Momma Told Me

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Adorable D.I.Y. Pet Costume Tutorial + All The Hershey's Candy You'll Need For A Ghoulish Halloween!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TrickOrSweet #CollectiveBias
D.I.Y. Bean Bag Toy Pet Costume Tutorial! Grab all of your supplies and LARGE Hershey's variety candy bags at Walmart! #TrickOrSweet (ad)
Momma Told Me: You can't take the whole bowl!

I wasn't one of those lazy kids.

I spend the first half of my younger years in a condominium complex- The Trick-Or-Treating was compact and over quick. The majority of the residents were retired, or younger college students; most lights were off on Halloween, and Momma rarely let me go up the stairs to a second floor unit. It wasn't until we moved into our family's first house that I truly got a taste for what the holiday was all about. Not only were there houses and yards filled to rafters with haunted house themed decor, but people from all across our city drove their children in to go door to door in our housing complex.That first year I covered 8 blocks, on crutches, I was so excited by the prospect of 'real' Trick-Or-Treating!
D.I.Y. Bean Bag Toy Pet Costume Tutorial! Grab all of your supplies and LARGE Hershey's variety candy bags at Walmart! #TrickOrSweet (ad)
Of course not all areas of the country, or communities, participate in the old-fashioned door-to-door festivities. Whether you're Trunk-Or-Treating, throwing the party of the year, or simply celebrating desk-to-desk around the office, nobody wants to be caught out of candy. Remember those van-fulls of sugar crazed kids in costume I mentioned above- yea, they had my poor father lights out and behind the door by 6:30 PM that first year. The toddlers and pre-Trick-Or-Treaters had cleaned him and that tiny bowl of candy sheer out before the action even began! As a result, even over a decade later, my father knows to buy his Halloween candy in large variety bags like the selection available from Hershey's at Walmart.
D.I.Y. Bean Bag Toy Pet Costume Tutorial! Grab all of your supplies and LARGE Hershey's variety candy bags at Walmart! #TrickOrSweet (ad)
I won't lie- I still go back to my parent's house every Halloween. Jay and I live in the sort of neighborhood that drives their kids to my father's neighborhood- so the Hallow's Eve 'action' here is pretty dismal. Instead, we dress up the fur kids, bring along a few large variety bags of Hershey's candy from Walmart, and help my dad fend off the hordes of decorated zombies kids. This year, I even decided to make Truffles, the cat, and Nora, the Morkie, their own personalized costumes; bean bag animal hang tags. It's so simple, anyone can do it; so make sure to grab a variety bag of Hershey's candy (someone has to taste test at least 1 of each type before you pass them out, right?) and the following materials from Walmart;

1 Red Poster Board Shet
1 White Poster Board Sheet
1 White Paint Marker
1 Gold Paint Marker
1 Black .3-.5 Calligraphy Pen
1 Red Pet Collar
1 Medium Sponge Brush Applicator
1 Bottle White Glue
Hole Punch
D.I.Y. Bean Bag Toy Pet Costume Tutorial! Grab all of your supplies and LARGE Hershey's variety candy bags at Walmart! #TrickOrSweet (ad)
D.I.Y. Bean Bag Toy Pet Costume Tutorial! Grab all of your supplies and LARGE Hershey's variety candy bags at Walmart! #TrickOrSweet (ad)

Now, you COULD print an enlarged bean bag animal hang tag off the internet, cut it out, and slap it on your pet, and call the job done. This may or may not work depending on the size of your pet- for me, I truly wanted that handmade look, and the keepsake of personalized hang tags for each of our pets.

1. Begin by printing a basic heart outline, or free-handing one if you're just THAT awesome. Keep in mind the sizing in proportion to your pet. Larger pet's will allow a more natural scale while smaller pets might have to go a little bigger to get all the details in. Cut out the stencil and cut the edge off the left side of the heart to create the 'folded' edge.
D.I.Y. Bean Bag Toy Pet Costume Tutorial! Grab all of your supplies and LARGE Hershey's variety candy bags at Walmart! #TrickOrSweet (ad)
2. Trace the stencil with a pencil, onto the white poster board, making sure to leave ample room for the mirrored half to the left of the stencil. Fold the poster board along the flat edge of the heart and cut through both layers, following along the stencil lines.

