DIY Glow In The Dark Pumpkins {And How I’m Learning To Embrace The Messes}

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ThinkOutsideTheWipe #CollectiveBias

As a mom of two boys I’ve accepted that my life is full of messes. From muddy cleats to painted masterpieces to milk dribbles down their chins, it’s just became a part of my life. (I often joke that my kids, especially Lucas, can make a mess out of anything.)

If you are a regular reader here you probably already know that I have a type-a personality so it should come as no surprise that messes drive me crazy. With that said, I’ve really been working to accept that messes come with being a mom and allow my boys to make more messes (which is so much easier for me to do now that they can help clean them up lol). I’ll be honest though, it took a long time for me to embrace the messes. I didn’t just birth kids and immediately appreciate the messes they brought with.

As much as I typically have avoided messes though, for some reason, when it comes to kid activities I typically tend to pick the messiest crafts and activities I can. (It’s probably due to all the years I spent as a preschool teacher!) There’s something about messy play that gets kids excited and I just love seeing their faces light up when they realize that the adult in their life is not only going to allow them to make a mess but they are encouraging them to do so. This weekend’s activity? Making glow in the dark pumpkins! I had been wanting to do this with my boys since I painted a pretty galaxy pumpkin last fall. While I designed a neat polka dotted pumpkin, my boys couldn’t resist squeezing as much paint as possible on to their pumpkins in an effort to make “slime” pumpkins.

It was hard to resist showing them how to gently squeeze the paint tube in order to make a Pinterest perfect pumpkin but I took a deep breath and I let them decorate the pumpkins their way. And they used a LOT of paint. A lot. I’m pretty sure they are going to take days to dry but they had fun creating something with their mom so that is all that matters. Every year, when we pull out these pumpkins in the fall, they will remember that time their mom spent with them and I will remember their giggles as the almost empty paint tube made sounds when they squeezed it. This is what is important. If I had been worried about the mess the whole time I would have completely missed these moments of joy.

Of course I still went into the activity prepared and was ready for the mess since I know my boys. We had bought a large box of Huggies® One and Done® Wipes from Sam’s Club and kept them nearby during the whole activity. I like these wipes because they come in smaller soft packs with an  EZ Pull® Dispenser that makes getting wipes out of the package easy, even when I’m trying to do so one handed. The wipes themselves are thick, have a pleasant scent and feature Huggies’ Triple Clean Layers that clean up messes without a lot of scrubbing.

(Hover over the photo above to click through to Samsclub.com where you can buy these wipes to make sure you are prepared for your next messy activity!)

My boys may be 8 and 9 years old but I still find many uses for wipes and always have packs around my home and in my car. Sure enough, they came in handy for this messy activity. From wiping off “mistakes” on my pumpkin to wiping drips off the ground to cleaning messy hands (and legs and wherever else the paint ended up), I was happy we had them (and so was Lucas as you can see below lol).

Anyways, enough talk about the messes…let’s get to the fun I promised :) This DIY is so easy and really doesn’t require much. You’ll need glow in the dark paints (I used fabric paints) and a pumpkin to paint. I chose ceramic pumpkins but you can use fake foam pumpkins or even real pumpkins for this activity.

In addition, you can use paintbrushes to nicely spread the paint on but I discovered my kids just preferred to glob it on the pumpkins. (Slime is the big thing nowadays isn’t it?)

How you paint the pumpkin will depend on your design.

Lucas created chunks of colors on his pumpkin while Jacob was (I think) trying to create rings of color around his.

For my polka dot pumpkin, I made dots in one section at a time, making a few dots in one color before switching to another color to make three more dots, and so on before I moved to the next section.

I was going to leave the stem unpainted but decided to paint stripes on it. I just started at the base of the stem and painted around the stem with one color and then added more colors above that, making a rainbow like design.

Once you are happy with your design let it dry and then expose it to sunlight for a few hours so that it will glow! Just a note- if it doesn’t glow very brightly it just needs more sunlight. Expose it to direct sunlight for a few more hours.

The boys and I had so much fun painting our pumpkins (and even more fun seeing them glow in a dark room)!

Want to recreate these? Don’t forget to head to your local Sam’s Club to buy the giant box of Huggies One & Done wipes for the messes that are guaranteed to happen when you combine kids and paint :) (Also, FYI- get $8 off the purchase of any 2 Huggies products, valid 8/23 – 9/17 or while supplies last, at Sam’s Club.)

I love shopping at my local club because I can buy in bulk which means less trips to the store. They also have club pickup which means you can shop online and everything is ready for pickup when you arrive. This is an awesome service for busy moms who don’t want to wander the aisles with kids in tow.

If you make this Halloween craft I’d love to see your glow in the dark pumpkins so please tag me on Twitter (@aliciamarie112) or share with me on Facebook! Remember- have fun and embrace the mess!

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Fall Bucket List {30 Fun Things To Do This Fall}

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Fall is here! I loved sitting at Jacob’s football game yesterday because the sun was shining and I was nice and warm in a pretty sweater and boots. Along with it being football season and Pumpkin Spice latte time, there are a number of other fun things I’m looking forward to doing with my family. I love creating bucket lists of fun things to do so I decided to get all of my ideas written down (well, typed…) to share with you all and to have a list ready for next weekend. There is nothing better than a day spent with family that ends with everyone going to bed with smiles on their faces :)

Here are the things we hope to do before winter is here:

1) Go to the pumpkin patch

2) Take a nature walk and write in our nature journals

3) Make leaf men with leaves we find

4) Bake an apple or pumpkin dessert

5) Carve pumpkins

6) Go on a hayride

7) Have movie night in front of the fire

8) Go to a high school or college football game

9) Dress up in costumes and go trick or treating

10) Donate food to a local food pantry

11) Make homemade cinnamon apples

12) Have a fire in the fire pit and enjoy smores

13) Throw a football watching party

14) Take a road trip to look at all the beautiful fall colors

15) Make a bird feeder

16) Have a family game night and play a fall themed game

17) Go to ‘Boo at the Zoo’

18) Have a special Halloween lunch

19) Make chili on a Sunday afternoon

20) Attend a fall festival

21) Find a pile of leaves and jump in them

22) Make a list of the things we are thankful for

23) Have a fun dance party dancing to spooky songs like ‘Monster Mash’

24) Make leaf rubbings

25) Make a scarecrow

26) Fill a box for Operation Christmas Child

27) Go camping

28) Take a family photo

29) Host or attend a costume party

30) Make a fall snack mix with Goldfish crackers (we love popcorn, Goldfish crackers, raisins, dried apples and chocolate candies)

I’d love to hear what fun things are on your list to do this fall season and Goldfish wants to know how you enjoy fall as well! Share your ‘Goldfish Tales’ for a chance to win prizes. Click the image below for more details on entering.

