How to Have a Miserable Toddler Trick 'o Treating Experience

Forget any expectations you have of skipping from house to house with your elated, well-behaved toddler. The first Halloween experience may look drastically different than what you anticipate.
Be ready to go home early if you need to and pay close attention to your toddler's over-stimulation signals to make sure it's fun for both of you. You can make it a great, ghoulish night filled with good memories, or hideously heinous by engaging in this list of killjoys.

1. Find uber-uncomfortable costumes.
Think that hooded cow costume would be adorable on Junior? Make sure he tries it on and successfully wears it several times before Halloween. Some costumes cause serious wedgie issues while others are insufferably scratchy.

2. Let Junior have as much candy as he wants.
Why is the kid with a ghost costume such a messy eater? Because he's always a goblin! If you want to be the fun parent and let your kid engorge on ridiculous quantities of high fructose corn syrup, be my guest! And watch your toddler spin right off the planet. If that doesn't sound like fun to you, check out "Healthy Halloween Habits" from for tips on successfully curbing your child's candy consumption.

3. Visit all the creepy decoration houses.
The best way to ensure that your three-year-old wakes up with nightmares for a week is to trick 'o treat neighbors who clearly forgot Halloween is for young, innocent kids. Boycott "R" rated Halloween props by averting your eyes and skipping those houses. For the design-challenged among us, our dear friend and Halloween fiend Martha Stewart has easy-to-follow (and friendly) DIY outdoor decorations.

4. Dress everyone in black.
Parents, help your kids learn some safety. According to a study reported in by Safe Kids USA, children are twice as likely to be hit in a car accident on Halloween than on any other night. Maybe your kids rarely walk outside as it is, so take this opportunity to teach them the right way to cross the street and how to handle approaching cars. Always carry a flashlight, especially for dark costumes, and consider some reflective gear as well.

5. Fail to comb through the candy bag.
Razors and rat poison in Halloween candy? Maybe that urban myth has some morsel of truth, but the biggest threats to your child's health via Halloween candy are cavities and obesity. Pull out cheapo candy like hard mints or taffy and toss them directly out. Find free printable coupons to a craft store from sites like, and offer to trade some of your child's candy for crafts.

6. Allow the little ones to go out alone.
Never allow your kids to go out at night unaccompanied by a responsible adult or older sibling. Offer to take your neighbor's kids out for a while so your own children can trick 'o treat with a friend. Even letting your small kiddo run next door or across the street at night is a huge hazard--they need to go with someone. The Center for Disease Control has a nifty acrostic to help you have a safe Halloween.

Guest article provided by Ashley Grimaldo who comes from a long line of penny pinchers and enjoys blogging on money-saving tips and advice for frugal-minded parents. She lives with her husband and three children in Bryan, Texas. Ashley has been featured among such media outlets as Redbook, The Chicago Tribune,, and CBS News-Houston.


Redbox Halloween Movie Giveaway! Trick-or-Treat!

 Check below to enter movie giveaway under the READ MORE link!

Marquette, Mich. Tops the Most-Scared City List, as Horror Movie Fans Prepare for High-Def Screams

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. – October 5, 2011 – Renting more horror movies from redbox than any other city in 2011*, Columbus, Mississippi is America’s hot spot for horror.  Conversely, Marquette, Michigan tops the list of the most scared American city in 2011 – renting fewer horror movies from redbox than any other city.  Bringing frightening fun to movie fans nationwide, redbox, America’s destination for movies and games, has rented more than 39 million horror movies in 2011, and according to a national survey of redbox® renters*, nearly 75 percent of Americans plan to celebrate Halloween with a horror movie.  

America’s Horror Hot Spots and Scaredy-Cat Cities
Following are the cities that earn the honor of Redbox Horror Hot Spots, renting the highest percentage of horror movies, and the top 10 Redbox Scaredy-Cat cities, renting the fewest amount of horror movies: 
Horror Hot Spots*
1.    Columbus, Miss.
2.    El Paso, Texas
3.    Lake Charles, La.
4.    Waco, Texas
5.    Jonesboro, Ark.
6.    Jackson, Tenn.
7.    Huntsville, Ala.
8.    Ardmore, Okla.
9.    Anniston, Ala.
10.  Fresno, Calif.                                                             
Scaredy Cat Cities*
1.    Marquette, Mich.
2.    Traverse City, Mich.
3.    Springfield, Ill.
4.    Peoria, Ill.
5.    Champaign, Ill.
6.    Lima, Ohio
7.    Ottumwa, Iowa
8.    Ames, Iowa
9.    Norfolk, Va.
10.  Des Moines, Iowa

