We checked out a new pumpkin patch and orchard this past weekend and LOVED it! We usually go to Center Grove Orchard every year, because they are awesome! We did make a trip this year, but decided to try out a new place also.
Deal’s Orchard is about an hour drive, depending where you are coming from. It’s located in Jefferson, Iowa. Saturday was the perfect fall day to make the drive. Not only was the weather perfect, but it was also their Fall Festival!
It was very busy because it was Fall Festival, but parking was not a problem. They had hayrack rides that picked you up and your parking area and drove you right to the entrance.
There was SOOOO much to do, we did not get a chance to do it all or see it all. A lot of things were going on specifically for the festival, but they had a lot of things that are available all season long such as:
Goats & Donkey!
Wiggle Cars (which Monte loved!)
Hamster roll (for the bigger kiddos)
The area where all these fun activities were located is called Apple Acres. It’s $6 for adults to enter and $4 for kids. Children 2 years and younger are free!
There were so many other fun activities specifically for the Fall Festival, such as:
Spook Cave – A haunted house put on by the Boy Scouts
Spin Art and Sand Art
Balloons and Face Painting
Lots of food (I think this is all season long!)
Train Rides (Not sure if this was just for Fall Festival or not)
Picket Fence Creamery had a stand
Samples of their own Hard Cider
Delish Hard Cider!
There is also a cute little shop with gifts, pies, already picked apples, pumpkins, there own honey, apple cider, and so much more!
Of course, there is a pumpkin patch to pick your own pumpkins! And an apple orchard to pick your own apples!
We really enjoyed our time at Deal’s Orchard! Next year, we will definitely make an entire day out of it so we make sure to see and do everything!
Have you been to Deal’s Orchard? What is your favorite thing to do?
Travis and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary at Exile Brewery Co. in Des Moines. The food and beer were delish!
We celebrated my birthday! It was the perfect fall day (one of the reasons why I love fall so much).
The day started out with bloody mary’s with this fella (my dad).
A wonderful birthday cake baked and assembled by my hubby.
Then watching some Nebraska football!
Amelia was also baptized!
It was kind of neat that almost exactly 4 years ago we were getting married in the same church that our daughter was being baptized. Look how much our family has grown since October 2010?!?
Afterwards we celebrated! And what better way to celebrate then with food!
I thought this was the perfect theme! Very fall-ish AND easy to throw together after the baptism.
Cache Bake Shoppe made the baptism cake. We have fallen in love with this bakery, since they made Monte’s baptism cake. They have made several cakes for us since then and they did an awesome job once again! I highly recommend them!
Monday we crashed …
We had such an amazing weekend! We are so thankful to all our family and friends who came and celebrated ; and those who did not make it but sent gifts and their well wishes. Also, to everyone who cooked and helped put everything together. We are very blessed!
Here are some 2014 Fall & Halloween Activities to mark on the calendar for this year!
1. Deals Orchard Fall Festival
Saturday & Sunday October 11th & 12th
This is one event we are for sure checking out this fall! Located in Jefferson, Iowa this apple orchard will not only have apples to offer! They will have a jumping pillow, horse-drawn hayrides, giant slides, sand art, corn pool, corn maze, petting zoo, yummy goodies and much more! Check out Deals Orchard’s website for more details!
2. Night Eyes at Blank Park Zoo
October 16th – 19th & 23rd – 26th
Even though we went to Night Eyes last year, we WILL be attending again! Night Eyes is a wonderful, kid-friendly event where your kiddos dress up in their costumes and trick or treat their way through the zoo. Some of the animals are out, train rides are available, and there are always some kid friendly characters making an appearance.
3. Great Pumpkin Party at Valley Church
October 21st – 23rd
I have always heard great things about this event and I am excited to take Monte this year! There are inflatables, pony rides, petting zoo, carnival games, food, and more! Tuesday, the 21st, is specifically for families with special needs to enjoy. For more information and to keep track of the event, “like” their Facebook page.
4. Spooky Science at the Science Center of Iowa
Dress up in your costume and come out to the Science Center! Enjoy spooky flashlight tours of the dinosaur exhibit, participate in the costume contest, meet creepy crawly critters, experience live science experiments such as a pumpkin explosion, and get candy of course! Check out the Science Center of Iowa website for more details!
5. Pumpkin Walk at Valley Junction
Trick or treat through Valley Junction in your costumes, enjoy fun children’s activities at Green Grounds Cafe, and get a free pumpkin at the Swander Gazebo. Chillin’ in the Junction will also be going on where you can sample great chili’s and play Bingo! Check out their website for more details and times.
