Simple Ideas

Make Halloween Fun For Kids With Food Allergies

Imagine Trick or Treating on Halloween and not being able to eat anything you have in your bag! That is Halloween for the child with food allergies.  But you can make Halloween fun again for those kids with food allergies – and it is as simple as a Teal pumpkin!

The Teal Pumpkin Project
The Teal Pumpkin Project

The Teal Pumpkin Project, created by the Food Allergy Research & Education Organization (FARE), was developed to encourage communities to promote food allergy awareness. The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages families to make non-food treats — like pencils, glowsticks, bracelets, or other items from the Dollar Tree — available to Trick or Treaters, in addition to their candy offerings.

By simply painting a pumpkin teal (the color of food allergy awareness), and/or using the free printable flyer that FARE offers, they can let others know about the food allergy awareness program and that they are participating.

Such a simple way to make Halloween fun (and inclusive) for everyone! See below for links to the flyers:

To Download the “We have both candy and non-food treats” flyer, click here.

To Download the “We have non-food treats” flyer, click here.

For more information on the Teal Pumpkin Project, visit

A great selection of non-food items for Halloween Trick or Treaters w/Food Allergies!
A great selection of non-food items for Halloween Trick or Treaters w/Food Allergies!

My neighbors, Sadie and Josie, came down to show me examples of the items they have to offer trick or treaters with food allergies.  The basket contains items like temporary tattoos, rubber snakes and bats, pencils and stickers! Good job girls!

Sadie And Josie showing off their Teal Pumpkin Project!
Sadie And Josie showing off their Teal Pumpkin!

Simple Kids Halloween Craft Ideas

Simple Halloween Craft ideas for kids are the best! I especially enjoy making things that are not expensive – utilizing items from around the home! Thanks to WTLV-TV’s First Coast Living for inviting me on to share these Halloween ideas!

Spider Pops

Halloween Spider Pops from

Got Black pipe cleaners, Tootsie Roll lollipops, little wiggly eyes, and glue? Then you have the makings of spider pops! These are super simple and the kids don’t need much help. Take your Tootsie Pop, and wrap 4 black pipe cleaners around the stick near the base of the lollipop. It will now look like the spider has 8 legs – bend each leg to look realistic. Glue on a pair of wiggly eyes and there you have it – Spider Pop!


TP Mummy Roll

Halloween Toilet Paper Tube Mummies from

Something about these little guys makes me grin – maybe it is their wiggly eyes!  Simply take an empty toilet paper tube, draw a black rectangle near one end.  Using strips of paper towels (1/2 inch wide strips work well), wrap the tube up like a mummy, gluing as you go and leaving an opening so the black is exposed. Next, taker a pair of wiggly eyes and glue them in place.


Paper Plate Monsters

Halloween Paper Plate Monsters from


A white paper plate, glue and construction paper shapes, plus candy corn, will make this craft go “Boo”! I cut out several different body styles for monsters – each in a different color construction paper. I cut out black mouths, white eye balls in different shapes. I glued the bodies on different plates, glued the black mouths on, then I had the kids pick their favorite eyeballs (I drew different irises on each eyeball!) and design their monsters.  I offered candy corn as teeth, which were glued in place! The kids drew the arms and legs of their creature! Kind of creepy/cute aren’t they?!

Halloween Paper Plate Monsters from

Easy Halloween Party Decorations

I love finding ways to add a spooky fun Halloween motif without spending too much money! These little tips are cost effective and fun to make! Thank you to WTLV-TV’s First Coast Living for inviting me on to share these ideas!

SSD Halloween Candles 2Ghoulish Bleeding Candles

These are simple and you can use items you already have at home! Click here for the video and instructions.

Boo pumpkin


Crafty Halloween Pumpkin

For something a little less ghoulish and a little more sparkly, try this simple craft idea! I used an artificial pumpkin, Halloween ribbon, and sparkly purple sequins to create a Blinged-Out Pumpkin! I used a marker to write out my word of choice (you can choose any frightening word you want.), used a hot glue gun to attach the sequins, then topped it with the bow! (you can use craft glue, instead)


Flying Bats photo and idea from
Flying Bats photo and idea from

Flying Bats!

