Healthy Treats for a Happy Halloween Party

Sweet treats are a Halloween staple, but unfortunately, candies and other sugary delights can be a tad bit unhealthy for children. Instead of buying those processed snacks, why not make your own healthier and yummier alternatives. Here are some delicious and mouth-watering options children will love:

kids in fun and spooky costumes

1.  Apple Pie Slices

delicious bite-size apple pie treats

A constant favorite among kids and adults, apple pies are a choice dish especially during the cold fall season. Whip up this goodie and cut it up into small mouthfuls for children to enjoy. For a delicious take on this well-loved dish, try out this wonderful recipe from The Dutch Baker’s Daughter and place several handfuls in decorative bags. This filling snack will be much appreciated by kids.

2.  Chocolate Chip Banana Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies

gooey chocolate chip banana sandwich cookies fresh from the oven

Cookies are always a sure-fire hit. Elevate this dish with bananas and turn it into a sumptuous and delectable fluffernutter sandwich cookie with this great recipe from Pin Cookie. This marvel has a thick and yummy white frosting that kids will not be able to resist. Make sure to make extras. Kids will definitely come back for seconds.

3.  Cinnamon Sugar Soft Pretzel Bites with Salted Caramel Sauce

delicious baked pretzel bites

These soft pretzel bites from Kevin and Amanda are a healthier and more delectable alternative to the usual deep-fried pretzels widely available in the market. Soft and buttery, these pillow-like bites are to die for. Dip it in syrup for a more heavenly experience. Be sure to bake a big batch. You will want to save some for yourself and your family.

4.  Chocolate Caramel Apples

delicious apples covered in chocolate and sprinkles

These chocolate caramel apples from She Wears Many Hats combine gooey chocolate, delicious caramel and crunchy apples without any of the additives and high fructose  levels of typical candy bars that can ruin children’s health. Kids will enjoy chomping on this classic and addictive treat while they continue with their Halloween adventures.

 5.  Crunchy Granola Bars

Photo from The Pioneer Woman

Granola bars are fun crisp snacks that provide a quick energy boost, making it an ideal chow during the exciting festivities that usually surround Halloween. These tasty granola bars from The Pioneer Woman Cooks make use of both grains and various types of cereals, which kids will gobble up in no time. Make sure to wrap these wonders in fancy paper so that children can save them for those lazy autumn days.

Do something different this Halloween and try out these recommended recipes from Tree Classics!

Photo Credits

[1] Photo by Paranoid Black Jack via flickr. CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0.

[2] Photo by dopub via flickr. CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0.

[3] Photo by iferneinez via flickr. CC-BY-ND-2.0.

[4] Photo from Kevin and Amanda

[5] Photo from She Wears Many Hats

[6] Photo from The Pioneer Woman

DIY Classics: Creative Ideas for Your Jack-o-Lantern

Halloween captures the imagination of people who just love to turn fright night into a fun night with family and friends. People often fill their homes with spooky decorations, such as ghosts, goblins, wraiths, and witches for an evening of terror and laughter! The most popular of these characters is the classic Jack-o-Lantern. But the often grisly yet comical pumpkin head deserves a new face on old Hallow’s Eve.

In this edition of DIY Classics, we give you four simple ways to highlight your home with the all-time favorite Jack-o-Lantern.

Pumpkins with a Message

Welcome guests into your haunted mansion by transforming the favorite Jack-o-Lantern into the ideal Halloween greeting. Carve out a special message or a creepy warning on pumpkins and gourds to turn them into unique and personalized holiday décor.

Ideas for carving out a message on your Jack-o-Lantern
Photo from mauricesvay via flickr. CC BY 2.0

Pumpkin Luminaries

Accent tables with these adorable pumpkin luminaries. With this simple and artistic re-imagining of the timeless lantern, these baby pumpkins will highlight the spooky corners of your home with an otherworldly luminescence.

Small Halloween Lanterns
Photo from MarchieCTID via flickr. CC BY 2.0

Pumpkin Topiary

If you’re an avid gardener, you can create your own garden of fright by shaping wire into large spheres with that mean old goblin face. You can also stack a few pumpkins on top of each other to produce a ghostly topiary of Jacks. These towering creepers not only add character to your garden but also help illuminate your walkways.

Halloween Pumpkin Topiary
Photo from Free Flower via flickr. CC BY 2.0

Pumpkins as Canvases

Express your creative side by using pumpkins as your canvas! Aside from the traditional Jack-o-Lantern face, you can also carve out other timeless Halloween characters. Create your own unique patterns or check out some easy-to-follow designs.

