Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Halloween Traditions- A Shot of Rum for the Parents?

   

 The town that I live in does trick-or-treating for the kids the Sunday before or of Halloween, each year. Part of the reason is for safety since it's been getting darker, sooner and the other reason is so it's scheduled the same time every year.

      Unfortunately, that means that if the day of Halloween is in the middle or end of the week, it seems we are way ahead of all of the other families that I know and it's also kind of a let down for the rest of the month and it might as well just be November.

   




Halloween is my holiday. I don't go out and worship the devil or anything like that, but I LOVE to dress up. Growing up, I always wanted to be an actress and even acted a little in college for a drama group called Omega, so I really like to dress up and get into character. This year I was a vampire, the year before that, I was a granny.


      So, I love to go trick-or-treating with my kids and they enjoy having a crazy mommy taking them next door... soon, that will change. They'll be too embarrassed and ask me to stop, but until that time, I'm gonna dress up. 

      This year, we experienced something that never happened before. We had gone to a few houses on blocks that we hadn't been to before and it was really quite a let down. Houses had porch lights on, but they weren't opening their doors for us.  (For us, or at least when I was younger and growing up in a different town, a light on meant you had candy. It seems like if you have candy here, you're going to leave your door open or hang around outside.)

      After deciding to head back onto the road that we know does hand out some treats, my kids did their normal thing: "Trick-or-treat! Thank you!" but then we heard a twist. "Hey mom and grandma! They have a treat for you too!"

     I was like, "Oh really? Well thank you!" I headed up the stairs expecting a Snickers or something, but the guy gestures to some drinks with little shot glasses. He was offering us some pumpkin spice rum and vodka or something like that. I was so surprised. I thanked him and turned him down politely because, well, who hands our alcohol to parents?

     Apparently, this is something that people in Arizona do for parents and its not just a random person, it's like almost all of the houses. My bro-in-law who lives there was telling us all about it. 

     So this is an entirely new concept, something I had never heard of, but it makes sense that different places do different things for holidays. 

What traditions do you do? Are there a little rituals that you do differently? My husband's grandpa told me about what Halloween was like for him as a kid. Back then, they trick-or-treated the whole week of Halloween and if they didn't get treats, they really did do tricks. Apparently, the people of Arizona hand out alcohol. If someone could hand out cheesecakes and puppies, I might just move there.


Monday, October 29, 2018

Corn Bread Casserole


The holidays are near and even if they aren't at this time, people still enjoy comfort food that's easy to make. Corn Bread Casserole can really be made any time of the year whether you're eating chili, sausage and potatoes, or you just feel like eating something with corn bread.

Since it's so easy to make and you can make it with ingredients that you most likely already have, this is the perfect dish to take to a potluck or to eat at Thanksgiving time.




Everything pictured are just the ingredients I already had on hand. I am
not making any money by promoting, I probably just got them on a good sale.
Ingredients

1 Box of Corn Bread mix- I used Jiffy
1 cup sour cream
1 can of creamed corn
1 can of regular canned corn (drained)
1 stick of butter or a half cup

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350.
Melt the butter in microwave.
In an oven safe casserole dish, mix all ingredients together. Stir well.
Pop into the oven for 40 minutes or until top is starting to brown.

For, what I hope are obvious reasons, don't eat until the casserole has cooled down and isn't mouth blistering hot. A nice warm will do fine.


Easy Peasy! It's ridiculous how easy it is to make this dish and it's sure to be a hit!

Friday, October 26, 2018

Green Stuff-Jello Salad


Several months ago, I was trying out the macro diet, which was something I had only just learned about the week I started doing it. Long story short, the macro diet consists of trying to reach your daily fat, fiber, carb and protein intake. I was easily getting in my carbs and fats, but was having a difficult time reaching my protein goals.

One day I looked up foods with high protein and found out that cottage cheese was one of them. I like cottage cheese alright, but I was having a difficult time eating it plain. I was glad when I remembered something that my grandma always makes for Thanksgiving that I absolutely loved. Green stuff!

What exactly is Green Stuff, you ask? I'm not really sure what the official name of it is, we've just always called it Green Stuff, but it's kind of like a Sea Foam salad, but much easier to make. For this recipe, we usually use lime Jello and add canned pears or pineapple, but today, I've changed the recipe up a bit in the pictures. 



Ingredients:

1 24 oz container of cottage cheese
1 8 oz container of whipped topping (It has to be from a tub or it won't set right.)
1 3oz packet of lime flavored gelatin
1 can crushed pineapples or pears (drained)(optional)
1/2 cup of crushed pecans or walnuts (optional)

Instructions:

Mix container of cottage cheese with flavored geletin until.
Once mixed, fold in whipped topping.
Mix in fruit and nuts.

You can either eat it as is or put it into the fridge for it to solidify and then serve that way.

This recipe is so versatile, too. For the pictures, I used strawberry jello, pecans, and sliced strawberries. You can make your jello salad with any flavor and still find a good combination.




So what do you think? Is this something that you think you'd want to try? I know that it seems weird, especially since it's a sweet dessert with cottage cheese, but many good desserts and salads are made with cream cheese and really, the only difference is that the cottage cheese is in curds instead of blended smoothly.

A Visit to the Pumpkin Farm


Going to the pumpkin patch is different than it had ever been when I was a kid. For starters, there seems to be more to do than just search through pumpkins and go through the tiny haunted house. 

