My Favorite Family Friendly Halloween Movies + Handy List!

Hey Y’all! ABC Family or Freeform as it’s now called (ick) has started it’s 13 Nights of Halloween movie extravaganza which means only one thing. THE CHRISTMAS MOVIES ARE NEXT. Just kidding. Sort of.

I hate when the season ends and I find I have missed one from my list of favorites. I’m so particular about my holiday traditions that I will not stray from the timeline in which I do them so I have to wait a whole other year for a second chance!

I’m giving away too much of my crazy right now…

Anyway, I’ve thrown this list together to refer to. On it you will find all my favorite family-friendly Halloween movies with a few bonus ones for the adults. I don’t like gore or really scary movies so these are just quirky and slightly spooky, psychological thrillers.

Family Friendly Halloween Movies

Don’t forget to check out out my recent post chock full of ideas for hosting The Ultimate Halloween Party!

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Eat, Drink & Be Scary! The Ultimate Halloween Party Essentials

Americans may have been the ones to turn Halloween into the party that it is but did you know it’s the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain? Samhain (pronounced sow-in) marked the end of the harvest and the coming of Winter in old pagan times. The night of Halloween celebrates the short window of time in which the souls of the dead return to visit.

Ultimate Halloween Party Essentials

So there you go, it’s all a little darker than dressing like a minion and eating copious amounts of sweets!

The irony in my being in the US and enjoying Halloween now is that the holiday terrified me my whole life. Everything scares me. For about 12 years my brothers kept me out of their bedroom by threatening me with masks…

America celebrates everything and that is just one reason I love it here. I now have a vast collection of Autumn and Halloween decor which I just love to put up! This is my first year visiting a pumpkin patch, carving pumpkins and properly passing out candy the true American way and I am so excited. What I am not doing but would love to, at least one year is to throw a Halloween party. I’ve been snooping around Pinterest and here’s a list I put together of the ultimate halloween party essentials. Whether its decor, food, drinks or costumes to wear there’s something for the whole family.

Let me just put out a little disclaimer, these are all things I think are fun/clever/adorable and I hope you will too. I’m personally, not a fan of foods and decorations that are graphic or gory so you won’t find that sort of thing around here 🙂

The Ultimate Halloween Party Essentials

Deadly Decorations

halloween decorations

Also check out my recent post DIY Halloween Spider Web Wreath for an inexpensive and simple project!

Frightening Food

halloween party food

Find the recipes below!

  1. Stuffed Pumpkin Peppers 2. Witches Broom Marshmallow Pops 3. Mummy Pretzels 4. Monster Fruit Salad

Devilish Drinks

halloween party cocktails

See the recipes here!

  1. Devil’s Margarita 2. The Raven 3. Liquified Ghost 4. Hocus Pocus

For the too-cool-for-school men in your life who won’t drink girly looking cocktails *eye roll* why not try a cinnamon-brown sugar rim on the glass of their favorite seasonal beer?! It adds a fun twist!

Clever Costumes

I am a big fan of DIY costumes and not only are they cheaper than store bought but you will always be unique! If you choose a good one, you can potentially re-use whatever supplies you buy to make it.

Couples

couples costumes

Oh my, I just LOVE these relatively simple ideas!

ET, Deer & Deer Hunter, Lightening Strike and Forrest Gump & Jenny

Kids

kids costumes

  1. Rain Cloud by make it love it 2. Crazy Cat Lady by Crafty Morning 3. Sadness from Inside Out by love and lionSignOff

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Baby Weight Gain Woes

Today’s post is a bit of a rant I suppose. I want to talk about gaining weight during pregnancy.

Baby Weight Woes

I am 6 ft tall and my pre-pregnancy weight was 119lbs. My height, extremely long legs and physical build make me look very thin. This is something that has been a massive insecurity of mine for many years, mostly because of years of bullying, people suggesting I have eating disorders and telling me to go “eat a burger”. Not to mention the media and opposite sex constantly reminding me that I am not in fact a ‘real’ woman without the presence of curves.  I eat. I eat like a little piggy. Those close to me will vouch for the fact that not only do I eat but I eat my fair share of junk food. I have never had an unhealthy link to my body with food and I find it an awful shame to constantly battle those so quick to judge.

That attitude, in my opinion is more unhealthy than my appearance.

“A woman of a normal weight, like yourself, should expect to gain between 25 and 30 lbs throughout pregnancy” – my OB/GYN.

