If you are just catching up with my Sunday Open House Series, then here are the links for the other posts:
1. Kitchen
2. Curb Appeal & Landscaping
3. Dining Room
4. Fireworks (4th of July)
5. Blueprints
6. Back-To-School Decor
7. Cooper's Bedroom
8. Football Season Decor
9. Fall Decor
I. Love. Fall.  I love the weather.  I love the colors.  I love the smells.  And I love the decorations!

Here's a look at how we decorated our house for fall this year!

I bought 2 bundles of indian corn from Walmart for the centerpiece...6 pieces tied up with some burlap ribbon {folded in half so it wouldn't be as wide}.

I added some blue/gray and white pumpkins with the candles and two mason jars I left in there from my normal set up.

Then, I stuffed the extra spaces with some fake leaves I bought from Pottery Barn about 5 years ago {boy have I gotten my money's worth with those}....

The more open areas I stuffed with burlap fabric scraps and acorns.  I didn't have enough acorns to fill the whole box so that's why I used the burlap underneath.

I filled the mason jars with corn kernels and a floral pic from Hobby Lobby.

I just love how good it looks in my kitchen!  On one of our family nights, we wrote things we were thankful for on some place holder leaves I found at Hobby Lobby.  Cooper absolutely loved writing things he was thankful for and it's such a simple reminder for us each evening as we eat dinner together of all of the blessings God has given us!

Here's hoping these gourds don't secretly rot before Thanksgiving inside of here! :)

More uses for the fake leaves from 5 years ago!

Love how easy and festive these candle wreaths from Hobby Lobby a few years back look with a pumpkin on top!
My "Give Thanks" banner has been around a while.  I made it by cutting burlap triangles and sharpie-ing on letters probably 3 or 4 years ago. {Pretty sure I just made up that verb!}  And it looked perfect on my old mantel.

But when I hung it this year on the new mantel, I just was too wide for my skinnier mantel... So instead of making an all new banner, I just added a small wreath to fill this space.  Love how this turned out!

I actually couldn't find a small wreath I was happy with, so I bought 3 small floral pics from Hobby Lobby and made one myself with a little bending and hot glue.

I hope I can't get a lot more years out of this banner.  It just makes me smile every time I get it out!

The wonderful thing about doing a little preschool at home with my toddler is getting to do school in our pajamas!

This is the last week of our October Break, so we busted out a little mini-pumpkin unit for "school time" this week!  Here's a look at the unit...Five for Friday style!

1.  Pumpkin Observations

The first day, we "observed" the outside of our pumpkin and talked about what we noticed that our little pumpkin had...

We observed a "boo-boo" on the bottom...
 a stem...

And I helped him notice the bumps on the outside...

My Pumpkin Book of Observations

We wrote our observations in our pumpkin book.  {{side note...forgive some of my printouts as my printer ran out of black ink and I couldn't get more in time to finish this week! BOO!}}

We read the sentence together and then Cooper found the picture to match the text in our book.
We glued the picture in our book...

And traced the words with our very, very special "pumpkin pen."  My little has problems using enough pressure to write with crayon, so I decided to try the special pen so he wouldn't have to use as much pressure...I wanted him to be able to see what he was writing and the pen helped with that!

Adding dots under the words of our books really helps Cooper with his pointing, so I added tiny pumpkins under each word to help his pointing...works like a charm!

2. Pumpkin Letter Match

After we worked on our book, we matched upper and lowercase letters.  Even though my pumpkin packet has all of the letters, I decided to only match 6 letters at a time to make it less overwhelming for Coop.  Plus, since my printer was out of black ink, it probably wouldn't have helped to print all of them out this week! ;)

 He loved finding matches!  We even played the "real" way with the cards turned upside down.  This was a little harder for him to do because he tried to turn over two capitals to match...easy fix for this next time we play {or when you play with your toddler} is that I'll add a sticker to the back of the cards...one color for the capitals and one color for the lowercase so he can easily tell to match one from each color!

3. Pumpkin Insides

The second day, we worked on observing the inside of our pumpkin.  We took this project outside since we would have a bit of a mess!  We did most of our work in the large plastic tub to help with clean up, which worked great!

Sweet Cooper does not like messes at all...which has its perks, but the down side is he refuses to stick his hand in a pumpkin!  So, I made him come up with another way to get the seeds and pulp out.  Little stinker is a creative thing!

