I always love to put a little something together for my kids to celebrate each holiday. It’s so cute to see them both enjoy something together as brother and sister and to get into the holiday spirit!
They loved all of the spooky snacks and yummy treats…and their favorite part was (by far) the mini skeleton shot glass cups from which they they drank their water ☺️.
Our menu includes the sugar cookies we baked together; white-chocolate dipped Oreo ghosts; breadstick snakes; orange pepper jack-o-lanterns filled with spinach and artichoke dip; and mini chocolate cakes from our grocery store topped with Halloween bottle brush trees. Overall pretty simple, but festive!
Below I’ll include some sourcing information in case anyone is interested. Hopefully this inspires some fun moments with your favorite littles this Halloween! 😘🖤🧡
Spiderweb backdrop– HGTV has a great how-to on Pinterest we followed for this. I used the extra thick yarn (1 roll) from Michaels to give it a very defined web. Then we added spiders on smaller yard for a drop-down effect.
Halloween Banner – Michaels holiday section
Bottle Brush Trees – Halloween dollhouse/miniature section of Michaels
Mini Skeleton Shot Glass Cups – Michaels, Martha Stewart Brand
Skull Melamine Plates – Home Goods, Nicole Miller brand
Black Gingham Mini Platter – Hearth & Hand Magnolia
Black Cake Plate – Rosanna
Evelyn’s Cat Dress – Stylin Sophie
Baking and decorating sugar cookies can be very daunting, and in my opinion it’s definitely an art! If you ask my mom and I, a sugar cookie is really only as good as it tastes. We’ve baked lots of sugar cookies, both for taste and for cuteness…and finding a balance between the two is definitely a challenge. The recipe included here yields delicious cookies! They don’t fully hold their shape, so we re-cut the shapes after baking and cooling for a clean and crisp shape. Honestly, it’s the best way to accomplish the perfect cookie shape. Below is the recipe and all of my mom’s tips for baking the perfect sugar cookie. A huge Thanks to her mom for sharing all she has learned over the years!
2 cups salted butter
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp vanilla (we used a vanilla bean paste)
5 cups flour
Beat butter with a paddle attachment, adding sugar one cup at a time until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat just until incorporated. Add salt and vanilla and mix until just incorporated. Add flour in 3 different batches and mix until just incorporated.
Split cookie dough into two evenly distributed batches. Place each batch of dough between two pieces of parchment paper and slightly roll into a flat circle before refrigerating. Chill for a minimum of one hour. After chilling, roll dough (we did about 1/4 inch thick cookies) and cut into shapes. Re-chill shaped cookies. Bake at 375 for approximately 10-12 minutes–don’t overbake! Allow cookies to cool and then store in an airtight container until decorating.
Some tips to keep in mind:
- Handle the dough as little as possible and add as little of additional flour as possible
- When rolling out the dough after chilling, leave it between the two pieces of parchment to prevent sticking to rolling pin, counter, etc (this makes the process SO MUCH cleaner!!)
- Keep dough as cold as possible. The warmer it gets, the stickier the dough will be and the less they will hold their shape
- After cutting dough into shapes, re-chill on a parchment lined cookie sheet before baking
- Bake cookies of similar sizes in each batch
- Freeze cookies either undecorated or fully decorated (or both) if you’re not serving right away. This will allow you to serve the freshest cookie possible!
- We personally only re-work the dough once for re-rolling. After the second rolling/cutting, we bake the scraps for snacking, practice decorating, etc. if you re-work dough too many times, the texture of the cookie will change
Buttercream Icing Recipe:
2 cups butter
6 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tablespoon milk
Beat butter with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat on high until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla and milk. Split icing into the desired number of batches for coloring. Add gel coloring (These and these are our favorites) until desired color is achieved. Place icing in piping bags and have fun decorating!! I used icing in piping bags to outline and fill the cookies and then used a small spatula to spread the icing to get a cleaner look.
Okay, I swear not everything I share will be Disney related, but as I mentioned before, we have an upcoming trip so that’s currently the theme around here :).
