Saturday, August 31, 2013

Lolli, lolli, lollipop! 60 days to Halloween

Ring the Lollipop is a fun and easy carnival/party game.  
All you need is a pegboard, some basic woodworking supplies, paint and a pile of lollipops and rings - I use glow-in-the-dark bracelets. When the children ring a lolli they keep it and the bracelet - lots of fun!

Directions for Ring the Lollipop are in A Harvest and Halloween Handbook

Join me for a discussion about Halloween on October 31, 1 p.m. Mountain time on BYU Sirius Radio 143!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Halloween Party and Carnival Game: Candy Jar Guessing

If you are like me, you are anxiously awaiting all the great new Halloween decor to hit the market, but it seems to be slow in coming this year. In the meantime, get a jump on the harvest and Halloween party scene by gathering materials for parties and carnivals. This is a classic and favorite activity:
guess the number of pieces of candy in each jar. The winner takes it home as a prize. You can use canning jars, recycled jars or fancy ones; the cute pumpkin jar was a $1 thrift find!

Here's a coloring page for your cute little pumpkins to practice numbers with. Give each jar a number and have the children draw that many pieces of candy inside.

For more coloring pages and party activities, see 
A Harvest and Halloween Handbook

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Glow-in-the-Dark Punch and Potential Potables; 62 Days

When I started writing A Harvest and Halloween Handbook, the first thing that popped into my mind as I was sitting on the beach watching my son and his friends play in the ocean, was a collection of drinks, like Prince Charming Cherry Soda, Moonlight Elixir, Toad-2-Prince Serum and other beverages. 

My favorite came into being when I wondered if you could do a glow-in-the-dark punch. No the punch doesn't glow - its the presentation, although...let me work on this and get back to you, mwa, hah, hah, hah. I'll be in the lab.

Here's the recipe for this delicious punch:

2 qts. white grape juice
2 qts. Vernor's ginger ale.

You can tint it if you like.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

63 Days; A Party in the 100 Acre Woods.

I just learned that The Many Adventures of  Winnie the Pooh DVD was released by Disney yesterday. I love A.A. Milne's "silly old bear" and his friends and their adventures. They were so supportive and helpful of each other throughout the stories and E.H. Shepherd's illustrations were magical. As much as I delight in Beatrix Potter's watercolor paintings in the Peter Rabbit series, the characters were mischievous and prone to be naughty, while Pooh and his friends had a better moral framework.

In my Halloween repertoire, I've replaced witches with Mother Goose and I show you how to host a child-friendly Halloween party in the Hundred Acre Woods, your toddlers will love it! The details are in 

A Harvest and Halloween Handbook.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

64 Days; Back to School

I'm grateful for the opportunity to pick up my pencils and head back to school for more training in the arts. This semester I'm learning how to teach, as well as improving my painting skills and
acquiring a second language: the language of color. I wish all students a great year and much success!

Monday, August 26, 2013

65 Happy Days


Between today and Halloween there will be many happy days 
and lots of reasons to celebrate. One of them is my daughter Heather; 

Happy Birthday Pumpkin! 

A Harvest And Halloween Handbook 
A Harvest and Halloween Handbook

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Route 66 - Oh the Jouy!


Toile du Jouy is the classic French fabric that is like a storybook with depictions of families, bucolic scenes, even patriotic themes. 
I love a good story and the beautiful graphic quality of toile so I created an invitation that I hope brings you much jouy also.

Back in my hometown, I'm feeling the joy of being in the City of Angels with my loved ones on the west end of Route 66. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

67 Days - Don't Wait to Enjoy the Harvest

We may postpone enjoying our bliss until we achieve major milestones; graduating from college, marriage, career success; the list is long.  The other day I heard a man talk about the benefits of celebrating "little harvests." Studies show that people who have gratitude enjoy better health and sleep patterns and have more energy. Why not enjoy a little harvest this weekend? There is  much to be thankful for.

A Harvest And Halloween Handbook

A Harvest and Halloween Handbook

Friday, August 23, 2013

Taking food and comfort to people in need: an article for Meal Train

This is from Michael Laramee and meal Train. Rachel Nelson and I were taking a meal to one of our friends from church who was having medical problems.
Last year, a dear
friend and woman in my church was dealing with end-stage cancer. She had
elected to stop her chemotherapy and was dying. I took her comfort food;
roast chicken, soups, fresh fruit and ginger ale to help settle her stomach
(while in chemo) and fruit and vegetable juices afterwards. Then it hit me,
she was a Japanese native, so I brought in sushi and Asian foods that may
have been more familiar to her. She died shortly thereafter. But she was warm and knew I
loved her. 