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Autumn Snack Mix For Happy Snacking

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MixMatchMunch #CollectiveBias

In preparation for back-to-school I decided to come up with some new after school snack ideas. I wanted to make something that we could easily bring with us to afternoon sports and activities. Since Lucas loves Goldfish® crackers so much I wanted to incorporate them into a snack mix and, with fall around the corner, I thought it would be fun to make a fall harvest themed one.

I used two varieties of Goldfish crackers- the Mix (which includes Xtra Cheddar and Pretzel Goldfish crackers) and the Original Cheddar flavor.

Along with Goldfish crackers I included a handful of other items that reminded me of fall. Since apple picking is a favorite Autumn activity I added some dried apples into the mix, along with raisins and dried cranberries. For a sweet touch, I also added in orange, yellow, red and brown chocolate candies and a bit of sprinkles in little leaf shapes. To add an extra crunch I included some plain popcorn in the mix.

To make the snack mix just add each ingredient to your bowl and then stir it together!

Lucas loved the mix I had created and I love that I found a fun snack that he and Jacob can enjoy all year long. There is nothing better than seeing my kids smile with joy over something I’ve created for them!

Another simple snack the kids enjoy is Goldfish crackers paired with fresh fruit. Their favorites are grapes and strawberries and personally I like to pair mine with apple slices. It’s such a simple snack the whole family can enjoy.

Bulk boxes of Goldfish crackers are on rollback now for $5.98 at Walmart! I love that I can buy them in bulk because they are a staple in our house! You can also save $1.00 on any ONE (1) Bolthouse Farms® 10 oz. Baby Carrots or Bolthouse Farms(® 11 oz. juice when you buy any ONE (1) Pepperidge Farm® Goldfish® crackers 30 oz. or larger.

Which Goldfish crackers variety is your favorite?

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Tips To Prepare For Your Child’s Fall Sports Season

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Disclosure: I’m proud to partner with MinuteClinic as part of their Back to School #GoBackHealthy campaign. As part of my involvement, I have received sponsorship from MinuteClinic for my posts and activities, but all opinions expressed are purely my own.

The end of August means back-to-school season and also the beginning of the fall sports season! The boys start school Thursday and Jacob just had his first football game this afternoon. If you have a child playing sports this fall, read on for tips on how to prepare for the season!

First, find a sport that fits your child. I wrote about this recently when I shared about enrolling Lucas in gymnastics. It took us a while to find a sport he enjoyed, and we had to try numerous other ones that weren’t a good fit, before he discovered his love of gymnastics.

Once you find a sport (or sports) your child wants to try, it’s important that they get a sports physical to make sure they are healthy enough to do the activity. Many fall sports, including football and soccer, are extremely physically demanding and it’s essential that they are given the okay to participate by a doctor. Even if your state or school doesn’t require it, sports physicals are still good to do because they also help to keep immunizations up to date and provide an opportunity to discuss any concerns you may have. (Remember though that the sports physical doesn’t replace a child’s annual wellness physical with their doctor.) MinuteClinic, the walk-in medical clinic inside select CVS pharmacy and Target stores, offers sports physicals every day with no appointment needed for patients 18 months and older. They can even stamp any paperwork your school or league may require.

After getting the okay to participate it’s time to get everything your child needs to participate in the sport. Most leagues should have a list of what you need to purchase and what they will provide. If you have questions about things you can search online or ask your mom friends who have been there, done that! I remember when Jacob first started sports, I had to google the difference between baseball cleats and football cleats because I had no clue which ones were the right ones I needed to buy.

Along with the sports equipment there are a variety of other things you’ll want to keep in your car during sports season. Things like blankets (it gets cold out there in the evenings) and extra equipment (Jake’s football mouth guard always seem to go missing at least once a season) are important to have on hand. You’ll also want to pack snacks and provide plenty of fluid for your child so they stay hydrated.

What tips do you have for preparing for fall sports season? If you need to get your child a sports physical they are currently offering $10 off at MinuteClinic. Their walk-in-clinic is ideal for busy moms because you can get in and out quickly any day that is convenient for you.

While you are there you can also get a variety of other services including your child’s back-to-school vaccinations and acne treatment. Vaccinations for Meningitis, Pertussis and HPV are available. MinuteClinic practitioners will review information about the vaccine, administer it and then provide you with a summary, receipt of vaccination and educational materials. They’ll even send a summary of the visit to your child’s primary care provider if you would like them to. MinuteClinic also offers acne treatment which is perfect for tweens and teens who want to head back to school with clearer skin. They offer personalized consultations and treatment recommendations for all ages, whether a prescription is needed or you are just looking for which over-the-counter medication will clear the acne. When it comes to starting the school year and fall sports season off healthy, MinuteClinic is the place to go!

 

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Fun Fall Activities Across The US, UK And Canada

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The weather is getting colder, leaves are starting to change colors and my boys are talking about Halloween costumes so it must be Fall! I’m looking forward to going apple picking this weekend and we have plans to go to the pumpkin patch, too. Fall is such a fun season.

Our Social Fabric community of bloggers were asked to share some of their favorite local things to do during the Fall season. I want to plan a road trip now because there are so many amazing places I want to stop at. From haunted houses to pumpkin patches, they are sharing the best from across the United States, UK and Canada.

USA

Arizona

California
Connecticut
Florida
Georgia
  • Atlanta – Married Filing Jointly
Hawaii
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Massachusetts
  • Boston – Feathers and Stripes
Michigan
Minnesota
Nebraska
  • Omaha - Mom on the Side
New Hampshire
New York
North Carolina
Ohio
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Virginia

Washington

 CANADA

London, Ontario – Creative Cynchronicity

Toronto, Ontario – Teddy Out-Ready

UK

 Yorkshire – JuggleMum

 

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Adding A Little Autumn To My Home

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(Disclosure: I received compensation and products to help me write this post but all thoughts are my own.)

I rarely decorate for Fall. It’s not because I don’t want to, but because it’s a crazy time of year and after I get out of my beginning-of-school fog it’s already part of the way into the season and I feel like decorating is pointless at that point. This year though, Glade invited me to add a little Autumn to my home so with their help I added a few accents that really give my home a seasonal feeling.

I found a little “Happy Harvest” sign that is perfect because it will take me past Halloween and into Thanksgiving season. I bought a box of mini pumpkins and pinecones to decorate a table and then can re-use them for the boys Fall sensory table. I also bought a tray with leaves along the edge of it but haven’t yet figured out how I’m going to incorporate that in the room.

The other brown decoration on the table in both pictures is an air freshener. Doesn’t look like it though does it? It’s the newly designed Glade® Sense & Spray® Automatic Freshener that I wrote about a few weeks ago. I love it and it is meshing well with my seasonal decor.

This week I have the Cashmere Woods scent in it and it’s my favorite scent I have tried so far. I like that the air freshener is on a timer and when it senses movement it automatically freshens our room every 20 minutes. It’s nice to be cuddling on the couch with my family and have the room smell so wonderful all the time.

