Be Prepared for All of that Candy

When the girls were young, to prevent them from overindulging in all that sugar they’d received each Halloween/Samhain, I had a plan in place to be ready for the bombardment of all that candy.

I realize that there are readers who believe children should have free reign over these treats; I simply do not agree. Sugar highs are not good for children, or those caring for them. Too much sugar in one day is not good for their health. And allowing them to binge eat like that can cause serious problems later on.

* I assure you, they had their treats. They enjoyed them. They simply had them in moderation. And they got tons of candy.

(Update 2017) Even though I am trying to eat healthier myself, and this blog is about frugal, healthy eating (for the most part), I completely understand the fun that comes along with this time of year. And I can’t wait to take Little Man out trick-or-treating some day.

Have these supplies ready:

cookie jar or other container

2 large bowls

freezer bags or containers labeled Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentines Day

trash can

  • Go through all the treats that each of your children received. Throw out any that does not look right.

While going through the candy, separate it all into the containers as such:

  • Popcorn balls, pretzels, fruit snacks, and other snack type items will go into one of the large bowls, along with any actual fruit.
  • Place chocolate candies in the other large bowl.
  • Put other types of candy into the cookie jar.
  • Candies with red or pink wrappers should be placed in the Valentine’s Day container.
  • Candies with blue, green and silver wrappers should be placed in the Christmas container.
  • Candies with brown, yellow or gold wrappers should be placed into the Thanksgiving container.
  • The three holiday containers are then placed into the freezer, and the rest are placed in a location that is not easily accessible to the children.

A week before each holiday, take the candy from the freezer and place it around the home in decorative plates. You do not have to buy candy for these holidays now.

  • These holiday candies are obviously not to be used as gifts. They were given to your children.

Have a Happy Samhain/Halloween!

Shannon

 

 

Apple Napkins

These napkins will add a decorative touch to any holiday table, as well as to every day settings, and will go with the Apple Placemats we made a last week. These can be made or decorated with minimal effort and time, and will add a certain charm to the decor. The napkins can be created with pre-made placemats, if desired, making it an even easier project.

Materials:

apple stencil

napkins, premade or homemade (Choose an off white color.)

parchment paper

fabric paints: red and/or green

2 paint brush

  1. Wash and dry the napkins. Iron if needed.
  2. Put paints on parchment paper squares.
  3. Use the stencil to paint the apple onto the napkins.
  4. Allow to dry thoroughly before using.

Tips:

  • It is okay to use more than 1 size apple stencil per napkin, to create a apple tree, basket of apples, or whatever you desire.
  • You could use different shades of the same color paints on the mats.
  • Get creative: Outline the napkins with another autumn color paint, create a grouping of mini apples placed to the side of a tree, etc.
  • Use these napkins for every day table settings, or for holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving.
  • These can also be used for Samhain.
  • Use cotton fabric.
  • This craft is easy for children to help with.

Share your apple crafts with us in the comments.

Happy crafting!

Shannon

Apple Placemats

Placemats add a decorative touch to any holiday table, as well as to every day settings. They can be made or decorated with minimal effort and time, and will add a certain charm to the decor. These can be created with pre-made placemats, if desired, making it an even easier project.

Materials:

apple stencil

placemats, premade or homemade (Choose an off white color.)

parchment paper

fabric paints: red and/or green

2 paint brushes

  1. Wash and dry the placemats. Iron if needed.
  2. Put paints on parchment paper squares.
  3. Use the stencil to paint the apple onto the placemat.
  4. Allow to dry thoroughly before using.

Tips:

  • It is okay to use more than 1 size apple stencil per placemat, to create a apple tree, an apple grouping, or whatever you desire.
  • You could use different shades of the same base color paints on the mats.
  • Get creative: Outline the placemats with another autumn color paint, paint an apple basket, or a bushel of apples, etc.
  • Use these placemats for every day table settings, or for holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving.
  • These can also be used for Samhain.
  • Use cotton fabric.
  • This craft is easy for children to help with.

Share your apple crafts with us in the comments.

Happy crafting!

Shannon

Apple Candle Holders

This project is a great accompaniment for autumn place settings, and can be placed on the dinner or picnic table with the place settings. They are affordable to make, as you can often find bags of tea light candles for a couple of dollars, and the apples can usually be purchased fairly cheap.

