A Monster Mash

Well, wouldya look at the calendar! 5 MORE MONTHS 'TIL HALLOWEEN! It's Monumentous. Errr...MONSTERmentous! It's no secret that I'm wicked obsessed with this holiday. I'm fully aware that I'm nauseating...but mad high fives to all who support my addiction adoration for Ten Thirty One.

CoCo always told me that in life, if you love something...like super squeezy, lovey dovey, big fat puffy heart bursting, Cheshire Cat cheesey smile, Care Bear cloud nine-style...L.O.V.E. something...just own it. She said we only get 1 little shot at this lovely thing called life, and one of the most brave things you can do while you're in it...is to own who you are. So I do! 

I'm a fun size candy, burnt orange and midnight black, costume changin', striped tights, crunchy leaves, pumpkin carvin', spooky tree, black cat, popcorn ball, cob-web hangin', graveyards on the front lawn, ghosts in the trees, extra make-up lovin' nut job. So, if I'm your cup 'o witches brew...step right on up and let's be friends. Best friends.

This past fall, The Twinados asked for a Halloween Party. The Hubs {who loves H'ween with an equally paranormal lovin' passion} and I took one look at each other and flew our brooms across the backyard to the shed to see if we could scrounge around for items for a Big H celebration for the kiddos and their buddies.

Nothing is safe from chevron. Nothin!

We're softies for a party {Dips! Chips! Friends! Fondue! We'll celebrate any thing. At any time.}, so here's what we came up with on the fly via Google, Pinterest and just general loony-ness.

{The De-gore-ations}

We dig a fusion of 'ol school charm and chotchke flair! The weirder, the better. The more off-key, the merrier. Mis-matched is our motto. Googley-eyes are a plus. Here is a snapshot of some items we used to set the happy-go-spooky mood.

They asked for costumes. I swear!

{Graveyard Grub}

Our sweet friends all asked if they could bring something festive. We were thrilled! They all got into the spirit and pitched in for some Eeeeerie Eats! One of my personal faves was the Buffalo Chicken Dip dressed up as a pumpkin. {Ahhh!} Traditional taco dip took center stage...gotta have that at every party, right? Forgot to take a pic of the Chili Bar, but it was hella yummy. It was a first for us at a party and we're looking forward to it again. We scored a beautiful day - a little chilly at the start, but it reached the 70s! {Cray.} The chili with the sour cream, scallion, Cheez-It, shredded chedda toppings hit the spot. 

Rye Boat...a.k.a. Rye In Pieces...is an old family fave. {#Nostalgia}

Nothing fancy schmancy here. Just some alliteration. Next year we'll do better!


It was a group effort again at the Tricks and Treats table! Chocolate stole the show {holy moly --- Caramel Apple Milky Ways} and was in almost every delicious dish. PB Cup Witches Brooms {KB}, dirt pudding {AC}, choco covered strawbs {DK + KK}, graham cracker band-aids {KB}, peppy popcorn {JF}...and spider suckers from T-1 and T-2. 

Snickers needed some spicing up, so I dipped 'em in green choco and gave them a nice milk choco flat top 'do. Candy eyes made Frank come to life! Made a little ode to Dracula by adding some fake chompers and "blood-shot" candy eyes to plain 'ol glazed donuts. 

 My homegirl Ro Pansino of Nerdy Nummies {#superfan!} made a version of these cake pops, so I thought I'd hop on the banshee bandwagon and try them too. After dipping the cake ball into black choco, I plopped it right onto a cookie sheet with wax paper to get a flat base for green frosting and green Nerds. The flames are Wilton frosting with a #2-tip. I used a toothpick to draw on the cauldon handles with chocolate.

Use a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby to buy this cake pop stand.
It will cost you about 5 buckeroonies!

These witchy cupcakes took a little longer because of the shoes. I drew a high heel onto black construction paper and cut them out individually. I searched to the ends of the internet for some witch shoe stickers, but no dice! So, I glued these homemade ones on to striped straws just for...kicks. I think the pretzel pals and acorns were spotted in a Family Circle magazine. {Copycat! #Meow} 

{Goblin Games}

The Hubs was able to find some pallettes and a quick coat of white paint zhooshed them right up. We went for a grubby look and that's what we got, haha! Some nice hay bales added some oomph and a provided a nice base so the kiddos could see the game names. We used snow poles and caution tape to mark off the individual game rows. 

