Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Domesticated Delight Halloween Event - Cayden's first trip to the pumpkin patch and pumpkin gooey butter cake recipe.

Last weekend my family and I took Cayden for his first trip to the Irvine Park pumpkin patch. I was so excited to cross off one of my 4 Simple Goals and start a new family tradition! Everything is always so much more exciting when you’re seeing it through someone else’s eyes for the first time. I know Cayden is too young to remember this trip, but I have hopes that he will be able to look at the pictures and know that he had a great time with his mommy and daddy.

The morning of dawned cloudy and rainy, but I was determined to have a great day anyway. I dressed Cayden in what I called his ‘pumpkin outfit’ and we were on our merry way. First we met up with my sister, my nephew, and my mom at her house and we all carpooled to our location. Even though it was a bit cold and sprinkly outside it was very crowded! We did everything the place had to offer (that was baby friendly of course)… went through a corn maze, saw the ‘haunted’ house, visited the zoo they had on site, and of course picked out a big fat pumpkin to take home! I also ran into @ToniRaquel and little Lucy which was a fun surprise! I was snapping pictures like crazy… I think I was driving everyone nuts who was with me but it’s MEMORIES people! My favorite part was the zoo. I didn’t even know they HAD a zoo there! It only cost us $2 to get in (both the babies were free) and we got to see all kinds of animals including the cutest 2 bears in the world. They even had a little petting zoo where you can feed baby goats and brush their hair! We had a blast.

I’m so glad we did this with Cayden. I plan to take him back year after year until he’s begging to bring a friend along or protesting that he’s too old for that kind of stuff. I think family traditions are so important in creating a happy and secure child. I want him to love the holidays just as much as me!

(Make sure you check out a yummy pumpkin cake recipe below!)


A family portrait

Isn't this the cutest shot ever?!?

Playing in the pumpkins

' with daddy

My nephew... he was very excited!

Grandma and her boys (Can you tell she hates being photographed? Now you know where I get it from)

riding the horse

The entrance to the corn maze

My sister and nephew feeding the goats

and the baby goat

Every time
Mando took a picture another goat came to me!

The cutest, fuzziest bear ever!

This time of the year my mom always make this Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake… it’s a doctored cake recipe from Paula Dean (butter ya’ll!). If you aren’t familiar with doctored recipes, it’s basically just taking a boxed cake mix and adding some other ingredients to make it even better. I actually prefer this method (for cakes only) because I find that cakes made from scratch never come out as good as boxed cake mix. This method is the best of both worlds.

The pumpkin gooey butter cake is yummy and perfect for your Halloween or Thanksgiving get-togethers. I like it because it’s not your average pumpkin recipe… the gooey center is really different and I love the sweet pumpkin flavor. It’s definitely a decadent dessert so unbutton your pants and enjoy!

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake



• 1 package yellow cake mix
• 1 egg
• 8 tbl butter


• 1 package cream cheese, softened
• 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
• 3 eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 8 tablespoons butter, melted
• 1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to over bake as the center should be a little gooey.

Serve with fresh whipped cream and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Domesticated Delight Halloween Event - My DIY Halloween decorations and a tutorial.

This year I opted to decorate for Halloween with mostly DIY projects versus using store-bought things. Not only did I save a ton of money, but I had so much fun doing crafts and getting into the Halloween spirit! I do have a few store-bought items here and there, but for the most part everything was created by me, myself, and I! So come on in, leave your shoes by the door, and take a look around!

Spooky sign purchased at Michaels (7 dollars)

First we have my paper mâché pumpkins! This project was actually the monthly craft in my Crafty Mommies club. The original craft is posted here however I adapted a lot of it to simplify and use what I already had. (Tutorial below!)

Next up are my glittering skulls! These are probably my favorite decorations because they’re SPARKLY! (Yes, I realize I’m 5 years old…) I bought 3 paper mâché skulls from Michaels for 3 dollars each and painted them orange, purple, and black. While the paint was still wet (very important!) I shook loose glitter (I like Martha Stewart brand because, obviously) in corresponding colors all over it. It’s best to do this in sections so the paint is still wet and the glitter sticks.

