It’s 12:13 am on November 1st and despite a week of late nights spent sewing mine and Amelie’s halloween costumes, I’m still awake. It may well be due to the fact I’ve eaten waaay too much sugar, but I kind of had too- Amelie got given some halloween candy that’s not really age appropriate so I had to, ahem, ‘dispose’ of it. (No, really- stuff like tootsie rolls, hard candies and other assorted toddler choking hazards… I’m not just nabbing all my daughter’s sweets, she still has chocolate left! Honestly!)
Anyway, what a great October it has been! As I said in my last post, I love Autumn anyway, but sharing it with a toddler has really encouraged us as a family to fully make the most of the season this year. We are lucky that there is so much to explore and experience in the area during this season, from watching the change in the parks, to hay rides and corn mazes in the local farms, to pumpkin picking, to some fantastic Halloween celebrations.
We visited the Queens County Farm Museum a couple of weeks ago which was great. We went in our first corn maze which was a lot of fun, we made it around in record time (20 mins), then Mike and my friend Ariel decided that because we hadn’t completed the puzzle and collected all the parts to a map, that we should go back in and find them. We then got lost for an hour… despite then having a completed map of the maze. Luckily corn mazes are fun, it was a lovely warm day and whoever was DJing in there had bonkers taste in music! The farm had a whole host of animals to see, pet and feed: Alpacas, sheep, rabbits, pigs, horses, goats and chickens. Amelie had a wonderful time feeding alpacas and handling chickens. She loves animals and is so gentle with them, and she gets so excited when she can feed them! We also went on our first hay ride which was fun. It was a lovely day and it has got us thinking about the type of place we want and the animals we will get once we are ready to move out of Manhattan!
Last weekend we visited Hank’s Pumpkin Town on Long Island. We found Hank’s by accident when we were driving to the Hamptons in 2009 and have visited every year since to get our halloween carving pumpkins. It is a corn, pumpkin and apple farm with 3 corn mazes, hay rides, tractor barrel rides, wooden climbing toys, a huge barn selling baked goods, pony rides etc. Otherwise known as “agri-tainment” apparently! (yes, they actually used that word). Usually we spend a couple of hours there and then go on to the Hamptons, but this year we made a full day of it as we wanted to show Amelie everything, including all three corn mazes and she had fun on her first pony ride. It was lovely to watch Amelie exploring the pumpkin patches and trying to pick up each pumpkin and to show her things like the corn husks growing, she really liked touching and examining everything. We came away having each chosen a pumpkin and some spiced donuts and pumpkin bread.
October was a month of more firsts too- Amelie went on her first carousel and had her first hot chocolate. This girl sure knows how to enjoy the season!
I also made some very yummy pumpkin butter using this recipe. If you get chance to make it then I highly recommend it, it’s easy and tastes like autumn in a jar. I like to stir it into oatmeal, greek yogurt or add it to pancake batter to make pumpkin pancakes. SO GOOD!
Yesterday was Halloween and this year Amelie and I went as characters from the book Where The Wild Things Are. I love that book and have been reading it to Amelie since she was in utero. Amelie loves to join in when the Wild Things “Roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled there terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws” and we have a special ‘wild rumpus song!’ So I thought it would be great for us to go as Max and a Wild Thing. Aside from the wild Thing’s sweater, which I go from ebay and the leggings which I drew scales on, everything was hand sewn by me (because sewing machines are for quitters). I’m really happy with how they turned out. We wore them to Amelie’s weekly art class and to the ‘Fright at the Museum’ party at The American Museum of Natural History. My friend Ariel also dressed as a Wild Thing from the book, she put together the costume and I made her Wild Thing face, and Mike was Superman. The party at the museum was a lot of fun, we were able to explore the halls after hours, there were trick or treat tables, entertainers, characters to meet (we met a ‘real’ Wild Thing!), bands and arts and craft stations. We all had a great time among the dinosaurs and taxidermy and will definitely do it again next year.
In other news: in October I passed my fist Coursera course. I took an Astrophysics course with the University of Tokyo and it was fantastic. It was quite challenging, and the only time I was able to sit down and concentrate was at night, but it was nice to be challenging myself academically again.If you haven’t already checked out Coursera then I highly recommend it. It is a site offering free short courses from some of the world’s top universities. Some even offer the option to pay extra and receive university credit. I’m currently taking a 12 week paleobiology course, partly due to Amelie’s dinosaur obsession, and it’s really interesting.
I also went to the worst. book reading. ever. James Franco is a talented actor and, lets be honest, a smexy, smexy man, but he really, REALLY should not write. My friend Staci and I attended a reading of his new novel and not even the fact that a movie star was reading it could change the horrible fact that this was honestly the worst thing I’ve ever heard. Seriously, he managed to make it so boring that after a while people just started talking amongst themselves. So don’t bother buying Actors Anonymous, it’s craptastic. Those were some of the highlights of our October adventures. I’m looking forward to November- my birthday, a lecture by Sir David Attenborough, Thanksgiving, the shops are starting to sell eggnog… it’s going to be a good one. Here’s to November!
*Note- Many of the lovely photo’s in this post were taken by my awesome friend Ariel. She writes her own very nerdy blog over at Nerdy, Wordy and Over Thirty, check it out and show her some geeky love!