The line-up looks kind of scrappy. Sort of adds to the spook-factor, right?

Bought the Plinko set from Oriental Trading. Used an old flat board, orange solo cups, tissue paper and rubber bands for the punch game. Hid little bat whistles, spikey bouncey balls and spider rings inside.

Tar-zhay witch hats and a corn hole board wrapped in a garbage bag were ready to rock 'n  roll.

We used a plain white poster board for our ghost friend and a bunch of $1 pumpkin pails from Wally World to round out the games.

Glow sticks and themed cups for all participants. Everyone was a winner! {Including T-1...she's a bit OCD, so organizing the cups by color was a big treat for her.}

{Candy Corner}

All that game playing needed to be rewarded! So, we thought a little candy buffet would be a fun way to end the day! We used a short table so the kiddos could easily reach the yummies. Party City had scoops in every color of the rainbow. We bought silver so we could use them at other shin digs.

Check back for a future post featuring the guests! For now...here are two Twinions who showed up. We hear their parents are completely bonkers, but someday we hope they'll Gru on ya!


One Cup Cookies

It's getting HOT outside on the East Coast. {Finally!} Humid hot, though. Lion King hair...hot.

So, here's a way to enjoy a quick sweet WITHOUT having to turn on the oven. This little cutie can also help you out in a pinch if you've got the late night munchies while catching up on Bravo, a spontaneous play date {No time to tidy up? Place your vacuum and a dust cloth in the family room and say you were juuuust in the middle of cleaning!} or teeny tiny toddlers to bribe. {Trust me...these have helped to clean MANY a playroom, yo.}

I used these little crocks, but a nice 'ol coffee mug will still do the trick!

{The Chocolate Chipster}

Melt butter in the microwave...slightly...not bubbling. Stir in the sugars, van, salt. Stir in the egg yolk. Sprinkle in a loose 1/4c of flour...then stir. Toss in those choco chips and fold them in gently. Cook in the micro about 45 seconds...don't go over 1 minute. It will continue to cook while it's in the cup, so eat up quickly! {Add ice cream if you're fancy schmancy.}

{The Red Velvet Royale}

Melt butter in the microwave...slightly...not bubbling. Stir in the sugars, van, salt. Stir in the egg yolk. Sprinkle in the flour...then stir. Sprinkle in the cake mix...then stir. Toss in those white choco chips and fold them in gently. Cook in the micro about 50 seconds...check...cook more if needed, but don't go over 1 minute. {Add a dash of powdered sugar on top if you're sassy.}

{The Blissful Brownie}

Melt butter in the microwave...slightly...not bubbling. Stir in the sugars, van, salt. Stir in the egg yolk. Sprinkle in the flour...then stir. Sprinkle in the cocoa...then stir. Toss in those chopped PB cups and fold them in gently. Cook in the micro about 50 seconds...check...cook more if needed, but don't go over 1 minute. {Drizzle melted PB or caramel over the top for extra zhoosh.}

Keep these recipes close by, ya smart cookies, you!


{Foodee} Popcorn Cupcakes

Hey there CoCoNuts!

It's been a minute. Or...more like 12 days. {Eeek!} Lots of fun things have been happening this May. I'm looking forward to sharing them with you! For now, I wanted to pass along a recipe for Popcorn Cupcakes. Our family recently hosted a Family Reunion and the theme was Carnival!

Yep...there was a clown.

Yep...I judged.

Yep...I hid.

THIS clown did not carry a concealed machete. THIS clown did not have a goofy laugh. THIS clown was not creepy in the least. I tried to find everything wrong with her...but, this clown was named Tillie, and she was pretty much adorable. And, she gave me a glitter cupcake tattoo.

