Pumpkin love, a new sweater, carnitas, watercolor leaves

I promised myself that I’d blog at least twice this month, and now October is almost half over and this is the first post I’ve managed to write. Blah.

This weekend felt really full, even though the only official plans we had were tickets for the Pumpkin Patch Express at the Museum of Life + Science on Saturday.

First thing Saturday morning, we made our ritual visit to the Durham Farmers Market for breakfast.

The Monuts were offering mostly savory stuff this week (and I won’t be buying the bagels again), but we were able to get an emergency donut muffin from Scratch as well as our usual pigs in blankets.

Breakfast at the DFM

We bought a Mexican hot chocolate from the bikeCOFFEE folks to share, but Griff took one sip and promptly decided that this was actually “coffee”, and it was exclusively his (“MY coffee!”).


He carried it all over the market, looking like a miniature caffeine junkie.



The breakfast pizza from PiePushers was delicious.



After Market, we headed for the Museum. Word is that there are plans to renovate the Loblolly Park area; this is pretty much Griff’s favorite place at the museum, so I hope the changes aren’t drastic and it’s not closed too long.



The arrival of the Pumpkin Patch Express was greeted with cheers by the mob of toddlers and parents.


The train stopped about halfway through the normal circuit (shortly before the tunnel, where the bottle tree and mossy farm animals live) and let us off at the “pumpkin patch”. Griff chose a pumpkin, and the world stood still. (More on that later.)


There was face-painting, bag and pumpkin decorating stations, snacks, and a pumpkin-chunkin’ setup where you could pay $1 (donated to charity) for the opportunity to fling little pumpkins at targets with giant slingshots.

Sean had a go at it and did pretty well (that orange blur in the shot is his pumpkin flying off towards the targets).



Sean paid for another round, and he and Griff had a blast shooting more pumpkins together.



An apple was munched, and hay bales were sat upon.


The event was pretty low-key, but Griff was tuckered out on the train ride back.


Was it worth the money? Griff loved it, so I’d say yes. There wasn’t that much to do and the “pumpkin patch” was a little lame, but it was just right for a young toddler.

Griff has been totally obsessed with his pumpkin since he brought it home. He’s decorated it with markers, and carries it from room to room like a stuffed animal. It must be the toughest pumpkin ever, because he’s dropped it at least 20 times, and the only breakage so far has involved a small piece of the stem.

Pumpkin in the bedroom…


…pumpkin in the kitchen…


…pumpkin on the couch, watching “Dinosaur Train”.


He even tried to take the pumpkin to bed tonight, but we convinced him to let it sleep on a bookshelf with a blanket on top.

Now, on to crafty things!

A few weeks ago I finally got my new sewing machine and finished the project I had been working on, namely a little toddler backpack for Griff. (Pattern bought on Etsy.) He asked for the backpack to begin with, he asked about it several times while I was working on it, he showed initial interest when it was finished, but he really just does not really want to wear a backpack at this point. Sigh.



I spent a lot of time on it and I’m proud of it, so humor me and look at some more pictures, ok?



Ahem. Moving on to Griff’s sweater. This was a paid pattern that I modified to use up a bunch of odds and ends of my handspun and commercial yarns.


Getting a photo of Griff wearing it was more challenging than expected. When Mommy really really wants you to hold still so she can take your picture, this is clearly a cue to hide in the bushes, giggling and shrieking, “I HIDING IN THE BUSHES!”



And here were go. It fits fine; in fact, it’s big, which is good, because this kid is nearly out of toddler sizes at 2.5 and shows no signs of slowing down.



What else…these watercolor paper leaves from Discount School Supply are about the coolest things ever. I’d seen them on a ton of craft/mommy blogs and bought a couple packs to give them a try.

Griff was not too interested in painting them. He’s in a very tactile stage where he’ll sit and work with Play-Doh or play in his bin of beans for an hour at a time, but he’ll only paint or draw for a few minutes.


As a result, almost all of the painting was done by me and Sean. We used liquid watercolors for some, and regular solid watercolors for the rest.


They look nice enough when painted up.


But when you hang them in a window, they look like stained glass. Really beautiful!



I’ve been in a cooking frenzy lately as well. We had our first batch of carnitas since we moved, and they were so good.


The homemade corn tortillas are almost my favorite part of the meal


I really need to come up with some way to make these more efficiently. I use a 10″ All-Clad pan and I can only do one at a time. Each tortilla takes 45-60 seconds per side, so the batch of 15 shown below takes, yes, 30 minutes to make. A bigger round skillet won’t help much due to their size. I’m thinking maybe a cast-iron griddle? Since you cook these on a bare, ungreased surface at fairly high heat, I’d be reluctant to use nonstick.


And that’s enough for tonight. I need to go make sure someone’s pumpkin hasn’t rolled off its shelf and into someone’s bed. 🙂

Comments: 1 Comment

One Response to “Pumpkin love, a new sweater, carnitas, watercolor leaves”

  1. Michelle says:

    Sounds like a great weekend! The sweater is lovely, the pet pumpkin is adorable, and the carnitas look awesome. If you’d like to borrow my 2-burner cast iron griddle to try it out, let me know and I can send it home with Jag tonight after gaming!