour was also released which my husband would have loved to have given a try, unfortunately it is no longer in production.
Instructions on the box say 30g of Ready Brek to 150ml of either milk or water if you prefer.
It really is that easy and you can eat it in so many other different ways to .
On the back of our box , we were given a recipe for Protein packed Bear Hunt Bites which meant adding grated carrot ,dates, apples and even pumpkin seeds to the Ready Brek with a small amount of water to combine all together meaning you could roll them into balls and eat as a healthy snack .
Being that it is Halloween this next week , we are currently decorating our home in all sorts of wonderful and scary pieces but I also love to let the children enjoy incorporating their events with their food so we always like to make a Halloween themed tea party which we are holding this weekend as well as some other meals and in this case we made our Vampire Ready Breakfast using some strawberry Jam and some Bananas to decorate . Simple and fun and of course very tasty .
Ready Brek is so affordable at only £2 from most leading supermarkets and food stores , your sure to get that warming feeling to wake you up and give you that healthy start to any day .
Do you like Ready Brek, have you tried any recipes lately using the nutritional oats? Let me know in the comments below .
My soon to be teenage daughter has been amazed at the 3D puzzles from Ravensburger this past year especially and has done quite a few now ranging from a few vase, storage box's, pencil holders, Jewelry A huge Disney Castle and now a sneaker.
I absolutely love the fact that not only is it something that keeps their mind entertained for a few hours or days m (depending on the size and complication ability) but the 3D puzzles make fun for ornamental purposes too and some even make use for holding items such as jewelry or stationary.
Despicable me are such a huge craze in our home aimed at all ages from our 2 year old son to our daddy of the family who likes to imitate the characters every so often when he's feeling rather funny.
We were very excited to see that the new movie was released this year and once again Ravensburger were there with a new line already and waiting for us within their 3D range including the wonderful Sneaker which holds stationary , ideal for our home education desk .
This sneaker is 108 pieces and features those cute load of Minions , covering the whole boot which measures 21cm x 12cm so perfect size to add on to a workplace desk or shelf.
The Puzzle of course comes with some very helpful and easy to follow instructions which the children followed with no help needed and of course some larger base pieces to keep the whole puzzle that little more realistic as well as helping wit the stability of the build.
The puzzle is all numbered and so on the back of each piece you will find a number , if your feeling more challenging then why not try to do the puzzle without using them and use your eye for finding that perfect piece.
For my daughter she still likes to use the numbers , especially giving this one had pretty much the whole troop of minions on the sneaker and to us they all look the same , so it was a little more difficult .
Using the numbers meant we were basically counting from 1 -108 and that was as hard as it got , the pieces fit together perfectly and being made form a plastic it meant there was no worry of tearing pieces .
The whole thing is finished of by one last piece which holds it all together adding a little more sturdiness to it .
There are quite a few other 3D puzzles by Ravensburger already available along side this sneaker and t be fare they all look great fun .
The puzzle did not take a long time to build , I find sometimes puzzles take so long that the boredom kicks in quickly sometimes but this only took around half an hour so she thoroughly enjoyed her experience .
Have you tried any of the 3D puzzles, do you like Despicable Me ?
Let me know in the comments below .
*We were not paid for this review. All opinions are honest and based upon our own experiences and thoughts.