Friday, September 30, 2011

SwellChel Does Halloween: {Giveaway} Halloween Carols by Kristen Lawrence

Wow - I can't believe this is the last day of "SwellChel Does Halloween"!  NINETEEN daily posts of my favorite Halloween crafts, recipes, kid activities, movies and more!  

To celebrate the end of "SwellChel Does Halloween" 
I am happy to announce ...
a giveaway!

I can't even tell you how thrilled I was when Kristen Lawrence offered me two of her CD's
to give away on this lil' ol' blog!  Not only is Kristen so insanely talented but talk about generous!

Kristen is a organist/composer/singer who created some amazing

Check out her website - Halloween Carols
You can learn more about Kristen, listen to samples of her haunting music, and read about
her desire to create Halloween Carols.  She's right - Christmas has it's own carols ... why not Halloween?

This will be the third Halloween that I have used Kristen's CD's to get into the Halloween mood.  We play the music while we put up our decorations, while we make Halloween crafts or treats, and my favorite is playing the music on big speakers for our trick-or-treaters on Halloween night.  Those cheesy/spooky Halloween sound effects have nothing on this music ... to me Kristen's Halloween Carols are more reminiscent of the organ playing on the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland!

You can buy Kristen's cds at:  iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby and DFJams.

(image via Halloween Carols)

(image via Halloween Carols)

Also, for those interested Kristen will be playing with Pacific Symphony here in Orange County on Oct. 22 at the Concert Hall for their youth program Halloween Spooktacular where the kids come dressed in costumes.  The concert  teaches the kids about the instruments in the orchestra and is written by Lemony Snickett.   Check out more details here

I have one copy of Broom with a View and one copy of Arachnitect to give away ... there will be two winners!
To enter leave a comment on this post by the end of Sunday, October 2nd!  I'll randomly select two winners and announce them on Monday, October 3rd! 

    **** For an extra entry in the giveaway click on "join this site"(under "Followers") in the sidebar to become a follower of SwellChel ... then leave another comment telling me that you did! (or leave a comment that you are already a follower!)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

SwellChel Does Halloween: Black Crow Decor

We welcomed some new members to our Halloween-decor family this week ...
two black crows

My sister saw the idea on eighteen25 and they linked to The Rachel Berry Blog here

It was such a fun touch to her Halloween decor ... don't you think?

 image via The Rachel Berry Blog

I bought two unfinished wood frames from Dollar Tree and spray painted them black.

 I picked up some scrapbook paper from Michaels (or you could just print off a scrapbook design on your home printer).

 I had a tough time finding cheap crows though ... I know many people get them at Dollar Tree (but ours was out), so I eventually found them for $2.99 at Michael's on sale.  Not a dollar, I know, but they were nice and sturdy so I splurged :)  Besides the money I would have lost in gas to track down a measly crow would've been a waste, right?

All I did was glue gun them to the paper and voila!

The possibilities are endless ... I also bought a bat and a spider from the dollar store I may put in some smaller frames! :)  I'll post if I make them!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

SwellChel Does Halloween: Picky Palate's Oreo and Peanut Butter Brownie Cakes .... Halloween-style

Okay ... it's obvious that I LOVE Picky Palate, right?

I just can't help it ...  :)

I had to try this recipe ... and I used "Halloween" oreos just so I could include it in
SwellChel Does Halloween!

Picky Palate's Oreo and Peanut Butter Brownie Cakes

check recipe instructions at Picky Palate here

FYI ... I had left over brownie mix (only used about a half of what I made).  
So, you can make 24 "cakes" worth with that brownie batter 
or just toss the leftover mix in a small pan and bake some brownies!

Don't you think adding Halloween oreos qualifies it for a Halloween recipe?!?! :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

SwellChel Does Halloween: Favorite Halloween Movies

My husband and I do NOT like horror/scary movies ... 
about the scariest we get are M. Night Shyamalan movies like "Sixth Sense" :)

We really like old, suspenseful movies though like
  Charade with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn.

Our first Halloween married we started the tradition of watching 
another Audrey Hepburn movie,

It's not necessarily "Halloween-y" but it's a little scary and suspenseful.
We usually invite some friends or family over after the kids are asleep, turn off all the lights and 
get lost in the story!

As far as "kid" Halloween movies, my oldest is five, so we haven't shown them many "scary" movies ... but they loved these YouTube videos of "A Disney Halloween" (which was a tv special in the 80's, featuring Disney villains and clips from Disney movies).

Check out the YouTube video here and you will see it is split into 9 different videos.

We just rented "Spooky Buddies" from Redbox and the kids really liked that too.

