All things that are pumpkin

We’re all about pumpkin parties at our house. On Monday, we had the cutest little group of babies over to pumpkin paint, and last night, we actually carved some.

Carving pumpkins

The night was appropriately filled with all things that are pumpkin:


Nana brought over pumpkin loaf and pie,

and we also enjoyed pumpkin chili,


pumpkin beer

and pumpkin seeds.

Pumpkin seeds

Before everyone came over, I made some of Gina’s turkey pumpkin chili and got it cooking away in the slow cooker. I doubled the recipe, and it was AMAZING. Loved the fact that it was so savory and Kyle commented on the southwestern flavors- it was a huge hit and I’ll definitely be making it again. I served it along with salad (arugula, dried cranberries and almonds with balsamic dressing)


[Halloween “trail mix” (aka candy corn and chocolate chips) in the background]



(a la box from Trader Joe’s)

and drinks.


Per usual, madre and nana brought over delicious treats and snacks, too like rotisserie chicken, more salad, sweet potatoes and jalapeño dip with chips.

Salad 2

After we had eaten and little Liv was in bed, we all sat on the patio while the Pilot,



Kyle and I carved pumpkins.

Goo 2

Is it weird that I really like cleaning out the goo?


Don’t answer that.

Pumpkin carving award goes to my brother Kyle, who googled a pumpkin picture he liked and then free-handed it:




Liv is going to go crazzzzyyy when she sees it.

Our works of art:

Pumpkins 2

 I had to make an Elmo for my favorite little lady. She has never actually seen Sesame Street, but we’ve YouTube-d a couple of Elmo songs (ABCs with India Arie is a favorite) and she also enjoys FaceTime with him, which I save for emergency situations.

If you’re wondering what the Pilot carved (his is on the far right) there’s a picture of it on his iPhone above, and you can read the full story here. I laughed so hard the first time I saw the photo. It really cracked me up because it seemed like something I would do. “Hey, I can fix that! Ohhh… ohhh noooo…. never mind.”

It was a good Tucson memory night, for sure. I’m soaking up every second we have here, especially since I have no idea how long it will be before (or if) we move. 

Today is pretty much a dream teaching day: World Beat and Zumba! Have a great Saturday and I’ll see ya later.





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  1. Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries on October 20, 2012 at 11:18 am

    How fun! I love your Elmo! Great job! We have yet to do our pumpkin carving party… I’m thinking next weekend! I can’t believe how quickly October has passed – it got away from me!

  2. Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat on October 20, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Awesome pumpkins Gina! Last weekend I carved some with friends and this year, I opted for one of the Angry Birds. You can see it here if you like: . Pumpkin chili is one of my favourite parts of fall… and all things pumpkin! Sounds like you had a great night!

  3. Sarah on October 20, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Oh my gosh. Is it bad that that video made me CRY with laughter? Can’t. Stop.

  4. Emily on October 20, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Kyle’s is amazing, but the Pilot’s is genius! Thanks to him for the laugh 🙂

  5. Sarah on October 20, 2012 at 11:45 am

    You did SUCH a great job carving pumpkins! That sounds like such a fun night! I can’t wait to carve my pumpkins, although they won’t look anywhere near as good as yours 🙂

  6. Lauren on October 20, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Pumpkin chili sounds fantastic! I honestly believe I wouldn’t like fall so much if it weren’t for all of the pumpkin madness.

  7. Laura on October 20, 2012 at 11:53 am

    OMG, lol. I completely missed that news story. And as a PhD candidate in Art History and Conservation, it’s doubly horrifying and/or hilarious to me!

  8. Brittany on October 20, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    What a fun night!! A pumpkin party sounds like something I would LOVE!! 🙂

    Face time with Elmo?!? Please explain this to me.

  9. Amanda @ .running with spoons. on October 20, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Gotta get enough pumpkin in during the Fall to last us the rest of the year, right? 😉 Your night seriously sounds like so much fun, and all of the pumpkins look great! I’m probably going to carve one next weekend, but it’s been a few years since I did it so I’m really hoping that my skills aren’t too rusty!

