It's fall - sweater weather, pumpkins, falling leaves, hot cider, and Halloween. I love it all. With kids, this time of year means we have to start thinking and planning Halloween costumes (and allow for Charlie's last minute change in plans), make a trip to a pumpkin patch, and do something special to mark the season.
I've written here before about how I'm craft-deficient, but I am also stubborn and foolishly optimistic when it comes to making things, always hoping my inner Martha Stuart will finally and at long last appear. This always leads me to take on some craft/baking endeavor with the kids that always fall short of my expectations, looks terrible, makes a huge mess, and leaves everyone in tears - including me.
But not this year. This year I have looooow expectations and nothing is getting me down. I now know to plan the activity in advance, have things assembled for the kids to quickly jump in, and that after 15 minutes (if I'm lucky) I will be finishing the activity on my own. It won't be pretty, but it will be our own.
Armed with this positive and realistic mindset, we set about to make a pumpkin garland this past Sunday. I did not spend 50 hours on Pinterest looking up possible options. I had Ryan draw a pumpkin template, bought the stickers I knew my kids would love (in favor of the ones that would look best), gathered some string and a hole punch and we were off...
Izzy loved using the glue stick and used it liberally with her stickers. I didn't care - it makes minimal mess. And we were outside on the deck where a mess wouldn't really matter. Go wild kid.
Charlie sported his fave neon orange shirt for the project, a nice touch. Instead of cutting things out of the patterned paper I bought and putting it on top of the pumpkin as I envisioned, he taped his pumpkin to the square piece of paper. I went with it.
After covering two pumpkins with every single sticker we had, they were done. I was left to finish the rest of the pumpkins with scraps of paper and patterned tape.
It's not Martha-worthy, not even Pinterest-worthy, but I like the little bit of fun it adds to their play space. Mission accomplished! Now Charlie and Izzy can't say that their mom never made any crafts with them when they were kids. Because let's face it, that's really what this is all about. And someday we'll all laugh about how horrible my craft projects were and that will be half the fun (my Mom's Christmas sugar cookies always looked more like aliens than snowmen, but I love the memories of that holiday tradition).
We were especially ambitious on this particular Sunday and after naps we tackled pumpkin bread. Baking with the kids in our new kitchen is so much more fun than in our old house. There is plenty of room and counter space for both kids to have their own spot, and to spread out all the ingredients in places they can't quite reach until we're ready for them.
In our kitchen, pants are always optional.
At some point during the prep, they both got distracted by the oranges on the counter and started "making and selling orange juice." I finished the pumpkin bread on my own and everyone was happy - again! I should probably quit while I'm ahead and scrap my plans to paint pumpkins this weekend...
This is the best recipe for Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread. You can find it here. Enjoy!