In the Land of Honey Boo Boo

About an hour ago, in Aisle 12 of Target (the one with the donuts), I decided that two hours was about enough time to finish a blog post and throw together an impromptu fall pumpkin carving party in our woods.  What follows is a frantic pregnant lady running through Target, throwing napkins and cider and pumpkins into her cart and making random phone calls that sound like, “Hey, want to come to a party in about two hours?”  And then I fly home, unload the trunk and yell for Brett to haul that nightstand thing that’s been sitting in our garage, waiting for a Craigslist post, out into the woods. 

“Why?” he asks. I don’t know why he even bothers asking anymore.

I carry a couple of grocery bags through the garage and don’t even bother looking up. “Because I decided last minute we’re having a little pumpkin party.  In an hour.  I’m going to surprise Lainey when she gets home from school.”

“Can’t you just use a card table?” he asks, dodging entirely the whole “You’re having a party in an hour?” conversation, even though I know he’s thinking it.

“When I have a beautiful empty nightstand just sitting here?” I answer, flashing a smile that says “you know you love me, right?”.

And then he pulls out the dolly and purposely bangs it into things, trying to make it look like the job is a lot harder than it is.  And he groans a lot while moving the nightstand (and also supresses laughter; he knows he’s exaggerating and that is very funny indeed).  Because that’s how we roll, and our marriage flourishes accordingly.  Ultimately, we will both be smiling when Lainey comes home and is surprised to see a little fall wonderland laid out for her in the back woods.  And then I thank Brett for all that exhausting effort of rolling the empty little dresser out to the woods, of course also making the job sound a lot harder than it was because that’s how we roll…and our marriage flourishes accordingly. 

(left post to have a party, it was lovely; returning now)

Where was I?

Happy.  I was happy and I was smiling because that’s what October does for me.  I try to swallow the enthusiasm just a little because sometimes girls getting way too excited about wearing rust colored tights with fringey boots and proclaiming gourd-loving expletives annoy people.  I don’t try to be annoying.  I just really like this time of year, and suppressing that joy is like trying to stop a bad case of hiccups or not laughing while trying to learn the moves from the Gangnam Style video.  Not possible.  And so, yes, rust colored tights today.  A hat.  A fall fist pump.  And a little gangnam style gallop. 

We’ve been crafting. Like the wall hanging I made for the little fox’s room, from a piece of Birch bark I brought home from Michigan this summer.  Okay, that just sounded look “look at the block I just whittled for my kid from a fallen tree we planted thirty years ago” and I didn’t mean for it to.  It was a small piece of bark, and it’s been sitting on my dresser since July.  To compensate, let’s just say the paintbrushes I used were hard and dried up and I’m sure the paint was made from some non-organic chemicals, imported from China.  But still…cute, right?


In celebrating fallish things, Heidi and I set out on an adventure this past weekend. It involved an hour and a half drive to Hunsader Farms in Bradenton, Florida.  I love doing things with family.  I love when Brett’s by my side. But sometimes we laugh that friend adventures, especially when they involve long drives and schlepping kids through very crowded grounds that are a bit like–how did Heidi put it?  Ah yes, Honey Boo Boo Land–are easier to enjoy when you’re not worried about your husband wanting to wrap it up.  We girls?  We rock the land of Honey Boo Boo.  We live for the bluegrass bands that show up every year at the Boogie Barn.  We take pictures of our corn-in-husk treats like we landed upon a rare flower. And, after hours of pumpkin festival fun, we head out to the mammoth parking lot, pushing strollers of tired kids full on corn dogs and fresh-squeezed lemonade, and we smile and say “That was fun.”



Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival 2012. Pumpkin Festival–I quite love that phrase.





Nella braved the haystack maze all by herself, but every time she made it half-way, she just turned around and ran back to the beginning, smiling like she aced a marathon.




It’s a dusty place, Hunsader Farms–the kind of dust that coats your clothes and blackens your kids’ feet after hours of walking (we learned the first year, don’t wear sandals). But it’s also the kind of dust that catches the sunlight and creates a nice natural toaster filter, if we’re talking Instagram terms here. And the dust and gravel and Honey Boo Boo crowd feels just about right when you’re walking from the corn dog stand to the cider one, and you hear a trio of banjos playing Sweet Home Alabama. And you look toward the Boogie Barn and see that every musician is wearing overalls and they all look like Santa Claus, except with longer beards. And you get to the pumpkin tent and you forget it’s really a tent because your kids don’t even notice the canopy overhead but rather start zig-zagging through long rows of pumpkins, stopping at the small ones–because they always love those itty bitty baby pumpkins.




