Showing posts with label Halloween. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Halloween. Show all posts

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween from Wendy and John Darling and Peter Pan!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Pumpkins, Halloween, turkeys, and Marlborough Pudding

In preparation for Halloween we carved a pumpkin.  Bennett had absolutely no squeamishness about sticking his hand in to remove the pumpkin guts.

And here's the final pumpkin. Despite what you might think, that's not a raised eyebrow.  That's an eye and what's under it is a nose.

On Halloween we went to Nana's.  After dinner Bennett got into his costume and helped pass out a couple of pieced of candy before we went out.

Most people didn't know what he was (numerous cow and dog guesses) but they all thought he was cute- especially when he turned around and they saw his tail.  He also had a bit of trouble with walking up and down steps and was a bit overwhelmed when there were lots of crowds of other kids.  But overall he did great and Mummy and Daddy got lots of good candy.  :)

The big excitement for the weekend was our weekly trip to OSV on Sunday.

A few weeks ago we had asked what the butchering schedule was and Sunday it was going to be a turkey.  I'll go into more detail about this later so you can skip it if you wish.

Other things that happened:
  • Dave mentioned that he liked Bennett's costume
  • As we were leaving the Farmhouse we overheard one interpreter (Rob?) asked Victoria, "was that the boy who dressed up as Doc?"  Which then led us to wonder, when she shared the picture with people, how did she preface it?  "You know that crazy family who comes here every week?"  What adjective did she use to describe us?
  • I mentioned to Victoria that we were planning to do a Thanksgiving meal of just pies.  (For all extended family members reading this, we will be in NJ on the 28th, but doing Piesgiving [the name Chris and I have now come up with for a Thanksgiving of Pies] on the 30th.)  She said we should do pork and apple pie, to which I responded that I would be having my brother make that one.  And then she said I should make Marlborough Pudding.  I asked for the recipe.  She had Dave get the receipt for her and then I had her translate it for me.  At the end, she asked, "you have my contact information, right?"  Um, nope.  So now I have her email address for any culinary questions.
  • We learned some interesting Turkey trivia.  For starters, there's no such thing as a "wild" turkey.  They were all hunted to the point of extinction.  So in the 50s or 60s domesticated turkeys were introduced back into the wild.  So any turkey you see is a descendent of those.  Also, historic breeds don't have much breast meat.  To get the large turkeys that you find at the grocery store, they have so much breast meat that they are unable to mate.  So all of those birds are the result of artificial insemination.
  • After we finished up at the Farm we stopped at the blacksmith shop where Chris taught the smith about sap wood.  
  • One of our final stops of the day was at the tinshop.  Phil invited Bennett back to get a better look at what he was doing, and then he had Bennett help pull the lever to crimp the edge of the tin for the lantern.

And that pretty much wraps up what happened at Sturbridge, except for the details on the turkey which are below.

But Bennett must have had a good time, because that evening he started playing "Sturbridge".  First he got in his "car" and drove there.  Then he shot a musket and baked a pie.
Daddy: What are you making?
Bennett:  Apple pie.  Not apple sauce.
Daddy: What did you put in it?
Bennett: Cookies

And speaking of pies and Marlborough Pudding, I decided to give it a whirl.  It needs some tweaking, but it was very yummy.  I later found the recipe on OSV's site, which includes some changes I was thinking were needed.  Chris even liked it so much that he said I should make it for real Thanksgiving in addition to Piesgiving.  One of the ingredients in Marlborough Pudding is applesauce, which is likely why Bennett mentioned it for the pie that he was making.

Now I'm going to warn Mel and other people who are squeamish that you may want to stop reading.   The pictures really aren't that bad, but there is a video that might freak you out.  We personally found it highly entertaining, but we're a little strange.
The first thing we saw as we approached the barnyard was Victoria walking up the road carrying the turkey.  She had the job of holding the turkey while Dave wielded the axe, so she ended up with some blood on her apron and dress while the turkey had flailed a bit. 

The turkey got to "take a bath".  About a minute in the warm water loosens up the pores which allows the feathers to come out more easily.  The water was too warm at first and would have started to cook the bird, so she removed some and added some cold water.  Eventually it was the right temperature.

Then came the task of removing the feathers.  They were separated into two baskets- wing feathers and all the rest.  The good wing feathers would be saved for quills and the other feathers would be washed and used for mattress stuffing, etc.

After all of the feathers had been removed, the turkey was brought inside to be gutted.  First they removed the feet, and then Victoria removed the organs.  As you can see, Bennett wasn't the least bit disturbed by any of this.