Carved Halloween Pumpkins
Photo from anonymous to you via flickr. CC BY 2.0

This Halloween, give old Jack a face lift! Try our easy, spooky, and silly ideas for your Jack-o-Lantern!

DIY Classics: Halloween Costumes for the Family

The best thing about Halloween – apart from all the treats, of course – is the chance to dress up the whole family in fun costumes. Yes, that includes everybody in the household. But always purchasing such fancy outfits year after year for everyone can be a problem. Most coordinated outfits that are available in the market are expensive. On top of that, it’s also quite challenging to find a themed costume for the whole household. Luckily, with a few simple items, parents can whip up outfits for everyone in a jiffy. Here are some of our favorite Halloween costumes you can make at home:

one way to celebrate Halloween is to dress up in fun costumes

Classic Flintstones Costumes

Hitting the streets as one of America’s most beloved family is always a marvelous idea. With this cool and amusing DIY Flintstones Outfit from Coolest Homemade Costumes, the whole family can create a suit straight out of the Stone Age using a few pieces of fabric and some leftover school supplies. Turn heads and give fellow trick-or-treaters a smile on their faces by dressing up as Fred, Wilma, and Pebbles.

Neverland Gang Costumes

with the right tools, your family can dress up as the various characters from Peter Pan

What better way to celebrate Halloween than by dressing up as the immortal characters from JM Barrie’s unforgettable novel, Peter Pan. Courtesy of Dessert Chica Ramblings, this DIY idea is perfect for large families. Recreate some of the book’s famous scenes in your backyard. Hunt for treasure and gold chocolate coins when you go out. Kids and grown-ups alike will have a delightful and exciting time with these quirky costumes.

Phineas and Ferb Family Costumes

this Phineas and Ferb costumes will be loved by your children

Take inspiration from Me and My Insanity’s simple and easy DIY project and dress up as the cast of the animated series, ‘Phineas and Ferb’. Have your kids re-enact their favorite episodes. Tell them to be in character when they go trick-or-treating. Make sure to take photos and capture some video. This will be one Halloween your kids won’t ever forget.

S’mores Costumes

these s'mores costumes can be made with the simplest materials

This adorable S’mores costume from Cheerios’ and Lattes is inspired by the timeless snack. What’s particularly great is that you can use everyday items, such as boxes, pillows, and tape. To make the event sweeter, hand out packets of S’mores to trick-or-treaters. Kids will love this awesome and funny twist.

Wizard of Oz Costume

Bring Frank Baum’s Emerald City to this special holiday by dressing up as Dorothy and her friends, the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion. These Wizard of Oz-inspired costumes from Baby Dickey can be made in no time and are perfect for your cute and cuddly toddlers.

Have a fun time this Halloween with these amazing and practical DIY costume recommendations from Tree Classics.

Photo Credits

[1] Photo by Tom Grill via flickr. CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0

[2] Dessert Chica Ramblings

[3] Me and My Insanity

[4] Cheerios and Lattes

Tree Classics’ Favorite Recipes: 5 Fancy Brunch Ideas with the Neighbors

Autumn is the perfect time to come together with your neighbors, catch up, and plan for the upcoming holiday activities. One splendid way to do this is to throw a fancy brunch party. Here are several wonderful themes to mark the occasion and make the gathering all the more special:

1. A Sweet Syrupy Breakfast Paradise

delicious fluffy pancakes with bananas and bacon

Brunch is popularly regarded as breakfast for anyone who doesn’t have an alarm clock. Hence, serving everyone’s favorite dish after a restful slumber is always a great idea. Pancakes, waffles, and Pink Parsley’s French toast kebobs are a hit with kids and grownups. Serve a variety of syrups and sweet toppings to make dishes more mouthwatering. It’s also smart to prepare an assortment of fresh fruits to include in the feast.

2. A Scrumptious Breakfast Pizza Fest

spinach and artichoke pizza is a perfect dish for your brunch pizza spread

The great thing about pizza is that you can enjoy it any time of the day. Setting a spread with different kinds of pizzas is one brunch party theme everyone will love. Classic recipes such as pepperoni, margherita, meat lovers, and four cheeses are top choices. For a twist on the timeless delight, serve vegetarian pizzas. How Sweet It Is’ spinach artichoke and cheese, Just A Taste’s shaved asparagus and ricotta, and Beard and Bonnet’s garlicky greens and fried egg are marvelous selections!

