Easy Kids Activity: Pumpkin Carving

Lucy and I at Wyoming Presbyterian Church’s Pumpkin Patch.

It may seem obvious to say pumpkin carving is an easy and fun kids activity, but if you teach preschool (ahem, my wonderful new job), you might think pumpkins, knives, and carving don’t mix with ten super wiggly, touch-everything, curious two year-olds! What does work? Carving open a pumpkin and letting them feel and scoop out what’s inside.

Eight children reached right in, touching and exploring. (“Mushy, gushy!”) The textures were new to them–which showed on their faces–but they dug out the wet, stringy pulp and seeds anyway. Fun!

Two kids wanted nothing to do with this strange mess and backed away from the pumpkin. Funny!

Later in the week, my co-teacher managed to make use of time when the kids were sitting still. She carved shapes into a face. What a great way to learn!

At home, we carved pumpkins, also. It was a first for my daughter’s boyfriend from California. Hands on all around!

Top 10 Family Halloween Costume Ideas

My youngest dressed as an Easter Bunny, circa 2013.

Halloween Fun!

A friend, her hubby, and three young kids are dressing up as characters from the Wizard of Oz. (Shout out to Sherry!) As a tribute to her fun family idea and anyone else out there who is trick-or-treating or dressing up as a unit, here are my favorite Top 10 Family Halloween Costumes, discovered on LDS Living.

Hon, has your family ever coordinated costumes? I’d love to hear from you!

Zombies Unite! Redux.

IMG_2540

Happy Halloween!

I posted this a couple of years ago, but think it’s worthy of sharing again.  My daughter and some friends are planning on watching horror movies tonight.  Guess where I’ll be?  On the couch right next to them having a blast.  Pass the popcorn!

For those that like zombies, monsters, witches, spiders, skeletons, horror movies, haunted houses, dressing up, trick-or-treating and, of course, candy! Hon, I like all of those things. Surprised?

When I was in high school, my friend and I would rent two movies whenever I slept over. First, we’d watch a horror movie, then a comedy. We loved all the horror movies and psychological thrillers of the ’80’s. Halloween, Friday the 13th, The Exorcist; you name it, we watched it. While watching the movies, we’d cling to each other for dear life, shriek our brains out and then laugh hysterically.  My friend’s mom would called down from the top of the stairs, “Girls, you’re making too much noise! Please stop screaming!”  Of course, that made us laugh until we cried. In another post, I’ll tell you the practical joke my friend’s younger brother played on. He gets points for creativity!

I recently saw The Conjuring and loved it! The Woman in Black and World War Z were scary.  And, although I don’t care for the Saw movies, an old-fashioned horror movie makes me feel like I’m on a rollercoaster right there in the theatre.  So fun!

So what’s up with the zombies?

I passed a house decorated for Halloween a bunch of times before I stopped to take a closer look. The zombies drew me over, but the ghouls on the porch kept me there. They are freaky! They make my Halloween decorations look quaint in comparison. Some of the zombies have eyes that light up at night. They look like they’re coming out of the bushes.  Check out the giant spider web on the porch! Who’s the unlucky bloke (yes, bloke!) that’s been trapped?

IMG_2542

IMG_2535

IMG_2539

IMG_0620

IMG_2536

IMG_2537

IMG_0618

IMG_0613

Guess where I’ll be on Halloween?  Driving by the zombie house. I bet they’ll have dry ice to set the mood.

Do you have fun plans?

My Top 20 Triplets Memories

Two months old.
Two months old.

Happy 20th birthday today to our three beautiful babies!

Here are my Top 20 memories of raising two girls and a boy, born within five minutes of each other.

The triplet stroller turned heads.
The triplet stroller turned heads.

1.  Walking up and down our street to get some fresh air. (“Sleep babies, sleep!”)

2.  Watching all three babies nap in one crib, swaddled and warm. (bundled like sausages)

3.  Reading stories together, either at bedtime or on long car trips. (Except when they wanted to read out loud and were at three different reading levels.  Oh, the competition!)

