Today we had a lot of fun letting Lillian get her hands all slimy with pumpkin goop while daddy cleaned out a pumpkin for her to sit in. We wanted to carve the other side of the pumpkin when we were finished, so we decided to take inspiration from the wonderful board book Boo! by one of our favorite children’s authors, Leslie Patricelli.
This sweet book is about a baby enjoying all kinds of Halloween fun. After picking out a pumpkin that is just the right size, the baby wonders what to carve:
Since Lillian loves our two cats, we decided to go with a kitty face on our pumpkin (you’ll have to check out the book to find out what the baby carves in Boo!). I’ve seen a few different kitty carvings online, but I especially liked to idea of using pumpkin pieces for ears! We attached the ears to our pumpkin with toothpicks. One of my favorite tips to try before lighting a candle for Jack-O-Lanterns is to add cinnamon powder to the top of the pumpkin. The aroma fills the air and really adds to the cozy fall feeling of pumpkin carving! I think our kitty pumpkin turned out pretty cute, but I’ve gotta be honest, Lillian inside the pumpkin is definitely cutest of all!
What are your favorite Halloween books? Did you carve pumpkins yet this year? I’d love to hear all about your Halloween!
Have you ever seen turban squash at your local farmer’s market or grocery store? I was pretty intrigued when I came across some earlier this fall, and decided in the spirit of the 57 Things Series, I’d bring home the unfamiliar and find a way to prepare it for dinner (#40 on the list!).
These guys are pretty tough to crack open–I actually had to enlist Chad to help me, and even he had to cut it from the side instead of cutting off the “top of the hat” as most recipes suggest. He said the trick is to start at the bottom with your knife and to wedge it back and forth a bit. When raw, the squash smelled a lot like pumpkin. Its seeds looked a bit like pumpkin seeds too, but rounder.
After scooping out the seeds and pulp, I baked the squash. In the meantime I sauteed some veggies to mix with couscous and seasoning. From there I added the tender turban squash and mixed well before baking it altogether inside the shell of the squash. The verdict? Delicious!! It was a little labor intensive, but I definitely want to make it again soon. See the recipe below, adapted from this recipe, and try it for yourself!
Click to download
Have you tried any new foods lately?
A couple of weeks ago I was super excited to finally finish Lillian’s prenatal baby book. I did a pretty good job keeping up with updating the book throughout my pregnancy, but the last few months before Lillian was born I sort of dropped the ball. Fortunately, I took lots of notes in my art journal that year, so I was able to remember a lot of what happened and how I was feeling! It also helped that I used a small photo album about 5X7 size. I got to choose what to put in Lily’s book, and wasn’t overwhelmed by having to fill a big space! Here are a few of my favorite pages:
We took pictures in a Japanese photo booth for our pregnancy announcement, so it was fun to add some to the book (you can see more by clicking here🙂 ).
I loved the quote I found to add to the Studio Ghibli pages from The Secret World of Arrietty: “It’s funny how you wake up each day and never know if it’ll be the one that will change your life forever.” Lillian has sure changed our world!In Japan they give you an ultrasound at every appointment, so we were really able to watch Lillian grow over the months. It was such an amazing gift before she was born, that I don’t know we’ll have with future babies. I recorded my birth experience in Japan (read that, here), and printed that off to end Lillian’s book. I feel so happy with it, and think it will be really cool for Lily to look at when she’s older! Now to start on her baby book for her first year–phew!!
Have you ever made a prenatal baby book? What kinds of things did you record to remember?
Years ago when we got married, one thing we decided we would pay a little extra for was our wedding photography. After hearing a lot of stories from people who had negative experiences, we wanted to have a good one. The photographer we chose did take some nice photos, but we didn’t actually get our prints–let alone see very many of the digital ones–for SIX MONTHS. Even years ago that was a bit unheard of. Our photographer also lost the receipt of the package we purchased from her and tried to give us her smallest package (luckily I had kept my copy!), among other things.
