Books

5 Favorite Quotes About Fall {from Anne of Green Gables}

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*Update: quote #5 has been added! It is the second quote listed. Sorry about that!

Hello everyone & happy fall!

Things have been a bit quiet here on the blog but I promise I have not forgotten about you guys ☺ And I definitly don’t want to stop blogging. I’ve missed it so much. Everything has a season and you will hear more about my absence in due time. (Promise!)

In the meantime, I thought I would share some of my favorite quotes about fall. And of course they are from one of my most favoritest (yes, made up word I know) authors of alll the times…Mrs. Lucy Maude Montgomery.

Pretty much the minute it turned October, I was bracing myself as I scrolled through my social media. Because I knew I would come across the most famous, most shared Montgomery quote.

(Hint: “I’m so glad I live in a world…)

And ok I love it, but in my opinion the quote is overused. And I thought… there has to be other awesome fall quotes in these books!

And so I skimmed. And from my skimming I have the following 5 quotes from L.M. Montgomery’s books.

I hope you enjoy, fellow lovers of Avonlea and all things Anne. 🌾🍁🏡

 

5 Favorite Quotes About Fall (from Anne of Green Gables)

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“It was October…a glorious October, all red and gold, with mellow mornings when the valleys were filled with the delicate mists as if the spirit of autumn had poured them in for the sun to drain-amethyst, pearl, silver, rose and smoke-blue.”

-from Anne of Green Gables, chapter 24, by L.M. Montgomery

 

“Peace and tranquility brooded over the Glen; the sky was fleeced over with silvery, shining clouds. Rainbow Valley lay in a soft, autumnal haze of fairy purple. The maple grove was a burning bush of colour and the hedge of sweet- briar around the kitchen yard was a thing of wonder in it’s subtle tintings.”

-from Rilla of Ingleside, chapter 9, by L.M. Montgomery

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“Anne thought those Friday evening gypsyings over the autumnal hills in the crisp golden air, with the homelights of Avonlea twinkling beyond, were the best and dearest hours of the whole week.”

-from Anne of Green Gables, chapter 35, by L.M. Montgomery

 

“It was a beautiful autumn morning, clear and crisp and sunny; the frosted ferns, drenched and battered with the rain of yesterday, gave out a delicious fragrance…”

-from Chronicles of Avonlea, chapter 2, by L.M. Montgomery

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“I went out and down the harbor road. There was such a nice frosty, Octobery smell in the air, blent with the delightful odor of newly plowed fields. I walked on and on until twilight had deepened into a moonlit autumn night. I was alone but not lonely.”

– from Anne of Windy Poplars, chapter 2, by L.M. Montgomery


 

Hope you guys are having a wonderful November and that fall still lingers in your part of the globe (northern hemisphere peeps only I guess lol, totally had to look it up!) The things we forget 😆

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Desserts, Food

Delish Baked Apple and Peach Crisp {a gluten-free take on a family favorite recipe}

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Ready for some awesome baked goodness? Of course you are! It’s nearly fall, summer is wrapping up and comfort food season is coming this way😋

There’s something about fall dessert. It’s texture, flavor, warmth. Just gives you a warm and cozy feeling and puts you in your happy place.

Right?

Now growing up, there was one comfort food that my mom made that I always associated with fall. It could be made all year of course (but everyone knows apples are best when autumn arrives😉).

And not just any apples. Mom was always admanant. They must be granny smith. No other apple will do because the flavor will be so different and not quite pitch-perfect and balanced.

Man, I can taste it just describing it.

My mom always and I mean always made the best apple crisp. She would say, “the recipe isn’t actually all that special” or “it’s so easy to make”. Never understanding the way we fawned over that lovely dessert.

 

Mom you made it special. That was why.

It was special in it’s simplicity.

Special just because it was.

 

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Special notes about the recipe:

My mom’s recipe is totally the best, but I was craving a peach crisp. Not wanting to do all peaches, I added some apples for an extra flavor and texture boost.

Then of course I used gluten-free flour in the topping. For my recipe I used up the little bit of the all purpose flour blend I had. (I used the living now gluten-free brand.) It was only about 1 1/2 Tablespoons, so I put that in my 1/2 cup measuring cup and filled it the rest of the way with oat flour.

Oat flour is easy to make. Take some quick oats, throw them in the blender and pulse until the texture becomes fine. Then sift it and walla! Flour.

