© twin-mom.com. Craven Farm pumpkin patch. Snohomish, Washington.

Craven Farm Pumpkin Patch: Halloween family fun on the farm in Snohomish, Washington

Halloween is coming up and we’re taking advantage of the fall season with plenty of harvest fun and time at our local farms. We’ve been to a few pumpkin patches around the Pacific Northwest, but this was our first trip to Craven Farm. Owners Mark and Judy Craven are such nice people, I can see why this farm is so popular year after year.

There’s a lot to do around the pumpkins and great attention to detail. It was fun and well-organized, with plenty of room to appreciate the activities and pick your perfect pumpkins. It’s not a scary pumpkin patch, but there are a variety of activities for different ages.

We also went for the Frozen show. I was so impressed with the quality of the show and the wonderful ladies who dressed up and performed as Elsa, Anna, and Cinderella. They were very kind and attentive to the kids. It will definitely be a special memory.

Craven Farm pumpkin patch was a wonderful fall day for our family. Check it out.

© twin-mom.com. Craven Farm pumpkin patch. Snohomish, Washington. © twin-mom.com. Craven Farm pumpkin patch. Snohomish, Washington.

© twin-mom.com. Craven Farm pumpkin patch. Snohomish, Washington.
© twin-mom.com. Craven Farm pumpkin patch. Snohomish, Washington.

© twin-mom.com. Craven Farm pumpkin patch. Snohomish, Washington.

© twin-mom.com. Craven Farm pumpkin patch. Snohomish, Washington.

© twin-mom.com. Craven Farm pumpkin patch. Snohomish, Washington.

© twin-mom.com. Craven Farm pumpkin patch. Snohomish, Washington.

© twin-mom.com. Craven Farm pumpkin patch. Snohomish, Washington.

About twin-mom.com and Linda Jenkins:

twin-mom.com Linda Jenkinstwin-mom.com is a blog about family life and travels in the Pacific Northwest, with some wish list finds just for moms, too. Follow Linda and her busy family as they enjoy close-to-home and accessible family fun.

Former attorney Linda Jenkins is a Pacific Northwest travel, food & wine, and lifestyle writer. Her work has appeared in magazines and newspapers including 425 Magazine, South Sound Magazine, NWLawyer, The Everett Herald, The Seattle Times, and The Tacoma News Tribune. Read more…

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10 Pumpkin Patch Books for Kids

 

My family is loving this fall season. My five-year-old daughter’s favorite holiday is Halloween, and her twin brother’s favorite activity is getting outside. Farms and pumpkin patches are a perfect fit for us.

My twins really enjoy books that focus on what’s new and exciting in their lives. We do a lot of reading in our house, and right now it’s all about pumpkins, autumn, harvest season on the farm, leaves changing, and Halloween.

Many of us parents put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make great memories around the holidays. Sometimes that works, and sometimes it’s a challenge. To help my kids know what to expect when we travel or try a new activity, we often read about it ahead of time.

Here are 10 pumpkin patch books that we own, or we’ve checked out from our local library. I interviewed my twins and included their impressions below. It’s our first-ever mom and twins collaboration.

 

Tractor Mac Harvest Time. If you have a tractor-loving kid, this one is for you. I like the focus on celebrating your strengths and interests, and helping others.

I like Mac and Fred because at the end of the story they need to share the fun.

I like the bees. They’re cool.

 

 

The Runaway Pumpkin.The story of how the giant pumpkin rolls through a farming family’s life is fun and silly and the text is a good way to practice listening for rhyming sounds.

I like all the animals running from the pumpkin.

I like the big jack-o-lantern.

 

 

Rah Rah Radishes. This book is like visiting a farm stand. It was great for getting the conversation going about the variety of fresh vegetables that we can try. Vegetables with their unique names are a fun way to work on letter sounds, too.

I like the carrots.

I like the pumpkin.

 

Apples and Pumpkins. This is a great book for early readers. It’s about  a family going apple picking, carving a Jack-o-lantern, and trick-or-treating on Halloween. It has great illustrations and simple, engaging text.

I like the costumes.

“I like the jack-o-lantern because it’s scary.

 

Too Many Pumpkins. This book would be great for older kids, too. It’s about a woman who lives alone and doesn’t like pumpkins, but ends up with too many of them. She learns to reach out to others and appreciate what she has.

I like all the pumpkin food.

I like all the pumpkin pie and jack-o-lanterns.

 

 

Let it Fall. This book is about the special changes that happen in the fall. Leaves drop, kids go to school, and the family visits a farm festival. It’s a great book for looking at seasons and what’s special about kids’ everyday lives.

I like when they’re going to school.”

I like the dog.

 

 

From Seed to Pumpkin. This one if for your little scientists. It’s does a great job of explaining how pumpkins are planted and how they grow. The kids in the story all have fun while learning a lot of detail.

I like seeing the bees.

The pumpkin flowers were pretty.

