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Unpacking Your Home: Part 2

If you’re a student in my Unpacking School, so far you’ve learned my general unpacking tips in Unpacking Your Home: Part 1 and committed them to memory.

Straight A’s all around.

Now it’s time for Unpacking 201.  This time around we’re taking things to the next level!

And the closets.

And the garage.

In the second part of this series I spell it all out for you – where to put those boxes, what to double-check in your new home first, and how to tackle this major task, room by room.

Read all about it in my latest Homes.com article: Unpacking in Your New Home – Part 2.

Unpacking-Your-Home

Audri (age 5) all set to help her family unpack in their new home!

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Kate’s DIY Polka Dot Headboard

A sweet, fun, and cheerful polka dot headboard - perfect for a little girl's room! | www.allthingsgd.com

I can’t see polka dots without thinking of Kate.

A sweet, fun, and cheerful polka dot headboard - perfect for a little girl's room! | www.allthingsgd.com

Kate, age 4

They are so sweet, and fun, and cheerful.

A sweet, fun, and cheerful polka dot headboard - perfect for a little girl's room! | www.allthingsgd.com

Just like our girl.

A sweet, fun, and cheerful polka dot headboard - perfect for a little girl's room! | www.allthingsgd.com

One of my favorite Kate moments was when she was two-and-a-half and I bought her polka dot sheets for her “big girl” bed. She laid her cheek on her fresh set of sheets, stretched her arms across her mattress and said, “I love polka pots…they make me so happy.”

(She used to call them “polka pots.”)

(I wish she still did.)

A sweet, fun, and cheerful polka dot headboard - perfect for a little girl's room! | www.allthingsgd.com

When it came time to make this sweet girl a headboard, I knew it had to be a polka dot headboard.  I wanted a bright white background with multi-colored “polka pots” (just like those sheets she first fell in love with) so I partnered up with OnlineFabricStore.net to find the perfect fabric and notions.  Abbey from OnlineFabricStore was my dream girl who helped me find just the right one.

A sweet, fun, and cheerful polka dot headboard - perfect for a little girl's room! | www.allthingsgd.com

I think it’s safe to say she’s happy with it.

More on Kate’s polka dot headboard – including a DIY tutorial – coming soon!

Like this post?  Read more about our fun girl from birth until now in Kate’s Monthly Posts.

Kates-Monthly-Posts

This project is linked up at the “Inspire Me Please” Blog Party.

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Pumpkin Carving Tips

I’ll confess – for the last 15 years I’ve turned the pumpkin carving over to G.

I love roasting pumpkins, eating pumpkins, painting pumpkins, gluing things on pumpkins, drinking pumpkin-flavored things, and wrapping them up to look like mummies, but when it comes to carving into them, I usually leave that to G.

After all, the man is super creative when it comes to pumpkin carving.

But when Homes.com asked me to sharpen my knives and share some pumpkin carving tips, I said, “Move over, baby.  I’ve got this.”

Click on the video below to see how you can create a perfectly carved pumpkin for Halloween – no matter how rusty your knife-weilding skills may be!

Learn how to carve a pumpkin like a pro with these pumpkin carving tips from Dusty Rogers for Homes.com!

(Click photo above to view video on YouTube.)

For the rest of the this month I shall only answer to “Pumpkin Carving Master.”

What are some of your favorite pumpkin carving tips?

Learn how to carve a pumpkin like a pro with these pumpkin carving tips from Dusty Rogers for Homes.com!

Like this post? Check out the All Things G&D Holiday Gallery!

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The Teal Pumpkin Project

Kate is an incredibly picky eater.

Or rather, a “selective” eater, as the nutritionist on her cleft palate team has corrected me.

She currently has about five foods on rotation for breakfast and lunch, and spends most family dinners squirming in her seat and singing songs instead of eating what I’ve prepared.

She informed me a few months ago that she wants a Frozen-themed birthday party when she turns five (three months from now) and has been brainstorming party ideas ever since.  One of her ideas is to serve carrots for food since Olaf’s nose is a carrot.

“That’s a great idea, Kate!” I exclaimed…”but you don’t even eat carrots.”

