Pumpkin Hunting

Photo by Vanessa Druckman

Pumpkin hunting is serious business around here. Fall, with its cooler weather, apples, pumpkins, and changing leaves is our favorite season. October, being the month in which we were married, is our favorite of all times.

In our area, most families head to pumpkin patches that resemble mini-pumpkin themed amusement parks more so than actual pumpkin patches, with high admission fees, rides and activities, and expensive cut pumpkins stacked neatly next to the gift shop.
That’s not really our style though, and each year we head to a family owned pumpkin patch whose closest thing to an amusement park is a big pile of hay for the kids to jump in. We head out into the fields, in search of the pumpkins which speak to us. Each year we come away with a trunk full of pumpkins for carving and baking for under $20. Most importantly, we leave with the memories of our pumpkin hunting tradition.

Families Create! October Call for Submissions

Photo by Emily

Please join us for a monthly blog carnival focusing on families and creativity. Families, Create! is a blog carnival with a purpose: we want your family to get creative and have fun! Read below for details on the October carnival, and check out the main carnival page for upcoming themes in 2011. (Check out January, February, March, April, June and July if you missed them.) Your co-hosts are Dionna at Code Name: Mama and Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children. Here are the submission details for October 2011:

Theme: Phizzwizzers: We all have a little phizzwizard in our lives. It’s the odd and out of the ordinary, the dreams we aspire to, standing up when others don’t, the individuality that makes as unique. Share your uniqueness with us with your phizzwizzing creations!

Looking for some phizwizzing inspiration? Check some of these books out:

If you do use a book for inspiration, please mention it in your post so that we can read it too!

What will your post consist of? Each month we will have a theme, things like “Heroes and Heroines,” “Fantasy,” and “Weird and Wonderful.” You will craft a post (or 2 or 3) around one of those themes. You are only limited by your imagination! You can create a handmade craft that embodies the qualities of the post (publish pictures and/or a tutorial!). You can write a story using the theme as inspiration. Your family can act out a story (we will have a handy list of on-topic books for you each month that you can use or ignore, as you desire). All we ask is that 1) you and your family create something that goes along with the theme; and 2) you post about it sometime during the month.

Deadline: Monday, October 31. Your post(s) must be published on or before Monday, October 31. Fill out the webform (at the link) for each post you publish for inclusion in September’s carnival. (If you publish three different posts for the carnival, you will fill out the webform three different times, each will include different carnival URLs and titles.)

Link-up date: Friday, November 4. After we have compiled all of your links, we will send you an email with an html blurb to paste into your (previously published) submission(s) that will include all carnival links. Please edit your posts to include the links no later than Friday, November 4. You’ll get lots of link love for your site and post(s), and you can check out all of the other creative ideas generated by this month’s theme! Please also help us spread the word about the carnival on your Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Please submit your details into our webform: This will help us as we compile the links list. Please enter your information on the form: Families, Create! October’s Make & Play Carnival

Please do: Write well. Write on topic. Write a brand new post for the carnival. Post great pictures and/or video. Please feel free to be creative within the gentle confines of the carnival theme. If your family is feeling so inspired, you could write a poem or children’s story, put on a one act play, craft a photo essay, or create a handmade craft tutorial instead of a regular blog post (though those are welcomed, too!), as long as what you write is respectful of the carnival’s intent. If you want help determining that ahead of time, please talk with us.

Please don’t: Please don’t use profanity of the sort that might be offensive to more sensitive readers or their children. Please don’t submit irrelevant posts or posts that are purely marketing for products you sell.

Editors’ rights: We reserve the right to edit your piece or suggest edits to you. We reserve the right to courteously reject any submissions that are inappropriate for the carnival. Please also note that since there are two co-hosts on different schedules and conferring over email, our personal response to your submission might seem delayed. Don’t be alarmed. We also reserve the right to impose consequences if the responsibilities of the carnival are not fulfilled by the participants.