Materials:

apples

knife and spoon

tea light or votive candles, scented if desired

  1. Using the knife and the spoon, scoop out the center of the apple from the top. Discard the seeds. Cut down only far and wide enough for a candle to fit in snugly.
  2. Wipe the apple with a cloth.
  3. Insert the candle.

Tips:

  • Use apples from your own orchard to save money.
  • Look for candles at the dollar store for extra money savings.
  • Place these candle holders on the holiday table, or on stands as part of the overall decor.
  • These can be used for any autumn day, but are especially wonderful additions to Halloween and Thanksgiving settings.
  • These are also great for Samhain.
  • Create a centerpiece with these by placing them on a plate or in a baking dish. Strew autumn leaves, pine cones and acorns in the bottom of the dish, add the apple candle holders, and then place the arrangement on the table.

Enjoy the autumn holidays! Do you have any apple craft ideas? Please post them to the comments.

Shannon

Pumpkin Napkins

The napkins will add a decorative touch to any holiday table, as well as to every day settings, and will go with the Pumpkin Placemats we made a couple of weeks back. These can be made or decorated with minimal effort and time, and will add a certain charm to the decor. The napkins can be created with pre-made placemats, if desired, making it an even easier project.

Materials:

pumpkin stencil

napkins, premade or homemade (Choose an off white color.)

parchment paper

fabric paints: orange, and green or brown for the stem

2 paint brush

  1. Wash and dry the napkins. Iron if needed.
  2. Put paints on parchment paper squares.
  3. Use the stencil to paint the pumpkin onto the napkins.
  4. Allow to dry thoroughly before using.

Tips:

  • It is okay to use more than 1 size pumpkin stencil per napkin, to create a pumpkin patch, pumpkin grouping, or whatever you desire.
  • You could use different shades of the same color paints on the mats.
  • Get creative: Outline the napkins with another autumn color paint, create a grouping of mini pumpkins placed to the side of a tree, etc.
  • Use these napkins for every day table settings, or for holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving.
  • These can also be used for Samhain.
  • Use cotton fabric.
  • This craft is easy for children to help with.

Share your pumpkin crafts with us in the comments.

Happy crafting!

Shannon

Mini Pumpkin Candle Holders

This project is a great accompaniment for autumn holiday meals, and can be placed on the dinner or picnic table with the place settings. They are affordable to make, as you can often find bags of tea light candles for a couple of dollars, and the pumpkins can usually be purchased fairly cheap.

Materials:

mini pumpkins

knife and spoon

tea light or votive candles, scented if desired

  1. Using the knife and the spoon, scoop out the center of the pumpkin from the top. Set the seeds aside for roasting. Cut down only far and wide enough for a candle to fit in snugly.
  2. Wipe the pumpkin with a cloth.
  3. Insert the candle.

Tips:

  • Use pumpkins from your own pumpkin patch to save money.
  • Look for candles at the dollar store for extra money savings.
  • Place these candle holders on the holiday table, or on stands as part of the overall decor.
  • These can be used for any autumn day, but are especially wonderful additions to Halloween and Thanksgiving settings.
  • These are also great for Samhain, and can be placed on the porch railing to light the way up to your door.
  • Create a centerpiece with these by placing them on a plate or in a baking dish. Strew autumn leaves, pine cones and acorns in the bottom of the dish, add the mini pumpkin candle holders, and then place the arrangement on the table.

Enjoy the autumn holidays! Do you have any pumpkin craft ideas? Please post them to the comments.

Shannon

Pumpkin Placemats

Placemats add a decorative touch to any holiday table, as well as to every day settings. They can be made or decorated with minimal effort and time, and will add a certain charm to the decor. These can be created with pre-made placemats, if desired, making it an even easier project.

Materials:

pumpkin stencil

placemats, premade or homemade (Choose an off white color.)

parchment paper

fabric paints: orange, and green or brown for the stem

2 paint brushes

  1. Wash and dry the placemats. Iron if needed.
  2. Put paints on parchment paper squares.
  3. Use the stencil to paint the pumpkin onto the placemat.
  4. Allow to dry thoroughly before using.

Tips:

  • It is okay to use more than 1 size pumpkin stencil per placemat, to create a pumpkin patch, pumpkin grouping, or whatever you desire.
  • You could use different shades of the same color paints on the mats.
  • Get creative: Outline the placemats with another autumn color paint, create a grouping of mini pumpkins placed to the side of a tree, etc.
  • Use these placemats for every day table settings, or for holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving.
  • These can also be used for Samhain.
  • Use cotton fabric.
  • This craft is easy for children to help with.