Redbox 2011 National Halloween Survey
  • Amp up the Fear Factor: Nine out of 10 horror movie fans believe scary movies are scarier when watched in the dark.  More than 20 percent are too scared to turn out the lights.
  • Top Villains: Approximately 1 in 3 (34 percent) Americans names demons or Satan as the scariest movie villains. “Creepy kids” from movies like Orphan and The Ring come in second (19.8 percent), and “unsuspected killers” like those in Scream, Saw and Hostel (18.4 percent) closely follow in third.
  • Scariest Movies of All Time: The Exorcist ranks as the top choice overall (31.2 percent) for a scream, followed by A Nightmare on Elm Street (12 percent). Paranormal Activity generates the most shrieks of newly released horror movies (34.3 percent) and ranked fourth in the overall scariest movie category (9.6 percent).
Redbox will deliver millions of screams, ghosts and goblins to homes across America this Halloween. Thrill seekers who want a scream can check out Insidious, Scream 4 and The Rite this Halloween. Families looking to get into the spirit can rent and enjoy Hocus Pocus, Spooky Buddies and Scooby-Doo! Legend of the Phantosaur, among others. Gamers can check out Dead Island and Dark Souls on PS3 and Xbox 360 this Halloween. Finding the nearest redbox location is easy on, via the redbox iPhone® and Android™ apps or by texting FIND to 727272.

About Redbox
Redbox Automated Retail, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Coinstar, Inc., offers new-release DVD, Blu-ray Disc® and video game rentals through its network of conveniently located, self-service kiosks.  Redbox has rented more than 1.5 billion discs and is available at more than 33,000 kiosks across over 27,800 locations nationwide, including select McDonald’s restaurants, leading grocery, drug and convenience stores, select Walmart locations and Walgreens locations in select markets.  For more information, visit

Spiced Pumpkin Bars by Gooseberry Patch

Spiced Pumpkin Bars
3 eggs, beaten
15-oz. can pumpkin
1 c. sugar
12-oz. can
     evaporated milk
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. ground cloves
18-1/4 oz. pkg.
     spice cake mix
3/4 c. butter,
     thinly sliced
1 c. chopped
Optional: 16-oz.
     can cream
     cheese frosting

In a large bowl, beat eggs and pumpkin together. 
Blend in sugar, evaporated milk, vanilla and spices. 
Pour into a greased 13"x9" baking pan. 
Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over top of batter. 
Dot with butter slices, making sure to place some in corners of pan. 
Sprinkle pecans over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes. 
Cool; frost, if desired, and cut into bars. Makes 12 to 16 servings.

Bonus! For each book purchased, we'll donate $1
to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, a member organization
of Feeding America, the nation's leading hunger-relief
charity. It's our way of giving back to hometown
families in need...thanks so much for your help.
CLICK to get this $7.95 cookbook!

Extreme Face Painting: Family Friendly

By now you should know what you are wearing for Halloween. If not you can quickly get the Extreme Face Painting book on iTunes & Nook. You can make Fiendish & Friendly faces with simple products that you can pick up at your local stores.

These designs are super easy to make. They are great for Halloween, plays, parties and more! It is a great price, too!  

Extreme Face Painting: 25 FRIENDLY Step-by-Step Demos (Enhanced Edition)
International-award winning artists Brian and Nick Wolfe share the step-by-step instructions and techniques to help artists at all levels achieve fun, funny, and unbelievable images of birds, butterflies, knights, monkeys, starry skies, and more.
Extreme Face Painting: 25 FIENDISH Step-by-Step Demos (Enhanced Edition)
From zombies, witches, and vampires as you’ve never achieved them before to more unusual denizens of the dark like yetis, orcs, and cyborgs, with Extreme Face Painting: FIENDISH, you might even scare yourself.
Check out the video, here. You can purchase on Amazon, B & N, iTunes

My own opinions are expressed here. I was given a copy of the book to review. 

More Halloween Ideas

Brain Food 
Jello Brain Dessert
{Kid Zombie} Iced Coffee Frappes
{Momma Zombie} White Russians
Pumpkin Cookies
Pumpkin Guts 
Toxic Waste Punch
Zombie Party Ideas, Recipes & Photos

The Perfect Pumpkin for Cooking or Carving

Tips Far Beyond Pumpkin Pie and Jack-O-Lanterns

NEW YORK, NY, OCTOBER 17 – Pumpkins are to Fall as Santa Claus is to Christmas. Pumpkin production, which climbed to 1.5 billion pounds in 2010, reaches its peak in October as Americans prepare to celebrate Halloween. As pumpkins have become ingrained into our Halloween and Thanksgiving cultures, the number of creative ways to use and enjoy them has increased.

Dawn Bryan, author of the best-selling book The Art and Etiquette of Gift Giving, and founder of Qualipedia™ the definitive source for making choices daily that count, offers the following tips including how to grow, pick, carve, eat, store, use for activities, along with  proverbs and wacky facts.

