Monday, October 31, 2016

Pumpkins Pumpkins Everywhere

Happy Halloween!

We had a really busy weekend full of Halloween fun! Time was running out and we still had so much to do so we crammed in every pumpkin activity we possibly could. Although it was busy (and exhausting), we had so much fun!


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We kicked off the Halloween festivities on Friday! Lexie had her Halloween Party at school and I organized the party and volunteered. I always love to get a glimpse of my kids at school. It's just such a big part of their lives that I'm not a part of so any insight is welcome! The party was a success and Lexie and her classmates had a great time!


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As soon as the party ended, we rushed to pick up Dylan, Lily and Liam and we made the 45 minute drive to Grant's office.  The company he works for was having a Trick or Treat event for all their kids. I didn't take any pictures but somebody took one of Grant with the kids.  


It was a lot of fun! Dylan helped Grant's coworkers hand out candy while Grant and I took our other three kiddos trick or treating on all three floors of his company. By the time we left, their bags were literally overflowing with candy. I joked that after that there really is no need to go trick or treating again but that idea got shot down!

On Saturday afternoon, Lexie, Lily, Liam and I headed to the library pumpkin patch. They got to "pick" pumpkins out of the patch, paint the pumpkins, then decorate sugar cookies. 


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Painting Pumpkins
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Cookie Decorating
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Library Pumpkin Patch
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By the time we left, they were covered in paint and icing and required a complete clothing change!

We met up with Grant and Dylan and headed to a nearby pumpkin patch for our yearly hayride, corn maze and pumpkin picking tradition!


This was the latest we have ever gone to the pumpkin patch and it turned out to be an amazing afternoon. It was a perfect 75 degrees, it was sunny and we arrived just before dinner time so we didn't have to wait in line for anything. I think we discovered a new time to go!

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Corn Maze
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Pumpkin Patch
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Shenot's Farm
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Watch Them Grow at Shenot's Farm
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By the time we left with our perfect pumpkin, we were all covered in mud, but it was our favorite trip to the pumpkin patch to date!

Late Saturday evening, Lexie, Liam and I made the trek into Downtown Pittsburgh to meet some online friends who were in town. Shortly after Liam was born, I was connected to the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network and added to a few Rockin' Mom Facebook groups. I was unbelievably grateful for the support I received when I was still feeling lost and overwhelmed. 


The DSDN community is absolutely amazing! The DSDN has been a part of my daily life for over 3 years and I have met some incredible moms. I eventually started volunteering my time as an admin for a new Rockin' Moms group then made the switch to running their Instagram. The time I spend volunteering and interacting each day is such a positive experience and I rely on my fellow Rockin' Moms. 

When the Vice President of the DSDN told me that she and another board member would be promoting the DSDN at a medical conference in Pittsburgh this weekend I knew I had to meet them. We went into the city at 10 pm and crashed their pajama party in their hotel room! Although our visit was short, it was so awesome to finally meet them!

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We wrapped up our weekend of Halloween fun by carving our pumpkin! We didn't have much time so Grant just did a traditional Jack O' Lantern face. Sometimes the simplest things turn out to be a hit!



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We had so much fun gearing up for Halloween over the weekend! My family is excited for a day full of Halloween fun and we're wishing you and yours a happy and safe Halloween!

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Let's Be Friends!



Friday, October 28, 2016

Five Favorite Halloween Sensory Play Activities

Happy Friday, my friends! 

Can you believe it's already Halloween weekend? Time is flying by at rapid speed this year! I'm switching up my Friday Favorites a bit this week in honor of the upcoming holiday and sharing our five favorite Halloween Sensory Play Activities! 


DIY Corn Pit

Corn Pit

Kids LOVE these at pumpkin patches! So why not give them one at home? It's so easy and so cheap!

DIY Corn Pit

A baby pool, a 25 lb bag of whole corn kernels (less than $10 at a feed supply store) and a few sand toys are all you need to give your kids an at-home Corn Pit!  I tossed in a few spooky spiders to make it a bit more festive!

Corn Pit
Corn Pit
DIY Corn Pit

It's such a simple idea and it provides hours upon hours of entertainment!



Edible Pumpkin Patch

Edible Pumpkin Patch Sensory Bin

I shared this idea last year and it became an instant hit with my kids! I filled our sensory bin with Cocoa Krispies, "planted" a bag of candy pumpkins, gave the kids a basket and scoops and let them play (and eat)!

