Carving a Faux Pumpkin

I love Halloween!  I know, you are all surprised to hear that, but it is true!

Today I want to share this totally awesome tip I have for carving fake pumpkins – it will change your life.

I love carving pumpkins!  Every time I see a Pumpkin Masters book, especially when on sale, I grab it! They have awesome templates that range from super easy to the insane I would never attempt to do on my own!

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We used to get real pumpkins and carve them, and sometimes I still do; however, I’m in love with the fake pumpkins!  I can carve them and then bring them out year after year.  I like to pick them up once they go on sale but I have been known to pay full price (well, okay, I always have a coupon!).  I did pick one up this year with my 40% off coupon but while I was shopping I found the most amazing gadget!

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It’s called a Styro Cutter.  This little gadget is a thin wand that heats up. It is meant to be used on Styrofoam – wreaths, decorations, etc. but I have discovered that it works well on fake pumpkins, too!  This is awesome!  So, you tape your pattern onto the pumpkin, use the little tool that comes with the Pumpkin Masters kits to poke the tiny holes to create the outline and then you plug in the styro cutter.  Within minutes you will be engrossed in creating masterpieces!  Once the knife is hot you slide it into the pumpkin and then slowly work your way around doing a grown up version of connect the dots.

There are several reasons why I love this, first off – this little wand replaces all of the serrated blades that have the tiniest handles in the world!  Don’t get me wrong, those blades are awesome and do work, but I love not having to switch between the different tools.

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Secondly, the mess is minimal!  Before, there would be tons of orange shavings all over the place – but now, the orange foam shavings are minimal, I collect them in my hand and toss!  If you know me, then you know that I don’t like messy, so the fact that this minimized the mess makes it worth it.

Lastly, this cuts the carving time in half.  Since I don’t have to switch serrated blades and don’t have to stop to give my hand a rest, the time it took to make my pumpkin went by in a flash!  Mr. T had fun helping, too, which makes it even more fun for me!

This year the pumpkin we carved was double sided.  The front is a witch with a bubbling cauldron and when lit, it casts the outline of a couple of ghosts on the wall dancing behind the witch.  It is super awesome!!!

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Front

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Back – and these ghosts dance on the wall behind the witch!

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Not a good picture, but the one on the right we did last year… by hand… with the small serrated blades. Trust me, the hot knife makes carving so much easier! (The one on the left was pre-purchased like that, I can’t take credit!)

Along these lines – Penney at My Journey to Live an Authentic Life sent me this pin the other day… Do you remember how much I love baby showers?

Halloween party

Best Birthday Present!

Monday, after Mr. T got his permit he drove us home and I took the keys and headed right back out to enjoy one of the best birthday presents I’ve ever received.

Shortly after Lee passed away I received a coupon for a spa package, five treatments for $19.  I called mom and asked if she wanted to do a spa day with me as I thought we both needed one.  She agreed, and then decided she wanted to get my sister and me the package as her gift to us.  So, for our birthdays, in June, my sister got her package and in July I got mine.  I knew mom wanted us to do this together so I waited and waited, and then waited some more.  It’s not easy to get us all together, and even harder when my sister lives in Dallas and just had a baby…

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Baby Bella was happy to see Aunt Kate!

Eventually time was running out, so I told mom I was going to go do it before it expired.  Apparently that was all the motivation my mom and sister needed.  My mom started her spa treatments last Wednesday and finished up on Friday evening.  My sister started hers Friday evening and finished up Saturday.

See what a bonding experience that was?  We totally did not do it together!  We (they) waited so long and appointments were already booked.  I had mine scheduled to start on Saturday and on Friday I called to cancel.  There was no way I could help with the yard work at mom and dad’s, go do the spa treatments, go back to my parents to do more yard work and move furniture, then leave to get the cake and food and then do T’s party.  That was just asking for trouble.

Instead, I scheduled my time for Monday.  Yup, I took a couple of hours off work and went and had my birthday spa treatments!

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My idea of a spa.

This was a contemporary spa.  Now, since I’ve never been to a spa, contemporary or non-contemporary, I was pretty clueless.  I had gathered from their website that it was all automated.  We aren’t talking about Fabio massaging you – nope, it’s all done by machines.  This actually intrigued me!

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The reality of a contemporary spa.

So, I arrived and got started.  First up was a slimming capsule.  It is a dry heat and is supposed to burn up to 500 calories.  It burned 488.  And I lost one pound.  This was only disappointing because mom lost 4 pounds!  Of course, it’s water weight, but that’s not the point!!

Next was the hydration machine.  This is a wet heat and I’d been cautioned that I should put a towel on my tummy because it gets really hot.  They weren’t kidding!!  I had that towel covering more than just my tummy!  And, I kept opening the capsule to release some steam!

Afterwards, I went and bought a bottle of water.  As I had forgotten my tanning lotion, I picked one off the clearance rack.  Water and lotion – $9.  Yup.  I forked it over.  I had a $20 on me to tip them with… well, yeah, they didn’t get that much after I spent $9 and some change on a single serving of tanning lotion and a bottle of water!!

Then it was time for my massage.  Now, I wasn’t sure how an automatic massage would work, but it was pretty awesome! Really powerful water jets were underneath me and rolled up and down my body.  I had on head phones with relaxing music and the lights were out.  It was heaven!

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Next up was the tanning bed.  Now, I am an outdoor person, I spend an insane amount of time in my swimsuit out in the sun every year.  There have been several years that I’ve also used the tanning bed, so I’m no stranger to this.  When they asked me how long I wanted to tan, I was like “12 minutes, that’s the max I can do, right?” and she asked if I was sure.  Of course I’m sure!  My skin is already very tan from the summer, this is nothing! So, after putting on my insanely expensive lotion, I hopped on the bed and let the lights go to work.

Last item on the agenda was back to the massage bed! I laid down and just let it run all over me. Perfect way to end the experience!

I thanked the ladies and left a $10 tip and headed home.  I felt awesome!  That was one of the best presents I’ve ever gotten.

Until a few hours later… and I realized I was uncomfortable.  I was adjusting my shorts when I realized, you guessed it, I burned my belly in the tanning bed.  Not just a little, but bright pink hurts to touch kind of burned.  When I was thinking that I was so smart and could easily do the 12 minutes, I totally forgot that parts of my body had not been exposed to the sun!!! Just totally forgot that my tummy is always covered and exposing it in the tanning bed would not be a good idea!

I’m still hurting!  I’ve been putting Calendula lotion on it several times a day and changing into my elastic waist shorts as soon as I’m home to help relieve some of the pain!

Yup, that happened – and someone please tell me I’m not the only one that this has happened to!  Please!! 🙂