Halloween sweet treats

Making memories

Everyday needs to be celebrated. Making Halloween popcorn balls for all her school friends.

I am that person that shows my love for you by feeding you. Not only do I love to cook, but it’s the way I show love. Ask anyone, if you’re a visitor in my house I HAVE to cook for you. I think I got this from my family, everything revolves around food.

So recently I had my Grandma, Aunt & Uncle come to visit. Of course there was a TON of food made & ate, but I also had something I needed to accomplish before they left again. Making my great-grandmothers popcorn balls. This bad boys are SO delicious, super buttery & sugary but so worth every single bite. Scroll all the way down for my family recipe. This card can be printed for your at home recipe book. I designed this in Cricut Design Space™“>Design Space.

With Halloween coming up, I decided to look back in my pictures and see if there were any other cool Halloween treats I made.  I did come across these pudding cups. I made these back in 2012, for a kids Halloween party. I used this recipe.

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I got some creepy plastic spiders and hot glued them onto the paper cups. I also melted green chocolate and piped zombie hands. They were so delicious!

Here are some more super easy Halloween sweet treats:

Rice Krispy Treat Monsters

Halloween Pretzel Rods

“Spooky” Cinnamon Sugar Flour Tortilla Crispy

Ghostly Chocolate Covered Strawberry

popcorn balls

So buttery & sugary but SO delicious.


Last minute Halloween costume change

With Halloween so close I’ve been super busy planning the kids’ costumes & creating custom party decor for the big day. Packard decided he wanted to be a red ninjago ninja.

Packard in his Ninjago costume

Packard on his 5th birthday. He was so excited to get this costume, he’s decided that’s what he’ll be for Halloween.

This was super easy, as he got this costume for his birthday. Trianiti finally figured out what she wanted to be; Jigsaw from the movie Saw. I was able to get all of her costume necessities off of Ebay: Kids suit, stripe leggings, red bow tie & a black skirt.

Jigsaw

the puppet from the scary Saw movies

On Tuesday (10/24) Trianiti decides to tell me she needs something else for school for Friday (10/27). They’re allowed to wear costumes, but no face makeup. With the Jigsaw costume heavily relying on the makeup to achieve the look, no one will know what/who she is and at 11 this is VERY important. Cue the fast acting mom solutions. We will turn her Jigsaw costume into Colonel Sanders with a few purchased items off of Amazon. Thank goodness for amazon prime! Red Apron, Thick rimmed glasses, a white mustache, and white hair paint. We used the black pants, white shirt and red bowtie we have on hand from the Jigsaw costume. Tuesday night we ran out to KFC to grab a bucket of chicken for dinner to finish off the look.

I used my Shop our cutting machine collection at Cricut.com” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>cricut to design a decal for the front of the apron, and then used my View our most popular products at Cricut.com” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>heat press to press the iron on to the apron. In all I think the last-minute costume change was a success, we’ll see what she says when she gets home from school. Hopefully everyone LOVES her new look.

Find the perfect costume at an unbelievable price. Findcostume.com


Halloween decorating on a budget

I LOVE decorating the outside of my house for Halloween, but why do all of the decorations sold in stores have to break the bank?

I have this huge tree in my front yard, and it’s really hard to decorate. So this year I decided I’m decorating the underside of it. I knew I wanted to hang skulls from the tree limbs, and remembered the dollar tree sells skulls! I went to the dollar tree and they did have a BUNCH of skulls, but none with holes to hang things from, but no worries! I was determined. I bought 10 at $1 a piece. (I do think I need more to fill out the tree, so I’ll be heading back for more, but 10 was a nice start).


Gather your supplies:

  • Skulls
  • Dremel tool (or any hole making tool will do)
  • String. I chose black, but I really wanted clear but didn’t have any on hand.
  • Needle to thread string. I used a embroidery curved needle, super easy to work with!

Start by taking all of the stickers off of the skulls
Drill 2 holes on the top of the skulls :

Thread the string on your needle & put it through your holes


Make sure the string is really long, so you can hang from the branches. You can adjust the length once you’re hanging, but if it’s too short they won’t hang right


Do all your skulls & then take them to your tree for hanging. It’s super easy after that point, just hang!
It total this project took me 15minutes to do from start to finish & only broke the bank by $12! The best part, this decoration is reusable year after year!


Our adoption story.