3. Place the red poster board inside the folded white heart and trace the outline of the heart in pencil. Cut the red heart along the stencil lines.
4. Place some white glue in a disposable cup (or on a paper plate) and lightly daub the glue, with the sponge brush, on the front face of your white folded heart. Place the red heart cutout on top, smooth evenly, and place something flat and heavy atop for 10 minutes while it dries. Make sure weight is evenly applied to avoid rippling or bubbling.
#TrickOrSweet (ad)
At this point you may want to go try your own Halloween costume on, practice your superhero lines, or simply create an excuse to try another flavor of Jolly Rancher lollipop (I suggest Pink Lemonade, it's the You've got 10 minutes to spare, might as well put them to use! I also took the time to 'integrate' all of the different types of varieties, since we had so many different candy options in each of our Hershey's large variety bags. One of my favorite things, as a trick-or-treater, was always getting to pick from a big selection of candy, and we NEVER disappoint on that level!
D.I.Y. Bean Bag Toy Pet Costume Tutorial! Grab all of your supplies and LARGE Hershey's variety candy bags at Walmart! #TrickOrSweet (ad)
D.I.Y. Bean Bag Toy Pet Costume Tutorial! Grab all of your supplies and LARGE Hershey's variety candy bags at Walmart! #TrickOrSweet (ad)
5. Once your tag has dried you'll want to take your gold paint pen and outline the outer, front, edges of your heart. Be sure to do this over a paper plate, drop cloth, or newspaper so you don't draw a gold outline on your work sruface! Paint pens usually dry pretty quick, but you might want to place a sheet of computer paper over and surfaces you hand may rub on when doing the next steps, just in case.

6. Take the white paint pent and draw a 'Ty' logo on the (red) front of your heart tag. Then go ahead and take your calligraphy pen and draw a bar code, care instructions, and any other little details you'd like to ad. Feel free to copy them off a bean bag tag from a character that resembles your pet! Be careful, this ink will want to smear before it fully dries, so watch where you put your hands! Next, go ahead and put your pet's name on the (right hand) inside tag face, along with a 4 line, rhyming poem. Here's what I put for Nora:

Hair here, there, everywhere
It's hard to believe there's a dog in there.
Always smiling, she never frowns
It's great to have this dog around!
7. All that's left is to use your hole punch to put a hole in the upper left corner of the folded hear tag, than attach it to the hoop on your pet's collar with a key ring. Or- you could go fancy pants like me and fashion a makeshift 'T-tag' out of crafting wire covered in hot glue....your choice.
D.I.Y. Bean Bag Toy Pet Costume Tutorial! Grab all of your supplies and LARGE Hershey's variety candy bags at Walmart! #TrickOrSweet (ad)
I especially like the D.I.Y. bean bag toy pet costume because it can be made to fit ANY size pet, and is worn with minimal disruption to the animal. It's great for animals to don't particularly like to get 'dressed up,' as most pets normally wear a collar everyday anyway, and you can choose the size tag that will suit your pet best. These also can be worn for special events, or even every day in October to turn heads while on walks, or just to add a little extra adorable to those Instagram pet shots!
D.I.Y. Bean Bag Toy Pet Costume Tutorial! Grab all of your supplies and LARGE Hershey's variety candy bags at Walmart! #TrickOrSweet (ad)
D.I.Y. Bean Bag Toy Pet Costume Tutorial! Grab all of your supplies and LARGE Hershey's variety candy bags at Walmart! #TrickOrSweet (ad)
D.I.Y. Bean Bag Toy Pet Costume Tutorial! Grab all of your supplies and LARGE Hershey's variety candy bags at Walmart! #TrickOrSweet (ad)
Truffles is the ham of the family, but she really doesn't like being told she has to take a photo- she much prefers to just strike a pose and wait for me to grab the camera. She didn't mind her 'costume' much but she wasn't keen to hanging out on the bed for me to take these shots- apparently it was play time and I was interrupting. You'll have to catch all the fun outtakes on our social feeds over the next week. There is one with a TIE Fighter that is absolutely adorable!
D.I.Y. Bean Bag Toy Pet Costume Tutorial! Grab all of your supplies and LARGE Hershey's variety candy bags at Walmart! #TrickOrSweet (ad)
While I do own Truffles' bean bag counterpart, Boots the Cat, I couldn't find it in time for this post- but I did find Nora's bean bag doppelganger, Duster the dog! While we do brush and groom the dog for her photo shoots she really does look more like a dust bunny when she has her druthers! Duster's even hanging around in Nora's bed cabinet for the remainder of the month- there's just something a bit spooky playful about about having a silent stuffed dog on hand! Plus, Duster will guard all of the delicious Hershey's candy until we can pass it out at league and on Halloween night!
D.I.Y. Bean Bag Toy Pet Costume Tutorial! Grab all of your supplies and LARGE Hershey's variety candy bags at Walmart! #TrickOrSweet (ad)
No matter who is celebrating this Halloween, the fur kids- the actual little ghouls and goblins, or just you and your significant zombie other don't get caught without candy. Nothing wrecks the party quicker than a vegetarian zombie without tofu brains like an empty candy bucket and a door bell! Stock up on all of your favorite Hershey's treats with large variety bags of Hershey's candy from Walmart. And be sure to grab all of your other Halloween D.I.Y. supplies and decorations while you're there- we can never get out without a trip down the seasonal aisle! P.S. Keep your eyes peeled for some fun Orange Reese's treats in the candy aisle, just for Halloween!  Now, tell me, what are your plans this Halloween? Do you have any particular memories of running our of candy at a bad time?

