Pumpkin picking

It was a beautiful day today so we decided to get carve pumpkins. I had planned to take the kids to the local farm stand and pick out a few, but Eve wanted to pick her own right from the pumpkin patch, so we turned it into a lovely fall outing. Things got a little dicey on the drive down when the skies opened up and everything got soaked, but by the time we got to the pumpkin patch it was blue skies again. Thankfully!!

When we arrived Eve saw a horse drawn wagon ride and decided we should do that first. The wagon brings people up into the apple orchard, but we weren’t much in the mood for picking apples so we just road the in the wagon for the full round trip.


Grandpa Tom and Eve, enjoying a lovely day at the apple orchard.

Seeing dad and Eve in the wagon together reminded me of a picture from when she was a baby (I just spent ten minutes reading baby Eve posts, cracking myself up, but can’t find the picture. I think I have a hard copy I’ll try to add here later). I tried to recreate the picture, but Eve would have no part of it!


I mostly just got a lot of this. She’s not very cooperative with the camera these days.


I had to settle for this. Not quite the same, but the memory is there anyway. :)


These two were happy to cooperate with the camera! :)

After our wagon ride we took a run through the corn maze. I was surprised that Eve so eagerly agreed to go, after she was so grumpy about the last corn maze we did! Fortunately this one is much smaller and only took us half an hour.

Then we passed through the pumpkin patch and Eve decided she’d rather get one from the pre-picked pile. Crazy girl! I thought it would be lovely to take a picture of them in the pumpkin patch, but we are nearing the end of the season and the pumpkin patch isn’t really very lovely anymore. Oh well. We moved on to the pumpkin pile and made our selections. The usual rule is to pick a pumpkin you can carry, but Eve chose a HUGE one and Grandpa Tom happily carried it for her. She’s a lucky girl. :)


Weighing our pumpkins. We had 63lbs of pumpkin! I love this scale.

We also picked up some apple cider and dried corn to decorate the house.

Back at home Lex decided he was too tired to carve pumpkins right away, but Eve was raring to go. She also was eager to do it herself! She quickly decided some help with the scooping out the guts part would be ok, but she did most of the carving all on her own. I sat by, watching and hoping we would not see any blood! (Speaking of blood, while this was going on Lex was at the table and suddenly said, “Hey, I lost a tooth!” They are so much less eventful these days!)


Ready to go!


Scooping out the guts is hard work!


She drew a bunch of sample faces on the white board (I should have taken a picture of that!) and eventually decided on a basic pumpkin face. There may have been a bit of persuasion in there as we all told her how tricky it is to carve curves and details. She learned pretty quickly herself once she set to work carving the face!

It is a very chilly night, but we slipped out quickly to light the candle and put Jack on display for all to see. Hopefully he’ll have a friend join him soon when Lex gets inspired to carve his pumpkin.


Two little pumpkins sitting on a porch. She is also making a scary Halloween face, or so she told me.

Halloween 2014

Another successful Halloween on the books! The kids went easy on me this year. Eve decided to be a bear, which consisted of wearing her teddy bear PJs and a hat. It took a tiny bit of work (Etsy browsing) to find a bear hat and she made a paper mask (which she promptly lost) and voila, that was her costume. She actually spent more time dressing her teddy bear, the Princess of Eflica, then making her own costume.

Lex, on the other hand, opted for a complex costume he made himself, with just a little help from me. He worked hard on it and it came out awesome!


“Spray painting is fun!”

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Checking out his handy work.

with eve p1

He took a break from the painting to help Eve build fairy houses.

with eve p2

Sibling love. Pure perfection.

robot in progress

The costume is coming along nicely.

robot cat

Daisy likes the costume.


Daisy cat

He spray painted the boxes, attached pie tins with brass fasteners, decorated with card stock and metallic markers, and added a few pieces of bling with super glue.

