And Halloween’s upon us

*Before you let your kids eat twizzlers, read this first.*

I woke up in a bad mood. My first thought was what a stupid holiday this Halloween thing is. With the rain, and forecast storm tonight, this whole trick or treating business will put a damper on the whole evening. (Get it? DAMPer? lol) Continue reading

Good and bad candy in North America

This post is partly inspired by the still full boxes of Halloween candy in our house, partly because of this article in PhD in Parenting, and partly because I am about to increase the sweet factor by baking Christmas cookies.

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It starts with Halloween.

Then comes Christmas, Valentine’s day, Easter…

The candy/chocolate/sweets overload begins with each celebrated event and never seems to end.

There’s an interesting thing happening at my house. The kids’ Halloween boxes are still full of candy.


In our North-American-peanut-free-allergies-anxious childhood, my kids picked out all the peanut candies first (Oh Henry and the like) and left the rest of it in their boxes.

They ask me ‘mom can we have candy’ and sometimes I say yes. They go to their boxes, pick through them, and then return to me and say ‘mom can we have some chocolate’.

I say ‘do you still have chocolate bars in your boxes’ and they say ‘yes, but we don’t like that kind’.


I go check.and see more ‘candy’ than ‘chocolate bars’…

So I go to my pile of Swiss chocolate, recently brought back by my mom from Switzerland, and hand out a couple of pieces to each child.

They eat it, and stop asking for more.


Because the Swiss chocolate that mom brought back is made with good, whole ingredients, rather than corn syrup and artificial flavourings. At least that is what I tell myself is the reason.

Benjamin gets headaches every single time he eats artificial candy. He does not get headaches after eating a good quality piece of Swiss chocolate.

So I say ‘go ahead, pick out a piece of chocolate Grosmami brought back’ and leave it at that.

Now, what to do with all this candy? Can you donate Halloween candy? I am not sure I feel comfortable donating crap to children…so throw it in the garbage? No way I’m composting this stuff…but if it ends up on the landfill, will I poisen the sea gulls?


Bat cookies for Halloween

I needed to bake something for the Pumpkin Carving thing they do at school, and thought I would experiment with the bat cookie cutter we had kicking around.

I just used an everyday kind of simple cookie recipe, but added chocolate powder to darken the dough. Sonja helped to pick out the black sprinkles, and I used red icing from those handy little scribbler tubes to add eyeballs.

End result? Pretty darn cute, er, I mean, scary!

Halloween baked treats

Homemade eyeball decorations for Halloween

Lately, I tend to just want to go spend my pennies at the Dollar store. The thought of making crafts with the kids that requires, you know, thought, and energy to clean up mess, is a tad too much for me right now.

But that hasn’t stopped us, especially remembering the delight these two kids expressed when we crafted spiders and other decorations before.

This year, I had a few leftover items in the Halloween bin I gave the kids to do with what they wanted, as long as it was done outside.

I myself came across some balloons, and made these:

Halloween eyeballs All you need is paint. And every parent has paint in the house…not sure what will happen to my eyeballs when it rains, but for now, they’re eyeballing us happily from our front porch.

Halloween crafts with preschoolers and toddlers

Halloween never meant much to me BC (before children). I mean, sure, I liked the candy, or the idea of candy at least. But considering that I’ve researched what goes IN some candies these days make me not only not want to eat it, but also keep it from the kids.

Of course the 4yo will have issues with that.  But we’ll cross that bridge later.

In the meantime, I still have to keep these little monkeys occupied and stimulated while they are home with me. So what’s a mother to do?

Why, crafts, of course!


I don’t know where I got the idea to make these spider-like bugs. Probably a combination of googleing and pondering during the many hours of peace and silence I enjoy each day (enter loud and hysterical laughter).

Anyway, I was at the Dollar Store and saw black pipe cleaners. Once I got home I saw stuff that needs to be thrown out, so I kept a black garbage bag aside after purging to my heart’s content (enter more hysterical laughter). The funky eyeballs I had in my craft bin, and there are always old newspapers hanging around in every nook and cranny of this house.

Here’s how it’s done:

Get the child to crumble up the newspaper into a ball.
Cut the garbage bag into a square that is large enough to cover the newspaper ball.
Tie the four ends at the bottom (the spider’s tummy).
Use the scissors to punch holes into the plastic-covered newspaper, near the bottom where the knot is, and feed the pipe cleaner through. Those will be the legs.
You will have to twist the pipe cleaner to stay in place if you have a toddler who likes to pull things out of things.
Attach the eyeballs with some glue.

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Another day, Benjamin started bugging while I was busy flickring and picniking. So I pulled out black and orange paper and helped him cut them into strips. We were going to make a garland.

Cutting paper has been something he enjoyed doing for many years. They teach cutting with real scissors at Montessori to toddlers, and with supervision, you’d be surprised how quickly they master this tricky skill. Using tape or glue just adds to the fun!


While he was busy cutting and taping, I used the strips of paper to teach him some simple addition and subtraction.


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Of course cutting paper that is folded in half, making interesting holes to peek through, is a big hit too. So one night after dinner, when there was little effort on their part to play quietly, I pulled out paper and scissors and had them sit at the table. I had no clue what to make, and just starting fooling around with the paper. Before you knew it, we had this on our living room wall:


I’m really enjoying this preschool age. He is such a sponge when it comes to learning new things, and introducing him to new things has stimulated me beyond my wildest imagination.

As far as the 2yo is concerned, she wants to participate, and so I let her. Not that I have an option here…but she is very interested, and as long as she doesn’t destroy other people’s stuff, I can usually find something to keep her occupied as well. She loves glueing, she likes taping tape to paper, she’s trying to manipulate the scissors, and when she gets bored, I give her things to sort, or count.

So far, so good. And our house is all decorated with homemade stuff!