Happy Halloween from our family to you! What fun it was to go trick-or-treating this year with a beautiful rainbow named Audrey, a handsome dragon named Ethan, and a cute little pumpkin named Sophie!
Isn't she cute! Audrey is a new Girl Scout Daisy. She is in a troop with 6 other little girls just her age. We had our first troop meeting last Monday. Audrey could not stop telling us how much she enjoyed it and that she cannot wait for the next meeting. The girls are all becoming good friends. She will be attending the Girl Scout Investiture Ceremony this weekend. All the new Girl Scouts will be officially welcomed into the "Girl Scout family". How exciting!
Our family has some special Halloween traditions that we share before the fun of trick-or-treating begins. Instead of making Halloween just one day, we try and celebrate Halloween for the whole month of October! It makes it that much better...exciting... anticipation!
One of the first things we do to get ready for and celebrate Halloween is give the children a new Halloween book or two. This year they got The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree and Click Clack Boo by Doreen Cronin. We always write a small note inside the books with the date so they will always know where it came from.
We have a Pumpkin Carving Party! We plan how we will carve our pumpkins by drawing the face on with marker. Then Daddy carves our design into the pumpkin. We light up our Jack-o-lanterns and turn off all the other lights to see how they look. After that, we play the donut on a string game and bob for apples.
On Halloween morning we make Halloween shaped pancakes using our favorite cinnamon vanilla pancake recipe. We make Jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, and bats! Sophie had some too. She loved them.
October should be called "Pumpkin Time" around our house. We spend much of our days reading pumpkin books and poems, singing pumpkin songs, baking pumpkin treats, and doing pumpkin arts and crafts. We are going to share a few of our favorites from this year with you.
Favorite Pumpkin Poem:
Round and Fat,
Turn into a Jack-o-lantern,
Just like that!
Favorite Pumpkin Finger Play:
Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate,
The first one said, "Oh my it's getting late!"
The second one said, "There are witches in the air."
The third one said, "But we don't care."
The fourth one said, "Let's run and run and run."
The fifth one said, "I am ready for some fun."
Then "ooohhh" went the wind, and out went the lights.
And five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.
Favorite Pumpkin Song:
Jack-o-lantern, Jack-o-lantern, how your light it does shine.
Sitting up upon the window, how your light it does shine.
You were once an orange pumpkin sitting on a pumpkin vine.
Now you are my Jack-o-lantern and your light it is mine.
Favorite Pumpkin Books:
The Pumpkin Book by Gail Gibbons
The Pumpkin Circle
A Day at the Pumpkin Patch
It's Pumpkin Time
Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper
The Legend of Spookly the Square Pumpkin
From Seed to Pumpkin
Pumpkin Eye by Denise Fleming
Favorite Pumpkin Treats:
Pumpkin Cake with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting
Old-Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars
Favorite Pumpkin Arts and Crafts:
Moonlit Pumpkins with tempera paint and pastels
Wet-on-wet watercolor Jack-o-lanterns with crayon resist
Pumpkin watercolor painting
Play dough Jack-o-lanterns
Pumpkin Pie play dough
Finger Paint Pumpkins
Audrey's 6th birthday celebration started the night before her birthday. As we tucked Audrey into bed, we said this verse:
"When I have said my evening prayer,
And my clothes are folded on my chair,
And Mother switches off the light,
I'll still be five years old tonight.
But from the very break of day,
Before the children rise and play,
Before the darkness turns to gold,
Tomorrow I'll be six years old...
Six kisses when I wake.
Six candles on my cake."
Audrey woke up on her birthday to find balloons all over her room. We led her out of her bed to the kitchen table where she sat down in her birthday chair (a large rainbow play silk draped over it) and we placed her birthday crown on her head. One of my favorite birthday traditions is the birthday ring. We place one candle and one decoration around the ring for every year. We pick a new decoration each year. We choose a decoration that represents something about Audrey. So this year she had an angel, a blue butterfly, a pink flamingo, a flower, a mermaid, and always for the newest one, her number age. Then, we tell Audrey's birthday story. It always starts with an angel sending our baby down to us (her mommy and daddy) from Heaven. Audrey slides down to Earth on a rainbow bridge as her angel promises to watch over her. As we light each candle on the ring, we tell something special and important about Audrey for each year.
For Audrey's birthday breakfast, we stack up six pancakes and light six candles. We add birthday whipped cream and sprinkles. Then we sing "Happy Birthday" and she blows out the candles.
The birthday child gets to pick out what their favorite meal for the birthday dinner. Audrey asked for homemade pizzas and root beer. Daddy made homemade dessert pizza to go with it. It was so sweet and yummy!
Ethan had such a hard time waiting to give Audrey her present. He was just as excited as she was!
I just love the pictures that show the excited present-opening face.
