The Pumpkin Patch & Creepy Carvings

Sunday we took all the sons to the pumpkin patch. Can I just say how thrilled I am every year that the teen-itis my older two suffer from hasn’t whittled away at their love of Halloween?! They still get a rush picking their own perfect pumpkins and turning them into masterpieces. For a mere $30 we left with all the pumpkins our family could carry. In total it was only 8 pumpkins, but these were some big pumpkins. In fact, Sons 2 & 3 were after the biggest pumpkins they could find. They took on the patch, and won. Challenge complete.

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It was Son # 4’s first time cleaning out his own pumpkin. It was all fun and games until he actually had to touch the pumpkin goop. He was not a fan.

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Here’s what Sons 2 , 3, and 4 have done so far with their pumpkins. We’ve still got 1 more to carve. Two to paint, and one to use as a baking dish/serving bowl. Halloween makes me feel like a kid at Christmas. I get giddy just thinking about all the impending craftiness. I also can’t wait until all the carving is finally done because (once the mess is all cleaned up) then we get to the seeds!

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Both pumpkins were made using templates. The Cyberman from Doctor Who can be found here. Son # 3 drew King Boo from Super Mario World onto his pumpkin and then carved. The Thomas the Tank Engine is free-handed based off his profile. Son # 4 opted for a very petite pumpkin this year because it was ‘just so cute’, so we had a very petite Thomas.

Monster Munch

I love making spooky treats for the boys to enjoy and get them in the ‘mood’ for Halloween. When I came across this recipe for Monster Munch I made it immediately. It was a huge hit and has already become a new tradition. It made the perfect snack to enjoy while watching a Halloween movie marathon, including two of my personal favorites: Hocus Pocus & ParaNorman. Sweet & spooky, this Monster Munch is a Halloween must have.

P.S. Check out the cute little cardboard cartons I found to serve the monster munch in! Wilton makes and sells them in a four pack and they were just too adorable not to buy. Not pictured, but also included, was a mummy and a skeleton. They were on sale in the Halloween section of Kroger for $1! In hind sight I probably should have snagged a couple of packs. That settles it, back to Kroger I go!

Monster Munch

4 Sons 'R' Us: Monster Munch

recipe from A Pumpkin and a Princess

  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1/2 cup Wilton orange candy melts
  • 1/2 cup Wilton black candy melts
  • 1/2 cups candy corn M&M’s
  • 1/2 cup candy corn
  • edible monster eyes

Directions

  1. Cover a 9X13 baking sheet with waxed paper. Make popcorn and lay a single layer on covered baking sheet.
  2. Melt the candy melts in separate bowls over a double boiler or in the microwave. Stir frequently until completely melted.
  3. Pour the candy melts into disposable piping bags or thick ziploc bags. Use a napkin or towel to hold the bag if it’s too hot. Snip off the tip of the bags. Drizzle black candy melts evenly onto popcorn.
  4. Add the candy, except the edible eyes, spreading evenly over the drizzled popcorn. Drizzle the orange candy melts over the candy. Gently place eyes where you want them to go. Allow to cool then break apart and enjoy!

4 Sons 'R' Us: Monster Munch

Who Loves Apples? We love apples! Our Annual Orchard Trip

October typically means two things for our family, lots of Halloween candy and apples. Every October we make an annual trip, and this past weekend we loaded all the kids up in the car and headed off to Carter Mountain Orchard in Charlottesville. It was an absolutely beautiful weekend. Perfect time to enjoy the breath taking views and sit back and just enjoy some quality family time. Something about my boys’ smiles as fresh apple juices run down their chins and those sweet, sticky fingers just melts my heart. I love seeing them so care-free as they run through the rows and rows of trees with reckless abandon in search of the most perfect of apples to claim as their own. I savor the whole day. The beautiful scenery, the smells, the sounds, and of course the sweet taste of biting into my own freshly picked, crisp apple. By the end of the day everybody had a tote full of fall ‘treasures’. After a picnic lunch, and of course sampling and loading  up on our favorite apple-y treats, we headed home. Before I move on, I’ve just got to say that there’s nothing quite like an apple cider slushy, fresh, hot apple cider doughnuts, or homemade sweet/spicy apple salsa. If you haven’t tried it, add it to your bucket list!

Of course, once we get home and unload our two bushels of apples that’s when I get busy. I’ve got apples coming out of my ears, but I’m not complaining. My house is gently perfumed by the sweet scents of Crispin, Jonah Gold, and Golden Delicious. It doesn’t get any better than when you walk in the door after a long day and feel like you’re walking back into the apple orchard. Bonus: The kids have an apple a day for quite some time, and I get to make some of our favorite fall treats, and try out some new apple-inspired dishes and desserts. That being said…you can expect quite a few apple-based recipes in the next few weeks.

