Tag: Halloween

All About the Pumpkins

Before being a mum, we never really bothered to decorate our house, let alone carve pumpkins on Halloween.  The only preparations we had was making sure we had enough sweets for the little “trick or treaters” in our village.  But then of course, T came along.  The first time, she was too young.  But I did start decorating and carving, she just watched me.

But not on the second time around, she actually helped! And so pumpkin carving has been one of our little yearly traditions with my little girl.

I remember printing out a few stencils for the faces when I first did it.  But nowadays, I just wing it.  We still draw on it though, using simple triangles for the eyes and nose and just carving the biggest smile ever, because it’s the easiest!  And besides, according to T, we don’t like scary pumpkins, although we admittedly made the husband’s pumpkin look grumpy.  I have yet to find a non-grumpy historian.  I think it’s part of their job description.

And here’s my little helper cleaning out the pumpkins.  It’s messy and a bit icky, but my daughter loves it.

We bought our pumpkins last week, to think I though that was early.  But apparently not, we couldn’t even find a decent one in the supermarket pile.  All of them had dirty faces.  My husband thought that once we’ve carved that part away, it will be alright.  If only we had a pumpkin patch nearby, Instagram has been filled with lovely photographs from pumpkin patches.  Perhaps next year!

After carving the faces, I tried to scrape the dirty bits away.  I told T not to worry, once it’s dark and all lit up, the black bits won’t show.

 I think I did manage to clean them up and can you spot the grumpy pumpkin?

Little T admiring our window display.  No one will really see it though, apart from the farmer who lives down the road, since we live in a private road.  Ever since moving away from our little village, there won’t be knocking on our door either.  To go trick or treating, we have to drive back to our little village, where T will meet up with her friend and cause mayhem.  You can read about what it’s like here.  Hopefully it won’t be as mad this year as it was that year.

Does our house look spooky enough?  I hope so.

What about you? …

All About Halloween

The first time I carved a pumpkin with T, I did it the “right” way.  Not that there’s a wrong way of doing it.  What I meant was, I actually googled and downloaded a template for the faces.  I don’t bother anymore.  I just ask T to draw on the pumpkin and then I try to carve a face from her drawing.

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When she’s done.  I chop the top off so she could get all the gooey stuff out.

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When she was younger, this part of the activity used to bore her.  She’d stick her hands in, get a few gooey bits out and declare herself done.  This year though, she persevered till she got everything out.

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When she was done.  I asked her to go and watch television while I did the carving.  Sharp knives and little ons make me nervous.  I called her back in the kitchen when all faces were done and she was pleased with our work.  We called the Historian down and dubbed the pumpkins little versions of us.

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As soon as it got darker, she switched on her pumpkin lanterns and skull fairy lights and asked that we light the tea-candles inside the carved pumpkin family.

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Not bad looking eh? 😉

As mentioned in a previous post, she dressed as La Muerte from the Book of Life in her Halloween disco.  She’s invited to a birthday/halloween party tonight and tomorrow and is planning to wear the same costume.  This girl has a maddening social life!

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Here’s hoping our face-pain stash will last.
Have a lovely weekend folks!
The Reading Residence

Halloween Disco 2016

I think little T’s obsession with skeletons, skulls and the macabre all began when we first got her The Nightmare before Christmas and Corpses Bride DVDs (both Tim Burton creations), two of her favourite movies of all time.  And then she discovered The Book of Life as mentioned on an old post.  It’s not surprising then that this Halloween, she chose to dress up as La Muerte, the Ruler, also known as the Queen of the Land of the Remembered.

Thanks to Amazon, we found a sugar-skull dress which is close enough(ish) to he dress.  After all, sugar-skulls are known to be used as decorative or even edible skulls used in Mexican celebration of the day of the dead.

I also had to google and search for tutorials that would teach me how to paint T’s face as La Muerte.  I’m not artist.  I can only draw stick figures and can barely paint anything that will resemble a work of art, unless we’re talking about abstracts.  I also had to make do with the colours we had from the face-paint I bought last week.

It was a difficult one, especially with a fidgety and impatient child.  But at least, I tried.

