Farm Stands

I am a sucker for farm stands.  Especially in the Fall, the colors along with the beautiful flowers and produce pull me in (almost) every time.  Utopia Farms in Manchester by the Sea is a favorite of my daughter's because it looks like an old school house.  They have so much to choose from in this sweet little shop.  


We live in the city so we don't have a lot of storage.  Our holiday and seasonal decorations are items I can buy and use each year.  We decorate with a lot of potted flowers, squash, pumpkins, corn and straw in the Fall.  Farm stands are the best place for finding these items and my kids love to pick out the craziest shaped squash as well as their favorite color mums and then decide where to put them in and around our house.


The people that shop and work at the farm stands we've been to are so kind and helpful.  Kids are welcome to shop around, help count out money and basically take their time.  

This gorgeous cart of pumpkins was eye catching and we easily found some keepers to take home.


Check out our earlier post about Allandale Farm and don't forget about Russell Orchard in Ipswich.

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Sophie's Squash
By Pat Zietlow Miller
We Eat Food That's Fresh
By Angela Russ-Ayon

Blue Hills Trailside Museum

A long weekend is the perfect time to try a new adventure.  Last year over the Columbus weekend I was searching for activities to do with my kids.  I stumbled up the Blue Hills Trailside Museum through Boston Central because they were hosting their annual Fall Festival.  While we were there we happened to catch a program on birds and my son was enamored!  


We studied feathers and wings and got to check them out under a microscope.  There are always museum guides hanging around willing to answer any questions.  It's great to sit back and watch my kids ask questions and do hands-on activities with an expert!


We also got to examine the claws of a falcon and learn about how these birds use them.  My son was eating every word up.  He was fascinated!

Lastly, as the grand finale, we were able to meet a real falcon.  It was slightly intimidating to have this bird so close to us.  My son loved that fact that it went to the bathroom right next to him (it was a highlight for him). 

After taking a few minutes to do this program, my daughter started to notice falcons flying above the Boston Public Garden.  She was easily able to identify them and had fun showing her friends.  

We didn't spend all day inside.  We were able to take a lovely hike way up to the top of the hill and check out the spectacular views of Boston.  Read more about our hike here:

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What part of the plant do we eat?

Each fall when we harvest our small garden, we have a conversation about what part of the plant we eat. With some plants, we eat the root (carrots), and some, we eat the fruit (tomatoes). Some we eat the seed (peas), or the leaves (lettuce), and others we eat the stem (celery). My daughter couldn't get enough of this concept - each time we had a veggie, she thought about which part it was. So, we expanded this read a great book called "Tops and Bottoms." My daughter decided root vegetables were her favorites. I lead an oil pastel and liquid watercolor art project with my daughter's kindergarden class, exploring root vegetables (above). 

At home, we checked out a bunch of books on vegetables and plants from the library, and then I found some printable puzzles online for her to continue her study. Check out our Instagram account for images of our gardens this fall. Tiny but mighty! 

What are your favorite parts of the plant to eat? 

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Some of our favorite recipes with root vegetables. And of course, they are wonderful in soups!

One Green Apple

Apple picking season is upon us.  My kids love it.  They enjoy being outside, tasting the fresh apples and of course climbing a tree or two to pick some of the really high ones.  Knowing that we'd be apple picking soon, I went to the library and grabbed a few books about apples including "One Green Apple" by Even Bunting.  In our early post, A Person's a Person No Matter How Small, we highlighted this book as initiating a great conversation with kids.  Right now is wonderful time to read this book with your children because it is so timely in so many ways.

One of our favorite websites, GoodReads, described the book perfectly: 

Farah feels alone, even when surrounded by her classmates. She listens and nods but doesn’t speak. It’s hard being the new kid in school, especially when you’re from another country and don’t know the language. Then, on a field trip to an apple orchard, Farah discovers there are lots of things that sound the same as they did at home, from dogs crunching their food to the ripple of friendly laughter. As she helps the class make apple cider, Farah connects with the other students and begins to feel that she belongs.
Ted Lewin’s gorgeous sun-drenched paintings and Eve Bunting’s sensitive text immediately put the reader into another child’s shoes in this timely story of a young Muslim immigrant.

One Green Apple
By Eve Bunting

GoodReads is a fantastic place to broaden your children's reading horizons.  If you have a book your children particularly enjoyed, they will give you other suggestions that are similar.  There are reviews by other readers as well as lists for all ages that include the book.  My two children are at completely different reading abilities as well as content level and these book lists have allowed me to further each of their reading appropriately.