How to Find the Perfect Pumpkin to Carve

Halloween is creeping in closer each day! Are you going to decorate your porch with jack-o-lanterns? Pumpkins are one of the best parts of Halloween. Now, who is going to the pumpkin patch to find the perfect pumpkin to carve? Do you know how to find the best pumpkin for carving?

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Tips for Finding the Best Pumpkin for Carving

The cooler weather, fresh air, and the big search for the perfect pumpkin is a great family-friendly activity. Bundle up warm and remember the following tips for finding the best pumpkin for carving.

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Color

One of the easiest ways to find the perfect pumpkin to turn into a jack-o-lantern is color.  When searching the pumpkin patch, look for a deep, orange color. The deep orange hue signifies the ripeness of the pumpkin.

The Thump Test

Yes, there really is a reason people knock on pumpkins. A hollow sounding pumpkin is ripe. Pick up and your pumpkin and knock on the side a couple of times. Listen carefully for a deep hollow sound when you tap the pumpkin with your knuckles. If your first pumpkin pick did not pass the thump test, keep looking.

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Check Your Pumpkin Over

Next feel your pumpkin over for bad spots. If a pumpkin is beginning to decay, dark spots or bruises may be noticeable. Press in on questionable areas.  Search for scratches or other imperfections.

The sturdiness of the pumpkin is essential. Using your thumbs, test the bottom of the pumpkin for firmness. A mushy pumpkin will not last until Halloween night. Try to find a pumpkin without any blemishes.

Cradle Your Pumpkin

Avoid picking your pumpkin up by the stem. If you break the stem, the pumpkin will decay at a faster rate. A firm, secure stem means a sturdy pumpkin.

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Heading out to the pumpkin patch for your perfect choice is a great Halloween tradition. When searching, take your time. Enjoying the atmosphere is part of October fun.

50 Photo Prompts for Fall

It’s here! Fall is officially here! Autumn provides numerous chances to tap into your creative side. Get outdoors. Enjoy the changing leaves. Let your inner photographer surface with these photo prompts for fall.

50 Fall Photo Prompts

  1. Selfie in a Fall Scene
  2. Apples
  3. Picnic
  4. Harvest
  5. Hayride
  6. Farmer’s Market
  7. Back to School
  8. Fall Attire
  9. Pumpkin Patch
  10. Pumpkins
  11. Trees/Woods
  12. Leaves
  13. Colors
  14. Sunset
  15. Cider Mill
  16. Orchard
  17. Cider
  18. Football
  19. Tailgate
  20. Nature
  21. Bonfire & S’mores
  22. Sunflowers
  23. Corn Stalks
  24. Homecoming
  25. Parade
  26. Marching Band
  27. Celebration
  28. Family
  29. Rain
  30. Scarecrow
  31. Warmth
  32. Traditions
  33. Corn Maze
  34. Candy Corn & Other Fall Treats
  35. Caramel Apples
  36. Pies
  37. Trails
  38. Candles
  39. Landscape
  40. Friends
  41. Pumpkin Spice
  42. Gourds
  43. Far Away
  44. Black and White
  45. Cool Breeze
  46. Up-Close
  47. Oktoberfest
  48. Fall Décor
  49. Water
  50. Photographer’s Choice

Self-Care Ideas for April

Are you engaging in self-care? Taking time out for yourself is essential for your emotional and physical well-being. Check out the following for ideas to help you engage in self-care.

