Monday, October 29, 2012

Pumpkin time! {Quinn’s Weekend Adventures}

There’s only one thing to do the weekend before Halloween – carve pumpkins! Last year, I found a pumpkin design for a baby’s first Halloween, and I had to bust out Hubs’ Dremel to get the little details right.

This year, I found a pumpkin design online called “Three Peas in a Pod” that depicted a mommy, daddy and baby. I got to use the Dremel again, and I think it turned out pretty good. I made some minor modifications from the original design, adding hair to the mommy and baby and a hat onto the daddy.

Originally, I envisioned carving a San Francisco Giants logo onto the daddy’s shirt and a Detroit Tigers logo onto the mommy’s shirt, but I didn’t have enough room. So I decided just to carve the Detroit Tigers “D” into a second pumpkin instead. Seemed like a fair compromise to me!

(Alas, not even my awesome pumpkin shrine and mad carving skills could help my hometown team win the World Series. At least the Tigers made the Giants work for the Game Four win. Congratulations to the Giants and their fans!)

For Pumpkin #3, I simply carved Quinn’s first initial.

I had trouble getting the camera to focus in the dark at first, and I ended up getting this shot. I wish I could really get a candle flame to do this, but that’s probably not very toddler-friendly.

The worst thing about carving pumpkins, is that they immediately start to dehydrate and mildew in California’s arid climate. Within twenty-four hours, the heads on my pea pod characters started to shrivel and wilt. The daddy’s head fell off completely and had to be reconstructed with toothpicks. Grrr!

Then I remembered seeing this trick on Pinterest. Apparently, spraying pumpkins with a water and bleach mixture every day wards off decay. So I gave it a try. It was too late for my pea pod and “Q” pumpkins, but the wilting and rotting did seem to slow down. I made the Detroit Tigers pumpkin after I discovered this trick and started spraying it right after carving. Three days later, there are no signs of mold or shriveling. I’ll definitely have to remember this for next year.

The best thing about carving pumpkins is having roasted pumpkin seeds to snack on. After separating the seeds from the pulp, I rinse them really well, boil them in salt water for about ten minutes and then drain. Then I spread two tablespoons of olive oil on the bottom of a shallow roasting pan, lay out the seeds and give them a quick toss. To keep it simple (for the picky eaters in my household), this year I just sprinkled them with a whole lot of seasalt and a dash of garlic powder. But in previous years, I’ve used more aromatic fall seasonings like cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Yum! Then I bake them at 400° for ten minutes.

Mommy didn’t have all the fun this weekend. Quinn enjoyed the summer-like weather playing in the backyard. He’s already getting too big for the basketball hoop and slide we bought him earlier this summer.

Daddy pushes Quinn much higher on the swing than Mommy does!

Q is all about trucks these days. He loves pushing them through his play tunnels.

Quinn is all ready for Halloween in his mummy shirt from Old Navy.

Too bad “handsome” isn’t a Halloween costume, otherwise Q wouldn’t even need to dress up.

Want to see Quinn in his real costume? Tune in for Not-so-wordy Wednesday on Halloween to see photos of my adorable little cowboy.

In the meantime, we have a little bit of fall going on in our neck of the woods. We have one small tree in our backyard that changes colors and sheds its leaves. This is about as fall as it gets around here.