With the costumes complete I really wanted to take them out and show them off. I was thinking of my elementary school and the community Halloween party each year. I posted about it on FB and apparently lots of other communities in our area still do such a thing, but not our school. Oh well. Instead we decided to go to our little local mall. Each year they do trick-or-treating. We went once or twice in the past (2009, 2010, 2012), but it’s always packed and not my favorite place to go. This year we needed to buy a birthday present for a party today, so I thought it would be fun to go trick-or-treating and present shopping at the same time. It ended up being a lot of fun!


Have robot, will travel.

bear and robot

A bear and a robot go to the mall.


Trick-or-treating at the mall.

Back home we had the usual over-stimulated Halloween dinner interrupted by trick-or-treaters, then they got back in costumes and headed out! As usual I stayed home to hand out candy and Alan took them out.


My last minute Halloween decorations.

a ghost

A water bottle, sharpie, and a glow stick. Easy peasy.

all done

Last stop, our house. I let them take three pieces each from the candy bowl!


“Mom, I got six Reese’s for you!” He takes good care of his momma!

lots of candy

The loot! We munched on candy, watched the Simpson’s Halloween episode, then passed out!

A good night was had by all! Happy Halloween.

Today they spent some time sorting and organizing their candy. They traded candy (“How about my Mars bar for your Mars bar?”) and building candy towers. It was really sweet to hear and reminded me of being a kid. Siblings. Sweets. Holidays. Happiness.

Halloween Gingerbread

Last week we went to visit a friend who had, in the past (2012), helped us make gingerbread houses. We don’t see her often and when I mentioned our plans to visit, Eve immediately asked if we would be making a gingerbread house. I told her no, just visiting, but the idea stuck and she insisted. Sooo…. behold the Halloween Haunted Gingerbread House!

completed house

Our Haunted Halloween House

The process took a few days. On the first day we made the dough.

eve baking p1

Eve in the kitchen. I love it!

eve baking p2

She doesn’t even need a chair, just a little stool. :)

Then we rolled it out, cut it, and baked it.

eve baking p3

She was eager to help cut out the pieces and ended up doing most of them all by herself.

baked pieces

Here are all the pieces.

On Saturday we built the house! Sadly my royal icing was not strong enough and did not “set” quick enough, so, alas, we had an unstable house on our hands.

construction p1

Off to a messy start already! I think I need to use a smaller icing tip next time.

decorating extras

While we waited for the walls to dry we decorated the trick-or-treaters and house accessories.

construction p2

The roof is on. We decided to add an M&M border to the wet icing, on the assumption that it would dry quickly!

construction p2

After a wall and roof panel fell twice I decided it was time to bring out the reinforcements!


The second collapse also gave us a chance to put the gingerbread people and ghost inside, which we had forgotten the first two times we put the roof on!

I stuck the house in the fridge for awhile and we all went out to play. You have to take a break from the sugar fumes sometimes and it was a beautiful day!


These look good enough to eat!

house decorating

When Aunt Rosy arrived we decorated the gingerbread house and added the accessories.

house p1

Ta-da! I took away the glass in hopes that the roof would stay. We propped it up with some gingerbread trees. :)

house p2

In this picture you can see the gingerbread dog house, the dog (white with red spots), and the trick-or-treater dressed as a pencil. I love that costume idea! I told Eve she should be a pencil next year and she decided Lex could be an eraser to go with her. :)

house p3

A rickety old house needs a rickety old fence in the backyard.


Happy bakers! (Eve has her bunny ears under her chin and it looks like some weird neck scarf.)

The house was lovely, kind of, and I stuck it back in the fridge for a little more firming up. It stayed there all day Sunday while we were busy with the CHaD (another post on that will follow soon). This afternoon I cleared off the table (not a small feat!) and set up a nice Halloween display. The kids were super excited when they came home from school.

on display

I tidied up the table and set up a nice Halloween display this afternoon before the kids got home. They were excited to see it all setup. (Notice the glass behind the house? It started sagging after all the decorations were one, so we figured the glass was a required structural support. Lex added some candy to the top to make it look better.)

