Tag Archives: Pumpkin Carving

So spoiled

I’ve written a few times about the epic pumpkin patch my mom’s cousin used to own just outside of Redlands, CA. We started going there when my now 8 year old was a month old. Being family we did all the activities for free and basically for the years before we moved here, I had all the fancy (and tasty) heirloom pumpkins I could stand for free. Well change comes to us all and we, um, moved across the country. Last year I just couldn’t bring myself to pay for a pumpkin patch, plus we were super busy so we just picked up jack’o’lantern pumpkins at Walmart and called it meh. This year a friend invited me to go with her and her son to a local Pumpkin Patch (one of about 87 in a 5 mile radius of our house…turns out when you can grow things like corn mazes, people do.) I finally got my spoiled self in gear and made peace with the fact that no it wouldn’t be the same, and yes it was going to cost me both my arm and my leg. Sigh. The munchkins were beyond thrilled with the experience so I’m thinking we may be back in the proverbial holiday tradition saddle once again.

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People either love these things or hate them. I hate that I love them. And the disembodied cow/sheep heads? fuggetaboutit.

I’m not sure if I can adequately express the magnitude of my gratitude, that my kids are both easily entertained and easy to please. Tire and dirt? We’re set for hours, Mom!

Not pictured is the huge silo fort with air cannons. Not sure how I was so negligent in my picture taking that I have no pictures of it’s magnificence.

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But the real star, the real icing on our fall extravaganza cake was this little barn thing filled with corn. We spent a solid hour in here and they probably would have stayed longer. True I had to fish corn out of pants and skivvies, but it was the best sensory exploration activity of the whole season for all the ages. All of the things we did just reminded me and threw into stark relief that 99.9% of the time, simple is the right answer (and not just for kids).

We rounded out the day with a haunted hay ride to a field of perfectly placed (if not exactly grown) pumpkins to find our Jack’o’lanterns. Corra had a huge (fake) spider almost land on her head and ghosts came out of the trees. It was pretty great.

So next on our tradition documenting docket: Halloween itself!

 

 

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dragons, and ghosts, and pigs, and fairies…oh my!

oI love Halloween, don’t you? Being a mom is what actually inspired this love. I stopped trick-or-treating when I was about 12 and being a rather awkward teenager I never really had much to do on Halloween and felt like the biggest loser because of that. But then a husband and kids came and all that mess changed. Now I’m a veritable rock star when I pull off costumes that impress and delight my children and I get to orchestrate fun lunches (mummy hot dogs) and Day of the Dead parties (complete with sugar skull sugar cookies!) This year was something of a wild card. Because of hurricane Matthew and our church’s commitment to help with the clean up effort, our normal trunk-or-treat was canceled. We happen to live just far enough into the country that I was fairly certain trick- or-treating was not going to happen in our neighborhood (“what? done after 3 houses? I guess we have hiked three miles…”). Luckily my brother and Sis-in-law graciously offered to share their neighborhood and they even fed us dinner before hand to build up the energy reserves for a thorough candy acquisition operation. Helps that their neighborhood is one of those where people give out full-size candy bars and a few couples even had a tent and were serving up hot dogs and hot chocolate! We know where we will be next year!

Unfortunately, when we kicked off the festivities with pumpkin carving, Neil wasn’t here. He is traveling back to Vegas for one week every month. Small price to pay for having him home 100% the rest of the time, but I’m pretty certain if his boss makes him travel over my birthday again, I’m going to refuse to drive Neil to the airport. Ever. This year was the first that both big kids did their pumpkins completely solo. Babies…Growing up…Sniff. And as an aside, as soon as the pumpkins started to cave in and get soft, Mei (our dairy cow) yummed them up for dinner. No waste on this farm!

Little Man is a fairly steady customer when it comes to costume requests. He knows months in advance what he will be and he sticks to it. This year he knew he was going to be “Steve” from Minecraft. About a month out, that changed to “a red dragon.” That was fine by me and it led to one of my favorite costume triumphs to date. Hi. I’m Lindsey, and I work in felt.

A study in contrasts. Layna, kind of out of no where informed me that she wanted to be a ghost (“Boo!”) and stuck with that for 2 months. Naomi went through this process: vampire witch, Princess Leia (until I semi insisted on a turtle neck dress…authenticity people!), mermaid, Pocahontas, and at last…Zarina the pirate fairy. I had a ton of fun with her costume too and learned how to shir. This made for a super comfy bodice that actually looked right. Plus she had a costume for Ren Faire! Win!

True to three year old form, Corra changed her mind daily for about 3 months. We were reading a magazine in which some kids went as pigs, and I reminded her we had the pig beanie (a white elephant gift from the work Christmas party years ago). She was sold, and double sold when I told her we would use Naomi’s old dance stuff to complete the ensemble. Win again! Also the full dragon costume. Yay for internet tutorials that made wings much simpler than what I was envisioning. How did people do things before the internet?

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Candy was acquired, fun was had, and life was good.

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The next night we had a Dia de los Muertos party for school, and later some friends came to dinner to help with decorating the cookies and eating the sugar skulls. These cookie cutters are giving my Ninja-Bread-Men cutters some stiff competition for my favorite baking thing.

Amazon also came through with these skull candy molds. So cool.