Share your pumpkin crafts with us in the comments.

Happy crafting!

Shannon

Homemade Honey Butter

Zowie and I like honey butter. We once made this for a Thanksgiving party we threw for the daycare when the children were young, though it can be used any day: Holiday, Sabbat or not.

The recipe can be halved for normal table use. For larger gatherings, this recipe serves well.

(Update 2017) I don’t usually eat butter, but this is a holiday favorite.

Ingredients:

1 cup butter

1/2 cup honey

  1. Place the butter and the honey in a bowl.
  2. Mix with an electric hand mixer, and then place the mixture into a smaller bowl.
  3. Refrigerate until needed.
  4. Remix with a fork before serving.

Tips

  • Use real butter and raw honey for the best results.
  • Wait for sales to save money.
  • Store in a canning jar in the refrigerator.

Serving Suggestions

  • Spread on a warm Paleo biscuit.

Shannon

Our Favorite Cheesecake

This is a favorite at all holiday and sabbat celebrations in our home. Everyone loves it, even though it’s not your traditional cheesecake. Anyone can make it, even a child. It is quick and easy to make, and tastes so good.

This recipe is for two cakes, but you can halve everything for one if you don’t need that much. We always make two so that there is sure to be enough for everyone.

Ingredients:

2 packages of cream cheese

16 ounces of whipped topping

2/3 cup sugar

2 graham cracker crusts

  1. Combine the first three ingredients in a large bowl with an electric mixer.
  2. Pour the filling between the two crusts, and smooth out to the edges.
  3. Place the crust pan covers over the ‘cakes’ and place them in the refrigerator for an hour, or until you need them.

Tips

  • To save money, I buy all store brand items for this recipe.
  • Sprinkle mini chocolate chips over the top of the cheesecake.
  • Add strawberry slices around the outer edge, and a whole strawberry in the center.
  • Place cherries around the outer edge, and a dollop of whipped topping in the center. Place another cherry into the center of the topping.
  • Purchase mini graham cracker crusts for making mini cheesecakes so that each person can have their own. Top these with cherries, strawberries or kiwi, and a dollop of whipped topping.

For the holidays:

  • The holiday cheesecakes I made (pictured) have five dollops of whipped cream, one at the center.
  • One cheesecake has peppermint Hershey’s kisses pushed into the dollops, and dark chocolate shavings covering the top.
  • The second cheesecake has Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate (half) squares pushed into the dollops, then a drizzling of chocolate syrup.

What toppings do you enjoy on your cheesecake?

There’s nothing healthy about these cheesecakes. They’re made only for special family occasions because people love them. They are not a typical dessert item for me. I do make allowances for special family recipes once in a while, when an occasion calls for it, even though I try very hard to eat healthy most of the rest of the time.

Enjoy!

Shannon

Pumpkin Butterscotch Chip Cookies

Contributed by Sheila Buck

(Update January 2017: Yum! I know these are in no way healthy, but I just love them. I might try tweaking the recipe in the future to use Paleo approved non-grain flour and honey, or something like that, just to make it a little healthier. But I’m keeping this recipe here because it is a family favorite. I’m fine with having a treat once-in-a-while.)

During the holidays, my oldest son and I like to do a lot of baking. One of our favorite kinds of cookies to bake this time of year is pumpkin cookies. They taste great and are a big hit at our home. Our friends and family also like them.

Ingredients:

1 can pumpkin

2 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 cup oil

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda dissolved in 2 teaspoons of milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 cups flour

1 package butterscotch chips (11 ounces)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the pumpkin, sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a large mixing bowl. Mix the ingredients thoroughly. Add eggs, oil,vanilla and the baking soda mixture. Mix well. Add the flour one cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each cup. Add the butterscotch chips and mix well. Drop cookie dough by teaspoonful onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. This recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies.

All of the ingredients we use to make this recipe are store brand, except for the butterscotch chips and pumpkin. I have been unable to find the butterscotch chips and pumpkin in the store brand packaging. During the holiday season many grocery stores offer sales on baking stuff including the butterscotch chips and cans of pumpkin.

Pumpkin butterscotch chip cookies make great gifts. You can also bring some to holiday parties or make some for your family to enjoy.

*******************************************

Sheila Buck is the single mom of two teenage boys. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Psychology. Sheila is a freelance writer, and also writes books and short stories in her spare time. Sheila also writes for Frugal is Fabulous!.