DIY Halloween Spider Pumpkins

DIY Halloween Spider Pumpkins

This post was sponsored by Lowe’s as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Happy Halloweenie!

I love this time of year. It’s a time when I can really be a kid and learn to show the silly side of myself to my boys. I look forward to many years of spooking them and their friends on this creepiest of holidays. I’ve always love to partake in dressing up (even when it was no longer considered cool), but I didn’t realize how much fun it would be to relive these moments again as a mom.

It’s like you get a second chance at childhood! I mean, it doesn’t get any better than that am I right?

We typically go for a simple jack-o-lantern vibe. I’m all about finding the magic in the simplicity… So we spend our time letting the kids dictate how they would like it to look (usually pretty plain, I mean, they are MY children). This year, I thought I’d get a little crafty and figure out my own design for a few pumpkins for the front entrance. Jack-o-lanterns are so last year, right? Just kidding, I heart ya’ Jack! So we settled on DIY Halloween Spider Pumpkins made with just a few materials.

Lowes is my one-stop shop for all of my Halloween (or Fall) decor. They have an endless selection of materials and are a crafters paradise! Not to mention the really cool over-the-top blow-up stuff like this huge scarecrow my boys were oh-so-happy to pick out. I typically stay away from this obvious kind of decor, but they really loved it so I caved. They have plenty of light-up pumpkins to keep you plenty occupied!

To create your DIY Halloween Spider Pumpkins you will need:

  • Multiple size pumpkins (both small and large)
  • Pumpkin Carving Tools
  • Black or Purple Spray Paint
  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Colorful Lights
  • Small & Large Black Plant Stands

 

Start by carving the pumpkins making two holes for eyes and a mouth with fangs. After gutting the pumpkin (for what seems like hours) spray each pumpkin your desired color. I went with black and purple. Once the pumpkins are dry, poke three holes on each side for the legs. Insert pipe cleaners and bend to look like spider legs. Place the pumpkins on the plant stands that act as more spider legs. You can add different color LED lights to illuminate the pumpkin at night. It makes for a spooky and fun feel at your front doorstep.

Making DIY Halloween Spider Pumpkins was a fun kids craft that we all really enjoyed. They loved helping decorate our front step and spending countless hours in Lowe’s discovering their fall decor.

 

 

 

Essentially yours,

Erika

Broom Bites Recipe + Halloween Monster Martinis

Broom Bites Recipe + Halloween Monster Martinis

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of 7UP® and Canada Dry®. The opinions and text are all mine.

October is slowly becoming one of my favorite months. Now that the boys are getting older I’m having a bit more fun preparing and decorating for Halloween. I’m spending more and more time preparing new and fun recipes for this spooktacular season. I take great joy in exploring all of the spooky sides to me that perhaps wouldn’t otherwise be expressed.

Halloween Recipes

Putting together fun tablescapes that are easily created to anchor your Halloween party is so much fun to me. I often find it tough to stick to just one theme since there are so many fun ways to celebrate All Hallows Eve. Because I’ve spent a good chunk of my time keeping it kid-friendly the past few years, I’m excited to get a little creepier this year. The boys have a healthy attitude around these festivities, and as they grow they push the scare-factor up a bit more. This year I’m flirting with witches and monsters as opposed to the gruesome zombie brains and eyeballs of last year.

Halloween Recipes

The Perfect Halloween Monster Martini

The new Canada Dry mini monster cans available at Walmart are perfect for this easy Monster Martini. Served in a martini glass with a few spider friends to accompany it makes it just the right amount of spooky for your Halloween party. Extra points if you can add some dry ice and really raise the creep-factor.

Halloween Broom Bites

These mini monster cans are available at your local Walmart until October 31st. Their convenient size means they are perfect for easy placement in a cauldron or other decorative bowl on your tablescape. You can incorporate these mini monster cans into your recipes as well.

Halloween Mini Broom Bites Recipe

The Mini Broom Bites are a fun snack for the witch in your life. These light and fluffy cupcakes are made using 7UP mini monster cans and have the perfect moist pound cake consistency. That hint of lemon-lime pairs well with the airy, light consistency, of the vanilla buttercream frosting.

Halloween Recipes

For this recipe you’ll need:

  • Three sticks of butter
  • Three cups of sugar
  • Five eggs
  • One teaspoon butter flavoring
  • Two teaspoons lemon flavoring
  • Three cups all-purpose flour
  • One cup of 7UP

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Whisk butter until creamy. Add sugar (1 cup at a time) mixing after each addition. Add eggs (1 at a time) mixing after each addition. Add butter and lemon extracts and mix together. Add flour (1 cup at a time) mixing well. Add 7UP, then mix together until combined. Pour into a greased muffin tin and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until stiff.

Add buttercream frosting and top with candy corns.

Halloween Recipes

Halloween Recipes

Mini monster cans are perfect for every Halloween party, and right now, they have a special Snapchat Snap Code that unlocks a special Snapchat filter for 1 hour.

Scan the ghost icon on the cans by holding your phone (with Snapchat open) over the ghost icon. Press the ghost icon on your screen (this does not require a video or picture taken). This process unlocks the Snapchat geo filter for one hour!

Halloween Recipes

Each year as I’m planning fun new recipes it begins to take on a life of its own. The creativity starts flowing and before you know it I’m dreaming up ideas for next year. I can’t wait to explore this holiday with my family over the next few years and share more fun recipes and party ideas.

For more recipe inspiration visit www.TheCraveyard.com and get your own creative juices flowing!