I’ve realized that it doesn’t cost much to add a few seasonal pieces to my home but it really makes a difference in how welcoming our home is. How do you decorate for Fall in your home? Do you have any tips to share on how you change your decor without spending a ton of money? I’d love to hear them!

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Sinfully Sweet Cinnamon Apples {Recipe}

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Cinnamon apples are the perfect Fall treat. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 6 Fuji or Granny Smith apples
  • ¼ cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 6 cinnamon sticks

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Core apples to ½ inch of the bottom of the apples.  It helps if you have an apple corer.  If not, simply use a paring knife.  Cut out the stem area first, then the core.  Use a spoon to dig out the seeds.  Make the holes about ¾-inch wide.
  • Mix apple juice concentrate and vanilla.  Pour into cored center of each apple.
  • Place a cinnamon stick in the center of each apple.  Place apples on nonstick baking sheet and bake in oven for 20 minutes.

(Recipe and image courtesy of Pritikin Longevity Center.)

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Family Fun At The Pumpkin Farm

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(Disclosure: We received free tickets into Pumpkin Fest but all thoughts are my own.)

I love going to Fall festivals with my family. Last weekend we went to Pumpkin Fest at Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm in Crest Hill, IL. There was so much to do there and the kids were in awe as they ran from activity to activity. We only were able to stay a couple hours but they jumped on inflatables, rode a pony, went on a hayride, went through a haunted barn, went through an obstacle course, saw animals at the petting zoo, and played on giant climbing structures.

There were pumpkins for sale throughout the farm and a big pick-your-own pumpkin patch. Other activities we didn’t get a chance to do included paintball, stories told by the Pumpkin Princess, a big bouncy inflatable “cloud”, a giant corn maze, a rock climbing wall and a train ride.

Here are some pictures from our afternoon of Fall fun:

The boys posing on the pumpkins {the one must-take pumpkin patch photo!}

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Wooden train play area

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The cornfield maze

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Jacob and Daddy

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Big spider web climber

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Luke on his pony ride

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The haunted barn we went in (which wasn’t all that scary but good for kids)

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The playland area the kids loved

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The pick your own pumpkin patch we got to by hayride

What a fun afternoon! Visit Siegel’s Pumpkin Fest in the next couple weeks to make great memories with your family.

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Kuipers Family Farm: Apples, Pumpkins, And Trees {Maple Park, IL}

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(Disclosure: I am receiving a family pack of passes to the pumpkin farm.)

Kuipers’ Fall season began in August when the orchard opened for apple picking (Sat & Sun only) and the aroma of fresh apple cider doughnuts, home-baked pies, fudge, pasteurized apple cider and hand-spun caramel apples from The Orchard Shop and Bakery lingers in the air.

September 21st the west side of the farm opened for some down-on-the-farm-fun like The Maize Corn Maze, hayrides, farm animals, a haunted forest, tractor tire mountain, peddle tractor derby, nature walk, jumping pillows,  pumpkin picking and much more.  Be sure to catch the Pig Races and The Cowboy Randy Roping Show on the weekends.  The Pumpkin Farm is a great place to host your child’s birthday party or visit with your Scout group (see website for package details). 

November and December at the farm is dedicated to the holidays with pies and specialty foods for entertaining, unique gifts for giving and of course, Christmas trees.  Harvest your own right from the fields or select a freshly harvested Fraser Fir from our huge selection.

Save on Fall fun at Kuipers Family Farm with this coupon! Visit Kuiper’s Family Farm online here.

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Seasonal Pumpkin Menu At Einstein Bros. Bagels

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I love pumpkin flavored everything so when I was asked to check out the seasonal offerings at Einstein Bros. Bagels I was really excited. I looked on their website to see what pumpkin flavored items they had. The new pumpkin menu items this year include Pumpkin Bagel Clusters, a Pumpkin White Chocolate Chip Cookie and a new Frozen Pumpkin Pie drink. Einstein is also bringing back its signature Pumpkin and gourmet Pumpkin Walnut Crunch bagels, double-whipped Pumpkin Cream Cheese Shmear and Pumpkin Muffin.

The Frozen Pumpkin Pie drink sounded delicious but I wouldn’t drink it fast enough so I decided to go with an Iced Pumpkin Latte. All of the pumpkin treats looked good but since it was breakfast I chose to try the Pumpkin Walnut Crunch bagel with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Shmear.

The bagel was deliciously sweet and I loved the Pumpkin Shmear. I’m actually planning on going back and getting a tub of it since I found these recipes that I can make with the creamy pumpkin goodness. The Pumpkin Latte was comparable to others I have tried but I liked the little extra pumpkin syrup in the bottom of the cup.

Einstein Bros. Bagels pumpkin menu is available at all locations nationwide now through November 12th.

(Disclosure: I received a gift card to try items on the menu. All thoughts are my own.)

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Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm {Crest Hill, IL}

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(Disclosure: I am receiving admission to the pumpkin patch for my family but all thoughts are my own.)

Live in the Chicago area? Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm in Crest Hill, IL has lots of fall fun for your family! The Siegel’s have been farming this same land since 1909 and is a 4th generation working family farm.

Harvest your Family Memories on 40 Acres of “Affordable Family Fun” with over 20 different attractions included in General Admission. Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm features a pumpkin patch where you can pick your own pumpkins right from the vine! Not many places around Chicago let you do that. Also, new this year are the Statesville Zombie Paintball Ride and Lexi’s Jumpin’ Blob Jamboree!

Make sure to grab this coupon before your visit and save $5 off the price of a ticket if purchased ahead of time or $2 off at the gate.

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Pumpkin Pie Dip {Recipe}

Pumpkin Pie Dip

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 2 tablespoons of agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons of packed brown sugar
  • 21/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon of seasalt
  • Sliced fresh fruit and/or salted whole wheat pretzels

Directions:

  • In a food processor, combine cream cheese and yogurt; blend until smooth. Add pumpkin and remaining ingredients except fruit and pretzels; blend until well mixed.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 days. Serve dip with fresh fruit or pretzels.

Recipe and image courtesy of  HealthBarn USA‘s Founder, Stacey Antine, MS, RD.

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Pasta Pumpkin Craft

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Looking to do a pumpkin craft with your kids? Check out this cute craft Lucas made at school! All you have to do is paint round pasta pieces orange and a few mostacholi pasta pieces green, let the paint dry, and then glue them on to a pumpkin shaped piece of paper. (Luke’s teacher used white paper but you can use orange to make it more pumpkin-like.)

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Apple Picking at Jonamac Orchard {Malta, IL}

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Apple picking is one of my favorite things to do as a family during the Fall. This year we headed back to Jonamac Orchard in Malta, Illinois. Jonamac has a great choice of apples but we head to this one mostly for their doughnuts. They are served warm and are absolutely amazing. They are so good that this year I stood in line for almost an hour just to get some.

Jonamac Orchard has other things like a great kid’s area, a giant corn maze, pony rides, and an apple launcher. They also have a huge rocking chair for photo opps (which of course we forgot to stop at this year) and a country store. We got there later in the day than we had hoped to so we didn’t have time to do much. Here are a few of my favorite pictures of my boys, my niece, and my nephew at the Orchard.

