If you’re someone who’d like to offer your child a richer Halloween experience without the pounds of sugar, preservatives, artificial flavor and color of a modern Halloween celebration, here’s a great family tradition that makes Halloween a blast for kids and a richer experience for parents. Invite the Great Pumpkin to join your Halloween festivities.
Here’s the Healthy Kids Fast story of the Great Pumpkin! Read this story to your children on Halloween, and let them decide what they want to do with their candy. I wrote this story to read on Halloween night.
Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Sasha. She lived on a wooded pumpkin farm on the side of a great mountain with her Grandmother. On her 4th birthday, Sasha’s Grandmother made her a beautiful quilted blanket. The blanket celebrated the magic and beauty of each season and had a special square with a bright orange pumpkin in the middle in recognition of the month of October, the month Sasha was born. Sasha’s Grandmother called her the Pumpkin Baby because she had such a beautiful round face and bright orange hair.
Late at night, Sasha’s Grandmother would tell her stories about the Great Pumpkin who helped look after all the pumpkins in the world as they ripened in the fields and how he often needed their help. So as the weather grew colder Sasha and her Grandmother covered the pumpkins in the field with little piles of straw to keep them safe from frost. Each year, when the pumpkins were ripe Sasha and her Grandmother took them to the village for the Great Halloween Celebration.
One day in late October, just after her 7th birthday, Sasha’s Grandmother came to her and said…”There is a frost coming tonight and the wind has blown away all the straw protecting our pumpkins. I fear they will freeze without protection and we won’t have any pumpkins for the children of the village on Halloween.” Sasha saw the sadness in her Grandmother’s eyes and thought of the children who would be without a pumpkin on Halloween. Then she had a very wonderful, generous and loving idea.
Sasha cherished her pumpkin blanket. It was her cape on daring adventures, a beautiful tablecloth when she imagined having lunch with the queen, and her pillow on the long rides back from the village in her Grandmother’s wagon. When she was sad, her blanket gave her comfort, when she was anxious she would run her hand along the silky edge to calm herself. It was her greatest gift and her best friend. But Sasha’s heart was heavy with the thought of all the beautiful pumpkins shriveling up from frostbite.
“Grandmother Clara,” Sasha said, “what if we take the small squares from my pumpkin blanket and cover the pumpkins. Won’t that protect them from the frost?”
Sasha’s Grandmother smiled with pride. “You are a generous child Sasha, the world is lucky to have you.” That evening after supper Sasha and her Grandmother cut her precious blanket into individual squares, one for each pumpkin, and took them to the garden. They gently placed the squares on the pumpkins, patting them down tightly. The brightly colored fall leaves rushed and danced in the wind around them, but the quilt pieces stayed tight.
There was a strong frost that night and as the temperature dropped, Sasha and her Grandmother huddled around their wood stove and worried about the pumpkins. When they woke the next morning, they raced each other to the pumpkin patch. There were the pumpkins… safe and sound under Sasha’s blanket squares.
That afternoon Sasha and her Grandmother loaded the pumpkins into the wagon; the pile was taller than Sasha, and her Grandmother let her ride on top all the way to town. By the time they reached the village the warm sun was just slipping over the hill. As they pulled through the gates of the town, all the children yelled and raced toward them. Sasha and her Grandmother placed a beautiful orange pumpkin into each child’s waiting arms as they shrieked with joy.
There was dancing and singing around the fire as the pumpkins were being carved and the food of the festival was being served. Sasha’s Grandmother played the fiddle while the children put the final touches on their Jack-O-Lanterns.
When all the Jack-O-Lanterns were ready, they placed them on the hillside and lit each one. What a breathtaking sight! All the smiling pumpkin faces warmed up the cool fall night. The children of the village were very happy, the parents of the children were very happy, the Great Pumpkin was very happy and Sasha and her Grandmother just looked at each other and smiled.
When word of this story reached the Great Pumpkin, he was deeply touched by Sasha’s generosity and wanted to do something in her honor to help all children, as Sasha had helped the pumpkins. After much thought, the Great Pumpkin realized, that while kids loved to get dressed up and go trick or treating on Halloween, eating all the candy they collected was very bad for them. So he made children all over the world this offer…. “If you wrap your candy in a blanket and set it outside your door on Halloween night, The Great Pumpkin will come and replace the candy with a very special gift. To let the Great Pumpkin know you want to make the trade, all you have to do is light your Jack-O-Lantern and set it next to the blanket filled with candy on Halloween Night. When the Great Pumpkin sees the light, he will know you want to trade.
And that is the story of Sasha and the Great Pumpkin
I read this story to my kids every Halloween and they always chose the Great Pumpkin gift over the huge pile of candy. One year my son who was 8 said to me…”Mom, our Halloween is so much more fun with the Great Pumpkin! It makes Halloween last longer…more like Christmas.”