Fortunately for us, we also had our good friend Kara Hanes at the wedding, who happened to shoot a few photos of her own. Still today, some of the pictures she took from our wedding are my favorite because she got some really nice candid shots. That’s why I was super excited when we got the chance to have our family pictures taken with her in August, all these years later.
I absolutely love the way the pictures of Lillian turned out, though I’m obviously a little biased on the subject! Here’s the thing though: despite it being a summer day, it was really cold and–especially on the beach–windy! But Kara still managed to get smiles out of Lillian (who was grumpy on top of being cold that day!). Lillian just loves Kara, and it’s easy to see why. Kara not only has confidence and talent, but also a way of making you feel relaxed and at ease. She was playful with Lillian, but made us laugh, too. And she didn’t even blink an eye when we had a crazy wardrobe issue in the woods when Lillian suddenly got hungry (let’s just say any passersby would’ve been met with quite the scene!). Kara can take lovely staged photos, but she also is great at capturing candid moments. The family photos she took for us are treasures to me, and I got to see them not six months later, but within days (some of them that very same night!).
Thank you for letting me show off my family, and for letting me share what a great experience we had (and always have) with Kara. Even if you’re not in need of a photographer at the moment, you should check out more of her work on her website, and also check out her engaging and fun Instagram and blog!
Despite having very little time for art journaling these days, I’ve still been keeping up with a little something for each day–even if my entries aren’t as detailed as the ones in my daily art journal from last year. Sometimes on less eventful days if I don’t have a whole lot to say about my day I will add a list of things I especially like around that time. Below is a list I made about a month ago, and while most of the things I jotted down still continue to bring me a lot of joy, I think I’m ready to make another list with some seasonal things, like drinking hot tea and enjoying the fall colors! What have you been especially liking lately?
It seems like just yesterday I was posting my Summer Bucket List for this year, and yet here we are a little ways into autumn and I’m back with my Fall Bucket List. I have had so many posts in mind for you, but things have been busy–especially with our now 8 month old girl (yeah, what!? where does the time go?)–and I just haven’t gotten to them yet. Hopefully today’s effort is a sign of getting back on track!
I’ve already gotten started on some of the things on this year’s list. If you follow me at all on Instagram, you may have seen that we had an awesome little trip to Traverse City this past weekend, and that we’ve also done some apple picking. I’ve already made my tried and true apple butter as well, but I think I’ll be making another batch soon (I’d like to try and make a new and improved version of this apple butter roll cake, as well as some apple butter cinnamon rolls!). As for other fall treats, I’ve been longing to eat a caramel apple, but in the meantime I’ve had way too many handfuls of candy corn and peanuts!
I’m looking forward to crossing more things of this year’s list, and would love to hear about some of the fun things you’ve got planned! Leave a comment below with some of your top fall to-do’s!
When I told you about the picnic loaf I made, I promised I’d tell you what I did with all the bread I pulled out from the center of the loaf. I know you’ve been waiting (okay, you probably totally forgot I even mentioned it), but this idea will have been worth the wait! At first, I considered making these meatballs, but then came along a chance to make this awesome, easy chickpea dish. This 5-Minute Chickpea Dinner is part of Bon Appetit’s Cooking without Recipes series, and I absolutely love it! I didn’t have peas on hand, so I just used red pepper lightly cooked in the same pan I was toasting my bread in. Sooooo good you guys.
I was super happy to use every part of the bread I made, and–keeping with the spirit of Mottainai Grandma— I proceeded to use each and every part of the watermelon we had on our picnic, too. The white rind was used for Watermelon Rind Pickles, any pink or red shavings were used to make watermelon flavored water, the green rind was put in our compost, and we ate the inside just as it was.
Using up the bread and the watermelon are two good examples of fulfilling number 48 on the 57 Things List: Never throw away edible food (my original post on the 57 Things Series is here!).
What are some of your favorite ways to use every last bit of something edible?