Grow Pumpkins:
  • A seasonal, warm weather crop, pumpkins require warm soil that holds water well and at least one bee hive per acre for adequate pollination. 
  • Milk-fed Pumpkins: Question: Why feed your pumpkin milk? Answer: To grow bigger pumpkins.  Question: How can milk help? Answer: Although milk does not have any properties that directly increase pumpkin size, it keeps your pumpkins healthy and free of disease.
  • There are three ways to milk-feed your pumpkin:
    • Wick: Pour two percent milk with a tablespoon of sugar into a small covered pan or bowl, insert one end of wick or string into a small slit in the pumpkin stem and the other into the pan which is in a small hole next to the pumpkin.
    • Injection: You can also use a syringe to inject the milk into the stem.
    • Pour: Use milk as fertilizer by mixing with manure or pour a cup of milk around the roots daily.
Pick a Perfect Pumpkin:
  • A mature pumpkin will be difficult to scratch, bright orange, have a green stem and be fully hardened.
  • A shiny skin indicates that it was picked too soon; also check for scaring, soft spots and bruises. 
  • For Eating: Look for a pumpkin which feels heavy for its size, as it will tend to have more dense, edible flesh. Popular "pie pumpkins" include the Small Sugar (also known as Sugar Pie, New England Pie, and Northern Pie), Winter Luxury, Cinderella, The Cheese, and Golden Cushaw.
  • For Painting: The best pumpkins for painting have smooth skin and shallow ribbing. The varieties Orange Smoothie, Cotton Candy, and Lumina are excellent for painting.
  • For Carving: Choose a pumpkin with structural strength, flat bottom, sturdy stem, and ability to last several days after being carved. It will sound hollow when tapped. 
Carve Pumpkins:
  • Carving pumpkins can be accomplished with a variety of tools such as regular kitchen knives.
  • However, in recent years inventors have patented tools made solely for this purpose; in addition to the cutting tools, some kits contain design templates and detailed instructions.
  • Choosing specialty pumpkins such as giant, miniature, unusual shapes, or white pumpkins (spooky) can add to the originality.  The most popular carvings are of the Jack-O-Lantern variety.
  • To carve a good Jack-O-Lantern, you need grease pencils for pre-marking; patterns -- your own or those you can download from the internet; gutting spoons for scooping; a long, thin-bladed boning knife to cut out the top and other large pieces; and a very sharp small paring knife for detail work. 
  Pumpkins for Food:  
  • Pumpkins have become a part of the cuisine of many countries throughout the world: Roasted with other vegetables in Australia and New Zealand, in tempura in Japan, for ravioli stuffing in Italy, as a cooked vegetable in China, and served as a sweet dessert in Thailand, India, and the Middle East.
  • Eat only when ripe.
  • Fresh pumpkin can be boiled, baked, steamed, micro-waved, or roasted and is frequently mashed or pureed before combining it with other ingredients.
  • Desserts include pumpkin pie, crème brulee, mousse, gingerbread, cupcakes, and cheesecakes.
  • Other favorites include the pumpkin martini, sweet and sour pumpkin, and pumpkin soup. 
 Pumpkin Activities:
  • Pumpkins can be carved, painted, dressed, lacquered, or decorated with a variety of beads, sequins, ribbons, and fabric. Paint and marker pens can help to create interesting and scary faces.
  • American pumpkin culture has grown to include a variety of family-oriented events in towns across the country. Check local listings for Pumpkin Festivals, Weigh offs, Pumpkin Carving and Painting Contests, Pumpkin Chunking, Pie Competitions, etc.
  Store and Preserve:
  • Store in a cool dry place (45 to 60 degrees F) for up to a month or refrigerate for up to three months.
  • Extra pumpkin for eating can be frozen, canned or dried for longer storage. Freezing is the easiest and results in the best quality product.
  • Carved pumpkin will begin to dry and shrivel as soon as it’s cut. To slow down the dehydration process and deter the onset of mold, coat all cut surfaces as well as the entire inside of the pumpkin with petroleum jelly. Coat the eyes, nose, and mouth or any other design you have carved out.
  Health Benefits
  • Pumpkins:  Fat-free, cholesterol free, a good source of vitamin C and an excellent source of vitamin A, the bright orange pumpkin shouts that it is loaded with antioxidants. 
  • Pumpkin Seeds:  Excellent sources of fiber and rich in vitamin A and potassium, are also packed with protein, iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, and vitamins E and B.
  • Pumpkin meat has also been used as a remedy for snakebites and a poultice treatment for burns.
Pumpkin Proverbs:
  • One cannot manage too many affairs, like pumpkins in water, one pops up while you try to hold down the other. Chinese Proverb
  • The pumpkin gives birth and the fence has the trouble.  Moroccan Proverb
  • The pumpkin vine never bears watermelons.  Creole Proverb
 Wacky Facts
  • In 2007 Boston, Massachusetts, shattered New Hampshire's previously held world record for Most Lit Pumpkins by lighting 30,128 pumpkins at one time.
  • Nassau, Delaware holds the national record for Pumpkin Chunkin distance by using an air cannon to propel a pumpkin over 3/4 of a mile
  • A number of movies have starred pumpkins, notably Cinderella's pumpkin chariot.
Guest article provided by DAWN BRYAN:
Dawn is the founder of Qualipedia ™ and author of the best-selling bookThe Art and Etiquette of Gift Giving. Dawn’s impressive career includes being selected as an advisor and spokesperson for many global brands including Gucci, American Express, Business Week Magazine, Citicorps/Diners Club, Swarovski Crystal, and others.  She has authored many columns and books on protocol, gift-giving and the quality of things for Business Week, Town & Country, Modern Bride, Vogue and Glamour among others.  Dawn has taught international protocol to globalizing businesses and industries, as well as to Chinese journalists and diplomats in Beijing and Shanghai.



