Bailey’s First Birthday


Birthdays, birthdays, birthdays… It seems like there used to be a birthday “season.”  Now it seems every season is birthday season!  In fact, just in the last 5 days we have had 3 birthday parties to attend!  So, unless it is my own kids’ birthday, or a party at a very special location, I rarely take pictures anymore. However, this one I just couldn’t resist… This one was special!  This one was for our friend’s dog’s first birthday!  And, the only guest was our very own Triscuit!  Of course, the girls and I got to have some fun, too.  WE made “scooby snacks” and dog-bone shaped pizzas.  It was a lovely evening, so we ate al fresco.  Oh — and we were a full day early.  That’s right, I completely blew it and showed up a day early, but they had the party for us anyway.  Good friends.  Good times!  🙂

Applesauce

I’m so blessed to know such cool people!  Today we got to spend the day with the most adorable family who invited us over to… make applesauce!  How fun is that??  Times like this, I wish I could have scratch and sniff pictures for the blog.  Seriously, to make a house smell incredible; make applesauce!  She has the applesauce maker, (who knew such a thing existed?) that her grandmother used to use to make applesauce on the farm.  It’s kind of like a mortar and pestle.  She even has…

Yes, that is a colander with apples for holes.  Very cool.  Makes me somehow think I need one.  🙂

Natalie seemed to be the most interested in helping.  That’s definitely the norm around here!  She’s my little Kitchenaid!

She even had a cute apple story and some apple crafts.  I brought along some homemade applesauce printables I found on Pinterest and let the kids cut them out… that was my contribution to being crafty; ha!

Thanks for a super fun morning, Melissa!  We had a blast; and the applesauce is NUMMY!

DOH!  And, let’s not forget that our little buddy was there, too…

Pear Galette

Don’t you just love those fancy desserts that look so beautiful and difficult-to-make, and yet are so simple?  We made this pear galette the night we got home from Oak Glen.  It was such a hit, we did it again the next day.  With all our pears, I have now made two more to share with friends.  Here is the recipe:

Dough: 
1 cup (125 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick or 85 grams) unsalted butter, just softened, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
3 1/2 tablespoons (50 ml) chilled water

Filling: 
2 pounds (910 grams) pears, peeled, cored (save peels and cores), and sliced
2 tablespoons (30 grams) unsalted butter, melted
5 tablespoons (65 grams) sugar

Glaze:
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar

MIX flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl; add 2 tablespoons of the butter. Blend in a mixer until dough resembles coarse cornmeal. Add remaining butter; mix until biggest pieces look like large peas.

DRIBBLE in water, stir, then dribble in more, until dough just holds together. Toss with hands, letting it fall through fingers, until it’s ropy with some dry patches. If dry patches predominate, add another tablespoon water. Keep tossing until you can roll dough into a ball. Flatten into a 4-inch-thick disk; refrigerate. After at least 30 minutes, remove; let soften so it’s malleable but still cold. Smooth cracks at edges. On a lightly floured surface, roll into a 14-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Dust excess flour from both sides with a dry pastry brush.

PLACE dough in a lightly greased 9-inch round tart pan, or simply on a parchment-lined baking sheet if you wish to go free-form, or galette-style with it. Heat oven to 400°F. (If you have a pizza stone, place it in the center of the rack.)

OVERLAP pears on dough in a ring 2 inches from edge if going galette-style, or up to the sides if using the tart pan. Continue inward until you reach the center. Fold any dough hanging over pan back onto itself; crimp edges at 1-inch intervals.

BRUSH melted butter over pears and onto dough edge. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over dough edge and the other 3 tablespoons over apples. (Deb note: I found it nearly impossible to coat it with this much sugar, so I used a little less–more like 3 tablespoons. It made a lightly sweet tart, which we found perfect.)

BAKE in center of oven until pearss are soft, with browned edges, and crust has caramelized to a dark golden brown (about 45 minutes), making sure to rotate tart every 15 minutes.

MAKE glaze: Put reserved peels and cores in a large saucepan, along with sugar. Pour in just enough water to cover; simmer for 25 minutes. Strain syrup through cheesecloth.

REMOVE tart from oven, and slide off parchment onto cooling rack. Let cool at least 15 minutes.

BRUSH glaze over tart, slice, and serve.

 

And, if you have any pears and glaze leftover, I suggest making dutch baby for breakfast and pouring it over… It’s awesome!

Fallified

We interrupt our regularly scheduled school week to bring you…

A week of fall fun!  This turned out to be one of those spontaneous, yet totally fun ideas; take a break from “regular school” to enjoy a week of “fall school.”  It began when one friend invited us to do a fall day with her; then another to do an apple day with her; then Daniel reminded me it’s the last week to do the fair again — so, with 3 days spoken for, I decided to scrap all regularly scheduled plans and get “fallified!”  (FUN for the kids, and EASY on the teacher!)