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(Disclosure: This isn’t a sponsored post. We paid for the apples and delicious doughnuts.)

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Fall Tree Craft With Puzzle Piece Leaves

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It’s almost Autumn so I had to post this adorable tree craft. The “leaves” are made with puzzle pieces that have been painted.

Materials:

  • Construction paper (blue and brown)
  • Old puzzle pieces (love garage sales and resale stores for these)
  • Paint (red, orange, yellow, green, brown)
  • Glue

Directions:

  • Cut a tree shape out of brown paper and glue to blue piece of paper
  • Turn puzzle pieces backside up
  • Have children use paintbrushes or their fingers to paint the puzzle pieces
  • Once the puzzle pieces are dry they can glue the puzzle pieces to the paper as “leaves”
This art project was completed by Lucas when he was three years old :)

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Bath & Body Works Country Fair Event Tomorrow 9/21

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(Disclosure: I am receiving products in exchange for posting about this event.)

Get excited for the arrival of fall with the Bath & Body Works County Fair—a fun, playful take on a favorite local pastime. On September 21, select Bath & Body Works stores will be transformed into festive county fairs, complete with Blue Ribbon interactive experiences.

Join Bath & Body Works for the Blue Ribbon Pumpkin Review—an activity where you’re the judge. Simply smell the range of NEW BBW Pumpkin candles and select your favorite. You can even take your top picks home! Next, visit the White Barn Home Fragrance area for the World’s Best Candle Challenge—take a trivia quiz to learn about all the ways Bath & Body Works’ superior candles enhance the home.

Those who make a home fragrance purchase will receive a FREE exclusive four-ounce preview edition of the Harvest Gathering Candle, complete with cello wrapping and tied with baker’s twine – the perfect housewarming gift for anyone this fall.

Discover what’s in store for fall at your local Bath & Body Works store this September.

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National Fall Festival Savings

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(Disclosure: I will be receiving admission to one of these great Fall festivals below.)

Ready for some Fall Festival Deals!? I have a great list of Corn Maze Coupons and Fall Festival savings nationwide.  Download valuable coupons for Corn Mazes, Pumpkin Patches and Fall Family Activities. Enjoy! :)

Arizona
Schnepf Farms - Queen City

California
Forneris Farms - Mission Hills

Colorado
Anderson Farms - Erie
Flat Acres Farm - Parker
Fritzler Maze - La Salle
Sunflower Farm - Longmont
Mile High Farms - Bennett
Wishing Star Farm - Calhan
Harvest Farm - Wellington

Louisiana
CM Farms - Dry Creek

Georgia
Lane Southern Orchards - Fort Valley
Poppell Farms - Odum

Illinois
All Seasons Orchard - Woodstock
Kuipers Family Farm - Maple Park
Odyssey Fun Farm - Tinley Park
Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm - Lockport

Indiana
Amazing Fall Fun - Waterloo
Harvest Tyme Pumpkin Patch - Lowell
Hobson’s Fun Farm - Rockville

Maryland/DC
Summers Farm - Fredrick County

Massachusetts
Sauchuk Farm - Plympton

Michigan
Farmer Charley’s Corn Maze Adventure - Monroe

Missouri/Kansas

KC Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze - Gardner
Shuck’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch - Pleasant Hill

Mississippi
Seward Farms Maze - Lucedale

Minnesota
Afton Apple Orchard - Hastings

Montana
The Maize at Grandpa’s Farm - Billings

Nebraska
Camp Fontanelle - Nickerson

New Jersey
VonThun Farms - Monmouth Junction
Sahl’s Father Son Farm - Egg Harbor City

New York
Wright Family Farm - Warwick
Harbes Family Farm - Mattituck

North Carolina
Patterson Farm Market and Tours - Mount Ulla

Ohio
The Corn Maze at the Sharp Run Market - Millersburg
Meadow View Growers - New Carlisle

Pennsylvania

Hurricane Hill Farm - Coatsville
Triple B Farms - Pittsburgh
Reillys Summer Seat Farm
 - Pittsburgh

Rhode Island
Confreda Greenhouses & Farms - Hope (Western Cranston)

Texas
Devine Acres Farm - Devine
Fiesta Farm - San Antonio
Yesterland Farm - Canton
South Texas Maize - Hondo
Dewberry Farm - Brookshire
Brazos Valley Maize- Brenham

Utah
Cornbelly’s Corn Maze & Pumpkin Fest - Spanish Fork

Virginia
Cows-N-Corn - Midland
Wayside Farm Fun - Berryville
Belvedere Plantation - Fredericksburg

For Daily Updates on these coupons and coupons for other family attractions please visit and bookmark: http://www.usfamilycoupons.com 

(Disclosure: I will receive tickets to one of the locations above.)

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Fall At The Morton Arboretum {Giveaway}

Morton Arboretum Visit {Fall 2009}

Morton Arboretum Visit {Fall 2009}

Fall is quickly approaching and The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL is a great place to see amazing fall color, and enjoy the smells, tastes and sounds of fall. We love visiting the Arboretum and the Fall is one of our favorite seasons to go. Here are some fun events coming up in the next couple of months:

Tails on the Trails

For the first time, man’s best friend is taking over The Morton Arboretum. Tails on the Trails will be offered Saturday, September 14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine. Enjoy a “paw”fect day out with your pet as you meander down the Arboretum’s 16 miles of hiking trails. Then, check out canine demonstrations and local vendors by Meadow Lake.

The cost is $5 per dog. A portion of the proceeds will go to a local animal shelter. All dogs must be current with vaccinations, be social with other dogs and be kept on a leash at all times while on the Arboretum property.

Honey Bee Weekend

September is National Honey Month. Celebrate at The Morton Arboretum’s annual Honey Bee Weekend, September 7-8. Explore the Honey Bee Expo, featuring honey and bee-themed products such as honey mead, candles, lotions and beekeeper kits.

One out of every three bites we eat depends on pollination by bees. But recent headlines have been full of warnings about the health of our bee populations – should we be concerned? Over a honey-themed buffet lunch, entomologist and author May Berenbaum of the University of Illinois will update us on the health of our honey bee populations during Honey Lunch & Learn: Healthy Bees, Healthy Food, Saturday, September 7 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Learn their biology, find out just what honey bees eat, hear the latest on Colony Collapse Disorder and more! Cost is $22 for members and $30 for nonmembers. Register at mortonarb.org/education, in the Visitor Center or by calling 630-719-2468.

An opportunity to have May Berenbaum’s books signed by the author will follow at 2 p.m. at the Honey Bee Weekend booths in Arbor Court.

Learn all about honeybees, their favorite flowers and how honey is made on a Family Honeybee Hike. Hike includes a viewing of Arboretum beehives and sampling of our Arboretum honey! 45 minute hikes are available Saturday, September 7 or Sunday, September 8 at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Cost per person is $5 for members, $6 for nonmembers. Designed for families with children ages 2 and up. Register at mortonarb.org/education, in the Visitor Center or by calling 630-719-2468.

