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Top 10 Pumpkin Patches & Orchards


It was SUPER hard to narrow down only 10 pumpkin patches and orchards to visit this year! There are a lot of choices. Make sure to check out their websites for special events they may have going on during this season!

Also, make sure to check out my calendar on the right hand side, for events taking place at various places such as, Living History Farms, the Science Center, Blank Park Zoo and more.

1. Center Grove Orchard– Located in Cambridge which is between Ames and Ankeny. This is my favorite orchard and pumpkin patch to visit every fall. It is loaded with fun activities for the whole family including: apple picking, a pumpkin patch, farm animals, corn maze, corn pool, jumping pillow, hay rack rides, rubber duck races, and much more!

They also have a store with already picked apples, apple cider, apple cider donuts, caramel apples, sauces, and more. Check out their Pinterest board, where they post a ton of ideas for fall.

There is an admission price. Ages 3 and up $9.95 Saturday & Sunday. $7.95 Monday – Friday. They also offer a season pass for their fun farmyard!

2.Berry Patch Farm – Berry Patch Farm is located in Nevada and is actually not too far from Center Grove Orchard! They are known for picking your own produce. We made a trip out there this summer and picked our own blueberries. We came home with about 6 lbs! Right now, there are several varieties of apples, green beans, and raspberries to pick from.

On Saturday and Sunday there are hay rack rides available, along with pumpkins and gourds too!

There is NO admission to pick. You only need to pay for the produce you take.

3. Iowa Orchard– The Iowa Orchard is located right in the city, in Urbandale! Do not be fooled by the name, they also have lots of pumpkins and gourds available to pick from. They offer lots and lots of varieties of apples. They also offer pies, apple cider, different sauces and much more!

Available Friday, Saturday, and Sunday they offer hay rack rides, which also include access to the hay bale slide, corn box, tire obstacle course, face painting, and horseshoe toss.

There IS an admission for the hay rack rides. $4 per individual or $15 for a family of 4. No charge for ages 2 and under! There are also tour packages you can sign up for. Check out their website  for more information! Of course, there is  no charge to walk through their shop and purchase items 🙂

4. The Pumpkin Ranch – Located in Winterset. Not only do they have pumpkins to pick from, but they offer a 9 acre corn maze! Along with hayrack rides, horseback rides, zip lines, slides (new this year), playground, and jump house. Also, photographer Allison Knox will take a picture of you and your family for FREE! For times that she will be available check out the website.

There IS an admission. $8 per person, children 2 years and younger are FREE!

5. Geisler Farms – Located in Bondurant. They have a 10 acre corn maze which features the Ankeny high schools logos. There is also a fun zone available for a small price. Included in the fun zone area is swings, rubber duck races, and other fun games.

There IS an admission. Corn maze, fun zone, and hay rack ride $8. Corn maze and fun zone $7. Fun zone only is $2

6. Wills Family Orchard – This is a definite must do this fall season! We already made our trip to Will Family Orchard and enjoyed every minute of it! Located just west of Adel, they offer organic apples for picking, a pumpkin patch, farm animals, a cute little store to shop at and paint your own gourd!

There is NO admission, but you do pay for whatever pumpkins you pick and apples you pick!

7. Patch Pumpkins & Honey Farm – Also located in Adel! Another pumpkin patch with lots more then just pumpkins! They have a corn maze, kid corn maze, duck races, corn pit, petting zoo, play center, bounce houses, and more!

They also have honey, pumpkins, apples, gourds and other various items to purchase.

There IS an admission. $5 per person. Ages 2 and under are FREE! $10 for a season pass. They offer discounted pricing for week days.

8. Howell’s Pumpkin Patch – Located in Cumming. They offer a pumpkin patch, corn maze, pony rides, duck races, farm animals, playground and giant tube slide. The Greenhouse Cafe offers yummy fall treats, hot dogs, chips, ice cream and more! You will not go hungry at Howell’s!

There IS an admission. $8 per person. If you have kept your eyes open recently, there has been a Groupon offer for Howell’s. I am not sure if it’s still floating around … but you should check it out!

9. Dan – D Farms – Located in Knoxville. Are you kiddos a fan of the Angry Birds? Their corn maze is is an Angry Birds design! Lots of farm animals, pumpkins and other activities. Check out their website for different events they have going on this Fall season!