Image by ErikaWittlieb from Pixabay 
  1. Get Outdoors! Spring is here. The weather is improving. Go for a walk, go for a hike, or simply sit under a tree at lunch time.
  2. Buy yourself flowers. Or plant a few flowers in a pot.
  3. Deep clean your entire living space.
  4. Happy Easter! Eat the chocolate bunny.
  5. Take an afternoon nap.
  6. Practice saying “no” to extra work.
  7. Call or zoom a friend.
  8. Order take-out from your favorite restaurant.
  9. Turn the music up and sing along.
  10. Listen to an audio book.
  11. Go for a Sunday drive.
  12. Go on a picnic.
  13. Write in a journal.
  14. Learn a new craft.
  15. Take a virtual tour of a foreign destination.
  16. Write letters.
  17. Take a long hot bubble bath.
  18. Hang lavender from your shower head. Then take a long hot shower. The smell is amazing.
  19. Pray or meditate. (YouTube has excellent choices of music for meditation),
  20. Print photos off your phone and create a scrapbook.
  21. Binge-watch your favorite series.
  22.  Try a new dessert recipe. Or stop by your local bakery for a treat.
  23. Stay hydrated. Add fruit to sparkling water for a tasty treat.
  24. Volunteer as a dog walker at your local animal shelter or rescue.
  25. Cuddle under a cozy blanket and just relax.
  26. Get a new haircut. Or try a new hair color.
  27. Give yourself an in-home spa treatment.
  28. Draw or paint.
  29. Create a mood board.
  30. Make bucket lists, one local destinations and the other for grander plans.

Family Fun Month: Hiking

Exploring the outdoors is a wholesome activity for the entire family (including the dog) to enjoy. Hiking provides physical exercise, reduces stress, and boosts creativity.

Find the Right Trail

Before heading out, do your research. Find the right hiking trail for you and your family to safely enjoy. Trails generally run from easy to extremely difficult with numerous obstacles. Finding the best one for your family requires research. If you are uncertain about where to start, set out on an easy trail than work your way through the rest.

What to Pack

If you are just beginning, day trips are the best. Heading out on the trail for a day gives your family a chance to familiarize themselves with the trails and the equipment.

Do you need ideas for the basics for backpacking essentials for day trips?

  • Backpack: Use a high-quality backpack to protect your basic hiking necessities. Even younger children can carry a lightweight backpack.
  • Water: Staying hydrated is critical when hiking.
  • Food: Pack plenty of food to get you through your hiking trip. Small children may require frequent stops with extra snacks. Pack to meet each family members’ needs.
  • First Aid: Bringing a first aid kit is essential for handling minor scrapes and cuts on the trail.
  • Compass: Do not always rely on your cell phone. If your battery goes dead, you may need an alternative navigation device.
  • Hand Sanitizer: Use to clean your hands before eating.
  • Mask: Once you are on the open trail away from people, you will not need a mask. However, certain areas of the park may require a face covering. Be respectful of others. Pack a mask to follow any restrictions.
  • Extra Socks and Hiking Shoes: If you accidentally get your feet wet, having additional foot attire is a priority, especially with children. You want to make hiking a positive experience.

Before You Hit the Trail

Before heading to your destination, check the weather forecast. Dress in weather-appropriate clothing. Remember, clothing layers are the best option for being outdoors. If you are uncertain what to wear, add an extra layer. If the weather is too warm, a sweatshirt is easy to remove.

Have Fun

Hiking is not a race to get through the trails as fast as possible. Take your time with your family. Pause to view numerous scenic areas or enjoy nature.

Ask your children open-ended questions or make up stories. Being outdoors increases creativity. Encourage conversation among your family about the experience. Bring your camera or use your cell phone to take lots of photos to create a memory book. Wildlife and nature discoveries can lead to a lifetime love of the outdoors.

 

30 Days of Self-Care for June

Self-care is essential for your physical, spiritual, and mental well-being. Whether you are working full time, practicing social distancing, or staying at home, you must take the time for yourself. If you would like some inspiration on self-care ideas, check out the following for June.