Think Safety First During 'Spooktacular' Halloween Family Festivities

Halloween is the second largest commercial holiday in the United States. There are fun and frightening activities to partake in this fall season, but keep in mind the following safety tips so festivities remain a treat for all. 
Have a Safe Scare at a Haunted House
Haunted houses may be required to abide by fire and safety codes and may be subject to inspections before the general public is allowed to attend. Some may also be required to have a sprinkler system, early warning smoke or heat detectors, emergency lights, easy access doors, and other safety features. But regulations may not be the same in all areas and you are responsible for your own safety.

To stay safe while visiting a haunted house:
·        Take a flashlight with you. Even though the safety lighting might be fine for others, it may not be great for you.
·        If you are going with small children, attach a glow stick to their clothing so they can be easily found in the dark.
·        If there are stairs in the haunted house, be sure to use handrails and walk, do not run, up or down the stairs.
·        If visiting a haunted house in a group, have a meeting place in case you get split up.
·        Know where the exits are before entering the haunted house. Some attractions will provide you a map of the house so you are aware of where you are going when inside.
·        Keep an adult in the front and rear of your group going through the haunted house to help monitor young children so they do not stray.
Don’t Get Lost in the Corn Maze
Corn mazes are large fields of corn stalks, anywhere from a small field to more than 20 acres in size. They can be great fun if they are completed safely.
·        Equip your group with flashlights and cell phones and try to stick together.
·        Some mazes provide young children and groups with colored flags to wave in the air if they get lost. There are also mazes that have call boxes that will turn on a light to alert an attendant that you are lost or need assistance.
·        Teach young children to not go outside of the maze’s path. There may be a busy road or another unknown property beyond the corn stalks.
·        Wear appropriate clothing and shoes as you will be outside. If the path is not wide, corn stalks may scratch your arms. Remember that rain can create muddy, slippery surfaces. Fallen corn stalks may also be a tripping hazard, so watch your step.
·        Avoid smoking while in the maze as dry corn stalk could easily catch fire.

Hold on During the Hayride
Hayrides, whether haunted or not, can be a very enjoyable experience for any age. Sitting atop a truck, wagon or sleigh decorated with hay or straw is a great family tradition. Be sure to follow all signage at the hayride along with these tips:
·        Be cautious when loading and unloading from the hayride. Make sure the hayride is at a complete stop before getting onboard or off. If there are steps, they could be slippery because of the hay or straw.
·        Be careful when finding a place to sit. Your foot could easily slip between bales if you walk on them.
·        Make sure everyone in your group is sitting at all times during the hayride and all arms and legs are kept inside the wagon.
·        Hold on to small children and railings as bumps in the path could easily bounce you and them off of your seat.
·        If the hayride is horse-drawn, be careful around the horse and do not approach it if the hayride operator states not to. If it is a tractor pulling the wagon, do not touch it as there are many handles and buttons that could accidentally be pushed. The tractor could also be hot from running for a long period.
·        Do not walk in the hayride path. Stay in a safe, well-lit area when you are not riding.

Always remember to wear proper attire and footwear and plan for weather restrictions . Enjoy fall festivities by planning in advance and being safety-conscious.

# # #
About the author: Paul van Gorkom is the Vice President of Operations at AlliedBarton Security Services. AlliedBarton is the industry’s premier provider of highly trained security personnel to many industries including higher education, commercial real estate, healthcare, residential communities, chemical/petrochemical, government, manufacturing and distribution, financial institutions, and shopping centers.


Click to get $2 Amazon MP3 credit! Hurry!

Yay! The $2 MP3 credit deal is back on AMAZON until October 31th. Don't miss out.

CLICK here at AMAZON to go to the link! It is so easy!


Celebrate Food Day With These 5 Budget-friendly Tips

Here are 5 budget friendly food tips to save money at the store while you shop with your tasty recipes. Part of saving money is cooking healthy recipes for your family. 
healthy foods
Confusing food labeling, poor nutrition and unsafe food are primary targets of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. To bring visibility to the importance of these issues, the nonprofit watchdog group named today Food Day.

The organization is helped sponsor thousands of events on Oct. 24 in homes, churches, schools, farmers markets, state capitals and city halls from Alaska to Hawaii.

Here are five frugal shopping tips to help you join in on this effort.

1. Understand Shipment Cycles
Get the freshest food for your dollar by asking about shipment arrival dates at your favorite grocery stores, then shop on the days when new produce is available. The longer food sits around, the more nutrients it loses and the less appetizing it becomes.