I don't have a picture of it, but when she was done Victoria had laid out all of the organs.  She also cut open the stomach so that we could see inside.  It was full of grass, rocks, and even a bug.

And remember that video I mentioned?  She had a little too much fun (especially considering she's a self proclaimed former PETA kid who cried when the turkey was killed) pulling on the tendon to make it wave/dance.  She also allowed the kids to do this if they wanted.  Bennett declined.

So that sums up our visit.  She kept hinting that we would be doing this to our own turkey.  I think I would be ok with some parts of the process but not others.  Next week they butcher a sheep!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Evolution of a Halloween Costume

This past week was pretty much all about getting ready for Halloween.

Here's what I was making.  Meet Doc (and his teammate, Blue).

Cutting out the fabric took longer than anticipated so at first I was feeling a little stressed about getting the costume done in time.  But once I got sewing, it went together pretty quickly.

Realized that for the suggested layout of the pattern pieces, I couldn't have the fabric folded in half.  Ugh.  Cutting out fabric is tedious!

Finished cutting everything out, and after night one of sewing I had this:

The next night, after we got home from work/school, I had Bennett try it on so that I could mark the hems.  He was so excited that there was a tail!

That same evening, while Chris worked on making dinner, I started working on the head covering.  It's a good thing that I did this while Bennett was awake, because I had to do a couple of adjustments to get it to fit right.  After he went to bed, I finished putting it together and got this:

At which point, I figured I might as well try putting some paint on it.
The  next evening I had Bennett try the whole thing on, including the mittens and foot coverings.  He was excited to see that his head covering (hood? hat?) had "corns".
And then Daddy did a test fit of the yoke. (One must be on all fours like an ox for this part, right?)

After Bennett went to bed I stuffed the costume with bubble wrap and taped it to the drop cloth on my floor so that I could better visualize how it would stand on all fours so that I could get the rest of the paint done. And then every time I walked past my craft room I thought there was something in there. 

I also decided to give my old stage makeup a try.   It didn't go as well as I would have liked.  Maybe because it's about 17 years old?  I also didn't have the best of luck taking it off, so decided it wouldn't work for Bennett.  Instead I turned to Amazon and ordered some face paint.  Yay for Prime shipping!

Not too much left to do.  I had decided that the mittens I made probably wouldn't be the best, so ran to Target in search of black mittens.  Easier said than done.  So many black mittens have other color on them as well.  I did find some "ski mittens" which have the long arm gaiters.  Tried them on Bennett and he declared them "too big".  Checked at home and found that we did in fact have a couple of other pairs that might work, but Bennett wasn't a big fan of either of them.  Maybe if he's cold enough he'll give in and wear them?

After Bennett went to bed I added some velcro to the hood to keep it on and Chris also did a little more work on the yoke.

Face paint arrived!  I had it shipped to my work address and the box was sitting on my desk when I walked in.

And then after work/school, we went to Sturbridge for their "Treats & Tricks" event.  Unfortunately we weren't able to attend.  (Hurumph.)  It was a free eent this year and there were too many people trying to attend.  We had left work early to try to beat some of the traffic, but we ended up spending over an hour and a half to drive two miles.  We arrived right at 8 when the event ended.  What was frustrating about it was that the way the roads are in that area, there's really no way to give up and turn around- we were stuck.

We decided that Bennett should go in costume for our weekly visit.

I'm inclined to say that most people didn't recognize him at first.  Maybe some did?  But after hearing that he was Doc, they then agreed that yes, he did look like Doc.  One of the interpreters was very excited to see that his back was in fact painted like a Randall Lineback. 

Here's mini Doc with the real Doc and Blue behind him.

We tried to get him to work at the cider mill, but he knew Henry was supposed to do it.  (You can see Henry waiting to get hooked up in the next picture.)  Daddy tried to show Bennett how it was done, but he wanted nothing to do with it.

We made our way down to the farm and Victoria loved the costume.  Bennett walked in first and I could tell that she was looking at him trying to figure it out.  And she did!  (Maybe it helped that last week I had mentioned he would be either Doc or Blue?)  But what was even better was when she pulled out her phone and handed it to me so that we could get a picture of him for her so that she could share it with Dave. 

If Dave had been working we likely would have asked him if it would be possible to get a picture of Bennett with the real Doc, but we didn't feel comfortable asking that of any of the others.  Instead we lifted Bennett over a fence to get pictures of him in a field.  We asked him to get down on all fours, but he didn't want to do that.

And here are a couple other pictures from our visit.