This kind of floored me. Not because I’m going to gain weight. Nope. Because she described me using the words “normal weight”. My own GP in Ireland would look at me sideways and warn me off “losing any more weight”. I’ve been the same weight at all my doctor visits for 8 years?! I was never actively trying to lose weight. It was refreshing to not feel like someone was trying to talk me off a ledge. I can’t wait to gain the weight, it is necessary for my growing baby. In fact, I bought my first ever scales to ensure month to month that I am gaining enough.

Body shaming works both ways. ‘Skinny’ shaming is as real as ‘fat’ shaming and they are all equally as vile as one another. The last thing pregnant women need is to compromise the health of themselves and their developing baby due to the cruel words of others.

Be sure to check out Morning Sickness Musts for tips on battling first trimester nausea!

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Morning Sickness Musts!

If you follow the blog’s social media accounts and saw my previous post, Little Pumpkin then you will already know that we are expecting! Baby Scott arrives next Spring and we are so flippin’ excited! I’ve been very sick in my first trimester and I strive to do all that I can to help other women deal with morning sickness misery! “Not another post about morning sickness!”, I hear you cry. There are endless morning sickness remedies out there. How do I know how many there are? Because I searched for them ALL. I read them all and I tried them all. Some worked wonders, other made me worse so I’ve compiled a list of what kept me at my best during my worst! Hopefully they can help you too.

Morning Sickness Musts

Intuitively, I knew I would experience morning sickness. It’s me. Everything turns my stomach, even at full health. I have a high pain tolerance but the weakest stomach and I was anxious in the early weeks of my pregnancy awaiting the dreaded nausea. I was 7 weeks 3 days at my initial prenatal exam and first ultrasound. The nurse asked me how I was feeling and I was on top of the world. She mused that I might be one of the lucky ones and I went home wondering if I was.

The very next day I woke up to the room spinning, stomach growling and vomit rising in my throat. T.M.I? Get used to it. Pregnancy and dignity don’t go hand in hand I’ve found.

I was floored and it was a vicious cycle. I was feeling deathly sick but starving at the same time. Let’s face it the last thing you want when you are sitting on bathroom floor waiting to vomit is a big meal. I learned my lesson quickly though. The reason I was feeling so sick was because I needed food. I needed to eat something the second I woke up and last thing at night. As well as this, I needed to eat frequently to avoid any sensation of hunger which in turn equated to nausea.

My Top 6 Morning Sickness Musts

  1. Eat immediately upon waking and right before bedtime. In the morning I found a dry, crunchy granola bar would give me enough energy and tide me over while I was getting myself up and dressed. I would go downstairs and have breakfast right afterwards. At night time I would eat the same but maybe add a banana. This was enough to fill me in case I woke in the middle of the night.
  2. Eat every 2 to 3 hours. This sounds excessive but for me it was the only way I got through my morning-noon-night sickness. I would eat at 9am, 12pm, 2/3pm, 5pm, 7pm and 9/10pm. Some of these were meals (whatever I could keep down) and the rest were light, dry and downright boring snacks. Meals consisted of A LOT of carbohydrates and other plain but filling foods. Bread, rice, pasta, cereals etc. Snacks were crackers, granola bars, oatmeal and fruits that I could stomach like bananas, blueberries and strawberries.
  3. Don’t skip on water. I know, I know, it’s impossible to drink liters of water while feeling so awful. I added a teaspoon of the juice of a fresh lemon to every bottle of water I drank to add some flavor. The tartness made it easier to swallow. The days where I slacked on my water intake were hell. My head spun and the nausea was undoubtedly stronger. Not to mention the most important factor – all those fluids are necessary for babies development!
  4. Brew your own ginger tea. I both won and lost here. Who knew you could overdose on ginger? Not this girl. It’s rough. Trust me. I was so sick one day that I boiled the kettle, grated some fresh ginger and made my own tea. Grate your ginger into a bowl and pour hot water on top. Let it steep for a few minutes. Strain this water into a cup over a teaspoon of honey and a teaspoon of lemon then add more warm water. The key here is to not use too much ginger, a bare half teaspoon of grated ginger is enough. I used too much! The tea settled my stomach and I felt really good but the next two days were not pleasant. I had sent my body into a full digestive detox/cleanse and I don’t need to describe that to anyone.
  5. Put your go-to snacks EVERYWHERE. In the glove box of the car, in every handbag you own, in every pocket of your clothing, on your nightstand, on your coffee table, etc. Sometimes just walking to the pantry to get my food made the world spin. I liked to have things on hand at all times.
  6. Something I struggled with during the worst weeks of sickness was the gross metallic taste in my excessively dry mouth. I tried sucking on glassy, fruity candy but was overwhelmed by sweetness. I recommend ginger candies just for the purpose of settling the stomach but the taste can become overpowering. What worked best for me in the end was peppermints and occasionally chewing gum. Chewing gum helps to produce more saliva and I find it takes my mind off the ill feeling.