Halloween Recipes

** All products used in this post were purchased at Walmart. They have a huge selection of fun and affordable Halloween decor and supplies. It’s easy to get in the spirit of the season when you are able to stay within your budget. I hope you enjoy these cupcakes and fun Halloween theme as much as we did.

Walmart

Essentially yours,

Erika

Three Ways To Make Money Blogging

Three Ways To Make Money Blogging

The one question I most often get asked about my work from home job is, “how on earth do you make money blogging?”

I should probably start at the beginning, because the second most frequent question I get is, “exactly what does a blogger actually do?”

Blogging 101

I started this here blog in March of 2014. I’ve always been an over-sharer, whether my advice was warranted or not. I have a need to share all things I learn almost to a fault. I’ve learned over the years that not everyone is as interested in learning all of the details all of the time. In an effort to preserve my relationships with those closest to me, I started essentiallyerika.com.

My friends and family were all tired of me sharing my natural home remedies and a friend of mine suggested I put it all on a blog where other moms interested in the same issues would get the help they were looking for. Voila! Essentially Erika was officially an idea. Well, I didn’t have a name quite yet. I started off really simple on  a free-hosted site because unlike now, I wasn’t even aware you could make money by writing a blog.

I started with a concept.

I knew I wanted to share all of the natural / organic finds I was discovering on a daily basis. You see, I spent the better part of ten years as a Project Manager in construction. I was used to dedicating myself to multiple projects on a constant basis. So when I suddenly became a stay-at-home mom with only a handful of projects, I did what I knew best to do, I dove in head first and never looked back. My days were spent devoting as much time to running our home like my new personal project. Homemade EVERYTHING! Living on one income, I also devoted myself to purging all of the “extras” in life, and saving where we could. Turns out, I wasn’t alone.

I was originally going to name my blog “Two Under Two,” because whenever I would meet any resistance from companies on the phone asking why I couldn’t just “show up,” I would respond with, “I have two kids under two years old”, and immediately they had compassion for my situation. Turns out, naming a blog isn’t as easy as it looks. I muddled around for a while thinking carefully so I wouldn’t get pigeon-holed to one description, when suddenly it just came to me.. and Essentially Erika was born.

How to Make Money Blogging

I dove head first sharing homemade recipes and different ways we were saving in our home. From the very start I included all I was learning in parenting, and eventually the blog grew from a ‘Mom Blog’ to a full Lifestyle blog. I didn’t even have a Facebook at the time and only shared pics of the kids on my Instagram for family and friends.

I had no clue you could get paid to write and didn’t have the fondest idea where to start. I’m often approached on how to start a blog now that folks see there is money to be made in it, but I always recommend writing for the love of it, before jumping into the monetization pool too quickly. At the end of the day, like most jobs, you have to love blogging in order to keep doing it. There are late nights, and lots of actual writing involved. There are nights I need to whip up 1200 words and edit 100 photos.

Blogging has re-introduced me to an old passion of mine, photography. I’ve always loved the art of photography and I love how its brought me back to my love of photos. Learning a lot through trial and error (I haven’t taken any classes), I’ve been able to grow in other areas (I recently shot a family reunion).

Still, my heart is with blogging, and as I tell most people, if I weren’t making money doing it I would still find time to do it. It’s certainly therapeutic, and I love going back and seeing how much I’ve learned / grown.

Three of the key ways to make money as a blogger are…

Make Money Blogging

  • Join an Influencer Network – There are many online Influencer Networks geared towards matching the right blogger with the right brand. One of my favorites is Everywhere Society. They are a nationwide agency and provide different opportunities for all kinds of bloggers. I’ve recently enjoyed a few of their campaigns with Orkin, Osh Kosh, and Macy’s. Their campaigns span from fashion, cooking, home and kids. They sent me to my favorite blog conference in NOLA last year, ShiftCon. The ladies I’ve met working with Everywhere Society are some of my favorite folks, it feels like we get to work alongside friends and have a great time in the process.

Make Money Blogging

  • Become a Contributor – One of the ways you can earn money blogging is by contributing to other blogs. Bloggers can hire out bloggers to provide content for them as a contributor, or you can become a ghost writer for other blogs and online magazines. I’ve enjoyed this kind of writing because it provided me a different outlet to be able to explore other “voices” and writing styles. There is freedom in anonymity at times, this is ideal if you enjoy any political writing.
  • Affiliate Marketing – Affiliate links are another way bloggers can make income. There are brands that you can align yourself with (that you believe in) that can provide you with your own special tracking links. These links are placed throughout your blog posts, depending on your writing style, when clicked on and any items are purchased the blogger will receive a percentage of those sales. This allows a creative freedom to work with only the brands you absolutely love. Of course these types of arrangements and the compensation you receive rely heavily on your site’s traffic, so this isn’t always easy to pull off as a new blogger.

Essentially Erika

All in all there are many different ways you can create an income through an online blog. I’ve found that in blogging, I’ve met some of the most uplifting and supportive groups of people. I’ve shared a ton of experiences with some really interesting folks, and had some of the best vacations with my family in tow.

While I’d always assumed I would return to the corporate life after my kids went off to school, blogging has provided me with other options. The option to do something I truly love while being creative, and be there for my family in a way I could never have done working from an office.

I’m able to BE THERE with my family. For breakfast, homemade lunches, drop-offs/pick-ups, PTA meetings, dinner, and everything in between. All without having to sacrifice financially. I’ll always love this little blog of mine that has grown by leaps and bounds, and I’m only getting started…

Nikita Hair

If you are a blogger and are interested in working with The Everywhere Society you can sign up here!

Essentially yours,

Erika

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