10. Williamsons Pumpkin Paradise – Located in Ankeny and has FREE admission 7 days a week. They offer a petting zoo, pony rides, bag toss, hay maze, hay rack rides, fire pit and more! Some of these activities are only available Saturday and Sunday.

Barrel train rides, pony rides, pumpkin cannon and corn maze have a small fee.


Which pumpkin patch and/or orchard is your favorite?

DSM Activities & Events 9/26 – 10/2


Make sure to check out the calendar on the right hand of the screen for more upcoming events not listed here!

1. Oktoberfest 

When: Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Where and What: Located downtown this is the 10th annual Oktoberfest. Drink a bunch of German beers and eat some German food. You can buy advance tickets for $7.00 or tickets at the door for $10.00. Each ticket includes: 2-day admission, a mug and your first beer! Check out their official website for scheduled events, beers, and menu here.

2. The Brew Mile

When: Saturday 4 pm – 6 pm

Where and What: If you are heading out to check out Oktoberfest, why not run a race?! There are 3 different runs to choose from: The Fun Mile, The Competitive Mile, and The Elite Mile. You can choose to walk, jog, or run and dress up in your favorite German beer attire! When you register, you receive FREE admission into Oktoberfest, a collectible brew pint, and a FREE brew ticket! Check out the website for all of the details!

3. Autumn Open House at the Garden Barn

When: Friday 10 am – 5 pm, Saturday 10 am – 5 pm, and Sunday 2 pm – 5pm

Where and What: The Garden Barn is located in Indianola. The Garden Barn sells a lot of nature inspired decor, including things for the house and your garden. If you are looking for a unique birthday gift or even a little early Christmas shopping, definitely head out to Indianola and check it out! Check out their website.

4. Fight for Air Walk 

When: Saturday at 8 am

Where and What: This walk is located at Principal Park and you can choose between a 1 mile or 3.1 mile walk. This walk is to help raise money to fight against asthma, secondhand smoke, lung cancer, emphysema, and those lost to these diseases. Check out the official website.

5. Sleepy Hollow Beer Run

When: Saturday at 10 am

Where and What: This run will take place at Sleepy Hollow and benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma society. Run the 5 k course while stopping for some beer samples along the way. Check out here for registration information!

6. Natural Playscape Celebration

When: Saturday at 10 am

Where and What: Bring the kids to Sargent Park for games and activities including: monarch maze, make a track, and a tree photo shoot. Refreshments will also be available.

7. Applefest at Living History Farms

When: Saturday 11 am – 4 pm

Where and What: Go out to Living History Farms and have your kiddos try stirring the kettle of apple butter, and try cranking the press of apple cider. There will also be fun games, activities, food and drinks available. Iowa Orchard will also be selling some goodies, including their Apple Butter I used to make Fall of the Bone Apple Butter Ribs! Check out their website for more information.

8. Illumifest, A Fall Festival of Lights

When: Saturday 2 pm – Dusk

Where and What: Located at the West Des Moines City School Campus (4200 Mills Civic Parkway). There will be activities for everyone including: a car show, carnival rides, games, FREE hot air balloon rides, an outdoor movie featuring “Brave”, fireworks and lots of food! Check out the official site here for a schedule of events!

9. SCI Star Party

When: Saturday 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Where and What: Join the Science Center of Iowa staff at Ewing Park! This is another event great for the whole family. You will be able to observe the moon and stars with several telescopes set up to use for FREE.

10. Iowa Outdoor Expo for Kids and Families

When: Saturday 9 am – 5 pm & Sunday 10 am – 4 pm

Where and What: Located at Water Works Park this is another event for the whole family! There will be LOTS of hands on activities all for free. If your kiddos have always been interested in hunting and fishing this is the perfect opportunity to show them what it is all about. There are also some great programs to see including: Reptiles Alive, Prairie Chickens of Iowa, Owls of Iowa, and more! Check out here for a schedule of events!

11. Apple and Pumpkin Fest at Wills Family Orchard

When: Saturday 9 am – 6 pm and Sunday 12 – 6 pm

Where and What:  Go out to Wills Family Orchard to pick out some pumpkins and apples! There will also be lots and lots of activities too including: shopping in the orchard store, paint a gourd, toss games, check out the barnyard animals, and of course food & drinks! Check out their website for more information!

