Monday, October 26, 2015

Pumpkin Patch

After learning that Little Tree Orchard did not have a pumpkin patch, we grabbed our apple cider and donuts and hit the road again to find a pumpkin patch. 

Sometimes fall just seems to go by so fast, so fast that when it's over I look back and think about all the things that I wanted to do and didn't. Although there are a million things on my Ithaca Fall Bucket List, I'm feeling pretty satisfied with all the things we have done this month. Our number one goal was to just be outside, enjoy the trees, and the weather. We have done that. Any excuse to get in the car and drive around looking at the trees, we took advantage of.  Which is why weren't too disappointed that there weren't pumpkins at the first farm, it just meant more drive time enjoying the trees.

We ended up at Iron Kettle Farm in Candor, NY. It was really cool. They had their own little Halloween village set up, with tons of games, a corn maze, hayride, food stands, animal farm, haunted barn, train ride, etc. You did have to pay for most of the activities so we chose one and then enjoyed the free stuff (animals and big wood vehicles to play on). We chose the hayride. I felt like a little kid, I was so so so giddy. Having a kid that is old enough to enjoy this stuff is just great (just about everyday he shouts out randomly, "It's Halloween!" and then starts jumping up and down).

Despite his face in the picture below, he really did enjoy the hayride (we were irresponsible parents the night before and kept him up till midnight so that we could selfishly play games with friends. He started to feel it...well, the second he woke up (which is why he was back down for a nap by 10 a.m.), but later in the day too...I promise we don't usually do that, like, ever). 

Along the hayride were little scenes with characters with pumpkin heads from movies/books/etc. Shae's favorites were the Cat in the Hat and Sponge Bob (even though he has never seen Sponge Bob...he has some undies with Sponge Bob on them so he seems to have a special connection).

We were a bit disappointed to arrive and learn that there was not a pumpkin patch to pick pumpkins from. There was an area with lots of pumpkins to choose from but they were way more expensive than I would ever pay for a pumpkin (the ones that Shae is sitting on below were at least $15). We got Shae a little $3 pumpkin so that he could at least have his but decided to get our bigger pumpkins somewhere else that were cheaper. 

Belén was nice enough to sit still for 2 seconds so that I could take this picture.

...and Shae falls apart...

Shae fell asleep as soon as we started driving home, despite the fact that it was almost 6 p.m. We enjoyed a nice quiet drive home (until Belén decided she was just too tried to sleep and lost it). We swung by Little Caesar's Pizza on the way home. Shae woke up right when I got back in the car with the pizza and groggily said, "I hungry." 

It was a pretty perfect afternoon/evening. We didn't really have a clear plan when we left the house. I had ground beef on the counter thawing for dinner, but then plans changed. We went to two farms instead of one. We stayed out much later than planned. We were tired from the fun afternoon...and hungry. So we ate pizza in the car together at almost 7 o'clock at night. It was simple, but special. 

I kind of like this little clan of mine.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Little Tree Orchard

Last weekend we decided it was time to go find our pumpkins. There are so many farms around here that we didn't know which one to go to. After going to Hollenbeck Cider Mill a few weeks ago, our friends tried out Little Tree Orchard (still in search for that perfect Apple Cider Donut). They told us that it was the perfect apple experience. We decided to try it out, and hoped that they would have a pumpkin patch as well.

 B's serious face. She is much less smiley these days. (Which means she still smiles a ton, just not EVERY time you look at her). She's taking life more seriously now that she can get around and get into things. She'd much rather be on the ground exploring than in daddy's arms.

There was no pumpkin patch, but we still fully enjoyed the apple environment. They had this cute little cabin where they sold cider and donuts. There was a MASSIVE orchard with over SIXTY(!) different kinds of apples. 

There was a little nook in the cabin with toys, foosball, ping-pong, and an amazing view. We hung out there for awhile enjoying our donuts and cider before we got back in line to get more donuts and let Shae play some more (and we wonder why we struggle losing weight...). 

We have been so obsessed with apples lately. How could we not be living here? Yesterday we had apples with every meal. Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal for breakfast, apples with sandwiches for lunch, and apples in our Butternut Squash Soup for dinner. They are just THAT good (and cheap and convenient--but seriously, they just smell so good). 

