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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Ready, Set...Carve Your Pumpkins

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Ready, Set...Carve Your Pumpkins


Arrgghh...I haven't had the chance to take the kids to get their pumpkins yet! Well, last year, we got them too early and down here in Florida, if you do that...you're pumpkin will not be "alive" by the time Halloween rolls around a week later. We have the added task this year of making sure our German exchange student really gets a good taste, in all aspects, of Halloween and all the yipdedoo that surrounds it.

If you've already gotten your holiday decorations out, kudos to you. Be sure to read Get Your Holiday Assortment in Order , so you are ready to go for next year. For the last few years, I've been using the mounting tabs with hooks to hang up lights around my front window. I actually found a set of orange lights on sale a few years ago, and they give the front porch a nice eerie glow. Be sure to check the craft and home decoration stores every year AFTER Halloween to find your best decorating deals. I've also found a few items at Goodwill in the month leading up to Halloween. They must stash holiday items in one place somewhere, and then pull them out for the appropriate holiday. It's a great place to go for Halloween costume ideas too.

Of course, you're gonna want to carve some pumpkins. It's always fun to take the kids to a local pumpkin patch. Check your newspaper or ask around for recommendations. Many places also have festivals, corn mazes and spooky houses. For the actual task of carving, I like to use the pumpkin carving kits. Not only can you be more intricate (and the kids too) in your carving, but some have actual templates you can tape to your pumpkin. Kids as young as 6 can manage the special little knife (which is pretty safe), and then mom or dad can punch out and refine the holes. Long ago, I graduated from using candles to using those battery operated pumpkin lights. You can get some that change color, others that flicker and some even make noise! Check your craft store for these. They work great and take the fear out of worrying about burning something down.

Click here for some pumpkin carving advice and patterns

Now, I have been told many times over the years...the canned pumpkin is just not as good as the fresh kind. So this year, when I make my pumpkin pie, I am going to take a leap of faith and bake it with fresh pumpkin. I had no clue how to get the pulp out of the pumpkin and then get rid of those stringy things, nor did I know how to cook the darn thing. Now I do.

Visit "And Miles to Go Before We Sleep" to get step-by-step instructions with cute photos

What about the seeds? Do those end up in the garbage too when you dig out your pumpkin? How about roasting them this year? They're actually very nutritious, and you may get your picky eater to eat some if you get him in on the act of preparing them for consumption.

You are halfway there...have you asked your kids what they want to be for Halloween? Please don't go and spend your hard earned $$$ on store bought costumes that every kid is going to be wearing. Talk your kids into being unique and have them come up with some cool ideas on their own...with your help of course. Many ideas require no sewing for those of you who think sewing has to be involved. Help yourself along by checking the sites below:


That about sums it up! For those of you planning a party or are going to one, please take the time to share your ideas. What will you be doing with the little ones this year? Will you be trick or treating or going to a carnival? I know high schools, churches and some communities host free and safe events. Trick or treating down here is going the way of the Dodo bird...not much interest in it...but we have plenty of carnivals and festivals planned as I glance through the newspaper this morning. Anyway, I would love to hear how you celebrate the holiday!

Read this article and others like it in this week's edition of the Carnival of Family Life.

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