Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Glowing Eyes

So I found this idea on Pinterest, and it was too awesome (and easy!) not to try.

Cut some spooky eyes into empty paper towel or toilet paper rolls (I chopped up a long wrapping paper tube), insert glow sticks, and cover ends with duct tape.

Then hide them around the yard for some spooky Halloween decor. Happy haunting!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Local Attractions: Scherer's Pumpkin Patch

After a week of cold and rainy weather, we were lucky enough to get a gorgeously sunny day for our trip to the pumpkin patch this weekend. 

We went out to Scherer's Pumpkin Patch in Medina, MN. Unlike the apple farms around here, they don't have much to do beyond picking pumpkins, but that's sort of why we like it. We've been going there for quite a few years now (see last year's visit here), and always have a good time!

We had fun wandering through the fields searching for the perfect pumpkin. Abe especially liked the bumpy ones...

They have a couple big pumpkin fields, so there's always lots of pumpkins to choose from. (Just be prepared to get a little muddy if it's been raining!)

We were only planning to get one pumpkin this year but somehow ended up coming home with three! 

If you don't want to pick your own, Scherer's has lots of pre-picked pumpkins too. They also have a bunch of the more exotic and different colored pumpkins if you're looking for something besides the standard orange ones.

We usually pick up a few of their gourds and mini pumpkins too. 

Abe loves tractors, so he's always excited to ride the little ones they have out for the kids. His grandma has an old one like this that belonged to Noah's older brother, but it's missing some parts. We really need to get it fixed up before he outgrows it!

We stopped in the gift shop for some hot cider (they also sell cookies), and Abe picked out a lollipop from their basket of treats for the kids. They also have delicious maple syrup (made with sap collected from trees on the farm!) and other goodies available in their little shop. 

Usually I like to go to the pumpkin patch a bit earlier in the season, but now I'm glad we waited. It was a perfect day for pumpkins!

Scherer's Pumpkin Patch offers the following attractions and amenities (click on the links for more information):


The pumpkin patch is located at 2622 Willow Dr. - Medina, MN 55340. They're open 7 days a week from 9 AM to 5 PM starting the second Saturday in September though Halloween. For more information call 763-476-1978.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Local Attractions: Minnetonka Orchards

We've been going to Minnetonka Orchards since I was a kid. Back then there wasn't a petting zoo or train rides or face painting. We occasionally got to go on a hayride, and if we were lucky we'd stop in when they had the big pile of hay bales that we could climb on. I remember the black lab that used to greet us in the parking lot (always wearing a bandanna around its neck), and the hot apple cider they served in the barn. We'd sample all the apples in the barn and always left with a big bag of our favorites (I think that's why my mom went in the first place - the apples were probably cheaper at the farm than in the grocery store).

Back then everything we did at the apple farm (besides the hayride) took place either in or around the barn. When I came back years later with my husband's family, I was amazed to see how big the farm really was...and how much it had changed.

I'll always love the old apple farm, but since I don't live 5 minutes away anymore, I'm glad they've added a few more kid-friendly attractions to make the trip out there worthwhile.

Of course they still have the hay pile, which Abe and his cousins love to jump and climb on.

There's a small petting zoo with sheep, goats, and bunnies...

...and a corn maze. Don't get lost!

They have a regular hayride that goes around the farm, but the kids were just as happy with this mini-train. Abe had so much fun, he happily waved to anyone who was watching.

At the Feed Hut you can buy burgers, brats, and beverages (there's another one up by the apple barn), and nearby there's a small playground area with some picnic tables, a sandbox, and a wooden train that the kids love to climb on.

Seriously, Abe could have played on that train all day! 

They also have a big corn silo for kids to climb in. Abe loved climbing to the top, but the slide was steep and he had the most terrified look on his face coming down. Probably better for older kids.

We also went on the hayride through the woods. As we drove under this pterodactyl, the tractor driver pulled on a string making his wings flap up and down. 

The hayride makes a few stops along the way. You can get off at the apple barn, the play area, or to pick apples in the orchard. We headed to the apple barn for a picnic lunch.

Whenever we go to the apple farm, I have to get an apple brat...and apple donuts and cider. 

The barn has been around since I was a kid, but now it's been turned into more of a gift shop. They sell all kinds of food items and knick-knacks. You can also buy bags of already picked apples at the barn.

