Hi, I'm Rachel.

A few years ago I could barely boil water.

True story.

Determined to be a kick ass wife, I developed a love for football and learned to cook in my tiny Jersey City kitchen. I spend my days working in Manhattan, my nights and weekends chasing after a rambunctious toddler, and the hours in between cooking with my husband and feeding my TV habit...oh, and I blog about it all! 

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Entries in halloween (15)


Hap-pea Halloween!

Hap-pea Halloween everyone!

Is it any surprise that for Penelope's first Halloween she is a sweet pea? How perfect is that?!

Even less surprising is the fact that since we chose her name and I began calling her my sweet P in utero, I knew this would be a perfect first Halloween costume.

Though I had dreams of sewing her costumes through the coming years, I'm not quite there yet. Maybe someday. After doing a bit of Googling, I had a really hard time finding a sweet pea costume for an infant that wasn't a bunting costume. All searches came back as either bunting or adult costumes. So when my mom came across this little number on Hautelook a couple of months ago, I ordered it immediately. They had one size (6-12 months...isn't that kind of a big range? makes zero sense to me...) so I held my breath until it arrived. And not only was it the cutest thing in the world, but it fit perfectly. Flash sale for the win!

Of course, no holiday or milestone would be complete without a little photoshoot and editing. And even more fun were the out takes while trying to just get one good shot of Penelope in all of her pea glory.

Oh and in case you are wondering, I edited the photos and created the collage - with type! - by using Pic Monkey.

Though Penelope is too young for any real trick or treating today, were excited to possibly watch Toy Story of Terror with her this evening if she's amenable. I do know that if I have to watch Mickey's Treat one more time, my family will experience my own terror.

Oh and as for her little pumpkin...I promised I'd share what we ended up doing with it so here you go:

Mom's grand plans for cute hand prints kind of ended up as a mess of paint on the pumpkin and on the baby. But it was still fun and we got one light handprint on there. Penelope was less than amused, but maybe next year ;)

So what does everyone have planned for today? Any fun costumes to share?

I'm excited to ring in Halloween evening with some episodes of The Walking Dead with a few pieces of Halloween candy in tow...seems like a fitting plan, no?


Halloween Weekend & Ghoulish Grilled Cheese Bites

This weekend we celebrated Halloween in our building!

We kicked off the weekend on Friday evening with a little dinner at home. Shaun and I had bet on the Giants game from last Monday night. The loser would have to cook the winner's dinner of choice for Friday evening. Being the eternal optimist, I chose the Giants, despite their straight losing record thus far for the season. And sometimes - just sometimes - optimism pays off! The Giants won and I got a homemade steak dinner. It was nothing short of salty, tender and completely delicious. Unfortunately it was so good and I forgot to snap a photo. But we enjoyed it alongside a viewing of Homeland!

On Saturday, I was up and out of the house early for a quick trip to Target. It was so nice to have an hour to myself to wander around one of my favorite stores. What can I say, it gets me jazzed. I rushed right home because it was also the kids Halloween party in our building. I had really been looking forward to this, probably more than what is normal for a grown adult. I just couldn't wait to get Penelope dressed up in her costume and see all of the other kiddos dudded up as well.

It was such a great turnout! So many kids and parents!

Everyone was asked to bring a dish, so I decided on grilled cheese bites. I wasn't totally sure how to pull it off at first, but Shaun had the idea to bake the sandwiches in the oven, rather than make each individual sandwich on the stovetop. Since we were {as per usual} pressed for time, I was more than game to try this method.

We made two kinds of grilled cheese: Ahh!merican and Bone Chillin' Cheddar.

They were such a hit that I was barely able to snap a photo!

Before I knew it, the plate looked like this:

Oh and I made the little flags myself with some old scrapbook paper and toothpicks. I can't pass up an opportunity to get crafty AND punny.

Overall, I'm happy to report that they went over so well and I think this is going to be my new party staple. I was expecting the kids to really love this, but I think the adults loved it even more!

Ghoulish Grilled Cheese Bites

24 slices bread, any type

12+ slices American cheese

1 block cheddar cheese (we used cheddar & herb), shredded

1 stick butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease 2 baking sheets and set aside. Butter one side of each slide of bread. Cover half of the bread slices with cheese (we used about 2 slices per sandwich). Place on baking sheet and top each one with another buttered slide (Note: the buttered sides of the bread should be on the outside). Bake for 6 minutes. Remove from oven and flip each sandwich. Bake 6 minutes more. Cut each sandwich into 8 pieces. Enjoy!

