All Things Pumpkin

IMG_2217In the month of October there seems to be a lot of pumpkin about. From Thanksgiving feasts that include delicious pies and cheesecakes to Fall festivals and trips to the pumpkin patch, even right up until Halloween when we are carving pumpkins for the kids and all our trick or treaters.

I love pumpkins. I not only love the taste, but I love the bright orange color they are, the unique shapes and sizes and all the different things that you can do with pumpkin, from eating and recipes to decorating and crafts.

I do have to say that I tend to lean towards the pumpkin food items the most, as I really do enjoy those. And lately I have been finding all kinds of pumpkin delights that I have tried or am about to try such as pumpkin pancakes, muffins, latte, fudge, cheesecake, ice cream and of course pie. I even discovered a recipe for a Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake, which though I have to make a few dietary adjustments I can’t wait to get it into my oven and more importantly in my tummy!IMG_2173

The pumpkin pancakes I discovered a few years ago when I bought Halloween pancake molds that came with the recipe (those are so fun!). The pumpkin spice latte is a slow cooker recipe I discovered last year and made for the first time last week for my open house. The fudge I have yet to try but believe me I am all over this and it won’t be long! And I have always loved pumpkin muffins, though I have been dappling in some new recipes. I always enjoy variation and who knows you might be missing out on something even better if you don’t at least try it!

I am not sure what it is I love about pumpkin dishes so much, but I am sure that it also has to do with the allure and smell of all those delicious spices that go in it; like ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Mmmm… just the thought of it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

pumpkin-spice-latte-white-chocolateMy greatest (and most fun) pumpkin discovery this Fall was actually not a food item. Which is ok, I was just super surprised at whoever came up with this as it is so simple, yet so ingenious. It is Pumpkin Play Doh! I thought this was fabulous! My kids loves playdoh and what a fun way to tie in a theme, those spices we love and play and create at the same time.

I found the recipe on another blog While He Was Napping. She makes her playdoh on the stove top which I am sure works well, but I have my own playdoh recipe I decided to use and adjust instead (as it is just a mix everything together, I like to avoid extra pots and pans). All I needed to do was add my pumpkin pie spice and color it orange. Presto! Pumpkin Playdoh.

IMG_2305The twins loved it! Thought it was the most fabulous thing ever, yeah it was playdoh but it was new and it was pumpkin! Even Matthew and his friend smelled it and said it smelled really good. Plus I played it up a little, got out the Halloween cookie cutters for them to use and sat down and played with them for a while. Chloe loved making pumpkin hair for the Fuzzy Cuts Barber Shop we have. Luke just rolled it and created as he usually does. Fun was had by all.

I’m wondering now what other ‘flavours’ of playdoh I can make, perhaps mint or chocolate. It could be done, I’ll have to experiment… In the meantime enjoy the pumpkin…

Pumpkin Playdoh

Mix together in a medium bowl:

2 c. flour

4 tsp. cream of tartar

1 c. salt

2-3 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (amount depends on how strong you would like the scent) or 2-3 drops On Guard essential oil

Add in:

1 1/2 c. boiling water

2 tbsp. oil

Mix together. Knead well. Add in orange food coloring. Knead again until well mixed. Store in ziploc bags.

*For ordinary playdoh simply omit the pumpkin pie spice and add whatever color of food coloring you want. Batch is fairly large – so can easily be divided to make a few different colors or scents.


Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids – aka Turkeys, turkeys and more turkeys

Pine cone turkey

What holiday would be complete without crafts made by the kids to decorate? And believe me there is no shortage of craft ideas out there for any holiday, especially Thanksgiving. Turkey crafts alone number in the 20’s, with many variations that kids can do. From turkey handprints to pine cone turkeys there is something out there for every age and every possible craft supply you may have.

This is the first year that Luke and Chloe were old enough to do crafts so we tried a (surprise!) turkey craft. The Thanksgiving Handprint Craft is easy and fun, it also creates a bit of a momento if you decide to keep it; as you trace their hand and footprints to make it.

Our nanny, Elaine came up with the craft, which she found on the all kids network. It is an easy craft that can be done with all ages.

Thanksgiving Handprint Craft

Luke and Chloe's Handprint Turkeys

You will need brown, red, yellow, and orange construction paper, googley eyes, glue stick, scissors, pencil.

Trace your child’s foot on the brown construction paper. Depending on your child’s age you may need to assist or cut it out for them.

Trace your child’s hand on the red, yellow and orange construction paper and cut out. Cut a small triangle out of the orange for the turkey’s beak. Also cut little feet out of the orange.

Using glue stick, glue handprints to back of the foot. Glue eyes and beak on the front, with the little feet at the bottom. Use the wider part of the foot for the top of the turkey.

Another version of the handprint turkey is to have the kids write things that they are grateful for on each finger of their turkey, which I think is kind of unique and appropriate, considering the holiday. I also believe that it is important for us to teach our children to be grateful and this is a fun way to do it.

Garland of Leaves and Thankful Sunflower

I discovered 2 other versions of thankful crafts; the Garland of Leaves and Thankful Sunflower.

Garland of Leaves

For the Garland of Leaves you will need red, yellow and orange construction paper, a black marker, mini clothespins and some string or yarn. Kids cut leaves out of the different colors of construction paper and then write things that they are grateful for on each leaf. They also invite guests who come for dinner on Thanksgiving to write what they are thankful for on a leaf. Hang all the leaves on the string using mini clothespins and hang up on the wall to decorate. Then you are surrounded by gratefulness at dinner.

The Thankful Sunflower is a similar concept except it is in the shape of a sunflower and kids write what they are grateful for on the petals of the flower.

Lacing Crafts

Lacing crafts are great for kids 2 years and up, as it helps them with their fine motor skills. All you need is card stock, a hole punch, yarn or ribbon, and a pencil. For Thanksgiving you can find templates for turkey drumsticks, cornucopia, pumpkins, or you can make your own.

Pumpkin Finger Paint

I always like to include at least one craft that includes painting as kids love it! Whether it be with brushes or fingers kids become very focused and attentive to their creations. This craft is very easy to do. You will need orange finger paint, card stock, green construction paper and yarn (if you wish to hang it).

Cut pumpkin out of cardstock and let the kids to paint it orange! Let them enjoy the paint squished between their fingers as they move and create. Let paint dry. Once it is dry cut out green stem out of construction paper, glue it on. Punch hole in top of stem and string through yarn to hang.

Thanksgiving Crown

What a great way to make Thanksgiving dinner more festive for the kids with their own Thanksgiving Crown. A simple construction paper hat, you will need

  • brown, orange, yellow or red construction paper,
  • 2 pipe cleaners
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • tape
  • printer
  • paper
  • tissue paper (orange, yellow and red — but you can use any combination of autumn colors you like)
  • brown thread
  • optional:  stickers, markers, glitter or gel pens to decorate
This craft is very well explained on the dltk website I found it on so simply click the link to take you there for instructions on how to complete it.
With any craft adult/ parent supervision is advised. Let the kids do as much of the craft themselves, but depending on their age may require more assistance with things like cutting. The important thing is to let the kids take their time and feel proud of what they made. It is a great learning for them as it develops their imaginations, creativity and motor skills.
Regardless of what crafts you choose this Thanksgiving, enjoy them and decorate your home with them, proudly displaying what your children can do. Count your many blessings this weekend as  you celebrate with family and friends enjoying the holiday and all the delectable delights that come with it. Happy Thanksgiving!
Tomorrow, guest blogger Nina Manolson talks about how to get your kids to eat healthy without the fight! Be sure to check out tomorrow’s post.