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There was a time in my life the was very uncertain. When you hear people who say “I struggled through life”, that was me. I was a mother, and have always been a mother. I knew from they day I found out I was pregnant that I needed to care & nurture a human being more than I every had for myself.

As for always being a single mom I knew that I needed to be very strategic about who I brought into my life, especially men. Not everyone that I considered friends would ever meet my darling angel, and there was a reason for that. This little human didn’t need people coming in & out of her life, she needed consistency. Although I had many strong men in my life: my dad, grandpa, & my wonderfully supportive Uncle Bob, she someday would need a dad. BIG shoes to fill right?

During my single days, I dated (a lot), and hated it. I started to let go of the dream of having that ‘perfect’ family. Until one day, a new man (my boss at the time, whoops) came walking into my life. I knew from the second I laid eyes on him he’d be my husband. If you don’t believe in love at first sight, I can tell you happens!

For 3 years we got to know each other, never once did he meet my little girl, although he heard LOTS about her. Finally the hard conversations came, did you want to be apart of OUR life? If you make the commitment to be apart of our life, you don’t get the option to walk right out when you decide no more. Yes, ask my now husband, I was that blunt about the needs of being in our life. I take the lives of my children very seriously, their emotional wellbeing is my top priority.

After the first meet, the two became inseparable very quickly. Within months, she had asked if she could call him DAD because “he is what I think a Dad is: he plays with me, helps me with homework, is there for me when I puke and kisses me goodnight”. At only 5 she had so much wisdom, it brought me to my knees.

A few years later, after we were married & had brought our new little one into the world. Sitting in the car, dropping off a rent check, she saw a check. “Mom; if dad’s last name is Falco, and your last name is Falco, what is Buddy’s last name?” — “His name is also Falco” “So why am I the only one with a different last name? Why can’t I be a Falco like everyone else?”. At that very moment, we needed to do something for this little blessing child.

And so our adoption story began.

This story isn’t a typical adoption story. She was already in our family, she was mine & his (but we needed to make that part official). On November 18th, 2013 the adoption was finalized and she was finally a Falco, like she had dreamed one day would happen.

And then in true fashion, we had to celebrate this!

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My sister-in-law made this cake, and I did the cake topper. Isn’t that cake the most amazing cake you’ve ever seen? She did a fantastic job!

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A party isn’t complete without a banner & decor.

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The ‘guest’ book was actually pretty cool. Everyone got to leave their thumb print on the tree. We actually still have this canvas, and it hangs on our wall. The favors were little jars filled with Swedish Fish

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I ended up listing all of the decor in my shop afterwards because I thought it was super cool. I’ve sold so many ofishal banners and have heard so many other adoption stories, it has warmed my heart. Adoption isn’t about just getting a child, adoption is the completion of a family. To make whole what our hearts need. Adoption for us meant certainty, forever, & roots.

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Faithbox


I should’ve been a party planner

I love parties!

Of course I do, I mean I run an Etsy shop filled with party decor & invites, but seriously I love parties! I love the planning, assembling, & finally the look on everyones face when they see it all come together. No occasion is too small to have a little party for.

Every year my kids set out about 3 months before their birthday’s for a theme that fits them. This year my little man wanted a Lego ninjago theme.

**BREAK**

Pull up a new tab and see if you can find anything Lego Ninjago party themed in the brick & mortar stores. Bet you can’t! And if you can, please tell me where. This year this theme was really hard to gather supplies but also really made me stretch my creativity. One this is for certain, I wish there would’ve been a pinata for sale, somewhere, for me to purchase. He REALLY wanted one, and I couldn’t find one anywhere! (Are pinata’s still in?)

I scoured pinterest for lego decor, and even created a pinterest board full of lego lego & ideas. I found that incorporating ninjas to this theme was going to be the difficult part.

For starters I did the easiest things I could. I took both my kids 11 & (now) 5 down to the play room and assembled: cake & cupcake platters, napkin & plate holder, and the utensil holder. I took a then took a green lego base plate and did the outline for a number 5. I had my little man fill in the 5 with assorted lego colors.