Long live the love of fall. And rust-colored tights. And dragging nightstands to the woods for special pumpkin carving parties. That’s what I like to call…Oppan Gangnam Style.



I sometimes preview these posts with Brett before publishing. Tonight I rattled off the whole “hey, I wrote about you dragging the nightstand out to the woods and making it a bigger deal than it was; you cool with that?” And he said, “Yes, but when are you going to blog about the time I rescued you from the drunk in San Diego? I was a hero, and I’ve been checking your blog. You never told anyone about that. That’s an awesome story.” So perhaps, along with photos of our little party, I’ll share in a future post a random story about how my husband saved the day and rescued me and a friend from a drunk guy in the park. My brave hero.

The delightful Casey Wiegand is returning in sponsorship this month, bringing her style, her art, her inspiration and her sweet words to readers.


In addition to A Little Artsy, her family studio in Dallas, Casey shares her creativity, stories, recipes and inspiration on her blog.


If you haven’t checked her out lately, her words and photos are a treat.

Hallmark post on children’s fears (and a recent conversation with Lainey about death) up next. And fall parties. And returning to your questions about Down syndrome and Nella

(Forgot to share this. Still makes me cry to see these things in print and so honored to be a part of Parenting Magazine’s efforts to raise awareness for our kids. )

Parenting Magazine, November Issue.  Available on newstands now.

Have a wonderful evening.



Leave a Comment
  1. Love the fall fun. Love the pumpkins. The freaking squirrel went back for more of ours, even after I coated it in wing sauce. :)

  2. Oh that photo of lainey in the red hat in the wind…

  3. Oh Hunsader Farm, we love you so freakin’ much over here. We picked the wrong weekend to go, though…it was unbearably hot and I ended up SKIPPING taking the kids through the pumpkin tent to get out of there quicker, I’m STILL regretting that two weeks later! That birch for your boy’s room is adorable, I can’t wait to see what other decorating you do!

  4. Ok, I admit I always scan through first to look at the beautiful pictures and then go back to read. I can’t help it, the pictures tell one story and then I get to read the rest of the story.

    Anyway I love, love, love how you threw together a party in two hours based on donuts and fall. I want to do that. This blog makes me want to do more spontaneous things.

  5. I have been following you for a long time but haven’t left a comment because you get a million… Your girls melt my heart. Love all the pics. I have 2 girls much older and live vicariously thru you. Loved your writing and pics always but really love this post because you are a very funny lady! All the best…

  6. I’m with you about the excitement over this time of year. Lainey looks great in that red cowboy hat!

  7. I love that picture of Nella running from the corn maze! I also saw your tweet earlier, when you were planning the surprise pumpkin carving party and thought, “That woman is the epitome of rainbows, fairy dust, and happy childhood memories all wrapped up into one.” Rock on, rust-colored tights! :)

  8. Love the pictures, love the words, love the season…love the family.

  9. I love fall! And not just because my birthday is in october… I too love fall for the tights, the boots, the leaves, the pumpkins and on and on and on. Thanks to you, Kelle, i also now love fall for pumpkin bread! I was gearing up for home fallification (that’s a word right?) and you inspired me to find a recipe. OMG! I AM IN LOVE! Thanks Kelle.

  10. I love this time of year too and that in the evenings once the sun set it actually is starting to fell like fall here!! I spent Sunday trying not to lose my 2 kids in the crowds at the same Pumpkin Festival! but it was worth it to see my 4 year old square dancing with his girlfriend on the stage to Rocky Top Tennessee!

  11. i loved this post. i love fall. i love that fox painted on a piece of birch bark. actually that whole paragraph made me laugh out loud. i snorted actually. here’s to fall, pumpkin festivals, and rust colored tights!!!

  12. Oh my goodness – I have the same problem with random Target inspiration and the insane things it causes me to do. The girls are looking super cute!