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Lesson learned:  Take photo of child right after face has been painted.  I think this was about 30 mins or so after I’ve done up her face and somehow she managed to smudge most of it.  It’s not that bad, is it?

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Of course, by the time the school disco was over, there was hardly any face paint left apart from the blue-paint which took ages to remove.  She’s invited to a birthday/Halloween party on Friday and of course, she’ll want her face painted again, not to mention, on All Hallow’s Eve itself.  I wonder if we’ll have enough face paint to last us till then?

Life with kids eh?

A Tale of Two Toys: A MEGABLEU Review

For most kids, October is all about the run up to Halloween. If your child is anything like mine, chances are they already know what to wear come All Hallows’ Eve. T certainly has her costume ready, although to be fair, she wasn’t always this sure.  We did go through a phase where she would change her mind every week about what kind of costume she wanted.  Thank goodness that is all over now.

Are you afraid of ghosts?  Would you like to go ghost-hunting?

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Ghost Hunt Revolution

The Ghost Hunt Evolution is the perfect toy for Halloween. It has a skeleton named “Billy Bones” and the best bit is – you play with it in the dark.  How fun is that?  Spooktacular, little T thinks!

How does the game work?

  1. You wait till it’s really dark.
  2. Set it up in a room that is devoid of any light.
  3. Make sure that all your gear is ready: your gun is cocked and your multi-vision glasses are to hand to see more ghosts.
  4. Before you ask an adult to switch off the lights, make sure that “Billy Bones” is switched on (he happens to be a projector!)
  5. As soon as you see a ghost or a bat appear on the wall, aim and shoot!

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When the game is over, the gun has a little screen, which will tell you how many ghosts you’ve managed to catch.

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What does T think of the game?
• She loved it and enjoyed trying to catch as many ghosts and bats as she can.
• She thought the music and the fact that you play it in the dark really “scary” but fun.
• She loves Billy Bones. She loves all skeletons even when it isn’t Halloween.

What we (the parents) thought of the game?  (Yes, the Historian and I also had a go like you should 😉
• It was fun and yes, we enjoyed it too.
• Our only negative comment about the game was that it would be better if they provided two guns. Can you imagine what it would be life if you had more than one child? It would be more fun if the kids could play against each other, by firing at the ghosts at the same time.
• A second gun would make the price of £29.99 seem much better value.

This is the perfect game for a Halloween party or sleep-over, just don’t expect to be able to sleep early or worse, get any sleep at all!

EDIT:  The company has gotten in touch since hitting that publish button, the good news is, there is an extra gun available for purchase – so no more squabbling and whinging over one gun 🙂  

Click on the video below to see what T thinks about the game:

Name That!

Autumn and the long winter days are perfect for playing board-games or any other kind of games which involves sitting around the table, with a cosy fire on, or even on your bed, it doesn’t really matter where you do it as long as the whole family is together and comfortable.

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Name That! is indeed perfect for those nights.

How do you play the game?

  1. Appoint a dealer who will read the category on the top card.  He or she will also reveal the letter on the next card.
  2. Whoever names a word first, beginning with the letter on the top card wins.
  3.  If you win, you get to keep the card.
  4. Once all the cards are finished, whoever has the most cards wins the game.

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How did T find the game?

* She surprisingly really enjoyed playing it, once she stopped panicking, she was really able to think for herself without us having to prod her.

* While she loves playing it, there are some categories that she really struggles with.

What we (her parents) thought of the game:

Like T, we found it a fun game to play with.  Even though the game is categorised as a 6+, it really is actually a game for older kids.  This is also a perfect game to take with you when on a trip or holiday with your kids.

We only have one negative comment about Name That!  My husband found a typo in one of the categories:  Utensils was spelt as Ustensil, other than that, it’s the perfect hunker down game for long evenings.

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Both games are from Megableu, a French toy retailer with a wide range of different games for all kids of various ages.  Do check out what they have in store for you.

Would you like to try any of the toys above?

*We were sent the toys for the purpose of this review.  All photos and opinions are by yours truly.