2. Spice Up Your Diet
Did you know some herbs and spices can boost your metabolism without caffeine or sugar? These include cayenne pepper, cumin, cinnamon and others found in this post. Buy fresh spices in bulk from ethnic food stores or your local coop for 95-percent off the pre-packaged price, but store them in airtight containers.

3. Use Gift Cards
You might think it strange to use discount gift cards for food, but you can actually purchase gift cards for grocery stores for dollars off the card's face value from sites like GiftCardGranny. These cards will cut the price of buying health foods and allow you to shop your favorite stores.

4. Coupon It Up
Thanks to the health food craze, natural and organic coupons have gone big time. Organic Valley, Silk Milks and Earth's Best are just three major manufacturers offering both print and online coupons. Supermarkets also frequently publish coupons for dairy, bakery and fresh-produce products.

5. Try Organic Store Brands
Think generic and you likely think multi-syllabic ingredients, but many major food chains now offer store brands that are both healthy and up to 30-percent less than name brands.

Guest article written by Andrea Woroch who is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc.


Pumpkin Recipe Round Up! Come link up.

(From Gooseberry Patch) Yesterday, we asked our fans on Facebook which favorite fall ingredientwe should gather up today...the runaway winner was PUMPKIN!

Whether you make muffins, pie, a cream-filled roll or another treat,
we're rounding up your recipes today. So tell us...

What's YOUR favorite PUMPKIN recipe? 
Share 'em all in today's Recipe Round-Up!

Here's one to inspire you from Autumn with Family & Friends,
our Cookbook of the Week.
Pumpkin Custard Crunch
M845This recipe was originally shared by Donna Borton of Columbus, Ohio. She writes, "I have made this festive dessert for years. I love pumpkin and make a lot of oatmeal desserts, and just came up with the combination. Try it plain or top it with vanilla ice cream like my husband does!"
29-oz. can pumpkin
3 eggs, beaten
2 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 t. cinnamon
14-oz. can sweetened
    condensed milk

1 c. milk
2 t. vanilla extract
Mix pumpkin, eggs and spices well; stir in condensed milk, milk and vanilla. Pour into a greased 13"x9" baking pan; spoon Crunch Topping over pumpkin mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes, until a knife comes out clean. Watch carefully so that topping doesn’t burn. Serve warm. Makes 9 to 12 servings.
Crunch Topping:
3 c. quick-cooking oats, uncooked
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. cinnamon
1 c. walnuts or pecans, crushed
1 c. margarine, melted
Stir together oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nuts. Pour melted margarine over top; toss to mix.

Link up your PUMPKIN recipe below
and, if you're joining this hop, link back to Gooseberry Patch by using the handy button below.
Want to add this hop to your OWN blog?
Be our guest...just click here to get the code

FREE Spooky Treat eCookbook with Mr. Food

I've been a huge fan of Mr. Food since the early 90s. I love his "Ooh It's So Good!" mantra! He always gives 100% on his TV segments. I just recently became a fan of his website and I'm so glad that I did. He has quite a few eCookbooks which I love!

From Mr. Food: Whether you're hosting a Halloween party, taking your little ghouls and goblins trick-or-treating around the neighborhood, or simply looking for something fun and festive to make for a quick & easy meal, the Mr. Food Test Kitchen has you covered! Our new eCookbook, Spooky Treats and Party Eats: 34 Halloween Recipes from Mr. Food, features recipes for Halloween-themed drinks, appetizers, dinners, desserts, and more. And if you're looking for Halloween recipes with pictures, each one of our spooky treats and party eats features a full-color picture, so you'll know just how it's supposed to look!

To learn more and download the Spooky Treats and Party Eats: 34 Halloween Recipes from Mr. Food free eCookbook now!

What is Halloween? I DARE you to read this!

 So what is Halloween all about? Read The Gospel of Halloween to find out! I learned a lot about halloween as well as how people perceive halloween. After you read it let me know what you think.

More Halloween Food Craft Ideas

Brain Food 
Jello Brain Dessert
{Kid Zombie} Iced Coffee Frappes
{Momma Zombie} White Russians
Pumpkin Cookies
Pumpkin Guts 
Toxic Waste Punch
Zombie Party Ideas, Recipes & Photos


FREE Nook & Kindle ereader Cookbooks with Gooseberry Patch

Each year I tell myself that I'm going to have a cookie swap but then it never happens. I'm so excited to get this free ereader book, Gooseberry Patch Cookie Swap Cookbook early enough to help me actually do it this year.

The cookbook starts of with Hints for a Successful Cookie Swap. The time frame of planning starts 6 weeks before the event. That is good to know because, honestly, I had no clue when or where to start. The planning stages in the book takes you all the way to 1 hour before your event!

