Eat Your Heart Out, Bill Murray

If Groundhog Day were a never-ending loop, I’d make damn sure I learned a few things before I tried to drive Punxatawny Phil and myself off a cliff or stepped in front of a truck. In fact, it’s kind of fun to imagine it all. Not the cliff driving or truck stepping…the learning, people. Like when Billy Boy (well, Phil in the movie) learned how to sculpt ice. So, I thought I’d make a fun little list of the top seven silly little things I’d learn to do on my endless Groundhog Day.

French-braid my own hair
I have yet to master this ridiculously “easy” task. I know there are probably dozens of you who can just do this. Me? I braid pigtails and tie them together in the back to make it look like I know what I’m doing.

Bake cupcakes
Remind me to tell you about fuck-up dip, sometime…fuck-up dip is what I make when I inevitably burn the bottoms of the cupcakes.

Make a turducken
Fine, Brian. I’ll make a fuckin’ turkducken. He’s only been begging for one for the last 4 years, 10 months and 20 days…ish. I figure with a few years of trying, I can make this sucker happen.

Play the saxophone

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When I was a kid, I wanted to play the sax like Lisa Simpson SO BAD, but my mom wouldn’t let me join the school band. She claims it’s because she thought I would quit after trying it and buying a saxophone,  but after her recent admittance that I loved everything I tried when I was a kid  (ballet, tap, gymnastics, cheerleading, choir), and that shit was expensive,  I realize she was just afraid I’d become a band nerd. (Side note: I hated boys’ baseball. I used to lie to my friends and say I had a different cheer team practice when I went to baseball.) To be fair, I ended up being a band groupie,  hanging out with the drumline and dating a tuba player, so there was that.

Code websites
This has long been on my bucket list, but I just keep pushing it off. I would love to just spend dozens of my repeating days learning how to speak code. At least enough to let me fuck around with my own website, and preferably enough to allow me to make money fucking around with other people’s websites.

Yoga arm balances
I am dying to figure out this one little yoga trick that everyone claims is so so easy, but I’m terrified of even trying. This shit looks scary and hard. But with endless timeon my hand, I could totally handle it.

Sew clothes

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I love making my own Halloween costumes, but I’m pretty much stuck with anything I can hot glue or staple. This still bodes pretty well for me, but it would be fucking awesome if I could sew my own dresses and shit. I mean with a sewing machine and everything. How awesome would that be?

It’s been said that Bill Murray spent 33 years and 350 days looping Groundhog Day.

What would you do with all that time?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

How to Bake the Perfect Cookies

It’s National Cookie Day, you guys. Do you know what that means? Fresh-baked, melty-chocolatey, delicious cookies should get in your belly. Immediately.

This post is sponsored by the fine people at Otis Spunkmeyer, several of whom I met a few weeks ago in Chicago while sampling their delicious snacks. As always, these opinions, ideas, and word babies are all mine. 

We hung out with some giant cookies at the Otis Spunkmeyer Sneak Peak last month.

This is my new blogging bestie Anna from Anna Dishes. If you like food or flowery things, she’s your girl. She’s also DEFINITELY one of my soulies, as we bonded over a lot of food and booze AND she let me stalk her the entire time she was here in Chicago. You’ll note she looks adorable while I don’t have a normal bone in my body. 

I love cookies. I’ve always been something of a cookie monster. C is for Chrissy. And cookie. Coincidence? I think not. I was raised to love cookies. I blame my dad. And grandfathers. They were all cookie monsters too. Well, my dad still is. One of his favorite gifts on birthdays and Christmas (a bottle of Courvoisier, wine, or scotch notwithstanding) is cookies.

When I was in high school, there was a little cookie stand down in the basement by the Driver’s Ed simulator hosted by Otis Spunkmeyer (you remember Otis Spunkmeyer for their amazing cookies, probably in high school or college, right?) One of the teachers – I think he was a teacher – would be there every morning 20 minutes before school started through 2nd period, selling cookies. I think it was like 3 for a dollar or something.

Whenever I had time and an extra dollar, I’d mosey on down and order a triple chocolate chip cookie (chocolate cookie with milk and white chips), white chocolate macadamia nut cookie, and oatmeal raisin. And then I’d eat them in all their melty, fresh-baked glory. I’ve always wished I could make delicious cookies like that.