Something about the sight of a colony of bats just gives me chills! This idea from does the trick! It is as simple as cutting out of black card stock a lot of different sized bats and sticking them to the wall with double-sided tape! Easy Peasy! You can also set them up outside, just use duct tape – it will hold better outside!

Happy Halloween!

Simple Halloween Costumes For Kids, Under $10

Screenshot 2014-10-18 10.32.58Halloween is coming and the kids all want costumes, right?  But who has the money to buy expensive ones that will be worn once? Well, I found the solution!  My friends at Dollar Tree asked me to create some fun and inexpensive Halloween costumes using items from their stores! Best thing about it? Everything is a $1 at Dollar Tree, so you and I leave happy because we didn’t have to break the bank this year!

How To Get Creative Ideas

Before you head to Dollar Tree, I recommend you browse Pinterest for Halloween costume ideas for kids (here is a link to some great costumes). This really helps you get your creative juices flowing. When you get to Dollar Tree, you can see what is available in your store and then apply it to some of the Pinterest Ideas.

My Costume Ideas


Dollar Tree Cowgirl by
Dollar Tree Cowgirl by Total Cost: $5

Cowgirl: Cowgirls have style, too! I’ve used a shirt, leggings and pink bandana our adorable model already had. I added items from Dollar Tree – Pink Cowboy hat, cowboy vest (black and white), Pink Tutu (I’m using two so it is fluffy!), black and white houndstooth bow w/pink trim (for cowboy hat). Total Cost: $5


Dollar Tree Military Man by
Dollar Tree Military Man by Total Cost: $4

Military Man:  For our Mighty Military Man, I paired a long sleeve black T-Shirt with these items from Dollar Tree – Camo helmet, camo vest, military action play set, walkie talkie. Total Cost: $4


Dollar Tree Knight by Total Cost: $5
Dollar Tree Knight by Total Cost: $5

Knight: I had so much fun creating this costume! I used a long sleeve, black T-Shirt, then added from Dollar Tree – Knight Chest Plate, knight shield, knight gloves, sword, black ninja hood with red trim removed, Creepy Cloth. Total Cost: $6


Dollar Tree Flower Pot Costume by Total Cost: $9
Dollar Tree Flower Pot Costume by Total Cost: $9

Flower Pot:  This sweet little costume blossomed when put on our adorable model! She brought the white shirt and green leggings from home, and I added from Dollar Tree – Blue beverage tub with handles (bottom cut out), red and yellow silk flower stems (6 total duct-taped to the inside of the tub), green grosgrain ribbon for suspenders(also duct-taped to inside of tub), orange sparkle headband with 2 of the flowers hot-glued on it. Total Cost: $9

Don’t Forget Halloween Accessories, Too!

Dollar Tree has a very wide assortment of glow sticks, bracelets, wands and other glowing accessories that are not only fun and fashionable but will keep your family safe this Halloween season. Plus, they have some great looking candy pails, including my favorite – the Glow in The Dark Pumpkin Pail! All for a Dollar!

Additional Costume Ideas


Dollar Tree "Elsa" Costume by Total Cost: $4
Dollar Tree “Elsa” Costume by Total Cost: $4


Improvised Elsa Costume: The hottest little girls costume this year is Elsa, from Disney’s Frozen. While I was at Dollar Tree, I found the perfect pieces to create the must-have costume of the year!  Pair this little costume with a white, long-sleeved leotard and tights (or  long-sleeved white T-shirt, shorts and tights)! Dollar Tree Items used – 2 blue tutus, one package snowflake forms (glued on with hot glue gun), one blonde “hair extensions” headband (braided). Total Cost: $4

For More Information

Check out a Dollar Tree store near you and you will be even more amazed at what one dollar can buy. Dollar Tree is my Halloween headquarters – a one-stop shop for affordable spook-tacular decorations and costume accessories. Happy Haunting, I mean, Hunting!

