Octopus Dinner Rolls

Octopus Dinner Rolls

I saw these Octopus Dinner Rolls in a magazine (can’t remember which one) and thought they’d be fun to tackle with my girls.

They do take a few minutes to shape, but they’re pretty easy to make – and especially fun to eat!

Octopus Dinner Rolls

I used crescent rolls that had a butter flavor in them already, but if yours don’t (or you’re making your own dough), you can always wrap up a small chunk of butter inside the “head.”

The process of turning these triangles into an octopus is surprisingly easy:  cut the end opposite the point into 8 pieces.  Then tuck the pointed end under and bunch it up into a ball.  Voila!

Octopus Dinner Rolls

I asked the girls to help me arrange the myriad legs, but they were really much more interested in adding the eyes.

My 4yo even used the tweezers from her bug collecting kit to place them on.  (Don’t worry – we washed them first!)

Octopus Dinner Rolls

Here they are, all ready to bake.

You should make sure the legs aren’t touching, but the dough doesn’t spread much during baking, so they can be pretty close.

Octopus Dinner Rolls

Also, I baked one tray the full recommended baking time on the package (see above photo) and the other tray a few minutes less (see below).

Undercooking them slightly ensures that the tips don’t brown, but the head will be a bit underdone.  Now, that didn’t bother me or my girls at all – but then, neither did the crunchy legs of the fully cooked ones.

The crispy tips didn’t present a problem for us in the least, so really, how long you decide to bake them is up to your personal preference.

Octopus Dinner Rolls

And if you want to shape them ahead of time, you can put the octopus-filled, parchment-lined trays in the fridge until you’re ready to bake them.  Such as on Halloween.  :)

Click here to get the free printable PDF version of the recipe:  Octopus Dinner Rolls

Plus, if your kids enjoyed this, they may also like my Octopus Hot Dogs:

octopus-hot-dogs-with-seaweed-zucchiniEnjoy!

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Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Candy Corn and Mini Marshmallow Pumpkins

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkins and Candy Corn

I am in love with these itty bitty mini Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkins!

As you can see below, I also made some Chocolate Covered Candy Corn Marshmallows, but the little pumpkins were my favorite.  :)

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkins and Candy Corn

Here are all the supplies.  The chocolate chips were used for my Mummy Marshmallows, but everything else was used for the Pumpkins and Candy Corn.

For the mini Pumpkins, I used the store brand mini marshmallows, because they were slightly larger than the name brand ones.

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkins and Candy Corn

For the Candy Corn Marshmallows, I dipped the large, white marshmallows into yellow candy melts, rolling them slightly to make sure that the candy went about 2/3 of the way up the sides of the marshmallow.

It wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done.

But, tips are as follows:  make sure that the candy melts are melted but not too hot.  Let them sit for a couple of minutes after melting so that they cool down enough to not melt the marshmallow.  I suggest dipping them in while holding them with your fingers, but also using a fork to help you lift them out of the candy.  Knock the fork against the side of the glass/bowl to get rid of excess candy.

Place the marshmallows on parchment paper to dry.  After the yellow candy has hardened, dip them about 1/3 of the way into orange candy melts.

If any excess candy seems to be pooling at the bottom of the marshmallow, trace around it with a toothpick.  This will make it easier to break off the excess candy once it dries.

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkins and Candy Corn

The mini pumpkins were SO much easier.

Dip the mini marshmallows into melted (but not too hot) orange candy melts.  Use a fork to take them out of the candy and tap the fork against the side of the bowl to get off the excess.  Place on parchment paper, using another fork to push them onto the paper, and trace around them with a toothpick if too much excess candy is pooling at the bottom of them.

Also, right after dipping the mini marshmallows in the candy melts – or right after doing a few of them – stick a green star or flower shaped sprinkle into the top to represent the stem.

You could use a leaf shaped sprinkle to represent the stem, but the Daisy Flower Sprinkles are easy to find year round.

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkins and Candy Corn

Here are the finished Candy Corn Marshmallows.

They were a big hit, even though they didn’t look perfect.

I also gave some away that I put in a dish with the mini pumpkin marshmallows and a handful of actual candy corn.

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkins and Candy Corn

I loved these little mini chocolate covered marshmallows so much, mostly because they were little bursts of fun.

The smooth but hardened chocolate surrounds tiny clouds of fluff, and that one sprinkle adds a giant dimension of texture.

They’re kind of addicting.

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkins and Candy Corn

I didn’t type up a recipe for these.  To sum it up, though:

For the Candy Corn Marshmallows:  Dip marshmallow 2/3 into melted yellow candy melts.  Let harden.  Dip 1/3 into orange candy melts.  Let harden.  Store covered.

For the mini Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkins:  Dip mini marshmallows into orange candy melts, covering completely.  Immediately top with a large green sprinkle in the shape of a flower, star, or leaf.  Let harden.  Store covered.

These are the candy melts and spinkles I used:

yellow candy melts orange candy meltswilton daisy flower sprinkles

Enjoy!