We talked about the vocabulary words "seeds" and "pulp" and I had him show me each one...poor stem broke off of our pumpkin!

Then, we took turns filling our tiny pumpkin with dirt...
 planted the seeds...
 added some water...
and found a special spot in the sun for our pumpkin planter.... {how cute is the underwear peeking out!}

Years ago, before our animal unit was moved to the fall, I did pumpkin projects with my firsties and we planted seeds in our big "class" pumpkin....but I loved using this mini-pumpkin for Cooper.  It was the perfect size for my little tot! :)

As we talked about our vocabulary words during our observations, we added our vocab cards to our "pumpkin word wall" upstairs at our school station!  We added pumpkin and stem on day one, seeds and pulp on day two when we cut the pumpkin open, and then added sprout and vine after we planted the seeds so Cooper would know what we were watching for!

4. Pumpkin Counting Collections

Then, we came inside and washed our seeds to count!  I just slipped the page for counting in a ziploc bag to protect it from the slimy seeds.
When we do pumpkins in first grade, we count our seeds counting collection style...but for my little tot, I wanted him to just work on building sets of seeds to match numbers.  He had a blast doing this!  I even saved the seeds after we toasted them so that he can use them over and over!

5. Pumpkin Cookies

We finished up this unit by making these amazing pumpkin cookies together so that Cooper could try out a little pumpkin! Pinterest for the win again!

Cooper had so much fun with this unit!  And mommy had fun making memories and learning all wrapped up in one!

Hello 2nd week of my October break...I am currently loving year round school! {Catch me in June...hopefully I'll still be loving it!}

Last week, our family took a long weekend vacay to St. Louis.  I had never been there so I was excited to check it out and it just so happened that St. Louis has a TON of train things to do in the city so it was the perfect trip for our train obsessed 3 year old!  Here's a look at what we did...

We stayed at Union Station Hotel, which was hands down the best decision we made.  This hotel is nothing short of AMAZING!

The lobbies of this place were just gorgeous!

This is the grand lobby.  Cooper just grinned from ear to ear from the moment we walked in!  This picture is from Saturday when they were setting up for a wedding {wouldn't that be awesome to have a reception some place like this??}  And at night they have a light show that plays every hour on the walls and ceilings....it was perfect.  Just. Perfect.

Friday we went to the St. Louis Zoo.  It was a great zoo, but I will say that going in October is probably not the best time...some of the exhibits were closed down and it was a bit on the chilly side, but it was still fun!

Friday evening we went to the City Museum...this was the biggest disappointment of the weekend.  This museum is probably best for teenagers or at least 10 and up.  There was one small room for toddlers, but other than that it was just a huge building of dark tunnels and hide out spots.  And I was a nervous wreck--and I'm typically not a nervous mommy on stuff like this!  Cooper will enjoy it years down the road, but I wish we would've gone to the Magic House Kids Museum instead.

Saturday we went to the Museum of Transportation just outside of St. Louis.  I think this was one of our favorites.  They had a huge train yard with lots of trains to climb on and walk through!

Isn't this face hilarious??? Not even sure what this was about, because he was the happiest kid here...looks like he was trying a little to hard to force a "cheeeeeeeese!" :)


This means nothing to most of you I'm sure, but I had to have a picture of my boys beside a Cotton Belt train for my daddy....my grandpa was from Fordyce, Arkansas and always told stories about the Cotton Belt.  Goodness, I miss my grandpa on days like this when I have a flood of memories come back to me!

The train museum also had a visitor center and a play area where Cooper got to drive his own train!  He loved that!

But this face, ya'll.  This is why we did so much train stuff this weekend.  This may be a blurry picture, but this was the face every time we saw a train.  He was just in awe!

We also rode the Charlie Brown Pumpkin Express that went out from our Union Station hotel on a "weal twain" as Cooper said!

He got to pick out and decorate his own pumpkin while we waited...

All Aboard!

You know, just ridin' a train, sippin' my cider!

We listed to the Charlie Brown story...

And even got to meet Lucy and Snoopy!

Sunday, we went to Grant's farm and fed the baby goats {who tried to eat Mommy's shirt!! :)}

And rode a horse....

And rode a camel...

Before we left town Sunday, we found a train in a state park outside of Eureka, Missouri and rode a 2 mile train ride for $8 for all of us!  Best deal of the weekend and so fun!

Thank you, Jesus, for relaxing time with my sweet family!

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