For the sugar, it was the same concept. I used a total of 2/3 cup sugar, but 3 Tablespoons of it was coconut sugar, the rest was brown sugar.

All of these additions made for a magnificent, and I mean magnificent final product. *kisses fingers like an Italian*. Haha. 🍏🍑😍


Delish Baked Apple & Peach Crisp

Serves: 4-6

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 peaches, sliced thin, pitted and peeled
  • 1-2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup/70g gluten-free flour*
  • 1/2 cup/70g quick oats
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 7 Tablespoons, 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup/67g butter, diced
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, divided

*I used 1 1\2 Tablespoons gluten-free all purpose flour blend and the remainder oat flour, see above discription of flour under the above section “special notes about the recipe”.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 395°.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together flour(s), oats, sugar(s), and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
  3. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and work it in by hand (my method) or with a potato masher. The texture will be chunky.
  4. Place fruit in a medium bowl and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Toss gently by hand to avoid breaking up the delicate fruit slices. Place the fruit in a 1.5 quart casserole dish.
  5. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit and evenly distribute.
  6. Bake 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Cost:

This recipe cost me $3.37 to make. That’s 84¢/serving when divided into 4 portions and 56¢/serving for 6.

Fairly cheap, but even if it wasn’t I wouldn’t care ’cause it’s so delicious!

Enjoy!

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Awards and Tags

The Fall Tag

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Many thanks to Maggie, of the blog Dreaming of Guatemala for creating this Fall Tag. What a neat idea! Kinda like spreading Christmas cheer, but with fall. I love it. I have been tagged by T.R. Noble, of the blog Peaking Beneath 🙂 Thanks T.R.!

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Rules:

1. Put the tag badge and rules in your post.

2. Answer the 10 fall-related questions.

3. Tag at least 5 other bloggers to join in the fun!

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1. What’s your favorite fall outfit?

Skinny jeans, probably with an orange shirt and my favorite long purple cardigan. I am decidedly not fashion minded, more comfort loving. I do love wearing fall colors and cozy scarves though.

2. What is the fall weather like where you live?

I live in the midwestern area of the USA. Typically fall weather begins a bit earlier than it has this year. For October, it has been uncharacteristically hot..reaching into the upper 80s earlier in the month. We are in deep fall now though. The temperature has dropped and soon I gather it will become wet and ick. But for now, we enjoy our crisp and picturesque fall. Short as it may be.

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A few years ago we went to The Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Vermont. We got to see the cider being made & it was sooo good!

3. Your favorite drink to have in the fall?

I am a mulled apple cider girl. I love it. And it must be hot! So many memories I have tied to this special drink.

4. Does your family have any fall traditions? If so, what are they?

We enjoy doing a few things. We have fall snacks and typically carve a pumpkin. I save and dry the seeds. We rake leaves and let the kids play in them. Last year I took the kids out to a farm where they got to play in a giant swimming pool full of corn, which they loved. My daughter was a baby and wanted to eat it. My son never wanted to leave. We all had a lot of fun. Sometimes we go to a festival or two as a family. Music, vendors, food. All that good stuff.

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5. What are some activities and events you enjoy going to in the fall months?

Haha so I guess I went on a tangent in the answer to question #4. (See above.)

6. What’s your favorite fall scented candle? 

Oh my so I got these wax melts from Aldi that are pumpkin brulee scented and they. smell. so. divine.

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I don’t use candles much bc I’m afraid I’ll forget about them. (I’m slightly paranoid, ok?) So wax warmers are my thing. I’m dying to try this one but my lightbulb gave out on my wax warmer. So I need to buy another. I think that’s the problem anyway.

7. Tell us about one of your favorite fall memories?

One of my very best memories I have is of my brothers and I raking leaves and jumping in them. I loved that. We all worked together. Giggling. Having fun. Mom would take our picture. It was a fun time.

8. What are some fall movies you enjoy watching?

I guess I don’t particularly have any. Although we used to always watch The Christmas Story (with the Red Rider bb gun and the leg lamp) on Thanksgiving.

9. What’s your favorite fall treat?

I love apple dumplings. I don’t eat them often. Typically only once or twice a year. And that’s what makes them special 🙂 They are so good with that warm cinnamon sauce!

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10. If you celebrate Halloween, what is the best outfit you’ve worn?