Crap. Am I becoming a softie? Aww, shucks! {There might be hope for me kicking this phobia after all! We'll see.}

I can't wait to share some of the fine deets on the festivities with you. Today, I'll share what we added to the sweets table: POPCORN CUPCAKES! They are a fusion of Pinterest and Google finds. {#Pinoogle?}


Red velvet cupcakes
Whipped cream cheese frosting
Mini marshmallows
Mini FRUIT marshmallows
Cookie sheet

{Marshmallow Popcorn Prep}

Pick out all of the yellows from the fruit marshmallow bag, then cut them in half and place them on a cookie sheet. Do the same with a bag of mini marshmallows. {NOTE: Keep an eye on your scissors! They will get sticky. You might have to wash them in hot water a few times during the cutting process.}

The yellows in these fab fruities look like butta and add some flava!

{Marshmallow Popcorn Assembly}

Take 2 white marshmallows and press them together at one end...in a V shape. Then, smoosh a yellow wherever you'd like! The more messy and odd-shaped, the better! The cookie sheet is super helpful for storing your finished popcorn pieces.


Frost a cupcake, and press down pieces of "popcorn" all around the edges. Then, fill in the middle. It took about 10 pieces for me to fill the tops of mine. That's it!

Keep it poppin', ya'll!


Veggetti Etti Bo Betti

...Banana Fana Fo Fetti!

Ok, so check it. It's been a minute or two since a product review. {I was sort of getting the shakes!} This one's heavy on the green. A few weeks ago, we discovered...


Zucchini in 'sketti form. Interesting, eh? Pretty sure we're late to the party on this one, but we've totally made peace with being fashionably late. This little number is a beast! And, we're obsessed.

Our local grocery store {a big bad beautiful beast in its own right}, WEGMANS, had perfectly packaged "Veggetti" in the produce section made up of zuccs, yellow squash, a few red onions and a handful of red pepps. {#Cute!} The Hubs and I fried up the mix in some olive oil and added some dashes of garlic salt just to spice things up. It only took a few minutes for it to reach maximum marvelousness.

We paired it with some chicken sausage {2 grams of fat, 3 carbs...are we dreaming?!!} and high fived each other across the table. Literally. {#Dorks!} We were eating vegetables! {#BigKids} We chatted about how we should try to make this at home sometime. We wondered if there was a gadget that we could buy to do this on our own. Could we make this a little cheaper?


Of course we could! If we had looked 2 inches past our hoity toity noses, we would have seen the giant display of $14.99 As Seen on TV wonders ready for the taking. We picked one up and put it to the test tonight. Here's how our experiment went down.


We'll totes drop 99 Abe Lincolns instead of 463. SOLD! Buy one of these bad mamma jammas the next time you're shoppin til you're droppin. High fives to YOU for eating YOUR veggies!


{Swag Bag} May The 4th Be With You

It's May 4th.
So, in true Star Wars tribute hashtag fashion...#MayThe4thBeWithYou

{Get it?!!!} Wompitty, womp, womp, womp.

I adore a good pun...and so do the cool 'peeps at Nerdy With ChildrenWe've teamed up to offer a super fun contest to celebrate today's date and it's punny connection to Star Wars. They'd like to offer 1 lucky CoCo-nut a chance to win 1 item {of their choice!!!} from their shop. I've included a few samplings of their adorable t-shirts and onesies in the contest pic, but you HAVE to pop over to their site to view more Sci-Fi, Superhero and Video Game inspired delights! Adorbs beyond words.

{Contest deets}

'Yoda best if you play along with us. Head on over to my Facie page and comment under the contest pic. Tell us who your favorite movie STAR is. {Any movie star counts!} Then, share the contest. We're keeping it open all week!

The green guy up there says the force is strong with you.
Enter this contest, you must!


The Grandest of Grandpas

I miss my Grandpa.
Good God, I loved him SO darn much.

Still do.

Bigger than the oceans, taller than the trees, wider than the galaxies. Today is the anniversary of his passing, and quite frankly...I'm still pissed. {Excuse my Italian for today.} In my opinion, losing him was maddening, unfathomable and down right ridiculous. 6 years later, I am still trying to pick up the pieces of my broken heart, but I don't have the energy to start trying because there's still no way to mend each saddened bit. Nope.

So, I just march on.

Keeping a smile on my face, while being absolutely bummed deep down inside. Sure, he flew up above to a much better place after I had the honor of joking beside him for almost 3 decades {and I sound truly selfish because I had him in my life for so incredibly long}, but it still stings. Like a million bees on top of a trillion more bees.

