Monthly Archives: October 2016

Fall Family Vacation Destinations

As we enter into the month of November, the signs of fall are all around us—golden leaves, crisp air, and long evenings. The fall season presents many unique activities and sights to enjoy during these months. With the season in mind, a special autumn vacation is just what you and your family need. So sit back, relax, and get start imagining the perfect fall getaway. To help get those creative juices flowing, here are a few of our favorite family-friendly fall vacation destinations!

Disneyland
Los Angeles, CA
 

The most wonderful place in the world becomes even more wonderful during the fall and winter months. Transitioning from Halloween décor to a Christmas theme, no one does the holidays better than Mickey Mouse, himself! During the spooky Halloween celebration, Disneyland revamps their popular rides and attractions with a special holiday twist. There is endless fun for the little ones, including the Main Street Pumpkin Festival, Trick-or-Treating, a Dia de Los Muertos celebration, Halloween fireworks, and even costumed characters! Once the clock strikes midnight on Halloween, Disneyland is transformed into an idyllic winter wonderland! Frosted lights grace the Sleeping Beauty Castle, It’s a Small World shines brightly in festive colors, and everywhere you look there is a stunning display of holiday spirit! The best part of it all is the Holiday Magic! Fireworks and the Christmas Fantasy Parade—nothing compares to this Christmas celebration.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Orlando, CA

Any Harry Potter fans out there? Of course there are! If you have yet to plan a visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, there is no better time than the present. Have a magical and unforgettable experience visiting the Hogwarts castle, exploring Hogsmeade village, and finally entering Diagon Alley. What makes this place extra special during the fall season is the iconic Butterbeer (non-alcoholic!) and Pumpkin Juice, made famous by the J.K. Rowling series. While the World of Harry Potter is filled with much adventure, more fun awaits at both Universal Orlando Resorts. With many more rides and attractions for the whole family to enjoy at Universal Orlando, you’ll make memories that’ll last a lifetime.

Santa Cruz Mountains
Santa Cruz, CA
 

If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of amusement parks, consider a fall vacation in the Santa Cruz mountains. Boasting 300 days of sunshine a year and endless outdoor activities, enjoy the endless possibilities in this California city. Unplug from technology and reconnect with the family. Partake in visits to the beach, wilderness hikes, scenic railroad rides, whale watching, nature picnics, and much more! And if you’re still missing the amusement park element, the famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is still open for most weekends in November and a couple in December. While you’re visiting Santa Cruz, check out strange phenomena known as the Mystery Spot—kids and adults love this one!

5 Favorite Fall Children’s Books

There is something very special about the fall season—pumpkin patches, golden leaves, delicious treats, Halloween and Thanksgiving festivities, and the list goes on and on! With so much to love about autumn, this season presents many opportunities for family bonding. Imagine curling up by the fireplace, with a hot cup of apple cider in hand, as you enjoy your favorite fall reads with the whole family. By reading fall themed books with your little ones, they can learn all about what all the amazing things this season has to offer. These fall reads will get your children excited about fall, and appreciating it more than ever before.

“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”

Celebrating 50 years, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” is a classic children’s book, written by beloved author Charles Schultz. Schultz tells the story of Halloween night, where Charlie Brown and his gang enjoy all the fun this evening possesses. Amongst the festivities, Charlie’s friend Linus van Pelt waits alone in a pumpkin patch for “The Great Pumpkin.” Regardless of what his friends believe, Linus stands his ground. Linus firmly believes “The Great Pumpkin” will rise soon from the patch to give toys to all the children of the world. Does “The Great Pumpkin” finally arrive this year? You’ll have to read to find out!

“Mouse’s First Fall”

Perfect for children experiencing their first fall, “Mouse’s First Fall” tells the story of a little mouse’s fall adventure. Author Lauren Thompson brings to life all of the beautiful hues of fall—red, orange, yellow, brown. “Mouse’s First Fall” speaks to the child inside each of us. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to jump into a pile of colorful, crunchy leaves as well! This book teaches the littlest ones all about the wonders of fall, as their eyes are opened to this special time of the year.

“The Berenstain Bears and the Prize Pumpkin”

Who doesn’t love The Berenstain Bears?! Our favorite family of bears is at it again in this fall themed book. Excitement mounts for the Bear Country Thanksgiving Festival, as the Berenstain family enters the popular pumpkin contest. With so much talk and pressure about winning the contest, the meaning of Thanksgiving gets lost in the competition. Thankfully, the Berenstain family recalls all they are thankful for, recapturing the true spirit of Thanksgiving.

“Duck & Goose, Find a Pumpkin”

With the incredible artwork in this book, your baby will certainly love Tad Hills’ “Duck & Goose, Find a Pumpkin.” Follow the journey of these adorable animals, as they seek out a large, orange pumpkin. Wandering all over the forest, to an apple tree, a leaf pile, and a log, this duck and goose refuse to give up. In addition to a great story, your child will adore the colorful images and precious animal art on each page.

“Corduroy’s Best Halloween”

Cuddly Corduroy cannot wait for Halloween, in this book from Don Freeman and Lisa McCue. This bear wants to host an unforgettable Halloween party for all of this friends. Of course, Corduroy wants to partake in all of the fun Halloween activities, like trick-or-treating! However, much like the rest of us, Corduroy cannot decide what to dress up as! Want to know what Corduroy is for Halloween? Guess you will have to grab a copy!