Triplets plus one.
Triplets plus one.

4.  Pumpkin picking, wagon rides, and bringing home cider, doughnuts and apple butter. (looking for those perfect pumpkins)

Halloween.
Halloween.

5.  Halloween–dressing up, trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving, and the elementary school show. (Our attic doubles as a Halloween costume shop!)

6.  Thanksgiving along with many holidays spent with family. (cleaning up, cooking, celebrating and catching up)

7.  Countless trips to Baltimore (shout out to my MD family) and Long Island (Dad’s family).

Train ride to NYC.
Train ride to NYC.

8.  Day trips, especially taking the train to Manhattan. (One of my many mottos:  “Getting there is the accomplishment.  Being there is icing on the cake.”)

Scan 12

9.  Building snowmen, sledding and playing in the snow. (Hot chocolate and cookies, anyone?)

First day of high school.
First day of high school.

10.  First day of school. (School supplies? The right outfit? Ready to go.)

11.  First day of camp (and first time on a big, yellow school bus)

Farm-themed b-day party.
Farm-themed b-day party.

12.  Birthday parties.  (Hon, you know I love a party!)

Skiing.
Skiing.

13.  Skiing. (Almost nothing beats a sunny day skiing.)

14.  Trip to Israel. (I knew the trip was a success when we landed in the US and my son asked, “When can we go back?”)

15.  Vacations, especially Disney World. (The secret to theme park success:  pack snacks and sandwiches.)

16. Significant religious milestones. (connecting roots from one generation to the next)

Bethany Beach, Delaware.
Bethany Beach, Delaware.

17.  Beach vacations and day trips to the Maryland, Delaware and Jersey shores.(sandcastles, sunbathing and seashell collecting)

"Baby A"
“Baby A”

Scan 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

________________________________________________________________________

18.  Watching our determined 2 pound 9 ounce daughter grow up.

_______________________________________________________________________

"Baby B"
“Baby B”

Scan

 

 

 

 

_________________________________________________________________________

19.  Watching our feisty 4 pound 12 ounce son turn into a young man.

_________________________________________________________________________

"Baby C"
“Baby C”

Scan 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

_________________________________________________________________________

20.  Watching our sassy 4 pound 4 ounce daughter morph before our eyes.

_________________________________________________________________________

Hon, I’m raising a virtual glass of champagne in a toast to my three 20 year-olds.  Health and happiness.

Cheers!

Zombies Unite!

IMG_2540

Happy Halloween…

…to those that like zombies, monsters, witches, spiders, skeletons, horror movies, haunted houses, dressing up, trick-or-treating and, of course, candy! Hon, I like all of those things. Surprised?

When I was in high school, my friend and I would rent two movies whenever I slept over. First, we’d watch a horror movie, then a comedy. We loved all the horror movies and psychological thrillers of the ’80’s. Halloween, Friday the 13th, The Exorcist; you name it, we watched it. While watching the movies, we’d cling to each other for dear life, shriek our brains out and then laugh hysterically.  My friend’s mom would called down from the top of the stairs, “Girls, you’re making too much noise! Please stop screaming!”  Of course, that made us laugh until we cried. In another post, I’ll tell you the practical joke my friend’s younger brother played on. He gets points for creativity!

I recently saw The Conjuring and loved it! The Woman in Black and World War Z were scary.  And, although I don’t care for the Saw movies, an old-fashioned horror movie makes me feel like I’m on a rollercoaster right there in the theatre.  So fun!

So what’s up with the zombies?

I passed a house decorated for Halloween a bunch of times before I stopped to take a closer look. The zombies drew me over, but the ghouls on the porch kept me there. They are freaky! They make my Halloween decorations look quaint in comparison. Some of the zombies have eyes that must light up at night. I like how they look like they’re coming out of the bushes.  Check out the giant spider web on the porch! Who’s the unlucky bloke (yes, bloke!) that’s been trapped?

