It’s Friday, and Novemeber :)

Happy 1st of November.  It’s hard to believe that it’s already November and that it’s not likely to warm up again for 5 or 6 looong months. I guess I need to get outside and dig up the remaining carrots and beets from the garden. I also need to plant a few lilac shoots from my mom’s garden. I’ve been putting it off hoping for a nice warmish day, but it looks like I’ll just have to pull on some gloves and get it done before the ground freezes.

This week has been a fast one with so much to do.

  • Costumes made and mended.
  • A school party.
  • Tricks and treats and lots of celebrating!
  • A busy week for my husband at work.
  • Several new words from my daughter (1).

…aaand now we can start to settle in.  Getting our home ready for the cold of the weather and the warmth of family.  Have a great weekend!

Autumn Family Tree and Celebration

Autumn Family Tree and Celebration

We finally had our Fall celebration. We had planned to have it on Sunday, but it was a rainy and wet all day and it did not sound at all enjoyable to take 2 young children out after dark to sit in the rain around a smoky fire. So we waited and celebrated Monday instead. It was sunny and just chilly enough to make a backyard fire lovely. We spent the morning making an apple pie. We spent the afternoon harvesting the carrots and beets left in our garden (there’s still a few left). We cleaned them up and roasted them in the oven. My husband made a beer can chicken on the BBQ. It was a delicious fall meal! We lit our first candle at dinner to mark the increasing darkness. We will continue to light a candle at dinner throughout the winter.

After dinner I got the kids in their PJ’s while my husband struggled to get the wet wood to light (He’s an expert!). We sat at the fire drinking hot apple cider and singing songs. We talked about Autumn and the cool air and longer nights. We talked about fire and it’s light and heat. My son told us a story about the animals. Then wee had a quick walk around the block with flashlights. I had planned to make lanterns, but we just got too busy. We are nothing if not flexible šŸ™‚

All in all it was a beautiful day and a much-needed special day as a family.

We spent the days leading up to the celebration making decorations for our house. Our Autumn family tree was the crown jewel. We gathered leaves and acorns from our yard and neighborhood. We tied thread to the leaves and hung them on a branch. I glued eyes onto the acorns and drew on mouths. One for each member of our family. I tied thread to the acorn stems (some needed a little glue) and we hung them on the branch as well. I taped little name tags to each of the acorn threads. I think it turned out gorgeous, but next time I will iron the leaves between wax paper first to keep them from curling up.
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Do you have a Fall celebration? What are your family traditions?

Cheers to Friday!

Cheers to Friday and the kick off to a long weekend for my family!  It’s been an exciting week that opened with a couple of cool sunny days getting me giddy for fall and promises to end with more sunny cool days.  Sandwiched in the middle were a few rainy, gloomy days which really make it easy to decide to bake and cuddle all day with the lamps on šŸ™‚

This week we:

Lost our whole corn crop to the squirrels.  If we grow it again next year we will have to figure out a way to keep those pesky rodents at bay.

Cleared out the tomato, green bean, and pea plants that were turning brown in the garden. 

Planted new grass seed in the areas of the yard that the pool and slide sat too long, leaving big brown circles and triangles.

Baked, colored, cut, danced, sang, and played a lot

I will leave you this week with a thought about children’s questions.

There are two things… to be noticed about the inquiries of little children.  The questions are often posed in rapid succession, as if the child were not so much seeking information as just wanting to hear an answering voice.  Also, the child seems to listen with more pleasure to a tentative answer, spoken with love and warmth in the voice, than to an assured and categorical reply given in a matter-of-fact tone.  When little children pour out their endless questions, they are seeking something much deeper than the mere satisfaction of curiosity.  They are seeking to bring around them the living tones of the human voice.

~A.C. Harwood

What did you do this week?

Refrigerator Pickles

Refridgerator Pickles

Few things make me feel more lucky and secure than a full fridge. Right now with the garden and farmers markets so abundant with veggies, I’m finding it necessary to think up new and creative ways to prepare and preserve the bounty.

Last week my husband and I made up a big batch of refrigerator pickles. The above picture is what is left. The whole family sneaks a pickle of two every time we pass the fridge šŸ™‚ Here is a link to my favorite recipe.

http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Refrigerator-Dill-Pickles

Today, more zucchini bread is in the oven as I type. I plan to make a few more loaves as gifts. Then this afternoon we are pickling some sweet banana peppers from the farmers market and I think I’ll try to pickle some carrots too. If they turn out, I’ll share the recipe.

Anyone have any ideas for all of my tomatoes?

One Pot Spaghetti

One Pot Spaghetti

I learned that this was even possible from an article in a Martha Stewart Living magazine a couple of months ago. The key to this recipe is the liquid to pasta ratio. About 5 cups water to 16 oz. pasta and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Then just let your imagination run. I used about 4 tomatoes from the garden, an onion, lots of basil from the garden, about 5 cloves of garlic, button mushrooms, and water. You don’t need a lot of produce, but I’d go heavy on the herbs. Sprinkle in a little salt and pepper and boil for about 10 minutes (until the water is mostly gone). I served it with grated parmesan and red pepper flakes on the side.

I can’t believe I never knew you could do this, because it is so easy and fast! It’s also an excellent way use up produce and makes a light summer meal.

I’m looking forward to experimenting with different liquids (stock, wine — with water of course) and different veggies. I might even add some cooked meat (chicken, sausage) next time. Please let me know if you try a yummy combination. I’d love to try yours šŸ™‚

Here Come the Zucchini!

Here Come the Zucchini!

With zucchini beginning to come from the garden, the dance of trying to use them is ramping up! I attempted a new recipe for zucchini fritters that was delicious, but the texture was awful (and I had to take them to dinner at our neighbors). So yesterday, with a brand new large one picked fresh the day before my son and I set out to make zucchini bread…Yummmm…

I used a recipe from my old trusty Better Homes and Gardens cookbook (you know the one with red and white plaid) handed down from my grandmother. But there are many good recipes online too. Check out these links that are close to the recipe I used:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/zucchini-bread-recipe/index.html

http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2007/07/summer-of-the-bats/

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/moms-zucchini-bread/

Like the Paula Deen recipe, I used nutmeg and lemon juice. Like the Smitten Kitchen recipe, I used chocolate chips in one of my loaves. I used whole wheat flour.

The point of this post is to simply celebrate the abundant zucchini that promises to take over my kitchen soon enough. Right now though, my family can’t get enough zucchini bread! We’ve just about polished off two loaves since yesterday afternoon, and we plan to make a few more loaves today. One for us, one for Grandma, and one for the neighbor that keeps bringing tomatoes to our porch. He’s taken pity on us and our tomato plant planted late and not doing very well in our garden.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Here’s my garden šŸ™‚
Beets and carrots at back. Cukes, green beans and squash in middle. Tomato and peppers in front. Corn to the right and strawberries behind that. Peas growing on the fence in back. We’ve been picking tomatoes, jalapenos, beans and strawberries. Looks like some beets are ready too.

I’d love to see pictures of your gardens or know what you’re growing šŸ™‚