Being close to your family typically does not cost much. Any time you spend with your children equals quality time and it ends up priceless. Last night we had such quality time. It cost me only $10.
My son is three years old going on fourteen and it is important to me that he has great memories of his family participating in holiday traditions. My other teenage son may scoff a bit at first when I tell him we ARE ALL going to do something so simple and childlike but soon he gets right into it and has a great time him self.
Last night while everyone was doing their own thing I cleared off the table and covered it in an old newspaper. In fact it was the newspaper from October 1st, and to kick off breast cancer awareness the newspaper was pink. Then I got out all the tools we would need to carve pumpkins into Jack-O-Lanterns!
I previously purchased our pumpkins at the grocery store when they were on sale 3 for $10, so there is my cost in a pumpkin shell.
I called everyone to the table and my Three year old was so excited! My Dad showed up and the three year old wanted him to join in.
My three year old got a magic marker and a piece of paper. I told him to draw a face on his piece of paper for practice and then draw the same picture on his pumpkin. I had to remind him to draw a mouth and his was a straight line but he was having an awesome time.
Dad came over and cut out the top of the pumpkin for us. I got out the camera to record my three year old's impression of sticking his hand in the pumpkin for the first time and feeling all that gushy slimy pumpkin guts in his hand.
I do have to make a note here about my three year olds Dad's family tradition here. When we lived near them three years ago they invited us over to carve pumpkins and dinner. If I would have known what kind of massive mayhem was to transpire soon after my arrival I am not sure I would have shown up, or at least I would have brought a change of clothes.
Their family tradition is just about the same as ours up to this point. Except when they reach their little hands inside the pumpkin to pull out the gushy slimy guts they quickly toss it at the nearest unknowing victim standing next to them, until they have a massive pumpkin fight in full swing. YUCK! I ran inside the house and closed the glass door behind me carrying my baby on my hip and screaming the entire way. They could of warned the poor girl ahead of time don't ya think? Oh well not for me.
We pulled out our guts, ahem pumpkin guts last night and placed them in a colander. I then pick out all of the guts and leave the seeds, to wash and toast later.
Dad complained a bit that he had to cut out my "Boo Berry" ghost template but it turned out cute. My teen age son decided to make his own design and it also turned out really well. Dad took the three year old's creation and made a find looking Jack-O-Lantern out of it.
My three year old called it a Jack-O-Pumpkin. He decided that the "pumpkin slobber" felt too gross for him so he had to go and wash his hands about a million times. That was funny because once he washed up he tried so carefully to use the spoon to scoop out the guts and not get any slime on his hands but it never worked and he had to go wash again.
I put some Christmas lights, yes I said Christmas and not holiday. I am a Christian, we believe in God and the Lord Jesus Christ is my Savior and I am PROUD of it. But I digress. I put some Christian lights in the three pumpkins instead of candles I use the lights. It is easier because I can just unplug them. The pumpkins last longer because they don't get candle burn or overheated. To make your pumpkins last even longer you can also put some Vaseline on the cut marks to seal in any moisture.
My three year old "played" with his pumpkin creation for quite some time and even carried it over to Grandpa's chair so he could see. Unfortunately he dropped it on the way back to the table and made a nice crack in it, and we had to toothpick a tooth back on. That is my next point you can fix any boo boos on your pumpkin or just add cut pieces by using a toothpick to secure the loose piece to the pumpkin itself.
After the carving was done we just wrapped up all the newspaper and stuffed it into the trash...easy clean up! I took the colander of pumpkin seeds to the sink and washed them out. I picked out all the guts so I was only left with washed seeds. I sprayed a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray and sprinkled my seeds with season salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. I tossed them lightly to spread the seasoning around equally and then I toasted them slowly in the oven for about an hour on a low heat of about 250 degrees. I tossed them a few times while they were cooking and taste tested them to see if the insides of the seeds were dry. Once the insides were dry I took them out of the oven.
Money Saving Maine-iac has a recipe for squash seeds (which I am sure would come out the same) using cinnamon, all spice, cloves and brown sugar which you can check out HERE, that I was going to try but I forgot to save some of the seeds.
I had to coax my three year old to try the seeds I cooked because he had just had the slimy things in his hands and was not really sure if he wanted that in his mouth. I told him that I cooked them up so now they taste like potato chips and then he was sold. He tried them and then wanted a bowl of his own.
All and all it was an awesome evening and that was the goal. I know we all get really busy, but I try really hard to not loose sight of the good stuff. That is what you want for your family lots and lots of good stuff.
What is your tradition for carving pumpkins? Love to hear about your fun traditions I we could always use some good ideas for free family fun!