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When I think of fall I think of comfort, family and tradition. As a child my fall and winter was filled with traditions. It started each year at Halloween. Annually, we would go to my god parents house for trick or treating with their kids. Sharon, my god mother, would make hot mulled apple cider in her crockpot. I remember coming home from trick-or-treating and the smell of the apple and spices filling the house. It’s been over 20 years since the last time I trick-or-treated (as a child) but even now it’s impossible for me to think of Halloween without thinking of Adam, Lindsay, Sharon and Mike, our trick-or-treating memories and the smell of mulled cider.
Now that i’m grown up with children of my own, my husband and I have started creating our own traditions with our kids. This weekend we partook in two of those traditions.
The first was spending a day at Willow View Farm, apple picking with the kids. You may remember our trip to Willow View Farms from last year, I wrote about it here. It’s so much fun looking back at our photos from last year and seeing how much the kids have grown this year. Last year, Turtle was in a stroller during our visit. He had just learned to walk a couple months before and the muddy fields were too much for his newfound skills. This year he was tramping through the mud, jumping into puddles and picking apples from the trees. It was so much fun.
Willow View Farms is a great place to take family portraits. I’d actually love to have a photographer meet us there one day and snap some pictures of the whole family. It’s hard to get good photos of all 4 of us without a 5th set of hands. Not only does Willow View have an orchard full of apples, but they also have multiple pumpkin patches with a wide variety of pumpkins and squashes for sale.
The kids, The Hubs and I spend quite a bit of time hiking through the orchard, checking out the different varieties of apples available to pick, filling our wagon full of apples and pumpkins and creating family memories.
At the end of our visit to Willow View Farms we had 80 pounds of apples 6 pumpkins, a bag of kettle corn, two jugs of fresh pressed apple cider and two apple cider slushies! That’s what I call a productive day!
The second part of our weekend of creating fall family traditions was our annual Pumpkin Carving Party with our friends Julia and Dave and their kids. This tradition reminds me a lot of my childhood trick or treating memories. Every year, we get together with Julia, Dave, our kids and our pumpkins and we carve elaborate pumpkins together.
Pottery Barn sent me a beautiful Pumpkin Drink Dispenser to use for a fall celebration. Every season I see a drink dispenser on the Pottery Barn website that I love and I think “wouldn’t that look great at a party?” and now I have one of my very own. I have to say…. It really was wonderful. Not only was it a conversation piece, it was also so handy to have the pumpkin of of Apple Chai Cider sitting on the table so that we could pour ourselves a drink anytime we wanted while carving our pumpkins.
Tomorrow I will share with you my Apple Chai Cider recipe, for now, back to carving pumpkins.
My husband doesn’t carve Jack O Lanterns. Every year he creates a pumpkin a bit more elaborate than the year before. A couple of years ago he got Dave and Julia into the pumpkin carving spirit and this year they dragged me into it too.
We use templates to carve our pumpkins. We punch little holes in the pumpkin where we are supposed to cut and then we carve and eat and carve and drink and carve and chat and carve and carve and carve and carve.
Yes, it takes quite a bit of time to carve a pumpkin this elaborate. I think it’s worth it though. The results are pretty spectacular and the neighbors are always thrilled to see what our pumpkin creations for that year are.
The kids were absolutely thrilled as each parent unveiled their pumpkin! I like to think that my kids will look forward to these traditions each year and these memories will be so treasured (just as my childhood memories are) that as they grow up that they too will create their own family traditions for each season.
Please check back tomorrow for our Apple Chai Recipe, and in the meantime… what are some of your favorite family traditions?