I LOVE this time of year.
October has and always will have my heart.
I love the weather, the smells, the changing leaves, and the activities attached to this month…
And I tend to fill those 31 days to capacity as I try to fit in all the fall fun I can before the weather turns, the evenings darken, and the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season comes down upon us.
With the month of October comes my favorite holiday of the year…
It is with great enthusiasm we plan our costumes and decorate the house. One tradition that accompanies this holiday is the annual family pumpkin carving night.
This year I lucked out when I stumbled across an exceptional deal on pumpkins when driving past a country farm. Sitting by the roadside were HUGE pumpkins that were being sold for $2.00/ each, regardless of size. Well, who could pass up a deal like that?! Rather than simply buy the kids each a pumpkin like I usually do, I decided to go ahead and buy 8 so Toby and I could each carve our own pumpkin.
We decided Sunday night was the night.
We have reach the point of life where we rarely have a night where everyone is home together. As much as I hate it, the reality of this season of life is that school schedules, work schedules, church commitments, and social obligations make catching everyone at home, all at one time, a near impossibility. Because of this we have set aside Sunday evening as our family night. After dinner on Sunday we gather in the living room to calendar out our week as a family, hold our weekly family council, and enjoy a lesson, activity or game, and fun treat as a family. Even this commitment has become more challenging with Gracie’s YSA congregation’s meetings now beginning at 3:00 pm each Sunday. This means that Grace isn’t getting home until almost 8:00 on Sundays… but we are making it work. We just save our Family Night activity for 8pm on Sunday nights.
This past Sunday was pumpkin night.
As we prepared for Gracie’s arrival home we cleared the dining room table, covered it in plastic, and carried all the pumpkins in from outside. With the addition of empty bowls carving knives, and metal spoons we had everything we needed to create jack-o’-lantern magic.
When Grace got home we jumped right into the festivities. Everyone chose their pumpkin and began sketching out their design on their pumpkin. I love seeing how creative everyone is with their ideas. And it is always neat to see how reflective the design is of the carver who is creating it.
It was especially neat to watch Brandon as he experienced this family tradition for the first time. He is 16 years old and this was his first time carving a pumpkin, and as his mom this “first” was as delightful as it was watching it with my older kids when they were toddlers experiencing this tradition for the first time…
The only difference: Brandon was a lot less messy and a lot more capable of safely holding a knife.
Everyone jumped in to the task at hand and soon completed pumpkins were scattered across the table.
Tyler created a happy jack-o-lantern.
Ozzie paid homage to Gracie’s automobile with a Kia logo.
Rusty, our Disney fan, carved a delightful Winnie the Pooh pumpkin.
Molly, our rain lover , carved her pumpkin to reflect a personal delight- autumn rain showers!
Gracie’s pumpkin reflected her educational pursuit of sign language with an artistic carving of the sign for “I love you.”
And finally Brandon decided to keep his first jack-o’-lantern traditional, with a carved face, cutting the eyes into hearts and topping his pumpkin with a crown.
Toby decided to carve his pumpkin into a night scene, complete with a shooting star.
And I transformed my pumpkin into Jack, from the Disney classic, “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”
The guts from eight pumpkins were sorted through, as we pulled and rinsed the seeds to prep them for roasting, and then we headed outside to light all the pumpkins from within and watch them glow on the front porch.
Standing back and looking upon our completed creations made my heart swell with love and gratitude for the simple things in life that brings such joy.
They were simply magical!
For dinner we enjoyed Molly’s dinner creation of stuffed pumpkins. This is a recipe that was passed down from Toby’s mom after she made it for the kids one Halloween weekend when they were little.
We felt it was time to resurrect this recipe and Molly took on the job of gutting eight pie pumpkins and helping me make the rice and ground beef filler that gets cooked inside. The finish result was delicious and festive…
A perfect ending to our fun, fall, family night!