Take a Bee Hive Tour on Friday, September 6 or Sunday, September 8 from 9 to 11 a.m. with Greg Fischer, the Arboretum’s beekeeper. Bee netting will be provided. Enjoy a sample of honey for a sweet finish to the tour. Cost is $22 for members and $30 for nonmembers. Register at mortonarb.org/education, in the Visitor Center or by calling 630-719-2468.

Submit your own honey in our second annual Honey Competition on September 6. A certified judge will award best in class and best in show ribbons in a variety of categories. A complimentary workshop on how to prepare honey for competition will take place on Sunday, July 28 at 1:00 p.m. in the Sycamore Room. No registration required.

Enjoy honey inspired food paired with mead, a honey wine at the Arboretum’s second annual Honey Mead Dinner on September 5. Arboretum beekeeper, Greg Fischer will be present explaining the pairings and how mead is made.

Wish the Children’s Garden a Happy Bee-day! Celebrate the garden’s 8th birthday by making bee masks, meeting a real beekeeper and checking out the hives we have in the Children’s Garden! The party is happening September 7-8 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is free with admission. Cook DuPage will be present with their Observation Bee Hive.

Interested in starting your own hive and harvesting your own honey? Already have a hive and want to learn more about managing it? Join Greg Fischer of Wild Blossom Meadery and beekeeper for the Arboretum, for Beginning Beekeeping. Explore the history of beekeeping, bee anatomy, starting and managing a colony, equipment basics, honey bee pests and diseases, harvesting honey and more. All participants will receive their own hive tool to take home. This four week class will be held September 10-October 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. Cost is $80 for members, $94 for nonmembers. Register at mortonarb.org/education, in the Visitor Center or call 630-719-2468.

Theatre-Hikes®

Follow the action – literally – of some time-honored stage productions during the unique Theatre-Hikes® program at The Morton Arboretum. Performances are each Saturday and Sunday, through October. Shows in September begin at 1 p.m. Shows in October start at 3 p.m.

The first Sunday performance of each month will be a low-impact hike (suitable for strollers, walkers and wheelchairs). Each performance lasts approximately three hours, so please wear comfortable shoes, dress for the weather and bring a chair or blanket, water bottle and insect repellent. All performances begin at the Thornhill Shelter (Parking Lot 21).

Tickets are on sale now and include Arboretum admission. For members, tickets cost $12 for adults and $8 for children. For nonmembers, tickets cost $19 for adults and $13 for children. Season tickets are available and cost $40 for member adults, $25 for member children, $60 for nonmember adults and $45 for nonmember children. To purchase tickets, call 630-725-2066, visit mortonarb.org, or stop by The Morton Arboretum Visitor Center.

A Walk with Mark Twain

Weekends in September Meet Mark Twain as he shares two of his famous stories: The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and The Diaries of Adam and Eve. In our first story, Jim Smiley, a man with all the luck in the world, finds his luck has run out when he gambles everything on a giant frog that he figures can’t lose. Then, Twain retells the creation story, with a reclusive Adam who finds himself unprepared for the arrival of Eve, a talkative, emotional female. Will they find a way to get along? Appropriate for all ages.

Fall Color Festival & 5K

Fall Color Festival kicks off with The Morton Arboretum’s 10th annual Fall Color 5K Run & Walk and Kid’s Dash on Sunday, October 6 at 8 a.m. The 5K follows a challenging USATF-certified course along the East Side Main Route through rolling terrain. ChronoTrack B-Tag timing system, a technical t-shirt, awards and recovery food and water are included. Cost is $25 for members, $30 for nonmembers, or $35 on race day including admission.

The Kid’s Dash begins at 9 a.m. for ages 2-10 and includes a cotton t-shirt and participation ribbon. Cost is $10 for members, $12 for nonmembers and $15 on race day. Register at mortonarb.org or in the Visitor Center.

Scarecrow Trail will be back around Meadow Lake, with nature-based scarecrows created by local Girl and Boy Scout Troops. Open daily in October, 7 a.m. to sunset.

Plus, fulfill your fall food cravings at the Fall Color Festival. Enjoy juicy brats, build-your-own taffy apples and other mouth watering bites available for purchase in Arbor Court. Plus, sample complimentary wine tastings. The festival will be open weekends in October and Columbus Day, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Glass Pumpkin Patch and Workshops

This fall, The Morton Arboretum announces the return of the Glass Pumpkin Patch, a cornucopia of unique blown-glass artwork set against a backdrop of the Arboretum’s colorful trees. From Wednesday, October 16 through Sunday, October 20, the event will feature 3,000 glass pumpkins and other autumnal designs such as apples, gourds, acorns, and more. The Glass Pumpkin Patch will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and is free with Arboretum admission.

During glass blowing demonstrations, visitors can watch top glass-blowing artisans, called gaffers, from around the country turn molten glass turn into works of art. Meet the artists and see how they work the molten glass, adding colors and creating different patterns and shapes. The glassblowers use an outdoor furnace, assembled on site just for the Patch, which reaches temperatures higher than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

After watching a demonstration, visitors can walk through the Glass Pumpkin Patch to see finished pieces in a wide variety of styles, sizes and colors. The Glass Pumpkin Patch will be open for viewing and glass blowing demonstrations on Wednesday and Thursday as well as on Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The pieces will be available for sale starting at 1 p.m. Friday, October 18. The pumpkins and autumnal designs range from $35 to $300 per item based on the artist’s experience level, techniques used, color, size and style of the pumpkin, and are only available for sale at the annual Patch.

The event is co-produced with Shannon Jane Morgan, of Girl Glass Studio in Sacramento, CA and features many local glass artists.

Morton Arboretum Children’s Garden {Fall 2009}

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a family four pack of tickets to The Morton Arboretum

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me which event you think your family would love attending

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Follow Morton Arboretum on Twitter

4) Follow me on Twitter

Giveaway ends September 19, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be 21 or over and a US resident to enter.

(Disclosure: Information provided by the Morton Arboretum. I was not compensated for posting this event info and giveaway.)

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Fall Family Events at the Chicago Botanic Garden

Image courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden

Image courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden

Fall at the Chicago Botanic Garden is brimming with activities the whole family can enjoy. I can’t wait to take my family for a visit with the passes the Garden sent me. Here are some of the fun things your family can do there this Fall:

Discovery Backpacks – Available Year-Round

Families visiting the Garden can borrow Discovery Backpacks from the Information Desk in the Visitor Center. Backpacks include two magnifiers, two binoculars, and field guides. Discovery Backpacks offer a highly interactive experience for individual families. They are available year-round and will be loaned out on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information please visit, www.chicagobotanic.org/familyprograms/dropin or call (847) 835-5440.