And where's the yoke, you ask?  Since it was made from a garden hose Chris tried painting it.  But the paint remained tacky, so we had to skip using it.  Maybe we'll have it ready for Halloween?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Games, apples and oxen

Evening activities this week consisted of puzzles and Memory.  He's getting really good at putting together this 100 piece puzzle.
Playing Memory with Bennett is still not much fun.  He doesn't like to only pick up two cards.  After one game, he put the cards out, but the silly boy lined up all the cards without mixing them beforehand, so most of the pairs were right next to each other.  He did much better than usual on that game.  :)

And here he is using his blocks to make pens for all of the animals.  (I don't remember if I've mentioned this before, but all of the animals are named after the animals at Sturbridge.)

And unrelated to Bennett, But I participated swap with my knitting group.  This project took much longer than I would have liked, but I finally finished.  And I had to keep reminging Bennett that these were for Jesse's birthday, not for Bennett.

And Jesse's mum got some lavender sachets, which coincidentally is one of her favorite smells!

With the cooler weather we've been putting sweaters/sweatshirts on Bennett a bit more.  And he loves them!  Frequently if we don't pick one out for him in the morning he's opening his drawer to pull one out himself.

On Saturday we went apple picking  with Grandpa.

And then we went to pick a pumpkin.  Our rule is that you can have any pumpkin you want as long as you can carry it.  This one proved to be too much of a struggle.

And then there was some time on the playground.

On Sunday we went to OSV for their "Field to Table" event.  There were LOTS of oxen there competing in a couple of competitions.  There was one team that we mistook for Doc and Blue because they were the same breed, but as we got closer we realized they were different.  There were also a couple of small teams being worked by kids.  The mom mentioned that when Bennett's about 5 he might be an appropriate age to start working oxen.  Anyone have a farm nearby and have some oxen so we can try it out in a couple of years?

Bennett also helped harvest potatoes.  He was a little unsure of what to do at first, but once we explained and showed him what to do he loved picking up the potatoes and putting them in the bucket.  There were a couple of REALLY big ones!

He also helped to shell beans, but that wasn't nearly as exciting.

Further proof that the interpreters recognize us:
  • When we walked over to a group of people by the oxen one of the interpreters (Rhys) had his back to us.  He turned around, recognized us, and then waved to us.
  • We were talking to the stagecoach driver about the horses since one of the regular horses hadn't been there last week.  Turns out we had Worthy and Barney mixed up as to which was which.  But the driver commented that we looked familiar to him.  And then, since there was no one waiting to ride the stagecoach, he gave us a ride for free.
  • I was down at the farmhouse while Chris had taken Bennett to the bathroom.  Victoria asked me if we had figured out which weeks we would be able to come for the fall butchering.  I also mentioned to her what Bennett's Halloween costume is going to be (it's OSV related) and she said that I would have to show her pictures.

Here's one final OSV picture- Bennett checking out the bin of apple pumice (the mashed apples) in the cider mill.

And unrelated to anything else this week, but on Sunday Chris was watching football on TV.  Bennett watched for a little while and said, "he pushed him".  Why yes, he did.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Same costume, 3 babies

Shortly after a good friend of mine gave birth I came across a book with a super adorable cow outfit in it.  When we were in high school she and I had both really liked cows, so I knew I wanted to knit it for her son.  I gave it to him as an early 1st birthday present, and he wore it for Halloween in 2010.

T- the original recipient, in 2010.
 Then Bennett came along, and also having a fall birthday, the cow outfit ended up being his Halloween costume as well.

Bennett, in 2011- I get a kick out of the fact that the cow
is drinking a bottle of milk.  :)
And now we have another recipient of the cow costume!  My cousin's daughter just turned 1 so I offered it up to her.

R- the 2012 recipient.
So who will be next in 2013?  Anyone just have or about to have a baby who might appreciate a hand knit cow costume next year?  I love seeing this worn by so many little ones!  And not only has it been worn by three babies, it's also been to three states- Maine, Massachusetts, and Florida!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Wrap-up

You wouldn't expect Sir Topham Hatt to walk, would you?  Nope, he drives around in style.

We had big hopes of making his car out of wood, but Chris got busy with work and making scarf display racks (a crazy side project he never should have agreed to do).  So last Tuesday night I drew up a pattern and started cutting and taping cardboard.  It went together pretty well.  I would have preferred to be able to tape on the outside, but I knew that wouldn't look good when I painted.