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My primary pickers in action. I’ve learned that some of the best bonding occurs when savoring that sweet, crispy morsel in your mouth.

Always plenty to do & see at the orchard. Stumbling onto the old truck was pretty cool and the boys couldn’t believe we’d never found it before.

truckpicking

See you again next year, Carter Mountain!

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If you’re thinking about visiting Carter Mountain and want to make a full day of it, there’s plenty to do in the immediate vicinity for both a family oriented day or for an adult get away. Check out historic Michies Tavern next door to the mountain, or Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello. There are also several fantastic local vineyards to tour. Skyline Drive is just a hop, skip, and a jump away with its breath-taking scenic views and trails. The changing leaves make it almost irresistible side-trip!

The Mummy Pumpkin

Son # 4 lovingly referred to this as his ‘Mommy’ pumpkin. I, of course, was tickled pink. It took some practice, but this year he’s having no trouble pronouncing the word ‘mummy’. I’m thinking to celebrate we will be seeing multiple Mommy, err Mummy, themed crafts this October.

When I found this easy, fun pumpkin craft on Martha Stewart’s website I knew we had to do it. I love carving pumpkins with the older boys (I spend a shameless amount of time scouring the web for the lates and greatest pumpkin template for them to choose from), but I wanted something different to do with the youngest son. Let’s save carving, you know pumpkin guts, tools, knives and all that, for at least a few more years. Please? That and if he needs a quick sensory lesson he can always stick his hand in his brothers’ pumpkins. Which he did…repeatedly.

While my version may not be as pristine, or authentic looking as Martha’s, it did the trick. I used what I had on hand in the house so it was budget friendly, and it was a quick craft to fit in before nap time.

The Mummy Pumpkin

4 Sons 'R' Us: The Mummy Pumpkin

  • roll of gauze
  • googly eyes
  • black cardstock
  • glue gun

Directions

  1. Starting at any point on the pumpkin glue a starting edge to the pumpkin.
  2. From their wrap the gauze around the pumpkin, continuing until you feel like it’s sufficiently covered.
  3. When satisfied with the ‘look’, cut the gauze and hot glue down the end piece.
  4. Glue two googly eyes on.
  5. Cut a mouth out of the black cardstock and glue on.
  6. Voila, you now have a pumpkin mummy.

Candy-Grams

Are you struggling to find that perfect gift for someone special? Or the perfect gift for that special occasion? Do you just dislike spending all that money on a greeting card that is just going to be discarded or thrown in s drawer and forgotten? Instead of  a boring printed card quip, give a ‘card’ that won’t be forgotten. A card, that is more than a card, that with some simple creativity can be tuned to any holiday or special occasion. My husband has a raging sweet tooth, so anything involving sugar instantly means that much more to him. My sister was graduating high school and I wanted to give her a ‘card’ with a special touch, because I didn’t just want to give her money. These were the resulting ‘cards’ they received with my messages for them. Candy-grams are an awesome way to put your own thoughts into words, some spelled out in sugar, with a personal touch and a little flair. Whatever the occasion and the message, they will certainly leave a lasting impression and memory!

Father’s Day Candy-Gram

4 Sons 'R' Us: Father's Day Candygram

“Dad, we were going to give you a ‘whopp’ ing ‘100 Grand’ for Father’s Day, but the money slipped right through our ‘butterfinger’s. We didn’t have an ‘extra’ ‘whatchamacallit’ to sell and it wasn’t ‘payday’. We didn’t think a pet ‘kitkat’, a trip to New ‘York’, or an ‘orbit’ around the ‘milkyway’ would be appropriate. We do want to wish you ‘mounds’ of ‘joy’ both ‘now and later’ as you eat this card. We hope it doesn’t make you ‘rolo’ver and get sick. If it does we promise not to ‘snicker’. Love, your favorite ‘airheads’ (include children’s names).”

Graduation Candy-Gram

4 Sons 'R' Us: Graduation Candy-gram

“We (or I) thought it would be ‘sweet’ to make you a card. I still remember when we were little; we were like the ‘3 musketeers’. I still can’t believe just yesterday you were in your ‘cap’ and gown and ‘skor’ed a diploma. You’ve come a long ‘way’. You should be filled with ‘mounds’ of ‘joy’ that you’re no ‘dumdum’ and are filled with ‘extra’ good stuff that’ll take you far in life– ‘now and later’. You’re an ‘awesome’ individual and as a sister worth more than ‘100 grand’. I am so proud of you I could just ‘kiss’ you!!!!”