Discovery Programs: Buehler Enabling, Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable, Elizabeth Hubert Malott Japanese and English Walled Gardens – Wednesdays through Sundays, continuing through October 6

Volunteers stationed at discovery carts and throughout the gardens offer information and hands-on experiences on a variety of topics through Discovery Programs. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday on Friday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. In the Fruit & Vegetable Garden, topics include: bees, tools, herbs and composting. Volunteers at the dry garden and Shoin House in the Malott Japanese Garden provide cross-cultural insights and an introduction to Eastern garden design. In the Enabling Garden, volunteers demonstrate the advantages of a universal design garden while performing maintenance tasks. The Tool Shed, a resource center staffed by volunteers who answer questions and demonstrate tools that make gardening easier for people of all abilities, is also open. Volunteers in the English Walled Garden share seasonal highlights with visitors and identify the variety of plants growing in the garden. Visitwww.chicagobotanic.org/volunteer or call (847) 835-8392 for information on volunteer opportunities in the Discovery Programs.

Family Drop-in Activities in the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden – Saturdays and Sundays, September 7 to 29, 2013

Free harvest-themed family drop-in activities will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on September weekends at the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden. Programming includes a fall fragrance challenge, pumpkin prints to take home, and chef and root vegetable activities.

Model Railroad Garden: Landmarks of America – through Sunday, October 27

The Model Railroad Garden features the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., and a refurbished White House this year. Eighteen model G-scale trains run on 17 tracks, winding over bridges and trestles, and around nearly 50 models of American landmarks. The 7,500-square-foot exhibition is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (weather permitting). Special evening hours keep the event open until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays from June 5 to August 28. Cost is $6 for adults; $5 seniors; and $4 children (3-12). Members receive $1 discount off these rates. Admission is free on Wednesdays for Garden Plus members. The Model Railroad Garden is generously sponsored by Bank of America. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/railroad for more information.

Nature Nights: Prairie Prowl – Saturdays, September 7 or 21

Bring a picnic dinner and spend an evening in the Garden! Children ages 4-10 and their families will explore different areas of the Garden and enjoy a variety of discovery-based activities. Explore the Dixon Prairie to learn about how prairies grow, find the plants and animals that call it home, and pot up a prairie plant to take home. Each Nature Night also includes a tram ride, a planting project, and s’mores around the campfire. Class is from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Registration costs $25 for nonmembers. Garden Plus members receive a 20 percent discount. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/naturenights for more information.

Malott Japanese Garden Family Sundays – Sunday, September 1 and 15

Drop by the Elizabeth Hubert Malott Japanese Garden for hands-on activities related to Japanese arts and culture. Practice using chopsticks, rake miniature dry gardens, make Japanese kites, and more. The free activities vary each time, and are subject to change.

Little Diggers – Select Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, starting September 12, 13, and 14

Learn about flowers, discover animals, experience the changing seasons, and more! These four-class series for children ages 2-4 and caregivers meet mornings, once a month. Each program includes group activities, time for free play, and a planting project. Programs run 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. from September through December. The fee is $75 per child for nonmembers. Garden Plus members receive a 20 percent discount. Registration is required in advance. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/littlediggers or call (847) 835-6801 for more information.

Model Sailboat Sunday – Sunday, September 15

Bring your child (and childlike wonder) and watch model sailboats race across the North Lake! Demonstrations are organized by the Chicago R/C Model Yacht Club and held at the Waterside Terrace on the Esplanade. Admire spectacular views of the North Lake and Smith Fountain as you watch the race, and learn about building and operating model sailboats. Club members will be on site to answer questions about sailboats, races, and regattas. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (weather permitting). Visit https://www.chicagobotanic.org/calendar/event/model_sailboat_sunday for more information.

Sukkot Family Activities – Sunday, September 22

Families can celebrate the Jewish harvest holiday, Sukkot, and help decorate the sukkah with handmade decorations. The sukkah, a branch- covered booth, also features fall fruits and vegetables, including dried corn, squash, and gourds. Activities are sponsored by the National Council of Jewish Women, Chicago North Shore Section. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/calendar/event/sukkot_family_activities or call (847) 835-5440 for more information.

Fall Bulb Festival – Friday, October 4 through Sunday, October 6

Celebrate the season with the Fall Bulb Festival, an event that includes an outdoor market on the Esplanade and a bulb sale inside the Regenstein Center. Families can enjoy shopping among local vendors selling seasonal produce, roasted nuts, pottery, kettle corn and much more. Children can participate in Family Drop-in Activities (Saturday and Sunday only), navigate a straw-bale maze and dance to live music. Shop for bulbs that you can take home and plant as a family that will bring delight the following spring. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/bulb for more information.

Spooky Pooch Parade – Saturday, October 19

The Chicago Botanic Garden is going to the dogs! For two hours only, cleverly costumed canines are invited to the Garden to celebrate Halloween. Activities include several categories for judging, a parade through the Garden, and an awards ceremony. Nonprofit animal advocacy groups and local vendors will share information and sell dog-related products. Registration forms, complete with the dog-gone rules, will be available in the Visitor Center, or on the web at www.chicagobotanic.org/dog. Parade spectators are welcome—no ticket needed. Regular parking fees apply.

Trains, Tricks & Treats – Saturday, October 19, and Sunday, October 20 (weather permitting)

Celebrate Halloween at the Model Railroad Garden, specially decorated with spider webs, spiders, ghosts, goblins, and pumpkins, as well as seasonal plant materials. Visitors are encouraged to come in costume. An array of treats to take home can be found throughout the Model Railroad Garden. Kids can take part in a planting activity. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, and $4 for children ages 3-12. Children 2 and under are free. Members save $1 off each ticket. Visitwww.chicagobotanic.org/calendar/event/trains_tricks_treats for more information.

HallowFest – Saturday, October 26, and Sunday, October 27

Celebrate Halloween if you dare at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s HallowFest: A Garden of Good…and Evil. Take either the “friendly” or “spooky” path to activities in the Regenstein Center and McGinley Pavilion. Experience family-friendly thrills and chills, including two stages of entertainment and face painting. As night falls, walk through the Model Railroad Garden, decorated in ghastly lights and running special ghost trains. Hours are 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/hallowfest or call (847) 835-5440 for more information.

(Disclosure: I received passes to the garden.)

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15 Leaf Crafts & Activities For Kids

leaf-activities-and-crafts

One of my favorite Fall activities is to take the boys on a nature walk and collect leaves that we normally turn into leaf collages. I want to do something different this Fall so I searched online for some other ways to use the leaves we collect and other leaf themed activities and crafts that would be fun to do. Here are 15 of the best ones I found. Enjoy!

