Monday, September 24, 2012

Pumpkins: Pumpkin Patches and Ideas for Pumpkins

:A pumpkin is a gourd-like squash of the genus Cucurbita and the family Cucurbitaceae (which also includes gourds).[1] It commonly refers to cultivars of any one of the species Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita mixta, Cucurbita maxima, and Cucurbita moschata, and is native to North America. They typically have a thick, orange or yellow shell, creased from the stem to the bottom, containing the seeds and pulp. Pumpkins are widely grown for commercial use, and are used both in food and recreation. Pumpkin pie, for instance, is a traditional part of Thanksgiving meals in the United States, and pumpkins are frequently carved as decorations around Halloween" From, "Wikipedia"

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       When I was a kid, I had a habit of getting REALLY attached to inanimate objects- pumpkins included. One year, after Halloween came and went, I decided that I wasn't ready to give up our beautifully carved jack-o-lantern. I had gotten attached to it. So what did I do? I swiped the pumpkin and as quiet and sneaky as possible, I stowed it away in my closet. Where my clothes were! A few days into November, I started smelling this rancid odor. Bet ya can't guess where THAT was coming from. Yes, it was coming from my closet. I anxiously approached my closet, opened the door and lifted the blanket that I had draped over my new "friend". OMG! Gnats were EVERYWHERE! The pumpkin looked as if it had IMPLODED! The once smiling face had collapsed into a horrific scowl! The pumpkin was no longer orange and you never would have known it had once been, either. Black mold had overtaken it. And then you know what I did? Nothing! I draped the blanket back over it and tried to put it out of my head. 

       That night, as I was doing my homework, my mom started yelling at me from my bedroom. My heart sank cause I knew why she was calling for me. I sulked down the hall, head hanging with defeat, and walked into my bedroom. Sure enough, there she stood with my closet door open. My "friend" had been located and forced to vacate. And I learned the hard way that pumpkins don't belong in a closet.

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       Yes, it is most definitely fall in the great state of Georgia. This morning it was in the 50's and I am still running a small space heater. I don't know if anyone else notices this, but in the Fall, the air has a different smell to it! I love this! Now that it's starting to feel like fall, I'm getting even more into the Fall activities and decorating mood. And what says "It's fall", better than pumpkins? You can decorate them, you can incorporate them into your recipes, you can decorate WITH them! Down below you will see different things you and your kiddos can do with this versatile squash:

1. Hit up a pumpkin patch for that perfect jack-o-lantern pumpkin, or for multiple pumpkins to add to your Fall decor and enjoy the many activities they have to offer:

There are a few different kinds of pumpkin patches. There are the ones where you can actually go into the field and pick out your favorites. Next are the ones where pumpkins are brought in from another region and either piled or lined up just waiting to be picked. Another kind of pumpkin patch are the one's that churches set up on their lawns. My family has turned this option into an annual thing. My siblings, parents, niece and nephews, and my children all meet up at a local church in Jonesboro, GA and let the kids pick out their very own small pumpkin. This is something the smaller ones look forward to and love to do. Plus, we know the money goes to good cause since it benefits the church. Pumpkin patches can be FULL of fun! Not only do the kids get to pick out a pumpkin, but they can participate in corn mazes, hayrides, and petting zoos! Check out the following link to find pumpkin patches near you and other autumn-inspired activities:
pumpkinpatchesandmore.org  (Courtesy of my sis, Crystal Hobby! Thanks, it's an awesome site!)

2. Carving and decorating:

Well, this is the most obvious and fun thing to do with pumpkins. Gone are the days of the simple triangle eyes and noses and missing-teeth smiles... Oh no, people get serious and competitive and more creative than ever with their pumpkin decorating. Here's some different ways to make your pumpkins dazzle!

-Drill pumpkins with holes. You can make these in different patterns and it looks really cool!
http://d30opm7hsgivgh.cloudfront.net/upload/229889176_jSXvdjRG_c.jpg
Marthastewart.com  

-Instead of using candles, fill pumpkins with Christmas lights or glow sticks.
-Glitter the whole pumpkin! This is one of my favorite ideas!
-Spray paint the pumpkin black. This actually looks cool if you stick with the classic triangle eyes and nose and missing teeth mouth. The orange glowing looks great contrasting with the black of the pumpkin.

Check out these links for some great ideas and tips:


3. Pumpkin as food!

Who can resist a perfect pumpkin pie? Believe it or not, there are TONS of recipes that you can throw some pumpkin into! Here's some good ones that I came across:


Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
Source: bhg.com
  
Chocolate-Glazed Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake
Source: bhg.com

Source: blogs.babble.com

Source: handletheheat.com

Pumpkin Pancakes - 4
Source:sugarcrafter.net 


teaser redo
Source: theyummylife.com


4. Decorating with pumpkins:

Pumpkins are so easy and definitely festive to decorate with. You can create a display as simple as just grouping a few together with some potted mums or you can really get creative. Here are some good ideas for decorating with the fall staple known as the pumpkin:

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Source: somwhatsimple.com
http://www.bhg.com/halloween/outdoor-decorations/outdoor-halloween-decorating-with-pumpkins/
Stacked Pumpkins
http://www.bhg.com/halloween/outdoor-decorations/outdoor-halloween-decorating-with-pumpkins/#page=3 

Hanging Bat Pumpkins
http://www.bhg.com/halloween/outdoor-decorations/outdoor-halloween-decorating-with-pumpkins/#page=10
Kid-Friendly Vignette
http://www.bhg.com/halloween/outdoor-decorations/outdoor-halloween-decorating-with-pumpkins/#page=14 

       Pumpkins are a great way to make your house scream Fall. Just make sure you throw them away or put them in your compost bin after you're done with them. :)

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-XoXo Jess





























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