What Daughter Says: Be the 'cool' house on the block, stock up on all of your favorite Hershey's candy in bulk with large variety Hershey's bags from Walmart!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Pink Frosted Vanilla Bean Donuts (With Sprinkles) Recipe

Homemade Pink Frosted Vanilla Bean Donuts (With Sprinkles)
Momma Told Me: Pick ONE.


They really are a symbol of childhood happiness in my life's story.

Out of all the insignificant little things we collect in the archives of  childhood memories, sprinkles remain so permanently fixed on the most vivid of my childhood reflections.
fresh scraped vanilla bean
As a young girl we lived in a small condo, a starter home for my parents, meticulously selected for it's proximity to the local elementary school and convenient distance to various commercial amenities. We had a car, a mini van to be precise, but Momma insisted on walking wherever possible. And why shouldn't she when the only thing separating our carport from the grocery store shopping plaza was a brick wall? From our doorstep it was never more than a 15 minute walk to the local diner, Chinese restaurant, postal (shipping) center, Salvation Army, major grocery chain store, hardware store, or my mother's best friend's 'second time around' consignment shop.
fresh scraped vanilla bean
fresh scraped vanilla bean
But, across the street from this plaza, there was also a donut shop. A small, quite literally hole in the wall, family run bakery wedged between a transmission repair shop and a check cashing center. And, on magical days, we would make the morning walk across the street so Momma could gossip with the owners over her cup of coffee, and I was rewarded with a donut of choice. For years those glimmering racks, behind the finely polished cases, towered high over my head- but only one donut in the sea of selection stood out- the Pink Frosted (with Sprinkles.)
I didn't even like the color pink.

As a tomboy, I actually quite detested it, but there was something about that bright pink frosting that just tasted like sugar magic. And the sprinkles? They made everything more wonderful.

They reminded me of over-sized gumball machines, my favorite type of birthday cake (Funfetti) and a river of soft serve frozen yogurt at the end of a dinner buffet. Yes, most of all, sprinkles reminded me of my father- the 'ice cream man.'
Homemade Pink Frosted Vanilla Bean Donuts (With Sprinkles)
You may recall it was, and still is, my father's job as a technician for a major frozen dessert and beverage machine company to drive around town bringing ice cream to the people of our state. Okay, so that's more the way I envisioned his job in my head a child- he really goes from one restaurant or fast service chain to the next repairing and installing refrigeration based equipment. Think iced coffee beverages and frozen yogurt.

