Monday, October 8, 2012

Close To Home

There are times of the year when things get pretty busy and trying to juggle things can get nearly impossible. This past weekend was one of those weekends for us. We had to put our St. Lucia activities on hold and we spent most of the weekend at a local Pumpkinfest. You may have a Pumpkinfest near you, and I'm not sure what kind of events take place at yours, but at the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest, there is a parade, children's activities, pumpkin hurling, 180 foot pumpkin drop, and a pumpkin boat regatta. 

This boat regatta is pretty impressive! People hollow out big pumpkins and turn them into boats. They then race these boats in the cold cold water (seriously, it's cold!). Some have motors, some use paddles. All in all it is incredibly entertaining to watch. Sadly, this year we had to miss the race, as we had other commitments around town. But, I found this video on Youtube from the 2011 Regatta, it's pretty long, but if you watch just a few minutes of it, you'll get the idea of the silliness of it all. Though I should add, some of these racers take it very seriously.  

In addition to those events, there are giant pumpkins lining the streets in front of local businesses. They are decorated by local artists. Some are cute, some are pretty, some are funny and some are scary, but they are all impressive. 

There's this cute little (big) pug. 
This really bad, big bad wolf (notice the bit of red in his teeth). 
Then there is this guy. He sits in front of one of our favorite Damariscotta restaurants, King Eider's Pub, where we enjoyed several meals this weekend. 

The big event for us this year was The Pumpkin Derby. My littles each made a little pumpkin "car" to join in the fun and race down a hill. The rules are limited, but they must not weigh more than 20 pounds and they can be decorated however you choose, as long as the kids decorate them themselves. I'm sure you can imagine how fun this is for kids. 

This year, Aiden was inspired by Star Trek and made his with a Star Trek Enterprise on top. The pumpkin itself was painted to look like a black night sky with stars. 

Eliana painted hers with pinks, blues, a little yellow and a nice magenta toucan on it (she insists that you MUST see her toucan before moving on). 

We got up bright and early and headed to Damariscotta for registration and weigh in. Aiden's weighed 17 pounds, Eliana's weighed 14 pounds. PHEW, no dis-qualifiers!  

Now the fun can begin. Here they are at the starting line. El is on the left and Aiden is in the middle. (Preston can be spotted in his orange hoodie walking away from the starting line, with his coffee in hand.) 

And they're off! 

When these three pumpkins stopped, Aiden's was the farthest out, but if you revisit the picture above, you can see that the little guy on right had a headless horseman on his pumpkin and the pumpkin did a nose dive, so it didn't go a qualifying distance, so they had to  do a re-start. 

This time around, you can see Aiden's pumpkin veering off to take out the competition (sorry kid, I promise it was an accident) and Eliana's is racing. Though her pumpkin only made it a few feet off of the ramp, she won this race. Aiden was so proud of his sister and Eliana just wanted to eat her croissant that we had bought her for breakfast. 

Eliana gearing up for the first semi-final race. 

Yes! She won the first of the semi-final races! You can see the competition rolling over and Eliana's, again veers off the track only a few feet away from the ramp, but it's enough to make her the winner of this round. 

When we told Eliana that she had to go race again, she said, "Aww man." Still thinking about her uneaten croissant. When we saw who her competition was this time around, we knew this would be the end of it for her because the competing pumpkin made it to the bottom of the hill in every prior race and Eliana's only made it 5 feet at most.  

Somehow, this pink and blue toucan pumpkin was like a hustler in a game of pool, this time around, it went straight as can be and made it all the way down the hill, leaving the "deer pumpkin" in the dust.  

With one only one more race left to the semi-finals, Eliana's pumpkin was racing two other pumpkins for chance to move on to the finals. 

This time around, the gold pumpkin in the middle went the distance and Eliana's didn't win. It was a fun adventure, but since at this point Eliana was hoping that it would end, we were happy to be able to hand her breakfast and let her enjoy the moment of glory, of finally being able to lose a round. 

I know that it probably seems like we were holding her breakfast for ransom, but really, things just kept moving so quickly, we thought she'd have time to eat in between heats, but since she kept winning (which again, we hadn't really anticipated since there were some pretty serious pumpkin racers there), we kept having to take her food away and send her back to the starting line. 

