Dear Jack: Using a Pumpkin as Target Practice for Archery

10 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

Though we haven’t had much of a chance to shoot our bows since last summer when you were in archery camp, we made some time for it this past week.

You had the cool idea to use an old rotting pumpkin as target practice.

I’m not surprised by this at all, because you truly have skills, but you were able to hit the pumpkin on your very first try!

And that was using an old broken arrow with a missing head!

Not to mention, you simply fired it as a practice shot!

You have talent. I am impressed!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Using Your Pink Jeep to Haul Around a Rotting Pumpkin

4 years, 8 months.

Dear Holly,

This past weekend, though the weather was barely warm enough to do so, we spent some time outside so you could play in your new Jeep you got for Christmas.

Your brother decided to take an old pumpkin that has been sitting on our front porch since Autumn and began to have fun destroying it in the cul-de-sac.

Your new Jeep was used to carry that heavy load around until your brother found a good spot to roll it down the hill.

It’s a good thing you have hefty new vehicle to help in events like this one!

Love,

Daddy

Learn What You Can Do with Pumpkin Carving Leftovers 

We’ll all soon be carving pumpkins at this time of year. However, when the scary faces are made and the jack-o-lantern sits on the windowsill – what can we do with the innards of the pumpkin? Well, here are some solutions:

1) Pumpkin Pie:

Once you carve something silly or scary into a pumpkin, you shouldn’t let the innards go to waste. Why not make your very own pumpkin puree? You can bake a homemade pumpkin pie using it. Pumpkin has a nutty flavor that pairs well with nutmeg and cinnamon for a delicious aroma lingering around your home. Get the details on Foodal.com for the most incredible puree

2) Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Toasted pumpkin seeds are a tasty and healthy snack full of fiber and nutrition. This is why you were advised not to toss them when you carve out a pumpkin.

To make your seeds truly crispy, just clean them all out of the flesh before boiling them for about 10 minutes. Spread them out over a baking tray before drizzling them with oil and sprinkling them with salt. Bake them for 10 minutes at 175F, but stir them occasionally to be sure they do not burn.

If you’re not keen on actually eating them yourself, remember that birds love them. Clean the seeds out of your pumpkin flesh before letting them dry out on a flat surface. Then just lay them out for your birds outside. Just make sure you don’t season them.

You might even choose to keep a few of the seeds to the side so you can plant them when the temperatures start warming back up. Read more about what it takes to grow an edible garden of your own.

3) Pumpkin Soup:

Making a nice batch of some pumpkin soup for your fridge or freezer means you have something handy later on a busy day, and it might just be the most efficient use for your carved pumpkin.

4) Pumpkin-Infused Vegetable Stock:

If you use both the seeds and flesh from your pumpkin, you might be wondering what to do with those stringy insides that you might just typically compost. Try adding them to other various veggie scraps which accumulate in your fridge so you can make a flavorful veggie stock. It’s a great way to use wrinkly carrots and onion ends. You might even freeze a lot of it for use later on in the winter.

Dear Jack: You Were Literally Smashing Pumpkins

7 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

One of my favorite bands in junior high and high school was Smashing Pumpkins. In fact, their 1993 album Siamese Dream remains one of my favorites of all time.

But all that was lost on you when you asked last Saturday, “Daddy, will you go outside with me so I can go smash the pumpkins?”

The light rain definitely didn’t stop you.

You began by taking your miniature hammer that you got with one of your crafts from Home Depot and started smashing the first rotting jack o’lantern left over from Halloween.

The task proved to be more difficult than either of us thought:

Your hammer basically just bounced off the pumpkin, for the most part.

Then you had another fun idea, “Daddy, can I roll the other pumpkin down the hill and see what happens?

What surprised us both is that after a few rolls, that pumpkin split in half.

It’s official:

The hill was mightier than the hammer.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Carving the Halloween Jack-o’-lantern for the Thanksgiving/Hike at DeSoto Falls with Uncle Joe and Aunt Rebecca

7 years.

Dear Jack,

After having ventured to Gentry’s Farm to get our family’s pumpkin to carve for Halloween, we just didn’t get around to actually carving it in time. So we took it to Nonna and Papa’s nearly a month after Halloween… for the wrong holiday.

Papa then built a bonfire in the backyard to extend the feeling of pumpkin carving season.

Since your Uncle Joe and Aunt Rebecca were visiting from Pensacola, we also spent part of Thanksgiving break to introduce them to DeSoto Falls; not that far from where I grew up.

I’m fortunate to be from such a cool outdoorsy town (Fort Payne, Alabama), as it is not the average hometown to spend the holidays in. I was very proud to be able to entertain your aunt and uncle by showing them the giant waterfall up on the mountain.

It’s especially neat because we were able to get pretty close to the water, but kept from certain danger thanks to some guard rails.

While we were enjoying the views, we looked up and saw a few drones flying above us. I imagine it must be an awesome place to fly one around; as long as it doesn’t get caught in the rapids.

I have to assume in a just a few years, you’ll be asking for a drone for your birthday or Christmas, as compared to just Pokemon cards like you are currently obsessed with.

Turns out, your Uncle Joe and Aunt Rebecca enjoyed their Thanksgiving visit so much, they decided to drive back up from Florida again for Christmas- and this time they are bringing their teenage daughter who you enjoyed spending time with at Uncle Jake’s wedding in San Diego last year.

Whatever we all end up doing during our 5 days in Alabama for Christmas, I know we’re all going to have a great time!

Love,

Daddy