"If we hope to create a non-violent world where respect and kindness replace fear and hatred, we must begin with how we treat each other at the begining of life. For that is where our deepest patterns are set. From these roots grow fear and alienation or love and trust."
Suzanne Arms

Friday, October 28, 2011

Popcorn Balls (with Candy Corn)

So I made these the other day for a Halloween party.  I loved them so much that I made them again a few days later and will make them again in a few days for another Halloween party.  
A few people asked me for the recipe so I figured I'd just put it in a post to share with everyone!

These are SO good . . . addictive actually (meaning that once I start eating them it is hard to stop).  I think it is the candy corn.  I like candy corn OK, but I don't like LOVE it.  But when you eat it in these popcorn balls you don't specifically taste the candy corn (which was surprising to me).  You get more of just the sweet flavor and texture and it is SOOO good!!

There are several different variations you can do with this, so I'll list all the options and you can play around with it.  This makes a fairly small batch, so for a party (or a large family) I double or triple it.

  • 5-6 cups of popped popcorn (you will use less if you add more 'extras' more with fewer extras)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter
  • 3 cups of small marshmallows
  • 1 cup of candy corn
  • A few cubes of caramel (or if you don't have that you can add a squirt of caramel syrup or maybe sprinkle in some brown sugar)
  • 1 heaping Tbsp of peanut butter
  • 1 cup of chopped peanuts
*** You can make it with just the top 4 ingredients if that is all you have or if you just want to keep it simple.  However, I like to melt some caramel in with the marshmallows and butter to add a bit more sweetness.  With my 2nd batch I added the peanut butter and the caramel and it was EVEN BETTER!!  I haven't tried the peanuts in it yet but I would guess that they rock.

my 2nd batch with added peanut butter . . . yummmm

For the popcorn . . . you can use any kind of popcorn (I think that leftover movie popcorn would probably be SO good).  Microwave popcorn would be easy but I pop mine on the stove.  If you make it on the stove, I use a pot and do 1/4 cup of oil (olive, coconut etc) and 1/2 cup of popcorn. This gives you enough for the popcorn balls and some leftover to snack on.  I added just a touch of brown sugar when it started popping (not enough to make it full kettle corn but just to add a bit of sweetness) then I did salt it after it finished.  One thing to keep in mind . . . when measuring out your popcorn for this recipe, pay special attention that you don't include any unpopped kernels . . . they are not fun to eat in popcorn balls . . . very hard on the teeth!!

In a large pot, melt butter, marshmallows and the caramel and peanut butter if you choose to add those (keep in mind the caramel takes longer to melt).  Once everything is melty and gooey, remove it from the heat and dump in your popcorn and candy corn (and peanuts if you add them).  You can also dump the sauce over your popcorn in a separate bowl, it works just as well.  Mix it up till it is all covered.  It is hot so I will wait a minute before I start shaping it into balls.  Put them on wax paper to dry (they are sticky).

To shape the balls it is important to wet your hands with cold water or it will be very messy and sticky and impossible to work with!  I find I have to wet my hands after every few balls I shape (and don't forget to make sure that candy corn is included in every one).  When I had the kids helping me I gave them a bowl of cold water so they could keep dipping their hands.  Pack them nice and firm or they will fall apart when you set them down to harden.

I like to make them about the size of a golf ball, that way they are more snack size (less waste if someone starts to eat one and then doesn't finish it . . . however rare that may be ;0)  And it is a good size for the kids to help make too.  This recipe above made me about 20 or so golf ball sized balls.

Let them sit for a bit to cool and harden and then ENJOY!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Halloween Crafts to do with the kids

We have been super busy around here lately (I know, what's new right?).  In the last month we have finished tiling our bathroom and shower upstairs (that used to be a closet) and we put in wood floors for the whole upstairs and hosted a birthday party and Brunswick stew for 60 people!! Sooo, I haven't been feeling too crafty lately (though I do plan to do at least 1 craft with the kids before Halloween).

I did want to share 2 cool crafts that we did last year for anyone looking for last minute ideas, something that is sturdy, long lasting and can be brought back out year after year.

Halloween Jars
Our Halloween lighted jars as I displayed them this year.  I only used a strand of 50 clear lights, though with this number of jars I realized that a strand of 100 would have worked better.

At the beginning of the month I pulled out our Halloween jars again.  We made them last year and I LOVE these things!!  I love how festive they are, I love how cozy they make the house feel and the amount of light they put out is perfect . . . they are just fun to have around.  Here is the post from last year where I talk about how we make them.  Lighted Halloween Jars

 Skeleton Door Man
I call him that because he sits at our front door to greet people

We also made a PVC pipe skeleton man last year.  He sits on the front porch.  I got this idea from Family Fun General Bone E Part    What I like about this craft is that you can take it apart, throw it in a bag, and put it back together next year.  Also though definitely not anatomically correct, you can use it to teach a little about bones and joints as the kids work it like a puzzle to put it together.  It is a bit more involved than the jars, well, meaning that you have to buy the pipe, pieces, and then figure out cutting and assembly (and we didn't follow the directions exactly, because we never do, LOL) but it was easy considering the result, and super easy to put away and pull back out for this year.

Now I leave you with a view of autumn at the Mason household

3 boys jumping on a wet trampoline, covered in wet leaves, in their bathing suites . . . I will not share how hard it is to remove crushed wet leaves from hair, clothes, carpet etc ;0)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Elimination Communication is better together!

Thrace 2, Dagyn at almost 6mo
I'm sorry, y'all may think I am weird but I just think babies sitting on potties are precious!! 

Thrace finally 'graduated' from EC at around 26-27mo old.  He was the oldest of all my kids to become potty independent.  The others were using the potty pretty reliably between 17-24 months. But that is OK, they are all different and admiditally, by the time I was on kid #5, I didn't have as much time to spend taking them to the potty as I did when I just had a couple kids.  It is about communication afterall. 

Dagyn is proving to be just like the boys.  Piper (my only girl) loved to sit and play on the little potty, not the boys!  They are anxious to get off and crawl around!  So needless to say, I am still holding him over the sink or potty when he has to go most of the time.  He has been naked bum around the house since he was about 6 wks old. As with the others, we typically only use diapers at home for naps and bed.  He is 7mo now and for the past month has been crawling around everywhere!  So far no potty strikes! (knock on wood)  He is still communicating his need to go and is still patient when I take him potty (often times, once they start crawling and walking they go through a strike and become impatient with having to stop to go potty . . . all of my kids have done this). 
We'll see how long that lasts!!


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