Oh boy I haven’t gone trick-or-treating or worn a Halloween costume in a long time. I can’t remember many of my costumes, or how many years my family did trick-or-treating. I remember one year my Grandma made me a Jasmine costume because I was a hardcore Aladdin fan. That was special and so thoughtful of her. I appreciate it much more now than I did then.

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My tags:

I’ve decided to leave the tags open! It’s a bit tricky to decide who might want to participate. So if you want to and have not been tagged yet, go ahead! It’s a lot of fun 🙂

Happy Fall!

~Rachel

Natural Skin Care

Healing Sunshine Salve {with Calendula, Dandelion and Goldenrod}

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I made a lovely Autumn inspired salve yesterday and I had a lot of fun with it 🙂 Sometimes I just need to create something. You know what I mean? It’s therapeutic. And its good to invest in hobbies.

In this diy I am combining several hobbies and passions of mine. Foraging, gardening and herbalism all come into play here. Plus a bit of aromatherapy as well 🙂

Foraging: I found the dandelion in my backyard and the goldenrod in a family member’s yard.

Gardening: I grew the calendula 🙂

Herbalism: What benefits will result from the infused oils used in this salve?

Why calendula? 

-it is gentle to use on children, helps skin heal and good for inflammation.

Why dandelion?

-it is good for sore muscles and rough, chapped skin.

And lastly, why goldenrod?

-it helps heal wounds and burns. It also helps with muscle aches and arthritis pain. And most interestingly, it is said to help with winter blues.

Step 1: Harvest and Prepare Plant Materials

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Goldenrod. I hung it upside down inside a small paper bag to minimize messiness.
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Lovely brilliant orange calendula.
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Dandelion flowers. These ones I foraged from my backyard last spring.
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Ready to make the infused oils!

Step 2: Prepare the Infused Oils

Sweet almond oil allows the delicate scents of the flowers to shine, without altering the golden colors.

I filled the jars with oil. The dandelion jar got about a 50/50 ratio of sweet almond oil to extra virgin olive oil because I ran out of almond.

To make my infusion I followed the “fast way” directions as per The Nerdy Farm Wife.

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Before infusion.
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After infusion, ready to strain.
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Coffee filters with canning rings worked well.

 

Step 3: Assemble and Prepare Ingredients

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Oils ready for measuring. From left to right: Dandelion, calendula, goldenrod.
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Other ingredients: lavender and neroli essential oil blend, cocoa butter, beeswax, argan oil.
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Cocoa butter, beeswax, infused oils and argan oil measured out.

Step 4: Melt and Pour

I don’t have any pics (of good quality that is) of this part. This is a fairly fast step. Melting the beeswax will take 5 minutes or so. The cocoa butter melts within minutes and it all comes together rather quickly.

Be careful and quick when pouring. Melted beeswax can be troublesome to clean up.

Step 5: Let Set

Here are some pics of the gradual cooling process. I love the change of colors.

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Healing Sunshine Salve {with Calendula, Dandelion and Goldenrod}

Makes: 4oz

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons+2 teaspoons calendula infused sweet almond oil
  • 1 teaspoon goldenrod infused sweet almond oil
  • 1 teaspoon+1/4 teaspoon dandelion flower infused sweet almond oil/extra virgin olive oil (I used a 50/50 ratio because I ran out of almond oil.)
  • 11 drops argan oil
  • 4 drops lavender and neroli essential oil blend (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons+1 teaspoon+1/4+1/8 teaspoon cocoa butter
  • 1 Tablespoon+1 teaspoon+scant 1/4 teaspoon finely chopped beeswax

Supplies/Kitchen Equipment:

  • A medium saucepan
  • 2 glass jars, for cocoa butter and oils
  • A clean tin can
  • A wooden or metal skewer
  • An oven mitt
  • A small clean glass jar, for the finished salve

Directions:

1. Measure cocoa butter into a glass jar. Measure oils (all except essential oil) into a separate glass jar. Place the chopped beeswax into the tin can.

2. Fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of water and turn the burner on medium high heat. Melt the beeswax in a tin can submerged in the hot water. It will float so you will need to hold it with an oven mit. Stir with the skewer till melted.

3. Melt cocoa butter in a glass jar, next to the can of beeswax. Remove from heat when almost melted. (Some small peices will remain but they will melt.)