Pumpkin Patch Sensory Bin


Spooky Slime

My kids love playing with slime and it's so much fun to spruce it up for a holiday! Here are our two favorite Halloween versions:

Googly Eye Monster Slime

TO MAKE THE SLIME: 8 oz white glue (I used two 4 oz bottles), 1 tsp Borax (found in laundry detergent aisle), 1 cup warm water, green food coloring, and Googly Eyes
  1. Empty glue into a large bowl.
  2. Fill glue bottle(s) completely with warm water (you will use 1/2 cup water), shake, then pour into the bowl that contains the glue.  Stir. 
  3. Add several drops of neon green food coloring to the glue mixture.  Stir. 
  4. Mix 1 tsp Borax into 1/2 cup warm water. Stir until the Borax dissolves.
  5. Slowly pour the Borax solution into the glue solution while stirring. Keep a close eye on this process!  This is where the science aspect of it begins.  You will see the glue solution almost immediately begin to form into a solid as it meets the Borax solution!
  6. Dig in and knead the slime!
  7. Add the googly eyes to the top of the slime mixture. 
Homemade Slime

Spooky Spider Slime

TO MAKE THE SLIME: 1 bottle of glitter glue, 1 cup warm water + 1-2 TBSP warm water, 1 tsp Borax, and spider rings

  1. Dissolve 1 tsp Borax in 1 cup warm water.
  2. Pour glitter glue into large bowl.  
  3. Add 1-2 TBSP warm water and stir again.
  4. Slowly pour Borax solution into the glue solution while stirring.  You will see the glue almost immediately start to solidify!
  5. Form a ball with the Glitter Slime and knead! 
  6. Mix in the spiders.
Halloween Slime Recipe


Play Dough Pumpkins Activity Tray

3 of my 4 kids still love Play Dough!  I'm going to be honest. Sometimes we make our own play dough. But other times we stick with the store-bought classic because it's just easier!

Play Dough Pumpkins Activity Tray

I found a divided appetizer tray at the dollar store a few years ago and I was immediately inspired to use it for play dough and crafts.  I put a little ball of play dough in the middle spot and add all the embellishments around the outside.

Play Dough Activities

For the Halloween Play Dough Activity Tray we use:
  • Orange play dough
  • Green pipe cleaners
  • Small sticks (we used wood chews for small animals from the pet store)
  • Beads
  • Googly Eyes
My girls always have so much fun creating little pumpkins and stamping patterns into the pumpkins with the beads!

Halloween play dough activities
Halloween play dough activities
Halloween play dough activities
Halloween play dough activities

I filled our play dough activity tray at the beginning of October and it stayed on our art table all month long!


Homemade Play Dough Pumpkins Favors

These adorable play dough sensory play favors were inspired by our Play Dough Pumpkins Activity Tray! Liam has so much fun playing with play dough and I thought they would be a cute favor for his preschool class. We handed them out today at his Halloween Party!

Homemade Play Dough Pumpkin Favors

First, I whipped up a large batch of homemade play dough using this recipe:
  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 tbsp cream of tartar
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 1 cup salt 
  • 2 3/4 cups boiling water
  • red + yellow food coloring
  1.  Mix four, cream of tartar, oil and salt in large bowl.
  2. Boil the water then mix in red and yellow food coloring until you get the perfect shade of orange.
  3. Pour the water into the flour mixture and stir until it turns into a dough. 
  4. Knead the dough for several minutes. If it still feels sticky, sprinkle in a bit more flour and continue to knead.
After we made the batch of play dough, we rolled the dough into balls and decorated them with googly eyes, bead noses, pinto bean mouths (I wanted black beans but they were sold out everywhere), stick stems and pipe cleaner leaves. I slid each pumpkin into a clear favor bag and tied it up.

play dough party favors

They were perfect for Liam's preschool class! If the play dough is stored in a ziploc bag in the fridge, it will remain usable for 6+ months!

Liam, Lily and Lexie have been enjoying these Halloween Sensory Play activities all month long and I am so excited to share them all with you!


We have a busy Halloween weekend ahead of us. I'm volunteering at Lexie's school Halloween Party tomorrow. In the evening, I'm taking the kids to Trick or Treat at Grant's office. And we still have to fit in a trip to the pumpkin patch and carve our pumpkins! My kids are eagerly counting down the days until Halloween! What's on your agenda this weekend?

 

Let's Be Friends!