9.30.2010

Still Harvesting...

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9.27.2010

The Rest of My Sunday

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After our morning apple picking adventure, we came home to do some baking.

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I made three dozen apple cinnamon muffins (and some more bread)... along with a really big mess. I think Sunday has officially become my baking day because at some point in the day it always looks like this...

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But I kind of love this Sunday baking mess. It's the perfect way to end the weekend... and start the week.

Recipe for Apple Cinnamon Muffins

4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups milk
1 cup melted butter
4 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp baking powder
4 pinches of salt
2 tsp cinnamon
8 small apples, peeled, cored, finely chopped

For topping
3 tbsp raw sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400. Mix egg, sugar, milk and butter in large bowl. Sift in flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add chopped apple and mix coarsely. Do not over mix. Spoon mixture into muffin cups and top with sugar/cinnamon topping. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

9.26.2010

Apple Picking...

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at my new favorite orchard... with some of our favorite friends.

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9.25.2010

Yellow

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Some pictures from the week. I love that golden light... the first sign that autumn has arrived.

9.24.2010

Alone Time

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Tuesday and Friday mornings, with his big sister at school, Jackson has been enjoying some (much deserved) space to himself. Don't get me wrong he loves playing with Grace, and most of the time they play pretty well together. But I also think it is nice for Jackson to have a little alone time, where he gets to call the shots, doesn't have to share, and can just be himself (a luxury Grace had for two and a half years). Toddlers need this I think. And it is so delightful to watch him so happily keeping his own company.

9.23.2010

Cooperative Cooking

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So tonight, even though I worked this afternoon and Ryan won't be home until late, Grace, and Jackson and I got to enjoy homemade chicken pot pie. Normally when I make this, it takes over two hours to make including prep time so it's not something I would have time for on a work night. Tonight however, thanks to my dear friend Kirsten's brilliant idea, I only had to spend a few minutes getting it ready to put in the oven.

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A few months ago she came up with the idea to get together once a week and prep and/or make a meal to bring home and serve for dinner for each of our families. For some reason, even though I liked the idea, I wasn't as enthusiastic about it as she was. I think there was a small part of me that thought it sounded like it would end up being more work then it was worth. But now, especially now, I am so grateful that she talked me into it. This morning as we peeled, chopped, and measured, our children played around us. It was so much fun... for all of us. And the fact that the end result was a delicious meal was the icing on the cake.

So from now on, every Thursday morning, I will be here. In the kitchen...cooking... with a friend (and three little helpers).

9.22.2010

Breakfast

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I have gained a new appreciation for the long leisurely breakfasts that go on around here.

(Hopefully the maid will be by soon to clean up all those crumbs on the floor.)

9.21.2010

It Works...

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Today I baked fresh bread from our dough the other day... and it was sooooooo good. And it really does only take a few minutes. The idea of the "5 Minutes a Day" method is to make a huge batch of dough and then whenever you want fresh bread just grab out a hunk of dough and prepare it. While the bread requires a lot more time then 5 minutes (to rise and bake), I really did only spend about 5 minutes of my time making it.

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And it was soooo yummy!

9.20.2010

The Race Is On

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There is a heated competition going on right now between our gardens and winter.

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I decided to plant a fall round of crops this year (some of which we planted a little later then we should have even for a fall planting). Spinach, lettuce, carrots, broccoli (this one I know is a real long shot) and peas. I figure it's worth a try (go gardens go). In the very least we should be able to enjoy some lettuce and spinach.

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But thankfully we are still pulling things out of the garden from our first planting.

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Pumpkins, acorn squash and peppers are still popping up.

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And I did spot a small green tomato today too...

9.19.2010

Family, Food, Fall

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It was such a beautiful weekend. And very full. There was a baseball game, a visit to my great aunt's, lunch with friends, and a lot of family visitors.

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But I think maybe the highlight was Katie and Kris dressing this borrowed utility ATV up very fallish like and bringing it over to take us all on a "hayride".

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Katie and I also managed to sneak in some sisterly cooking. We are trying the "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes" method... can't wait to see if it works.

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9.17.2010

The Clothes...

This morning Grace got to pick more herbs from our gardens to bring into school for soup making. She loves doing this.

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But that's actually not why I'm blogging. Really this post is about girl clothes. Four year old girl clothes to be precise. I'm a little embarrassed to admit how much I love picking out Grace's outfits in the morning for school. But I mean really, how cute is this.

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And, I'm proud to say, I was able buy all her clothes for school (except shoes) at my two favorite thrift shops. For some reason this makes me like the clothes even more I think.

But more importantly (I suppose) is that the girl in these clothes had another very happy day at school today... making soup and new friends.

9.16.2010

Sick Day

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Well that didn't last long. We didn't even make it a week before we all got sick. I didn't mind though. It was nice to have a day at home again, even if it was a sick one.

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I did make (for the first time) some homemade cough syrup today from our horehound. I wasn't so sure about the taste but both Grace and Jackson liked it enough to take a spoonful before bed. Horehound is a really great herb for colds and coughs.

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Recipe for Cough Syrup

½ cup of fresh horehound leaves (or ¼ cup of dried)
2 cups of water
3 cups of liquid honey

Place the horehound in a stainless steel pot with the water and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow to steep for about 10 minutes. Strain and then add the honey. Cook for a few more minutes, stirring consistently until mixed well. Store in refrigerator for up to three months. The amount of honey can be adjusted for taste and consistency.

9.15.2010

Catching My Breath...

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At this moment I am wondering how people do it. I'm only gone a little over 4 hours a day including drive time and yet it seems like all of my energy is being dedicated to my new job.

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Last night I sat up late trying to figure out how to fit all of the things I'm use to doing- and love doing- into my new shorter day. I also wanted to try and figure out a way for all the things that are taking up so much time and energy right now (clothes for everyone, packing lunches, etc.) to not be so consuming.

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I'm not sure if it's going to work but I created a weekly schedule for myself (which is very un-me-ish) and I made sure to block off a good amount of "nothing time" each day. I thought perhaps if I scheduled time for nothing in particular then maybe I would be able to do nothing in particular without feeling anxious that I should be doing something else. So this morning, I had the luxury of wondering outside (still in my pajamas) to cut fresh flowers.

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We'll see. At the moment it seems to be working.