You can use any blanket you like to wrap up the candy, just make sure you use a big orange or yellow bow to tie it. I always made the Great Pumpkin gift a very special one because I preferred the kids have a really nice gift than a big pile of candy. I also gave my kids each a Halloween Swap Bag tied with a big yellow and orange ribbon from Mom. They only get it if they choose to make the swap with the Great Pumpkin because it gives them something to enjoy once they’ve set up their Great Pumpkin swap out on the porch.
I included Cheddar Bunnies, organic chocolates, matchbox cars etc.. in the Halloween Swap Bag. They loved the chance to open a new bag of goodies on Halloween night.
here are lots of reasons to pick your own berries…you can get $50.00 worth of berries for $10.00, the berries taste better because they’re picked at the peak of their flavor, it’s relaxing…. I could go on and on. But one of the best reasons to pick your own berries is because it’s a great way to strengthen your relationship with your kids.
It’s a bit of an adventure at first, then it becomes a wonderful family tradition. Getting to know your kids, or letting them get to know you is a lifelong journey. And most of the time it happens in the quiet moments. When you go berry picking, there are the conversations that happen in the car on the way to the farm, the stories told and the jokes shared. Those things just don’t happen as much when you’re racing from one activity to the next during the week. But there is also something peaceful that happens to you when you’re confronted with the crisp morning air and rows and rows of berries still cool from the night and bursting with flavor.
If you’ve found the right berry farm, you can eat as you pick which is all part of the fun and the picking will be easy because the berries are so plentiful. Often, in as little as an hour, your stomach will be full and so will your berry basket. Take some time to get to know the farmer and staff. Introduce your kids, talk to your fellow pickers and swap recipes. My row mate (the person in the row next to mine) was a woman who made strawberry wine every year and had for years. She said they always share it with friends and family and there’s never enough to go around.
Once you’ve picked your fill, the relationship building potential of berry picking extends to the shortcake making, pie baking and jamming that happens when you get home. Turn on some music, heat up the jars and whip up a batch of strawberry freezer jam. It takes minutes to make and will be a magical burst of summer when you pull it out of the freezer during a January snowstorm. There really is no comparison between the jam you get in the store and the freezer jam recipe below. So take some time this summer and get to know each other through berries!
Rough Seasonal Chart for Berry Picking:
Dinner is the special meal you eat together as a family at the end of each day. This may seem like a simple concept, but I fear we’ve lost sight of just how important the family dinner is for our kids mental and physical health, our ability to parent well and to the strength of our family relationships.
I say this not to make anyone feel guilty if that’s not how you eat at night, or to add stress to what is likely an already hectic and stressful lifestyle. I suggest we stick to this definition so that we don’t dilute the value of or ignore the importance and power of the family dinner.
For example, if you are feeding the picky eater in the family something different than what you’ve made for dinner, you’re missing a wonderful opportunity to introduce them to new foods. Picky eaters, more than anybody else at the table, need to try new foods over and over before they will develop a taste for them, that’s the kind of value a family dinner offers.
Eating mac and cheese over and over won’t give them the diversity of nutrients they need to build strong bones, muscles, and minds or the exposure they need to develop their taste buds. Also, catering to the picky eater devalues the time and creative energy you’ve put into creating the meal in the first place. It’s not just about the nutrients you don’t get into them that night, it’s also about the powerful lessons they’re learning over time about what constitutes a healthy meal. The nice thing is, you don’t have to force kids to eat anything they don’t care for–dinner should be a pleasant, enjoyable experience, they just need to taste everything at the table and over time their taste buds will develop and you’ll find they will eat lots of different foods.
Kids in the kitchen can be a real challenge, they’ll add a tablespoon of salt when a teaspoon was called for, they’ll accidentally dump a 5lb. bag of sugar on the floor and your heart is likely to be in your throat every time they pick up a knife or head towards the stove. Moms prefer to work in the kitchen all day and don’t allow the kids to come in to avoid the mess. These things could discourage the bravest parent from turning their kids loose in the kitchen, but I’m here to tell you that the upside is totally worth it! Here are three reasons you should teach your child to cook:
Teach your child to cook and you’ll be able to come home to a home after a long day to a home cooked meal that you didn’t make. How cool would that be? You can even give them one night a week when it’s their turn to make dinner and you can go do a little shopping with friends. This will create a mess in the start but it will be great in near future.
2. It’s an amazing tool for building confidence:
Take a look at that smile, that kid knows how to make pancakes for the whole family and there’s something really powerful about that. We’ve kind of lost the art of teaching kids real-life skills but they are just as important as teaching your child to read.
By doing this they will learn to believe in themselves. They start taking decisions and bold steps to simplify their life.
3. Lifelong health benefits:
One of the most important things you can do for your health is to cook your own food. You’d be amazed if you saw what really goes on in the kitchens of restaurants. I know because I spent many years working in them. Teach your kids to cook and it will have a tremendous impact on their mental and physical health.
So spend some quality time in the kitchen with your child and give them a skill that will benefit them for the rest of their life. Life is fun don’t take tensions of small things. Spoiling of things is better than spoiling your kid’s habits. Developing a kitchen work habit will facilitate you and your kid in future. You must encourage them to take challenges as life is full of more bigger challenges than kitchen tasks.]]>