Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

The Shadow Ninja, Witch and Anakin Skywalker are all in bed after a warm evening of trick or treating. I'm coming down off of my sugar rush. Must get to bed. Maybe just one more Almond Joy? They won't notice if I sneak another one, will they?
And you? What's your favorite thing to score from their loot bags? Special Dark is my other fave!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Another Birthday cake for Krista

Every year when we celebrate my sister's birthday at our monthly family soup night, I get the honor of making her cake. For the past several years I have made the cakes on the cover of Country Living magazine. I wasn't too inspired by the cupcakes on the October issue this year, so I went back to my all-time favorite recipe from a few years ago, just tweaking it a bit. Here's the spooky spider-webby outcome. Happy Birthday, Krista!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Off to Stillwater

Last weekend we were joined by in-town and out-of-town college friends for a beautiful fall day. Kevin and Julie came up from Des Moines with their kids and asked to take a little road trip from the big cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. We joined them and Jenn, Charley and their daughter on an excursion to Axdahl's pumpkin patch and market and then to beautiful historic Stillwater.
If you've never been to Stillwater before, please add it to your "must-visit" list, any time of the year. Antique stores, crafty gift shops, restaurants galore, the St. Croix River, an ice cream store just steps away from the water!

We hadn't yet visited the Teddy Bear park and were quite impressed with it. It was tough to figure out exactly which part of the day was the best part for the kids: pumpkin patch fun, Teddy Bear park, or walking with our ice cream cones down to the flooded river and watching the historic lift bridge let the waiting boats pass by. Have you ever seen light posts that are supposed to be lining a sidewalk.... submerged in a river?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bringing in the Crop

We have had a lovely fall in Minnesota this year. Usually by now all of the tender plants have long since wilted or been zapped by bitter overnight frosts. This year our tomato plants and impatiens are still blooming-- or at least for those people who have continued to water them. Mine grow in spite of a lack of regular watering, weeding or much tending. We've been busy watching the turkeys run around the neighborhood, right?
Last week we began to bring in the carrots that the kids planted in June. Though we religiously plant them each year, ours have never had much success beyond being finger-sized orbs of orange goodness. Perhaps a child's pinky would be a more appropriate size guage for what we've grown up until now. This week we've been hauling in some downright chunky, albeit short and squat beauties. Our vegetable garden area has dappled sun and prevents us from having a truly marvelous garden, but we have fun with the mixed results. Pea sized brussel sprouts? Bring it on!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Feeling Fall

While the Vikings played today, I got a chance to be outside by myself. Usually I have many little bodies and paws surrounding me to play with and chase and inevitably spend my time making mental lists of all the things I'd like to accomplish. Today was just the day I had been hoping for. With the kids inside with Daddy, I grabbed my rake, bags and trimmer and got to work.

To do:
-cut down/dead head flowers
-empty wilted flower boxes
-rake and bag
-clean up firewood/branch pile
-dig up weeds in the south garden
-pick last tomatoes for counter ripening
-check for remaining carrots
-dig out canna bulbs
-put away hose for the season

I did all but the last two and I feel wonderful. Dragging the firepit to the driveway in the front where I was working, I managed to both fill the neighborhood with the tell-tale fall smell of burning wood and deal with the overflowing pile of accumulated sticks that I trip over every day when I exit the van. I alternated between raking and stoking the fire, pulling dead plants and breaking sticks over my knee. My list is not quite as inspiring as Martha's to-do list is every month in Living magazine, but for a working mom, I'm rather satsified.

The kids joined me later when they grew bored of the game and learned of the fire. I even coaxed Louise in her party dress to join me with the raking. Gus was most at home tending the fire, trying to wave sticks with a fiery end in the air when my back was turned. Carl was happy to help with the leaf bagging process, especially once he figured out that s'mores were a possibility once the work was finished.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Not so many apples

We went apple picking on Sunday with my siblings and their families as well as two of our childhood friends' families. We've lost track of how many years these five family groups have been gathering to pick apples together, but know that every year, as the kids age, it just keeps getting better! Because the spring came early in Minnesota this year, the apples peaked early too. We've always had luck this first weekend in October, but this year was a bust. At least we were apple to pick a few in the orchard (shh!) and bought the rest in their store.
Carl and Maddie were busy speaking Spanish to eachother and eating their apples. Note Carl's new glasses!

Even sweet baby Cooper got in on the apple action!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A month!?!

I'm back at work teaching Spanish and have been quite absent here. It has been difficult adjusting to the challenges of not having complete freedom over my days and my time. It feels wonderful to have an audience again, a group of co-workers and colleagues and a sense of independence and professionalism. But there are many, many things I miss. Reading the entire newspaper, having more than one cup of coffee with breakfast in the morning, squeezing my kids whenever, wherever and as much as I wanted, planning and cooking meals at a leisurely pace, baking, crafting, lollygagging. Need I say more? I'm fine. We're managing. But I sure do miss my stay-at-home- mom self.

I'll be trying to catch up on the last month in photos here. Check back to see if I can keep up again. How's your fall?