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Free Autumn Clifford Printable Maze

Free Autumn Clifford Printable Maze

We have a lot of Biscuit books.

And a lot of Clifford books.

So when I found this Free Printable Clifford Maze, I instantly thought of Biscuit Visits the Pumpkin Patch.  It seemed like a wonderful match.

My kids both love the Biscuit book, and we tend to read it more often in the fall.

It’s a short – and very simple – story, but entertaining.  I read it slowly and always take the time to ask who is hiding when we get to the page where there are bunny ears sticking out from behind one of the pumpkins.

And because my girls also love Clifford, they were excited when I printed out the maze for them.  So I wanted to share it.

Enjoy!  :)

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Free Halloween Printable Games

FREE Halloween Printable Games at RoamingRosie.com

My girls love activities like this.

And I love sneaking a little learning {like fine motor control} into things they enjoy.

So I made some Halloween worksheets featuring activities that my 4yo especially enjoys.  And though my 2yo is more inclined to color the ghosts than trace the dots, she still enjoys being involved in whatever her big sister is doing.  :)

Click here for the FREE printable PDF worksheets:

Bat match

Ghost Race

Jack O Lantern Maze

Also, a fun dinner to follow up your Little One finding the path of a worm through a jack o’ lantern would be my Spicy Spaghetti Worms in Pepper Jack O’ Lanterns:

Spicy Spaghetti Worms in Pepper Jack O Lanterns 1

Happy Halloween!

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Spicy Spaghetti Worms in Jack O’ Lantern Pepper Pumpkins

Spicy Spaghetti Worms in Pepper Jack O Lanterns Halloween Recipe at RoamingRosie.com

I’ve been wanting to make these jack o’ lantern pepper “pumpkins” for a long time, so I was very happy when October arrived.  :)

One of the best parts was when my two-year-old looked into the fridge drawer, saw the orange peppers, and exclaimed, “Pumpkins!”

And that was before they had faces.

Spicy Spaghetti Worms in Pepper Jack O Lanterns Halloween Recipe at RoamingRosie.com

Don’t they just look amazing?  And I didn’t even do a spectacular job of carving them.

I mean, they’re not magazine cover worthy or anything, but my kids thought they were pretty awesome.

But no – in case you’re wondering – we didn’t actually eat the peppers.

The pieces carved from the faces were added to the spaghetti, but the peppers themselves were rinsed after dinner and used the next day in an omelet.  A breakfast for dinner kind of thing.

Spicy Spaghetti Worms in Pepper Jack O Lanterns Halloween Recipe at RoamingRosie.com

If you’re in a hurry, or planning to do this on Halloween evening itself and don’t think you’ll have time to make it, you could prep it by cutting all of the veggies ahead of time and storing them in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.

Or you could just use jarred sauce.

But I put together this recipe because I wanted to have a bit of spice in my meal, seeing as how I was going to be serving it in peppers and all.

And it is easy.  Look at the photo:  just a handful of ingredients.

The hardest part was carving the “jack o’ lanterns,” and, really, the peppers are MUCH easier to cut than actual pumpkins, so I have no complaints about the process.

Spicy Spaghetti Worms in Pepper Jack O Lanterns Halloween Recipe at RoamingRosie.com

You’ll notice that I call for 6 to 8 peppers in the recipe, but I only used 3.

The peppers were pricey when I bought them, and I simply refused to buy more than enough for me and my two daughters.  But the recipe makes quite a bit of spaghetti and you can fill quite a few more than 3 peppers.  The final amount, however, is up to you and depends on your needs and desires.

Another important note:  before you buy the peppers, it’s helpful to check and see if they can stand on their own.  You can always balance them on top of the spaghetti when serving them, but it’s nice if they can stand up all on their own without falling over.

Spicy Spaghetti Worms in Pepper Jack O Lanterns Halloween Recipe at RoamingRosie.com

As I said, the meal itself is pretty easy to make, and I would certainly suggest not just reserving it for a once-a-year treat.

If you want to celebrate autumn and not Halloween specifically, you could serve the spaghetti in the peppers without carving them.  Or serve it in small hallowed out pumpkins instead.

For the spaghetti, after you cook the veggies, you just stir in the tomato sauce and let it simmer for a few minutes to get all that yummy flavor dispersed.

Spicy Spaghetti Worms in Pepper Jack O Lanterns Halloween Recipe at RoamingRosie.com

Then toss in the noodles – oh, I’m sorry:  worms.

My kids loved the fact that we were eating worms for dinner.

It’s why I used linguine instead of spaghetti.  We eat spaghetti noodles all the time, and they would certainly work for this recipe, but the linguine gave us a slightly different texture.

More worm-like.

But scrumptious worms.  Seriously:  this is good stuff.

Spicy Spaghetti Worms in Pepper Jack O Lanterns Halloween Recipe at RoamingRosie.com

Come on … don’t those jack o’ lanterns filled with worms just look devilishly delicious??

I just can’t get over how adorable these are!

