Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fall Fun and Food!

I love fall. I love everything about it. I love the cooler temperatures outside, the changing leaves, pumpkin everything, cozying up around the fire pit and roasting marshmallows, football season, apple cider, etc, etc, etc. Fall is, by far, my favorite season of the year!

This is our first fall in Tennessee and it has been absolutely wonderful watching the leaves change on the mountains this month! We took advantage of the beautiful backdrops to get family pictures done with my side of the family and Kristy Vest Photography. We hadn't done it since Ethan was just 6 months old, and there were only 3 cousins. Now my sister and I have added 2 more to the clan. What a difference 3 years makes!

Family picture 2012
Family picture, Fall 2012
Family picture 2009
Family picture, Fall 2009
I think it's safe to say we all look a little better now, too. Haha!

Here are some of my favorite pics of my little family. :)

Family collage

And a couple of my favorites of the cousins...




And finally a sweet pic with our mom. :)

Mom and girls

Today I'll share some other things we have been enjoying this fall! First up, the most amazing pumpkin dessert you will ever eat. I promise. Pumpkin pie fanatics (my hubby included) have even declared it to be better than pumpkin pie and a suitable substitute for the holidays! Woo hoo! I was never a pumpkin fan when I was younger, but it has started to grow on me as I get older. I now enjoy pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin cake pops, pumpkin cookies, and now pumpkin crunch! My dear sister introduced me to this recipe last fall, and I made it a couple times before the end of "pumpkin season." Now that fall is back, we can't get enough of this deliciousness! Without further adieu, I bring you the recipe for...

Pumpkin Crunch | more than 9 to 5: my life as "mom"

Pumpkin Crunch

  • 1 15-oz can solid packed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling; I use Libby's)
  • 1 12-oz can evaporated milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 pkg white cake mix (original recipe calls for yellow, but I prefer white)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (or enough to cover the top)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted (original recipe calls for 1 cup, but 1/2 cup is plenty)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of a 9" x 13" glass baking dish. Combine the pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Once well blended, pour this into the pan. Sprinkle the dry cake mix over the pumpkin mixture. Top with nuts (I just sprinkle them evenly over the surface - not sure how much I actually use) and drizzle the melted butter over the nuts. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until golden brown and pumpkin mixture is set. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Crunch | more than 9 to 5: my life as "mom"

This is an awesome dessert. It even makes a good breakfast. ;) Once you eat it, you'll never look at pumpkin pie the same way again. It gets its name from the crunch that results from baking the cake mix and melted butter topping. The crunchy texture of the topping paired with the creamy, custard-like texture of the pumpkin filling is delightful. 

Pumpkin Crunch | more than 9 to 5: my life as "mom"

The sweetness of the cake topping paired with the earthy taste of the pumpkin filling is also pretty amazing. Excuse me, I have to go get a piece to eat now...

Pumpkin Crunch | more than 9 to 5: my life as "mom"

Along with some amazing pumpkin dishes to eat this fall, we wanted to take the boys to pick pumpkins from the patch! We started going two years ago, in Georgia, when Ethan was around Noah's size. Uncle Bob's Pumpkin Patch, in Newnan, was a good time. Last year, we went to Jack-O-Lantern Lane, in Alabama. We had an awesome time there! This year, we checked out Fender's Farm here in Tennessee. We had a pretty good time, but unfortunately, it wasn't quite as awesome as the other two we had been to visit. :( This farm was more focused on their corn maze. It was pretty impressive, but not really something a 3-year-old and 1-year-old are really into yet. 

Corn Maze
Ethan was navigating through the maze.
We took a short tractor ride around the farm to their play area.

Tractor ride
Here we go!

Ethan enjoyed the ride more than Noah.
It was a pretty decent play area with various things for Ethan to enjoy...

Go Karts!
Trying to figure it out!
Roping a steer
Roping his steer!
Slide time!
Noah loved the farm animals that we could pet. He just wanted to run around and "moo" at all of them. :) 

Noah petting goat
"Meh, meh" went the goat. "Moo, moo" went Noah. ;)
On our way back to the main area, we could stop to pick our pumpkins. Unfortunately, it was a really small patch and quite a few of the pumpkins were starting to rot already. :/ It was also getting dark and pretty chilly, so it wasn't quite the experience that I was hoping for this year. I may have to see if I can find anything else in the area to visit this weekend!



What fun things have you been doing and/or tasty pumpkin dishes have you been eating this fall?


  1. I had a ball making crocheted pumpkin hats for my 2 sons-in-law, my grandson Lukas, my granddaughter Natasha and my great nephew Colton. It was even more fun to see them wearing them! Crocheting is so addicting! Loved the stems and the vines on the tops of the hats!!

  2. Wonderful! I bet they look absolutely precious! :) I have been wanting to learn to crochet or knit for several years now. It's on my to-do list! :)

  3. Yum!!! That looks SO good. I'm pinning your version!!

  4. Thanks! It really is quite irresistible. I just keep telling myself that the healthy pumpkin and walnuts cancel out the sugar and butter, right?!? ;)

  5. Kristy, that family pic in the beginning is fantastic! And you look gorgeous! And obviously pinning this recipe as well!

  6. Thank you!! You're too kind! You will LOVE this one, I promise! Super easy, too...no whipping of any cream! ;) Haha!


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