Little Village Style Halloween Madness

As my tagline goes this blog is all about motherhood and life in a small village, we’ve lived here since 2008 and have never experienced Halloween madness till this year.  Who would think that our small village is even capable of such mania?  Then again, Halloween + children + sugar rush = madness.  We certainly know that now.

This was also little T’s first time to go trick or treating around our village.  Since Halloween falls on their half-term break, we usually are away on holiday.  This time we decided to stay put.

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And here’s our little bat looking “serious” after all, bats are not known to smile!

It started out as a quiet evening of the three of us going out of our front-door, ready to meet-up with a few friends, little did we know that our small company would turn into a mob!

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There were lots of houses ready for Halloween, loved the look of this door and their happy-looking pumpkins.

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T and her best-friend F ready to conquer the night!  T as a bat and F as a vampire – the perfect pair!

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The best friends then decided to try out the blue door first on their own.

We stopped by little T’s best friend’s house and walked up our local pub with his parents to meet-up with a couple of other parents too … or so we thought.

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Trick or treating “our little village style” at least, the kids were queuing!

As we left the pub, our little group was no longer a small one.  And as we crossed the street, our little group was slowly growing.  As we knocked on the first door, our group was no longer a little group.

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Little T paired up with her school-friend S who was dressed up as a Mummy and there they are knocking on someone’s door.

I’m not sure when it turned out or felt like a mob, but when the kids knocked on someone’s door and a poor unsuspecting person opened theirs, gave a few sweets to the kids, but then saw the other kids coming up their door-step and quickly shut the door on their faces! (Don’t blame him really.  He probably had the fright of his life seeing all those kids rushing up his doorstep).  I heard some parents boo.  I wanted to hide and pretend I wasn’t included in the group!

We passed another house, the lights were on.  The kids knocked again, no one answered.  I heard a mum say “Slash the tires!”  It was a joke of course.  But at this point though, I just felt that it was too much.  And by the time we reached the top of our village, the three of us decided to call it a night, said goodbye to our friends and quietly slipped out of the group.  Was half expecting T to protest, but even our little bat seemed to think that it was too much and gladly went home with us nary a whimper or whinge.

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T’s loot for the night.

No wonder she didn’t complain, her little pumpkin bag was filed to the brim with sweets! Before we could even look any further, our doorbell rang and thankfully it wasn’t the mob, but a sweet little boy with his parents.

Next year, we are hoping to stay away from the group and do it quietly with perhaps just little T and her best friend.  The problem is though, we live in a small village and will most probably bump into the mob again.

What was your Halloween like?

Did you go out “trick or treating?”

How To Carve a Pumpkin with your Five-Year-Old

I know there’s thousands upon thousands of blog-posts and articles about how to carve a pumpkin, but I thought I’d make one on how to do it with a five-year-old 😉

The best tip actually is to include them with every single decision when doing the activity, because let’s face it, carving with a sharp knife isn’t exactly the safest thing to do with a little one around!  By including them in the decision-making it will make them feel as if they did a big-part , in spite the grown-up doing all of the carving.

1.  Let your little one choose the pumpkin.  

I’ve been googling and trying to find a pumpkin farm in our area in North Cornwall, but couldn’t find one nearby.  They are all located up-country!  Lucky ones.  So I’m afraid our pumpkin was just store-bought, which actually didn’t really matter to T, she was happy to choose one among the piles of pumpkin sold in the shops.

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Little T’s pumpkin choice.

2.  Using a sharp knife, carve the top off first.

It depends on you and your little ones, whether you want a big chunk cut off or a smaller one.  T and I decided on a small one.

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3.  Gut the pumpkin.

As you all know, this is a messy job, there’s no other way to do it but to get down and dirty. We used our hands first.  Little T enjoyed getting the gooey stuff out.  We used spoons to try and get all the fibres out.  Make your little one in charge of this part, and explain to them that once the carving starts, you will have to do most of it.

4.  Ask your little one to draw a face on the pumpkin using a felt-tip pen.

You might have to guide their little hands when doing this, because their tendency is to draw the parts small.  Small eyes, nose and mouth won’t look too scary and will be a bit tricky to carve!

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Here’s our masterpiece.