This was one of our better years for Halloween. For school the next day we did candy graphing and pumpkin measuring for math, and Halloween MadLibs for writing. This month we read “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” (the real one, and it was awesome!) and a book called “Little Witch“. It’s going to be tough to top this one, but challenge accepted for next year!

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It clicked!

I’m going to write about our Halloween adventures all out of order because I want to write about my favoritest thing that happened first. And there are 20 pictures in this post because Halloween is the most photogenic holiday ever. Besides Christmas.

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When Trick or Treating started, Layna mostly had no idea what was going on. She was digging the whole newness of it, but didn’t get the process at all. Well. She is a quick study.

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We went to a few houses by my Mom’s house but most were dark so we drove up to another sub development. On the way Layna ate an entire Kit Kat. Through the wrapper. Anyways, the other kids are old pros by now and would lead the way up to the doors. They said “Trick or Treat” and Layna would say, “Hi.” After about seven houses, it clicked. She realized the goodies in the orange bucket she was holding were hers, and come hell or high water or face planting on the sidewalk because it’s hard to walk in shoes, she would not loosen her death grip on that bucket. Driveways were climbed with gusto and doors were pounded vigorously, because she knew what was up now. It was awesome and it’s always nice to be reminded that she is a little kid first and foremost. Sniff…a little kid…not so much a baby anymore…sniff.

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We went to the Bellagio Conservatory Halloween morning because honestly, I needed to kill time until Daddy got home. I love it there and we hadn’t gone yet this year. As always it never disappoints.

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What are they staring at you ask? What has inspired those looks of awe and joy? (or boredom in Layna’s case) Only some of the coolest creatures ever from Middle Earth! Psssh. Hobbits. Whatever. They had Ents! and I am a huge geek and I know they really weren’t Ents but I called them that in my head and it made my day so much better because they should be Ents and Ents really should exist somewhere on this planet and I’m done now, I promise.

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Then we went home to nap and get ready for dinner at Grandma’s house.

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(Naomi swiped Grandma’s cat ears until it was time to be Rapunzel.) On the menu we had Mummy Hotdogs, Monster Teeth and creamed slime (apple slices with cream cheese dip and caramel sauce), Moon chips and troll snot (chips and guacamole), Vampire eye balls (grapes), and Witches Brew (apple cider and Sprite). Yum! Once we were all tanked up we went Trick or Treating.

After acquiring too much candy, we headed home to jammies and the Disney Halloween Special on YouTube. Because I’m the Mom and I’ll be nostalgic if I want to.

IMG_7192I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned that my Grandpa is a hardcore technophile. He has owned everything ever made with a power switch since the 60’s. I kid you not. He had one of the first video cameras that had a battery pack you wore in a bag on your shoulder. So a few weeks ago he gave us a perfectly good projector…because he has two others and needs to clear out some space. It is the coolest thing because we can hook up Neil’s laptop, move a couch and it’s like an instant movie theater.

IMG_7193Uncle Ian came over because the plan was to play a game while the munchkins watched the show, but we were all kind of wiped out so we all watched the show. Then it was bed time. But we can’t forget the previous Monday night pumpkin carving! (I almost did…I’m tired)

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“Here’s my Pumpkin!”                              “You can’t have my pumpkin!”

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I did the face on the left after Naomi specifically said she wanted round eyes and a scary smile face. Turns out I can’t do anything right, so Daddy carved this face on the back. Hooray for Daddies!

IMG_7116I still have no idea what Garyn’s pumpkin is. He asked if I like the “scene” on his pumpkin and I enthusiastically said yes. I still have no idea what Garyn’s pumpkin is.

I hope you had a wonderful first holiday of the holiday season and here’s to all the ones coming up!

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pre-Halloween joy

YAY! PUMPKINS WOOO HOOO!!! sorry. Everything about pumpkins makes me happy. Thought I should get these pictures shared before the day itself. Plus, Naomi came up with a pretty great theme and name for her pumpkin.

 

Parental supervision. It’s a little sad to realize that we don’t have many more years before kids are off and hacking at their pumpkins all on their own. I’m excited to see what that looks like, but reminders of my munchkins growing up makes me step back and sigh. I mean Layna slept through the whole thing this year…who knows where I’ll find pumpkin goo after she has her chance next year.

 

Not that they didn’t do a lot of the work, mind you.

 

Pumpkin Master and Apprentice Pumpkin Master. Little man just liked the name of the design they choose…”Ichabod’s Fate.” He started reading “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” but it was a little too much for him this year. Maybe next year I’ll read it to him and we’ll watch the Disney rendition afterwards.

 

She didn’t waste any time thinking about this, at all. I asked what she wanted and she said, “A Grul [girl] Pirate!” So please note the eye-lashes and eye-patch designating that the pumpkin is both female and swashbuckling. The pirate hat with bow didn’t turn out so good. After I finished I asked what her name was…”Quee-Quont” was the prompt answer. Yeah. Weird. But Quee-Quont is languishing rotting sitting on the table in their room. Nay threw a hissy fit (as only she can) when we tried to move it outside.

 

Success! Pretty spiffy pumpkin courtesy of an electric pumpkin carving knife (it’s way cool) and a meticulous Dad-guy. Little man is very pleased. Well I’m off to go figure out dinosaur eyes on two different costumes because I procrastinate on occasion…or always. Happy All Hallows Eve Eve!

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