Be sure to check out the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest website to see more photos of the pumpkins and activities. I have no doubt that there will soon be a video of this years pumpkin boat regatta there as well. 

We're working on our script for our skits and still trying to agree on decide how many props are really necessary. 

What did you do over the weekend? Did you enjoy any pumpkin activities? How about make your kids work for their breakfast ;) ? Did you work on preparing your house for winter? Or maybe you took a much needed break? 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Skittle Skittle Skittle

I may live to regret this, or I may not live long enough to regret it, but we are about to do something entirely new. There is one aspect of this global tour that I have avoided with great care. One thing that my Aiden has been asking for since our very first country. 

Aiden thinks it would be fantastic to do a play. Yes, a play. Now, I know that many of you probably think it sounds great, but here's the thing: I know nothing about writing a play, organizing a cast (yes, he wants to invite friends to join) or putting together a set design, we have a little house that won't easily accommodate a "crew" or an audience when they are ready to perform. Because of these reservations, I have not agreed to do a play. For a good long stretch, Aiden would ask me each month, "Can we do a play this month?" and every single month, I said, "Not this time buddy." Eventually, he stopped asking. 

This month, while reading about the history of St. Lucia, I read (many times) that there is little known about the history of St. Lucia, but what is known sounds fantastic! We're talking an Amerindian race that liked to wear beads and feathers, Caribs who overpowered them. Pirates! A good old ridiculously long war. Then finally much later, independence at the hand of a man who was referred to as Ti Jesi (Little Jesus) or Ti Hache (the small axe). This little bit of history really has all things that appeal to a little. Well, really Pirates are all we needed ;) 

So, with a great reluctance, I decided that I would "spring the news on Aiden" that this month we were going to do, "a play of sorts". I told him that we would do a series of small skits. This feels more manageable to me and won't require a big set and costume design department. He was thrilled and is already talking about props, cast, crew members and writing the script. 

While I read to Aiden and Eliana about the history of St. Lucia, Aiden took notes. 

Butefl rainforists (Beautiful rain forests), Arawaks, caribs, king= caciques, 16 cent, base for pitrits (pirates), attak puerto rico (attack)
From those notes, we made another list of how we'd break it down. There are going to be 4 skits and each one will represent a part of St. Lucia's history. I'm not sure exactly at this point how it is all going to come together, but follow along and see what happens. You'll either be delightfully inspired by our brilliance, or delightfully entertained by our failure. Either way, it should be delightful! 

If you happen to be one of our neighbors and would like to be involved, or have your little be involved in this project, let me know. Aiden has big plans of involving the neighborhood on this one. (Oh, and if you have a big space for putting on a show, can we do this at your house? ;)) 

Monday, October 1, 2012

St. Lucia Side Dish

OK, so finding the right title for this post wasn't easy. Usually after our craft, we make a snack that is from the country that we are currently learning about. St. Lucia is a hard one to pin point, plenty of recipes from The Caribbean, not so many that specify where in The Caribbean. At any rate, we woke up Sunday morning to a cold and dark rainy day. My first thought was that I didn't even want to get out of bed, but my next was, let's heat this house up with some cooking. On a day like this, the only real option for a food that will soothe the chills, is soup. I found a recipe that looked delicious, but was not from St. Lucia. So, I searched for a nice yummy bread to go with our soup. So, calling it a snack is a bit of a stretch, though they could easily be snacks as well. 

What I found was "Hot Bakes". I put that in quotation marks because when I think of something that has the word bake in the title I assume that it is baked. In this case, these little breads are fried. There was no picture to accompany the recipe, so I'm not sure what size they were supposed to be, but I decided it would be nice for us to have some individual little breads to dip in our soup. I also used a mix of whole wheat and all purpose flour, so they started out golden brown, instead of turning golden brown when they were done. 

I served up our dinner and stuck the little hot bake right in the soup. They were super yummy little breads. 

My littles agreed. 

The recipe for the St Lucia Hot Bakes is here. And even though the soup isn't a St. Lucia recipe, if you are inclined to give it a shot. It is honey roasted parsnip soup and it is oh so delicious! You can find that recipe here.

What did you do over the weekend? Did you sample any new foods? Was it cold and wet where you are, maybe you just stayed in bed? 

Most Visited