Pumpkin Decorating: A Fun Halloween Tradition

Our wonderfully decorated pumpkins

Since my daughter was a toddler, we’ve been decorating pumpkins together as one of our Halloween activities. I can admit that I may love this tradition the same or even more than she does. This year was a tad different with a COVID 19 restrictions. Though the usual pumpkin patch we visit to select those “perfect” pumpkins was open, we opted to get them from a local store this year.

For the past few years, my mom (her Nana) joined us, and this year my niece (her cousin) joined in on the fun too. Quinn even decided to feature it as her YouTube video post this week and on her blog page, Quinnie’s Fun House.

There’s something soothing yet fun about decorating pumpkins, especially with my family. I’m hoping next year we will return to the pumpkin place, but in the meantime, we have our wonderfully decorated pumpkins to remind us of the fun times associated with Halloween and family togetherness.

All the best,

Tanya

My Pumpkin is a Beautiful Unicorn!

Taking a family trip to Shady Brook Farm’s pumpkin patch is one of our favorite activities this time the year. Another one of the activities we thoroughly enjoy is deciding on how we will decorate our pumpkins and then sitting down and doing them as a family. Though it can get messy with paint, we love taking the trip to Michael’s to get all of our supplies and then helping each other out as we go through the process of giving our pumpkins character.

This year, my six year old was inspired by my unicorn I created last year and decided to do her own. She painted white all by herself. I helped her a little with cutting the felt pieces and using the hot glue gun to adhere them to her pumpkin. She then drew on the eyes after consulting a few pictures we found on the internet. My pumpkin was inspired by Aladdin, specifically Princess Jasmine. So after painting it a turquoise and fuchsia she wears in the movie, I blinged it out with pearl and gold trimming. My mother even got into the act with her pumpkin and made a cat using felt for the ears and painting on the face.

Now, our pumpkins sit on display on the buffet in our dining room for all visitors to see and admire. My admiration comes not just from the pumpkins but the memorable moments I share with my own mother and my daughter, who will always be my sweet little pumpkin.

All the best,

Tanya

Let the October Fun Begin: It’s Pumpkin Patch Family Time!

“I want one that’s not too small and not too big,” my six year old told me as we made our way through the admissions entrance of Shady Brook Farm. Picking the “perfect” pumpkin has become just as involved as selecting the right Christmas tree for us. It must have a long enough stem with a slight curve, have a nice round shape, be smooth with minimal to no blemishes, lumps or bumps. It all started five years ago when my husband and I brought Quinn to the pumpkin patch for a little family fun.

Now, it is a wonderful family tradition filled with fun activities, smiles and laughter. My mother has even joined us for the past four years, and we all come ready with our gardening gloves for handling the pumpkins, large bags for carrying them and keen eyes for finding the right ones for our pumpkin decorating projects.

While going to the pumpkin patch is the main purpose of our outing, we also enjoy the many activities available from the corn maize, play ground, moon bounces, entertainment and various games. Of course, we could easily get a pumpkin at the local Giant or grocery store, but I look forward to this family tradition and especially the family togetherness that comes from this day long outing at Shadybrook Farm. If you are local to the Bucks County, PA area and looking for a fall activity for your family, give it a try!

All the best,

Tanya H. Franklin

This Pup Pumpkin’s Gotta Fly! Making a Skye Paw Patrol Pumpkin with My Little Girl

“Wow, Mommy! My pumpkin looks just like Skye! This pups gotta fly,” my daughter said as she compared her toy to the pumpkin she decorated with my help. For the past few years, we’ve been gong to Shadybrook Farm in Yardley, Pennsylvania for some pumpkin patch and halloween fun. Each year, my daughter comes up with a great idea for decorating her pumpkin. One year it was Super Grover, another, it was Marshall from Paw Patrol, last year it was Abby Cadaby from Sesame Street, and this year it was Skye from Paw Patrol.

After selecting our pumpkins, my five year was eager to get home and start decorating, which is something I enjoy doing too. I love these outings and projects because they promote family togetherness, require some creativity and it’s just plain fun. I usually design a pumpkin for myself too. This year, I created a pumpkin unicorn.

Seeing the look on my daughter’s face when she found that perfect pumpkin and then when Skye the pumpkin came to life put a smile on my face. I truly love this time of year, especially the projects and fun activities that come along with it.

All the best,

Tanya

 

Abracadabra! Having Magical Autumn Fun Creating Abby Cadaby the Pumpkin!

Last year, it was Marshall from Paw Patrol, the year before it was Super Grover. This year when I asked my daughter how she wanted to decorate her pumpkin, without hesitation, she said, “Abby Cadaby!” She then excitedly went through the shopping list without taking a breath. “Mommy, we’re going to need pink paint, brushes, purple and pink yarn for her hair and google eyes just like Super Grover had when we made a pumpkin to look like him.” Just this past weekend we had such a fun time at Shadybrook Farm selecting our pumpkins at the pumpkin patch, and shortly after arriving home my four year old wanted to get started right away and bringing pumpkin Abby to life.