As a young girl it seemed we couldn't go out to eat without running into one of his clients. And, not only would the fast food chains send him home with an entire collection of the current 'happy meal' toys, we were constantly being offered free 'samples' of frozen dessert product. And, of course, there were always plenty of extra sprinkles.
Homemade Pink Frosted Vanilla Bean Donuts (With Sprinkles)
Homemade Pink Frosted Vanilla Bean Donuts (With Sprinkles)
So, while pink frosted donuts, and sprinkles hold many special memories from my own childhood, it's arguable that just about anyone s tempted to feel a little burst of happiness endorphins when they see a tray of freshly iced pink frosted donuts with sprinkles. It is, after all, the quintessential donut, right in front of the maple bar and chocolate glazed twist!
Homemade Pink Frosted Vanilla Bean Donuts (With Sprinkles)
Homemade Pink Frosted Vanilla Bean Donuts (With Sprinkles)
You can imagine now, why I felt such an intense mission to recreate this happiness symbol when I, at last, got my hands on a donut pan last month. It was not only the perfect excuse to try out my new French Press, but a great opportunity to bring a little extra sunshine to some friends and family who had recently been going through some tough times. My only regret? Now that I own this 'starter' donut pan, I need a 'real' donut pan that can hold up to my newly blossomed donut making obsession!
Because, truly, anyone can make donuts at home, especially if you are going to stick with the 'cake' kind. All you really need is a mold/pan to bake the donuts in, and a desire to watch liquid sugar drip playfully down the sides as your playful creations rest on a lucky cooling rack. I brought some of these leftovers into our Winter bowling league meeting and my league-mates are still marveling at the 'skills' required to 'make homemade donuts.' You, too, can be that amazing;y talented home baker; believe me, it's easy.
Homemade Pink Frosted Vanilla Bean Donuts (With Sprinkles)
Regardless, I wish I could give everyone in the world a pink frosted donut (with sprinkles)- Some say 'buy the world a Coke,' I'll stick to my little circles of pink heaven with dancing rainbows atop. Life can get a little complicated but, sometimes, it's nice to go back to those simple moments as a little girl, eating a donut in the bakery with her mother. What sweet treat or dessert holds fond childhood memories for you?

What Daughter Says: The best part of being 'grown up' is trying as many (things) as I want.

Homemade Pink Frosted Vanilla Bean Donuts (With Sprinkles)
Pink Frosted Vanilla Bean Donuts (with Sprinkles)
***Click here for printable vanilla bean donuts recipe.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pacific Coast Vacation: Hearst Castle, San Simeon, California

Hearst Castle, San Simeon, CA
Momma Told Me: There's always something new to behold.