View of my dining room

On the wall to the right you will see my handmade Halloween banner! I was looking for something to put on that blank wall without having to buy a bunch of stuff when I stumbled upon this free printable. I simply printed each letter and framed it on a piece of construction paper in a contrasting color. Then I matted the framed letter onto another contrasting color. After that I punched holes in both sides of each letter and used a bunch of different Halloween colored ribbon to string them together. Then I added some Halloween themed die cuts (my local scrapbook store has die cut machines that I can use) and hung it up! So easy and you can use it year after year!

This is the only wall that has store bought items on it. The bats were sold in a pack (Martha Stewart brand of course) at Michaels (I believe they were 7 dollars) and I bought the witch at Target for 20 dollars.

Up next is my skull head centerpiece. I used the same paper mâché skull from Michaels and Mando painted it (he likes to help me with crafts sometimes… shhh!) white with black eyes and missing teeth. Then I just filled this glass bowl with glittery purple craft sand and plopped the skull inside. Simple way to add a spooky element to any room!

Other than that I just put tealights everywhere to give the place a spooky glow along with some pumpkins from the pumpkin patch! I decorated my whole apartment for around 50 dollars! Not bad for a mama on a budget!

Want to learn how to make paper mâché pumpkins for your own haunted house??

You will need:

  • Balloons (I used 3 orange ones)
  • White Elmers glue (I used 2 bottles)
  • A paintbrush
  • Orange and yellow tissue paper (try to find the thinnest paper possible!)
  • A craft knife
  • Scissors
  • Flameless candles (can be purchased at Michaels)

First blow up your balloons to the size you want your pumpkins to be. I did 3 pumpkins: large, medium, and small, but you can do whatever you want.

Then cut your tissue paper strips (both orange and yellow) about 1 inch wide. They need to be long enough to go from the top of your balloon to the base. You’ ll need to cut several strips, enough to do 4 layers of strips for each pumpkin. (It goes faster if you fold the tissue paper and then cut instead of doing it individually)

Pour a good amount of glue onto a paper plate or in a cup. Then dilute with water. I did 2 parts glue to every 1 part water. Mix well.

Set your blown-up balloon on top of a wide mouth jar or cup. This will help hold the pumpkin when gluing the strips on.

Dab glue on the tip of your strip of orange tissue paper and attach it to your balloon starting at the TOP of the balloon. Then completely cover the rest of the strip with glue using the paintbrush and working your way down smoothing it out as you go. I used A LOT of glue so don’t be afraid to completely saturate your strip.

Continue this process all the way around the balloon until the entire thing is covered in strips.
Repeat until you have 2 layers of orange and then cover it with 2 layers of yellow. (You do not need to wait for each layer to dry before starting the next one.) You will think the yellow looks weird, but it doesn’t once your balloon dries. Trust me on this one.

Once all 4 layers are applied to each balloon let them dry over night. I tied a string to the knot of the balloon and hung it upside down to dry properly.

When your balloons are fully dry you can cut the knot off your balloon letting the air escape. This might cause your pumpkin to deflate a little bit, but you can blow air into it to pump it back up.
Using small manicure scissors, cut a circle at the base of your pumpkin until it can sit without rolling on a flat surface.

Using a pencil, draw or trace your jack-o-lantern face lightly onto your pumpkin. Use pictures on the internet or in magazines for inspiration! Then ‘carve’ the face using a craft or exacto knife. You can use small scissors to help you out in this step.

Once your face is carved you can either leave it alone or you can glue either yellow or black tissue paper behind the face to ‘ hide’ the inside of the pumpkin. I did yellow, but I think it would look better in black. I suggest cutting small parts of tissue paper to cover the eyes, nose, and mouth versus using one large piece. It will be a lot easier.

Then get a flameless flickering tea light, turn it on, and cover with your pumpkin. Turn the lights off and enjoy your new jack-o-lanterns!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Domesticated Delight Halloween Event - CSN Stores review and chocolate chip pumpkin bread recipe!