Another fun DVD for younger kids is Nickelodeon's Happy Halloween
featuring Halloween episodes from Go Diego Go, Yo Gabba Gabba, Wonder Pets, etc. 
Let's just say the song from "Yo Gabba Gabba" got stuck in my head last Halloween ... "too much candy's gonna' make you sick, too much candy's gonna' make you SO sick" ... haha

As I was thinking about what I watched as a kid I remembered the movie called "The Worst Witch" (with Tim Curry in it) ... so random!  Did anyone else ever watch that?

Do you have any 
1) not TOO scary recommendations for adult Halloween movies, or 
2) not TOO scary recommendations for kid Halloween movies?

Monday, September 26, 2011

SwellChel Does Halloween: Pumpkin Cobbler

I LOVE pumpkin.  I love pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.  I love pumpkin waffles.  I love pumpkin-smelling soap even!  

If I had to pick a favorite pumpkin dessert ... it would definitely have to be 
Pumpkin Cobbler.

I have NO idea where I got this recipe from ... and I don't think it was called Pumpkin "cobbler" ... that's just what I call it!  I'm sorry I can't remember my source for this ... if you were the one to give it to me will you tell me?!??!  :)


1 pkg yellow cake mix (I actually use spice cake ... yumm)
16 oz can pumpkin
12 oz can evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup melted butter

1. Preheat oven to 350, grease 9x13 pan
2. Combine pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, spices and salt.  Pour into pan.
3. Sprinkle cake mix over the mixture in the pan
4. Drizzle the melted butter on top of  cake mix
5. Bake for 50-55 minutes.


I can't tell you enough how delicious this is!  Not to mention the amazing smell in my house while it is cooking!  It's easy to make and it's ingredients I just keep on hand in my pantry!  Let's just say my husband has already requested it twice in one week :)  We can't eat it all so we make up excuses to drop it off to friends or have company over to help us devour it!  

Let me know if you make it and what you think!  You won't regret it :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

SwellChel Does Halloween: Free Halloween Poster Printables

I'm loving all of the free Halloween "poster" printables out there!  Sometime last year I bought three 8x10 frames and I rotate the posters inside depending on the holiday.  I downloaded these printables for free, and then I sent the images to Costco to be printed 8x10 (or print them on my printer).  After Halloween I will take them out of the frames, store them in my Halloween box and use them again next year!

Image via eighteen25
download here

image via eighteen25
created by Tatertots and Jellos
download here

images via Craftily Ever After
download images here and here

Saturday, September 24, 2011

SwellChel Does Halloween: You've Been Booed!

One of my favorite Halloween traditions involves ding-dong-ditching treats to neighbors and friends!  

The TomKat Studio created a super-cute free printable and called it 
You Have Been Booed!
(download it here)

(image via The TomKat studio)

 When the person finds their treats they find a sign to put up in their window saying "We've Been Booed" (so others know they have already received treats), and they find instructions explaining to them (if they are interested) to make copies of the signs/instructions and drop off treats to two of their friends.  Usually it gets the ball rolling in the neighborhood and pretty soon we drive down the street and can see quite a few "We've Been Booed" signs up!   It's really fun and I'm excited to involve my kids in the whole "ding-dong ditching" part this year!

While you are getting your free printable from The TomKat Studio , go and check out the rest of their site ... there are some amazing (and i mean AMAZING) parties on there, and they sell coordinating printables for parties and there are also some other freebies on there!

I love these Halloween party printables I found here
(image via The TomKat Studio)

Friday, September 23, 2011

SwellChel Does Halloween: Great Pumpkin cake recipe from Kraft Foods

I've always enjoyed looking through recipes from Kraft Foods ... especially around the holidays.  I've made this Great Pumpkin cake a few times, but unfortunately I don't have any pictures of mine!  That's okay ... their picture makes it look WAY better than mine would!

I thought this was such a festive and fun cake!  It was easy to make (using a fluted tube pan), and I was able to switch it up by using spice cake mix (yummy with the cream cheese frosting), and in some versions of mine I leave off the green frosting and just use a plain ice cream cone.

Go check out the recipe on Kraft Foods here.

image via Kraft Foods

Craft foods also has other fun Halloween recipes here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

FREE Shipping on ANY order at Lillian Vernon

Remember my post last week on the adorable personalized trick-or-treat bags at Lillian Vernon?

Check it out here.

They are still on sale for $11.98 and now through September 26th there is FREE shipping on any order!
(Thanks to my sister-in-law Megan for the heads up on the deal!)

Go check out the bags here!

SwellChel Does Halloween: Halloween Printable Activities for Kids

Last year I came across some printable Halloween activities for my kids.  These amazing bloggers have taken the time to create large packets of different Halloween-themed worksheets and allow them to be downloaded for FREE!  