Building Speech & Language with Leaf Man by Author Lois Ehlert from Playing With Words 365

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Nature Crowns from Wildlife Fun 4 Kids

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Contact Paper Nature Collage from The Chocolate Muffin Tree

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Classifying Leaves from Two Little Seeds

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Bean Leaf Craft from All Kids Network

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Leaf Rubbing Garland from Creative Family Fun

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Printable Leaf Counting Book from Enchanted Learning

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Leaf Ghosts from She Knows

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Leaf Turkeys from Toddler Approved

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Leaf Family from Putti’s World

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Autumn Trees Craft from Full Circle

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Leaf Wreath from Preschool Panda

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Leaf Lacing Activity from Happy Hooligans

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Nature Placemat from Momma’s Fun World

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Leaf People from Happy Home Fairy

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60+ Ideas For Fall Family Fun {Bucket List}

fall family fun

I’ve spent the past week or so thinking of all the fun things my family has done during the Fall season in years past. Here are over 50 ways to enjoy the Fall season.

1) Go apple picking

2) Bake a pumpkin pie

3) Stuff a scarecrow using old clothes

4) Rake leaves into a pile and jump into them

5) Go on a nature walk

6) Drink apple cider

7) Play with apple pie and pumpkin pie scented playdough

8) Go to a football game

9) Make a list of what you are thankful for

10) Make a bird feeder

11) Pick a pumpkin at a pumpkin patch

12) Have a bonfire outside (don’t forget the smores!)

13) Make a leaf rubbing

14) Go to the library and checkout Fall themed books

15) Have family game night

16) Carve pumpkins

17) Make cinnamon apples or mini apple pies

18) Dress up in costumes and go trick or treating

19) Have a football watching party and cheer on your favorite team

20) Go on a hayride

21) Make apple prints using halved apples dipped in paint

22) Paint pumpkins

23) Take a drive to look at the trees changing colors

24) Make a leaf collage

25) Go to the zoo or a farm

26) Donate food to a local food pantry

27) Drink a pumpkin spice latte or other pumpkin flavored drink

28) Make a Fall wreath for your door

29) Go camping

30) Bob for apples

31) Go to a turkey farm

32) Fill a box for Operation Christmas Child

33) Decorate your house for Fall

34) Make spooktacular cake pops

35) Go tailgating

36) Have a special Halloween lunch

37) Take a family photo

38) Make crockpot applesauce

39) Go through a corn maze

40) Host (or attend) a costume party

41) Eat candy apples

42) Make leaf print art

43) Bake pumpkin seeds

44) Have a family movie night and cuddle under blankets

45) Make chili

46) Attend (or watch) a Fall parade

47) Eat a big Thanksgiving meal

48) Go horseback riding

49) Volunteer in a soup kitchen

50) Make lollipop ghosts

51) Watch Charlie Brown Halloween and Thanksgiving movies

52) Attend a Fall festival

53) Make a paper turkey and on the paper feathers write what you are thankful for

54) Bake homemade pumpkin bread

55) Watch a Casper movie

56) Eat candy corn

57) Listen to spooky music (like Monster Mash)

58) Make tasty treats for Thanksgiving

59) Make corn cob prints

60) Make a fun Halloween craft with the kids

61) Throw a home canning party

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10 Fall Sensory Tables For Kids

fall sensory tables

I love sensory tables. It could be the preschool teacher in me or the fact that my children, who have sensory processing issues, enjoy playing in the table for long periods of time. I’m already thinking of Autumn themed tables so I wanted to share mine with you and 9 others I found online:

After this picture was taken I also added pinecones, fake apples, and cups/scoops

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Check out this corn cob filled table from Reggio Inspired

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Trigger the sense of smell in your sensory bin by using the scents of Fall like Fantastic Fun & Learning did.

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I love this Fall farm themed table from No Time for Flash Cards

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Mom To 2 Posh Lil Divas added straw to her Fall sensory table

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Have apple picking on the brain? This apple themed sensory box by Pink and Green Mama is so cute!

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Kids Activities Blog shares 10 natural items you can put in your Fall sensory tub. Great way to connect with nature!

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Cloud dough is fun, especially when it’s a nice scent like this pumpkin scented cloud dough from Growing a Jeweled Rose.

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Instead of dry pasta in your sensory bin, try cooked pasta. This completely different texture adds to the sensory experience. Visit 123 Homeschool 4 Me to learn more.

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I like the scraps of materials and papers that Sugar Aunts put in their Fall sensory bin.

(Linked up at: Upside Down Homeschooling)

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Neutral Fashions For Fall

kohls fall 2013

Can you believe it’s already August? Where has the summer gone? I’ll be working with Kohl’s to share some back-to-school fashions for kids and teens soon {with a giveaway!!} but I wanted to remind all of you moms out there that you deserve a new outfit for Fall, too :) The neutral colored looks below can all be found at Kohl’s.

 

OUTFIT #1

Jennifer Lopez Wedge Sweater $54.00

Jennifer Lopez Ankle Trouser Pants $54.00

Jennifer Lopez Open Toe Blingy Heels $74.99

OUTFIT #2

Rock & Republic Sleeveless Studded Collar Shirt $44.00

Rock & Republic Coated Kashmere Leggings $88.00

Rock & Republic Mitchel Booties $84.99

 OUTFIT #3

Jennifer Lopez Embellished Top $54.00

Jennifer Lopez Embellished Skinny Jeans $60.00

OUTFIT #4

Rock & Republic Lazer Cutout Tee $44.00

Rock & Republic Kashmere Leggings $88.00

OUTFIT #5

Jennifer Lopez Studded Blouse $48.00

Jennifer Lopez Skinny Jeans $54.00

Jennifer Lopez Joanna Large Crossbody Bag $99.00

(Disclosure: As stated above, I am working with Kohl’s this back-to-school season. All thoughts are my own.)

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Acorn Squash Soup {Recipe}

Acorn Squash Soup

There’s nothing better on a cold chilly night than a bowl of warm soup. This Acorn Squash Soup recipe was created by Bravo’s Top Chef, Richard Blais. By using Dannon Oikos Greek yogurt Blais makes the soup a little healthier, but still delicious!

Ingredients:

1 whole acorn squash

1/4 white onion,chopped

1 bay leaf

4 cloves garlic

2 tbsp celery, chopped

1 and a 1/2 quart chicken stock

1/2 cup Dannon Oikos plain Greek nonfat yogurt

1/2 cup chorizo, crumbled

2 tbsp cranberry canned jelly

3 leaves cilantro

1 tsp smoked paprika

Pomegranate seeds for garnish (optional)

Lime for ganish

Directions

1) In a stockpot, cook the onion, bay leaf, garlic and celery in some olive oil until garlic releases aroma.

2) Add the chopped acorn squash and then the chicken stock and simmer. When the acorn squash is cooked, swirl in Dannon Oikos plain Greek nonfat yogurt and remove from the heat.

3) In a separate pan, cook the chorizo and paprika.

4) When the squash is cooked thoroughly, puree the soup and pass through a sieve so it is smooth.

5) Garnish with the crumbled chorizo, the cilantro, pomegranate seeds, a squirt of lime and top with a dollop of yogurt.

(This is not a compensated post but the recipe was shared with me from Dannon.)