 


The cake is actually quiet the story. I generally use this bakery in town, have done this for years. But this year they wanted to charge me $70 for a 8 inch round cake! I am a mama on a budget, and refuse to do that! So I set off to do it myself. I am not a baker at all, but I was going to improvise. I bought lego candy off of amazon and went to the grocery store for a basic white cake with white frosting & just a little bit of red frosting for the trim. For 1 pound of candy & the cake it was $17.99. After I had both the candy & cake, I got to work. I took the cake & placed in on the lego cake platter I had made & then strategically placed the lego candy around the cake. When the entire cake was surrounded by candy, I pressed the candies in a bit to make sure they stuck & dumped the leftover candy on the top of the cake. The cake in the picture is a 8 inch round with only 1 pound of lego candy. (I can tell you, the cake was a HIT! All the guests, even adults, LOVED the cake!) The easiest cake & probably the cheapest I’ve ever spent on the cake. Took my a whole 5 minutes from start to finish.

See that little cutie in his lego costume! It was a perfect fit for his Ninjago lego party! Check out the ninjago mask here.

I made the lego banner & centerpiece sticks but I found the lego boxes for the centerpiece base at oriental trading company. I filled the boxes w/ rice and cut little holes in the top to insert the centerpiece sticks. The rice made the sticks not move around and weighed down the boxes so they don’t blow away.

Other items I purchased:

lego bubbles

lego plastic table cloths

ninjago swords

lego suckers

napkins

plates

chopsticks

I loved doing everything for this party. At first it was a challenge but ended up all coming together for a great birthday bash!


Design Space 3 Hack

For anyone who uses the Cricut machine, they will know that there was a new design space that just came out.

Now with that came some pretty cool new additions, but it also came with some faults. Case in point the new P&C feature. While you get to print larger images & save paper, you now are stuck with a HUGE box around the entire image. This is fine and doesn’t mean anything for the general uses, but what if you want to print on a colored sheet of paper? When what I do for a living, many invites that I make are not done on just basic white paper, they are on really cool paper. Take these I Do BBQ invites. They are printed on a thick recycled kraft cardstock paper, I then use my cricut to cut out the invite in these really cute mason jar shapes.

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Before Cricut updated to the new design space 3, the registration marks were only little squares, and easier to manage. Now it’s a huge box around the entire image. Because I wasn’t going to let \the cricut rule my life, I designed a hack.

Directions:
Open the link
Press ‘make it’ button
Send to printer
Print on sticker paper
P&C using the sticker paper setting
Let the machine do its magic
When it’s done now you can print on any color paper!
Peel off 4 of the marks and put them onto the colored paper. (Be sure not to go over the black lines. You want those!

new file

 

I DO BBQ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s it!

I am so excited that I took the time to make this file. It sure saved me from taking down my most beloved items in my shop.

-Ashlee


Huge milestone!

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Hard to believe that my dream of being my own boss 4 years ago would bring me to this accomplishment today!

I recently did an interview for a blog and it was about being an entrepreneur. This was what I said:

1. Please introduce yourself and tell me about your business. When did you establish it? Were there any constraints in your life that led you to starting it?

Hello! My name is Ashlee Falco, 30 from Independence KY, and I sell custom party decor at FalcoClan.etsy.com — everything from cake toppers and decorations to wedding invitations and baby shower games. FalcoClan was established in 2011, and has been growing ever since. I had long been a crafter and DIYer, making things for my own family’s special occasions. After years of being told to sell my stuff and never doing it, my husband gifted me an Etsy shop and a Cricut, the cutting machine I use for all of my items, because he believed in me. The only constraint was believing enough in myself to accomplish my dream.

2. At what point did you realize that you found the right idea or passion to pursue? How long did it take you to begin working on this idea?

Within the first couple weeks of opening the shop, I had sold an item. I listed more items and then they sold. The lightbulb went off that people really want homemade one of a kind party decor. So off it went, within the first few months I realized that this shop could actually work.

3. What path did you follow in turning your hobby into a business? At what point were you ready to create your full-time “thing?”

My hobby turned my business the day we opened up shop. I always wanted to be my own boss, so this was a perfect venture for me. I was a stay-at-home-mom before this shop opened so I wouldn’t say that I went into this expecting the shop to be a “full-time” thing. That is, until 3 years ago. When the shop first opened I just hoped that I could buy the household’s groceries each month ($200). When I achieved that goal my next goal was to purchase the ‘mom-car’ that I’d been wanting ($479 a month car payment). In April 2013 I purchased my 2011 Ford Flex!! The next goal that took a bit longer to achieve, and was a bigger dream, was to become a homeowner, the first in my family. I set a goal of $3,000 monthly gross sales, and I said when that happened we’d search for a house. In July 2015 we purchased our first home!