3. A Berry Chocolatey Brunch Party

a delectable berry dipped in hot chocolate

Chocolates and berries paired together put a smile on everyone’s faces. Let this combination inspire your brunch. Serve up savory meals that use chocolate and berries, such Casa Veneracion’s fettuccine with chocolate and bacon or Taste of Home’s pork steak cutlets with a blueberry glaze. End the delicious meal with Just a Pinch’s very berry fondue or Baked with Stork’s delicious white chocolate and raspberry brownies.

4. Miniature Brunch Munchies Served in a Big Way

yummy mini-turkey burgers

Miniature versions of fave munchies are a definite crowd pleaser. Fill your guests’ hearts and tummies with a mini feast featuring turkey sliders, Serious Eats’ grilled cheese sandwiches served with tomato soup, chicken fingers, Delish’s fish and chips, frosted cupcakes, mini ice cream cups, and even cake balls. Guests will adore these little pleasures that satisfy a big appetite!

5. Backyard Brunch Picnic

a picnic basket filled with delicious treats

Another nifty suggestion is to combine brunch with the timeless all-American picnic. Prepare Closet Cooking’s delicious Monte Cristo sandwiches with maple syrup and turkey burgers; fix an egg salad or Janna Patterson’s good old chicken Caesar salad with red grapes; mix a delicious and refreshing iced tea and lemonade; lastly, bake some fluffy muffins! Set out a large blanket in your backyard and place your food in classic wicker baskets. The beautiful morning sunshine and heavenly breakfast are a spectacular treat!

Have a wonderful and lovely brunch with your neighbors with these fine ideas from Tree Classics!

Photo Credits

Photo by istargazer via flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Photo by Muy Yum via flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Photo by Denis Derisevic via flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Photo by MarxFoods.com via Flickr. CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0.

Photo by California Baker via flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

How to Throw a Lovely Garden Party on Labor Day

Celebrate Labor Day and say farewell to the summer that was by throwing a pleasant garden party for friends and family. Here are a few tips on how to throw a quaint and marvelous get-together right in your own outdoor space:

A Lovely Location for a Party
Photo by Devonshire via flickr. CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0.

1. Send out Invitations

Make sure to send out personal invitations to friends and family. Almost everyone makes plan for the Labor Day weekend, so it’ll be great if you get confirmations early on. Don’t forget to attract them with delicious dishes and good company.

2. Organize a Great Menu

Juicy and Tangy Ribs
Photo by stevendpolo via flickr. CC BY 2.0.

Food is the star of any gathering, so prepare something truly sumptuous and filling. For starters, prepare this delicious and refreshing watermelon feta salad with mint from The Shiksa in the Kitchen. For the main entrée, go for something smoky and delectable. Fire up the grill and prepare this mouthwatering sweet and tangy barbecue ribs from A Sweet Pea Chef. Everyone will go back for seconds with this juicy and irresistible entrée.

A Yummy Turkey Burger
Photo by isab3l via flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

For a different spin on the classic American burger, try these Hawaiian turkey burgers from Taste of Home. As a side dish, prepare this hefty serving of potato and cheese puree from The Galley Gourmet.

Delcious Sangrias
Photo by divya_ via flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0.

For drinks, these classic sangrias from Smitten Kitchen will perfectly complement the amazing food.

3. Prepare a Charming Dining Space

Set up a couple of tables and comfortable chairs. Make sure to place mats for a more elegant and sophisticated look. For the food, it might be better to prepare a buffet table. This will make it easier for the host to distribute the food and drinks. Make sure to serve a wide selection of drinks, including beer and wine for the adults, and different kinds of sodas and juice boxes for the kids.

A Great Buffet Table
Photo by Cambridge Brewing Co. via flickr. CC-BY-ND-2.0.

At the same time, the guests can easily stand up and enjoy seconds to their heart’s desire. Also, hire someone to put up a tent for the occasion. This might come in handy if it becomes too hot or if it starts to rain.

4. Prepare Games for Children

Some of the kids might get bored while the adults immerse themselves in their lively and engaging conversations. To avoid this, prepare a couple of board games that will occupy their time. Classic ones like Monopoly, Clue, Scrabble, and Sorry are surefire hits. For something a little more challenging, set up a Ping Pong table or volleyball net so that your kids can play a match or two. This is also a great way for the kids to make friends.

5. Enjoy the Company of Friends

After all the preparations have been made, it’s time to sit back and relax. Introduce people to one another. Spark up interesting conversations. Relive the fun memories of summer. Just enjoy! At the end of the day, it’s all about good people coming together.

Throw a wonderful garden party to cap off the summer and celebrate Labor Day with these tips from Tree Classics.