12. DSMove

When: Sunday 12 pm – 4 pm

Where and What: Located in the Drake neighborhood, there will be a soccer pitch, yoga studio, playground, skate park, and more! This event is for the whole family! The World’s Largest Bike will be available to see and LOTS more!


1. Slaughter House

When: October 4th through November 2nd

Where and What: This haunted house is located in Pleasant Hill. Definitely not recommended for the kiddos, but if you are a fan of terrors and haunted house, this is a definite must this Halloween season! Check out their website for times and also a $2 off coupon.

2. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus

When: October 18th – October 20th

Where and What: Tickets are on sale now for this incredible circus coming to Wells Fargo Arena! You will not want to miss taking your kiddos to “The Greatest Show on Earth” full of animals and shows! Check out the website to see times and to purchase tickets.

3. Wicked at the Civic Center 

When: October 20th – November 10th

What: Tickets are on sale now! This is a popular show so make sure you get them now! Buy Tickets.





DSM Activities & Events 9/19 – 9/25


There is a LOT going on this weekend! Check out all of the Fall & Halloween activities, and even a few runs! As always make sure to check my events and activities calendar on the lower right hand of the page.

1. World Food Festival

When: Friday and Saturday 11 am – 10 pm and Sunday 11 am – 5 pm

Where and What: Located in Historic East Village, this all weekend event is going to be filled with lots of food from around the world and live music. There will also be cooking demonstrations. $1.00 for tastes and all entrees are $5.00 or less. It is FREE to attend. For more information and schedules of performances and cooking demonstrations check out here.

2. Fall Festival: “Appel Pluk”

When: Thursday 5 pm – 8 pm, Friday 10 am – 4 pm, and Saturday 10 am – 2 pm

Where and What: The Pella Historical Society is hosting the Appel Pluk! Come and drink wine and beer, while eating cheese and chocolate! Doesn’t get any better then that, right? There will be live music, Vermeer Mill Tours, apple themed games, and lunch. Admission is $5 per family or $2 per person. Check out here for more information!

3. Run DMU 5k 

When: Friday at 6 pm

Where and What: Need to get some exercise Friday evening? Sign up for the Run DMU 5k! Located at Des Moines University, this run is $25 per person ($35 day of race) and $15 youth 12 and under. The funds for this race go towards educational offerings at Des Moines University. There is also a new route this year! Check out here for more information.

4. King of BBQ Competition

When: Friday 6- 10 pm

Where and What: Located in the Merle Hay Mall parking lot. Lots of BBQ sampling, beer garden, and live music! No cover charge! This would be a great date night! Check out their website for more information.

5. Harvest Moon Walk 

When: Friday and Saturday 6 – 8 pm

Where and What: Geisler Farms in Bondurant. Explore their 10 acre corn maze underneath the full moon! Make sure to bring your flash lights so you can read the map that is provided for you. The admission is $7 and afterwards there will be beverages available in the barn. For more information about this event and Geisler Farms check out their website.

6. Puppy Mill Awareness Dog Walk

When: Saturday at 10 am

Where and What: Here is an event you can bring your furry friend to! Meet at Grays Lake and walk! Registration includes the walk and a t-shirt. All dogs must be up to date with their Rabies vaccination. Register online here!

7. Fall Family Hike

When: Saturday 9 – 11 am

Where and What: Located at the Iowa Arboretum in the Cafferty Building. Take a hike with Mike Havlik and learn about nature, sing songs, and see a few animals. This is an activity for the whole family! $10 per family for members and $15 per family for nonmembers. For more information about the Iowa Arboretum check out their website.

8. Fall Festival at the Franklin Library

When: Saturday at 11 am- 3 pm

What: Come to the Franklin Library for games, prizes, live performances, and food! This is an event for all ages! Check out the Des Moines Public Library for more information on this event and other events to come.

9. Halloween Hustle Dance Party 

When: Saturday at 11 am

Where and What: Located at the Beaverdale Books Store. This is for kiddos ages 3 and up! Come dance and listen to Halloween stories. Your little ones will receive a coloring page and book mark and it’s all FREE! Check out Beaverdale Books Store for more information!

10. Apple Festival at Penoach Vineyard & Winery 

When: Saturday 11 am – 5 pm

What: Come to Penoach Vineyard & Winery in Adel. There will be lots of vendors including Picket Fence Creamery, Deer Creek Creations, Dallas County Orchards and much more! There will be live music from 1- 5 pm along with wagon rides, face painting, clowns, crafts, pumpkin and apples for purchasing and much more! It is FREE admission, but they are asking for a donation of a non-perishable food item for the pantry. For more information about Penoach Vineyard & Winery check out their website.

