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Fall is My Favorite Time of the Year!

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” – Albert Camus

I live in the PNW – in central Washington state, a mid-sized city called Yakima. We grow apples here, and are right next to Wenatchee, which is considered the apple capital of the world. 77% of the hops grown in the United States come from the Yakima Valley. And we’re fast becoming a major wine tourism destination. We’re the 11th biggest city in Washington, but still a MAJOR agricultural area too. We get four distinct seasons here, and fall is my favorite – the colors of the trees, the harvest of all that fall produce, the U-Pick farms that turn into corn mazes and haunted tours and pumpkin patches. Fall always feels like new beginnings, fresh starts, an embrace of changes – and the start to some of my favorite things like hoodies and boots, holidays and entertaining, football and fun!

Fall favorites quote

Since the fall weather here is so beautiful, this is the time of year that Abby and I like to get our family photos together. Last year we used a local photographer for a s’mores themed photo shoot, outside of town at a big ranch with horses and open fields and beautiful views. My favorite was one that was kind of out-take… Abby thought it would be funny to eat a s’mores like Lady and the Tramp ate their spaghetti. The photographer caught us in the middle of that, and it’s so funny. ;)

fall smores photo shoot

I love to entertain. And being just a few hours away from Seattle, the Seahawks are our JAM here, man. So we throw a lot of game-day parties here. And if you love football parties too – you have got to check out my Snackadium tutorial! These pics are from a few years ago – I’ve made bigger and more elaborate versions the past two years, but never took time to post them. This year tho, I promise! This original post though – it is honestly NOT hard to create, it’s pretty cheap too – you can get all of the supplies you need at your local Walmart super cheap {pro tip: order it all online, do ship to store, and then just pop in and pick it up, easy peasy!} – it just takes a little bit of time. Totally worth it though, it’s a pretty rad way to serve your snacks during football season!

football party food snackadium tutorial

Another thing I absolutely heckin’ LOVE about fall is …. HALLOWEEN! Abby {she’s NINE now, can you guys believe it?} and I into witchy stuff, we love dress up, a black cat lives with us…. lol. It’s totally one of our favorite holidays. A few years ago I got a black pre-lit tree from Treetopia, that I put up in late September, to decorate for Halloween. Our last theme was a DIY Nightmare Before Christmas tree – lots of Dollar Tree decor, Sharpie markers to draw Jack and Sally on the big shiny ball ornaments, and some extra lights for pizzazz. After Halloween, I take the themed ornaments off, and stuff some fall flowers and leaf garlands on it for Thanksgiving. Then we decorate it up for Christmas too. It’s a tree for the whole holiday season. We are festive as all heck over here. 

diy nightmare before christmas black tree

What are YOU guys excited about when it comes to fall? I love to hear from ya. Leave me some comments below – or chat with me on Twitter at @sunandsipcups, or on Facebook at Sunshine and Sippy Cups!


How to Prep for Your Big Football Party on a Budget

When it comes to to football, and the big game of the season – what’s your favorite part?… Sure, for some it might be the thrill of the game, rooting for your favorite team, and the excitement of all that football tossin’ action. But for me, the fun comes from great friends, great food, and those awesomely great commercials! {Have you checked out this sweet sneak peek of the new Lone Ranger film commercial, which will debut during the pregame show? I can’t WAIT to see this!!}

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Football Party Food: Build a Snackadium with #SNICKERSMinis

“The reason women don’t play football is because eleven of them would never wear the same outfit in public.” –  Phyllis Diller… My home is a football home. I have some serious football lovers living here. Me? I have very little understanding of it all, but I like the food, I love having people over, and enjoy all of the excitement around it all. So in a way, I guess I love football too. I remember years ago, when Mike and I were first dating – His favorite team of all time, the Seahawks, made it to the Superbowl. Since we live just a couple of hours from Seattle, there was a LOT of excitement all over town for that game – it was a huge deal. Billboards all over town, stores were selling out of Seahawks gear, it was craziness. That was the first game I ever really watched – Mike explained how the game worked to me as it was played, and I finally “got” it. Alas, the Seahawks didn’t win {yes, I am a firm believer that those stinky ol’ Steelers stole the game. Sorry Steelers fans!} – but it did give me a much better appreciation for the game. These days, Mike manages his super-serious fantasy football team, we watch the games every week, and we love to have football parties. So that means I needed to come up with some creative new football party foods this year, since football season is in full swing now…

Snickers minis chocolate bagged candy

How to Build a Snackadium for Football Party Fun with #SNICKERSMinis

You might remember the Snackadium that I made last year, using chips and dips. I made that a couple of times for different parties, and it was a HUGE hit. So, I thought it might be fun to try to create a new Snackadium this year made out of sweets instead. My challenge was to find the new NFL bagged Snickers Minis at Walmart, and incorporate them into my dessert display. And I love a challenge! Here’s a list of what you’ll need to do this too:

  • Snickers bagged candy, the minis and the fun size bars.
  • Wilton white and milk chocolate candy melts, one bag each – and you’ll have lots left over for other projects too.
  • A bag of rod pretzels
  • Disposable aluminum baking pan {I forgot this, and had to use an old cookie sheet, which doesn’t look as clean and nice}
  • Fruit dip {or make your own, mix half marshmallow fluff with half cream cheese. So good!}
  • Caramel dip
  • Food coloring
  • Stadium fillers – I used 2 packages of filled sandwich cookies,1 big bag of apple slices, and the rest of the Snickers candy
  • One giant Rice Krispies Treat, cut into squares
  • Toothpicks

And, before you head out to Walmart to pick up all of these goodies, make sure to print out some of the new football party coupons – so you can get extra savings. {See my own Walmart search for NFL Snickers bagged candy on Google+.}  Because us busy mommas on a budget need all the help we can get, right? Once you’ve gathered all of your supplies, you’re ready to get started on your Snackadium.

how to build a snackadium

How to Build a Snackadium

Ok, building a Snackadium takes a a bit of time, but it’s really pretty darn easy to do. First step is to gather all your supplies and Snickers candy. Now, let me walk you step by step through the basics:

  • Playing Field: I used a fruit dip tinted green with Wilton gel color to make the field, and caramel dip on each end to make the end zones. To help keep the edges even, I put down two little wooden BBQ skewers where I want the divide to be – as you can see in the second photo above. Then just take them out when you’re done, and smooth any little shmears.
  • Goal Posts: These look complicated, but are pretty much impossible to mess up, I promise. Take two Snickers fun size bars, and dig a little notch in one side of each one like the photo, so they fit snug around the pretzel rod. That’s your base. Break one pretzel rod in half, and another into smaller sections, to make the top of your goal posts. To put it all together, melt some milk chocolate candy melts – dip each piece in candy, stick ’em together, and arrange on wax paper to cool {once they harden, they’ll stick together sturdy.} My trick: I used a thin book {yep, that’s the Baby Brezza cookbook that Abby and I are in!} – Then I laid the pretzel goal post on it, with the bottom Snickers bars on the stovetop beneath, so the whole thing could lay flat. Worked great!
  • Stadium Walls: Cut your giant Rice Crispy Treat into rectangles – then stick them together with toothpicks, to make a retaining wall around your stadium.

Congrats – The hard part is behind you! You’ve made your football field, set up a wall around the perimeter {love using that word. Perimeter…} and you’re goal posts are cooling down. Let’s fill the stands, and set up the field. Ready? Go….

snickers snackadium

“Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.” –  Erma Bombeck

Filling the Snackadium is simple – just take whatever goodies you’ve got, and fill them inside of your Rice Crispy Treat “stadium” walls. This makes your crowd of fans – ready and eager to see the #SNICKERSMinis players enter the marshmallow dip playing field…. To make the players, you’ll just melt a couple of handful of white candy melts in a couple of different bowls, and add a different color of food coloring to each one. Dip the tops of the Snickers minis in the candy, let cool – and now you’ve got two opposing teams. Grab your cooled candy and pretzel goal posts – put one in each end zone, with the caramel dip keeping them in place. Then place your chocolate football players on the field, however you wanna set ’em up. Now it’s time to cheer – and let the games begin!

Snickers Snackadium

“If winning isn’t everything, why do they keep score?” –  Vince Lombardi

Here it is – the Snickers Snackadium! Fun, right? When I make this to bring to parties, I’ll definitely be using the disposable aluminum pans, for a cleaner look. This was just kind of a test-drive, to see how this would all come together. I love it – and I’m sure it’ll be as popular as the chips and dips Snackadium of last year – if not more popular, because I mean, who doesn’t LOVE Snickers, right? Perfect football party snack. Love it!

How to build the Snickers Snackadium

Hope you have fun building your own Snackadium too!

You can find tons more ideas on building Snackadium creations online, there’s an actual site –, totally devoted to it. There are some crazy-impressive ideas on there that make me feel like SUCH an underachiever, lol. And if enjoyed this little tutorial, I’d love for you to share it with a retweet or a pin!

If you decide to make your own Snackadium this fall, either the chips style, Snickers style, or something totally new – I would love, love, LOVE it if you’d come share pics on my Facebook wall! I might even feature them on my site – I love seeing the amazing creativity my readers have. You guys rock.

Snickers NFL bagged minis

Like Snickers on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter @Snickers too!

{Disclaimer: I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and SNICKERS® Brand #CBias #SocialFabric. All photos and Snackadium creativity here are 100% my own work.}



Football Party Coupons

Football Party Coupons… Are you ready for football season? If you’re planning to host or attend some sweet football parties this fall, take a peek at my football party food creations – the Original Snackadium with chips and dips, and the new Snackadium, Snickers edition. Then use these awesome coupons to save a TON when shopping for party supplies, foods, and gear. Print as many of these great football party coupons as you want – They’ll add up to BIG savings on your shopping bill. There are some seriously great deals here – and I know that a few of them match up really well to grocery sales this week too. Safeway has the Lloyds packages at Buy One Get One Free this week – combine that with this dollar off coupon, and you’re rockin’ the sales. I’ve included everything I found that I would use to stock up for football party season – hope it helps!

