Friday, October 31, 2008

A little bit of our day . . . and night ~

A full day of celebrating started with the girls at a carnival this morning,
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. . . an afternoon of making preparations for a special birthday . . .
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. . . followed by an evening with lots of trick or treating!!
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Thursday, October 30, 2008

jack-o-lanterns ~ the first lighting

family jack-o-lanterns

Here's wishing everyone a safe, fun, and happy halloween!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

family night ~ pumpkin carving

Donned in our rain coats, rain boots, and umbrellas, the five of us trek out to a local store on Monday night in search for our halloween pumpkins. On the way home, we ask the kids to draw the face on paper that they want their pumpkin to have {something new this year instead of using someone else's template drawing}. I was quite pleased.

creating the face

drawing the face

three faces

scary pumpkin

punching out the face

Happy preparing for Halloween ~~

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Apple Bread Recipe ~

apple bread

Upon my son’s request, I baked another loaf of apple bread for breakfast this morning. Here’s the recipe I promised you last week:

Apple Bread

½ stick butter (room temperature)
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1-2 tbs of oil
2 apples grated (allowing juice to drip into batter)

Preheat oven 350 degrees
Grease loaf pan
In a bowl, mix together butter, sugars until smooth, then beat in eggs

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves
Mix into butter/sugar mixture until smooth
Mix in oil
Grate apples into batter (allowing juice to drip into batter)
Pour into prepared loaf pan

Bake 45-60 minutes until inserted toothpick or fork comes out clean.
Cool in pan for 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

a wintry peach pie for Sunday ~

a wintry peach pie

I knew right away what I was going to make this weekend for Sunday’s pie when I found frozen “fresh” peaches at the bottom of the freezer. I was even more delighted when I browsed through my recipes and came across a more wintry version of a peach pie. This recipe includes ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and brown sugar. Every year, these spices get pulled to the front of my spice cabinet with their frequent use in seasonal dishes. I’m so looking forward to eating our Winter Peach Pie this evening.

{recipe can be found in Joy of Cooking. Rombauer, Becker, and Becker p. 876, 1997.}

Friday, October 24, 2008

friendly cookie swap ~

making the dough

This afternoon we've been getting ready for a friendly cookie swap we're going to this evening at a friend's house. At my house, when I use my mixer, the girls complain {a lot!} about the sound hurting their ears. So there were a few complaints as I made the dough. But they quickly stopped once they saw I needed to roll out the dough.

cookie making

Elise communicated very clearly that she could help roll out the dough. Standing up on the kitchen chair, she rolled and rolled. I commented to her, "you're a natural" and she kindly replied, "I know me am."

cookie making

I realized that this was my chance to break out my halloween cookies cutters which marks my annual cookie festivity making with the kids each fall through . . . valentine's or easter. Lots of cookies to be made this year . . .

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

a quiet afternoon ~

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The tone of our afternoons has shifted to a more quiet, focused atmosphere. Jonmichael surprisingly has emerged into a different place in his reading over the last two days. He surprised us this morning after breakfast announcing that after he went to bed last night, he "sneaked" (as he said) and read 5 chapters of his first Magic Treehouse book {by Mary Pope Osborne} by his closet light. He went on this afternoon to finish it and has since read 4 chapters of a 2nd one tonight.

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With the big talk around our house of Jonmichael's instant attraction to the Treehouse books, Lena was inspired to write her own chapter book this afternoon and read it to me.

I'm still wiping my eyes in amazement. Is this really happening??

I'm very happy that the tone of our house is turning into what I had always hoped ~ a love for reading and writing. It only inspires me to do more of the same. Hopefully we will adopt a time each day where we all sit at the table together with journals and write, as well as have family reading times after dinner in the family room, always filling that time that so easily a TV can fill, with more meaningful and nurturing activities.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

crafty recycling ~

Upon finding a purple pencil eraser in a parking lot, Lena decided she could use it to make a pencil. Later that evening, with some cardboard and masking tape, she constructed this real to life pencil with the eraser becoming the colored tip much like her ferby pencils she loves to use.

a pencil and paper

a pencil

On finding this boot box, she constructed a suitcase for her most precious valuable {her blanket!}.

a suitcase

A good supply of cardboard kept in a recycling bin and large amounts of tape are the way to go in our family to get the creative juices flowing.