4. What were some roadblocks that you encountered? How did you overcome those roadblocks, and where are you in your business today? Can you share any data (i.e. annual revenue ranges, sales, etc) that point to your pursuit of the “American dream?”

As stated previously, my biggest roadblock was believing in myself. When I first became a mother I was teenage, single & unwed. I struggled, I put myself through college (graduating w/ 2 college degrees) and also worked a full-time job. For many years my confidence level in myself got chipped away. I needed to rebuild that confidence, and this shop really helped rebuild that. I know I CAN DO IT! 

In 2011 I had this little desk that held 1 Cricut machine and a small tub of paper. Now I sit in a 16×16 office fully stocked with all the latest & greatest items, and 7 Cricuts, which allow me to cut out professional-grade party decor. My first full year selling on Etsy I sold $2,400. I have figured I will do over $50,000 in sales this year. I am so thankful that I do get to live the American dream, be my own boss, and make my own dreams come true.

5. What advice do you have for individuals who may be struggling to make ends meet in their jobs? How can people navigate the transition from career to passion project to lucrative career?

My greatest learning experience was being a struggling single mom. My motto; don’t hope that things will happen, make them happen. If you are struggling, find a way not to struggle. Believe in yourself, you can do it. Set your first goals as reachable goals, don’t go into a small business wanting to do $50k+ a year, go in wanting to only make $200 a month! Watch your goals change, and how much you’ll grow in the next few years. Also, do not give up, and work hard. Achieving the American dream is hard work, it will not be easy, but in the end it will be so worth it!

Please remember to always believe in yourself. You will either be your biggest roadblock  or your biggest cheerleader, be the second

-Ashlee


Life’s Journey

Way back when, when I first started my journey of small business owner, I sold a whole Sesame Street party decor package to a lady. She received the decor & loved them! After the party I was tagged in her social media pictures.

What beautiful family, party & pictures! I hoped next year I’d be doing her daughters 3rd birthday & every birthday after that, but it didn’t happen. Life when on, and soon I was up to my ears in so many orders I forgot all about the Shravah family & their beautiful party.

FAST FORWARD

Over a month ago I got this e-mail, it read:

Fundraiser

Hi Ashlee- I don’t know if you remember me but you did Sesame Street decor for my daughters 2nd bday party in 2014 (Elmo). Are you avail to help me w a fundraiser I am having on May 23rd?

I had to look back in my records to remember who she was, but I e-mailed her back. Come to find out she never came back for more decor because shortly after her daughters 2nd birthday she was diagnosed with CANCER! I sat back and just listened to her talk about her journey, and after getting off the phone with her I was blown away & in tears. How can someone, who I’ve never met before, move me in ways I didn’t know possible?

For over 5 years now I’ve been apart of so many strangers’ memories & celebrations I’ve lost track of how many items I’ve sent out. But after that 1 phone call I was affirmed as to why I do what I do.

3 years have passed, I made & help celebrate her daughters 2nd birthday & now she’s coming back to celebrate her own birthday and to throw a fundraiser.

First and foremost I needed to learn about what organization she was working with, and what was it that she needed me to accomplish. Dee was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer, find her story here.

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She wanted tent cards made for the tables that were to show her guests what Stage IV was. Many people (including myself don’t know anything about cancer). I created a custom tent card to be displayed on every table.

I also created photo booth props to be used in the photo booth. Custom labels were made to be added to her take-away bags.

AFTER

You never know where life’s journey will take you. I am glad I was there in 2014 to give Dee & her family some great party decor, to make a smile & memory. I am so glad I’m still here in 2017 to help decorate a fundraiser. I am so blessed to have the job that I do. To be able to make strangers smile, or help when in need, I am blessed.

If you are interested in learning more about Metavivor please see their website here.


Graduation in my house? 

I cannot believe that it’s coming to the time in my life where I get to host graduation parties!

Okay, okay maybe I’m being a little dramatic, I mean it’s ONLY 5th grade gradution. But this milestone is worth celebrating.

5th grade graduation, do you remember it? That time in your life you were no longer a child but now a BIG kid? I’ve asked Trianiti a lot these past few weeks about how she feels about the newest transition in her life. She has summed it down to: Excited to be considered a big kid but nervous about her new adventure. What is middle school going to be like, if she’ll get a locker she can decorate (priorities of an 11-year old), does she NOW get a cellphone (I answered her question quickly, NO)?