I considered this a great opportunity to talk to her about goal setting and suggested she set a goal of liking carrots by her 5th birthday.  “It’ll be easy!” I urged.  “You can have one bite of a carrot today, two bites tomorrow, three bites the next day, and before you know it your mouth will love carrots so much you’ll be asking for them at every meal!”

Kate considered this plan for a handful of seconds before she countered, “What if I’m allergic to carrots?”

She’s a quick one.

We’ve been so lucky that Kate hasn’t had any allergic reactions to food, but it is so commonplace among our friends’ kids and Kate’s classmates that she’s fully aware that allergies = food that is off limits.  Kate might’ve been wishing she was allergic to carrots, but the reality is nobody likes dealing with allergies.  Having a food allergy – or several – means only getting to eat certain foods at the birthday party, possibly having to say no to that cupcake all the other kids are gobbling up, turning down the team snack after soccer practice, and – at Halloween time – having to toss out some of that coveted trick-o-treating candy.

But not anymore!

Help make trick-o-treating less scary for little ones with food allergies with The Teal Pumpkin Project. Join us today! | www.allthingsgd.com

The Teal Pumpkin Project, created by FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), is a trick-o-treating concept geared toward children with allergies – and it’s sweeping the nation.  The concept is simple:

  1. Buy low cost non-food items to hand out for Halloween (pencils, stickers, etc.).
  2. Paint a pumpkin teal.
  3. Set it by your front door as a sign that you have non-food treats available for all the little goblins, ghouls, and Princess Elsa’s with food allergies that come knocking.

When I first heard about this concept I was so excited to be a part of it, and once I explained it to Kate she was equally as eager to join in the fun.  So we grabbed a pumpkin and teal paint, hit Target’s dollar section, and joined the Teal Pumpkin Project!

To start, we taped off the stem of our pumpkin to keep it paint-free, as Kate wielded her brush.

Help make trick-o-treating less scary for little ones with food allergies with The Teal Pumpkin Project. Join us today! | www.allthingsgd.com

You can cover your pumpkin in any kind of teal you’d like. Kate and I chose this fun metallic craft paint for a little shine. It’s “Peacock Pearl” from DecoArt’s Dazzling Metallics line.

Help make trick-o-treating less scary for little ones with food allergies with The Teal Pumpkin Project. Join us today! | www.allthingsgd.com

This was such a fun little DIY project for us to do, and a great way to teach her that allergies are no joke.

Help make trick-o-treating less scary for little ones with food allergies with The Teal Pumpkin Project. Join us today! | www.allthingsgd.com

Kate (age 4) creating her teal pumpkin masterpiece.

For our Teal Pumpkin Project treats we chose Halloween pencils, little pony figurines, squishy spiky balls, and glow-in-the-dark fangs:

Help make trick-o-treating less scary for little ones with food allergies with The Teal Pumpkin Project. Join us today! | www.allthingsgd.com

Set your teal pumpkin outside where trick-o-treators will be able to see it on Halloween, and post this sign to let kids and parents know you have non-food items available:

Click on picture for your downloadable, printable Teal Pumpkin Project sign.

Click on picture for your downloadable, printable Teal Pumpkin Project sign.

Help make trick-o-treating less scary for little ones with food allergies with The Teal Pumpkin Project. Join us today! | www.allthingsgd.com

Now we’re all set for Halloween for every little cutie who rings our bell!  Won’t you join us?

(Psst – If we ring your bell feel free to give my daughter carrots.)

Help make trick-o-treating less scary for little ones with food allergies with The Teal Pumpkin Project. Join us today! | www.allthingsgd.com

Like this project? Check out the All Things G&D DIY Gallery!

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Grandma’s Homemade Caramel Corn

Do you pronounce it like “care-a-mel” or do you say “car-mel”?

I’m typically in the “car-mel” crowd, because I usually don’t have time for that extra syllable when I’m trying to shovel this sweet goodness into my face.

When we were kids my parents did this thing called “bedtime snack.”  We’d eat our dinner together as a family (around 5pm) and then we’d all enjoy a snack before bedtime (around 7pm).  Popcorn was a popular choice for us (and still my favorite snack to this day) but every once in a while my mom treated us to something extra special:

Homemade caramel corn.

