A Meri Meri Halloween Party

Written by Giulia Doyle of Audrey’s 74

I grew up in Europe and Halloween was not a holiday we celebrated, but when I moved to Canada 11 years ago I embraced it. My kids also look forward to it, the decorations, the treats and the costumes. When the Land of Nod asked me if I wanted to try their Meri Meri Halloween kit I was excited. The Halloween decoration collection is charming, uses lovely quality paper, fun motives and isn’t cheap looking. My favorite is the gold foil on many of the items and my kids loved picking different cup cake toppers and creating their own scenes. The garlands and pinwheel decorations are easy to assemble and I know they’ll be featured prominently on our fireplace come October. I also love the motives on the gift bags (more gold!) and we all thought the party cups were a fun craft.

A Meri Meri Halloween Party 2 A Meri Meri Halloween Party 4I decided to set up a Halloween party table to use the full spectrum of party supplies available and today I’m also sharing two recipes with you. Crêpes, which are a big crowd pleaser and simple chocolate cupcakes with mascarpone frosting. We also made sugar cookies from a mix and used the great Halloween cookie cutters.

A Meri Meri Halloween Party 5 A Meri Meri Halloween Party Crêpes with Whipped Cream, Pecans and Maple Syrup

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 8-10 crêpes depending on how thin you can get them.

Ingredients

  • 200 g flour
  • salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 200 ml milk
  • 200 ml water
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted in pan
  • whipping cream
  • maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Combine flour and pinch of salt in a medium sized bowl. Mix eggs, milk and water in a measuring cup and mix with flour, starting with a well in the centre of the flour. Mix until well combined and there are no lumps. Let rest about 30 minutes at room temperature.
  2. While waiting, whip as much cream as you think you’ll need (I used one cup) until you have firm, but soft tips. Mix in a table spoon of maple syrup. Set aside.
  3. Chop your pecans and toast them on low heat for a couple of minutes. Set aside and let cool.
  4. Once batter has rested, heat a medium frying pan on medium-high heat with a teaspoon of oil. Add a ladle of batter and tilt pan until the bottom is covered evenly and thinly with batter. Let cook until batter looks almost set on top. Use a silicon spatula and gently lift crêpe and flip. Cook another minute or so or until other side is golden. If the crêpe doesn’t release easily to flip, wait a little longer as it’s not yet done. You can also flip the crêpes with the pan if you dare.
  5. Keep the crêpes on a plate and put in warming oven until all are done. Serve with whipped cream, sprinkled with chopped pecans and a generous drizzle of maple syrup.

*Note how my cream looks messy in the pictures. The hot crêpes will make the whipped cream liquefy again, so serve immediately for prettier serving.

A Meri Meri Halloween Party 3Chocolate Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: Two dozen

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • Mascarpone Frosting (See recipe below)
  • Sanding sugar for decor

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan. I used white liners in order for the pretty ones not to get greasy.
  2. Sift cocoa, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar into bowl. Beat in oil, buttermilk, vanilla, eggs, and hot water one at a time, using a mixer set at low. Beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. The batter will be quite liquid.
  3. Pour batter into cupcake pans. Bake 25 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean.
  4. Let cupcakes cool in pans on wire racks, 20 minutes, before removing. Cool completely on racks.
  5. Fill frosting into a piping bag with large frosting tip of your choice. Frost each cupcake, starting from the outside in and finishing off by pulling the frosting up into a tip.
  6. Sprinkle with orange sanding sugar.

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A Meri Meri Halloween Party 10

Mascarpone Frosting

Ingredients

  • 1 tub of mascarpone
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 2.5 cups of whipping cream

Instructions

  1. Combine mascarpone, sugar and vanilla with a mixer until smooth and creamy. Add whipping cream and whip at medium-high speed until the cream turns to a whipped cream consistency. Don’t over-whip the mixture. This frosting pipes very easily.

 

Giulia Doyle blogs at Audrey’s 74. She loves to share the sweet and savory, be it in the kitchen or travels. She juggles a family and a full-time job – they cook, travel and often paint a wall a new color.

Shop all Land of Nod Halloween Decorations

Kids Halloween Dress Up Ideas

Written by Lidy Dipert of Hello Lidy

Kids Halloween Dress Up Ideas

Holidays are something our family always looks forward to each month, or basically anything that involves treats! When The Land of Nod asked if I would be interested in trying out some of their darling dress up gear, I was absolutely delighted! To be honest, it’s pretty scary (no pun intended) how awful the choices are out there now-a-days. But for the first time ever I cannot wait to go out trick-or-treating with my kids and show off their classy costumes!

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This year we have The Knight: our four year old son, Holden. He is a quiet boy, with an adventurous spirit! As soon as I put his outfit on, he was already swinging his sword and slaying imaginary monsters!

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We have The Ballerina: our three year old daughter, Violet. She is boisterous and outgoing! Yet, she always wants to play dress up and roll in the dirt with all her pretty dresses. Go figure! She absolutely adored her outfit and her new little companion, the Ballerina Mouse.

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Lastly The Dress-a-saurus Rex: our almost two year old son Sebastian. He is exactly like his older sis, just all boy! He is constantly terrorizing something or someone, so this outfit seemed quite fitting!