  10. Caryln@CarylnRambles on October 20, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    awesome! now I want to have a pumpkin carving party!! That sounds like so much fun and the food looks fabulous, there is nothing better than chili and cornbread!

  11. Emily @ on October 20, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    What a fun night! That really looks amazing-I can’t get enough pumpkin!!! Your final products are really impressive! So fun!

  12. Allison @ Train Eat Repeat on October 20, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    I love pumpkin carving, we always did it every year as a family. Its just the bf and I now, but I still start to carve them each year, and i love eating the pumpkin seeds. yummy.

  13. Jess on October 20, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    The pilot’s pumpkin is HILARIOUS! You definitely have me excited about pumpkin carving next weekend (but I can’t decide on what to carve…)

  14. Emily @ Have Your Cake And on October 20, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    I am going to have to try out that pumpkin chili it sounds DELISH

  15. Averie @ Averie Cooks on October 20, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    You guys made some amazing pumpkins! Wow, I need to have you come over and help me. My carving skills are not so hot 🙂 That chili also sounds amazing every time I see it. Thanks for the reminder about that one!

  16. Alexis on October 20, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Ooooh there is now an “if” attached to the move?? In the military world, there’s only an if attached to moving if they’re retiring or getting out early! I assume the Pilot is too young to retire, so is he considering leaving?

    • Fitnessista on October 21, 2012 at 1:10 pm

      nope, his fulfillment is up in 2015- very soon! we’re not sure if he’ll be staying in to make a career out of it, or doing something else. it depends on so many different factors

      • brittany on October 21, 2012 at 1:17 pm

        Being an AF pilot isn’t his career? What is a fulfillment? If you decide on him staying in, do you expect him to be in until he retires?

        • Fitnessista on October 21, 2012 at 2:16 pm

          it’s his career for now, but when he signed up, he signed a contract for 10 years and those 10 years are almost up. at that point you can decide if you want to stay in and make it a “career” (retire through the air force) or if you want to get out and do something else (join the guard or reserve, be a commercial pilot, etc)

      • Alexis on October 21, 2012 at 4:49 pm

        My husband is also a pilot (Army) and we’re also making this decision, for 2014. It’s a tough one but I think we’re leaning towards staying in. It’s hard bc I had to give up my career goals (he says “change them” but “give up” is more accurate. I worked in international nutrition for the UN’s World Food Programme. Now I work as an RD at a hospital bc I can’t just take an assignment in Africa anymore.), but at this point it’s too late for me to go back to international work when kids are on the horizon. So in part I feel that I gave up so much for the military, might as well get retirement pay out of it so hopefully one day we can move our family abroad!

  17. Stephanie @ Legally Blinde on October 20, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    Wow, your pumpkins all look so awesome! You are really a talented group, for sure! That’s hilarious that the Pilot did that botched restoration – so funny, and creative. Have a good day teaching!

  18. Danielle@cleanfoodcreativefitness on October 20, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    I love all the pumpkin and fall! Family nights are the best and it seems like your family is a blast! Love the elmo pumpkin!!

  19. Michelle on October 20, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Laughing so hard at the Pilot’s pumpkin!!! The chili looks yummy!

  20. Kelster on October 20, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Pilot for the win!!! As soon as I hovered over the link and realised it was a BBC story, I knew that Pilot went for the “very hairy monkey in an ill-fitting tunic”. I am dying over here!

  21. Brooke ( on October 20, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Haha! I just read the BBC article. Too funny.

  22. Maja on October 20, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Wow, I am mighty impressed with all your carving skills. Amazing!

  23. Caroline on October 20, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    HOLY SHIZ. Beast Jesus pumpkin just made my day. Amazing.

  24. brittany on October 20, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    So Kyle is Chef Nottingham AND pumpkin-carver Nottingham? Man of many talents!

    • Jennifer on October 20, 2012 at 5:03 pm

      I was going to say the same thing. His free hand pumpkin is very impressive.

      I couldn’t do that with a pattern.

      • brittany on October 21, 2012 at 1:13 pm

        Neither could I. I have NO artistic skills whatsoever. I have never carved pumpkins but I imagine it to be hard!

  25. Quinn on October 20, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Bahahah that article! What a face palm moment. Kyle’s pumpkin is awesome!