Audrey loves My Little Ponies! She plays them more than anything else. She knows everything there is to know about them. So it seemed to make sense to throw her a Pony Birthday Party!
Audrey came up with all the fun and games for her party, one activity for each pony. The girls got dressed up with Rarity. They put a pony bow in their hair and painted their nails. They crafted a butterfly with Fluttershy. We read a story with Twilight Sparkle. The girls bobbed for apples with AppleJack and played a balloon pop game with Rainbow Dash. They ate sweet treats with Pinkie Pie.
Every October, our family visits a nearby pumpkin patch. We spend the day exploring the patch and picking out the perfect pumpkins to take home with us. I also look forward to dressing the kids up in something with a pumpkin theme. This year, however, it was extremely windy and therefore a little too cold for our usual long sleeves, sweaters, and pants or tights. Much to my dismay, I had to cover up our cute outfits with big, bulky winter coats. I did not realize, until looking at the pictures later, that each kid had a little or a lot of orange on anyway...so it all worked out!
One of the most anticipated days of the week in our house is Painting Day. We usually spend Thursday afternoons painting. We paint other times during the week as well, but Painting Day is special because we do wet-on-wet watercolors. This is the most beautiful, magical, and calming type of painting that I know. The colors seem to dance all around and shine on the white paper.
We start with quality watercolor paper. It is so worth it, to get the good quality stuff, because it really holds up for this technique. We soak the paper in a large tray of water for 5-10 minutes. Then, take the paper out of the water and use a sponge to brush off the excess water. We place the paper on our painting boards and get ready to paint. We set out the watercolors we are using in little jars. We use Colorations Liquid Watercolors right now, but would love to try the really high quality Stockmar watercolors someday. We also set out a big jar of water for washing our brushes off and a damp sponge for dabbing the excess water off of our brushes.
While we are getting our supplies ready, we sing:
"A lovely rainbow, see it span.
So brightly shining o're the land.
You are so red, gold, green, and blue.
I want to ride it now with you."
I usually model using the watercolors on my paper while telling a color story. For Painting Days in August, I told a story of a little child and a giant yellow sunflower in the field. We used only yellow paint for this month.
For Painting Days in September, I told a story of the reddest apple on the apple tree. We used only red paint for this month.
For Painting Days in October, I am telling the story of the smallest orange pumpkin in the pumpkin patch. We are using only yellow and red paints this month.
It is amazing how pretty using only one color can be. We love to see all of the different shades that one color can make.
Then when we switched to two colors, Audrey and Ethan are filled with wonder as they watch orange appear on the paper and in their brush-washing jars.
There is not doubt about it, this type of art experience really works the head, hands, and heart...the whole child! As Audrey was painting this, she was telling her very own color story. Here are some of the highlights from her story.
"As the October sun shined over them (the pumpkins)."
"People from far and people from near came to the pumpkin patch."
"The sun got so bright, it covered itself with light."
What an imagination, what rich language she is using! I am constantly in awe of these children of mine.
Sophie has had some big days, for such a little baby. Yesterday, she was baptized at our church, Southern Hills United Methodist. She was the perfect little angel, she didn't make a peep the whole time. Audrey and Ethan were very excited for her and loved being up in the front of the church with her during this very important event.
Other big news...Sophie is now able to pull herself to standing. She does this anywhere she can, but really enjoys doing it at the ottoman and the couch.
Also, Sophie has been scooting around very quickly for some time now, but she is starting to do a real crawl. The best way to get her to crawl is to leave her in just a diaper. Without clothes on her belly she cannot scoot around as quickly as she used to because her belly sticks to the floors. So she is forced to lift her naked belly up off the floor and crawl more. She still prefers to scoot along the floor when clothed, because she is so fast!
On September 29th, our family celebrated the first of the autumn festivals, Michaelmas, which is the feast day of Saint Michael. This is an ancient harvest festival but it is still celebrated today in some European countries. In Victorian English homes, Michaelmas was a time of fun for the children as they played out the legend of Saint George and the dragon.
So, in keeping with this tradition, our family read many books about dragons, made fire breathing dragon blowers out of painted green paper rolls and fire colored streamers, baked dragon bread, made "Dragon Fire" soup, baked Michaelmas Star Apple Pie, played knights and dragons all day long, and held our very own knighting ceremony.
The verse we said during our knighting ceremony was:
"I give you this cape of light.
To give you courage, strength, and might.
You have polished your sword, so strong, so bright.
Use it only for the right."
Hi! I am Allison. I am a happy homemaker, wife, and mother to four sweet babies. I am also a Classical, Christian homeschooling mom trying to make every day a celebration of love and family. I love to bake, cook, garden, read, do art, and spend time outdoors with my amazing family.
Our story of loving and learning at home...
"Let them be little, 'cause their only that way for a while. Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day. Let them cry, let them giggle; let them sleep in the middle, oh, let them be little."
- Written and Sung by Billy Dean