And just so I don't lose the recipe...(notes and recipe from Jenessa)

Butternut Squash Soup
1 butternut squash
1 chopped onion
1 chopped carrot
1-2 apples chopped or some apple juice to taste (I use apples)
3-6 cups chicken broth/water and bouillon (depending on how thick you want it)
4 tbsp butter or olive oil
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 marjoram (I didn't have this, I put a little cloves in it this time instead)
1 tsp tarragon
1/8 tsp cayenne
1 or 2 packages cream cheese (I use 1 usually but put 1 1/2 in last night because it was a special occasion 😋)
Aaaaaand brown sugar to taste

Chop the squash into four big pieces and seed the squash, rub the exposed no skinned part with olive oil and roast at 400 deg until soft (30 min?). (Alternatively you could just skin and chop it up to cook with everything else but I truly dislike chopping squashes so I always do this.)

Sauté onion in oil/butter. Add in the carrots and spices and sauté until it seems soft (this is also where you'd add the squash if you chopped it... Full disclosure I don't think I ever have enough patience to sauté it, I just plan on it getting soft while boiling so I don't see the point). Add the broth and apples and roasted squash and a couple tbsps brown sugar if you are into that and cook until it's all soft and squishy. Take off of heat. Blend it to death. Add cream cheese and blend again. Add brown sugar to taste.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Don't Leave Fall!

So this happened on Sunday:

Thankfully it didn't last long. It happened randomly at three different times during the day, but nothing stuck and the past few days have been back in the 60s (although somewhat cloudy and gloomy still. I have a feeling this will be my life for quite some time).

I apologize for talking so much about the trees and the beautiful fall here, but I'm having this huge fear of the above being my life (but much much more intense) for the next 8 months. Probably won't be seeing many blog posts then...unless you want to see pictures of all the books we'll be reading and movies we'll be watching.

So yes, trees. Fall. We went for another walk around Beebee Lake last week (the lake in the middle of campus). We went to a different area of the lake this time. We only walked around for about 40 minutes before it started to drizzle.

Can't get enough of this girl all bundled up.

Or this handsome daddy.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Loving Fall

October has got to be the greatest month of the year. Maybe December? One of those months is the best. The weather and trees in October might give it a slight edge. 

We pulled out our fall decorations last week, all five of them (a couple pumpkins and leaves). Shae and I decided one day that we need more, so we pulled out some craft stuff and got to work.

And now we have a ghost and spider to add to our fall decor. Yay! (Don't you just love that timeout chair there in the background? It's been getting a lot of use lately).

Last Friday we were going to hike Watkins Glen, but then it was raining all day. We still wanted to get out so we drove up to Syracuse and did the number one thing to do in Syracuse according to, we went to the mall. But seriously guys, this mall was pretty stinking amazing. HUGE. Quite possibly every store that exists can be found in that place. We got lost a few times. So the mall was cool, but the drive was just amazing, even with the rain, the trees are just so so so pretty right now. 

Saturday, the weather was perfect. We should have gone to Watkins Glen then. However, we had already planned a trip to Hollenbeck Cider Mill with some friends. Again, these trees. Love.

One of the main reasons we wanted to go was because we heard there were Apple Cider donuts. We were pretty disapointed to find out that they weren't actually Apple Cider donuts, just sugared, but it was still cool to see the donuts made (a fresh donut is a fresh donut) and watch apples be pressed into cider.

 It was quite the happening place. Looooong donut line.

After grabbing some cider and donuts we found a park to hang out at and enjoy the weather. (We also dipped our donuts in the cider and made our own Apple Cider donuts which was actually quite good).

Poor Eppie, sometimes she is scared of Shae.

The weather has been good this week so we've been trying to get out for plenty of walks, because again, this is surrounding us:

Fall break was this Monday and Tuesday. I found out last week from one of the ladies from church. I asked Darin, "Why didn't I know that fall break is next week?" Darin responded, "Because it won't really be a break for me." Darin has the majority of his classes on Wednesday and spends most of Monday and Tuesday doing homework in preparation for Wednesday anyways. We kept our expectations low for any kind of a break. But you can imagine how excited we were when he called us at 3 p.m. on Monday and said that we should go explore (the weather was AMAZING on Monday). We quickly left the house to go get him (well, not really quickly because leaving the house with these two kiddos is never a quick process). We went and did a small portion of the Cascadilla Gorge hike right by campus.

What a great study spot. Smart dude.

Poor Belén, the forgotten second child.

 We had to stop ever so often for Shae to throw rocks in to the water. 

Check out that form. Future pitcher right there.

This is Belén's hungry/tired face. She quite literally grabs my face and tries to eat me.
After many shots of her eating my face I figured getting a good mommy/baby pic was not going to happen.  Darin was patient and made some magic happen.

And now on to this...

Stay with us fall. Please don't leave yet.