After an hour or so, P was getting cranky, so we headed home to relax for a while (and catch Beetlejuice on ABC Family! woot!) before Shaun and I headed out to our building's adult Halloween party in the evening, which just so happens to be kick ass. For those of you who have been reading for a while, you may remember some past articles about that. This year, Shaun and I went as Willie and Si from Duck Dynasty.

Pretty redneck, no?

We had a blast at the party. So many treats like pretty Halloween cupcakes:


Creepy Franken-fingers...


...and my own contribution, pumpkin pie brownie bites (recipe later this week!)


 Our weekend was capped off by trick or treating on Sunday. Our building mapped out 3 hours for kids to trick or treat and participating units posted a cute little pumpkin sticker on their doors. Since P isn't quite up to eating Twix and the like just yet, we opted to hang at home, watch football and pass out treats.

This bowl of candy is eerily similar to last year's Halloween haul - of which my six months pregnant self ended up eating the entire thing throughout the blackout duration of Superstorm Sandy. Milky Way Midnight will forever remind me of the storm. Oops :/ 

So that's how we spent our little Halloween weekend. Of course, I'll be back on Halloween for some gratuitous baby photos of Sweet P in her costume! I hope you all had a great weekend and are pumped for the week ahead!

Did you do any Halloween celebrating this weekend?

Do you like getting all costumed up?




Pumpkin Picking

I'm sorry for being MIA over the last few weeks. I couldn't believe when I realized that my last post was just about a month ago...um, how is that possible? The last time I was missing for such a long time, I had some big news to announce. No big news this time, but just life running by oh so quickly. I've spent the last few weeks seemingly slogging through the weekdays (albeit on autopilot some days) and really taking time to soak up our weekends...living in the moment, without whipping my camera out at every turn. It's been fun, but I've missed blogging! This post is a long one, so hang on to your hats!



This past weekend, we took Penelope pumpkin picking. It's like an annual right of passage before Halloween, and it was made significantly more fun this year with a little one in tow. We weren't sure how much she'd really enjoy the experience, but being the inquisitive little baby that she is, P practically ate it right up.


We drove a bit North to Hillsdale's Demarest Farms for the pumpkin pick. The farm is complete with hayrides, pumpkin and apple picking, some small animals for feeding and an extensive farm store with many delectables for its visitors. We planned the day to wake up, get ourselves together and head out in hopes of beating the crowds. I'm happy to report that arriving by 10:45AM really made a difference. Just after we arrived, the lines seemed to get significantly longer for both the farm store and hayrides!


We started out our trip with a hayride to the pumpkin patch. Being a neurotic first time Mom, I was a little nervous about taking my 8-month-old on a hayride, but I just held on tight and we made it. Penelope had no idea what was going on, but she loved looking around at everything!



When we arrived at the pumpkin patch, we headed straight for the animal pen. We showed Penelope the baby cow and little goats.



Shaun also purchased some feed to entice them over our way!




Though the animals were limited, I know Shaun was beyond excited to bring Penelope to see them. He's one excited Daddy ;)


We then wandered over to the pumpkin patch for some photo-ops and to pick out our pumpkin, of course. I found the grassiest patch I could so that P could sit and play (and I could hopefully catch some of it on camera).



Of course, the first thing she did was try to get grass directly into her mouth. It took a little coaxing to get her to see the pumpkins, but once she did, it was all over.



Despite many {many} attempts to get her attention for a little pumpkin posing, she was completely smitten with the pumpkin. Since she loved this giant one so much, we decided that was the one she needed to have. (And I have a fun plan for what we're going to do with it, so stay tuned!).



Take a hike, Mom, I'm busy!


After we were properly pumpkinned, we hitched a hayride back to the farm and to snack on some of the local eats.



No fall farm visit is complete without apple cider and apple cider donuts. We also shared this amazingly delicious (yet somewhat greasy) potato pancake. 



Even Penelope had some of the soft potato and she agreed that it is one of life's greatest treats.


All in all, it was a great day. Penelope was a champ...she saw her first cow, played in the dirt, picked a pumpkin and we had a fun time just being a family of 3 on an autumn weekend!