Pumpkin Bird Feeders, Cosy Cordial & Sparklers

Before the Halloween holidays, my daughter was off school sick. It forced us to move at a slower pace and once she started getting better, we got to bake some cookies together and enjoy some quiet time. We made vanilla iced cookies and she enjoyed icing them and using writing icing to decorate them. We also did some marshmallow toasting over tea lights 🙂

When she was better, we went to another pumpkin patch held by the RSPB at Windows on Wildlife. It was really well organised and the girls enjoyed every minute of it. They started with spooky storytelling and the kids sat on bales of hay while the lady read to them 🙂 Then, we went to a talk about turning carved pumpkins into bird feeders, making pumpkin soup and toasting the leftover seeds for snacks. We ended up using one of our pumpkins as a bird feeder and it was so easy to make. We just put skewers through the top of it and tied string to them so we could hang it up. We added a bag of bird seed and hung it in our garden. The girls enjoyed making it and it stopped us wasting what would otherwise have been thrown away.

After the talk, we went on a pumpkin hunt. We had to walk to one of the bird hides and find all the hidden pumpkins along the way. The kids were given activity packs which they really enjoyed doing at home. When we returned from our stroll, the staff were waiting outside with hot chocolate for all of us and they were toasting marshmallows over a fire for the kids. The weather was wild that day, so it was greatly appreciated 🙂 The girls made some crafts in the craft corner. They made bat puppets and ladybirds out of egg cartons. At the end of our time there, we went to the pumpkin patch at the front and the girls got to pick a pumpkin each. They could pick any one they wanted, and my daughter tried to take one of the biggest ones, but she couldn’t lift it, so she quickly changed her mind 🙂

One of my kids went trick or treating with her friend, so my other daughter and I carved pumpkins together and I made a pumpkin pie. My daughter made one of the boxed mixes of cookies by herself and did a really good job 🙂 We painted our nails and listened to Halloween music together.

We went to the folk museum for one of their Halloween events. It was a great day out. I love going there for any kind of celebration 🙂 We tried some colcannon that was cooked in one of the houses (mashed potato mixed with cabbage.) Then, we did the treasure hunt to find all the hidden letters. We tried some freshly baked soda bread and apple pie too. In the printmaker’s, the girls watched a man making colouring pages on the printing press. We went for a walk in the countryside and got to see the pigs and visited the farmhouses. In one of them, a lady had made warm cordial from fruit grown on the land. It was really warming and appreciated on such a wet day 🙂 We ran into a policeman on one of the country roads and he warned us about a highwayman that could rob us on our walk. (There were some actors they had there for the occasion.) The highwayman jumped out on us with a toy gun, and I screamed louder than the girls!

We finished our day with a craft where the girls had to make a paper apple pie with different “treasures” hidden in it. You had to pull out one of four slips of paper to see what you found hidden in the pie, like a fortune teller. I love going to the folk museum on a cold day when they have all the fires lit.

My brother-in-law brought sparklers to my parents’ house for the kids and their cousins to light together. They had lots of fun using them in the garden 🙂 I never got them before but there was something really magical about them 🙂 The following day, we had a little Halloween party at home and the girls’ cousins came over. We just had party food and went trick or treating. The kids did a little treasure hunt in the house. We ran out of time for all the activities, so they girls and I did bobbing for apples and pin the smile on the pumpkin the following day 🙂

We visited Mount Stewart after Halloween and went for a very autumnal walk around the lake. They had hidden little wooden owls for the kids to find along the way. We listened to a little of the spooky story telling when we got back. Before we left, the girls went to the natural playground there. They balanced on the wooden beams and did some den building. We were lucky we got such a dry day 🙂

Apart from that, the girls have been doing lots of painting. They made some stepping stones they got as a gift. They had to set the plaster in the molds, and then paint them once they had dried. We also did some finger painting for my younger daughter. She never seems to outgrow it 🙂 We recreated the warm cordial we tried at the folk museum with some apples that were starting to turn. I added a mulled wine mix I had in the cupboard with cloves, cinnamon and dried cranberries in it. We put the apples in, chopped up with water and sugar and just strained it before drinking it. It was the perfect Autumn drink and it made the kitchen smell so nice 🙂

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