Baked pumpkin seeds

Happy Halloween! My family just got finished carving our jack-o-lantern. What fun!

Timmy and Nora playing with pumpkin guts
Timmy and Nora playing with pumpkin guts

Every year, we save the seeds so that I can bake them. This year, they came out wonderful.

Beth and Marlene setting aside the pumpkin seeds
Beth and Marlene setting aside the pumpkin seeds

Here is the recipe that I use for our pumpkin seeds:

  • 1 – 2 cups rinsed and dried pumpkin seeds
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 275℉. Put all the ingredients into a gallon Ziploc bag, and massage / shake until the seeds are completely coated. Spread the seeds in a thin layer on a cookie sheet and put in the oven. After 30 minutes, take the sheet out and stir the seeds with a spatula. Bake for another 15 minutes and stir again, then bake again for a final 15 minutes.

I tend to spray the cookie sheet with a very thin coat of cooking spray before laying out the seeds, and then again each time I stir them. It keeps them from sticking and getting too dry.

Not all the kids like eating pumpkin seeds. They’re pretty tough to chew, but they sure are tasty, and pretty good for you too.

– danBhentschel

Adirondack Vacation 2014

Every fall, during Columbus Day weekend, we head to the Adirondacks for our traditional “Lake Placid” vacation. Let me tell you a bit about this year’s trip.

Day 0: Pack Day

The first day of vacation is always Pack Day. I take the whole day off from work, and Marlene and I meander through a massive 6-page Microsoft Word pack list.

Considering that diapers still need changing, meals still need to be served, and kids still need occasional hugs, Pack Day really does take the whole day. This year was particularly interesting because Jasmin’s preschool had a field trip to Stokoe Farm that same day. I took her and Beth while Marlene got started on the list.

Jasmin and Beth playing in a giant sandbox full of corn at Stokoe Farm
Jasmin and Beth playing in a giant sandbox full of corn at Stokoe Farm

This Pack Day, I wasn’t able to survive the whole day. I went to bed early at 8:30, while Marlene and Timmy stayed awake until 2 AM, finishing up.

Day 1: Driving Day

Even though we call it our “Lake Placid” trip, we don’t actually stay in Lake Placid. Every year, we rent two cottages in the town of Keene: Blueberry Cottage and Cascade Cottage. My parents and my sister, Laurel, join us for this vacation. They sleep in Blueberry, and my family sleeps in Cascade.

My family eating breakfast in Cascade Cottage

We always start our drive with breakfast at Bob’s Diner. The waitresses there know us, and are always happy to see us off on our exciting trip. There’s not too much to tell about the ride out. The kids watched Frozen and Ice Age, and Marlene slept a good portion of the drive.

When we arrived at Keene, it was dinner time. Our traditional Day 1 dinner is take-out from the Noon Mark Diner with pies (apple, blueberry, and cherry) for dessert. While some people worked on dinner, others unpacked and organized. By bed time, almost everything was pretty well squared away. What an efficient family I have.

The adults stayed up to chat a bit, while I set up a wireless network for our surveillance cameras (can’t be without them) and acted grumpy. What can I say? I was pretty tired.

Jacob and Ricky asleep for the surveillance camera
Jacob and Ricky seen sleeping on a surveillance camera

Day 2: Owl’s Head

Saturday was our first full day in the Adirondacks. Every year we try to take the whole family up Owl’s Head. Some years, the younger children stay home because of inclement weather, but this year the skies decided to cooperate with us.

Owl’s head is a nice, short hike. It’s only about 0.6 miles to the top, with several very nice views along the way. Timmy and Nora lead the way, while Jacob and I (with Beth on my back) were very close behind. Laurel was very good about walking with Ricky all the way up, and Marlene, Jasmin, and my Mom took up the rear. We congregated on the top of Owl’s Head for a lunch of sandwiches, raisins, and juice boxes.