Being the mom that I am, I made to commemorate this special occasion. I sat in my office all morning long creating special decorations for her, because I. AM. THAT. MOM. She will know when I am gone, I enjoyed every single second of being HER mom.

Still can’t believe that I now have a middle schooler as I made all of the decorations. It seems like yesterday that I was dropping her off at her first day of preschool. She looks like a totally different person than she does now.

Now for the party details:

Of all the decorations that I made the wreath was my favorite by far. I took a green foam wreath ring and wrapped tulle in the shades of her school colors. I then scoured my endless sea of pictures for ‘first day of school’ pictures, 7 years! and hot glued onto the tulle. I created the mock graduation cap with my cricut, however, you could totally just make a square & color in your son/daughters name & graduation year. To make the tassel I used this tutorial. Super easy and took only 30 minutes to complete the entire project.

These super sparkly jars, because who doesn’t love a little glitter at their parties? Were just mason jars bought from Walmart, some glitter bough from Michaels, and glue. All you do is paint the glue onto the jars & dump the glitter, let dry. DONE! Seriously, that easy. I promise, it’s not hard at all.

I picked up a basic cake from Walmart yesterday. because my local bakery was OUT OF CAKES!!! How does this happen, I don’t know. Seriously OUT OF CAKE?!? I’m actually still annoyed over it, as you can tell? This cake wasn’t bad, it was actually yummy, however my local bakery takes the cake (hehe) on the flavors & moistness. 

For the banner, cake topper & centerpiece sticks, you will be able to find them in my shop. Remember that all colors can be customized to your event.

 

I end this post with, remember to celebrate everyday. Tomorrow isn’t promised, make sure you acknowledge all accomplishments, big or small. This is me, this is who I am, I will celebrate you because you are important to me.


Are disco parties still in?

Every year my kids set off into their imaginations about what their next birthday party theme will be.

Trianiti’s birthday is in January, she generally gives me the theme late October, because this DIY mama needs time to plan and to make sure it’s extra special.

The one thing I’ve found out about party planning, DO NOT wait until the last-minute. As an Etsy shop owner, I get the last minute requests all the time, and I can just tell by their messages they are in desperate need. Why do this to yourself? Why give yourself extra gray hairs that aren’t wanted? Give yourself some time to plan, make this fun for you and your child!

Remember those 9 months of baby planning you did while pregnant, and the joy it was to finally say “Hello”? Party planning for their birthday should be the same joy. Remember that with every birthday, there is a milestone. Both of you got through another year of laughs & tears, groundings & vacations, ‘I hate you’s’ & ‘I love you’s’. Enjoy the process, have fun planning together, and look back on the last year of your life together.

This past October, Trianiti set out to have the best disco/neon party out there. Stop right there, disco? Are we not in 2017, who does disco anymore? To answer that, my kids does. I set off into my journey of party planning. I scoured Pinterest and couldn’t come up with a whole lot of ideas. CRAP! This was going to be a hard one!

As I quickly found out, it really wasn’t going to be that hard. Colors were already picked; neon, and she told me she wanted a black light dance party. Sweet! So off I went.

The first thing that I got was the black light from amazon, I also picked up a BUNCH of neon glow sticks (update: If I were to host another glow party, I would buy all of the glow stuff here). In the play room, for her name, I placed the sticks together to form letters & taped them up on the wall, you don’t have to break them, the black light makes them light up! We also punched out the circles & strung them with my sewing machine, then hung. ( I used this tutorial to learn how to do this.)

I made the banner & cake topper with my cricut, and again punched out more circles for the backdrop and table.

For an activity I let them faces with neon body paint. **Warning** Although it was super fun, and everyone enjoyed it, please don’t do this! We found out that the body paint irritated skin & some of the girls had red blotches on their faces and others were left with very itchy skin!

Although I am not a partycity person, I do go there for SOME party needs. Here is what I got there:

Neon plates & Neon cups. Bead Necklaces & a few black table covers

After cake & presents, I let all the girls go downstairs & blast the music to dance the night away (until 11pm).

The next morning after all the girls left, Trianiti came up to me and hugged me so tight, looked up at me and said “Thank you Mom for that amazing party! It was the best yet, and I had a blast! Thank you for making me feel special!”

And this is why I do what I do, because making 1 kid feel like their specical is what it’s all about.

-Ashlee

Heart glow glasses

entire glow party pack

glow nail polish