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Orange Ginger Pumpkin Cake {Recipe}

pumpkin cake

Pumpkin is my favorite Fall flavor so I’m excited to share this recipe for Orange Ginger Pumpkin Cake created by the founder of the Matt’s Pantry iPad App, Private Chef Matthew Shields. He says this cake is perfect for Thanksgiving and I agree. Enjoy! :)

Orange Ginger Pumpkin Cake

Cake:

½ cup unsalted butter

½ cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, one separated

½ cup pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon orange zest

1 tablespoon grated ginger

¾ cup all purpose flour

¼  cup cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

couple pinches of salt

Syrup:

Juice of one large orange

¼ cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350*F.  Butter or spray with cooking spray a baking pan and set aside.  Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the whole egg and the yolk one at a time, beating well and scraping the sides of the bowl.  Beat in the pumpkin, orange zest, and ginger.

Sift together the flours, baking powder and salt.  Add to the pumpkin batter in three or four stages, blending thoroughly after each.  In a small bowl whip the egg white until they hold soft peaks.  Fold into batter, then scrape the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake in the center of the oven for 50-60 minutes.  Allow to cool for at least ten minutes.

For the syrup, combine the orange juice and sugar in a small sauce pan over low heat until the sugar dissolves and then increase the heat bringing to a boil.  Boil with out stirring for 1 minute.  Allow to cool.

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Pumpkin Patch {Wordless Wednesday}

pumpkins3

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Updating The Fall Wardrobe With Cookies Kids

Outfit #3

My four year old is growing like a weed. While cleaning out Jake and Luke’s closet I realized that Jacob’s 3T pants were all way too short on him and it was time for him to move up to the next size. Most of the time I shop at a big box store but lately I’ve been so busy working that I don’t have time to get to the store. This is when online stores are ideal because I can shop at midnight when I finally stop working and taking care of the kids and I have a minute to sit and rest. It was one of these late evenings when I decided to shop at CookiesKids.com to get Jacob some new clothes.

I had shopped at Cookies Kids last year and loved the clothes that I ordered. They were really cute and the quality was wonderful enough that I was able to pass them down to Lucas when Jacob outgrew them. Looking at the site again  I remembered my favorite thing about Cookies Kids- the prices! There’s nothing better than finding stylish clothes at a great deal.

The online ordering process was pretty easy. I normally shy away from online shopping because I’m afraid of getting the wrong size but Cookies Kids has a new feature to help. The Alva Kids feature helped me choose the right sizes of each item with just a few steps.

When I went to pay I was excited to see that I had $30 in my account from referral credits I had earned in the past few months. Once I ordered everything I wanted I had it shipped to my house. About a week later the package arrived and I opened it to check out all the new clothes that I had bought for Jake.

I ordered three jean outfits, one sweats outfit, one hoodie, two pairs of pajamas and two pairs of long johns. With my referral credit, all that would have only cost around $60!

Outfit #1

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Outfit #2

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Outfit #3

I thought the clothes we got were great quality and Jacob felt very comfortable in them. The only thing I wished was different is that I would have liked to see the pants with waist adjusters in them since both my boys are pretty skinny and always need the waistbands of jeans tightened. Overall, I was happy with the clothes I had chosen and will definitely be shopping at Cookies Kids again.

Cookies Kids is amazing and gave me a unique code for all my readers to use so that you all can get 10% of Cookies Kids already low prices! Use the code “makingtimeformommy” for 10% off at CookiesKids.com! Code expires on 12/14/12.

You can see more pictures of my online shopping experience and the other clothes I ordered in my Google+ album. You can find Cookies Kids on Facebook and Twitter. If You are in New York, Cookies Kids have 7 stores in the NYC area in Bronx, Brooklyn and Jamaica.

(Disclosure: 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 CookiesKids.com #CBias #SocialFabric #CookiesKids )

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Lucas And His Pumpkin

pumpkin carving 1

I love this picture I took while we were carving pumpkins this morning. Lucas took the lid off the pumpkin and did this when he saw what was inside. lol

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Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins {Recipe}

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

This spicy, fudgy bread will tantalize your taste buds. A mix between a pudding and a cake, it’s the perfect item to bring parties…or just keep to yourself at home!

Yield:    1 (9×5-inch) loaf                                 

Prep time:  15 minutes                       

Cook time: 1 hour

 Ingredients:

1 cup Date Paste

½ tsp. baking soda

1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin purée

½ tsp. salt

3 TB. flax eggs

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

½ cup pure maple syrup

¼ tsp. ground cloves

1 TB. alcohol-free vanilla extract

¼ tsp. ground nutmeg

1 ½ cups oat flour

¼ tsp. ground ginger

½ tsp. aluminum-free baking powder

1 ½ cups grain-sweetened chocolate chips

Directions:

1.       Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

2.       In a large bowl, combine Date Paste, pumpkin purée, flax eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla extract until smooth.

3.       Gently stir in oat flour, aluminum-free baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger. Mix until no lumps remain. Add chocolate chips, and evenly distribute throughout.

4.       Pour batter into 9×5-inch loaf pan, and bake for 1 hour. Allow bread to cool before cutting and serving.

(Recipe courtesy of  Julieanna Hever, M.S., R.D., C.P.T., also known as “The Plant-Based Dietitian,”. She is the author of the best-selling book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition and  host of upcoming series What Would Julieanna Do? on the healthy living TV network Veria Living.)

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Beautiful Fall Weather {Wordless Wednesday}

fall2009 1

{These pictures are from Fall 2009}

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Fall Table Setting Ideas From World Market

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Since school has started, Summer is basically over in my mind. I’m thinking Fall and everything it brings including hooded sweatshirts, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and time indoors. With time inside comes dinner at the kitchen table instead of picnics and dinner on the patio. I looked online at World Market’s website to see what items they had for decorating my table for the upcoming season. Here are some of my favorites:

Items I’d choose to decorate my table for Fall:

1) Amber Ava Goblets, Set of 4

2) 11″ Honey Soukra Dinner Plate

3) Indigo Organic Reactive Bowls, Set of 2

4) Hammered Salad Fork, Set of 4

5) Lisbon Serving Bowl

6) Dark Amber Fringe Napkins, Set of 4

I love that World Market has such unique pieces for my whole home at prices that fit my budget.

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World Market has a Gourmet Getaway Sweepstakes going on right now. All you have to do is “like” their Facebook page and fill out a form for a chance to win an amazing prize package. Extra entries can be earned each day until the sweepstakes ends and you can also get extra entries for sharing it with your friends.

The Grand Prize includes:

  • A trip for two to to Santa Fe, New Mexico (this is a 5 day Trip for 2 to Santa Fe which includes airfare and hotel)
  • Hands on Southwestern Cooking class with Master Chef
  • Personally signed glossy cookbook
  • Multi-course dinner at the acclaimed Geronimo
  • Southwestern Foodie Tour with a cultural kick
  • A $1,000 World Market gift card

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This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™, but all my opinions are my own.

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