I love the idea that everyone is to bring copies of their recipe. I am so excited for my cookie swap. I am going to actually invite the people who I know are young moms, young women who do not have a lot of baking experience. I think this will be a good way for them to get recipe ideas and a variety to share with family and friends. Through out the book there are other tips & ideas for your cookie swap.

On to the recipes! The book contains Classic cookies that work great for a cookie swap. Some of the tasty recipes include Merry Spritz-mas Cookies (I've never made these), White Chocolate Raspberry Diamonds, Peppermint Cookie Wands, Linzer Tart Cookies (I make a similar version of these every year and they are a HUGE hit), Nutty Butterscotch Squares, Sparkling Orange Snow, Sweet Chocolate Toffee Delights and Homemade Chocolate Caramels.

There are plenty more in the book! Get it while it is free. If you miss out on the free deal the book will be under $3 which is worth all the cookie swap ideas and new cookie recipes! Enjoy friends.

Find it on Nook, Kindle, Sony, Apple.

I'm a huge Gooseberry Patch friend. Click here at GOOSEBERRY PATCH, to find out about more of their cookbooks right here on my blog! Leave a comment and let me know you stopped in. I'll visit you back.

Want a sneak peek recipe? Here is one for you from this cookbook.
Holiday Peppermint Fudge


4 c. sugar
2 5oz cans evaporated milk
1 c. butter
2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
7 oz jar marshmallow creme
1/2 t. peppermint extract
2/3 c. red & white peppermint candies, coarsely broken


Combine sugar, milk & butter in a heavy 3-quart saucepan; bring to a boil over med-heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium, heat and stir for 10 minutes. Remove from heat; add chocolate chips, marshmallow creme and peppermint extract. Stir until chocolate and creme are melted and mixture is smooth; pour into a buttered aluminum foil-lined 13 x 9 baking pan. Sprinkle with candies; cover and refrigerate until set. Cut into squares to serve. Makes 5-6 dozen.

5 Solutions to De-stress a Hectic After School Schedule

In a recent KidsHealth survey, almost 90 percent of students said they felt stress day in and day out. And when kids are stressed, their parents are as well. Some of the stress is from school, classes, etc, but just as much pressure can be felt after school. If your after-school schedule feels more hurried, stressful, and complicated than you would prefer, try the following the solutions to make life a little simpler for you and your child.

· Reassess the After-School Schedule
I'm sure we can all agree that each child is different - some thrive on hectic schedules, whereas others crave downtime. Listening to our kids is the only way we'll know how they feel. Take time to ask your child if his load is too stressful, or just right. The flip side of this equation is your personal situation. Perhaps more than children, parents feel overextended and exhausted. Managing kids, a job, transportation to sports, and of course, homework, is enough to put even the most organized and efficient parent through the wringer. If this feels too familiar, consider reexamining your children's schedules. Can one activity go by the wayside? Is there a sport or lesson that your child doesn't truly enjoy, but you insisted upon so that he doesn't miss out on an opportunity? These are the activities you might want to reconsider.

· Create a Predictable Schedule
Although each child in your household is likely to have a different schedule, it helps to create a family policy that homework must at least be started before leaving for an after-school activity. Getting a jump start on homework significantly reduces procrastination and stress later in the evening.

· Use a White Board
It's easy to keep track of assignments with a white board. Hang a large white board near an area that will be used for homework. When your children return from school each day, insist that they write their assignments on the white board. By using this tool, you or any other adult in the home will know of the assignments each child has for the day, what has been completed, and what is still left to do. When the homework assignment list is visible, unfinished work is less likely to slip through the cracks. This is a great solution for busy households.

· Conduct an Audit
Busy parents know that it's difficult to check every assignment each child has night after night. The Internal Revenue Service keeps taxpayers in line with random audits. You can do the same in your home by auditing homework a few times per week. Let's say that you have a family policy that all homework must be done by 9 p.m. otherwise privileges are taken away the following day. At that time, ask to see your child's homework. Praise him or her if the work is done. If it's not done, rescind privileges such as leaving the house after school the following day to see friends or watching television.

· Take a One-Hour Time Out
A one-hour time out is meant to be time away from anything that flashes, beeps, or has a screen. Choose 60 minutes every weekday (the hour immediately following dinner works well) and make that a mandatory quiet time. In our fast paced world, we're bombarded by loud noises which can cause over-stimulation, agitation, and anxiety. During this time, there should be no iPods, televisions, video games, computers, or phones. Instead, consider activities such as reading independently or together, doing a puzzle or playing cards. You may find that simply leaving craft supplies out encourages creativity. A one-hour time out also forces kids who would usually be glued to electronics to go outside to play or get together with neighborhood friends.

It takes a concerted effort to manage stress. Choose one or two of these strategies that might work for you and implement them for at least 21 days to see change. Remember, research shows that it truly takes 21 days to modify a habit.

Guest article provided by Ann K. Dolin, M.Ed. who is the founder and president of Educational Connections, Inc., a comprehensive provider of educational services in Fairfax, VA and Bethesda, MD. In her award-winning book, Homework Made Simple: Tips, Tools and Solutions for Stress-Free Homework, Dolin offers proven solutions to help the six key types of students who struggle with homework. Learn more at or


FREE KIDZ BOP: Be A Pop Star! ebook! 