When Quinn was two, she needed quite a bit of assistance from me to make sure the paint got on the pumpkin instead of everywhere else. Two years later, she  sat beside her nana, who was decorating her own pumpkin, held the sponge brush steadily in her little hand and barely needed my help at all. My job was mainly to adhere the eye balls and yarn hair with the hot glue gun because we established that part was a job for an adult.

Since this pumpkin is probably double the size of the Super Grover one, I’m not too sure if we’ll do a full-size Abby, but I have a feeling that Quinn will be successful in persuading me to give Abby a body, outfit and even her magic wand, especially since we won the contest at my college for our Super Grover Pumpkin.

Selecting pumpkins together is a fun autumn activity, but decorating them together is a certainly a magical experience that I will always cherish and hope that my daughter does too.

All the best,

Tanya

Halloween & Fall Fun with My Little Girl 

I’ve always loved the fall season, and not just because my birthday is in October but because there’s so many wonderful activities and ways to have family fun. Last year, I did many activities with my little girl, and now that she’s three and in preschool during the week, she’s even more eager to have some autumn weekend fun. I didn’t want this season to go by without taking out some time to reflect on this fall and Halloween season.

Usually, I’d post separate entries on our adventures, but our new and very busy schedule has been an ongoing transition for us both. But I could not allow this season to go by without acknowledging all of the fun moments we’ve been having together.

This year, we kept with tradition, and my husband, Quinn and I went to a local pumpkin patch, Shadybrook Farms, to select pumpkins to decorate and to have some fun doing the different activities. Though it did rain a little, it was awesome seeing how much more involved she was in the pumpkin selecting process. She was so excited to get home and work on her pumpkin. Since Quinn loves Paw Patrol, we made a Marshall pumpkin, and it was actually quite effortless with the help of a kit from Target.

For the first time, we were able to attend the Harvest Festival in our township where there were hayrides, bouncers, face painting, treats and other activities. Though many of the bouncers were geared towards older children ,which was a bit frustrating for my little girl, especially since she wanted to follow behind her older cousin, she really enjoyed having her face painted like Hello Kitty.

While it does not involve what adults would be considered a “fun” activity, Quinn had a blast helping my husband and me rake leaves. Of course, she insisted on jumping in them after she helped rake a big pile of them together. Her laugh is absolutely infectious!

We couldn’t have Halloween and fall fun without visiting Quinn’s favorite amusement park, Sesame Place. We planned on attending last Saturday, but it was rained off and on all day. Though I had tons of papers to grade on Sunday, I carved out a few hours to take Quinn there so that she could see the Halloween version of the Sesame Place parade. We sat and waited on the parade route for over an hour to ensure that we had a good spot (it was already packed with people waiting). Just to see my little girl’s face light up with excitement made the wait well worth it.

Another “first” was attending the Halloween party at our local library for children five and under last Monday, October 24th. Even “Llama Llama, Red Pajama” stopped by to entertain the children. It was far more crowded than I anticipated, approximately 50 kids, but Quinn thoroughly enjoyed herself and didn’t want to leave. She’s always liked going to the library, but she now associates it with a fun-filled time.

This makes the third year in a row that we’ve attended the “Boo at the Zoo” event at the Philadelphia Zoo, and as always, it did not disappoint. Though I did not have Quinn wear her actual Halloween costume for fear of it getting dirty (It’s all white), she and my niece, who accompanied us, had a great time trick or treating, learning interesting facts, riding a few animals and seeing some of the animals as well. Plus, it’s always fun to see all of the children in their costumes.

Even though I haven’t been posting as frequently as I usually do, I am grateful for the moments I’m creating with my daughter. I love her so much and truly do enjoy our time together as a family. Here’s to autumn and Halloween fun! My fingers are crossed for good trick or treating weather tomorrow.

All the best,

Tanya

 

 

Autumn Fun with My Little One (Part Six) Creating Super Grover the Pumpkin!

Making a Super Grover Pumpkin with Quinn

Making a Super Grover Pumpkin with Quinn

One of my first entries this week was about having autumn fun with my two year old daughter involved going to a pumpkin patch. She had a great time, happily selected her pumpkin and probably had no idea that we would be decorating it. But when I asked, she knew exactly what she wanted: a Grover pumpkin. Some months back, I did a post on how Quinn likes Elmo but absolutely loves Grover from Sesame Street. So of course, this was who came to mind when I asked her how she wanted to decorate her pumpkin. I was excited to do this project with her because it hadn’t decorated a pumpkin since I was a child myself, but I had to give some thought about how we were going to do this special project.