 

Monster Needs a Costume. This is a fun Halloween story about a monster who can’t make up his mind about the costume he wants. Monster tries new things and makes the choice that’s right for him.

I like when he was a ninja.

I like when he was the ballerina.

 

 

 

Biscuit Visits the Pumpkin Patch. Biscuit is a familiar character for my twins. In this story, he’s up to his mischief at the pumpkin patch. It’s a cute book for toddlers and any kid who loves animals.

I like the funny faces on the pumpkins.

I like the zucchini and the apples.

 

 

 

Reuben and Barney’s Day at the Farm. This one is a charming translation of a Dutch book about a boy named Reuben and his dog Barney. Reuben is a confident, kind, and helpful boy who spends his day on the farm.

I love the cows.

I like the horse when it was running.

 

Links to amazon.com are affiliate links. A small percentage of your purchase may go to supporting the costs of this blog. Thank you so much!

About twin-mom.com and Linda Jenkins:

twin-mom.com Linda Jenkinstwin-mom.com is a blog about family life and travels in the Pacific Northwest, with some wish list finds just for moms, too. Follow Linda and her busy family as they enjoy close-to-home and accessible family fun.

Former attorney Linda Jenkins is a Pacific Northwest travel, food & wine, and lifestyle writer. Her work has appeared in magazines and newspapers including 425 Magazine, South Sound Magazine, NWLawyer, The Everett Herald, The Seattle Times, and The Tacoma News Tribune. Read more…

Follow twin-mom.com on:

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© twin-mom.com. School lunch ideas from the Arlington Farmers Market.

School lunch box ideas from the farmers market

 

Our twins started kindergarten this month. It’s a fun time to be a mom and to see their world expanding. Change is good.

One of the ways I wanted to stay involved in my kids’ school day is to pack a school lunch for them. Like many moms, I want to offer my kids nutritious food but I also want them to eat it. For us, we have food sensitivities and I’ll also admit that I like the idea of my kids having food from home, prepared by mom.

It’s already been a challenge to figure out what to pack. I see us getting stuck in a food routine, partly by the limitations of making food that will hold up in their lunch boxes, and partly because like most kids, mine like what they like.

I thought I’d get some inspiration from our local farmers market. My twins both seek out and enjoy vegetables and fruit, and already at 5 years old they know that food “from the farmer” tastes better, and it’s a lot more fun to shop for.

So it was a sunny September Saturday when we popped in to the Arlington Farmers Market. My daughter was with me, and as she’ll remind you, she’s completely grown, so she had her own shopping basket of course. There was also a local art fair and music happening that day.

© twin-mom.com. School lunch ideas from the Arlington Farmers Market.

It’s so nice to see friends and people you recognize at the market. It had been too long since we visited, but it was like stepping back into a familiar routine, a kind of relaxed food experience that reminds me of that closer connection I felt to food as a child in Asia and as a young adult in Europe. When you buy something knowing you’re going to eat it that day or the next, choosing the ingredients becomes part of the meal, too.

© twin-mom.com. School lunch ideas from the Arlington Farmers Market.

© twin-mom.com. School lunch ideas from the Arlington Farmers Market.

We found plums, peaches, and our favorite tomatoes at Garden Treasures Nursery & Organic Farm. From Arial at Misty Mountains Farm we got gluten-free cookies and bread we ate right away, as well as a pizza crust and, um, more cookies.

© twin-mom.com. School lunch ideas from the Arlington Farmers Market.

I learned about cheese making from Golden Glen Creamery. We even got some homemade dog treats from Happy Tails Dog Treats, and my daughter got a bouquet of flowers just because.

© twin-mom.com. School lunch ideas from the Arlington Farmers Market.

I’m still working on those school lunches. My daughter just announced that she wants to try the hot lunch at school, too. With two kindergarteners, I know I have a lot of change in my future, with food and everything else.

*The Arlington Farmers Market is open for two more Saturdays this year. Check them out! Local Harvest and Puget Sound Fresh have searchable lists of farmers markets options.

About twin-mom.com and Linda Jenkins:

twin-mom.com Linda Jenkinstwin-mom.com is a blog about family life and travels in the Pacific Northwest, with some wish list finds just for moms, too. Follow Linda and her busy family as they enjoy close-to-home and accessible family fun.

Former attorney Linda Jenkins is a Pacific Northwest travel, food & wine, and lifestyle writer. Her work has appeared in magazines and newspapers including 425 Magazine, South Sound Magazine, NWLawyer, The Seattle Times, and The Tacoma News Tribune. Read more…

Follow twin-mom.com on:

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© twin-mom.com. Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier with kids: wildflowers and mountain air in Paradise

 

So much of the reason I love where we live has to do with the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. For my twins, going outside and seeing snow-capped mountains is part of their daily lives, but we hadn’t yet made the trip up to Mount Rainier.

