Pumpkins: Decorate without the Mess this Fall

I love fall! The warm drinks from pumpkins, hot cider, walking in the leaves, football games… What I HATE is carving pumpkins. I enjoy eating pumpkin, roasted seeds, picking pumpkins… but scoop out that nasty stringy stuff, no thank you.  I also dislike how it makes my pretty pumpkins die a slow, gross death, making keeping them on the porch until Thanksgiving near impossible.  

So let’s talk about some mess-free pumpkin options.

This whole project takes less than 20 minutes. It’s a sure thing the kids will get into it too. When we made the pumpkins for this post, my 8-year-old finished it up the letters after I did the first one. Yay for help!

SUPPLIES:

I picked up our supplies at the dollar store near me. So each pumpkin cost me $1 to decorate (and I scored these pumpkins at Aldi for less than $3) I love an UNDER $5 project, don’t you?

 

No mess pumpkin decorating by Your Day. Your Style.PUMPKIN with a THUMB TACK DESIGN:

  • 50-300 thumbtacks.

I got silver, but you could spray paint them and make them colored if you wanted. Or paint your pumpkin first.  We have done this before where each kid did the first letter of their name. Other words you might try: thanks, hello, boo

no mess pumpkin decorating with Your Day. Your Style.

You can hardly see it, but after I settled on a design (on paper) I penciled it onto the pumpkin. Start pushing your thumbtacks at intersections of the lines in your letters to ensure great spacing. 

no mess pumpkin decorating with Your Day. Your Style.

no mess pumpkin decorating with Your Day. Your Style.

VINYL STICKER DESIGN: 

  • vinyl number or letter stickers

I was looking for letters but found these great bold numbers for $1. Love the school style look they added to this tall pumpkin. Plus it had us counting like The Count from Sesame Street. Other ways to use stickers: your house number, your latitude and longitude, 10/31/16, the year. 

no mess pumpkin decorating with Your Day. Your Style.

Don’t the pumpkins look so cute by the front door? We leave them there through Thanksgiving. Then we go pumpkin bowling with them – this had become a family tradition. Seeing which one goes the farthest, and which one finally makes the biggest mess. 

no mess pumpkin decorating with Your Day. Your Style.

Round up of more no mess to little mess pumpkins to decorate with this fall:

no mess pumpkin decorating

(left to right) Click links for details and directions. 

  1. Herringbone Paint Pen Patterning by Lovely Indeed
  2. Upholstery nails in a pumpkin by Country Living.
  3. Sequin Polka Dot pumpkins by Sugar and Cloth
  4. Chevron stripe and polka dot painted pumpkins from Family Circle
  5. (a little messy) Paint Dipped Pumpkins by Ciera Design
  6. Burlap ribbon wrapped pumpkins from Country Living (a printed ribbon would be adorable too)

Tag your no-mess pumpkins with #yourdayyourstyle on Instagram so we can see what you did – mess or not. 

Enjoy your day,

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PIN IT FOR LATER: 

No Carve Pumpkin Decoration Ideas

Smoothie Your Mornings: Make-ahead breakfast Smoothies

With school in full swing, our mornings are often chaotic. Making smoothies ahead of time and freezing them has been a MAJOR life saver. Our kids love to drink a smoothie while packing lunch, or sometimes in the car on the way to school. Keith and I really like them too and having a smoothie ready to go helps me grab something good to start my day when I might have otherwise skipped breakfast (awful I know)! 

berry smoothie ingredients

(This post contains affiliate links. All this basically means companies compensate me for sending you to their sites. I only choose products I would buy myself and appreciate your support to keep this website running.)

Here’s the REAL GAME CHANGER. My awesome sister-in-law introduced me to freezing smoothies – brilliant right? I have adapted her technique to meet our needs and created the short video below to show you how I do it. I make 8 at a time, which is two blender pitchers full. This lasts us about a week (meaning we don’t eat them every day.)

“make-ahead” smoothie shopping list:

  • These are the cups I use. (I have 8 currently, but think I might double that up and keep extras in our deep freezer.)
  • Smoothie ingredients. (We have tried a lot of recipes but seem to keep going back to berries, banana, spinach, and protein powder – I like the Hemp vanilla one Trader Joes offers because it is dairy-free and that helps me a bunch.)
  • Blender. (I don’t have a fancy one, and it works just fine.)

smoothie cups

 

WHY FREEZE SMOOTHIES?