  26. Giselle@ahealthyhappyhome on October 20, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    What a fun pumpkin themed night! I think I might have to make that soup tomorrow! It will be perfect for after my 10k run! Have you tried candy corn and dry roasted peanuts together? It tastes just like a Payday bar and is the only way I like Candy corn. I bet with chocolate chips thrown in it would be even better!

  27. Lauren @ The Homeostatic Mindset on October 20, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Carving like a BOSS… Your brother’s pumpkin is epic!!! So impressed.

  28. PRT on October 20, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Ha ha ha! Spain is very proud of our restored Ecce Homo.

    Great idea to carve it! Wish I though about that before we did our pumpkin!

  29. Anna on October 20, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    The pilot’s pumpkin is amazing!

  30. Jess on October 20, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Sounds like such a fun night! What amazing carving jobs too— love the idea of Elmo & ET pumpkins.

  31. Abby on October 20, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    That article is HILARIOUS! Making a jack o lantern out of it, brilliant!

  32. mary on October 20, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Thanks for the chili recipe! I’m eating it now. Yum! It’s a lot like one I make with chopped red bell pepper instead of pumpkin. Try it with a little cinnamon, seriously!

    Also, if you want to make it quick and in one pot, it’s easy on the stove top. Since the meat and beans are all cooked it really doesn’t need to simmer for hours.

    • Fitnessista on October 21, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      that’s good to know- i’ll do it on the stovetop next time. it will be nice to not have so many dirty dishes 🙂

  33. Nikki on October 20, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Those pumpkins are amazing!!!! Here in Australia we don’t celebrate Halloween so it’s amazing to see these awesome photos!

  34. Megan Infantino on October 20, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Girl! It sounds like a dream night! I just wish my son was old enough (he’s 5 weeks old lol) to enjoy this time of year. Oh well. Next year.

    That pumpkin chili sounds great! I’ll have to try it out.

  35. Cher @ Weddicted on October 20, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    LOL – I was definitely wondering what the one on the far right was! Everyone did such a great job – such talent!

  36. Cathy Ly on October 20, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    This is super cute! Makes me want to be super bold and make a masterpiece on my pumpkin 🙂

    Great photos!

    Cathy Trails

  37. Melissa on October 20, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    I am soo making that chili! I might make it less southwestern and more “fall” by adding cinnamon and nutmeg and cocoa. I can’t remember if you guys are renting or homeowners? If the latter, will you rent it out for a while? Wishing you the best!

    • Fitnessista on October 21, 2012 at 1:08 pm

      yeah we bought the house. will probably rent it out

  38. Sarabell on October 20, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    Oh my goodness that painting story is so sad lol!

    Your brother is amazing for free-handing that! I probably couldn’t even manage that with a pattern!

  39. Carrie on October 21, 2012 at 12:57 am

    Omg the Pilot’s pumpkin is the best thing ever! Hilarious!! Such a funny idea.

  40. Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin on October 21, 2012 at 7:42 am

    I love your pumpkin themed menu! I’ve actually been meaning to make that pumpkin turkey chili. There are just too many recipes I want to make and not enough time!

    Also you guys are all seriously talented at carving pumpkins! Whenever I try to carve pumpkins I can only do a simple smiley face… and somehow I even manage to screw that up. 😛

  41. Lea @ Greens and Coffee Beans on October 21, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Your pumpkins look awesome! Kyle’s is amazing, the pilot’s is hilarious and yours is adorable!
    I bought a pumpkin last weekend but I still haven’t carved it. I’m slacking!

  42. heidi kokborg on October 21, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Your pumpkins look awesome! 🙂

  43. Laura on October 22, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Hahaha, I have instatly recognized the last pumpkin!! I am Spanish (yeah, you have followers here, too) and I laughed so hard when that story came out, well, we all laughed hard actually. Anyway I knew the news arrived almost everywhere but I never thought even to the USA, so this pumpkin surprises me and makes me laugh so much, it’s very well done!

  44. Julie on October 25, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    OMG you guys have some MAD pumpkin-carving skillz!!! Pilot’s is hilarious!

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