So your kid wants to be a Pop Star, huh? When your kid is gearing up to dress just like their favorite pop star this Halloween, and perfecting their Justin Bieber bangs, treat them to the KIDZ BOP: Be A Pop Star! ebook, FREE TODAY until October 31!
This first-ever guide from KIDZ BOP, KIDZ BOP: Be A Pop Star!, is sure to direct your star into the spotlight and give you insight into what it takes to hit the big time. Learn from the best in the biz with this career guide, and make your kid into the next rock phenom! It’s everything kids need to know to make their rock star dreams come true! From writing cool songs and getting a group together and putting on shows and shooting music videos, this is all aspiring rockers need to take the world by storm- just like the KIDZ BOP kids do!
To download the full, FREE copy of the ebook, please visit:
Amazon Kindle:
Barnes & Noble NOOK:
Google eBookstore:
Apple iBookstore (preview):
Sony eReader:


Don't Crank Up the Heat - 6 High-Tech Tips for Keeping Warm This Winter

As temperatures begin to drop, consumers may soon have a lot more on their minds than the coming winter chill. Since 2010, many states have seen the cost of home heating oil rise by as much as 30% or more. Depending on where you live, a particularly glacial season could put a serious freeze on your budget.

So instead of just cranking up the thermostat, check out these six alternative tools for keeping costs down and the heat up. Splurging on all of these high-tech solutions could cost you a pretty penny, but pick out one or two and your wallet may thank you come Spring.

1. Cuddle up with a USB blanket.
If you spend a lot of time at home on the computer, this USB heated blanket is perfect for keeping away the chills. It plugs into any USB port, comes with two cords and can be worn over the shoulders or across your lap. Just pour yourself a cup of tea and settle in.

2. Keep your toes toasty with battery-powered heating socks.
These super-cozy socks have a thin battery-powered heating element encased in the toe that won't overheat, and are made out of "moisture-wicking" material to keep you toasty, not sweaty.

3. Get efficient with a programmable thermostat.
This one's a no-brainer so if you don't have one, get one. A programmable thermostat will automatically lower the temperature of your home at night or while you're out and about, making the heat run less when you're not actively using it. Avoid the elements all together and find free shipping codes for Home Depot, who has a great selection of these handy devices.

4. Stay mobile with touch-screen gloves.
iPhone users have long known the frustration of trying to text, swipe or tap while out in the elements. Hopefully you won't need gloves in the house too often, but when Jack Frost really comes a knockin', these babies from Agloves made with a special conductive material will keep you connected.

5. Dodge the draft with outlet insulation.
Drafts pass in and out of the home through the outlet and outlet covers, especially the ones along exterior walls. Fortunately there are special outlet and switch gaskets specially made to reduce drafts. Ask your local hardware store or just DIY.

6. Go old school with the hot water bottle.
OK, this is hardly high-tech, but this ingenious invention is still one of the best and easiest ways to stay warm in bed, as well as soothe aches and pains. It's cheap, reusable and will last forever. Tell that to your soon-to-be obsolete iPhone 4.

Guest article provided by Jeff Cambron who has worked in the technology space for over 10 years, fueling an obsession with all things digital. He might not hear you while rocking his Tooks hat, but he never misses an email. Jeff can be reached at



Are you are Muppet fan? If so which movie and which characters. I loved them as a kid. The old guys in the theatre were/are my favorite. Here is an interview with Miss Piggy!

MISS PIGGY (Miss Piggy) makes her long-awaited and much-sought-after return to the big screen in 2011 in Disney’s “The Muppets.” The larger-than-life star of television, film, stage, online and all media known and unknown throughout the universe has been dominating show business since her initial public appearance in the chorus on “The Herb Alpert Special” in 1974.

She appeared as 1st Sow in the “Return to the Planet of the Pigs” sketch on “The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence” in 1975 (which was, in effect, the pilot for “The Muppet Show”). But her unforgettable break-out performance came during the musical number “Temptation” on very first episode of “The Muppet Show.” Miss Piggy started as a chorus pig and came back a star… who wouldn’t let go of Kermit. The rest is history.

Miss Piggy’s film credits include “The Muppet Movie” (1979), “The Great Muppet Caper” (1981), “The Muppets Take Manhattan” (1984), “The Muppet Christmas Carol” (1992), “Muppet Treasure Island” (1996) and “Muppets from Space” (1999). She’s also had starring roles in the TV films “Muppets Wizard of Oz” (2005) and “A Muppet Christmas: Letters to Santa.” In addition to her star-making turn in “The Muppet Show,” which ran from 1976-1981, Miss Piggy’s television credits include “Muppets Tonight,” as well as the blockbuster TV specials “Miss Piggy’s Hollywood” and “The Fantastic Miss Piggy Show.”
She has appeared on every talk show worth talking about, including “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Live with Regis and Kelly,” “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” “The View” and “Today,” among others. Piggy has also been featured on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” “Dancing with the Stars” and “America’s Got Talent,” among other notable programs lucky enough to land her talents. She stars in a veritable cornucopia of videos and captivated audiences worldwide with her appearance in the recent Webby-winning Muppet viral video performance of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” (2009). She has graced the covers of magazines around the world and appeared on the 68th Annual Academy Awards® as a presenter. She is still (impatiently) awaiting her first nomination.