As I said my sickness began at week 7. It peaked at week 10 and by the very end of week 11 it became far more manageable. By the time week 12 rolled around I was waking up with more energy and barely any inkling of illness, which is typical of nearing the second trimester. The only time I feel sick now is if I allow myself to go far too long without eating. I really hope some of these tips work for someone else out there because it can feel downright hopeless and miserable.

Let me know in the comments what weird or wacky remedy eased your morning sickness!

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Little Pumpkin

Autumn is finally, officially here and while everyone’s talking about all pumpkin everything, I’ve been keeping a tiny pumpkin of my own a big secret!

Little Pumpkin Cover

WE’RE HAVING A BABY!

Scott Pregnancy Announcement

Did I get to the point quick enough? I feel like I could burst with relief from keeping it quiet for so long! I agonized for weeks  about whether or not I would announce this on the blog but I figured I would end up posting related articles. It would seem a little strange to suddenly become a ‘mom’ blogger without ever mentioning becoming a mother…

Baby Scott will be making an appearance next Spring. Baby’s photos probably won’t feature on the blog but our adventures undoubtedly will. He or she will be our greatest one of all!

Little Pumpkin

Everything coming our way is very exciting. I have loved everyone’s blog posts that have helped me through this pregnancy so far and given me great advice for the future. I’m pretty excited to become a part of the mom club!

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DIY Halloween Spider Web Wreath

There are so many spooky Halloween wreaths out there but frankly, I think the price tags are equally as frightful. I am a huge fan of Fall decor and don’t even start me on Christmas but my Halloween decorating is minimal at best. I can’t justify having a huge amount of decorations for just one night (ok, yes ironic since Christmas is technically one day as well). So I took things into my own hands using Michael’s 40% off one full priced item coupon and made this MINDLESSLY easy, spider web wreath which ended up costing just $7!

DIY Halloween Spider Web Wreath

You will need just three items:

  1. Plain, twig wreath (whatever size you want!)
  2. Spider Web
  3. Spiders, of course!

DIY Halloween Spider Web Wreath

Depending on where you are placing this and what the weather is like in your neck of the woods, you may need to use wire or glue to secure your spiders. Due to the family of geckos that likes to move into all my front door wreaths and then try jump into my house, I will probably use this indoors as wall decor! If you are displaying the wreath inside then those spider legs pretty much secure themselves between the twigs. One less step – score!

Obviously these wreaths are supposed to be round (duh!) but they are inexpensive and all vary. Choose wisely at the store. When you are ready to start, lay it flat on a table and decide what point will be the top (where it will sit on the door hanger/nail).

DIY Halloween Spider Web Wreath

After this you get to play with your webbing. I used a very small amount, stretching it to the max to ensure it looked more real. The more you use, the clumpier it will be. I wound the web around one side, spending time making it look as true to life as I could. You could also arrange it width ways across the bottom half or indeed, all over the entire wreath.

DIY Halloween Spider Web Wreath

Next up – spiders! Sparkly, plastic spiders are much more acceptable than live, hairy ones. This pack had six in it but I used just four. Again, depending on your wreath size, it’s up to you. You’re all set! Did I mention this was TOO easy?!

DIY Halloween Spider Web Wreath

Let me know if you’ve made your own Halloween wreath!

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Unique Succulent Arrangements

Succulents don’t ask for much making them a beginners favorite. Most varieties can be planted in small containers and because of this you can be as creative as you like when it comes to your planter of choice. I’ve planted them in teacups, terrariums, regular clay pots and even shallow dishes. Here is a roundup of some really unique succulent arrangements and planter ideas. Hopefully you will be inspired to come up with something just as wacky and wonderful!

Unique Succulent Arrangements

5 Unique Succulent Arrangements

Harvest Pumpkin Planter

Perfectly in keeping with the time of year, why not decorate accordingly with your succulents? I love this idea!

Pumpkin-Succulent-Arrangement-simplyhappenstance.com-65

Troll Doll Planter

This one cracked me up. I had these troll dolls as a child and I would spend hours brushing and styling their crazy hair. These would look so funny with any climbing succulent!

nostalgic-troll-succulent-planters-container-gardening-repurposing-upcycling-succulents

The Wall Mounted Letter Planter is probably my favorite idea here! What a unique way to arrange your succulents and also have a beautiful piece of outdoor decor!

Wall Mounted Letter Planter

Similarly if you love a wreath on your front door to greet your guests, then try this DIY Succulent Wreath.