4. Add oils to beeswax. Stir and allow beeswax to re-melt before adding melted cocoa butter. Stir and remove from pan.

5. Stir well and pour quickly into prepared salve jar. Add essential oils quickly and stir well.

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Cost:

It cost me $2.39 to make this salve. That’s about 60¢ per oz. The jar was gifted to me so that cost was excluded.

So yeah that sounds pretty cheap, right? But a salve like this is most cost effective when you collect the ingredients over time. All of these ingredients, minus the sweet almond oil I use for other things. I would have paid $31.33 if I bought everything all at once.

I loved it that I was able to save money by foraging and growing my own flowers 🙂 It took a bit of patience to wait for the harvest, but it was worth it.💛💙

~Rachel

All photos are my own.

Beverages, Food

Easy, Dreamy Pumpkin Spice Smoothie (without using a blender!)

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Ah fall. Fall means pumpkins. And we Americans (most of us anyways) love our pumpkin spice. Is that just an American thing? I don’t know. Hmm.

(Ok international readers. Is pumpkin spice a thing in your country? Let me know in the comments, I would love to know!)

On a whim the other day I decided to cook up a pie pumpkin. I’m not really sure why they are called pie pumpkins. It’s not like they are used expressly for pumpkin pie. Honestly I buy one almost every year…not knowing if it will be for decor or for eating.

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The pumpkin in question *cue dramatic music*

My kids decided that the pumpkin was purchased so that they could roll/push it off of the kitchen table. No. That was actually not the purpose, my dear sweet children whom I love with all my heart but also who drive me completely loopy.

So to take the loopiness down a notch I cooked it up in the oven. I thought I could make some pumpkin bread with the puree.

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Pumpkin puree! I actually cooked the pumpkin and put it in the fridge for a few days before I pureed it.

And yep I made 4 full sized loaves. That used up about 4 cups. And I still had about a cup left over.

So I made up a new drink which was totally easy and delicious. My daughter (age 1 1/2) literally goes crazy for it. My son (age 4) asks every time if it is chocolate milk and wants nothing to do with it when I tell him that no, it isn’t.

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The flavors here are so simple and yet so delicious. Pumpkin tastes a bit like cooked squash, so on its own it isn’t all that tasty. But with honey, spices and almond milk? Yum 🙂


 

Easy, Dreamy Pumpkin Spice Smooothie

Makes: 16oz

Ingredients:

  • 12oz unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 4oz chilled pureed pumpkin (you can make your own puree, see below)
  • 1 small spoonful honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • a pinch or two of nutmeg

 

Directions:

  1. Measure about 1/2 cup pumpkin puree into a large glass. (I use a pint mason jar.)
  2. Add honey, cinnamon and nutmeg and stir well to combine.
  3. Add vanilla almond milk and stir.

 

To make the pumpkin puree

  1. Preheat the oven to 395°.
  2. Take a pie pumpkin and carefully cut it in half with a large knife.
  3. Place cut sides down in a large baking pan. (You can also bake them one half at a time if you don’t have a big enough pan.)
  4. Add a few inches of water to the pan and cover with tinfoil.
  5. Bake for 1 hour.
  6. Remove from oven, test for doneness and cool.
  7. Scoop out seeds and stringy stuff, set aside. Save the liquid from the pan.
  8. Scoop out the pumpkin and put it in the blender. Add a cup or so of the saved liquid (eyeball it) and puree.
  9. Chill the puree.

Cost:

This is super cheap. 89¢ for 16oz. Isn’t that crazy? I will definitely be making this again!

Enjoy!

~Rachel

The Great Outdoors

What’s That Plant? (Symphyotrichum pilosum or Aster pilosus)

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“They’s something kindo’ harty-like about the atmusfere

When the heat of summer’s over and the coolin’ fall is here…

But the air’s so appetizin’; and the landscape through the haze

Of a crisp and sunny morning of the early autumn days”

-From When the Frost is on the Punkin, by James Whitcomb Riley.

The beautiful month of October is here. In my corner of the globe in the Midwestern US, this means that fall is in full swing.

It is a time of harvest. Of slowing down. Of bidding summer goodbye. Of bonfires and cozy sweaters. Crunchy leaves.

In my mind, I see the green landscape slowly fading from green to autumn hues. Some plants, like my basil, are fading fast as the days and nights grow cool.

And others, like a plant I’ve recently learned about, are still in their prime.

It is a goal of mine to learn more about plant life. I want to know the names of everything. What they look like, where they are found, if they are edible. I want to learn as much as possible about the green world around me.

