October 31, 2011

Pumpkins are not for...

carving, at least around our parts. That's what we learned this weekend.

What set out to be a nice, restful Sunday afternoon of family-togetherness and good ol' fashioned pumpkin carving turned out to be a mostly single-handed effort on Charlie's part. It started out great...children were all fired up about creating their jack-o-lantern designs...

 And eager to cut into the pumpkins that they'd picked out weeks in advance...
Cutting into the lid...that's where the excitement ended, folks.  The smell...that stinky, stinky smell of pumpkin squashed all aspirations of a pumpkin carving tradition in the Apel home.  As soon as Asher took one whiff, he was ready to put the lid back on that sucker and chunk it outside. When we wouldn't let him, he excused himself to the front porch for a few minutes. (Where in the world? I often wonder, do my kids get their theatrics?)

McKlayne tried to keep the festivities alive as she relished in removing the slimy, stringy pumpkin seeds.  I think what kept her motivated was us telling her how tasty those pumpkins seeds would be roasted in the oven with "a great deal of butter" (my kids' favorite "chapter books") and some salt.  But Asher, who had returned from sulking, kept repeating, "I can't stand it...I just can't stand it."

Even my attempt at the festive treats (via here and here) could not distract him...well, they may have...just for a few minutes...but soon enough he was back to saying. "I can't stand it anymore."  When he didn't seem to be getting much of a reaction out of us he said, "What does, 'I can't stand it' mean, Daddy?"
Charlie tried to relay that just how stinky, filthy and foul-smelling the inside of the pumpkin was...that's what our hearts are like to God without Christ...and that only He can clean them out and remove the stench that sin leaves.  Jesus. He's the only one who can cleanse us and purify us before the Father, removing our filth and our shame.  And, even more than that, He gives us a new fragrance...one that is a pleasing aroma to God.

"That smell...it's making me homesick.  I'm just homesick now," is what he kept repeating the rest of the day.  So, poor Charlie was left to carving all three pumpkins by his lonesome, while Asher took deep breaths of fresh air outside...

and while McKlayne played with her "baby sister girl pumpkin"...who was declared "much too plain" without a bow in her hair...and then "nice and fancy" once she wrapped the bow rubberband around her stem.

and while I took pictures of the baby.  He was, as always, such a sport.  He didn't so much as whimper the whole time that he was in that cold, damp, slimy pumpkin.  Our precious Oliver...you are our most patient little pumpkin.

Thanks for all the drama and theatrics that you put up with, from our three little pumpkins, Char.  (And from the Big Mama Pumpkin, too.)  I'm thankful for the way you try to teach our kids through the ordinary and the everyday, even though some days it seems as if it's falling on deaf ears. We love you a whole, stinkin' lot.

Some Pumpkin Carving Remarks:

Maybe next year we'll just paint pumpkins? Anyone have any non-pumpin carving, pumpkin traditions?

October 27, 2011

Inchbug Orbit Label Review+Giveaway!

I have a confession. I've had Orbit Label envy of one of my child's classmates for over a year now. Pathetic, I know. Envious of a three year old. So mature.

I wouldn't describe myself as a total "germaphobe". Sure, I don't really just love when another kid drinks from my child's drink, but I know it happens...my children have been the culprits before.  (But why is it always the green, snotty nosed kid that happens to slobber all over my child's cup? Blek.) Anyway, like I was saying...the germ-sharing phobia must lessen a bit with each child that's added to the family because as much as I think that it's a great benefit of Inchbug's Orbit Labels, it's actually not the number one reason why I love them. 

I love them for their convenience. I don't know about you, but I'm constantly having to replace sippy cups and nalgenes that somehow don't make it back into my children's bag after childcare. So, I'm hoping they'll help to eliminate that.  Not to mention, I'm often breaking up fights when we're around other children because someone is "stealing" someone else's cup because they own a similar one. So, I'm all for decreasing the likelihood of those. But, being a busy mom of three young ones, I'm just plain sick of re-labeling cups each time my children go to school or the church nursery.  Even sharpies rub off and fade. And, I just plain don't have time for all the re-labeling while trying to get my troop out the door in time, usually in a mad rush!  

But these babies...they're interchangeable, snugly fitting bands that "orbit" your container, so young children can't easily remove them.  They're also non-adhesive and re-usable, meaning you can use them on all your cups or small food containers and put them in the dishwasher, boil or sterilize them without having to worry about anything peeling off or fading.  How's that for convenience?

So,when Inchbug sent me a set of 4 custom labels of my own (err..McKlayne, really) and offered to let me giveaway a set on my blog, I was ecstatic! 

And, my girl? She loves them just about as much as I do.  

Being the only girl, as soon as she saw the pink labels, she knew they were for her...before she even spotted her name on it! Then, she was doubly impressed!

There are 8 bright colors to choose from.

You can customize up to 2 lines of text...does your child have food allergies?  You can even label something like "*Peanut Allergy*" on their label underneath their name.  

She sure was eager to go to school with her new sippy cup label.  

I think she showed just about everyone that we encountered her "new cup" with her very own name on it. 


(It made posing for the pics oh, so fun.)

So, do you want a custom set of 4 Orbit Labels of your own for the child in your life? (If you don't have children, think grandchildren, nieces/nephews, friend's kids, etc.) These would make excellent baby shower gifts, too. The mother of the child will love you forever and ever for it. 

All you need to have is a facebook account:

HOW TO ENTER this giveaway: 
1. "Like" Inchbug on Facebook 
2. Leave a comment on my blog (if you're reading this from Facebook, please hop on over to planetoftheapels.blogspot.com...comments on my facebook page will not be entered) letting me know you'd like to be entered! AND PLEASE include your name and an email address as a way to contact you! That's it! 

Both of the above steps are required for you to be entered in the giveaway!

If you just can't wait to win a set of your own, I  just saw this on their facebook page: "Boo" coupon code for 15% off any order until trick of treat day! So, "liking" them on Facebook will also alert you to other offers, short-term coupons, and the inside scoop on their new products.   I'm off to order each of the boys a set of their own now with this coupon code!

This Giveaway will CLOSE on November 2  at 11:59 pm CST. Giveaway is open to U.S. and CANADA residents only. Winner will be picked the following day and will be emailed and announced on my blog. Winner has 48 hours to confirm their prize, otherwise a new winner will be chosen. Thank you to Inchbug for providing the sample and the giveaway prize! 
(Inchbug provided my own custom sample set for review and the prize for my readers. No other compensation was recieved. All opinions are 100% my own.)

October 2, 2011

What we've been up to...

I found this cool Paper City on Pinterest...where else?

So, in my effort to slow down...say "no"...unplug...and just drink in these precious ones...

We've been busy...


and celebrating with honey crisp apples, of course. 

 Oh...and, of course it wouldn't be a celebration without the cousins.  From left to right in birth order, the "Seewald cousins": Reid, Brynn, Asher, Stella, Camdyn, McKlayne, Nash, Rylan, Oliver.

And we didn't forget Baby Elaina. She's in the red dress above.

 (I <3 the ice cream truck!)

Want to make your own Paper City?

Our city may just keep developing...or maybe we'll wander out into the country on a road trip.

Go print them out here...and check out what else Made by Joel has in the way of coloring sheets.

But, whatever you do...

Slow down.  Say no.  Drink them in. Unplug.

They'll be gone before you know it.