If you don’t have a blog: Contact us (CodeNameMama {at} gmail.com and LivingPeacefullyWithChildren {at} gmail.com) about potentially finding you a host blog to guest post. Please write your piece well in advance of the deadline in that case, so we can match you up with someone suitable. But if you really have something amazing to write — why not start your own blog? If you want advice, we find Scribbit’s free Blogging in Pink ebook to be a very helpful and down-to-earth guide, for beginners on up. If you have questions: Please leave a comment or contact us: Dionna {at} CodeNameMama {dot} com and LivingPeacefullyWithChildren {at} gmail.com Stay in touch:

Our Family Creates! from Code Name: Mama and Living Naturally With ChildrenShow off: If you are a participant or supporter and want our button to put in your sidebar, grab this code and proclaim to the blogosphere that your family creates! Grab the Code:

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celebrating Halloween with less consumerism…

As with many other holidays, companies have managed to turn Halloween into a consumerist

Photo by Yaxzone

 product. Emphasis is placed on the purchase and distribution of mass amounts of candy, over-priced cheaply made costumes, and non-environmentally friendly packaging.

 
When we celebrate Halloween by taking our children trick-or-treating, it’s easy to fall into this mindset. In an attempt to place emphasis on other aspects of the holiday, many parents attempt to de-emphasize the candy. While it may seem that by donating a candy stash or trading in candy for other items we are avoiding mass consumerism, that is untrue. 
 
When we take our children trick-or-treating and then trade the candy or throw it away, we are not only supporting consumerism in a marketing sense, but we are also setting an example of consumerist living to our children. It shows them that it is acceptable to solicit items with no intent to use them. It can produce a “give me” attitude of entitlement. Throwing food in the trash, regardless of nutritional value, shows acceptability of wasting resources. Sending candy to charities can send the message that those who benefit from charity are only worthy of unwanted items. Accepting candy produced by companies with questionable ethics still supports those companies.
 
Our family trick-or-treats. Our children have complete control over their trick-or-treating. Not only do we not take away their candy or exert control over what they do with it, we also don’t limit how much they can collect. While other children are out from start to finish, gathering as much candy as they can, our children trick-or-treat for a little while, before telling us they are finished and asking us to drive them home. 
 
Instead, our focus on Halloween is not consumerism – paying exhorbitant amounts for cheaply made costumes or collecting mass amounts of candy for trick-or-treating. Trick-or-treating on Halloween night is only one small way we celebrate.
 
  • Each October, we head to a local old-fashioned pumpkin patch. While the local custom is to go to a pumpkin themed attempt at an amusement park (consumerism once again), we go to a family run pumpkin patch that has pumpkins and some bales of hay for kids to jump in.  We make a day of it, buying reasonably priced pumpkins and supporting a family run business. We buy some pumpkins for carving and stock up on pie pumpkins. Later in the month, we roast and puree the pie pumpkins, freezing some for later use and making various pumpkin recipes.
  • We decorate our home. We have a few items we pull out each year, but we make the rest, focusing on inexpensive handmade items, and giving a purpose to some of the many, many wonderful art projects created by our children. We pull many of our decorations from nature or nature inspired crafts.
  • We make costumes. My children spend quit a bit of time contemplating what they want to dress up as. We work together to design and make their costumes.
  •  We attend Halloween and Fall themed programs. Many of our local libraries have free programs, including music concerts, story times, craft activities, and more. Nature centers not only have Fall and themed programs but also jack-o’lantern lit walks, hayrides, and more. Any fees support the center and educational programs rather than executives in corporate America. Historical centers offer old-fashioned Halloween fun with requests of canned goods to support local charities.
  • We celebrate with friends with parties, pumpkin carving, homemade trunk-or-treats, and costume wearing get-togethers.
  • We read books, pulling out some of our favorites and checking out others from the library. We read and tell scary stories by candlelight while sipping hot cocoa or apple cider.
  • We prepare for winter and discuss the true meaning of Samhain.

And then, as a culmination of all of our Halloween celebrations, as opposed to a commercially focused one day celebration, we take the kids trick-or-treating.