And so I wanted to share a plant I found that has a few interesting qualities.

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Name

This is frost aster. It’s Latin name is Symphyotrichum pilosum or Aster pilosus. Why 2 names?

Well, Urban Ecology Center explains that:

“As if to keep things fun and interesting botanists have decided to split up the genus Aster and there is now another genus, Symphyotricum. Consequently a newer name for A. pilosus is Symphyotricum pilosum.”

Appearance

Frost aster has alternate, smooth edged leaves that are long, thin and pointed.

It has composite flowers, with yellow disk florets (center) that change to redish-purple or redish-brown and 15-35 white ray florets that surround the disk florets.

This plant is quite tall, at least 4′ before the stems began to lean over. This is a bit taller than what most sources say this plant’s height range is but it’s likely so tall because it is a more mature plant.

Edible?

As far as I can see the answer is no. However, according to sources listed on Common Sense Homesteading, in the past the heath aster (not frost aster, see below) was used by Native Americans in teas, lotions and to “create a herbal steam” in a sweat lodge. Kinda like a herbal sauna. Sounds cool. Always secretly wanted to try the whole sweat lodge experience.

Unique Qualities

Two facts of interest:

  1. Frost aster is aptly named because it continues to bloom into the frosty days and weeks of autumn long after other plants and flowers are spent.
  2. For this reason, many insects rely on this plant for nourishment. I saw quite a few honeybees and bumblebees browsing busily amongst the flowers.

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Same plant, different location.

 

Also Frost Aster?

I found another plant that seemed to be similar to the frost aster. But it was much smaller and looked a bit different.

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I did a bit of research and narrowed it down to 2 kinds of aster.

Was it

Symphyotrichum lateriflorum (also called Aster lateriflorus) or calico aster?

or

Symphyotrichum ericoides, (also called Aster ericoides) or heath aster?

I decided it was heath aster because it had:

  • very short, narrow leaves
  • a bushy appearance, very short. It reminded me of rosemary somewhat.
  • no colorful flowers like described for the calico aster.

 

I enjoyed learning more about this unique plant. Isn’t it amazing how much variety and beauty there is in the world?

~Rachel

All photos are my own.

The Great Outdoors

Babies, Pumpkins and Toddler Havoc

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October is my favorite month. Hands down. The beauty of the season is astounding. And for us, good things have always happened in the month of October. My husband and I started dating in late September of 2009. We found out we were expecting our first child October 31st of 2012. And this month…

I’m lucky enough to say that I am expecting again. It didn’t feel so lucky, at first. I was so sick! When I confessed this so some of my female relatives, they said that a person is typically increasingly sick with each new baby…so if you have 3 kids you’re bound to feel like death with the 4th pregnancy? Thanks for that. I’m quite happy to have just two kids for now. Technically two.

We’ve had a lot of fun as a family lately. Got to enjoy a lovely vacation to Vermont last month. Go ahead and ask me why Vermont. “There’s nothing there,” said my husband, “nothing to do!” Oh darling, that is the point. My pregnant, introverted self just craved the peace and quiet that the state has an abundance of. Plus Ben and Jerry’s has their headquarters there. Need I say more? 🙂

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Vermont was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it. Little J however, decided that he was going to go on a hunger strike of some sort. So our day in VT was a blur of fussies and trying to keep him entertained and pleading with him to try the most delicious macaroni and cheese in the whole entire world. And yes, it really was. But that’s life with toddlers. He enjoyed parts of our journey more than others.

But when we got back home we decided to do some fun local stuff. On a whim last week we decided to take a trip out to a pumpkin patch, so that we could pick our own pumpkin as a family.

It was a really neat experience. We traveled to a farm and drove a gator out to their pumpkin patch.

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We got to cut our own pumpkin off the vine with these interesting pruning clippers or whatever in the world they are called. J got to hold them most of the time. And was supervised. They were rather dull and he couldn’t open the handles. Although, that didn’t stop him from trying to smash every pumpkin within reach. He’s a riot, I love him.

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And here’s me.

There’s the baby (in my belly) in the pumpkin patch. (Yes I wore that orange shirt on purpose.) 4 months pregnant here. And the sun was in my eyes. But oh my word, what a gorgeous day it was!

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This was the pumpkin that we finally settled on. It was sitting in our car for about a week. And we will be lucky if it gets carved before Halloween! Haha that’s just how it is in our house.