$1.00 off Two (2) Solo Products
$0.50 off select salty snacks
$1.00 off HORMEL CURE 81 Boneless Ham

More of my favorite football party coupons!

And – while you’re there printing these off, watch for the $2 off Snickers NFL minis coupons – they’re only available in some areas, and I can’t find it in my available coupons. But you might see it in yours!


Super Bowl Party Food Idea: How to Build a Snackadium!

If you’re a football lover – or even just a party lover who looks for any reason to entertain, even when you don’t know a thing about football {*cough, cough* talking about me here! Lol.} – you’ll love this super fun, super impressive – yet I promise still super simple! – football party food. Check it out….

Football food

“The reason women don’t play football is because eleven of them would never wear the same outfit in public.” – Phyllis Diller

A couple weeks ago, I was searching Pinterest for some super cool Superbowl party food idea. And I came across a picture of a stadium made of snacks, which led me to the uh-MAY-zing The Snackadium site is filled to the top with fun food ideas – but it’s not filled with many instructions. So – I’ll show you how to build your own Snackadium! Awesome, right?

Building a Snackadium

“Half this game is ninety percent mental.” – Danny Ozark, Philadelphia Phillies manager.

Start with either a cookie sheet, {ignore that I used our super duper old one for this project, lol} or a foil baking sheet if you want something disposable – this is going to become your field. You could also use a thicker baking pan, if you wanted to make a 7-layer dip, instead of just the basics like I did. I started with the center section – and used Wholly Guacamole {the best kind evah!} for the playing field. My secret to making the lines nice and even is to use kabob sticks – those type that you get at Walmart in the BBQ section. Outline your “field” with sticks, and fill in with guacamole. Once you have it full – fill your other sides with salsa, and then nacho cheese. You can cover the sticks with the dips, and you won’t even see them. To finish your field, scoop a bunch of sour cream into a plastic sandwich baggie, snip off a tiny end, and pipe it out like frosting to draw lines on your field. Now you’ve got your football field – Easy peasy, right?

fun foods for superbowl

“I am thankful for the mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.” – Nancie J. Carmody

Next you want to build your goal posts. We used a package of pepperoni sticks – so good. As you can see in the picture, I used toothpicks to hold the pieces together. To get them to fit together tightly, you can push a spoon against the outside edge, to keep the toothpick from poking out through. Then cut a big square of cheese for the base, and attach it with another toothpick. Done!

Rice Krispies Treat - Big one

“The NFL, like life, is full of idiots.” – Randy Cross

For the outside wall of the Snack Stadium we used Rice Krispies Treats cut into squares, and held together with more toothpicks. I tried using homemade ones, but they were too soft. The store bought type worked MUCH better! And just one treat sheet gave me enough pieces to go all the way around, with a bit leftover.

Superbowl party platter

“I’ve been big ever since I was little.” – William Perry, Former Chicago Bears Defensive Tackle

Now you’re ready to assemble the stadium! You’ve got your playing field filled with dips, the Rice Krispies walls are ready to assemble, and your pepperoni goals are built. So – start putting together the wall all around your field, as large as you want to make it. Use a toothpick in between each Rice Krispies Square to keep it together. Then, fill the space in between the field and the wall with chips. {Another great idea that I saw was to add hot dogs all around that inside edge, to keep the chips from falling into the dips – so smart!} Then, put your goal posts in. You’re almost done!

Superbowl Party Foods

“The Rose Bowl is the only bowl I’ve ever seen that I didn’t have to clean.” – Erma Bombeck

One last piece – You have to make the football players! We used hot dogs cut into little pieces, and topped them with tiny cheese helmets. I’ve also seen little smokies as players, and Fritos corn chips as helmets. You could get really creative and use those tubes of cookie decorating icing to color the helmets to match the teams too. Put your players on the field – and bam! You’ve just built yourself a Snackadium.

Cool Superbowl Party Idea

“I feel like I’m the best, but you’re not going to get me to say that.” – Jerry Rice, San Francisco 49ers Wide Receiver

Totally fun, right? It was actually a lot simpler to build then I thought it would be. If you want to check out more fun football party ideas, check out my Football Party Ideas board on Pinterest. And for more Snack Stadium inspiration – visit and check out the Snackopolis! Wow.

Do you have a fun football idea to share?

I’d LOVE to see your fun food ideas too – if you’ve posted a cool project, leave me a link in the comments so that I can check it out. Or stop by and visit me on Facebook, and post a picture of your creation! I love to see what you guys come up with! Also – See the sweet version: The Snickers Snackadium!

“You’ve got a goal in life. I’ve got a goal. Now all we need is a football team. ” – Groucho Marx