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Each costume is made with such precision and of highest quality, I love that they are all knit and have that very handmade feel. You can really see how each one suits our kids personalities perfectly!  What I love most is that these pieces will be loved on long after Halloween has come and gone! They will be great additions to their dress up closet so that they can play “Halloween” all year long, as Holden would call it. Don’t you love how these outfits almost work as a theme? The knight, a princess and the dragon!

Lidy is the face behind Hello Lidy: a blog focusing on creating and cultivating unique spaces that integrate original handmade designs and vintage pieces while keeping up on current trends and designs. Lidy and her husband have three adopted toddlers.

Shop Land of Nod Halloween Costumes & Dress Up

DIY Kids Backpack Name Tags

Post by Rebecca of A Feteful Life
DIY Kids Backpack Name TagsNew backpack time is serious business in our house. A lot of negotiation goes into picking the perfect pack, so it drives me a bit nuts when I have to write their names in permanent marker on them. Soon enough they’ll be scuffed up and filled with all sorts of odds and ends. So I thought it’d be fun to make name tags for the kids’ packs with them this year and Nod’s Jewelry Beads & String Set was the perfect way to do it! The kids loved picking out the colors, shapes, and letters themselves. And I love that it keeps their stuff labeled without permanently marking it. Plus, jewelry for the whole family are also now in the works.

No real complicated directions. Just pick out the color of string, the letters in your child’s name, and a few colorful wooden beads to go at each end. Have your kiddos string on the beads, helping them with the order and direction as necessary. Loop the finished tag through the backpack’s zipper and tie securely — leaving a little length of string for it to hang nicely. Cut off the extra string and save for other jewelry!

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Rebecca and Suzanne are bloggers, graphic designers, and event stylists living in Washington, DC.  Rebecca is a mom to two young kiddos and, in her spare time (ha!), likes to pretend she’s a back-up dancer, craft cocktails, and run long distances. Suzanne is a big fan of good design, good wine, and her two rambunctious little boys. They share DIY lifestyle and event styling projects at A Feteful Life. Rebecca also blogs kid-friendly projects at Not-So-SAHM.

Back to School Family Dinner

Post by Kelsey Nixon of Kelsey’s Essentials

Back to School Dinner IdeasIf you’re like most parents, you’ve recently sent your kids back to school for another school year. This can be such an exciting time for some kids (and parents!) or a dreaded time for others. Whether you’ve got kids who are thrilled to be back in school or kids that are requiring a pep talk each morning, one way to celebrate the big change is with a back to school family dinner. It’s a great way to celebrate your kiddos as they embark upon another year and discuss things like goals. Below you’ll find my best tips for pulling together a fun dinner that is sure to be memorable and may even turn into a tradition for your growing family.

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When it comes to the menu, let your kids be in charge! By making their favorite recipes you can really make your kids feel like a big part of this event. If you get requests like boxed macaroni and cheese or grilled cheese sandwiches, consider making a grown up version of these kid favorites. Dishes like my Grilled Cheese with Bacon, Apple and CheddarSpaghetti and Meatballs, and my Skillet Bacon Mac and Cheese are great options.

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Decorate the table with a school theme to get your kids in the back to school spirit. A crown is always a fun accessory that will make any young kid feel special. Traditional items like a school bus, desk supplies (1,2), books, and a globe are a great way to pull off this fun yet simple look. Or maybe you turn over the decorating responsibilities to your kids completely!

Plan a few simple activities for your dinner that will help generate conversation amongst you and your kids. Depending on the age of your children you can take a simple Alphabet book and play a game where they identify one thing that they’re looking forward to this school year based on the letter that they flip to. For example, if your 2nd grader flips to “R” they might enthusiastically exclaim “Recess!” While your 7th grader might flip to “S” and sheepishly mention that school dances should be a lot of fun. This can be a great way to discuss all of the positive things to look forward to.

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To get the whole family involved, consider picking a theme for the year. Something that the entire family can focus on as a whole. Think of it as a yearly mission statement. Creatively displaying this theme with something like this darling banner is a great way to remind your kids of the theme day in and day out. You could also make an effort to set some personal goals with each of your children as well.

A back to school dinner is also a great time to fill out a memory book recording your kid’s stats as they enter their respective grades. Whether it’s as simple as their age and height or a bit more detailed like their favorite foods and subjects in school, your kids will get a kick out of the documentation.

Back to School Dinner Ideas - 10Cooking Craft

For dessert, try this simple cooking craft that will get everyone in the spirit to hit the books and head back to school. Make these flashcard graham cracker cookie sandwiches by simple spreading chocolate buttercream frosting in between two graham cracker cookies. Decorate the tops of the cookies by using white frosting to pipe on traditional numbers and letters that you’d find on flash cards. These cookies are best if you make them a day in advance and let them sit in an airtight container overnight. They get soft and chewy and are so delicious! It’s a great alternative to a traditional cookie or cupcake and easy enough that your kids can help make them. My own mom made these cookie sandwiches for me and my siblings growing up!

Kelsey Nixon  is the host of Kelsey’s Essentials on Cooking Channel and author of Kitchen Confidence. Kelsey’s Essentials is also currently airing Mon-Thurs at 3pm on Food Network. Kelsey, her husband Robby, and son Oliver (“Ollie”) live in New York City. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.