Celebrating with Tree Classics: 12 Ways to Christmas in July

If you’re eager to celebrate the holiday season with the exuberance of summer, then you’ll love our ideas for Christmas in July! What better way to cherish all the wonderful memories with friends and family than with a get-together that also lets you soak up the sun. Get ready for some midyear cheer. Fluff your Christmas tree, serve up some eggnog, and kick-start the merrymaking with Tree Classics’ 12 ways to Christmas in July!

12 Ways to Christmas in July

Tree Classics Christmas in July: 5 Simple Ways to Spread Cheer

Christmas has always been a season of giving. Whether you’re handing out gifts at an orphanage or helping out at a local soup kitchen, you know there is nothing more satisfying than being able to make other people happy. Celebrating Christmas in July allows you to continue spreading the joy of the holidays. Join Tree Classics as we list down ways you can turn your Christmas good deed into a year-long tradition.

1. Hold Storytelling Sessions with Kids

Audiobook
Photo from LibAmanda via flickr. CC BY 2.0

Reading is a great way for kids to enrich their imagination. There is a tale of adventure and awe locked inside every page of a good book. But reading can be very difficult for a child who has dyslexia or is visually challenged. Remove this obstacle by lending your voice in an audiobook production and holding a storytelling session with kids.

By using well-loved storybooks and textbooks that have been transformed into electronic recordings, children with learning disabilities can enjoy the lessons that these wonderful literary treasures have to offer. Visit Learning Ally to find out how you can sign up as a volunteer reader.

2. Visit Homes for the Elderly

Elderly
Photo from ryanrocketship via flickr. CC BY 2.0

Time has a way of making us forget the things that really matter. We won’t be where we are today if it weren’t for the people who came before us. Let’s not wait until the Christmas season to check up on Grandpa and Grandma and make them feel appreciated. Drop by your grandparents’ house or your local elderly home and bring back their smiles. You can share a meal, tell stories, and even play fun games with them. Check out organizations such as Little Brothers to learn more about how you can help bring cheer into the lives of our beloved elderly.

3. Become a Red Cross Volunteer

First Aid
Photo from Fort Meade via flickr. CC BY 2.0

If you’re looking for a long-term commitment helping out, you can never go wrong with the American Red Cross. Always ready to help where there is a disaster, the organization has come to symbolize solidarity and care. For decades, it has given aid to those situated in the most dangerous corners of the world. The Red Cross has diversified its volunteer work into different functions. Aside from helping in disaster relief efforts, you can also be a volunteer at blood drives, become a health and safety instructor, or even a social media advocate.

4. Rescue Animals with Your Neighbors

Animal Rescue
Photo from Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue via flickr. CC BY 2.0

Animals have the right to be safe. Sadly, not everybody is aware of this fact. We often find pets neglected or mistreated by their owners. Groups such as Sanctuary One and The Humane Society of the United States try their best to care for these poor critters, but they also need the help of other animal lovers. Sign up for their programs such as rescuing and protecting these pets from cruelty and providing them a loving home.

5. Build Homes for the Homeless

Habitat
Photo from Rob Swystun via flickr. CC BY 2.0

And, yes, there is no place like home. This has always driven the volunteers of Habitat for Humanity. They have dedicated their time and energy to providing homeless people everywhere a shelter where they can be safe and warm. You can join hands with family and friends and turn home-building activities into a time for bonding. With every brick you lay and every beam you hammer into place, you can have the satisfaction of knowing you’ve helped create a better tomorrow for your fellow.

You don’t have to wait until Christmas to spread holiday cheer. Now is as good a time as any other.

4 Classic Games that Boost Brain Power

Spending summer indoors gives you the perfect opportunity to pick up an old hobby or learn a new one. While some hobbies exercise your body, others help you sharpen your mind. You will find that a simple game that improves memory and concentration will allow you to take on everyday tasks with clarity and renewed passion. This summer, Tree Classics is bringing back those timeless board games and puzzles that boost brain power.

Chess

It’s all about strategy, strategy, strategy. In a game of chess, a lot of analytic thinking is used to come up with a strategy. You must bolster every attack with a purpose. Winning every move may not always guarantee winning the entire game. This forces you to concentrate and lengthen your attention span as you move towards your ultimate goal of taking down the king on your opponent’s side. Players can never be complacent even for a moment.

Tree Classics Brain Games
By podpad / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Rubik’s Cube

This 3D puzzle is about aligning cubes to show only one solid color on each side of the bigger cube. The activity brings you to focus on each step and analyze each shift. It also improves your short-term memory when you recall the tricks you’ve learned. The toy may come in different forms. Some puzzles merely use colors; others sequential numbers that make it even more complex. The point is to use both the left and right sides of the brain for logic, memory, and creativity.

