Jolly Jack-O

Posted by casey on October 31, 2014 in Caden, Everett, Family, Holiday Fun, Life as I Know It, Toddler Time
As kids, I remember carving pumpkins every year.  We each had one and even did all of those crazy elaborate designs as we got older and older.  Crazy elaborate. (Here is where I should show you a childhood picture I dug out of an album and scanned for your viewing pleasure but those are packed somewhere and who has time for that?)

I have avoided carving pumpkins successfully for my four and a half years as a parent. Yes, I take pride in that.  It is a well known fact that we don’t short holidays around here and that the kids get to do crafts, cooking and activities galore, so I am not too concerned about the lack of pumpkin carving in their “up until now” little lives.

Don’t get me wrong, I love pumpkins. We get them every year for everywhere as you have seen in our front yard hay-stack donned pumpkin patch, the front porch etc.  The boys have painted pumpkins every year and this year even fancied one up with anything and everything they could glue to it.  It is the actual carving of a jack-o-lantern that has been left out.

Honest?  Part of it is the smelly rot factor. I am not doing it long before Halloween because it  will start to become that half melted looking pumpkin as it grows strange fuzz and gets taken over by mysterious bugs. Nope. No thank you.  The other part is that they couldn’t really do anything in years past to really experience it so I put it off.  I had intentions each year and then would logic myself right out of it.

Not this year.

Caden, at four and a half, finally figured out that Halloween means jack-o-lanterns.  Thanks to every cartoon and every picture and every storybook perfectly pointing out those perfectly illuminated orange globes on squash it was on.  We have gathered pumpkins off and on since October 1st, but picked out some particular carving pumpkins not long ago to set them aside.  Last week one was adorned with sequins and pipe cleaners as seen in the oh-so-beautiful result above and this week the other was gutted.

In all little boy dreams they went to school with the promise of pumpkin carving with Mommy when they got home.  I don’t know if they were more excited or appalled at their first glimpse of pumpkin insides.  To say this was unexpected would definitely be accurate. “Aaaaaahhhhh, Ewwwwwww, Smelly, Yucko, What is That?”

In keeping true to my mission to make this a team effort so that they would really get the idea of all that pumpkin carving glory I scraped down the sides and began the scooping but made sure they got a good feel too.  Hesitant.  That is what they were. My all boy, bring mommy worms, roll in the dirt sons were quite hesitant when it came to touching pumpkin guts.

One arm in and quickly out. One finger in with a brief touch and back out while running down the driveway. And then, the moment of truth, the full handful.  I almost lost them right there.

A quick disposal into our handy trash bag and they were fine to leave me to finish the scraping while they ran about – as if we didn’t know this is how this endeavor would go.  At carving time though, they were back in it and full of opinions.  “I want triangle eyes!” “I want circle eyes!” “Nice!” “Funny teeth!”  Combining all of their ideas into a simple face was the goal and with stenciled lines, pre-sawing by Mom and supervision they happily contributed to the “sawing”

After hacking away, pulling out pieces and carving a bonus bat on the side for one little man’s dreams their very first jack-o-lantern was carved and ready for a candle two days before Halloween.  Prime no-rot time. Take that bugs and fuzz.

I think they are pleased.
A jolly jack-o-lantern indeed.


Toddler Fun {Salt Coloring}

Posted by casey on June 25, 2013 in Caden, Life as I Know It, Toddler Time

If you haven’t noticed I love a good project that doesn’t take too long yet has maximum entertainment value to fit my toddler’s attention span and learning curve.  Time for fun, time for conversation and only a small amount of prep and clean-up.


1. Set up your table with a mat or cover if you don’t want it getting wet.
2. Mix water and food coloring in combinations you see fit.
3. Using Elmer’s glue, fill your paper with swirls, letters, shapes etc.  We did a combination of his designs and my drawing his requests (rocketship, name etc.)
4. Shake salt all over your glue and shake off the excess.
5. Using a medicine syringe, suck up small amounts of colored water and slowly push it onto a salt/glue trail.
6. The colored water should “chase” that trail coloring the whole thing as it travels.


- I liked pre “serving” small cups of water for him to pick what color he wanted to mix where.  Then he was able to access them without my help and have some more choice in the whole experiment.

- I used construction paper this time and in times past but think I might try cardstock or poster board in the future so that it doesn’t get as soggy as we progress.

Need another idea?  Check out Toddler Color Fizz or the Intro to ABC Series


Letterwork Summmer School {ABC Continued – C & D}

Posted by casey on June 22, 2013 in Letterwork, Toddler Time, Writing Nook

Hopefully you enjoyed the initial intro to letterwork I gave a glimpse of two weeks ago.  If nothing else, I think it helps to get our brains thinking to come up with new ideas for ourselves, or different ways to see how our kiddos will respond to and relate to learning.  Continuing on with our alphabet, here are two more weeks!

Go and Visit Some Cows this Week

Letter C Week Schedule

Recognizing Letter C Wks, Tracing Letter C

Recognizing Letter D Wks, Tracing Letter D

Letter D Week Schedule

Find a Way to Go Digging, Even with Shovels In Your Yard

Link to Letter A and B Letterwork Post


Toddler Fun {Rainy Day Color Fizz Activity}

Posted by casey on June 17, 2013 in Caden, Life as I Know It, Toddler Time

Another rainy summer day means another day filled with stir crazy toddlers.
In this house, they go hand in hand.  If you are feeling the same thing, maybe this will give you a little something to fill some time all using ingredients I can bet you have in your cabinet/pantry/kitchen somewhere!


* Baking Sheet or Dish* Baking Soda * Food Coloring * Vinegar/Syringe*

** Bonus Points: It is easy prep, easy clean up and a contained time killer!**


– Pour vinegar in a small toddler friendly plastic cup of some sort. (Or you can keep it separate if you don’t want them to do it themselves)
– Pour a hearty amount of baking soda over your baking sheet.
– Let your kiddo pick out colors and put a few drops in a small area of baking soda
– Show them how to pull the syringe top to get about half of it full with vinegar.
– Slowly push the vinegar out onto your color drops and watch the colors fizz and grow!
– Perfect time to talk about colors, rainbows, mixing colors to form new ones and why the “white powder” is fizzing!  Then wash away your rainbow soup and hope the rain has done enough washing away too so you can get out of the house!

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