11. Metro Arts 5k Rock ‘n run 

When: Saturday 4 pm – 9 pm

Where and What: This is the 2nd annual Rock ‘n Run and will held at the Clive Aquatic Center. While running “rock out” to local bands and at the end enjoy a FREE concert by The Nadas! This is a family friendly event with different vendors, children activities, and cold beer! $35 to register, late registration is $40. For more information check it out here.

12. Doors to the Past-Tour of Historic Sherman Hill

When: September 21st & 22nd 10 am – 4 pm and September 28th & 29th 10 am – 4 pm

Where and What: Have you ever driven through the Sherman Hills area? It’s a gorgeous area with a lot of beautiful homes and condominiums. This is also where Gateway Market and Smokey Row are located. Purchase tickets and walk through to look inside these beautiful homes. Tickets are on sale at Gateway Market, Hoyt Sherman Place, and Dahls. For more information on ticket prices and the tour check out their official website.

13. Octagon Festival

When: Sunday 10 am – 5 pm

Where and What: Located on Main Street in Ames. Get out an enjoy the weather and check out some artwork! There will be live music, food and children art activities available also! For more information check out their website.


Random Goodness

It’s been a bit since I have posted so I have lots or randomness to share!

1. Iowa State Fair and Alan Jackson Concert

I went to the final day at the Iowa State Fair Sunday (kid-less and husband-less) and had so much fun! We spent most of our time at the Iowa Craft Beer tent, but we did leave to check out all of the award winning animals too. I tried the famous Shrimp Corn Dog which was amazing! I also got a cup of chocolate chip cookies, had some chili/cheese fries and an apple cookie. Needless to say I was NOT feeling well on Monday!

The Alan Jackson concert was also great! My cousin, Kristin and I saw Alan Jackson last year in Cedar Rapids. We decided to go see him again (maybe this will become a yearly tradition?!)  Gary Allan opened up for him, which I had never seen in concert and he was also great. Kristin and I had a lot of fun dancing and singing along. The night ended with an awesome fireworks display at the grandstand. Perfect way to end the 2013 Iowa State Fair.

2. I like Kombucha 

I have tried Kombucha several times and  have not been too impressed, but I was at Whole Foods the other day and decided to pick up another bottle.

Guava Goodness is the one that won me over! If you are not a fan of Kombucha yet, give Guava Goodness a chance because it yummy! It also gave me a boost of energy and is probably a bit healthier then another cup of coffee. I know there are health benefits of Kombucha, but not sure of them all. I also know it’s pretty easy to make. I definitely need to look into this further!

3. Pumpkin Apple Muffins 

Because of the cooler weather last week, I was getting super excited for fall stuff, BUT of course this week it has been between 90-100 degrees out again! URGH! Anyways, I made these Monday morning for my very special guests! They turned out great! You can find the original recipe here.

I made some alterations which you can follow below!


  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup Sunflower Oil
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup almond milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 cups apples, chopped

I omitted the streusel topping all together 


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line muffin tin with paper liners
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  4. Add the oil, maple syrup, milk, pumpkin, and vanilla to the dry ingredients.
  5. Fold in the hot water and the apples until evenly distributed.
  6. Spoon batter into muffins tins.
  7. Bake 20-25 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.
  8. Remove to wire rack to cool.

4. My baby got his first haircut last week 🙁 

Yepp, his baby mullet is no longer!

He did an okay job at first sitting in the chair with his cape, but shortly got antsy. No screaming and crying though! Overall, we were pretty happy with the experience!

Doesn’t he look like such a big boy?!?

5. Go to Pier 1 Imports

One of my favorite places to shop is Pier 1 Imports. I love shopping for different decor items for the home. During the fall they always come out with some really cute things! It can be dangerous for me to go in there. Christmas is especially dangerous when they have all of their ornaments and all other sorts of Christmas goodness!

I signed up for their e-mail alerts and this week they sent me a coupon for $5 off $25 or more OR $10 off $40 or more! If you go to their website here, on the front page they have these coupons available for you too! They also have some great sales going on, so go get a head start on your fall and Halloween shopping NOW!

What do you know about Kombucha? What’s you favorite flavor?