The other "sisters" from my LDS (Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints) ward brought in meals too. We mourned together when
Kazuue left us. 

Our women's organization is called the Relief Society. We are
the largest women's organization in the world. Millions of "sisters"
bring meals daily to new moms, the injured and recovering. 

One last hint - because I enjoy cooking somewhat
"fancy" meals, I sometimes bring macaroni and cheese for the children of
the family. And always veggies and Ranch dip - almost every child will eat
a vegetable dipped in Ranch. I keep disposable pans for these opportunities
and take heavy paper plates so the family has few dishes to wash.

As told by Pamela Layton McMurtry

68 Days; Let the Magic Begin!

As magical as magic is, it needs to be backed up with hard work, skill and determination.
Whether you are in school, planning a big event (like your life) or doing something important, put all you have into your effort and let the magic begin!

 A Harvest And Halloween Handbook

Thursday, August 22, 2013

69 Days - Why Wait for a Great Pizza?

Spooky cat and scarecrow-shaped pizzas

As an artist, I'm always looking for a medium with which I can create something wonderful; food can be a whole lot of fun to play with. Rich colors and varied textures and flavors provide the tools to create a culinary masterpiece! These fun pizzas were featured on the SheKnows Parenting website; here's the link and you can find the recipes are in

A Harvest and Halloween Handbook

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013

72 Days 'til Halloween. Summer 2013 is one for the books; Good job Moms!

Well Moms,  you've made it through another summer, kept your kids healthy, entertained and engaged - congratulations!

As they head out the door for another great year at school, 
pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

73 Days 'til a Toad-ally Cool Halloween

Don't wait till the last minute to start planning your 
toad-ally cool 
Halloween party!

74 Days, The Art of Play

This late summer season provides beautiful weather 
for enjoying the great outdoors. 
Take your picnic up a notch on the "enjoyability" scale by 
bringing along the arts to your celebration. Drawing, watercolor, music and other forms of artistic expression may bring added depth and pleasure to your outings.

Friday, August 16, 2013

75 Days - Do You Know Where Your Buttons Are?

Make fun and easy bracelets with buttons and beads. My favorite is the one on the top that was made by stringing buttons and tying ribbons on a small black garland, like a pipe cleaner. The others are beads strung on elastic and tied with a bow or with a silk leaf glued on.. These bracelets can be made for a party activity, worn by princesses or given as gifts.

From a Harvest and Halloween Handbook eBook available on Amazon and B&N

Thursday, August 15, 2013

76 Days 'til Halloween - a Compelling Mystery

Now is a good time to start planning a Halloween Mystery House. An intelligent alternative to the run-of the-mill haunts that pop up in the fall, a Mystery House is a more subtle adventure - think Nancy Drew or Sherlock Holmes. Invent a problem, a solution and all the steps necessary to gather information and come up with an brilliant deduction. The result? Elementary my dear Watson...


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

77 Days... Before You Clean Your Closets, Check This Out.

These three cute kids are wearing costumes that cost $0! 

The letter man jacket was Dad's, 
the pumpkin costume was passed along by a friend 
and the cute scarecrow was collected out of several closets.

With a little creativity you can rock 
Halloween without spending anything!

For a few dollars, you can have a bag of jelly beans.

I'd love to see your best costume ideas and 
how much they cost or (didn't cost).

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

78 Days - Summer Fun and Inviting Fairies

In the cutest book, Fairyopolis, artist Cicely Barker
describes a summer she spent in England trying to find fairies.

If you want to know how she well she succeeded, 
you'll need to read her story, 
especially the last few days of summer.

In the meantime, if you want fairies at your Halloween party, 
you might build them a little party house, or pick up a doll house at a thrift store and fix it up for them. They love recycling and helping the less-fortunate. And they are very tidy according to Cicely.

Did you know fairies sleep in flower beds?

Fairies are like artists; they like to recycle 
and they don't waste anything. 

They keep tidy little kitchens, I need a house fairy! 

For more fairy easy harvest and Halloween ideas - see

Monday, August 12, 2013

79 Days and the Warmth of a Rich Legacy

One of the attributes that distinguished Israel's autumn celebration from pagan festivals was the honor and respect Israel showed to the memory of departed family members. Their ancestors were loved and honored and their spirits invited to join the celebrations. 

The pagans, believing their ancestor's spirits were dangerous and  harmful to them, tried to repel the spirits with fire, frightening masks and other means. 