The Donut House is just outside the barn. They weren't selling hot apple cider that day (it was unusually warm), so I settled for a bag of donuts instead.

It was hard to resist eating the whole bag right then and there, but I think we managed to save a few for breakfast the next morning.

After lunch we headed off to the orchard to pick apples. Abe had to pull out his map to find out where the best apples were. 

Once we found them, we filled a big bag with Honeycrisps and headed home.

They've started growing grapes at the orchard for making wine. One thing I know about wine: it's not so much the grapes they use as where they're grown that makes them special. I think apples are the same way. I'll eat apples from other states, but even ones grown in other parts of Minnesota can't beat the ones I grew up with. In my opinion, the best apples will always come from Minnetonka Orchards.

Minnetonka Orchards offers the following attractions and amenities (click on the links for more information):


For more information about apple picking and other events at the Minnetonka Orchards, go to www.minnetonkaorchards.com.

If you're looking for fun things to do with the family in the Twin Cities (or just need some ideas of what to do in your own town), check out our other favorite local attractions right here.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Glow-in-the-Dark Halloween Treat Bag

My niece and nephew are obsessed with Duck Tape, so I always keep an eye open for fun new prints and colors they might like.

When I found this glow-in-the-dark tape at Home Depot, I picked up a roll for Halloween, and ended up using it for a trick-or-treat bag made entirely of Duck Tape.

To make one, you'll need:

  • 1-2 rolls Duck Tape in the color or pattern of your choice (1 roll only if you plan to use the same color for the inside and outside of the bag)

  • a box or bucket (doesn't have to be empty)

  • masking tape (not entirely necessary)

  • scissors

1. You'll start by making a lining for your bag. It helps to tape a strip of masking tape (sticky side out) to the side of your box or bucket to help hold the Duck Tape in place. (Don't use Duck Tape for this! It's too sticky.)

2. Using the color you've chosen for the lining, wrap long strips of Duck Tape (sticky side out) around the box or bucket, using the strip of masking tape to prevent the tape from slipping. Slightly overlap each layer to form a solid piece of "fabric." Work slowly so the tape doesn't stick to itself. If a piece gets stuck to itself or ends up tearing, cut that section off and replace it with a new piece of tape. Continue wrapping tape around the box or bucket until you reach the bottom. 

3. Stretch one or more pieces of tape across the bottom of your box or bucket, and wrap at least 1/2 inch over the edges. 

If needed, tear tape in half lengthwise to cover small gaps, so you don't end up with sticky spots inside your bag.

4. Make handles by tearing 2 pieces of tape about 6 and 8 inches long. With sticky sides together, lay the shorter piece on top of the longer piece leaving about an inch of adhesive exposed on each side. Once they're stuck together, tear the strip in half lengthwise to make two handles.

5. With sticky sides together, attach the handles to the top of the bag making sure no adhesive is left exposed on the handles.

6. Starting at the bottom, wrap the outside of the bag with your chosen color (I used glow-in-the-dark), overlapping pieces just like you did for the lining. Work slowly, sticking the tape to the sticky side of the lining. (It's really hard to separate the layers if the sticky sides come in contact before you want them to!) Keep going until the lining is completely covered. (FYI: I used the entire 10 ft. roll of glow-in-the-dark tape to wrap a small cereal box!) 

7. Now you can embellish your bag with shapes, letters, faces...whatever! I used paper cut-outs to determine the size and placement for the eyes and letters before cutting them out of Duck Tape. Since my bag was roughly the size of a sheet of paper, I printed "Boo!" (using a font called Lithos Pro at 200 pt bold) on a sheet of paper and used the letters as a template for my tape letters. 

8. You can definitely use tape from the roll for cutting shapes, but I had this sheet of black Duck Tape leftover from another project, and since it won't stick to anything until you peel the backing off, it's perfect for things like shapes and letters. 

9. Stick shapes and letters to your bag as desired. You should be able to re-position features if necessary, or remove them all together and decorate it differently for next year! Once you're done decorating the outside, slide your hand inside the bag to release it from the masking tape (if necessary), and slide the box or bucket out.

10. Charge your bag in the sun (if using glow-in-the-dark tape) and have fun trick-or-treating!

And of course, being made from Duck Tape, these bags are really strong. No chance of losing candy...

...or anything else you want to put in it.