First, we needed the materials for the basic Grover. They are as follows:

  1. Blue acrylic paint and black acrylic paint (I purchased them from AC Moore using a 50 percent off coupon)
  2. A pink sponge clown nose to resemble Grover’s (Since it’s near Halloween, this was easy to find at Party City for about a dollar)
  3. Jiggly eyes (I purchased these from AC Moore but later saw them at the local Dollar Tree where I would have saved a dollar off of the total)
  4. A red pipe cleaner for the mouth (I actually had one available and didn’t need to purchase it)
  5. Cardboard to make Grover’s body (I used a box I had lying around from an online purchase)
  6. A Sharpee for tracing body parts
  7. Scissors to cut the body
  8. Hot glue and hot glue gun to adhere the eyes, nose, and mouth
  9. Paint sponges brushes and a cup to hold the paint (I had some from a previous project)
  10. A ruler or tape measure

When Quinn saw the progress we were making, she asked if we could make Super Grover. So Super Grover the pumpkin became. I just needed to figure out how to do it and what additional materials I would need.

  1. Card stock or thick scrap book paper (I got this at AC Moore with a coupon too, so I only paid 25 cents.)
  2. Aluminum Foil (I had this available)
  3. One gray felt sheet, one red felt sheet and one yellow felt sheet (Purchased at AC Moore)
  4. Marker for tracing the red letter G and the yellow lightening bolt (I used a fine point Sharpee that I already had)
  5. About ten paper fasteners (I actually had from a project years prior)
  6. Regular glue that dries clear (I already have tons)

Between work, chores and other activities with Quinn, making our pumpkin into Super Grover certainly was not a one day project. It spanned over two weeks: one week for painting the pumpkin and adhering the facial features and the second week for transforming Grover into Super Grover and giving him a body, G, lightening bolt and cape.

Something that I’ve always been good at is looking at a picture or sample and recreating it. Since Quinn has both Grover and Super Grover, I was able to use them as models for doing the pumpkin. Here are the steps I followed, but this was my first time, so feel free to modify them if you want to try to create your own Grover:

  1. Using the sponge brushes, Quinn and I painted the entire pumpkin, minus part of the bottom because the top had to dry first. Though the paint dries within an hour, I waited a few hours and then retouched any areas where orange was still showing. After the pumpkin dried over night, we did one more coat and then made sure to paint any parts on the bottom that were still orange.
  2. After the pumpkin was blue, I used Grover as my model and then measured the size of my pumpkin to determine how far apart the eyes, nose and mouth should be from one another. Then, I marked the locations and painted on the black mouth which I let dry for a few hours and then added a couple of more coats.
  3. After the pumpkin was blue with the black mouth, I used my hot glue gun and glue to adhere the jiggly eyes, pink sponge nose and the red pipe cleaner mouth.
  4. Voila, you have Grover!
  5. To turn Grover into Super Grover, I looked at the helmet of Quinn’s Super Grover doll to get an idea of how it was constructed. I then stumbled across a Super Grover helmet template from Sesame Street’s web site which was very helpful in creating the helmet. Once I saw this, I was able to determine how many sections would be needed. I did five: one for the face mask, two for the temples that wrap around the head, one for the little piece on the front of the face mask and one for to cover the circumference of the head, which I measured with measuring tape.
  6. After figuring out the size of the pieces I would need, I traced them out using the scrap book paper (with the exception of the piece to cover the circumference of the head which was gray felt and left for the last part), cut them but left a little extra paper for the two pieces to wrap around the temple so that I could double check my measurements by putting it around the actual pumpkin. Then, I covered them with aluminum foil and used a little glue to make sure the foil stayed on the paper. The paper fasteners were used to hold the helmet together and to add the felt which would cover the head. Of course, we put the helmet on Super Grover the Pumpkin’s head to make sure it would fit, and it did!
  7. Then it was time to make Super Grover’s body. Once more, I looked at the model and viewed a few pictures online to get an idea of the body proportions and then used cardboard from an old package box and a Sharpee to draw the torso, arms and legs with some of Quinn’s help (I actually used one piece for the legs but cut a triangular shape in between so that presence of the two legs were obvious. Once I cut out the body parts, I used more of my trusty paper fasteners to connect the arms and legs to the torso.
  8. My daughter actually did most of the painting with the body of Super Grover with some of my help in going over any areas she missed. We then let the one side dry for a few hours and then did the other side.
  9. While Super Grover’s body was drying, we got to work on his red letter G, yellow lightening bolt and red cape using the felt sheets. This also involved looking at the model Grover, measuring the torso of Super Grover and then tracing out the appropriate pieces.
  10. Once our trusty super hero was all dry, about a few hours later, we were able to add the lightening bolt and G with a little regular glue and then the red cape with a little glue.

Quinn and her Super Grover and Super Grover the Pumpkin

Quinn and her Super Grover and Super Grover the Pumpkin

We just finished earlier today, and Quinn was so excited asked, “Can we take a picture with my two Super Grovers?” Of course, I was happy to oblige. Yes, this project was quite involved, but it was a wonderful opportunity to do something fun and special with my little girl. There’s actually a decorative contest at my job next week, and I am thinking that Quinn and I should enter it. How awesome would it be for our Super Grover to win!

All the best,

Tanya