I began by printing out a bunch of fall worksheets from Enchanted Learning.  Staple them all together and add a cover that says “FUN fall worksheets,” and it’s almost like getting a new coloring book — they couldn’t wait to dive-in!  Did I mention I just love first and second graders?  So easy to please!

 

I was intending for this to take them most of the week.  They pretty much finished most of it today.  But, that’s ok!  Like I said, it’s a busy week and this was a totally last-minute way to take some pressure off of moia!

 

It’s only Tuesday, but we’ve “sensed” fall quite a bit, already!

1.  smell and touch: fall-scented finger paints!  This is one I’ve done before, but it had been a few years.  I totally forgot to cook it at first to thicken the starch, so I kept adding starch to thicken it.  Once I realized I was suppose to cook it, I had added so much starch that they became rather thick; which seemed extra-fun to the girls.  The recipe is as follows: 2 cups water, 1/2 cup starch, 4 TBSP sugar, food coloring and fall scents as you like!

 

2.  taste: I saw this recipe on Pinterest, and knew I would have to try it: apple-spiced doughnut holes!  Seriously easy.  Seriously yummy.  Seriously unhealthy — well, we won’t be making them every day!

Cut Pilsbury Grands into quarters.  Deep-fry; (I used Sunflower Seed Oil on medium low).  Roll in mixture of 1/2 cup sugar, 1/ cup brown sugar, 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice.  That’s it!!

 

Oh ya — and share with friends.

 

…and dip into extra sugar mixture for extra sweetness!

 

One last thought; do not share with these cuties!  🙂  (I think Malachi is quite smitten with little Rachel!)

3.  sights and sounds

 

We pulled out the 3 bins of Halloween decor, and began to dig through the contents.  Really, decorating with 4 children awake is like trying to stay clean while running through mud.  In all honesty, though, that is exactly the way I like it.  I purposely choose to do it while they’re awake because I love the joy of them discovering old items once again, the screams of delight, and the reminiscing as if they’re old ladies who haven’t seen these items in 50 years.  It’s priceless, really!  The favorite items, of course, are the Hallmark singing stuffed animals.  Sierra could listen to them non-stop all day and never grow tired of it.  Let’s just say, I don’t have quite the same feeling for them as they do.  🙂

Of course, now that they’re asleep I’m off to rearrange and pick-up the aftermath that is hiding my living room floor.  Have a wonderful first week of fall!

Oak Glen 2012

In the next 3 months, we will celebrate 3 kids birthdays along with all the holidays; yikes!  I say bring it on… I am ready!  Just please bring some cooler weather, too!

For the fifth year in a row now, we headed up the mountain to Oak Glen to kick-off our start to fall. This has become my most favorite tradition.  For the first time, however, we decided to do one of their tours along with picking pears.  (They had a bumper crop of apples this year, but we enjoyed the pears so much last year we decided to do pears again!)

We chose the Colonial farm life tour, which was perfect for my girls who are studying the colonial days once again this year.  (Not-to-mention, one of them would like to be a farmer’s wife when she grows up!)

The tour is 2 hours long, with about 15 minutes at each “station.”  The cruel part is, you can smell fresh-baked bread and apple pie the entire time!

Our first station taught us all about colonial tools.  (I may have been changing a diaper, so I missed most of it!)  Next were the colonial games. Allison was chosen as a volunteer, and did a great job catching the hoop!  (We won’t talk about how she did throwing it!)  It was certainly fun to try, though!

Making apple cider; nom, nom!

Making candles!  Later that night, we lit the candles and told stories until they were completely burned out.  The girls thought that was pretty cool!

There was a lesson on etiquette that was quite entertaining!

Writing with quill pens was a definite highlight.

Our last 2 stations were churning butter and learning to weave.  I was happy to have a rest at this point!  As soon as they were through, we rushed to the restaurant for some cold cider from pewter glasses, fresh bread and butter, and delicious food!  I highly recommend eating there if you are ever at Riley’s Farm!

After lunch, we headed out to pick our pears.  We were all feeling refreshed….

Well, most of us were refreshed.  The little guy took it easy in Papa’s arms!

Sierra was happy to finally see some animals; horses, goats and sheep!

We opted for the large bag, once again.  Can’t beat fresh, organic fruit!

Seeing pumpkins makes me happy!

We saw deer both on the way in and the way out.  It was a lovely start, and a lovely finish to our day!

Thankful Thursday Fall Style

 

And so it begins… the busiest time of year!  But, I am oh so happy fall is here!  And, we are now entering our season of all things apple and pumpkin.  For today’s thankful Thursday, we had apple cider instead of tea, and pumpkin scones.  Well, the girls had apple cider; I opted for pumpkin spice coffee. Both were K-cups found at Target.  I also found the adorable fall plates in the dollar section of Target!  All I can say is, I am one happy girl with lots to be thankful for!