To shop for more products for Halloween or the upcoming Holidays, visit your local Dollar Tree store or visit  For terrific project ideas (with details on the products used to make them!), visit their project website at!

Thank you to Dollar Tree for sponsoring this project, and to WTLV-TV’s First Coast Living for bringing us on to model the costumes! And a BIG thank you to our wonderful child models!

DT Costumes 2

Simple Garden Tip: The Simple (and Eco-Friendly) Way To Kill Weeds

Note: The trick to this tip is to make sure that the water is boiling hot – I first tried this with microwaved water that sat for a minute or so before I started taping. It did not do the trick. I went back and boiled water and took it directly from stove top to weeds. I saw it working the next day – it really killed them within 2 days. Then just pull the dead weeds out and they should not grow back! It also kills the seeds that get down in the cracks.

A big thank you to our lawn guy, Mike!

weeds 2 weeds 3


Simple Life Hacks From Simple Solutions Diva!

Screenshot 2014-09-09 07.19.00

Sometimes the simplest things can make life so easy! Thank you to the ladies of The Chat for inviting me on the show to share these Simple Life Hacks:


SSD CherriesCherry Pitting The Simple Way – No need to buy a cherry-pitter with this perfect way to de-pit a bunch of cherries for snacking or cherry pie!  Click Here to see video!

Deodorant as a Blister Buster? You bet!
Deodorant as a Blister Buster? You bet!



Got Blisters From your New Sandals? Try Deodorant As Blister Buster! – Rub a little deodorant where your sandal straps rub your skin – this prevents moisture build up under the straps and provides a little barrier between the straps and skin.

Hand Sanitizer works as a backup deodorant!
Hand Sanitizer works as a backup deodorant!

Forgot Deodorant? No Problem! Use hand sanitizer! Rub a little hand sanitizer into your armpits (obviously, don’t do this with freshly shaved arm pits-ouch!!). The hand sanitizer kills the bacteria that reacts with sweat and makes it smell.



Blemish Buster: Visine gets the red out, even for zits! Soak a cotton ball with Visine and hold on the blemish for at least 30 seconds. The Visine will help reduce the redness of the blemish, making it less noticeable. The effects will last for several hours. This solution was reviewed and rated 4 out of 5 stars by readers!

Screenshot 2014-09-09 07.10.21

Catch The Chat, Jacksonville’s only daytime talk show, on WTLV-TV/NBC 12 weekdays at 3 p.m.

Domestic Violence – Please Seek Help

Domestic Violence. It is in the news this week and it is making me sick to my stomach. The violent actions of an athlete are only exacerbated by the inactions (or under actions) of the National Football League.  This is not just a football problem – it is a disturbing pattern in our society to blame the victim, rather than punish the perpetrator.

From what I understand, so many victims feel there is no way out of their situation. They do not know where to turn, whom to trust, and do not see a way to safely exit the relationship.

I could go on a huge rant right now, but I want to be positive. So rather than just pontificate about the unfairness of this situation, I am putting forth a challenge to all my friends in the Blogosphere:

Bloggers: I Challenge You To Share The National Domestic Violence Hotline Contact Information- 800.799.7233

All you ladies and gentlemen who have blogs that are focused on women, are for women, or just are read mostly by women, step up and help domestic violence victims by letting them know they are not alone!  Share a post on your website with the contact information for the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Let your readership know you support people to get help if they are victims of domestic violence. Share any and all of these photos that I’ve created below. Then challenge YOUR blogger friends to do the same!

You may help save a life.

Seek Help For Domestic Violence: The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800.799.7233

Domestic Violence - Seek Help Domestic Violence caller Domestic Violence children Domestic Violence Teens Stats


Simple Rainy Day Activities For Kids

Rainy Day FunRain putting a damper on your kids’ summertime fun?  Simple Solutions Diva has some fun and active ways to keep kids entertained! Try one of these themes to keep them busy!



Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain. ~Author Unknown

Game Day Fun:

Indoor Scavenger Hunt – A little preparation ahead of time will make this something easy to pull together when you need it! This is a great way for the kids to have fun and maybe even work together to solve some clues!  Think of “Eye Spy” in your own home. Being as creative as you can (maybe even do a poem), describe an item in the house the kids have to find. Once they find the item, the next clue will be there. Make them run up and down stairs, climb under beds, etc. Each clue answer brings them to the next clue. The kids can work together as a team or as individuals to solve the clues. Make the prizes at the end enjoyable for both you and the kids – homemade cookies, trips to the bowling alley, or other appealing activities!

Can of Sardines – This game of hide and seek has you finding the person who is “It”, but instead of announcing you found them, you cram into the same space with them and wait. The last person to find them is the next “sardine”!

Broom-Hilda, Created by Russell Myers.
Broom-Hilda, Created by Russell Myers.

Broomhilda The Witch – Broomhilda The Witch is a game I used to play with friends MANY years ago (I will not divulge exactly how many!). The play area should be a circle of some sort, maybe around a table or big space cleared in a family room.  The person who is “It” (the Broomhilda) is blindfolded and given a broom to hold upside down. The others quietly hide in spaces within the circle/play area. The lights are dimmed and “Broomhilda” begins her slow and careful march, banging the broom handle on the ground with each step, letting the others know she is coming. “Broomhilda” can say anything to make the others giggle, giving up their hiding place. If she finds you, you are out. If you are the first one to be found, you are the next “Broomhilda”.

Mini Marshmallow Popping Contest – Plastic cups, mini marshmallows, scissors and balloons are the simple items you need for this project/game. Cut off the bottom of the plastic cup with the scissors. Take a balloon and tie off the balloon. Using scissors, cut off the top of the balloon and attach the part of the balloon with the knot onto the open bottom of the cup. Make sure it fits tightly onto the cup, bringing the knot almost flush with the bottom of cup. Repeat the process for as many players as you have.

Take a mini marshmallow and place in the bottom of the cup, fitting it into the knotted part of balloon. Pull the balloon down and “pop” the marshmallow out of the cup. The person who can shoot the marshmallow the farthest is the winner.

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. — Dolly Parton

Camp Out in The Family Room:

This theme is always my go to favorite!

Make Microwave S’mores – So simple and easy! Assemble your s’mores fixings (graham cracker, chocolate piece, marshmallow, and another graham cracker on top!) on a microwave-safe plate and microwave until the marshmallow gets big. Keep a close watch on them — 15-30 seconds, depending on your microwave.

Make An indoor “Camp Fire” -Use yellow, orange and red tissue paper to create a “torch” using a flashlight. Perfect to use in those tents you make with blankets and chairs! 

Campfire Torch

Communications Fun – Make 2 tents and have the kids make a communications system  using the old idea of two cans (or cups) with a string between them!

Tea Party:

The Table – Set a beautiful Tea Party Table on a table or maybe even on a blanket. Consider using the china – great time to teach the kids to be gentle with things!

The Guests – Have kids create a character they will be. This is a great way for kids house their imagination. Have them create that character’s silly back ground. Have the kids:

  • Speak in funny accents.
  • Dress up in mom and dad clothes.

The Food – Serve tea sandwiches (any sandwich that has the crust cut off and is cut into four small, triangular pieces can be a tea sandwich) and tea (or favorite beverage).  

Baking Day:

My personal feeling: Anytime you can make real, homemade baked goods (from scratch) with the kids helping will be a special time. With so many boxed dessert products out there, it is nice to show your kids what real homemade cookies taste like!

Bake Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies or brownies

– Use some of the cookies (or brownies) to make Ice Cream Sandwiches, then roll the edges in different toppings. 

photo 1-4
Ice Cream Sandwiches from

Want A Few More Ideas?

Screenshot 2014-07-17 08.03.25Bright And Ready: If you need some simple ideas on what to do with the kids (without having to spend a lot of money), check out the Activity and Learning Decks from Bright and Ready. They have terrific and creative ideas to encourage your child to learn and grow!  They have a variety of activity decks for babies, on up to 9 years old.



Thank you to WTLV-TV’s First Coast Living for inviting me on to speak about these fun activities!


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