  1. Go for a Hike: Check out a new trail, get outdoors, and do not forget to take along your favorite 4-legged companion.
  2. Photograph Nature: You do not need a fancy camera to snap a picture of the sunrise or sunset. Spend some time enjoying nature. Photograph your journey.
  3. Video Chat with Friends or Family Members on Zoom
  4. Take a Long, Bubble Bath: Soaking in a warm tub with lots of bubbles is a great way to relax.
  5. Write a Letter: Put pen to paper and write a traditional letter.
  6. Buy Yourself Flowers or Chocolate
  7. Turn Up the Music and Sing
  8. Binge-Watch Something New
  9. Draw or Paint
  10. Try a New Craft
  11. Meditate or Pray
  12. Try a New Recipe
  13. Start a Journal
  14. Read a Book: Step outside of your usual reading genre and find something new to read. Yes, comic books and manga count as reading material.
  15. Listen to a New Podcast
  16. Clean, Declutter, and Reorganize Your Living Space
  17. Take a Long Nap or Sleep In
  18. Listen to an Audio Book
  19. Call a Friend from School
  20. Listen to the Sounds of Nature: If you cannot open your window to hear nature, find a live cam on YouTube or other platforms. Turn up the volume and just listen.
  21. Watch YouTube Videos
  22. Make a Video of Your Pet
  23. Do an In-Home Spa Day: Paint your nails, soak your feet, do a facial, and hot oil treatment for your hair.
  24. Sip a Cup of Hot Tea, Coffee, or Cocoa
  25. Birdwatch
  26. Print Photos from Your Phone: Make a photo scrapbook, buy frames to hang photos on the wall, or send prints to friends and family members.
  27. Go for a Nature Walk: Collect rocks, pine cones, or other material for crafts. Paint the rocks and hide around your neighborhood. For example, paint thank you or quotes on the rock and place in front of the hospital or other medical facility.
  28. Get Take Out: Whether you order a meal for yourself or your family, take a break from cooking. Yes, pizza does count.
  29. Burn a Nice Smelling Candle
  30. Spend an Evening Looking at the Stars

Your Dog’s Summer Bucket List

Bucket lists do not need to be grand scale adventures or limited to family activities. Bucket lists are all about trying something new. For most individuals, pets are a valuable family member. Including your furry companion in activities is a great way to spend the summer. Create a bucket list for you and your dog.

Bucket List Ideas for You and Your Dog

Prior to heading out to any destination, ensure the place is pet-friendly. Simply call or research the rules and guidelines for bringing along your faithful companion. Many travel areas strive to include family pets. Others may have specific restrictions in place. By knowing the rules ahead of time, you will not disappoint your fur baby.

Go Hiking

After a long work week or hectic schedule, both you and your pet will need some outdoor time. Hit the trails. Pack the essentials for you and dog, and spend a day exploring the natural world.

Go Camping

Many campgrounds cater to pets by adding dog runs and other play areas. Finding the best campground for you and your dog may take some research. Being outdoors for a weekend is a great way for you to unplug. Not to mention, time for you and your dog explore.

Visit a Dog Park

Dog parks are an excellent way for socialization and play. Try to visit the dog park regularly. Consider going to a variety of dog parks in your city. Different play areas provide new adventures for your dog.

Go to a Pet-Friendly Hotel

Need a relaxing getaway. Consider going to a pet-friendly hotel. Many hotels strive to include pets in their accommodations. Order room service. Enjoy a night of relaxation with your fur baby.

BBQ a Special Meal

Cook a steak on the BBQ for you and your pet to enjoy. Or host a party for friends and their pets.

Go to the Lake

If your dog loves to swim, head to the lake. Pack a picnic. Enjoy your day.

Create a Pet-Friendly Backyard

Redesign your backyard space with your dog in mind.

  • Dog activity area with ramps for running
  • Swimming spot (child’s wading pool works well)
  • Watering station
  • Shade area
  • Relaxation area
  • Dog run

Get a Professional Photo

As a pet owner, you probably have hundreds (or thousands) of photos or selfies with your pet. Perhaps the time has come for a professional portrait of you and your fur baby.

A Night In

Perhaps, the best activity is a night at home. Watching videos, sitting on your couch, and cuddling with your pet may be the perfect way to spend an evening.

Regardless of the activity, your dog will love the extra attention.Yo