To many holiday enthusiasts, Fall and baking go hand and hand. I am no exception to this sentiment and many an October night you will find me in my kitchen barefoot and aproned. To me, Fall means the spicy smell of cinnamon and nutmeg wafting from the kitchen and warm, cozy, comfort foods on the dinner table.

Prior to this Fall I was living in the dark ages... Mixing batters by hand and letting soup bubble and steam in a big ol' pot on the stove. I didn't know the wonder and savory aromas of the crockpot. The speed and ease of electric hand mixers were beyond me. Until now.

I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity to review some products from If you haven't heard of them, I urge you to get acquainted. Like, now. No really, I'll wait...

Now that we're all on the same page you surely know that CSNstores is a domestic girl's dream. You can find bakeware, throw pillows, and shoes (!!!) all in the same place and you don't even have to leave your couch. If that's not easy I don't know what is. I was a little bit intimidated when facing the choice of products to review. So many options! But then I remembered what time of the year it was and I knew what I wanted. After browsing the site this crockpot and this electric hand mixer caught my eye. The possibilities! I've had countless slow cooker recipes saved in a folder for ages and I knew I needed a hand mixer, badly. I placed my order and eagerly anticipated my new goodies.

I was pleasantly surprised when I was sent a confirmation email as well as shipping information and a tracking number soon after placing my order. (I may or may not have stalked the UPS site) Clearly customer service is a priority of CSN stores. You can imagine my excitement when I received my package a few days later. I immediately knew which recipe I was going to try out for my hand mixer... Chocolate chip pumpkin bread!

This morning after putting Cayden down for a nap I decided it was the perfect time to try my mixer out. I double checked that I had all the necessary ingredients, tied on my apron, and got to work.

First I combined my dry ingredients and whisked them together with a fork. Then I did the same with my wet ingredients. Now was the moment I had been waiting for... to try out my new mixer!

It was GREAT! What normally took minutes now took seconds! And when your not-so-consistent 3 month old is napping that is a definite plus.

Now that my ingredients were mixed together, I poured them in my greased loaf pan and popped my pumpkin-bread-to-be in the oven. Just in time for Cayden to wake up from his nap!

What started as this, turned into this 65 minutes later...

Can you say yum?!? This pumpkin bread has quickly become my favorite Fall food. It has just the right amount of pumpkin flavor and the chocolate chips just melt in your mouth especially when you have a piece fresh out of the oven. Mando and I couldn't stop eating it and we had JUST finished breakfast.

The conclusion to this story (other than your new favorite recipe)? Next time you're wishing for that gadget you've had your eye on or a new toy for your 1 year old nephew or even the perfect piece of art to hang in your living room make sure to go to! You don't even have to leave the couch, I promise. I can't wait to try out my crockpot next!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp clove
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. In another bowl, combine eggs, pumpkin, and milk; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Stir in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.



Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Me (left) with my 2 older sisters on Halloween

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Domesticated Delight Halloween Event - And the winners are...

First off, I just want to say thank you SO much to all of the sponsors of this giveaway event! It has truly been a pleasure to work with each and every one of you and I wish you all success! Secondly, thank you to everyone who participated and entered into the giveaways. I hope you guys have enjoyed them! If you don't win this time don't worry... I plan to do more giveaways in the future so be sure to stick around!

And now for the moment you've all been waiting for... THE WINNERS!

Giveaway #1 Spooky or Wicked block set from Summers Scraps:

Giveaway #2 Lucky 13 wooden art frame from Red Sangre:

Giveaway #3 Ruffle bum batty onesie from Dreaming of Stitches:

Giveaway # 4 Custom scrapbook page from Pinky's Crafts:

Giveaway #5 Halloween prize package from The Back Porch:

Giveaway #6 Frankenstein bib and pumpkin tea towel from Two Girls Laughing:

Giveaway #7 Pumpkin hat with bow from BabyDo:

Congratulations! Winners, please email me within 48 hours with your name, email address, and shipping address in order to claim your prize! If I do not hear back from you another name will be chosen. Thank you!