In order for a pumpkin patch or farm to be successful, visitors demanded that there be more to do. In a sense it is practical and also a shame. The extra things bring more people in, but it has also raised the prices of things that were fun to just do. (However, people have to make a living and a pumpkin farm is only open during this season.)

Last weekend, my family and I went to Jerry Smith's Pumpkin farm in Kenosha, WI. As a tradition, we met up with some family friends and we all had a great time exploring the different things that the farm had to offer. 








We took some pictures while waiting for our friends to meet us. My phone storage wasn't so happy with me because there were plenty of photo opportunities.



Finally! A picture where the wind hadn't completely blown the hair in my daughter's face.




You even get to see some very interesting things when you do some local activities... This guy came riding in on a motorcycle and had on a double raccoon hat. I wish I would have had the courage to ask him if I could get a close up. I was very amused by the two tails.


Once our friends arrived, we were able to go into the pumpkin farm area. This part of the farm is no charge, and it's probably our favorite part. You'll see why.



Free Attractions




The farm takes the time to create little scenes from different movies! They find pumpkins and gourds and paint faces on them. 



The sun was too bright to get a good picture. ☹️


 
This child thinks he's funny.... Just like his mama!


This goes on for rows and rows. This year, however, my kids finally got to know why I appreciate this next showcase so much because they finally got to watch the movie for themselves.




After you see the pictures up front, there is a tunnel you get to go through. Normally the outside of the tunnel spins around like you're going through the "twister", but it wasn't working that day. My kids always thought it was cool, but now they understand why it's there and appreciate it so much more.  Ignore my voice, I'm aware of how annoying I sound, now. 
When you exit out of the tunnel, you land on the "Yellow Brick Road."












After this, we looked at the remaining showcases and enjoyed it when we saw that some characters just did not belong in that one. One of our friends suggested that perhaps there was a seek and find.

I said, "I may be wrong about this, but were there bunnies in Mickey Mouse?" There was a Scrat (the squirrel) from Ice Age in another scene and he didn't belong there either. 

There was a Maui, last year, but I think they had to fix him. Imagine how big his pumpkin would need to be if they scaled it to size. 



Any pumpkin that you saw was up for sale.... except those on the showcases. 


Money Attractions

After all of this, which there was a lot to look at, we now had to pay to get in to see the rest. Before, it had been you paid as you wanted to do it, but now, they have sectioned it off so all you would have to do is buy a wristband. During the week, the wristbands were $5 per person and then $10 per person on the weekend. Guess which day we visited.

Our friend snuck away and bought us wristbands when we thought he was off to the bathroom. Thank you!!! So we made it inside.

This doesn't look like much in the picture, but this was a big sand hill. I was glad that the sand was damp that day because it usually isn't and that means that one or all of my children run to me complaining about the sand that landed in their eye. I was so glad that it did not do that, especially on this very windy day. 



The sand moved throughout the play area. It was fun watching the kids move the dump trucks.



Typically, the things above, used to be a part of the free things. The pictures below are things that we used to have to pay several tickets to do, but were free with the wristbands so the kids could play with them with unlimited turns.


We still had to pay to ride the ponies and even the camel (not pictured) but that's ok. The kids weren't interested anyway.

 These were the hale bales of death. If you didn't watch where you were going, you were going to be jumped on by another kid. I tried to trail my four year old while my husband trailed our six year old daughter. She's more timid and that could get her run over. We would generally have to pay to go in here too, but this was free.



Our friend's wedding ring fell off in this maze. It was literally like looking for a needle in a hay stack. Luckily, she knew the general area it fell off and we found it without too much fuss. It was still a scary thing, but we were able to get the kids from jumping across in that area and some other moms came to help her look for it. It was found within minutes. 





Who needs a swing when you have a random long  tube? There were kids actually crawling inside; mine included.


Attractions Not Pictured

The farm offered many more things, but at this point, my phone had died and I couldn't take anymore pictures. This is also what they offered.

Petting zoo- We didn't go in because we had been there for two hours already and my kids were getting grumpy and cold. The petting zoo offers the normal animals that you would see as well as some exotic birds (I think. They used to, but I don't know if they did this time.) This was another thing that used to cost money, but was free with a wristband. 
Corn Maze- Usually, the farm offers this, but I didn't see it this time around, but I also wasn't looking for it either. There was a big line off to the side, I bet that was it.

Hay Rack Ride

Band Stand- There was a tent area set up for some music and even children's sing-a-longs. 

A Jump Pad- This is like a giant trampoline. I really don't know if there is a limit to how many kids go on this thing, but it's like a long, flat, trampoline with a yoga ball feel. Very weird.

Haunted House- The haunted house is a smaller size one, but it's still pretty good. There is an age limit to who can go in, so that's good. It must be a little bit scary for that to happen.

FOOD- One of the best things about going to a pumpkin farm is the food. This is the time of year where apple cider donuts and pumpkin bars are a staple snack item. This farm has several places to buy these different types of foods including fudge, cookies, apple cider, churros, apple butters, jams, and much more!!!!

Conclusion

There are so many different things that you can do at a pumpkin farm. Jerry Smith's offers this and so much more. If you get the chance to visit one, it doesn't have to be this one because I know you all don't live here, go!

While the wristbands seemed expensive to pay at the time, when we thought about it, we would have paid that, plus more for our kids to do some of the things they did, so it made it worth it in the end.

You get the chance to get some fresh air, exercise, and you get the joy of your kids getting worn out and sleeping nice, that night.

It's not too late to go. Halloween has yet to come and if you're looking for a good, family fun, fall activity, head to your nearest pumpkin farm or apple orchard!





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