5.  Start Carving

 I was a bit nervous carving with a sharp knife with little T around.  To distract her, I asked her to clean up and to look for a tea-light in our cupboard under the stairs, while I carved in a safe part of the kitchen.  By the time she was done, I was also finished carving.

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And here she is proud of her pumpkin which she aptly named “Scary Face”.

7.  Look for a safe-place where you could put your pumpkin.

We put ours on our window-sill along with two store-bought lanterns we bought last year.  And little T’s favourite ghoul which she bought in a museum in Manila, the last time we were home.

8.  Light the candle and admire your pumpkin.

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Tada!

Incidentally, do you notice a ghostly shadow in the first photo?  Probably a reflection of something, but I have no idea what.  I didn’t show T the photo, didn’t want to spook her out.  This is the perfect halloween photo don’t you think?

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

What do you think is that ghostly shadow?

A ghost?

A reflection?

Do share your thoughts on the comments section below, now excuse while we get ready for “Trick or Treating!”

Halloween Costumes

I’m sure by now some of you have either purchased, chosen or for the super-crafty-mums, made their little ones Halloween costumes by now.  I haven’t.

When little T was one, we bought her a witch costume.  Sorry folks, I don’t have a photo saved on this laptop.  Was using a different one around that time.

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And when she was two, she was also a witch and wore the same costume mentioned above.  She didn’t mind and probably had even no recollection that she wore the same costume the previous Halloween.

Please don’t tell her.  I’m sure when she’s older she’ll say “I can’t believe you let me wear the same Halloween costume twice!”  Then she’ll blame this particular incident in her childhood as the bane of all her insecurities/failures in life.  Yep, it’s all because she wore the same costume twice.  My fault.

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But of course at three, you wouldn’t be able to get away with convincing her to wear the dreaded witch outfit again. “This isn’t the same costume you wore last year, or the year before that.  This is a different one!”  Nope, that didn’t happen.  And so last year, she was a Little Vampire.  Yep, another store-bought Halloween costume for Little T.

For this year though, she first decided that she wants to dress up as a Skeleton.  At first, I thought I’d try to make it myself since she already has a black long-sleeved-top and black leggings.  How hard is it to use white paint to outline a skeleton?  After doing some research on-line, I found a pattern you could actually use on white felt-cloth and then you can either stitch it or glue it on your little one’s black top and leggings.  Perfect!  Thank you Martha Stewart!

But then realised that the white-felt cloth I was planning to order on Amazon was about the same price of a Skeleton costume and thought, you know what, it’s actually cheaper to buy a costume!  So no mother of the year award for me, I’ll stick to the easy way, buy ’em!

And then, being Little T, she changed her mind!  Now she wants to be a ghost!  Thank goodness, I haven’t ordered that skeleton costume yet.  How hard is it to make a ghost costume?  I’m sure that’s super-easy, all you’ll need is a flat-old white sheet right?  I rummaged through our linen-cupboard and found none.  I’m thinking of going to a charity-shop to purchase one, and if I don’t find any or, if it costs more than a couple of pounds, I will resort to the easy-way out again.

The thing is, we won’t even be home on Halloween.  That means she won’t be able to answer the door to trick or treaters, go trick or treating herself, or even attend her school’s Halloween disco, because since it’s their half-term break, we decided to go to some place special for that particular week.  But of course, that won’t stop her from wearing her Halloween costume.  I’m sure she won’t be the only one traipsing around in a ghost costume 😉

Anyway, so yes, folks, it’s not surprising then that my …

The Reading Residence
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Have you, or your little one(s) chosen a Halloween costume yet?

The Halloween that went Pfft

So this is what happened, at around 2pm, T was bugging me to wear her costume and get her face painted.  I knew it was still early, but I figured that she might as well wear her costume more than just a couple of hours, especially since I knew she’d be tired by 7 and asleep by 8pm.  And I thought that I would be able to re-touch the paint on her face before the trick or treaters started ringing our doorbell.

Blood-sucking little vampire practising her scary face.

By the time we got our first trick-or-treaters, around 4pm, her face paint was fading and I didn’t have the time to re-do her face.

After waiting for some time by the door, she got tired and just sat on the floor watching Cbeebies.