  13. My three year old son loves the Gangnam video! He constantly asks for it, has the biggest smile when we let him watch it and is in the process of trying to learn the moves! x

  14. Oh, I hope you tell us where you got Nella’s adorable denim vest!! She’s growing up too fast, Kelle.

  15. When I saw your IG post, I thought good lord, how did she get that dresser out there…good thing Brett is your knight in shining armor :)

  16. ~ Sweet!!! ~ And this is what I love about your writing: winging it while fitting in Honey Boo Boo, Gangnam Style gallop and tales of your hubby! You make me smile as you encourage me to wing it more with the family and push the envelope of happiness! Thanks Kelle for squeezing in time to share your love for life and your family! Love the baby bump! : )

    ~ Inge

  17. Love that your whipping up fall Kelle style down there in FL. I have a story too of how I rescued the family from a crazy drugged out weirdo on La Jolla beach. Strange:/

  18. I have never posted a comment before, but I have been following your delightful blog since just after nella was born, and i must say, this is one of the best posts ever. I love your frankness!! its so refreshing in a world that tends to gloss over the not-so-totally-perfect details of life with kids. Keep up the candidness! xo

  19. Omg Kelle. Honey Boo Boo land. I live in Bradenton and that is exactly what my husband and I refer to it as! Hysterically accurate. Next time try Fruitville Grove, a bit easier on the honky tonk :)

  20. The pure and unsophisticated hearts of children find joy in places we may not find stylish or of class–like the carnival rides that pop up in parking lots or cheesy tourist traps. But these places become exquisite places of wonder when we see them through the wide eyes of our wee ones. So I will go to the dollar stores and flea markets they want to visit and watch as they are transformed into art galleries and fine museums to those who can see the beauty there. The land of Honey Boo Boo.

  21. The pure and unsophisticated hearts of children find joy in places we may not find stylish or of class–like the carnival rides that pop up in parking lots or cheesy tourist traps. But these places become exquisite places of wonder when we see them through the wide eyes of our wee ones. So I will go to the dollar stores and flea markets they want to visit and watch as they are transformed into art galleries and fine museums to those who can see the beauty there. The land of Honey Boo Boo.

  22. Love your crazy last minute ideas and how they come together it is truly a gift. I wish I could be more spur of the moment but I am too much of a planner. Can’t wait to hear about the very brave Brett.

  23. I know this sounds so stalkerish of me but I was down visiting family last week and we went to Hunsaders on the 14th. The whole time I was thinking, “I wonder if Kelle Hampton will be here today?” I went on the wrong weekend! :)

  24. I LOVE that pic of your belly and feet! And I definitely think you need to share that story from San Diego soon! Did you get Nella a new crib? Oh, how I have always wanted a white iron crib for my babies…..

  25. So happy to see this post pop up on my dashboard tonight!
    I’m feelin’ me some fall myself – FINALLY! – and love peeking into other family traditions…
    Would love to hear how Brett rescued you from SD drunk… Do tell!

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  27. so funny that you go around florida, seeking pumpkin places, and here in ohio, we have pumpkin places aplenty… and all i want to do is be in florida!!

    i am soooo excited… as my tenth anniversary treat (coupled with christmas as a gift), we are renting a place on marco island!! since you portray the place so heavenly on your blog, and have soooo wanted to visit for the longest time. i’ve enjoyed looking up fun places to visit, and when i stumble upon one that i recognize from your pics, i get a little giddy and yell out “add that one to the must-visit list!!”

    so excited to add your “happy place” to my list of happy places, as well! :)

  28. I love fall too and we have our very own Pumpkin Festival in a neighboring town. It has pumpkin everything – from donuts to pie to icecream. While I have to say that we, in Central Illinois, are not running around the Pumpkin Festival in sleeveless dresses and bare legs, we do have leaves. Lots and lots of leaves that crunch when we walk on them. I love fall.

  29. Love these beautiful pics and this time of year! :)

  30. Long live fall indeed. Can’t wait for all those posts!

  31. we were at hunsaders the day before you! love it, love the dust, love the pumpkins, and LOVE the antique barn! EEEEK! anyways…the honey boo boo land is quite accurate…but we like to refer to bradenton as “bradentucky”. no offense to you, bradenton-ites :)
    from venice with love!

  32. I’m with Brett…you need to tell about him saving you (pregnant with like four kids under 5 years old in your care) from the incoherent drunk in the park. He was so chivalrous!!

  33. I want to hear Brett’s story. Too funny! The pictures were amazing. I love the one of Nella just in the maze and laughing while running.

    Magical. Like, with sparkles magical.


  34. Ooh, that last photo is stunning!

  35. We love Hunsaders too! We live in Bradenton, and never miss the pumpkin festival! I’m just bummed we weren’t there the same weekend…. I totally would have had to say hi!

  36. Currently loving our Michigan fall. One of my favorite times of the year. Looking forward to my son’s Halloween party this weekend. He invited his WHOLE class! Yikes, I hope they don’t all show! :)
    Love your hats! Love the picture looking down at your belly and the pumpkins at your feet. Love your blog :)

  37. I’ve read your blog for a long time, but was surprised to see somewhere from where I live! We’ve been going to Hunsaders as long as I can remember. You got some wonderful pictures of a wonderful place :)

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  39. you enjoying “fall” in florida continually inspires me to enjoy fall in michigan, so once again, thank you. and that last photo of nella is just perfection. adorable.