Alas, it’s been many a years of baking…errors. If you haven’t noticed from previous recipes, I’m terrible at following recipes to a T, which is something you need to do with baking. If you don’t get just the right amount of butter, baking powder, baking soda (don’t even get me started on knowing the differences!), eggs etc…you’re doomed to failure. Just last week, I completely burned the Second Thanksgiving pumpkin cupcakes…More on what I did with that later…

I’ve made some pretty UNPRETTY cookies in my time. Flat cookies. Burnt cookies. Undercooked cookies (okay fine. Those were cookie dough balls and I ate them all). BUT…I’ve discovered the secret to perfectly baked cookies every time.

How to bake the perfect cookies

To make the best cookies, it’s a four step process.

First, you remove the cookies from their wrappers. These Otis Spunkmeyer treats (which will be available in a grocery store near you starting early next year) are made with no funky stuff, so they taste just like Mom made them (but with so much less mess).

Otis Spunkmeyer cookies come individually wrapped with no funky stuff!

Otis Spunkmeyer cookies come individually wrapped with no funky stuff!

Then, you place the cookie on a pan (I used a toaster-oven-size stone baking sheet for added crisposity).

Baking an Otis Spunkmeyer cookie in the toaster oven is easy. Just pop it in at 350 for 5-7 minutes for a warm gooey cookie.

Don’t mind my messy toaster oven…

Bake the cookie for 5-7 minutes until it’s warm to touch and the chocolate starts getting a little melty (wait too long and it’ll be super messy, but probably super delicious).

Otis Spunkmeyer cookies have the perfect cookie craters and delicious chunks of chocolate for a fresh cookie with no funky stuff.

That chocolate chunk is just starting to melt…

The secret to the best fresh-baked cookies on the planet. Click To Tweet
Look at that Otis Spunkmeyer melty goodness

Look at that Otis Spunkmeyer melty goodness

See how easy it is to celebrate National Cookie Day? That was my breakfast. I’ll probably have another cookie for dinner. And maybe one for lunch. Brian usually discourages this sort of behavior…but he’s not the boss of me!

Extra details on the Otis Spunkmeyer retail line of products: So much goodness is coming your way, you guys. They’re launching snack cakes, muffins, mini muffins, and of course, cookies. They’ll be in stores and on Amazon Prime Pantry so you can get your fill of deliciousness whenever you want it. And let me tell you. I tried them all, and you will not want to miss out (especially on the lemon cakes).

What are your favorite cookies? Do you have any cookie memories of Otis Spunkmeyer? Are you as excited for this product launch as I am?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Halloween is the Fourth Family Holiday

Ten years ago, I was a recent college graduate with an 8-month old godson, and all my Halloween excitement returned from my childhood. This adorable little guy was barely old enough to do anything exciting, but his existence itself was exciting. He would look adorable in a costume and one day procure me all the Almond Joys he could fit in his sack. I envisioned this future long before it came.

It was around this time that my family began celebrating Halloween together again. A tradition was born. Each year, we’d gather with the growing troupe of tiny humans as they trick-or-treated through my aunt’s neighborhood. We’d hand out candy from the house dubbed the most entertaining door to trick-or-treat in the area, and the cackling of my mom and her two sisters could be heard from blocks away (because they set up an outdoor sound system, and someone gave them microphones. Rookie mistake).

A year ago, Brian and I moved into our house one week before Halloween.  It was just, you might say, our housiversary. I trekked to my aunt’s house, while Brian held down the fort, sad because I was afraid this would be my last Halloween with the kiddos. I knew with a house of our own, I’d want to decorate and revel in the joy of our Halloween space. I love throwing parties and I suspected I would want to have people over for Halloween, while I handed out candy to the neighborhood kids.

To my surprise and delight, my aunt informed us all that she was done hosting our family Halloween festivities. She passed me the proverbial torch without my needing to even ask!

All my dreams were coming true.

In just a few short days, my family will head over for a kid-friendly fiesta. Little A (who isn’t so little anymore) already knows that he’s got to find the Almond Joys for Auntie Chrissy. And I’ve got everything I need to mix the slightly scary with the bright and happy for a Halloween Spooktacular that can’t be matched!

Of course, the spider den in my bathroom hasn’t come down, but I did add an extra white light to offset some of the creepy atmosphere. The baby doll massacre is still holding strong in the kitchen,  because the kid in our family don’t scare easily. (Plus they probably won’t even notice amidst the candy overload that is Halloween…)

10 Ideas for a kid-friendly halloween party

Tiny Human Approved (Ish) Decorations

  • Banners and signs. In an effort to brighten the day for some of my favorite tiny humans, Brian and I are going to add a few kid-friendly decorations to our house, like these DIY Happy Halloween flags and Lil Monster flags from Harry & David or some of the foodie signs we found at the dollar store.

