Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sugar. Overload.

Last weekend was the 6th annual Hogue family Pumpkin Carving Party.  I'm pretty sure that there couldn't have possibly been more sugary desserts in one place.  I tell myself every year to just keep it simple and not go overboard....and then when it all comes together on the day of the party I'm just staring at this dessert table thinking that I might send someone into sugar-shock.  But you know what?  Halloween only comes one day a year....and Halloween needs to remain the holiday that revolves around candy and matter what those school parties are doing with their crazy restrictions about not bringing candy or cupcakes to school.  So this is the way that I remember Halloween parties from when I was a, candy, desserts, and carving's how it went......

We did actually make dinner for everyone don't think that I don't feed people normal food sometimes.  Dinner is just so boring to let's keep moving towards the fun stuff.  I had bought powdered sugar donuts to play the donut-on-a-string game.  The kids thought it was so funny!  The boys played first and I think Elliot won.  I can't even remember because we were all laughing so hard.  The Mia went up against her two girl cousins, Faith and Gemma.  Mind you.....they are 4 and 6 years older then her...and Mia seriously was in it to win it.  She didn't hesitate for a second to eat that donut and her face was covered in powdered sugar.  God I love her.

Look at my little champ, Mia!  Lollllllll


Powdered sugar face!
After that game it was time to carve pumpkins.  This portion of the party is really a lot of work and though it is's just kinda stressful because you know, the combination of children and knives and pumpkin goo can be somewhat scary.  It is because of the above combination that we always carve the pumpkins outside.  But you know in Pittsburgh you never quite know what kind of weather you'll get on Halloween.  This year it was freeeezing cold and rainy.  Awesome.  So Rob and I set up our shed to be able to house the pumpkin carving.  Our shed isn't really a normal's kind of like a miniature house in our has electricity and a stereo system, a ceiling fan, 5 windows, and a nice front door.  Sometimes I think that Rob should just live in it. 

Gutting Pumpkins.....boooooo

Like my hair bow?  Mia picked it out for me at the craft store because she told me that I needed a costume

Anyyyyway,  everyone had a lot of fun carving this year.  My nieces and nephews are getting older and they're really able to do a lot of the work on their own.  I did get the job of gutting like 4 pumpkins this year.  I swear....I wouldn't just do that for anyone.  I just reallllly love my nieces and nephews :)  Mia had a ton of fun putting stickers on her pumpkin.  She was done in approximately one minute and ten seconds and then she was onto something else.  She had absolutely no interest in helping me gut the pumpkins.  Do the kids EVER want to do that job?

a work of art :)

Can you guess which one is mine? 

Rob's, Mia's, mine :)

Derek's pumpkin was so funny!
After carving we came inside and I set up a small pumpkin hunt around the house.  Similar to an Easter egg hunt...but with pumpkins and skeletons.  I fill them with candy and lottery tickets and stuff.  It' so simple but the kids think it's really fun.  Mia was on a complete sugar high at that point so she buzzed around the house searching high and low well after all of the pumpkins had been found.  She was on the hunt for more fruit snacks and tootsie rolls and there was just no getting through to her. So how did I distract her?  Duh...more sugar!  IT'S TIME FOR FRANKEN-PUDDING!!!  OMG....I made these Frankenstein pudding cups from Pinterest and they were awfully cute.  The kids (and some adults, too.... ahem Jonathan and Rob) were so excited about eating vanilla pudding with oreos on it.  So simple and really a big hit!


Then I handed out the treat bags with dollar store toys and more candy (of course!) and the kids just disappeared to go play or chug Huggies or something....who knows where they all went?  The grown-ups sat down for some coffee and dessert....which included apple pie and pumpkin pie made by my mother in law.  She's tried to teach me her pie skills but I'm just not good at pies. Period.  I'll work on that in my spare time.

Did I forget to mention the rest of the cookie table that I made, too?  Let's see....there were caramel filled brownies, white-chocolate dipped Twinkies (insanely over the top but they sure did look cute!), pumpkin kiss cookies, thumbprint cookies, and of course sugar cookies.  I TOLD YOU!  SUGAR OVERLOAD!!!

So once the kids starting coming down from the sugar high it was time for everyone to go.  I can't have a house full of kids all breaking down at the same's only my job to provide the sweets....not deal with the aftermath.  But my sister-in-laws will be happy to know that this year I had my own little sugar maniac to deal with instead of like in years past when all of the kids would get sent home and Rob and I would have a quiet house.  Nope, not this year!  Mia broke down when everyone had to know that cry that you just can't console.... and once she did fall asleep I was on high puking alert the whole night.  I was up working on cookie orders late into the night and at one point I heard her cough on the baby monitor and then start crying in her sleep.  I RAN upstairs totally thinking that she had thrown up all over herself.....but thanks to all Halloween gods it was just a false alarm.  She never got sick!!!  It's actually a miracle.  Let me tell you something, though.....her sugar hangover the next day was just awful.  She was a little monster all day.  But I can't blame was all MY fault!

So that's the way that I know how to have a Halloween party.  It's the best feeling ever to create these memories for my family.  Happy Halloween!!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

You're the next contestant on.....

Match....that....invitation!!!  Sounds like a game show, right?  You know I used to work around actual other human beings all day.  Now I work from home and when Mia is napping or at school I really struggle to keep myself entertained.  I tend to daydream a lot while I'm working on cookies.  One thing I've really always wanted to do was go on a game show.  Sometimes I think about what exact theme of game show would be tailored just for me.  I used to be the go-to person in my family for all things pop-culture.  Everyone would tell me that I would be on their phone-a-friend list for Who Wants to be a Millionaire  just in case they were faced with a question about the names of Brad Pitt's kids or which reality TV star was the sole Survivor in season 3.  And then....I had Mia....and then even WORSE for my pop-culture studying, I became a stay/work-at-home mom.  I stopped reading Perez Hilton, my People magazines started stacking up for weeks before they were even glanced at, and my tv time was replaced with Nick Jr.  Now I'm lucky if I even see a movie in the first few years after it's been released.   But you know, there are some up-sides.  Like for example....when Rob and I do decide to rent a movie(like twice a year)....there are SO many to pick from because we haven't seen anything.  And my brain isn't all filled with useless pop-culture stuff anymore.  There's so much more room for.....wait.....I can't remember anything anymore since having a kid.  There's just empty space in my brain now, I'm convinced. 

So I think if I were to be on any type of game show it would be like craft-wars but for cookies.  Kinda like Cupcake Wars but way less mean judges, please. (I mean, does that one guy EVER like any of the cupcakes?  I'd like to see HIM bake something with rosewater and see how it tastes.  That guy really annoys me.)  So yes....I'd like a game show where they give me a topic or a theme or something to coordinate with and then I would create a cookie that was super awesome and I would win a gazillion trillionty dollars. The end.  I win.

So back to reality....I was asked to make some cookies to coordinate with this invitation:

I really liked the idea of baby cookies that weren't pink or blue or pastel at all.  Anything out-of-the-box gives me a little break from the usual work week.  So I used the green, orange, and brown colors and made a collection using some of the leaves and branches and just the general design idea of the invitation.  And I always like to add in some solid-colored cookies to every collection just to break up the pattern and give it some bold accents.  My onlyyyyy slight problem with these is that I wish that I had made the green color more olive-y.  That made me a little bit sad and definitely would have cost me the win on my game show.

Have a great week :)