Sharing stories of our ancestors helps keep the spirit of family love alive and brings comfort and security to our children. Through the prophet Elijiah, God established a sealing bond of love that transcends mortality and reaches into the hearts of the children, 
a power that God ordained to save the earth.  

From the Old Testament Prophet Malachi 4:5 - 6
 ¶Behold, I will asend you bElijah the prophet cbefore the coming of the dgreat and dreadful eday of the Lord:

 And he shall aturn the bheart of the cfathers to the dchildren, and the heart of the echildren to their fathers, lest I come and fsmite the gearth with a hcurse.

For more of the history of harvest celebrations see:

Sunday, August 11, 2013

80 days' the gobble-uns 'll git you ef you don't watch out

by: James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916)
      To all the little children: -- The happy ones; and sad ones;
      The sober and the silent ones; the boisterous and glad ones;
      The good ones -- Yes, the good ones, too; and all the lovely bad ones.
      ITTLE Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
      An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
      An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
      An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;
      An' all us other childern, when the supper-things is done,
      We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
      A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
      An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
      Ef you
      Wunst they wuz a little boy wouldn't say his prayers,--
      An' when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs,
      His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl,
      An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wuzn't there at all!
      An' they seeked him in the rafter-room, an' cubby-hole, an' press,
      An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'-wheres, I guess;
      But all they ever found wuz thist his pants an' roundabout:--
      An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
      Ef you
      An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin,
      An' make fun of ever' one, an' all her blood-an'-kin;
      An' wunst, when they was "company," an' ole folks wuz there,
      She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she didn't care!
      An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide,
      They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side,
      An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's about!
      An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
      Ef you
      An' little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
      An' the lamp-wick sputters, an' the wind goes woo-oo!
      An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray,
      An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is all squenched away,--
      You better mind yer parunts, an' yer teachurs fond an' dear,
      An' churish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear,
      An' he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about,
      Er the Gobble-uns 'll git you
      Ef you
Published in 1916, this was a lesson in good manners and morals.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

81 Days Out, There's Time to be Creative

Halloween time can be so festive and exciting without being scary and creepy. I don't want that stuff in my home, so I curate decor that is fun for autumn; bright and unusual without gore. Try incorporating intelligent humor and novelty in your decorating. 

Decorating idea from A Harvest and Halloween Handbook:

Friday, August 9, 2013

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

84 Days - Who's Your Hero?

Yes, inside even the mildest of the mild - mannered, lives a superhero with amazing powers.

This one disguised himself as a football playing, good kid in high school. But when duty called, he went off to fight the bad guys as an American soldier; spending three years in hell so the people and country he loved could remain free and safe.

Now that's a hero.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

85; The Play's Outside

Halloween seems to me to be one large theatrical production. Costumes, sets, imaginary creatures; the whole community's involved - no wonder it's so entertaining!

I have this ideas that it would be fun to have a cupboard dedicated to the art of costume. My little children had a box of dress-up clothes from their Aunt Allison. They spent hours dressing up and engaging in creative play. As summer winds down, it might be fun to pull out old costumes for your children or pick up a few new ones at your favorite thrift store and see what imaginative adventures unfold.

Teachers: As you prepare your room for the new school year, consider having a closet of wonders, or cupboard or drawer containing a simple prop or two to introduce the next book you will be reading aloud, or a math or science concept. Your class could try to guess what the items represents, It could be a fun way to develop deduction and reasoning and engage their imaginations.

Monday, August 5, 2013

86 Days to Halloweeny!

The Witch Family by Eleanor Estes was one of my all-time favorite stories as a child. It is the tale of two ordinary little girls who banish the terrible head witch Nobby to a glass hill. If she remains there and learns to be good; they'll let her leave for one night; Halloween. 

To keep her from becoming too lonely, the girls send a little blond witch named Hannah (who happens to look just like the two girls, Amy and Clarissa); and to keep little Hannah from getting too lonely, a baby witch with a tiny kitten arrives. Amy's representative Malachi, an invisible bee, who spells (he's a spelling bee), keeps an eye on Nobby and stings her if she gets out of line. 

A mermaid lagoon hidden in the crystal hill, witch school and a visit from Amy and Clarissa, fill Hannah's days with adventure. But will Nobby get to come down off the hill for Halloween? The temptation of the Easter Bunny's painting field filled with rabbits and eggs (her favorite foods) may prove too much. The Witch Family is a delightful story of redemption, the power of love and importance of friends. Even though I don't usually do witches, this is one story I love. I found it recently on - enjoy!