  40. Oh my gourd!! that last shot of Nella- beautiful, really just stunning. Thanks for sharing with us.

    PS- I’m a fall freak, too. Fall freaks unite!

  41. Cute pictures!

    I just found your blog and I was wondering if you’d be willing to answer a few more DS questions in your upcoming post? What are the chances of the baby having DS? Did you choose to do any tests for it during this pregnancy?

  42. I’ve looked in 3 different places for the Parenting Magazine and haven’t been able to find it:( Can you recommend a store? I’ve been to Barnes and Noble, Rite Aid and Vons. Would love a copy! Thanks:)

  43. Nella holding the pumpkin is the kind of photo that makes my day.

  44. The pictures on here are truly amazing! You really captured the spirit of your day out. Have you ever thought about teaching an online photo class for all your spare time. LOL. Love your husband’s comments-he sounds so cool. And might have to try a pumpkin party in the woods-my 3 year old would love it-as long as we have tea cups and dolls too.

  45. Love all of it. Yes, a pumpkin party! Followed the pics on Instagram and thought it was magically delicious, but in a Halloween kind of way, not Lucky Charms.

  46. i live in the “pumpkin capitol of the world”!! yes, there is such a thing. we have a pumpkin festival every september for 4 days. i almost squealed when you said you liked saying pumpkin festival. the “pfest” as we locals call it (hehe) is the best time of the year; competes with christmas for most! you must check it out; morton, illinois.

  47. Pregnant ladies do weird things. I’m sure that was what your husband was thinking.

  48. Lainey has gotten to be quite the model, check out those hands on the hips!


    Ann Coulter tweeted something about the most recent presidential debate in which she called Obama a “Retard.” I’m sure that word makes you cringe and your stomach turn as much as it does me. A young man with Down Syndrome had a beautiful response to this tweet, and I thought you might be interested. Your girls are beautiful, it makes my heart ache in the best of ways.

  50. You and your husband are pretty darn awesome

  51. Love Love these photos….and your post. Can’t wait to see the photos or your lil party in the woods.

    This cracked me up tho… And he said, “Yes, but when are you going to blog about the time I rescued you from the drunk in San Diego? I was a hero, and I’ve been checking your blog. You never told anyone about that. That’s an awesome story.”

    I can’t wait to hear that story =)

  52. We were at Hunsader’s the same day. It was a crowded, hot, sweaty mess of fall fun!

  53. Bret makes me laugh! He’s awesome!

  54. love your autumn pics! congrats on parent’s magazine:-)

  55. Great pics. Fall is such a pretty time.

  56. I always say “Fall is my Christmas” because it’s the most wonderful time of the year for me! And every year I always get a little annoyed when Christmas decorations try to swoop in and steal my Fall/Halloween thunder. Let us have our month, people.

    Thanks for sharing your fall joy with me =)

  57. i love your optimism…that somehow melds perfectly with sensitive reality. i come just to get some of that. should my sweet children be so fortunate to experience a mama with that lovely mixture of traits? i’m workin on it. thanks for the example!

  58. Your Fall Party sounds so perfect! And holy crap I cannot believe how grown up Nella is looking these days. <3

  59. You just reminded me I need to go to the pumpkin patch before Halloween and our Groupon expire.

    That last picture of Nella is killing me. Too cute!!

  60. I agree with you whole heartedly that sometimes taking kids on adventures sans men is the best way to go; girlfriends know it’s about the kids 100%. I’m so glad that you found the mecca land of Honey Boo Boo 90 minutes away. It really looks heavenly and is only missing an amazing amount of colorful leaves. And that shot of Nella with the little pumpkin? Sigh. Sheer joy.

    I love your spirit for the holidays. Love.

  61. Where where WHERE did you get the boots your littlest little wears?? They are adorb!!

  62. Oh, Kelle, I am in love with this post. This just might be one of my all time faves ever. You had me laughing out loud. Love, love, love.

  63. I can’t find that parenting magazine anywhere here in Maryland. I checked target,walmart,cvs, rite aid, another grocery store. Any ideas? I love the pumpkin “patch”(ours here in md is the same) and the toxic painted fox, you are talented!

  64. So cool to see the girls raising awareness on the beauty.. Of sisterly love 😉

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