Tape sculture

But beware, you may walk into your dining room {a.k.a - your child's "studio" as mine now calls it} and find something like this on your walls~~~!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Apple Pie Sunday

Apple Pie Sunday

Saturday went racing by. Some of my plans for dinner were not coming together as I had hoped, the dessert I had in mind mainly. Realizing at 3:00 that there was not enough time to bake and cool an apple pie for our 5:30 dinner time, I decided to make it later in the evening to have for Sunday. Then I started to think how nice it would be to bake a pie every Saturday late afternoon for the next day ~ it could be our newest family tradition and more Saturdays in the kitchen for me. Sundays are special in many ways, having pie would simply bring another special element to the day {and may possibly entice others to come over and share}. This will also give me an opportunity to come up with different recipes each week and try new things {and share them of course}. So for today, it’s Apple Pie Sunday . . . next week . . . well, we’ll just have to wait and see . . . come on by and have some pie!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

saturday in the kitchen ~

Apple Bread

Apple Bread

Apple Bread

Wanting to use up some of our apples we picked last weekend, I decided to bake some apple bread for breakfast on Saturday – which everyone devoured. It was so yummy, I’ll be making more for sure. {I’ll post the recipe next week}

It's finished~!

During the day as the turkey roasted, I finished my knitted hanging towel just as I had hoped. It’s lovely and goes so well with the yellow on my kitchen walls. {that was an unexpected surprise, some times things work out just right.} As I switched my work to my new rosewood needles on Thursday, I was inspired to use a more organic button for the closure and found this one added a nice touch. I love dark wood tones and find that every room in our home coordinates well with this dark earthy element.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Looking forward to ~

Mitered Hanging Towel

Looking forward to a weekend filled with:

* finished knitting project

* beginnings of fall lap quilt

* Giada’s (Everyday Italian) new home show premiering Saturday at 1:00

* roasted turkey

* good times with friends and family

* comtemplating changes I need to make to the house while reading this book

* some rest

Happy Weekend to you!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Coming together this evening ~

Coming together as a family in the evening is an exciting time for us. While Daniel has been away most of the day, we all anticipate his return home to share bits and pieces of our day.

Tonight I thought I would share with you what this evening has brought us:

waiting for daddy

* Jonmichael waiting outside the front door for Daddy to come home with football in hand and lollipop in his mouth.

* Tacos on the stove.

helper in the kitchen

* A helper in the kitchen (measuring sugar for our tea)

new momma made capris

* These momma made capris worn for the first time today.

Tomorrow ~ promises of a road trip to an area farm raised specialty yarn shop, a treat for me . . .!

road knitting ~

I got very excited when I received a phone call from my local library about this book being on reserve for me. I had been waiting for a mere three weeks for the library to receive their copy of the book since it’s release last month. I couldn’t wait to see The Jane Austin dress, what a great dress for the girls to wear for our family Christmas picture this year and also double as their Easter dresses next spring. I love the knitted bodice and empire waist and the billowy skirt is so playful, my girls will love it!
New Knitting Book

future knitting projects

Thumbing through a second and third time, I saw several more projects that caught my attention: the Swifty and the Mitered Hanging Towel.

Saturday morning as we were packing up for our trip out to the apple orchard, I grabbed this book and yarn to give it a fair shot.

I decided on the Mitered Hanging Towel – using Peaches and Cream yarn as the pattern recommends. Although I will have to mention I didn’t like this yarn first go around, but I’ll give it another shot for these cute, simple {the jovial authors Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne rank the difficulty of this pattern to be “Actually easier than pie”}, and useful projects!

road knitting

road knitting

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

from the farm to the table ~

Yesterday I spent all day in the kitchen canning apple jelly and baking apple pie.

ready for apple jelly

Being the first time ever making apple jelly, I had a little trouble, but it came out just right in the end.

tops of canning jars

amber glow of apple jelly

After setting the jars on the kitchen table, the warmest glow came through the jars as the sunlight hit them through the window. What a nice reminder of what Fall gives us . . .

last few steps of apple pie making

fresh baked apple pie

. . . and a nice apple pie just in time for dessert after dinner. This recipe requires about 4-5 hours of sitting to cool, it's so hard to wait but definately worth it in the end~!

Happy Fall to you!

Monday, October 13, 2008

apple picking weekend ~

We had a fabulous time apple picking this weekend ~ lots of jelly and applesauce to be made and canned today.

apple picking

apple picking Braeburn

apple picking

apple picking - winesap

apple picking

apple picking

basket of apples

apple picking Fugi
The kids ate apple after apple. We picked Braeburns (very sweet), Winesap (not very sweet), Golden Delicious (the best tasting but they were really high up in the trees and hard to reach), Fugi (everyone's favorite). We've never seen the orchard so full of trees.