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10 Fall Activities to Do With Your Active Toddler in New England

16 Oct

FullSizeRender 18I claim that every season in New England is my favorite, but fall might just be my favorite. The golden light, the foliage, the decor, the baked goods, and the style potential…? It checks all the boxes for me!

Here are the top 10 activities we have on our fall bucket list:

  1. A trip to the pumpkin patch. It’s an annual tradition to visit with one of my best friends from college and its amazing to see how our families have grown through the years.
  2. Nature scavenger collection. No matter the season, a daily walk is on our to do list and a snap to keep a toddler entertained if you provide a bucket for treasure collection. In the fall, it’s usually acorns, pinecones, sticks, pretty leaves, and dried seed heads.
  3. Pumpkin bread baking. Emilia loves helping me bake and starting her young has helped teach her precision and patience. Me too!
  4. Mosiac paper plate pumpkin. My toddler absolutely loves any crafts involving a glue stick and handling the small pieces of paper is great for developing fine motor skills.
  5. Go on a hayride. I don’t think there are many vehicles my toddler doesn’t love, from tractors to garbage trucks to air planes so this is a must for her.
  6. Decorate the house. From stick-on window decals to helping plant mums, there is so much learning potential with little tasks like these.
  7. Paint a pumpkin and compost the pumpkin guts. Emilia loves to check out the worms when we turn the compost heap. She has her own little gardening gloves and trowel and loves to plant seeds. Oh the learning!
  8. Visit the park to check out the foliage. The days are numbered before the temperature really drops, so we’re getting our fill of outdoor fun before we have to really bundle up.
  9. Apple taste test. You never know what’s going to taste good until you try. We talk about the flavor differences and see what can be improved with a dusting of cinnamon. You can then graduate to providing different “dips” and toppings. We like almond butter sprinkled with chia seeds and cottage cheese with a little maple syrup.
  10. Stuff a scare crow. As you work, it provides a great opportunity to practice naming anatomy and pieces of clothing as well as thinking creatively. What can we use for a head? What would make good eyes? (Think: a pumpkin, sticks and acorns, etc)

    I’d love to hear some of your favorite fall activities. Is there anything you do that is specific to where you live, kid-friendly or otherwise? 

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DIY Halloween Banner

30 Oct

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Since my wedding I’ve been kind of obsessed with fabric banners. But my sewing machine is on the fritz so I turned to my first love—paper. I wanted something that said “Happy Halloween” but wasn’t tied to a design beyond that. A few Google Image searches later, I found the above design and fell in love.*

Downloading and printing to some cardstock was easy but stringing it up was trickier so I wanted to share some tools and tips:

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To string the banner I needed to create holes for the ribbon to pass through. There is actually a ribbon craft punch for this but I don’t have it so I grabbed my exacto knife and some quilting supplies: a Fiskars self-healing cutting mat (LOVE this thing!) and clear acrylic ruler. As long as you’re very careful about blade pressure, you should be OK cutting on the self-healing mat but I should warn that it’s not meant for this and you could damage yours if you’re not careful. So proceed gently.
IMG_9043I measured over roughly .24″ and cut a series of straight lines to form an elongated rectangle. I didn’t obsess over getting it perfectly measured, but I did use a ruler to guide me for the free-hand cutting. Test your ribbon width and length on the first few to make sure you’re allowing enough room for it to easily pass through.

IMG_9080Once the ribbon was strung, I laid out the entire banner on the floor to fix spacing. I decided not to glue the individual pennant pieces to the ribbon so I can change for spacing in the future if hanging on a mantel, larger doorway, or wall. But I wanted to make sure the same amount of ribbon was on each side of the end pieces, so I measured out about 12″ extra on each side for some wiggle room.

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Since I’d measured the “extra” ribbon end pieces so carefully once I’d spaced out from the middle, I decided to subtly mark the spot where both the end pieces were aligned (as well as the centered, middle pennant piece) for future reference. I just used a Sharpie to blacken out some of the ribbon’s detailing—easy.

The final product:

Printable Happy Halloween banner

I’m really pleased with how it turned out. It would have been so much easier to just glue it to some ribbon but I wanted to make it so it lasts for at least a few Halloweens. So I splurged on the cardstock printing and took the time to string the ribbon and I’m so glad I did! It hangs so nicely and has received tons of compliments.

* Cannot for the life of me track down the file now! So sorry for those who have asked for it. The search continues. In the meantime, here is a link to another Halloween banner we printed this year too, (below). It didn’t get the same treatment as the other banner, but it’s still cute I think. Happy-almost-Halloween!

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Fall Traditions

28 Oct

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IMG_9029_wA couple years ago we met up with my friend Shawna and her boyfriend Sterling to pick pumpkins at Nihtila Farm in Massachusetts. It was rainy and I had dressed completely wrong for mucking around in the field so I had to wear trash bags over my shoes; something we still laugh about each trip. Rain, mud and all we had a blast and it became an annual tradition. IMG_9026_w
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Since then, we’ve married those boyfriends and I’ve learned to always wear rubber boots for this excursion. But that’s not all. Shawna and Sterling will welcome their first child this January! While we searched for the perfect pumpkins we talked about how amazing it will be to have their baby girl join us next year for this annual tradition. I can’t wait! I think that’s probably my favorite thing about traditions; having something fun to look forward to.

Since I never posted them back then, here are a few favorites from that first muddy year:
wagon mud
bags

shoes

mud
IMG_4268_wMost timely photo ever I think. ❤