Pesto Penne Salad

Penne Pasta SaladFile this recipe under quick and easy. It’s equally delicious served warm, cold, or at room temperature!


  • 8 ounces penne pasta
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 (12-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
  • 1/3 cup vegan pesto
  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions; drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes, chickpeas, and pesto, tossing to coat.

Halloween Countdown Day 9: Go Batty

Halloween 9 Get Batty (3)

Today we got silly with our Halloween countdown with an activity that was equal parts imagination and learning. Halloween decor features so many creatures that we think of as scary, but that have fascinating science behind them. Think spiders, black cats, and in this case… bats!

To set the scene, we first watched a Wild Kratt’s bat episode. The kids thought they were just watching a cartoon, but there was lots to learn about echolocation! We also checked out a quick nature clip about the sounds that bats make to echolocate (navigate by bouncing sounds off the walls).

Halloween 9 Get Batty (7)

Now the question was, could the kids do it?

We dressed up in black gear (capes and hats!) and they closed their eyes in the middle of the living room.

Halloween 9 Get Batty (6)

I encouraged lots of chirpy baby bat noises. For Veronika, this was just silly fun, but Travis was so proud that he really could make it through our first floor without bumping into any walls.

Halloween 9 Get Batty (8)

For extra batty fun, I traced a bat template onto black construction paper, then cut these out and taped to craft sticks. Now each kid had a bat to fly around!

Halloween 9 Get Batty (2)

Travis loved hanging the bats upside down on walls and windows, and it led to lots more play throughout their evening.

Halloween 9 Get Batty alt

Now Halloween bats won’t seem quite so spooky!

No Carve Nature Pumpkins

No-Carve Nature Pumpkins (10)

It was a brisk fall morning, perfect for one of our nature walks to collect treasures. This time, I specifically kept my eyes open for items that we would be able to later glue onto pumpkins. We came home with sticks, leaves, pine cones, and acorns. I had hoped to spot some maple keys, but didn’t see any.

No Carve Nature Pumpkin (1)

I arranged all of our treasures onto a craft tray, and Veronika loved sorting through the items.

No-Carve Nature Pumpkins (3)

As she simply explored with all her senses, I arranged the items with more purpose to see what would work where on each pumpkin as facial features.

No-Carve Nature Pumpkins (4)

Our first orange fellow soon had acorn eyes, a stick nose, a leaf mouth, and a big branch of multiple leaves for hair.

No-Carve Nature Pumpkins (6)

He was soon joined by a second orange friend, this one with acorns for eyes and nose, leaves for mouth and ears, and a fun little pine cone headdress. I tucked a few leaves behind the pine cone so it almost looked like one of those fancy fascinator hats!

No-Carve Nature Pumpkins (11)

Veronika was clearly delighted when she saw that our pumpkins now had eyes, noses, and more.

No-Carve Nature Pumpkins (7)

They look quite jolly and happy on our patio. As with our recent pumpkin mask craft, this is a great way to decorate pumpkins a ways out from Halloween, since they won’t rot before the big night.

No-Carve Nature Pumpkins (9)