Sadly, we got back from karate to discover this:

caved in

Oh no! It lasted for a few hours before it caved in. Not even a nice roof slide like the first few times, this was just a complete cave-in.

Eve did a dramatic cry for awhile and then moved on. We agreed it was now a super spooky fallen down Halloween house. There were two casualties of the roof collapse, but the kids were consoled when I promised they could have the casualties for snack tomorrow. I claimed the third causality, a ghosts, for myself!

The house might not be perfect, but we had tons of fun so I’m going to call it a success!! (and try my friend’s royal icing recipe next time!)

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween. It was a funny one this year. This may have been my least celebrated holiday yet! I even had to write it, then circle it, on the calendar so I didn’t forget. I thought it would be fun to bake treats for my 5th grade class, but that never happened. I spent my time planning lessons instead. :) Lex and Eve got excited this afternoon, but haven’t really mentioned it much before that. We decorated a bit, carved pumpkins, and picked costumes. They went easy on me this year. Eve saw a Princess Jasmine costume she liked and Lex wanted to be the Lego man again. Easy peasy. I bought Eve’s costume awhile ago, but we didn’t even get them out until this afternoon. Lex was dragging the Lego man out of storage about an hour before trick-or-treating. Like I said, pretty low-key this year. Also, it’s raining. At least it’s not freezing rain! We did the usual thing, Alan took them out while I stayed home. Alan wore his pumpkin shirt, I wore my witch hat, done!

Princess Jasmine and a Lego Man.

Princess Jasmine and a Lego Man.

heading out

Heading out into the rain.

coming home

Back home again. They lasted over an hour. I was surprised. They must have done some socializing along the way though because they only made it to two streets… which is really the perfect amount in my opinion.


Candy, candy, candy! (Lex has a stash behind him as well.)

handing out

I think they like handing out candy as much as they like getting candy. :)

Bedtime was late, of course. While I was cuddling Eve tonight I asked if she wanted the candy fairy to come and swap her candy for a present. She said no way. I asked if the candy fairy should swap her candy for ten dollars. She said, “My candy is worth at least one hundred dollars!” Funny girl! I asked Lex the same questions later and he also declined, though he estimated his candy to be worth $30. I’ve seen the going price of candy and I think $10 is right on target, especially if you factor in post-holiday sales! :) Then Lex says, “How do you know so much about the candy fair?! Admit it, you just made her up, didn’t you?!?!” I was laughing so hard. So much for calming down at bedtime. Whee… candy!

Happy Halloween!

Weekend Update

We had a quiet weekend. Very quiet! I slept late both days (soooo tired!) and Alan got up with the kids, which means lots of screen time. Lex has a pretty serious cough (that I’m going to do some Googling on after this post) and is wiped out from it. He also has a runny nose and fever to go along with it. Saturday afternoon I made lunch and neither of the kids would come to the table. Lex said he was too tired to move and fell asleep on the couch. Eve decided she wanted a nap as well, so she went up to her bed and tucked in. I humored her and prepared the room for sleeping (curtains, fan, music), fully expecting to find her playing five minutes later. Instead, when I went up to check on her I found her fast asleep. She slept for about two hours and Lex slept for a full three hours! It’s probably been over four years since they both napped at the same time! Eve woke up just as Alan was about to watch a show, so she cuddled on the couch to watch TV with him and he fell asleep for a nap! Seriously, it was a quiet house! We had a movie night Saturday night then everyone went to bed at a reasonable time.

Sunday I slept in again and Alan played school with the kids. They had science (Nova episode), math (Khan Academy), and recess (kickball). Then I took over and we carved pumpkins. I’m not very Halloween-y this year (or any other year, really) but we’ve done a few little things in preparation. This afternoon was spent reading, working, and more screen time for everyone.