I had a bit of a time crunch.  Friday night our town had an event where kids can go trick or treating downtown, and then there's a parade.  Of course we want his car ready for that.  So with major construction done on Tuesday, that left time for blue paint on Wednesday and then accent paint on Thursday.
In hindsight, it was kind of a pain.  (Although it did help some people identify what his costume was.)  There were lots of people downtown, so it was difficult to maneuver between people, and also it was having some steering problems.  Note to self- next year don't bring a wagon!

Here are a couple of other pictures from Friday.

Watching the parade.
 But that's not all!  Two more opportunities on Saturday to don his costume!  First was a birthday party at an ice rink.  So much fun!
We weren't sure if the rink would have skates in his size, but they did!  He was really wobbly when we first put them on, and kept falling down in the lounge area.
One nice thing about this rink is that they had "walkers" for people to use to help with balance.  It wasn't quite enough for Bennett, but between us holding him up and the walker, he did marginally better.  He really liked it when I took him for a spin around the ice, but then he didn't want to go back to Daddy and the walker.

What was interesting though is when he got off the ice he had no problems walking in his skates anymore and was able to walk the entire length of the rink.  After skating there was some trick or treating around the rink, getting a few treats from some of the other parents who were there.  Then cake and ice cream.  He's never really been a big fan of ice cream before, but he loved it!

After the party we went to Sturbridge for an event they were holding called, Things That Go Bump In the Night. 

They had TONS of carved pumpkins along the roads and in a field at the entrance.  At the end of the night they were encouraging people to choose a pumpkin to bring home, but we opted not to do so.

There also was trick or treating around the village, and for the older kids, there was a spooky walk they could go on.  What was neat was that at each spot where they were giving out candy the people were dressed in a theme.  Unfortunately I think it took us until about the 3rd or 4th one (if not more) to realize that they were all storybook themes.  Mother Goose was the 2nd person we saw, but we never made the connection until we saw Mary (and her Little Lamb).  Then we figured out that the scary looking pigs we had seen were the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf.  Another fun spot was Alice in Wonderland where Alice, the Mad Hatter, and the March Hare were all sitting around drinking tea.

No one knew who Bennett was, but they all commented about how dapper he looked.

In addition to the trick or treating, they also had a juggler who we watched.  Unfortunately the barn he was in was packed to overflowing, so visibility was a bit difficult.

As we were leaving we stopped at a sleigh that they had set up as an advertisement for a future event to be held in December-Christmas by Candlelight.  They also had some cloaks and other costume pieces that you could put on for a picture, but Bennett's costume was perfect just the way it was.

Sunday was yet another chance to wear his costume!  We took him to J.C. Penney to have pictures taken. That's where we go for all our other portraits (I think this may have been our 8th time going there now.)  They had a great deal running for the month of October plus we had a coupon for $25 off.  I ordered 3 8x10s, 6 5x7s, and 16 wallets and after all of my coupons it only cost $3.19.  Score!  It almost was going to be free, but at the end I added an extra sheet of wallets, so that's pretty much all we had to pay for.  I have another $25 coupon to use in November, so that will be used for our family pictures.

Phew.  That's a lot of costume wearing!  But wait, there's more!

On Halloween there was a party at school.  Bennett's daycare (or school, as we call it) is located in a nursing home and the kids got to go trick or treating to get candy from the "grandmas and grandpas".  They all LOVED his costume!  There's one resident who is especially fond of Bennett, so they made sure that he got to see Bennett all dressed up.  The director is also good about making sure that there are non-candy items for the kids, so he also got playdough, a peg game, bracelets, stickers, etc.

And last but not least, Bennett got to go Trick or Treating at West Street, Nana and Grandpa's neighborhood.  We stopped by after school for pizza (he wasn't interested) and then got changed and went out.  To us, even though he's had all these other experiences, this was his first "real" time trick or treating.  I don't know, I suppose the other times could have counted, but this was the first time we've taken him out on Halloween night, the first time he's gone up to houses, etc.
With Cowboy Grandpa
 He had a blast.  He knew exactly what to do.  He might have been a little timid at first, but I think after the first house he was a pro.  We brought the wagon with us again this time, but after the first block or so he was ready to walk.  Sure riding around was cute, but that required getting in and out of the wagon at every house.  And again, we reaffirmed that we don't want to mess with the wagon again in future years.

Trick or Treat!
So there you have it!  That's a summary of all of Bennett's Halloween adventures.  And unlike our experience at Day Out with Thomas, he now loves his costume!  In fact, last week I brought out the hat for him to wear and then he wanted to put on his spats and jacket.   And then he started vacuuming.  :)