Pumpkin Patch 2014


My family obliged me with a quick evening trip to the pumpkin patch last week. The boys had already been there once with grandma, Auntie Kellie, Uncle Danny, and baby Jack. This trip wasn’t their priority; it was mine. I love pumpkining; I love rambling about to find pumpkins perfect for carving; I love golden late afternoon sunlight, shadows and harsh edges and all.




Most of all, I love watching my boys grow and somehow these annual trips to the pumpkin patch make for really wonderful keepsake photos.


They don’t really understand that. Mom takes photos all the time, they think. Too many photos!


So many that it’s sometimes easiest to turn your back and not play along. I get it. I don’t much like cameras pointed at me either. And yet, these are sweet moments and I want to keep them.



So in between the goofy shots with tongues sticking out and those of my children walking away from me, I get some gems. You see, I just can’t get enough of them. They are utterly beautiful to me.



This guy, at 12.5 years, wants less to do with me and my camera now. He’s playing his cards a little closer to his chest these days. He’s often not in the mood for family games or silliness, or Mama’s harebrained schemes. But every once in a while he flashes me a smile and I just melt inside.



He can take a pretty good shot now, too!




So with a few more pumpkins than we actually needed and a good long turn on this awesome rope swing for each of them, we called it a successful trip. It’s a family tradition, after all.

Halloween Books for Young Children

I will have more precious autumn picture books to share and recommend in the coming weeks, but since Halloween is fast approaching, I thought I’d do a roundup of some of our favorite Halloween stories. Beware when shopping for Halloween books. There’s a lot of junk out there. Seriously, if it’s a TV or movie character starring in a Halloween book, skip it.

I promise none of these books are scary. My older son is too sensitive (thus far) for scary Halloween stories. And Asher really doesn’t like “keepy guys.”

Some Favorite Halloween Books


Julia Donaldson’s Room on the Broom — This comical story, illustrated by Axel Scheffler, about a friendly witch who drops one thing after another off her broom while she’s flying is full of fun rhymes and cutsey animals. Each time she drops an item, such as her wand or hat, a friendly creature finds it and returns it, and thereafter becomes a traveling companion. The group does finally meet a scary dragon, but through their adventures, broom-riding friends become fearsome enough themselves to frighten that dragon away. As this book is fairly wordy for a picture book, I’d say it’s perfect for 4- to 8-year-olds. This is a Nice Witch Book, of which I am in favor, speaking as a grown woman who had many, many nightmares about witches when I was a small girl.

Kevin Lewis’s The Runaway Pumpkin — This Halloween picture book illustrated by S. D. Schindler is an all-time favorite in our house. Lewis has a gift for rhythm, and his refrain robustly beats off the page predictably and dramatically. I challenge you to read this book to your kids without slapping your thigh or tapping your toe in time. After finding the most giant pumpkin ever grown and rolling it homeward, the three children of this extended family get more than they bargained for! It’s all good in the end, because grandma cooks up delicious pumpkin goodies—just in time for Halloween.

Mary Serfozo’s Plumply, Dumply Pumpkin — Illustrated by Valerie Petrone, this book is great book for toddlers. It’s simple and sweet, and full of yumpcious, made-up words. The tiger goes looking for the perfect pumpkin for his jack-o’-lantern, and finds it, of course.

Norman Bridwell’s The Witch Next Door and Other Stories — This collection of four Witch Next Door stories by the creator of Clifford the Big Red Dog is a classic. It must be, right?—because I read these stories when I was a kid. A good witch moves into a “normal” neighborhood and quickly teaches everyone a thing or two about being good and neighborly. It gets my approval because it’s another Nice Witch Book and always has my boys (3 and 8 ) laughing.

Peter Glassman’s My Working Mom — OK, I admit I bought this one on lark when Lucas was less than a year old. Yes, it’s another Nice Witch Book. The little girl in the story explains how it can sometimes be challenging when you have a mom who works, especially when Mom’s busy and her job is kinda weird. Yes, it appeals to me on so many levels. Eventually, the little girl in the story comes to realize it’s kinda cool to have such an interesting mom, who has her hands in so many … cauldrons. Cute and funny. Not scary, although Mom’s cooking is … adventurous, and Career Day at school has never been so fun.

Two More Halloween Favorites

Two more favorites:

Tasha Tudor’s Pumpkin Moonshine — First copyrighted in 1938, this is a sweet story about a Sylvie Ann who picks a fine pumpkin to make a pumpkin moonshine, but it rolls out of control down the hill! Perhaps this book was Lewis’s inspiration for The Runaway Pumpkin. If you’re fond of books set in “simpler times,” this is a lovely addition to any young child’s library.

Lauren Thompson’s Mouse’s First Halloween — A great first Halloween book for babies and preschoolers. Illustrated by Buket Erdogan, this book explores all kinds of things Mouse thinks are spooky, only to find that they are really “Not so scary after all.” We have the board book edition and it has served us well.

If you have read all this way, you might be asking yourself why we have so many Halloween books. (My husband might be asking that also.) Here’s part of the reason: In our home, after Halloween, the Candy Fairy visits in the night. If we leave out candy for the Candy Fairy to feed to her children, she leaves a little gift in its place.


Happy reading!

More Colors of Autumn

Farm Machinery

Farm equipment at Capay Organics

Zenias and Verbena

Backyard zenias and verbena in the late afternoon sun

Pumpkin Patch at Capay Organics

Pumpkin patch at Capay Organics

Friendly Sun

Sun decorating Grandma and Papa’s garden fence

Mossy Rock

Mossy rock at my parents’ home

Finished Leaf Art

Fallen leaf art

Evening Sky for Our Michaelmas Dinner Outdoors

Michaelmas evening sky

Tulip Tree Turning

Tulip tree turning

These Smell Heavenly

Grandma’s old-fashioned roses

More Scenes of Summer

“Summer is the time when one sheds one’s tensions with one’s clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit. A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all’s right with the world.”   —Ada Louise Huxtable

Makeshift Leaf Bandage

Makeshift leaf bandage, fashioned by Lucas to heal his little brother’s hurt knee

Pumpkin Vines Carpet Roses in the Heat Our Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin vines and roses love hot, hot days

Morning Glory Leaves

Morning glory heart-shaped leaves are as precious as the flowers

Surprise Magnolia

A surprise magnolia blossom on my tulip tree

Asher Dancing Asher Dancing Asher Dancing
Asher Dancing

Asher’s interpretive dance with Mardi Gras beads and stick


Blueberries for pie!

  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2018 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    “Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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