A trip to the pumpkin patch

by Kamerine A trip to the pumpkin patch is a great fall activity.  My family visits Miller's Farm and Market in Manotick every year.  Miller's is a family-run farm with a personal touch.

Miller's is smaller than some of the other pumpkin patches in the city but it has everything you need for a fantastic visit with great photo ops, hay rides, things for the kids, and, of course, perfect pumpkins.  It was really busy on a beautiful fall day recently when we took the fam.

There are signs for pictures and the challenge is getting one where everyone is looking at the camera.  A difficult task for sure.  My kids aren't the sitting type, but if they were, we'd take them on the popular hay ride.  The highlight, for my kids at least, is an area set up with bundles of hay in a semi circle.  The kids can jump from bale to bale or jump off a bale into the pile of lose hay in the middle.   This would be hours of entertainment if only we'd let them stay.

Miller's sells pumpkins and other squash and fall favourites like corn stalks, mums and cider.  We settled on a medium pumpkin and a little one for each kid.  We let the kids do the choosing and then they rode with the pumpkins to the cash in one of the many wagons available.

If you get a chance, head out to a local pumpkin patch for some fun this fall.  I recommend Miller's.

Kamerine is mom to 3 year old Little J and 1 year old Baby K.  She documents her life with two toddlers, a husband and a cat at followk.blogspot.ca.

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Halloween Fun with Foam

by Natasha Halloween is just around the corner and I have been doing a variety of Halloween crafts with my son.  His favourite so far is decorating foam pumpkin stickers.

I picked up a large container of Halloween themed foam stickers from Michaels.  It contains a variety of sparkly and non-sparkly foam pumpkins, masks, hats and grass.

To get started I took out a pack of construction paper and let my son choose what colour he would like for the background.  I laid out all of the different mask, pumpkin and hat choices to make it easy for my son to pick out.

My son chose a red background then immediately began placing his collection of sparkly pumpkins all over the page. He absolutely loved decorating the pumpkins with masks.  His favourite coloured masks were the white ones.

These foam stickers are my new favourite craft to do with my son because it requires no glue or scissors, you simply peel back the paper and stick.  This allows your child to create his own masterpiece without the messy clean up.

What is your favourite Halloween craft?

Natasha is a new mommy to her first born, Baby H. She runs ShopHaven, a blog that reviews products and profiles local businesses and individuals from the Ottawa area. Natasha is also the creative force behind ShopHaven Baskets; a highly customized gift baskets service.

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Halloween Activities for Families

by Natasha There are so many great Halloween activities that you can do with your whole family in Ottawa.  Here are the ones that our family loves to partake in.

Saunders Farm has a variety of activities for children of all ages.  You can go through the corn maze, visit the Big Sky Ranch animal display and explore their giant play structures.  For the younger kids, Saunders Farm has an interactive discovery barn.  Take the kids on the wagon ride and see what spooky things await for you in the forest.  The daytime cost is $18; you can save $2 if you purchase your advance tickets at Independent Grocer in Stittsville, Ross' Your Independent Grocer in Barrhaven and all three CD Warehouse locations.  Kids 2 and under are free.

Cannamore Orchard is a great place to bring your family and enjoy a wagon ride, the fog maze, the spooky village and they have a special kid’s spooky house.  Visit the Cannamore store to try an assortment of baked goods, apples and candy.  The have a special section for younger kids that has a special kiddie maze, play structures and an animal farm.  You can purchase a package deal or individual activities.

The Agriculture Museum is having a Barnyard Halloween party (for members only) from 10am to 2pm on October 29 and 30th.  Get the kids dressed up in their costumes and enjoy a scavenger hunt through the barn and learn how to make candy apples and other delicious fall treats.  Kids can also decorate their own pumpkins to take home.  Admission is $2.00 and children under 3 are free.   You must pre-register for this event.

Gymboree is having their annual Pumpkin Patch Party on October 21, 22, 23 and 28. Get the kids dressed up and join the costume parade.  Enjoy some delicious Halloween treats and create a fun Halloween craft that the kids can take home.  You will need to call and reserve your spot.  If your child is enrolled in Gymboree classes the cost is $12, if you are not enrolled the cost is $15.

Miller’s Farm and Market has a great selection of fall fruits and veggies in their market.  Jump on the wagon ride and take the kids to pick their own pumpkin. It is also a great place to take some fall family photos.

Do you have any additional Halloween activities that you do with your family?

Natasha is a new mommy to her first born, Baby H. She runs ShopHaven, a blog that reviews products and profiles local businesses and individuals from the Ottawa area. Natasha is also the creative force behind ShopHaven Baskets; a highly customized gift baskets service.

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Gardening for dummies : the plants are outside

by Lara Last weekend I planted my garden!

It's not pretty.  It is the garden of a disorganized non-gardener.  But things are already growing (YEEHAW!) and really my goal here is to demonstrate that anyone can garden with fairly minimal effort or skill ;)

The main garden

When we moved in to this house there was this bizarre sandbox with a roof. It was old and falling apart.  My husband cut the roof off and I turned it into a garden!

In this garden I planted my tomato plants (I'm still not sure on the need or value of those cages - anyone want to chime in? I have 5 plants and two cages, I'll play it by ear ;)), peas, edamame, green onions, and carrots.

I discovered that you can buy seeds that are pre-planted into strips to prevent putting too many seeds close together.  This seems perfect for me because I can't seem to stop myself from dumping the seeds in in clumps (kind of like how I used to put tinsel on the Christmas tree, much to my father's dismay). :)

Back garden

That's the fancy name for what I planted at the back of the official garden because I had more stuff than would fit in there ;)  I planted 5 cucumber plants between the garden and the fence.

We also planted some pumpkins to the side of the cucumbers.  Possibly too many pumpkins for the space - we'll see what happens :)

The barrel

I bought a barrel and in it I planted basil (I'm not sure this will work, I think I should have planted that as one of my seedlings) spinach and lettuce in it.  The most exciting part is the lettuce is already growing!

The old garden

I didn't even tidy up the old garden area...  as you can tell from the photo.  But I added some more soil and planted our watermelons there. Again, my lack of knowledge here may mean I have planted watermelons way too close together - but it's an experiment and we're keeping our fingers crossed!

The plants are looking happy and healthy in the ground and I can't wait to start harvesting. I think I'm going to go and buy some fencing and some netting to protect the plants from the rabbits.  There are lots and lots of rabbits in Orleans.

Have you planted a garden yet this year? There's still lots of time! I want to hear about it!

Lara Wellman is mom to 4 year old Kiernan and 2 year old twins Quinn and Juliette. You can read her personal blog at Gliding Through Motherhood, about her weight loss journey at Losing it in Ottawa, and her social media blog at Larawellman.com