6. Valley West Mall Trick or Treating
October 28th, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Who knows how cold it will be the week of beggars night? This is a great opportunity to trick or treat, indoors and get lots of candy! Not only is there candy, but free inflatables to bounce on, crafts, balloon animals, and more! This is the last family fun night of the season, so make sure not to miss it!
7. Living History Farms Family Halloween
October 18th – 19th, 23rd – 26th, & 30th – 31st
We attended this event last year and had so much fun! Trick or treat through the old town, enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides, storytellers, pumpkin bowling, roast marshmallows (Monte’s favorite part), and more! Check out the Living History Farms website for more details.
What fun events will you be attending this Halloween?
It’s cooling off, the leaves are changing colors, and everything smells like pumpkin!
That means it’s FALL! My favorite time of year!!
This time of year means pumpkin patches open, apples are ready for picking, farms open with lots of fun activities, corn mazes, and it’s time to do fun crafts! I thought I would share some previous posts from Midwest Mom and Wife to give you ideas of what to do in the Des Moines area to celebrate this fun time of year!
2. Center Grove Orchard is one, of the many listed, pumpkin patches and orchards we visit every year. We already made our visit early this year. Check out last years post on all of the fun they have to offer. They are also offering season passes if you think you will visit multiple times this year!
3. Monte and I checked out Wills Orchard last year and had lots of fun picking apples. Make sure you visit when they have Apple Pumpkin Fest going on. This years dates are September 27 & 28, October 4 & 5, and October 11 & 12. Check out their website for even more information.
We are nearing the end of the 2013 Fall Bucket List! This weekend I crossed another thing off the list and made Mini Apple Pies inspired by Little Bit Funky’s recipe! I decided that mini apple pies would be a lot easier for Monte’s hands to eat and carry around. Of course I made some changes and also halved the recipe.
Makes 18 individual apple pies
4 cups chopped apples – Approximately 4 apples depending on the size. You can also peel the apples, I chose not to.
7 Tablespoons flour
3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 Tablespoons chilled butter, cut into smaller pieces
2 boxes of Pillsbury pie crusts – not frozen, refrigerated
1. Peel (if you choose to) and chop up your apples into bite size pieces. Approximately 1/2 inch in size.
2. Place apple pieces, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a large bowl and combine well.
3. Unroll first pie crust. Use the ring of a mason jar. Make sure you use a QUART ring, NOT pint. Her recipe did not specify this and I started using a pint ring and my circles were way too small for the muffin tins. I was little mad after spending all that time making perfect circles :/ Using a quart size is perfect!
4. Place the circles into each muffin slot. Pinch the edges on top creating a hammock in the muffin slot.
5. Place your apple mixture into the center of each crust. Fill until slightly mounded.
6. Take your butter pieces and add a piece on top of each pie.
7. Take whatever leftover dough, you may have and place strips on top of each pie.
8. Brush with melted butter.
9. Bake in oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. You may give or take a few minutes depending on your oven!
I love how well these hold together! I was concerned they would not stay together well and crumble. You could make all varieties of pies using this basic recipe! Enjoy!
It’s hard to find Thanksgiving or turkey specific activities to do for a 22 month old. There are a LOT of ideas out there on Pinterest, but nothing I thought Monte would be rrrrrrrrrrrrrreally interested in.
I did come across this post for Fall Scented Play Dough! I am so happy I made this! It smelled yummy and Monte has had so much fun with it. A win-win for the both of us 🙂 I followed her directions and used the Kitchen Aid. I ended up kneading the dough though, so you could probably just mix in a bowl with a spoon and knead if you did not have a huge mixer.
Orange – Pumpkin Spice
Yellow – Nutmeg
Green – Candy Apple
Red – Clove
Brown – Cinnamon
We defiantly made this into a Thanksgiving activity 🙂
Monte enjoyed trying to make his own turkeys …
mashing it all together 🙂
I also made a trip to our local library (check out the Local tab, I added all of the Des Moines area libraries!) and checked out several turkey and Thanksgiving children books. We have been reading them off and on and looking at all the turkeys!
Here are some titles to look for …
Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano
Thanksgiving is Here! by Diane Goode
Gus, the Pilgrim Turkey by Teresa Bateman
‘ Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey
I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Allison Jackson
This Is the Turkey by Abby Levine
Another fun idea you can do is make a turkey using your kiddos feet and hands! I have to admit we didn’t actually do this at home, but he had fun making them at preschool. I’m not sure how they kept a 22 month old still enough to get this made! I LOVE all these fun ideas to use feet and hands to make various crafts.
You can follow this picture recipe exactly or you can do what I did … use it as a guide.