Piggy’s book “Miss Piggy’s Guide to Life” was a national bestseller. And she recently followed up this success with her wildly popular book “The Diva Code: Miss Piggy on Life, Love, and the 10,000 Idiotic Things Men Frogs Do.”


What is Disney’s “The Muppets” about? 
It’s moi’s story, of course. It’s about how I am working in Paris and Kermit and the other Muppets come over and beg me to come home. I run the complete gamut of acting—from smiling to frowning. It’s got Oscar® written all over it—and I’m not just talking de La Renta. I have heard rumors that there’s another storyline in the movie that doesn’t involve moi, but who really cares about that?

What is your role in Disney’s “The Muppets?”

Moi plays moi.  It’s a casting no-brainer. Naturally, all of Hollywood’s top actresses tested for the part—Roberts, Streep, Winslet, Jolie, Bullock—but in the end they decided that there is only one moi and I’m it!

In the movie, I portray the plus-size fashion editor of Vogue Paris—I’m in charge of a whole office full of editors who all want to look just like moi. But of course, Kermit wants me back with the Muppets to save the day and put on some big show.  Can I resist? Well, see the movie and find out.

How does your life differ from the characters you portray on the big screen?
In real life, my wardrobe is much, much bigger and more expensive, but I’m a lot like what you see on the big screen. The camera does add a few pounds—when people meet me in person they’re always amazed at how svelte I am. Take my word for it.

What made you agree to star in Disney’s “The Muppets”?

It was written especially for moi. And they said I could keep all the shoes.

What is the funniest scene in the film?
The scene where Kermie begs me to come back to Hollywood with him is the funniest scene. I’m hilarious; and the frog isn’t half bad either. There are so many very funny scenes in the film… and guess what, moi is in all of them!  Coincidence? I don’t think so.

What was it like working opposite Jason Segel?
Jason is a sweet, sweet man… and a very funny comedic actor. Of course, when I heard he wrote the movie and could write my part even bigger, we became best friends forever.

…Amy Adams?
Amy and moi are so much alike, except for the fact that she’s been nominated for an Academy Award® THREE TIMES and I’ve gotten bupkis!   (Entres nous, I think they just don’t want to nominate anyone outside their species.)

There was a little tension at first, but once Amy learned about not touching the frog, we became fast friends.  We hang together whenever we’re in the same city, which up to now has been… let’s see… never.

What can I say about Kermie and moi? Separately we’re fabulous and together we are absolute legends—like Astaire & Rogers, Tracy & Hepburn, Oprah & Stedman.


Walter is delightful! He worships the Muppets and especially moi. And as everyone knows, I absolutely adore being worshipped.

You are a fashion icon. What is your secret?

I have a few fashion secrets:
·    Never wear anything that requires a hoist to get into.
·    There is no such thing as too much accessorizing.
·    If it’s expensive, it fits.
·    Style comes in all shapes and sizes. Therefore, the bigger you are, the more style you have.

What do you do in your free time?
Shop. Eat Chocolate. Pose for photographers. Rinse. Repeat. I’m a diva. I have people to schedule my free time. You have no idea how time consuming that is.

Are you and Kermit together? 
Of course we’re together.  In the movie, we seem to be apart, but that’s just for dramatic tension. In real life, we’re fabulously happy and the longest-running interspecies couple in all of Hollywood.

Why should audiences see Disney’s “The Muppets”?
Because moi is in it!  What a silly question!

It is the best movie I have ever made…and therefore the best movie ever made. Other than that, it’s got a lot of laughs and you’ll have a good time. Are those enough reasons for you?

To get closer to the diva pig, check out

On vacation in Los Angeles, Walter, the world's biggest Muppet fan, his brother Gary (Jason Segel) and Gary’s girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) from Smalltown, USA, discover the nefarious plan of oilman Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) to raze the Muppet Theater and drill for the oil recently discovered beneath the Muppets' former stomping grounds. To stage a telethon and raise the $10 million needed to save the theater, Walter, Mary and Gary help Kermit reunite the Muppets, who have all gone their separate ways: Fozzie now performs with a Reno casino tribute band called the Moopets, Miss Piggy is a plus-size fashion editor at Vogue Paris, Animal is in a Santa Barbara clinic for anger management, and Gonzo is a high-powered plumbing magnate. With secret, signature, celebrity cameos, Disney’s “The Muppets” hits the big screen Nov. 23, 2011. 

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