If you agree, please leave me a comment telling me all about it.  And don’t forget to Pin your favorite pics to remind yourself that you totally have to try this recipe.  :)

Spicy Spaghetti Worms in Pepper Jack O Lanterns Halloween Recipe at RoamingRosie.com

Spicy Spaghetti Worms in Pepper Jack O’ Lanterns

Ingredients:

6 to 8 orange sweet peppers
4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1 medium sweet onion, diced
28 to 32 ounce can tomato sauce
1 pound linguine

To make the jack o’ lanterns: cut the tops off of the orange sweet peppers. Scoop out the insides and discard. Using a small, sharp knife, carefully cut out faces in desired patterns. Reserve the pieces.

To make the spicy spaghetti: add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large pan and warm over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until nearly translucent, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Add garlic, jalapeno, and diced pieces of reserved pepper from the jack o’ lanterns to the onions, adding a little olive oil if the pan appears dry. Continue to cook over medium for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until peppers are softened, stirring occasionally.

Add the tomato sauce to the onions and peppers. Combine well and gently simmer for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to combine.

Meanwhile, cook the linguine according to the package directions. Drain pasta and add it to the tomato sauce. Toss to combine.

To serve: scoop the linguine and sauce onto a large platter. Place the jack o’ lantern peppers on the spaghetti. Fill the peppers with spaghetti and top with the pepper stems.

[Note: after the meal, the peppers can be rinsed and reused in another dish, such as an omelet.]

**********

And click here to print the free PDF version of the recipe:  Spicy Spaghetti Worms in Pepper Jack O’ Lanterns

Enjoy!

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Alphabet Stones

Alphabet Stones at RoamingRosie.com

My girls are like me:  they love rocks.

So I decided to incorporate some rocks into our activities.

I drew all the letters of the alphabet onto 26 stones, uppercase on one side and lowercase on the other.

They’re kind of like story stones, but with only one letter on each rock.

Alphabet Stones at RoamingRosie.com

At first, because I had the stones and a permanent marker at the house, but no paint pen, I drew the letters with the marker.

I thought it might rub off, and I was right.  So, a few days later when I got a Michael’s coupon in the paper, I went and picked up a black paint marker.  I used it to trace over the letters, and it looked about the same.  But the paint didn’t come off when we played with them.

You can find rocks like these in the floral section of most stores.  I got mine at the dollar store.

Alphabet Stones at RoamingRosie.com

I love being able to learn while exploring outdoors.

There are many ways to play with the alphabet stones, and one of the things we did was dump them in the grass and then dig them out one at a time.

We shouted out the letter on the stone as the girls pulled them from the lawn.

Alphabet Stones at RoamingRosie.comWe do play with them inside, too, but outdoors is preferable.

I’m so happy it’s fall and we can be outside more.

Anyway, my 4yo also plays a game where she finds all of the letters of her name and puts them in order {see below}.

This has helped her with writing her name, as well.  She would often mix up the order of the letters when writing it, and she even put the stones in the wrong order a few times – like spelling out her name from right to left instead of left to right even though she can spell it aloud perfectly.

But since we’ve been playing with these stones, she’s been writing her name correctly nearly every time.

Alphabet Stones at RoamingRosie.com

These stones are also great for practicing phonics.  You can put a sound like “-at” on the ground and make a pile of letters that go with it to make different words:  cat, hat, bat, sat, mat, etc.

My 4yo loves to rhyme, so she has a lot of fun with things like that.

I keep the alphabet stones in a little mesh bag in the playroom, and sometimes the girls pull them out and play with them on their own.

Which is pretty awesome.  :)

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I Tell My Secrets to the Moon {ebook}

I Tell My Secrets to the Moon by Rosemary Lynn {book review at RoamingRosie.com}

I Tell My Secrets to the Moon is a tale reminiscent of old fables. The book is written in a soothing tone that is perfect for bedtime. The illustrations are simple but playful, and the text addresses deep emotions.

Little Brown Bear is walking through the woods one night, listening to the song of the Snowy Tree Cricket, when he comes upon a shy and sad rabbit. Rosy Rabbit is afraid to discuss her feelings with him, so Little Brown Bear convinces her to talk to the moon instead.

After some reassurance, Rosy Rabbit gathers her courage and sings a long, howling song to the moon. Her confidence grows and the moon twinkles back in response.

One of the reasons I wrote this story is because my girls love the moon.  We wave to it all the time, searching the early morning skies for it.  We read a lot of books with the moon as a character, and it’s something they really enjoy.

This particular story also embarks on a journey of emotion.  It tells kids that it’s okay to have strong feelings, and also that when those feelings are sad feelings, it’s a good idea to talk to someone.

I made the illustrations out of paper collages, combined with my sketches of the animals.

The book is available on the Kindle, but even if you don’t own a Kindle, you can still read it to your kids with the Free Kindle App on any smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Check out the book on Amazon, where you can download a free preview or purchase it:  I Tell My Secrets to the Moon by Rosemary Lynn.

And if you like it, please rate it on Amazon and share it with your friends.

Don’t forget to check out my other picture book:  Alice’s African Alphabet Adventure!

Happy Reading!

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