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Dear Reader

Each year when the Fall holiday season rolls around, I turn into a wannabe Martha Stewart.   I try… (“try” being the operative word) to replicate and produce her cutest crafts, cookies, paper décor, and culinary masterpieces.   My finished projects, albeit somewhat cute and always fun to create, NEVER look like Martha’s.   

So, this Halloween when my kids wanted to make a Haunted Gingerbread House, I knew I needed help!  I made my life simpler and bought a complete kit at Target that I could make with my kids.  Instead of gingerbread, the kit included chocolate cookie pieces already cut out to resemble a house, frosting already mixed and bagged, and spooky candy to top it off.  Following step-by-step instructions, we cemented the sides together using the accompanying orange frosting, but they fell down almost immediately.  Within a short time, it became apparent that this project was going to look like a haunted house – a dilapidated, scary looking abode, one truly falling apart.  I decided to throw out the instruction sheet and let my kids use their creative license.  In the end, I know my kids ate more of the candy than what actually made it onto the project; and they created a perfectly unique chocolate house.  But, most importantly, they had a ball decorating it together.

To find some Martha-worthy Halloween delights that are creative and kid-friendly so all the ghouls in your family can get in on the fun check out, “Turn your store-bought cookies into Spooky Sensations,” on page 10. You will learn how to “dress up” store-bought cookies into spooky sensations.  My kids and I loved testing out these recipes while making a monstrous mess in our kitchen!  We made Oreos into spiders, Nutter Butters into mummies, and Pepperidge Farm Milano’s into tombstones – just to name a few.  I even took the graveyard cupcakes to my son’s second grade class for his birthday treat.  He loved it! 

Halloween is all about the creepiest, crawliest, scariest creatures around.  In Brian Kantz’s Newbie Dad article, “Things Little Kids are Scared of,” on page 14, he writes about his boys’ list of things that scare them.  He reminisces about how their lists reflect his same childhood fears – quicksand, lava, real-life haunted houses, and more.  No matter what they’re scared of, he says that the candy they get while trick-or-treating makes everything seem better.

Another part of Fall is the changing of our landscape.  In Tracie Grimes’s Humor at Home article, “I Fought for the Lawn and the Lawn Died,” on page 8, she writes about how much time and effort she put into to nurturing her lawn to grow.  After a long, arduous battle, she lost, and the lawn died.  Not to worry – she always has green spray paint!

Tracie Grimes  also recommends her monthly reading lists, “E-Books:  Reading Outside the Binding,” on page 15, where she says parents can take the boring out of reading by encouraging children to read via technology.  Some books she suggests include “Noodle Loves Bedtime,” by Nosy Crow and Marion Billet; “Love Waves,” by Rosemary Wells, and “Halloween Surprise,” by Corinne Demas.  For moms, she picks “Then Came You,” by Jennifer Weiner, a story about three women from three different walks of life and what binds them together. 

This month, whether you’re dressing up your little munchkins, channeling your inner Martha, or decorating cookies for Halloween, enjoy the changing landscape and cooler weather.  In Bakersfield, Fall is the perfect time to enjoy your family and the outdoors!

Happy Halloween to all our ghostly readers!!!!

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