It's hard to believe one of my very first blog posts was of  a Winter trip to Morro Bay and Hearst Castle, 5 years ago. While time has flown here on the blog, with over 2000 posts since, so much has also happened among family and friends. Not only have I been, happily, divorced for 3 years now, but the nieces and nephews I love so very much insist on growing up right before my eyes. Time is so very fickle; nothing is ever exactly the same from one moment to the next, everything is constantly changing, evolving, growing. So, when I was asked where I would be taking my gorgeous tween niece, Sabrina, on our road trip this past Summer, I didn't hesitate to add Hearst Castle to the list.
I don't have any children of my own quite yet- I assure my grandparents not to worry, in my own time, I will. Truth is, I have so much fun spoiling the children of others it's hard to be so anxious to take on the role of the 'bad guy.' Regardless, it's just as magical to share the memories of beloved vacation spots, such as Hearst Castle, through my own childhood experiences, to the estate as it stands today. Considered both a National and California Historical Landmark, this sprawling estate, which was very much more like a living theme park and playground for the starlets of the 1920s and 1930s, continues to grow and transform through the renovations of modern day.
Hearst Castle, San Simeon, CA
For those unfamiliar with this Central California Coast gem, The Hearst Castle is not truly a castle, but actually an estate with a main house and several guest houses, attached to a rather large piece of farm land. Began by William Randolph Hearst in 1919 alongside the talented female architect Julia Morgan, the estate was truly never finished- construction continued right up until, and beyond, his final breath in 1947. You may recognize the Hearst name from the publications which still bear the family's namesake, and, in fact, William Hearst was quite a jovial playboy, who never married and most fancied collecting tales from the wide array of noble, famous, and intellectual personalities which would vacation at his home from all across the world.
As beautiful as the estate is, it is equally large. Very few eyes have ever seen all of the 90,000 sq ft property, or inside each of the 56 bedrooms, 61 washrooms, and 19 sitting rooms. In fact, it would take you days to go on all of the individual tours offered at Hearst Castle, and you still would only have but a brief minute or two in only 50 of the estates rooms. The grounds outside as truly just as breathtaking, and an evening tour of the gardens is highly suggested for anyone in town and lucky enough to partake them.
Hearst Castle, San Simeon, CA
At the time of our most recent visit a multi-million dollar (charitably funded) renovation was taking place on the main Greek themed, outdoor, Neptune's pool. We were told that we were but a rare few to ever see the pool empty, without water, but I know, from my previous visits, the pool with water is truly a magnificent site to behold! Sadly, as with most architecture of this magnitude and extravagance from such era, the construction led to necessary renovations. California is indeed amidst a terrible drought and it's estimated hundreds of thousands of gallons of water were being lost annually due to cracks in the Italian imported granite floors. As a fun side-note, the 'park's' volunteers and their families are invited once a year to go for a dip in this timeless, breathtaking, pool!
Hearst Castle, San Simeon, CA
Unfortunately, with a house of this age, there is no central cooling. In fact, trolleys of ice used to be carted up the 2 mile hilltop entrance to the estate for basic sanitation and food preparation in the main house! Thankfully there is electricity in the main house and some basic floor fans were on- though the temperatures exceeded 95F outdoors, and the cramped nature of such furnished rooms made the heat almost unbearable to our tour group. Visiting in the Winter is most preferred- though I quite think I could just spend hours in a single room, a different room every day, discovering all of the fine details of design and craftsmanship. Even the furnishings are each unique and handmade.
While the estate is considered an historical landmark, and in some cases staged as you would see a room in a museum, most of the belongings you'll see are authentic. Each hand picked and imported by, or gifted to, Mr. Hearst. On this trip I noticed the beauty in several lamps spanning hundreds of years and varied continents. Many were quite different, yet eerily similar- picked by the late architect and designer Ms. Morgan for their chaotic harmony that brought cultures colliding in each of the estate's intricately themed rooms.
Roman Pool-Hearst Castle
Roman pool, Hearst Castle
Most of the tours of the estate wrap with a trip through the indoor, Roman, pool- easily one of the most astounding and favored sights on this hilltop. It never ceases to captivate me, or any of my party's guests. I do believe my niece's eyes went wide as she was told she was quite literally 'walking on gold.' No expense was spared in this lavish room featuring it's own private swimming alcove and diving balcony. With walls carefully handset with beautiful mosaics and gold leafed tiles, Hollywood starlet Loretta Young has written some vivid accounts of diving into the seemingly mirrored waters that truly bring this room to life. If you have a chance, be sure to ask your tour guide to wander through the attached changing rooms- all 13 of which are uniquely detailed with mosaic sea creatures!
And, while there were many more organically roaming Hearst's estate during the visits of my childhood, some of the residents of Mr. Hearst's zoo can still be found roaming the grounds today. Quite a large heard of wild Zebra lounge in the pastures stretching miles across Hearst's land, and down to the highway. If you're lucky, like we were, you'll spot a few on your drive up and down to the main house! Yes, this is one landmark that is no less magical today than it was on my first visit, or 90 years ago. Sabrina (13) thoroughly enjoyed her visit, and was sure to remark, "Mr. Hearst was such an interesting, and funny man!" Something I'm sure Mr. Hearst would smile at, if he were here to hear today. Do you have a similar fantastic travel destination you enjoy returning to?

What Daughter Says: Never hesitate to look twice, there just may be something wonderful you missed!