Semper-viva-Wreath-how-to-make-a-succulent-wreath

Stuck for space? How about a Vertical Garden?!

Vertical Garden

Have you tried any of these arrangements? Let me know about your quirky succulent arrangements in the comments!

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Mountain Getaway: Tallulah Falls & Helen, Georgia

This year was our first Labor Day weekend without a plan. Initially we honed in on Florida. Sick of excessive heat and humidity, we changed our plans on a whim and booked a trip to Northern Georgia. How lucky we were! Florida was a no-go thanks to Tropical Storm Hermine ripping her way right through the state and unfortunately for us, our home was also in her direct path. We left a night early to avoid driving through the storm. On our agenda for the weekend was visiting Helen, Tallulah Gorge State Park, Tallulah Falls, eating some good food and playing a round of golf! Nothing too wild! It turned into an interesting trip…

Mountain Getaway

Helen, Georgia is an Alpine town with a Bavarian feel right in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Apparently with a population of just 430, Helen is the third most visited town in Georgia! After spending so many years traveling around Bavaria, I must admit it does have a genuine Bavarian feel. I would highly recommend it for any military friends pining for their old German duty station!

Helen Georgia

Fussen, Bavaria is the town we would stay at whenever we visited Schloss Neuschwanstein where we got engaged. I was excited to find out that Helen is her sister city!

 

The architecture and decor is undeniably Bavarian.

 

Mountain Getaway

We ate at a really authentic German restaurant called Bodensee on the outskirts of town. To find it just cross the bridge on the main street and make an immediate left. Schnitzel after two years without it, really hit the spot!

 

 

Mountain Getaway

We spent a few hours walking around Helen, visiting the stores, eating and of course having a Bier! There’s a large parking area with $5/day parking which I don’t think is a bad deal. However if you are staying in Helen then there’s no need to move your car from the hotel. The majority of the hotels are no more than a 10 minute walk away. There’s a lot to do in Helen and around it’s outskirts. One fun family activity is tubing on the Chattahoochee river. For the adults, Oktoberfest starts the weekend after Labor day each year, a fest not to be missed!

Our accommodation destination was Clayton, Georgia. A small town near Tallulah Falls. I won’t talk about where we stayed because frankly, it doesn’t deserve a review. It was the downfall of our trip and we were definitely disappointed to find that it was nothing like advertised and was exorbitantly expensive for the condition it was in. If you like luxury hotel stays, it is very easy to be fooled by fancy (edited) pictures and exaggerated descriptive words. still, we decided to make the most of it and not let the hotel get us down.

That night we decided not to bother eating at our destination and instead ventured into Clayton to The Laurel restaurant at The White Birch Inn. The White Birch Inn is a boutique hotel in the historic part of town and I just about died over the decor in there. It all made sense when I read the owner is an interior designer! If only we’d booked a room there – divine!

Mountain Getaway

Mountain Getaway

Saturday was hike day! Tallulah Gorge State Park is located in the town of Tallulah Falls, just 20 minutes away from Clayton. I was excited for this for a while but I was initially disappointed by how short the trails were. Don’t get me wrong there are many trails but the best and most fun are for experienced hikers with real deal equipment. Someone I am not. So only two trails were available to me and my abilities. We found that one of those (South Rim trail) was a no-go due to a 600 step descent, something that was unfortunately a health concern for me at the time.

I must also add that if you are one of those hardcore hikers planning to visit the park this Autumn to hike to the gorge basin where the sliding rock/beach area is, it is closed due to dam maintenance until Memorial Day of 2017.

Mountain Getaway

The paths are easy and quite open (I was worried about this due to the many snakes inhabiting the park). In some areas the paths narrow and there’s lots of roots to wary of. In wet weather it can be pretty soft and slippery. Obviously appropriate footwear is a necessity.

Mountain Getaway

If you do attempt the descent on the South Rim trail then you will arrive at the suspension bridge which allows you to cross the gorge.

Mountain Getaway

We hiked he North Rim trail to ‘Inspiration Point’ where your eyes are treated to this stunning view! There’s a perfectly placed bench up there to sit and take it all in after your walk. This trail has a steep incline and while the path isn’t difficult, it gets quite tough in hot weather. Despite the short trail (2.5 miles) do not start it without water.

Mountain Getaway

The beauty of the park is amazing. It was so nice to be away from the crippling humidity of coastal Georgia. To breathe in fresh air and hear the rush of the water from the various falls reminded me of home!