Scrabble

If you want to sharpen your semantic memory – your ability to remember meaning – Scrabble is for you. This 75-year-old board game looks simple. But it is engaging because you have to use your faculty for language as well as your analytic and logical thinking. Since each letter tile has a corresponding value that adds to your individual score and extends the word connections, the amalgam of letters you create not only improves your ranking but also paves the way for you to add on more words as the game progresses.

Crossword

Crossword also exercises language by tapping into the parts of your brain involved in semantics, word association, and spelling. A way to expand your vocabulary by examining the witty word clues, crossword puzzles may be the mental push-up you need to keep sharp.

These mentally stimulating board games have never faded from our memory! In fact, they help improve memory and focus. What are your favorite brain games?

Tree Classics Weekend Fun: 5 Benefits of Kite Flying

After a long and busy spring, it’s time that you unwind and take in the beautiful summer sunshine. What better way to de-stress than through a classic activity: kite flying. Tree Classics shares with you five great benefits of letting these colorful aerial wonders take flight.

Relieving Stress

In today’s fast-paced world of high-tech computers and complicated electronic gadgets, people get stressed out quickly. Spending hours working on and with devices can take a toll on the mind and body. To combat technostress, a simple hobby such as kite flying comes in handy. 

Kite flying may not depend on sophisticated technology. A sturdy thread, your kite, and the wind are all you need. But it allows you to forget the anxieties of the world. 

As you watch your kite while it is in the air, your mind focuses solely on making it stay in flight. When you end up ignoring the distractions in your environment, your mind enters into meditation. While you’re doing this, both your mind and body start to relax. 

a kite
Photo from Jonf728 via flickr. CC BY 2.0

Sharpening the Mind

Ever wondered how monks are able to stay calm even in the most challenging of situations? This is because they have reached a state called mindfulness, and it can also be achieved through kite flying.

But learning how to focus isn’t the only benefit of this activity. Because kite flying entails mastering maneuvers and performing them over and over, the whole process improves memory and learning, based on a research study by the American Psychological Association.

a man and his kite
Photo from heatheronhertravels via flickr. CC BY 2.0

 

Keeping the Body Fit

While most enthusiasts of kite flying will tell you that you don’t really need to run to make your kite fly, you’ll find it difficult not to. If you’re used to being confined in a four-cornered office all day, you’d want to soak up the freedom that the outdoors accord you.

Run around and break a sweat as you let your kite fly through the air. This will help improve the blood flow in your body as your heart rate begins to rise. Your breathing will become better as your lungs adjust to the oxygen intake while running.

Socializing with Others

One unique thing about kite flying is that it is a social activity as well. In countries, such as China, Japan, and the United States, hundreds of kite flying enthusiasts gather in festivals and competitions. Their common love for the sport allows them to bridge age and even cultural gaps.

A beautiful kite is also an excellent conversation starter. It’s a good reason to create fond memories with loved ones or strike up a friendship with a fellow kite flyer at the park or beach.

making a kite
Photo from stevendepolo via flickr. CC BY 2.0

Communing with Nature

Similar to fishing and camping, flying kites allows you to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. Working all day in an office exposes you to too much artificial sunlight from lamps and too much processed air from air conditioners. These weaken your body. It’s about time that you pull yourself away from work and reconnect with the earth.

Heading off to a park or beach to fly kites will not only allow you to bask under the sun and take in natural air, but it will also let you enjoy the sight of clear blue skies and lush green trees. According to a study by the Oxford Journals, communing with nature helps promote a positive outlook in life which eventually leads to a healthier mind and body.

kite festival
Photo from New Brunswick Tourism | Tourisme Nouveau-Brunswick via flickr. CC BY 2.0

The simplicity of this activity and the carefree attitude it fosters make kite flying the definition of sheer summer fun.

 

3 Heartwarming Ways to Celebrate Fathers’ Day

Remember when your dad first took you out to the lake to fish? When he took you to your very first ball game? Or when he taught you how to ride your bike without training wheels? These were the good old days when it didn’t matter if you didn’t catch a fish, your team lost, or you fell from your bike more times than you could count. Spending time with your dad was all that mattered.

This year, it’s your turn to let Dad know how much he means to you. Tree Classics looks back at timeless father-and-child activities that you can still enjoy as you celebrate Fathers’ Day.

Father and Child
Image by Michelle Meiklejohn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Continue reading