Paleo Crock Pot Chili
Sweet onion, peeled & diced
(2) Green bell peppers, diced
Red bell pepper, diced
Yellow bell pepper, diced
(2) cups sliced mushrooms
(2) Tablespoons coconut oil
(1.5) lb sausage
(1.5) lb ground turkey
(1.5) lb ground beef
Can crushed tomatoes
Can diced tomatoes with garlic
Can tomato paste
1/2 Tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon hot chili powder
1/2 Tablespoon smoked paprika
Wash and dice/slice all of your veggies. In a large pan, melt coconut oil over medium heat. Add vegetables, cover. Let cook until veggies are softened.
Dump veggies into the crock pot.
Break up and cook sausage, ground turkey, and ground beef until cooked. Leaving a little pink is okay. You may need to do half, place into crock pot, then the other half and place into crock pot. It depends on how large your pan is.
Open and dump in your can of crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste.
Add in all of your seasonings!
Stir well, again! Place lid on and let cook 4-6 hours. Our crock pot cooks quickly so it took about 5 hours on low.
Top it with fresh avocado!
Note: I WAS going to add in the sweet potatoes as shown on the picture above BUT I completely forgot 🙁 I think it would add a lot if you add them in an hour or so before you serve. Again, our crock pot cooks quickly, so I did not get a chance.
First off … I am so excited about Midwest Mom & Wife right now! I have a Twitter account, Instagram account, Pinterest account and now a very own Facebook page. Everyone should follow along to get the latest updates on everything! You can also visit these by clicking on the icons on the right hand side of the screen
I am also excited to annouce that I will be participating in the Great Diaper Hunt with Diaper Decisions! It is such an awesome thing to be a part of and if you have not already done so, go sign up for the hunt. It’s a great way to support small businesses and bloggers, while winning prizes.
Nothing smells better then apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, and apple cider brewing in the crockpot!
I did not follow a specific recipe and making apple sauce can be done pretty much however you want.
This is what I did …
1. Cut about 10-15 apples into chunks. I did not peel my apples and the number of apples used depends on the size you are using and how much sauce you are wanting to make. We used Wills Orchard apples, which were pretty small.
2. Squeeze half a lemon on top.
3. Add about 1 – 1 1/2 cups apple cider. We used Iowa Orchards tasty cider!
4. Sprinkle nutmeg on top, approximately 2 Tablespoons
5. Add 4 cinnamon sticks
6. Put on low about 6 hours. My crockpot cooks VERY fast! So this may differ for everyone.
7. Scoop the mixture out into a glass bowl and mash it up with a masher.
2. Carved and Painted Pumpkins
Monte did such a woderful job and he took the task very seriously!
He is such an artist 🙂
3. Watch It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
Papa Tony was nice enough to buy Monte the movie on DVD so we can watch it whenever! Sunday evening was the perfect night to cuddle up and wait for the Great Pumpkin to appear!
If you do not own It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, ABC is airing the show at 7 pm on Thursday!
Record it if you will be trick or treating, so you can watch it!
It’s was a PERFECT Fall weekend 🙂
What fall and/or Halloween things did you do this past weekend?
This is the last weekend to check out Night Eyes at the Blank Park Zoo. We went Thursday night and had a blast! I tried to take pictures, but it was kind of dark, so excuse me for the not so great pictures!
There are a lot of things to see and do at Night Eyes. When you enter the park you are guided through the land of Oz and you walk down the “yellow brick road”. The Scarecrow, Dorothy and Toto even made an appearance!
Not many animals were out but quite a few birds and the black swans were out to take a look at.
After the land of Oz you are greeted by pirates! Monte loves Jake and the Neverland Pirates, so he thought the ship was an awesome thing to see!
They even had light up swords for sale, so the kiddos can be like a pirate also! Of course, Monte’s grandparents bought him a super cool sword to take home 🙂
You can ride the train through the park for $2. It takes you by the lions and tiger and you are able to view some other Halloween decorations.
Afterwards you continue to travel through the park. There are various Des Moines businesses set up handing out candy and/or coupons and everyone is dressed up in costume!
Another fun little stop on the route is the “When I Grow Up”. They have several cut out boards of various professions, that the kiddos can stick their head in and take a picture. It’s a great way to start a discussion with your kiddos about what they possibly want to be when they grow up!
There was also a “Spooky Forest” not too spooky of course! There were also many other displays to see, that I could not get great pictures of.
To end the evening, there were inflatables and bounce houses to jump in. There was also hot dogs, pop, and other various foods & drinks available for purchase.
The Carousel was open for rides and looked very pretty all lit up in the dark!
Overall, I give Night Eyes a BIG thumbs up to take your kiddos to.
It is open today and tomorrow 1 pm – 8 pm
Admission is $5 and children 12 months and under are FREE!
Another great, inexpensive event to get your kiddos all dressed up for.
Have you been to Night Eyes before? What’s your favorite thing to do?