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7 Breathtaking Fall Maternity Photoshoots

A fall pregnancy means absolutely breathtaking maternity photos! With the leaves changing colors, golden sunlight, and deciduous trees all around, there is something quite magical about a photoshoot in autumn. If you’re a mother-to-be, these stunning fall inspired maternity photo shoots will inspire the way you celebrate your baby bump. After all, these photos will capturing one of the most important moments of your life.

Then Comes Baby in a Baby Carriage

We all know the playground rhyme, and here it is brought to life with this unique vintage baby stroller.. Expectant parents look like naturals when it comes to parenting! The autumn trees and wooden fence provide the perfect backdrop.

fall-maternity-photoshoot

Source: Brittany Gidley Photography

Enchanting Forest

This photoshoot exudes class and so much sophistication! A vintage couch, trunk, and golden candle holders transform the forest into a place of modern elegance. Expectant parents look effortlessly chic in their coordinated outfits.

fall-maternity-photoshoot-2

Source: Lydia Maybee Photography

Vision in White

Mom-to-be is an absolute vision in this ethereal floor-length white dress. Against the simple background, this baby bump shines brightly. With simple hair and makeup, this glowing expectant mother is a natural beauty.

fall-maternity-photoshoot

Source: Melissa Diep Photography

Fall Romance

What is more romantic than this lovely couple staring into each others’ eyes? As they lay on a ground of golden leaves, the joy on their faces says it all.

fall-maternity-photoshoot

Source: Scarlet Bowling Photography

Big Brother

For parents expecting their second or third (or more!) child, consider including your other children in the maternity photoshoot. With so many sweet kisses in this family photo, you can’t help but go, “Awwwwww!”

fall-maternity-photoshoot

Source: Griffin Photography

Autumn Calling

The location of this fall photoshoot is absolutely swoon-worthy! Warm autumn colors surround this couple, as they celebrate the new chapter of their journey together. The long dress blowing in the winds adds an extra touch of romance to an already idealistic photo.

fall-maternity-photoshoot

Source: Beth Wade Photography

 Fall Wardrobe

It is never too early to begin your baby’s new wardrobe! This adorable photo shares the news of your pregnancy in a unique way. Baby clothing hung on fall tree branches is artistic perfection.

fall-maternity-photoshoot

Source: Audrey Spear Photography

Pumpkin Decorating for the Whole Family

As we enter into the month of October, we can’t help but think about all of our favorite Halloween activities. Decorating your home with spooktacular designs is one way to get the Halloween fun started! If you want to set your home apart from others in your neighborhood, you will need creative Halloween décor, like a one-of-a-kind carved pumpkin! So gather the whole family together, and enjoy lots of laughs, as you each create your own special jack-o-lantern. To help provide a bit of inspiration, and get those creative juices flowing, here are some helpful pumpkin decorating tips!

The Right Tools

For any successful pumpkin design, you will need the right tools. First, start out with a selection of stencil designs and pencils to plan out your design. Many stencil designs can be accessed online for free or a minimal fee. You may also purchase stencil kits in stores, or create your own design from scratch! Many times, pumpkin carving kits come with stencils that the whole family can enjoy.
If you are carving pumpkins with little ones, you can purchase more “child-friendly” kits. These kits supply tools that appropriately fit small hands, providing the most control for carving. For young children too young to carve, consider alternatives like painting a pumpkin or decorating one with colorful craft supplies. Regardless of how your child chooses to decorate their jack-o-lantern, they should be supervised each step of the way.

Prepping Your Pumpkin

Choosing the right pumpkin is the foundation for the perfect jack-o-lantern. Select a pumpkin that is medium sized—not too small and not too large (much like Goldilocks’ conundrum!). If you choose a pumpkin that is too large, the prepping and design of the pumpkin will require a great deal of time and labor. A pumpkin that is too small will be difficult to carve your design into. In addition, avoid extremely round or oddly shaped pumpkins. Adhering a stencil or adding a detailed design to these pumpkins can feel quite impossible.
Once you’ve chosen a pumpkin, clean the pumpkin to rid the surface of any dirt or other residue. Next, cut a circle around the stem of the pumpkin and lift off the top—save this part of the pumpkin for later! Your little ones will need assistance for this part. Using gloves, remove all the pumpkin seeds and strands. With the scoop tool, remove all of the remaining strands and seeds. Once your pumpkin is hallowed out, you will be ready to carve your pumpkin! If you choose to decorate your pumpkin with paint or other crafting supplies, there is no need to hallow out your pumpkin.

Decorating Success

Choosing what you carve into your pumpkin or how to decorate your pumpkin is the best part! Be creative and choose a design that matches your personal taste, or the décor of your home. If you are decorating pumpkins with the entire family, consider having a themed bunch of pumpkins. Alternatively, you could show your furry family pet extra love by featuring their adorable face on your pumpkin. With older children, a friendly family carving contest could make the time together even more memorable!
Once you have finished carving your pumpkins, place tealight candles inside of your pumpkin, and place the stem back on top. Voilà! Your pumpkin is ready to be set on your porch or doorstep for all your guests to admire!
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