Harry and David Halloween banners

  • Previously lit candles with dripped wax. Brian and I have bleeding candles that we previously lit during a romantic candle-lit housiversary dinner in which we dined on a blanket picnic and watched several of the Harry Potter movies. The hot pink “blood” on the candles is just creepy enough to fit our home and just bright enough not to scare anyone.

If you're afraid to light candles when you have a large party, pre-light the bleeding candles so the wax drips down and gives the cool appearance of bleeding candles

  • Black Light Activated Chalk. In our garage, where we keep coolers of drinks, we’re going to set up an area with a black light, because we have chalk that glows in black lighting! Brian wants to write things like “Help Me!” And “Turn back!” How fun would that be?

  • Halloween Village. You’ve likely seen me singing about my Christmas village, but did you know I also have a Halloween village? The Lemax Spookytown collection makes my heart go pitter patter.

My Halloween village (Lemax Spookytown) is my pride and joy of Halloween. I love it more than my Christmas village

  • Pumpkins and witches’ hats. This is one of my favorite little spots in our house. It’s in our dining room, which I’m obsessed with perfecting, and it’s also just adorable in a light-hearted and fun way, that almost makes up for my creepy doll collection.

I love this display of light-up electric pumpkins with witches hats, creepy cloths and fall foliage

Tiny Human Friendly(ish) Treats

  • Halloween Chili. We’ll have our traditional Halloween feast of chili and hot dogs. I’ll be making my homemade turkey chili recipe and Vienna Beef hot dogs in separate Crock Pots. I may even make some fresh cornbread to go with the chili. Or pasta to make chili mac like I did a few Halloweens ago. We’ll see how ambitious I’m feeling.

My homemade turkey and veggie chili is sure to be a hit this Halloween.

  • Puking Pumpkin. I’ll also be making the same guacamole display I created for our adult Halloween party, so it shouldn’t be difficult for Halloween proper. The kids will laugh and Brian’s homemade guacamole is the BEST.
This puking pumpkin is always the hit of the party. I made homemade guac, carved a pie pumpkin, and surrounded it with chips

This puking pumpkin is always the hit of the party. I made homemade guac, carved a pie pumpkin, and surrounded it with chips and a pair of skeleton hands I found at the dollar store.

  • Creepy Face: I’m debating the concept of the really disgusting face I made last year for our party. It’s one of my favorite snacks, Harry & David Pepper Relish with cream cheese, but when you put it on a blank white mask, it looks…horrifying.
Bashed Skull: A plain mask that I got at Michael's painted in cream cheese and covered with jalapeno jam. Serve with crackers. I don't know why, but no one wanted to eat this one.

I called it a bashed skull, though it’s less bashed, really…and more just gross face…Helena on Facebook  said her kid called it a decomposing head, which was awesome.

  • Finger cake. This was easy and fun to make. I just baked a double batch of cake in a large stone baker (because I am slightly lazy and didn’t want to like…make a layer cake or anything tricky), frosted it, and topped it with some candy fingers and gel icing decoration.

This finger cake was easy to make. I baked a double batch of cake, frosted and decorated it.

  • Candy. OMG! These candy brains were the easiest things ever to make. I thought I was being punny and clever making pumpkin brains with pumpkin flavored candy melts and candy molds. I recommend sticking to regular candy melts, FYI.

I love the way these candy brains looked after they came out of the mold

Of course, the taste of those candy melts left me jonesin’ for something a little more delish. Like Harry & David truffles. Drool
Harvest TrufflesRight now, you can enter for a chance to win a $1,000 Harry & David gift card or gourmet Harvest Truffles by playing the Spooky Treats Game.

Offer & Prizes: Register for the chance to win a $1,000 HD gift card, and play the Spooky Treats Game for a chance to be one of three instant winners who will win Harvest Truffles (which are SO freakin’ delicious). There are three instant winners a day for the truffles. There is only ONE $1,000 gift card winner randomly chosen at the end of the giveaway. You can also read the Official Rules here.

Enjoy 15% Off Orders of $75 or More. Code: THANKS15. (10/30-11/27)

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This is a sponsored post on behalf of Harry & David. I was compensated to share the contest and free printables, but never to give my opinion. You get that for free, as always. Additionally, some links in this post are affiliate links and any purchases you make through my links will earn me a small commission. 

What decorations and food do you make for Halloween? Do you celebrate the holiday like us with family and friends? What are your Halloween plans?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!