These treat baskets actually have a dual purpose for me. I love getting the kids seasonal jammies and goodies to celebrate the upcoming holidays….But instead of them just showing up in their drawers and not really appreciating it, I like to make the delivery of the gifts special as well. And on top of that, I wanted to surprise them with a little something when we leave for our trip. I plan to have these waiting in their car seats when we pick Grady up from school and hit the road! It will be an amazing tangible indicator to him about where we are going and what he can expect. I just feel like these add a touch of magic from a little kids perspective.
I packed the buckets with some snacks and goodies for the ride and a pair of the CUTEST pajamas from Gap. Our little man is donut and sprinkle-obsessed, so these are literally everything right now. And of course, I know the Mickey bucket and light-up necklaces will be huge hits the entire camping trip. The great thing about these gifts is, we probably would have ended up getting these things for the kids at the park anyhow…why not make it a little more personal and special with the way we give it to them?
One of the other things that inspired this was Disney’s own Surprise Gift arrival program. I stumbled across this while planning one of our trips and I thought the idea and gesture was adorable for families. The pricing is a little high and I feel like your money goes so much further by doing it yourself. So why not plan ahead and bring a surprise goodie bag for the kids for arrival? Pack it with all the things you know you’ll probably get or need or want anyway, and make it a magical moment of the trip. Disney’s online shop sells a lot of the park goodies and seasonal items….and they often run promotions with discounts and free shipping. So, just an idea to add a little thoughtfulness to your next Disney (or non-Disney, for that matter) adventure!
So I know that painting rocks is not a groundbreaking idea, BUT we did this little project to get ready for our upcoming Disney trip and I’d thought I’d share! To get the kids excited about our camping trip to Fort Wilderness in Disney World, we spent a day painting these rocks that we would be able to share with other kiddos. I love that it helped to build the excitement for our vacation and that we were able to talk about doing special things for others. Grady was excited to hear that we would be hiding these for other kids to find, knowing how happy it would make them. I mean, how simple and cool of a concept to pass on to our little ones?! I just love it. Since our vacation is Disney, we chose some of our favorite characters and gathered lots of inspiration from Pinterest. But this could totally be tailored to any vacation destination. I think it will become a new tradition of ours!
For the rock project, we used a bag of white rocks from Home Depot. Make sure to wipe the dust off (or wash them prior to painting and let them fully dry). To paint them, we used an assortment of acrylic paint from the craft store. And then we just sprayed a thin coat of clear sealer after all of the painted designs were dry. Pretty easy!
The kids can’t stop playing with them and looking at them, which is always a good sign for a project. Hope this inspires a new tradition for some of you! Here’s a closer look at some of our cute rocks. Thanks for stopping by!
It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost a year since my last post! If I’m being honest, there are many reasons for why that’s the case–a mix of finding our new groove as a family of four and feeling uncertainty as to the direction I want this blog to take. But I have recently felt a huge urge for a creative outlet and the timing just feels right to me. So, I have decided to buckle down and give this a chance in a more serious and structured way than before.
I’ve been wanting to start this process for quite some time but I wasn’t sure how to blend my personal social media accounts with this new adventure. After careful consideration, I believe that keeping my personal social media private is the best interest for my family and my children. It’s funny, I often read that many people stumbled on blogging ‘by chance’ and just happened to create an audience. At one point in time, I would have told you that I wished for something like that; but after observing the pros and cons that scenario creates, I would much prefer to have a deliberate community with whom I can share curated content. I truly love following along to both types of Bloggers, but I think this works best for me.
My dream of starting a business is still alive, but at this point there are so many other things that take priority over my own aspirations. What I love about this Instagram and Blogging world is that it allows me to still focus on what matters most to me (my children, my family, celebrating big and little moments, creating lasting memories, photography, etc), while also diving into a challenge for myself. I have no idea if it will stick, but if I don’t try, I’ll never know, right?
So, anyway, here we are! I am SO SUPER excited to re-brand my blog as Thoughtfully Curated and really give try to create something meaningful and fun. Hopefully I can create, capture and share some good stuff along the way!