True enough, by the time it was 7pm, she said “I’m tired Mummy“.  That’s when I knew that this year’s Halloween just went pfft, especially since there weren’t much trick-or-treaters this year, unlike the last.  That means, we’ve go so much left-over-sweets, which I refuse to have in the house, so as of typing, it’s still sitting on our porch.  I’m thinking of either a).  Hand them over to L (the lovely woman who is in-charge of T’s play-school.  Christmas isn’t that far off, maybe she can use the sweets as prize/treats for the kids at the Christmas party.  b).  Hide them in the attic for next year’s use?  In case you’re wondering, T only had one lollipop.  Thank goodness, she didn’t ask for more!

What would you do if you had a big bag of left-over Halloween sweets lying around in your house?  Any suggestions?

Getting ready for All Hallow's Eve

Before T, we never used to celebrate Halloween and saw it as one of those commercialised over-rated events like Valentine’s Day or even Easter.  But with a young child of course, celebrations like All Hallow’s is definitely a must-do! For the little ones everything to do with Halloween is exciting, from picking pumpkins, choosing costumes, making sure there’s enough treats and of course, decorating the house, or even just dressing up your window is a fun-filled activity for them. Admittedly, I like the sprucing-up-your- window bit and dressing up my three-yearold in silly-cheap costumes.

There’s T helping me clean the pumpkins out.  At first she was hesitant to put her hand inside, but when I showed her what to do, she was all game, although of course, after awhile, she said You do it Mum!

And here she is is by the window arranging her carved out pumpkins along with the two little lanterns we got from the supermarket.

Tonight she’ll be dressed as a blood-sucking vampire.  I wish I could say that I made it, but no, as much as I would’ve loved to have made it, I chose the easy way out – bought her a costume in the shop.  She’s too young to go trick-or-treating, but hopefully next year, she’ll be able to.  This year instead, she’ll excitedly wait for the doorbell to ring and greet the children in her costume.  Hopefully, this time she won’t hide behind my legs but give out the treats herself.  I’m also wishing for the kids sake that it won’t rain.  But then again, this is England.

Have a safe Halloween everyone!

NaBloPoMo: October 1- 3 Daily Prompts

I’ve joined NaBloPoMo’s daily prompts for October.  I’ve been feeling a bit uninspired lately, and I’m hoping these little writing exercises will sort of help me get back on track.  But I’ll be cheating a bit here, I don’t think I’ll be able to write everyday, what I’ll do instead is bundle the days up together in one blog post.  Sorry!  But who knows, maybe I’ll be inspired to write longer and more interesting posts rather than my usual Today, little T did this, did that, said this, said that kind of thing.

For the 1st of October the daily prompt is: What is your favourite thing about Autumn?  I don’t have one reason, I have four!  And they are:

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1.  The changing of the colours of the leaves from brown to gold, everything seems to be tinted in gold!

2.  The cold air does not bite, but is enough to reason to wrap oneself up in a nice cardigan, or layer up.

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3.  As a parent of a young child, I’ve learned to embrace everything about Halloween: carving pumpkins, Halloween costumes and of course, the treats.

4.  And lastly, I love it because we had a lovely small but beautiful wedding in Autumn.

Design AOctober 2 Daily prompt: What is your favourite autumnal flavour?

The first thing that came into my mind is ginger!  I don’t know why, perhaps it reminds me of all the lovely soups to be made when the air is cold and ginger happens to be one of the main ingredients in some of the delicious recipes I’ve found like this yummy, creamy must-try Ginger Carrot Soup recipe.  If you’re not a big fan of carrots, try this Butternut Squash Soup recipe instead.  I’ve tried them both and can attest to how delicious they are, even the little one loves it!

October 3 Daily Prompt:  Will you dress up for Halloween?  What will you be?

Nope.  I’m just going to be me.  But I’m thinking of dressing up little T in this lovely no-sew Spider Web cap I’ve found in this lovely woman’s blog called Delia Creates.  She’s absolutely a goddess when it comes to DIY stuff.  When I grow up, I want to be her! =)

What do you love about Autumn?  Do share!