My mom has a glorious collection of recipes passed down to her by my Grandma and Great-Grandma, which she has since passed down to me and my sisters.  This homemade caramel corn recipe is one of my favorites from the hundreds I fondly flip through.  It reminds me of crisp cool nights, smooth warm sugar, and bedtimes delayed as we slowly chewed this precious treat.

Grandma's Homemade Caramel Corn | www.allthingsgd.com

Ingredients
1/2 cup popcorn kernels (unpopped)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions
Air pop 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels.  I swear by my Whirley-Pop stovetop popcorn popper. It makes the lightest, crispiest and most delicious popcorn I’ve even tasted.  Just drizzle a little bit of olive oil in the bottom of the Whirley-Pop, add 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels, eat on the stovetop, and stir with the hand until the popcorn has finished popping.  It’s the best!

Once your popcorn is popped, pour it into a large bowl.

Next, melt the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt in a small saucepan until boiling.  Continue stirring as you heat so it does not burn.

Once the mixture is boiling, whisk in baking soda until combined.

Grandma's Homemade Caramel Corn | www.allthingsgd.com

Pour mixture over popcorn…

Grandma's Homemade Caramel Corn | www.allthingsgd.com

Give it a quick stir, and then put in the microwave for 30-60 seconds:

Grandma's Homemade Caramel Corn | www.allthingsgd.com

Remove from microwave and stir thoroughly to mix and coat popcorn with caramel. Spread out on a cookie sheet to cool (approximately 5-10 minutes)…

Grandma's Homemade Caramel Corn | www.allthingsgd.com

And enjoy!

Grandma's Homemade Caramel Corn | www.allthingsgd.com

I’m pretty sure this is how fall would taste on its best day.

Grandma's Homemade Caramel Corn | www.allthingsgd.com

Homemade Caramel Corn Recipe

Like this recipe? See more at the All Things G&D Food Gallery!

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Halloween Tablescape

You know how sometimes you find that perfect pair of shoes and you absolutely, unequivocally must plan an outfit around them?

That’s how I felt about the DIY spiderweb halloween table runner I made recently.

It was simply way too cute and fun to sit in a closet all by itself waiting for an invitation, so I decided to find it some friends and dress it up to make a festive little Halloween tablescape.

Halloween Tablescape from All Things G&D

Halloween Tablescape from All Things G&D

Halloween Tablescape

I found these little milk jars at the dollar spot in Target, and the straws and glitter spiders from Michael’s. Putting those spiders on the milk jars was the hardest part of the entire project for this arachnophobe.

Halloween Tablescape from All Things G&D

You don’t need Halloween-themed dishes to make a Halloween tablescape! Work with what you already have in whites (or whites and blacks) and add a colorful touch with an inexpensive spool of Halloween ribbon tied around a napkin.

Halloween Tablescape from All Things G&D

Candy corn ribbon from Michaels.

I love this cute little “Trick or Treat” sign Kate and I found at Target’s dollar spot. It goes great with the no-carve eyeball pumpkin we made!

Halloween Tablescape from All Things G&D

Halloween Tablescape from All Things G&D

Ribbon-wrapped Halloween pumpkin.

I made this table runner with just a kitchen towel and a Sharpie marker! It makes the perfect anchor for a Halloween tablescape.

Halloween Tablescape from All Things G&D

DIY Spiderweb Halloween Table Runner

Like this project? See more in the All Things G&D Entertaining Gallery!

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No-Carve Pumpkin Ideas

Kate and I had so much fun getting our Halloween crafting on recently with these super simple, kid-friendly, no-carve pumpkin ideas!

Kid-Friendly no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas from All Things G&D for Homes.com.

Since Kate has decided she’s a blogger, she’s been taking our DIY craft projects Very Seriously. So when it came time to decorate some pumpkins for Homes.com, we scoured the craft store like two girls on a mission.

A kid-friendly pumpkin mission.

Kate – being the kid expert of our little duo – called all the shots and decided on some very fun accessories for us to play around with!

Kid-Friendly no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas from All Things G&D for Homes.com.

Kid-Friendly no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas from All Things G&D for Homes.com.

Check out our pretty little pumpkins and how to copy these looks in my latest article for Homes.com: Kid-Friendly No-Carve Pumpkin Decorating Ideas.

Have you been doing any kid-friendly pumpkin decorating this Halloween season?  Tell us about it!

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