I miss my friend.

Today's post is heavy. King Kong heavy. I don't usually show this side of me, because I tend to drown it out with glittery Martha Stewarty crafts, Buffalo chicken recipes, Twinado Tales and a terribly goofy laugh...{and my struggle pales in comparison to others}...but I just wanted you to know that if you're someone who still hasn't quite gotten over the loss of a loved one {when everyone around you keeps telling you "It will be ok"}...you're not alone.

I've talked about Papa a handful of times on here, and with great pride, of course. I loved everything he stood for. He lived his life loud and with no regrets. He was completely over the top and wore his heart on his sleeve. You could hear him whispering 5 blocks away and he didn't give a crap. Nope. Not a single crap!

He was a man of great faith...one who adored his heritage and his community. He helped establish our area's Columbus Day Parade, and he had the honor of being the first Chris on the float. {He may have gotten juuuuust a wee bit into character on this one!}


He drove a kick ass Crown Vic, had a slicked-back-Brill-Cream salt and pepper 'do and wore a different Member's Only jacket each day of the week. {Not kidding!} I can still fondly hear change clinking together when I think of his swagger. Crisp white shirts, "slacks," and shiny shoes. As Italian as you can get. Times infinity.

Sorta like this. Only with a 4'11 spitfire named Kay riding shotgun.

He was a BOSS.

Truly! For many, many years, he was a bodyguard in the political realm back in the day...and City Hall, The ATL, NYC and D.C. can be counted among his stomping grounds. {He was full 'o fun, that one.}

Here's Popperoonie representin' in plaid near Sen. Kennedy!

He thought the world of me and my sister. The freaking WORLD. We lived next door to him and my Kay Kay growing up. We could do no wrong in his eyes. {or Kay's, for that matter!} He'd sneak us out of being grounded, hand us King Size Snickers bars just because, and take us with him to the cigar store when he'd visit his paisanos {his buddies from the old neigh-ba-hood}. They'd all stop down around the same time and other grand kids would be with their grandfathers too. {One of my best friends and I met in the candy aisle when we were about 7 years old!}

We were his riding buddies. Grocery stores...Bakeries...Garage Sales. You name it - he brought us along. He'd chase down the ice cream man and buy treats for whoever else lined up behind us. Every. Single. Person. {Including adults!} I've never met anyone like him {except my dad, of course!}. For 15 years, he stood at the foot of the stage at the end of every one of my dance recitals with 2 arms full of flowers. Full.

He gave me a gigantic Italian flag, a cooler full of frozen sauce and Stella Doros to take with me to college. His face was the one I looked for when I crossed the stage at graduation. I saw it. Because he was STANDING UP in the audience! Whistling! Shouting. Hooting. Hollering.

She's now in my garage. Displayed under a bike...exactly how his was!

I'll treasure my Grandpa/Granddaughter dance when we twirled around to a song from The Godfather. {#Guidos} And, I'll never forget the shriek in his voice when we told him we were moving back East. Never. The heightened, exuberant, joyful pitch in his voice was something I'll carry with me for the rest of my life. {I expect to fully return that sound when we meet again someday across the gates.}

He passed away just 6 months after we moved back...and just a handful of months before we found out I was expecting the twinnie-pies. Damn, how I wish I could have seen his reaction to the news. He would have went back-flipping NUTS! And, damn, what I wouldn't give to have just caught a 5-second glimpse of him holding them when they were born. {I'd even settle for 1/4 of a second.}

I digress.

Thanks for letting me vent for a minute. I really had no exact point in this post today...just wanted to make a good 'ol fashioned exhale over the internet, I guess! If you find yourself in a similar fog, I urge you to listen to this little melody from Beyonce when you want to remember your loved one. Close your eyes and listen to it. You'll cry...yep. But, know I'm right there with ya.

Sure, I could be listening to many other bluesy beats...Wicked's For Good, some sort of Josh Groban chant or an Xtina ballad. But something about this goodie and its WORDS just hit home.

Click the pic to listen to some wise words from Bey. 

Keep on marching, friend.