Here is what I end up doing with them ... I print the sheets out, load them into sheet protectors and put them in a cheap 3-ring binder.  The kids use a dry-erase marker to do all of the activities ... it's perfect because they like to do them over and over and then I'm not re-printing a ton and wasting paper!  If some of the activities are puzzles, matching games, etc then I'll cut them up and store them in their own page protector.

Then I just keep the binder in my box of decorations to use again the next year, and I keep adding to it!

This is actually a picture of my Thanksgiving one ... :)

Oopsey Daisy has a packed called "H is for Halloween" you can download from her post here.
It's part of her Mommy School Packets (which are all awesome, by the way!)

(picture via Oopsey Daisy)

Over the Big Moon has a Halloween Pre-K Pack you can download here.
Even though it's Pre-K I'm sure some older kids would have fun with them.
(image via Over the Big Moon)

I also love this little Halloween Game page from Yellow Mums you can find here.

I hope you can use these Halloween printable activities for your kids ....
my kids LOVE doing them at home, in the car or at church!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

SwellChel Does Halloween: Mummy Munch from Picky Palate

Last year I found a really fun and easy treat that the kids (and adults) devoured at my daughter's birthday party...  Mummy Munch, found here at Picky Palate.

I even copied Picky Palate and got the same cute cupcake liners and toothpicks from Target.
You really could make your own version of this by adding/taking away ingredients ...
this Mummy Munch has : pretzels, Honey Chex, peanuts, and autumn mix candy corn.  Just mix them and add vanilla candy melted!   So fun and tasty!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

SwellChel Does Halloween: Scrapbook of Halloween Memories

A few years ago my parents presented each of us children with a book containing family Christmas pictures every year since they were married ... it is such a treasure and so fun to go back and see how our family has changed over the years.  I've started that tradition and have saved our cards so we can look back and see how our family has grown.

My sister Celene took that idea even further and has saved pictures from each Halloween of her kids in their costumes!  So fun!  Last year I played "catch up" and found pictures of my kids each Halloween and made a digital scrapbook page for each year (of course, paper scrapbooks work as well!).  I print out the images and keep them in a spooky black scrapbook that I can add to every year.  We displayed it with our Halloween decor last year and I can't tell you how many times my son wanted to sit and look through it!  Even if you only had time to slip a picture in a photo album - it would be a fun tradition to start!

Here is what we did:


Monday, September 19, 2011

SwellChel Does Halloween: 3-ingredient Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

By far Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies are the E-A-S-I-E-S-T cookies I've ever made (except for, ya' know, putting refrigerated cookie dough on a cookie sheet).

Three ingredients:
1. Box of Spice Cake Mix
2. 1 can (15 oz) of pumpkin
3. 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Mix. Put on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.  Cool on cookie sheet.  DONE.

Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the cookies that I've made in the past ... 
(what a good excuse for me to not wait a second longer and make some NOW ... so I can take a picture, right?)

so I borrowed this one via Pinterest.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

SwellChel Does Halloween: Martha Stewart Witch's Broom Favors

When I decided to do "SwellChel Does Halloween" I went back through all of my digital photos from each October.  I came across this Witch's Broom Favor  I made four years ago that I completely forgot about!  It was SO easy to make and I remember how fun it was delivering a few of them to neighbors and friends.  I think we wrapped up some yummy pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (recipe coming tomorrow!) and put them in the bags.

Instructions on how to make them can be found 
on Martha Stewart, here

Saturday, September 17, 2011

SwellChel Does Halloween: Halloween Memory Game

I cannot tell you how much I "heart" these Halloween Memory game cards!
I found them on Lil Mop Top here

Not only are they super cute but you can download them for free!

All I did was download the pictures and send them to Costco as 4x6 prints.
Then I glued them onto black card stock, cut them in half and there you have it ...
a really awesome Halloween Memory game!

Go download them from Lil Mop Top here!!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

SwellChel Does Halloween: Chocolate-covered Oreo Pumpkins

I think it's about time for a yummy treat on "SwellChel Does Halloween" ... don't ya' think?

I found Chocolate-covered Oreo Pumpkins on
Oopsey Daisy here.

(by the way I'm a HUGE fan of Oopsey Daisy ... 
she shares awesome printables & activities for kids,
and  amazing crafts.  Go check her out!)

I'm almost TOO embarrassed to put this picture on here...
my first attempt at dipping oreos in chocolate.
Luckily they were quickly gobbled up by kids who didn't care what they looked like.

To make up for that bad picture I better post the one from Oopsey Daisy...
aren't those green ribbon stems darling???

They really are easy and fun to make ... 
Oopsey Daisy has instructions on her post here.