Lex got his allowance this weekend and we paid up on a few IOUs. He was excited to update his savings chart.

banner p1

We made a little banner for the mantle.

banner p2

I forgot to take a picture of the finished product. You’ll just have to come visit and see it in person. :)

jol p1

Eve’s jack-o-lantern.

jol p2

Lex got a little more challenging with his jack-o-lantern.

jol p3

It was still bright daylight outside, so we tried to find a dark corner to test them. :)

jol p4

It kind of worked. They looked great on the porch tonight.

Tomorrow starts another busy week, including teaching several lessons, observing other classrooms, swim lessons, and the candy-licous Halloween festivities.


After filling up on treats for snack, the kids spent the entire afternoon creating tricks. It started as a whispered plan in the office. A plan to play a trick on me. Then they asked if they could use the cotton balls and when I asked why they said, “Just to play a little trick on you.” They promised it wouldn’t hurt and that they would clean it up (that’s the real trick on me!) so I said sure. They were thrilled. As often happens with games in this house, what started as a simple trick ended up being worked on for hours and blossoming into a full-fledge Haunted Office! The prep work took so long that I didn’t even get to go through it tonight. I agreed to leave it set up for the morning and promised Alan and I would go through it together. Lex wants to set up scary lighting and Eve has plans for sound effects.

Since the element of surprise was already gone, thanks to very loud whispers, I decided to take a sneak peek.


HAUNTED OFFICE (in haunted lettering)
Open door all the way for a surprise!
BOO (with a ghost in the first O)

lex p1

This is Lex’s trap. When you open the door all the way, guess what happens?!? It took him several tries to get it just right. The door kept bumping the bucket and knocking it down. He was frustrated, but kept trying and finally got it positioned perfectly.

lex p2

The view from the other side. Pretty tricky, eh? There is an orange note tucked into the bucket, along with cotton balls and scraps of paper confetti. I haven’t peeked at the note, but I’m curious what it says. :)


Eve’s trick. Hers involves you standing still while she pulls the rope. The element of surprise with her was completely lost when she told me all about it at dinner time. :) She also has a series of other “traps” that involve you standing still while she wraps a string around your wrist and captures you.

I will practice my surprised face for the morning. Rosy, the kids don’t read the blog (yet!) so you may want to practice your surprised face too, just in case the office is still haunted when you arrive. :)

Halloween 2012

This is the treat Eve wanted to school, but I said it would be to much to make 35 of these. Instead I surprised her with them for after school snack. She was excited. Lex was apprehensive and said, “Pudding? What’s pudding?” He wouldn’t even try it! He actually ate barely anything all day… saving room for candy, I suppose!


After school snack.

Then we hopped in the car and went trick-or-treating!


Our first stop on the trick-or-treat path was Gommy and Popcube’s house!


I would have loved to be on the other side of that wall! Imagine a giant yellow head peeking around the corner! :)


Popcube had a fun time with the Lego costume!


We only stayed for a few minutes, just long enough for hugs…


… and candy!


And a few quick laps up and down the driveway. I didn’t discourage that!

Then we did a bit of trick-or-treating at the mall. I told the kids we could go there just in case it rained in the evening. It was packed, as usual, but they kept it together and I didn’t get too crazy!

at the mall

No good pictures from the mall. Here Eve is excitedly waving at a 6′ Goofy walking around. I had to hold on to Lex the whole time because he can’t see or hear very well with that huge head on!

people watching

After we did the lap we hung out for awhile and did some people watching.

Then we picked up a pizza and headed home for dinner. The rain held off and it ended up being a great night for trick-or-treating!


Waiting for trick-or-treaters. I think the kids had as much fun with this part of the evening as they did with the gathering-of-candy part.



the haul

Once again they barely made it off our street, but we all agreed they got plenty of candy!


Some pre-bedtime wrestling with daddy. Sugar them up and then wear them out! :)

Happy Halloween!

As I said to Eve as we snuggled this evening, tomorrow is the first day of November. Do you know what that means? Twelve days until my birthday!!!