Pumpkin Spice Makes Everything Nice…Spookley the Pumpkin and Jack-O-Faces

I love fall and I am crazy about everything pumpkin spice! In this post I share some of my favorite pumpkin spice products along with a new pumpkin spice bread recipe. You will learn about two of my little pumpkin’s favorite fall stories…Spookley the Square Pumpkin and Jack-O-Faces!

Pumpkin Spice Everything!- It seems like you can find pumpkin spice everything these days. I love trying new things and I just discovered Pumpkin Spice Whipped Topping at ALDI. It pairs perfectly with Coffee Mate’s Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer and Pumpkin Spice Coffee (I told you I loved everything pumpkin spice!) I can’t wait to try some on Thanksgiving with my homemade pumpkin pie. Other ALDI pumpkin favorites are Pumpkin Spice Pancake Mix, Pumpkin Spice Pretzels and Pumpkin Spice Rolls.

Pumpkin Spice Bread– Since I love everything pumpkin spice I am always on the lookout for new pumpkin recipes. I recently discovered this yummy pumpkin spice bread. It has similar ingredients to my favorite pumpkin pie recipe so it tastes just like a piece of pumpkin pie in a slice of bread! My daughter enjoyed helping me mix up the dough and my mini me loves the bread just as much as I do! CLICK HERE to download the recipe.

Pumpkin Beer– It seems that every brewery, big and small, brews a pumpkin beer in the fall. I have enjoyed sampling many of them but my favorite will always be O’Fallon Brewery’s line of pumpkin beers. Every year O’Fallon Brewery comes out with a pumpkin pack that includes some interesting pumpkin flavors. This year they brewed a spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate Pumpkin beer. It wasn’t my favorite but I loved their new Pumpkin Whip, a tasty pumpkin cream ale with a hint of whipped cream. My favorite O’Fallon Brewery beer is their Salted Caramel Pumpkin! This caramel ale has the perfect blend of sweet and salty with just a hint of pumpkin, making it the perfect beer to enjoy with your favorite sweet or savory pumpkin treat!

Spookley the Pumpkin– Three generations in our family enjoyed reading the Spookley books by Joe Troiano. Wearing our matching Pumpkin Spice, Living My Best Life t-shirts from the clothing boutique, Foxtail Lilies, we enjoyed reading both of the Spookley books and then watched the Spookley movie on Netflix. The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin is the first of the two Spookley books and it introduces the reader to Spookley the Square Pumpkin. Little ones learn that pumpkins come in all different colors, shapes and sizes and that you can’t judge a pumpkin by its cover! The follow-up book is called Spookley and the Pumpkin Jamboree. Both books are written in rhyme and the Netflix animated movie is based on both books.

Jack-O-Faces– My mom discovered this cute pumpkin rhyme when she was in college and my dad and I turned it into a reproducible book for young children. CLICK HERE to download the mini book. My daughter enjoyed coloring with Nana and reading her book to all of us!

I shared some fun pumpkin activities with my readers last year. CLICK HERE to learn more. In a year filled with change, unrest and uncertainty, I hope you enjoy your best life this fall… whether that includes pumpkin spice treats, a pumpkin beer or creating some special memories with your favorite little pumpkin!

Apples, Apples, Apples!.. Fun Filled Apple Activities For the Entire Family

Fall has arrived and keeping with tradition my husband and I recently took our little one apple picking. Going apple picking with my parents is one of the many joyous memories I have carried with me from my childhood. I first shared my joy of apple picking with my students when I was a kindergarten teacher. Every year we took a field trip to the apple orchard and the boys and girls would ride on a wagon, pick apples right off of the tree and taste various varieties growing in the orchard. Imagine their delight when the things we had been reading and learning about at school were now within their reach!

Below are some apple inspired activities I developed for my kindergarten classroom many, many, years ago. I recently dusted them off so I could share them with my three year old.

Apple Books- There are many high quality books about apples, apple picking and making yummy treats with apples! A few of our favorites include…

Apples by Gail Gibbons

Applesauce Day by: Lisa Amstutz

The Apples on the Tree by: Steve Metzger (our newest book from Lillian’s first Scholastic Book Order)

The Apple Pie Tree by: Zoe Hall (an all time favorite)

Apples and Pumpkins by: Anne Rockwell

The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree by: Gail Gibbons

Ten Apples Up on Top by: Dr. Seuss

Ten Red Apples by: Pat Hutchins

Apples! Apples! Apples!- This mini book comes from the book I wrote called Student Made Thematic Mini Books- With Extension Activities to Increase Language Literacy. The book was published in 2000 by Incentive Publications. My daughter enjoyed coloring the book and reading it over and over to everyone, including her stuffed animals! Repetitive readings help develop early literacy success by increasing fluency and building confidence.

Please click on this link.. “Apples, Apples, Apples!” book to download the book and create one of your own. Prior to creating the book my daughter and I took an apple taste test where we tasted the red apples, green apples and yellow apples we had picked in the orchard. Lillian declared that red was her favorite and she added that to her book!

Apple Treats- My little one loves to bake so Nana came over and helped us make apple pie, mini apple muffins and apple pizza! We followed the recipe in the back of the book  titled The Apples on the Tree by Steve Metzger for the apple pie and enjoyed eating a slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

We used Nana Freeman’s adaptation of a Southern Living recipe for the apple muffins and made them into bite sized snacks by using mini muffin tins. Lillian enjoyed sharing the muffins with her teachers and friends.

Her favorite treat to make were the apple pizzas, an activity my kindergarten students always enjoyed. The recipe can be found in my book, Student Made Thematic Mini Books- With Extension Activities to Increase Language Literacy. I know the children in your life will love the apple pizza so please click on this link to download the easy to follow child friendly recipe.

Paper Strip Apple Project- Pops is a retired art teacher and this is a project he has been making with students for over fifty years! Pops used red, yellow and green construction paper and cut them in 1 inch x 9 inch strips for the apple. We began by taking two strips and making an X with them and putting a dot of glue or paste in the middle to hold it in place. Then we took a third strip and placed it through the X, creating a star or astrick shape and used a dot of glue to keep it in place. The last step involved matching the strips and gluing them into place. Lillian got lots of practice counting as we counted while pressing the glue into place after each step. We used a brown strip for the stem (1 inch by 4 inch) and cut the leaves out of a 3 x 3 square.

Apple Prints- After we enjoyed eating apples in muffins, pie and pizza, we cut some apples in half and made apple prints. We examined the inside of the apple, identifying the core and the seeds and experimented cutting the apple in half starting at the top and then cutting the apple through the center which reveals a star shape which you can see in the print! The dark paper makes a nice contrast with the bright red, green and yellow paint!

Our entire family enjoyed a month full of apple fun. From reading books, to visiting the apple orchard, to making yummy apple treats and being creative with apple art; we made new memories with activities we enjoyed in the past.