It was a three-hour drive for us. How do we do road trips with kids? The tricks that work for me are to spend a lot of time building interest in the destination, try to keep the kids occupied en route, and feed everyone well. Bringing your patience is helpful, too. #speakingfromexperience

© twin-mom.com. Mount Rainier National Park

We entered Mount Rainier National Park along with a lot of other people on a sunny, crisp, almost-fall Sunday. I decided on the Paradise Inn area as our stopping point because I knew there were easy paved trails there and I wanted to check out the Paradise Jackson Visitor Center.

The road from the Nisqually Entrance winds around a bit, and there were a lot of cars stopped to check out the waterfalls and trails.  I was glad we took our smaller car to maneuver around, because we had just a few hours before we were due back in Elbe to catch the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad.

© twin-mom.com. Mount Rainier National Park, Paradise Inn

Paradise Inn

We found the Paradise Inn along with, yes, a lot of other people. It was crowded in the parking lot and visitor center area but as soon as we freshened up from the car ride, we headed for the trails.

And oh my glorious.

© twin-mom.com. Mount Rainier National Park
© twin-mom.com. Mount Rainier National Park

So all I have to say is go. Go while the sun is shining or your weather app tells you it’s whatever your version of a “good day” looks like. Be adventurous, be patient, be prepared, and get ready to walk. The quiet views, the wildflowers, and the fresh mountain air (away from the crowds) are worth every bit of road trip angst you might ever have.

© twin-mom.com. Mount Rainier National Park © twin-mom.com. Mount Rainier National Park

© twin-mom.com. Mount Rainier National Park

Alpine Aster

Visit Rainier has good information to plan a visit to Mount Rainier National Park and the surrounding communities, and I could spend a good chunk of an otherwise productive day looking at the National Park Service’s informative website, too.

About twin-mom.com and Linda Jenkins:

twin-mom.com Linda Jenkinstwin-mom.com is a blog about family life and travels in the Pacific Northwest, with some wish list finds just for moms, too. Follow Linda and her busy family as they enjoy close-to-home and accessible family fun.

Former attorney Linda Jenkins is a Pacific Northwest travel, food & wine, and lifestyle writer. Her work has appeared in magazines and newspapers including 425 Magazine, South Sound Magazine, NWLawyer, The Everett Herald, The Seattle Times, and The Tacoma News Tribune. Read more…

Follow twin-mom.com on:

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© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park.

Our first trip to the Olympic Peninsula: camping at Dosewallips State Park

 

We arrived late after a gorgeous sunset ride on the Edmonds to Kingston ferry, driving through the Olympic National Forest to get to Dosewallips State Park in Brinnon, Washington. We’re a Bigfoot family – not seriously, but ok kind of seriously – and my husband pronounced the forest very “Squatchy.” We drove along Highway 101, looking for hulking shadows or glowing eyes around every turn. So cool.

© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park.

Riding the Washington State Ferry from Edmonds to Kingston. Selfie!

 

We set up our tent in the dark and settled in. Even with the late night and the big change from our routine, my twins did very well and went right to sleep. In the morning, it was full-on campground fun time. The bike and scooter came out, horseshoes and lawn bowling set up, and plenty of neighbors to wave at.

© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park.

Playing horseshoes at the campground.

© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park.

A kid-friendly campground. Check out the Airstream in the background – so cool.

© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park.

They crack themselves up.

Was this deep woods quiet reflection? No. It was car camping, social camping, “get to know where everyone’s from” camping. My kids love the campground atmosphere, and my husband and I are becoming fans, too. It helps to see your kids so happy.

We did get out to explore. They tried play-fishing with toy rods in the Dosewallips River – note to mom, get real rods! We walked the trail over to Hood Canal, stepping over thousands of oyster and clam shells, and getting to see some live ones, too. My daughter and I hiked some of the Maple Valley Trail, walking quietly through the other-worldly green of the forest.

© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park.

Play-fishing on the Dosewallips River.

© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park.

A natural!

© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park.

Pitching rocks on Hood Canal.

© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park. Maple Valley Trail

The Maple Valley Trail.

© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park.

It rained after dinner. Having some cozy time in the tent.

 

If you’re a family who hasn’t tried camping yet, I’d say go for it. Just expect that if you’re a mom who does a lot of work to care for everyone at home, that won’t change. Travel isn’t about luxury and pampering all of the time. Sometimes, it’s a game of horseshoes, washing little faces outside, and sleeping in a cozy tent.

And the feeling that you did it together.

 

About twin-mom.com and Linda Jenkins:

twin-mom.com Linda Jenkinstwin-mom.com is a blog about family life and travels in the Pacific Northwest, with some time just for moms, too. Follow Linda and her busy family as they enjoy close-to-home and accessible family fun.

Former attorney Linda Jenkins is a Pacific Northwest travel, food & wine, and lifestyle writer. Her work has appeared in magazines and newspapers including 425 Magazine, South Sound Magazine, NWLawyer, The Everett Herald, The Seattle Times, and The Tacoma News Tribune. Read more…

twin-mom.com’s header photo is by Jon Anderson of Jon and Rach Photography.