I am NOT, yet, a morning person. Like I already said, having a healthy breakfast option, like a protein packed smoothie, really helps me get my day started on the right foot. A good morning routine, that starts the night before, also saves me from being “crazy mom” when we are all moving in different directions, and at different speeds, each day. 

I also found, having a “fun” frozen food ready has turned into an afternoon snack for the kids. Now since I get a little stingy about the smoothies, I give my kids the snack option, only if they didn’t have a smoothie for breakfast. (More cups would really help me out here.) 

It’s a low cost, high reward, breakfast item. With a teen now in the house, we seem to be going through a lot more food. We all like things that are quick and easy, so preparing smoothies ahead of time helps them fall into the “quick and easy” food category for him, and the rest of us. It’s also an amazing way to use produce that might have otherwise not been eaten because it wasn’t pretty enough anymore. Check out this post on how to freeze blueberries. You can apply it to any of your smoothie fruits, just skip the washing with the bananas- but do peel them before you freeze them- you will be thankful later.

More ways to smooth over your mornings:

Establish a Routine for Yourself: Crystal Paine at Money Saving Mom has written a great course that helps you create a sustainable routine for your mornings or your evenings (or both!). I have checked it out and the information is solid and really doable. If you are not a routine person, it might feel a little over the top at first, but I encourage you to adopt one suggestion at a time until you are mastering your new world. 

(SALE ALERT: Now through midnight 8/15/16, buy either Make Over Your Mornings or Make Over Your Evenings for $10 (normally $17)!  And an added bonus, if you buy one title for $10, you can get the other title for $7!)

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Establish a Routine for the Kids: Print out this FREE routine checklist for each kid. 

Check List for kids daily routine by Your Day. Your Style.com ©2016

Make a To-Do List: Make a to-do list at night before you go to bed. Keep it simple and do-able. I have some pretty full page to-do list FREE prints in our Member Resource Library, you can sign up for free here.

Keep a Calendar: Grab a FREE monthly or weekly calendar (or here) to plan your days, meals, or whatever makes your mornings run smoother. Do what you got to do girl! 

Cheers to SMOOTHIE mornings!

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Simple steps to made and freeze smoothies for easier morning routines.

Blueberries: Freezing your fresh blueberries

Fresh fruit, like blueberries, makes summer tolerable for me. I am not a fan of the heat, but since the warm weather brings us so many amazing fruits, I won’t go all White Witch and banish summer. (As if!) Recently we were in Michigan, the land of blueberries, and we visited a local family-run blueberry farm. We only picked about 9 lbs, because we had to travel home with them, and our day was pretty full. 

Freezing fresh blueberries

Blueberry picking is a blast.  A good blueberry farm will let you know the best time to pick and only let you pick on bushes that are ripe and ready to go, making the picking easy, and searching for berries nonexistent. By the way, fun fact, did you know well cared for blueberry bushes can live for 50 years! 

Freezing fresh blueberries

With freshly picked, or grocery bought (no shame there either) berries, let’s walk through the best way to freeze them so you can enjoy them for the months ahead in smoothies, muffins, cakes, breakfast oatmeal, you name it. 

Freezing fresh blueberries

HOW TO FREEZE BLUEBERRIES

Wash your blueberries. I like to do this by placing a strainer in a large bowl. Fill strainer with blueberries. Then gently fill with water. Let the berries swim around for a few minutes. 

Drain as much water off the berries as you can. Gently pour onto dry towels (or paper towels) on a flat surface. Spread out berries so they are not overlapping. 

Pick out  any bad blueberries. Pull any extra stems off. Remove any leftover debris like twigs or leaves. 

Let dry. I usually do this overnight, but a few hours will be fine. (Watch out for little fingers, these are prime for stealing all laid out pretty.)

After berries are completely dry, gently bag into freezer bags or containers. Wet blueberries will freeze in clumps and be harder to use later. I also think they don’t last as long when frozen wet.

Keep frozen until you are ready to use. I like to lay my blueberry freezer bags flat until the berries have frozen. This keeps the weight of the whole bunch from smooshing the little guys on the bottom. (Blueberries are so cute aren’t they?) 

I have had blueberries in my freezer for 6 months or more and they still were great in smoothies and baked items! I am sure there are some guidelines, but you’re smart, use your best judgement. A deep freezer will keep them colder and fresher longer since the temperature remains more consistent than your kitchen freezer. 

Saving blueberries for year round use, by freezing them, helps summer last all year and is kind to your wallet.

CHECK OUT THESE “HOw TO’s” With BLUEBERRIES:

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How to Freeze Blueberries