IMG_2542

IMG_2535

IMG_2539

IMG_0620

IMG_2536

IMG_2537

IMG_0618

IMG_0613

Guess where I’ll be on Halloween?  Driving by the zombie house. I bet they’ll have dry ice to set the mood.

Do you have fun plans?

Not-So-Scary Scarecrows

IMG_2048

On a recent visit to Cheekwood Botanical Garden in Nashville, Tennessee, scarecrows created and donated by local organizations, schools, Girl Scout troops and families lined a garden path.  Their creativity and originality was impressive.

Hon, the week of Halloween is the perfect time to share them with you.

Cinderella Scarecrow
Cinderella Scarecrow

Cinderella's pumpin turned coach.
Cinderella’s pumpkin turned coach.

Chrysanthemummy
Chrysanthemummy

Who Will Scare The Corn?
Who Will Scare The Corn?

Pete the Cat:  Rocking My Panther Pride
Pete the Cat: Rocking My Panther Pride

The Invisible Scarecrow
The Invisible Scarecrow

Minion Scarecrow
Minion Scarecrow

Andy Scare-hol
Andy Scare-hol

What’s your favorite?

Autumn Haikus

DSC_3211

My triplets plus one pumpkin picking.
My triplets and Plus One pumpkin picking, ages 10 and 3.

Colorful and crunchy leaves make me nostalgic for the time when my children were little. If you read my recent post, 19 On the 19th (Happy Birthday To My Triplets), then you know I’ve been strolling down memory lane since September.  Every year, we would

drive to the a country farm,

ride in a wagon,

pick pumpkins,

decorate our house,

carve pumpkins,

jump in leaf piles

and, of course, go trick-or-treating.

Topping off the holiday season was the best entertainment around, the elementary school Halloween show. Soon after Thanksgiving arrived and we feasted with extended family at our home.  Heaven!

I recently came across my big kids’ third grade Autumn Haikus.  I couldn’t wait to share them with you, along with a photo of each kid, all grown up now.

Autumn Haikus H

"Baby A"
“Baby A” and me.

Autumn Haikus T

'Baby B"
‘Baby B” and Hubby.

Autumn Haiku M

Tween Daughter, Me, "Baby C"
Tween Daughter, Me, “Baby C”

Do you and your family have favorite Fall traditions?  Hon, I’d love to hear them.

DSC_3470

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy busted through the doors of New Jersey and threw a tantrum.  She howled, spit, bit, shrieked, stomped and made a mess.  We don’t have electricity and our town’s substation was destroyed so there will no electricity for awhile. Gas stations are running out of gas so we are all preserving the gas in our cars by walking.  It gets to the mid 40 degrees at night so we wear hats inside, several layers and bury ourselves under heavy blankets.  We read by lanterns and shut off our flashlights to preserve batteries.

But, hon, we have hot water and a gas stove, no damage to our house and great neighbors.  The night after the storm, when our street was blocked by downed trees and lines, we had an impromptu “S’mores Night” around our fire pit.  Friends stayed until 11pm chatting and commiserating.  People brought chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers…and homemade bread, beer, wine and champagne.

School was cancelled this week and I suspect it will be next week, as well. “Mom, Mother Nature doesn’t like Halloween,” said one of my daughters.  I assured her that the freak snow storm last year and the hurricane this year are highly unusual.  “Mom, what is there to do without computers and t.v.?” asked the same daughter.  I dug latch hook kits out of a closet and she and friend worked most of a day on latch hook pillows.  Next on the list:  crochet hats for her dolls, if I can figure out how to crochet!

I am able to post this because I found Wifi a few towns away and I’m not sure when I’ll be back on the internet.  Hurricane Sandy has given me a lot to think about:  tornadoes, wildfires, tsunamis and radiation leaks.  I don’t think Mother Nature is against Halloween but I do think she wants to show us who really has power.

Here are some pics from my town:

boards that were blown off a store front
a store prepped for the storm

a downed transformer

this tree took out four cars (not mine)
the hill up to my house