Fall – Pumpkin Muffins and DIY Material Pumpkins

Three simple words that come from the very depths of my soul – I love fall. No other season makes me this joyful. Maybe it is the associations I have with this beautiful season. I think of when I was younger and my family would go on mini trips to Branson and Silver Dollar City. I think of doing art and crafts with my mom, sister, and brothers. I think of submitting (said crafts) and baked goods at our county fair. I think of windows open. I think of long sleeve shirts and shorts (my sister thinks I am odd because of this). I think of natures’ changing colors all around. Crispness.

Once this season hits, my home becomes a haven for this beloved season. Here are a few of the ways I welcome fall in my home…

 Food:

I am not a big “pumpkin flavored” person, however, I do love these Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins. I make them every fall.

They are not only delicious. They are also easy to make and since they are only made with these simple ingredients (that is right, no egg or oil)…you don’t have to feel guilty eating them.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

What you need:

* 1 box of spice cake

* 1-2 cups of chocolate chips (your preference)

* 1 can of pumkin

What to do:

* Preheat oven to 350 degrees

* Mix all ingredients together

* Spoon into cupcake pan

* Bake for 25 minutes

**You can add 1 cup of water to the mix before baking to make them more “muffiny”.**

 Fall Decorations:

House decorations are a must…my mom, sister and I made these fun pumpkins a couple of years ago.

EASY PEASY to make…

Cut out your selected material to desired size and place a ball of fiberfill in the middle
Gather the ends together in center of pumpkin. Use a rubber band to hold in place.
Add some twine.

My husband even gets in the spirit. He made this for me…

Frames (stained), Modge Podged scrapbook paper, hot glued painted letters

You never know where I will throw in a little bit of fall…

Painted cinder block stuffed with leaves

I am looking for some cheap material this weekend to make some fall pillows for my living room. I, also, would love to make a welcome wreath for my front door. We will see…the store bought one will have to do for now.

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Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta

Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta

What you need:

* 10 oz. package of bow tie  pasta

* 1 1/2 pounds of lean ground beef

* 8 strips of bacon

* 1 can condensed tomato soup

* 1 can of tomato paste

* 1 can of crushed tomatoes

* 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

What To Do:

* Cook pasta according to package directions

* Cook beef in large skillet. Set aside.

* Cook bacon and then crumble or dice into smaller pieces

* Add bacon to large skillet with beef

* Drain pasta; add to skillet.

* Add soup, paste, and crushed tomatoes

* Heat through

* Sprinkle with cheese

* Cover and cook until cheese is melted.

Apples, Apples, Apples – All Kinds of Apple Actvities

We have had a blast this week learning about apples, reading apple stories, and doing apple arts and crafts. I love apple season, it is the perfect onset into fall. I decided to stretch our “apple theme” out for two weeks. I realize it can be used for even longer if I wanted to do so, but I am READY to start doing other fall activities. Anyways…I wanted to share a few of our apple happenings/doings.

First, I must start with our apple picking day.

I decided, once starting our apple theme, that it would be a must to go and pick apples. I thought the experience would be great for Lil’ Man, not to mention fun. I found this website Pick Your Own where you can select your state and it will give you a list of places where you can pick your own and/or buy produce based on farms in your area. I called a couple of places, with no success. FYI, not all places listed are still in operation. I started to feel discouraged.

Our week of ‘apples’ was about to begin and we had no where to go. Then my mom called. She was going on and on telling me about “all the apples they picked from their (little) trees. We both were talking about how incredible it was, how surprised we were that they produced that many apples, yada-yada…and the thought came to me. We were going to Abuelita’s house to pick apples. Yes, it was a 3 hour drive, but it was worth it.

Confession – We may have tied the apples to the tree so Lil’ Man could “pick” them. If you remember my earlier statement…you know, the one about how my parents had already picked all the apples. We improvised.

Some other favorite activities of the week…

Painting with apples.

Yes, that is a paper sack my son is wearing. Yes, I am currently gathering up some of L’s old shirts for “art smocks”.

Painting apples

We used his hand-prints to make the leaves.

We made a book that he has enjoyed reading all week.

We did a little math with our apples…

Worked on some fine motor skills…

We were even able to pick apples at the State Fair.

Checking out apple books from the library, doing these (and other) activities, and canning some apples were all a fun way to incorporate apples into our learning time. I am still contemplating getting an apple tree this weekend for him to plant in our backyard…we will see.