Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pin Up and Pumpkins

I love Halloween!  Not only do I get to have fun with friends, dress up and eat lots of candy, but it's also the night before my birthday, so I generally milk it for all it's worth.  It's the best reason I can come up with to get the hubs to participate in the festivities with me.  I know, I know, it was over 3 weeks ago, but I don't care.  I have to share the fun I had celebrating my first Halloween as a married gal!

The first project I began was my costume.  Since it was our first Halloween as husband and wife, I thought it'd be fun to go as a classic housewife, since I feel like some days that's exactly what I am.  The 1940's pin up housewife is specifically what came to mind.  Aren't these great?

I'm pretty sure this is Robert's dream scenario, so it wasn't too difficult to convince him to dress up.  It also took very little effort on his part to make the costume.  I didn't plan on my costume being that risque, however.

I started at Joann's Fabrics, browsing the patterns.  I found a pattern for an A-line halter dress and polka dot fabric that just screamed classic housewife.  Think Mrs. Cleaver.  So, I made the dress and an apron to go with it, bought rubber gloves and white stockings, and topped it off with heels and pearls.

If only I were that dedicated to my appearance every day when I had to do laundry, dishes, cleaning and grocery shopping. HA!

My next project was my Jack O'Lantern! It's a tradition for my family to carve pumpkins every year, so on a trip to the Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur, Illinois, we picked out a couple of great pumpkins just for that purpose. 

I can only think of so many creative Jack O'Lantern faces, so I decided to carve my pumpkin to remind me of my home state of Texas!  Robert printed out an image of Texas and a star for me, I cut them out, traced them onto the pumpkin, and then carved away.

Here's how they looked on our porch.  I love how it turned out!  Robert decided to carve an "S" for our last name.  Isn't he cute?  These luminous gourds welcomed us home every night for a whole week!  Luckily, it's cold enough up here that they stayed fairly fresh looking.  When it is warm, however, a tip to preserve your Jack O'Lantern is to wash it in a bleach/water bath.  This kills some of the bacteria and postpones rotting.

The last project was a treat for my coworkers since we had to work on Halloween.  I made some tasty little Jack O'Lantern pumpkin cakeballs!  Who doesn't love pumpkin?  Who doesn't love cakeballs?  My coworkers sure do!

 Everything you'll need!  Cake mix, pumpkin filling, pumpkin pie spice, frosting, food coloring and decorative detail icing.
 First, mix the cake mix ingredients together.
 Add a couple of teaspoons of the pumpkin pie spice and mix it in.
 Mix in one can of pumpkin filling.

 Stir the cake mix, spice, and pumpkin together.  Place it in a cake pan and bake according to the cake mix instructions.  I cooked mine a little longer than the instructions indicated.  Insert a knife, and if it comes out clean, the cake is done.
 While the cake is baking, mix together the food coloring and frosting (I used vanilla, but in hindsight, I think I'd prefer cream cheese). 
I also added a little pumpkin spice and blended it all together.  I used food coloring and spice to enhance the color and flavor of the frosting when mixed with the cake.
 Once the cake is done baking, let it cool in the fridge or freezer for an hour or two.  Once it's cool, crumble it up with your hands.
 Mix the crumbled cake with the frosting. Mix thoroughly then form into small balls.
 Place the cake balls on a cookie sheet and let them chill in the fridge or freezer for another hour or two.
While the cake balls are chilling, prepare the chocolate coating.  Simply microwave white chocolate almond bark for 10 seconds at a time and stirring in between, careful not to burn it.  Stir in the food coloring.
 Dunk the cake balls into the coating, making sure they are completely covered.

 Set all of the covered cake balls on the cookie sheet to dry.
 Once dry, draw Jack O'Lantern faces onto them with the detail icing and let them dry.
Not only are these guys fun and festive, but they taste delicious!  If I'd had more time, I would have loved to put them on lollipop sticks and tied some curly green ribbon like pumpkin vines. 

So, a month later, I have finally gotten to share some of my fun fall projects.  I'm definitely going to hang on to this pumpkin cake ball recipe and hopefully, repeat and expand upon it next year.  I'm just happy that our first Halloween in Illinois was a great Halloween!  Between my crafts, my birthday, our fall outings and a visit from a friend, I had a great final week of October and a wonderful kick off to November! 

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