The saving grace of our hotel was that it had a relatively decent golf course for my husband to play a round on. I tagged along for the fun/companionship but didn’t play. I did try my hand at swinging some clubs though. It was pretty enjoyable just to take in a beautiful serene mountain view. Even if I was trying to avoid being thrown from a golf cart by the world’s most erratic cart driver. Not to name any names…

 

 

 

Mountain Getaway

Mountain Getaway

Mountain Getaway

Mountain Getaway

One of my favorite parts of this trip was my morning coffee. That sounds really sad but I just really appreciate funky little coffee houses that are NOT serving me Starbucks. It turns out that The White Birch Inn also has an adjoining store/coffee shop call White Birch Provisions. Again I was in love with the design. It helped that the coffee and pastries were just as perfect!

Mountain Getaway

Mountain Getaway

Mountain Getaway

Have you been to any of these locations and what was your favorite?

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Football Food: All American Game Day Snacks

Football season starts THIS week! Who’s excited?! I won’t pretend I’m ecstatic. Football is so big here and I find it overwhelming. I don’t understand the game and my team has been chosen for me thanks to my die-hard Greenbay Packers husband. Thus far, it’s been a loud and obnoxious whirlwind of jumping in the air, shouting at the TV and occasionally, week-long sulking over losses. There is something I absolutely can get on board with though and that is football food. Sunday football games call for All-American comfort food, delicious snacks and refreshing beverages! Football Sundays are the ultimate ‘cheat day’!

Football Food All American Game Day Snacks

Pinterest is my best friend when it comes to sniffing out fun new recipes to try and football season is no different. From basic recipes to creative works of art, there is a virtually unlimited selection of ideas. Here are some of my favorites!

Appetizers

Pepperoni Pizza Pull-Apart Bread

pepperoni-pizza-pull-apart-bread-4title

Husband is a big bread lover and while I’m not overly keen on carbo loading before eating my meal, I am always up for some tear ‘n’ share bread. This one from Creme && Crumb encapsulates the best of two worlds!

Loaded Baked Potato Dip

loaded-baked-potato-dipwb

I’ve made this dip multiple times now and while the amount of sour cream involved is slightly horrifying, the taste will make you forget all your problems. Try it with thick cut potato chips.

Mains

Twisted Hot Dogs

p_102084542C

The great American hot dog! Could it even be game day without one? Chicago dogs are my favorite but I can’t wait to try these dogs with a twist!

BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders

Barbecue-Pork-Sliders-with-Garlic-Aioli-www.stuckonsweet.com1_

If you’re not a fan of MidWest delights then go further South and opt for some BBQ pulled pork sliders. They’re guaranteed to go down a treat.

Oven Baked Steak Fries

Hot_Potato_Planks_Recipe_Aggies_Kitchen-3

I love thick cut fries (or ‘chips’ where I’m from!) and these super chunky steak fries are divine. Try them with salt and vinegar or fresh parmesan and garlic!

Dessert

Chances are after all the delicious savory food, there won’t be much room for dessert but just in case here’s some adorable dessert ideas!

Peanut Butter Football Dip

football-dip-collage

Oreo Cookie Ball Footballs

Oreo-Balls3680name

Want to skip the fattening cookies? Then opt for a fruity alternative!

Chocolate Dipped Football Apples

chocolate-football-apple-slices-hip2save

What’s your favorite football food?

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Effortless Slow Cooker Taco Soup

Anyone who knows me, knows I am desperately willing Autumn to arrive. Chunky knit sweaters, boots, comfort food and darker evenings – I love it! If only Georgia actually experienced cool weather! So in order to bring Winter to me, I hike up the AC, don my winter woolies,  switch the flame on our fireplace and start eating my favorite comfort foods. The best thing about such food is that a lot of it can easily be made in the slow cooker. There is nothing I love more than being able to dump ingredients into one large pot and walk away until it’s time to eat!

Effortless Slow Cooker Taco Soup

When I moved to the US, I found it difficult to get into the swing of cooking dinners we both liked for an entire week. I was raised (stereo typically) on meat and potato based meals and it was hard to transition to a lot of culturally diverse dishes. Luckily I found I liked the majority. For such a fussy child, I will try anything now. Husband however, will not. Once tacos became a staple in our household, we fell into a rut. I felt like I cooked more sloppy tacos than I cared to look at and I was keen to branch out.

After feeling ill for a couple of weeks I hit up Pinterest and pinned a whole bunch of soup recipes. I saved a Chicken Enchilada Soup and it got me thinking about another variation of our tacos! I tweaked the enchilada soup recipe to be the easiest taco version I could muster and it turned out to be the most divine, tasty dish!

The title of this post is ‘Effortless Slow Cooker Taco Soup’ because truly, the most difficult step involved is opening the cans! This soup is as satisfyingly easy as it is delicious!

Effortless Slow Cooker Taco Soup

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