Timmy, Nora, and Jacob hiking up the hill
Timmy, Nora, and Jacob hiking up the hill


Eating lunch on Owl's Head
Eating lunch on Owl’s Head


Timmy, Nora, and Jacob standing on the summit
Timmy, Nora, and Jacob standing on the summit of Owl’s Head


Nora, admiring the view from the top
Nora, admiring the view from the top

Apparently, my mom almost fell off the mountain on the way down. I didn’t see the event, but I’ve heard the story several times now.

When we got down, it was nap time. Marlene and the younger children slept while Timmy and I played a couple games of Star Realms, and Nora started working on a candy bar puzzle with Laurel and my mom.

That night, we had homemade tacos and mini-pizzas for dinner, and Stewart’s ice cream for dessert. Saturday night is bath night, and in Blueberry Cottage, that means jacuzzi time. All six kids and I put our bathing suits on and hopped in the tub. It was pretty crowded, and we decided this will be the last year that we do bath time for seven!

Rub-a-dub-dub, six kids (and Dad) in a tub!
Rub-a-dub-dub, six kids (and Dad) in a tub!

After the younger kids were in bed, Timmy, Marlene, Mom, and I played a game of 7 Wonders together while Laurel worked on cross stitch.

Day 3: Lake Placid

Sunday morning we had bacon, eggs, and pancakes for Special Breakfast. The plan was to go to church at the Adirondack Church of the Nazarene.  We’ve been going there once a year, every year since before Timmy was born. Unfortunately, this year they have apparently closed their doors. We didn’t find this out, though, until after we had made the 25 minute drive out there.

After an impromptu planning meeting, we decided to move our Lake Placid shopping trip from Monday morning to Sunday morning. The kids had fun shopping for toys at the Imagination Station, though the adults all agree that each year it is increasingly less of a toy store and more of a souvenir shop.

Jacob, wearing the swim goggles he bought with his own money

Then we went to The Candy Man (Adirondack Chocolates) store, where Marlene and I bought each of the kids their own special candy. We then finished up our shopping trip with lunch at The Great Adirondack Steak and Seafood Company.

Laurel, Dad, Timmy and Nora watched the Patriots beat the Bills during nap time. Then we had Tuna Helper for dinner, and celebrated Laurel and Marlene’s birthdays before bed time.

Go Bills!... ummm... Patriots!... ummm... Somebody win!
Go Bills!… ummm… Patriots!… ummm… Somebody win!

I went to bed at about the same time as the kids that night, while Timmy and Nora stayed up to finish the puzzle with the other adults.

Day 4: Baxter Mountain

Monday was the day we had originally planned to go shopping. Since we did that on Sunday, we decided to do another hiking trip, this time to Baxter Mountain.

This hike is about twice as long as Owl’s Head, but it’s a gentler incline, and it also offers some very nice views. We had a snack together near the top.

Timmy, Nora, Jacob, and swim goggles on Baxter
Timmy, Nora, Jacob, and swim goggles on Baxter


Snack time near the peak of Baxter
Snack time near the peak of Baxter

The original plan was for Timmy and I to hike Giant Mountain together Monday afternoon, but by the time we were done with Baxter, it was too late to start. Timmy was pretty disappointed, and I don’t blame him.

Monday evening we had hot dogs for dinner, and used up most of the remaining pie and ice cream for dessert. After bed time, Timmy, Nora, Marlene, Laruel, and my mom joined me in playing Bang!: The Dice Game, followed by King of Tokyo. Then, after everyone else went to bed, Laurel and I stayed up ridiculously late playing more Star Realms together.

Nora and I playing King of Tokyo
Nora and I playing King of Tokyo

Day 5: Homeward Bound

Tuesday morning, Timmy asked if he could build the final fire of the trip in Cascade’s fireplace. So I gave him instructions on how to pick wood and kindling from the woodshed, how to arrange the wood and newspapers, etc. He did a very good job, and with just a single match, he was able to start a very respectable blaze.

Timmy's fire
Timmy and his fire

After breakfast, we bundled all the kids into the van to watch Nanny McPhee Returns (and keep out of the way) while the adults packed.

Beth hanging out by a small pile of luggage
Beth hanging out by a small pile of luggage

The return trip was, again, relatively uneventful. Yet another successful Lake Placid vacation. Go Team Hentschel!


– danBhentschel