Thursday, October 4, 2012

Apple Orchard Fun~

Last week we headed on out to the apple orchard.  A DEFINITE favorite September activity with this crew!  In fact, as soon as we turn the calendar over to Sept., the kids begin asking when we will be going.  Of course being the good homeschooling mama that I am, we had spent the month reading all of our favorite "apple" books and reading about the seasons of the apple trees.  Of all the children, Charlie most especially delights in reading these apple stories.  These are just a few of our MANY favorites:

We got an early start and picked up our friends, Mia and Emily, and their mama.  We have a favorite orchard where we go every year,  which is located in the mountains, so it is a bit of a trek to get there.  In the past, we've brought a picnic lunch, but we usually spend our whole lunch time swatting those pesky bees away (and let me just say that Ellie is NO fan of bugs- any bugs) so this year we decided to stop at a Chick*Fil*A on our way up.  Best. decision. ever.  :)  We arrived at the orchard about noon and enjoyed our hayride and then some apple picking. It was an unseasonably warm afternoon and we mamas worked up a bit of sweat while picking apples. (it IS a hilly orchard~ in the mountains, remember...)  So afterwards, our snack of apple donuts and fresh cider were a very welcome treat!  After enjoying our orchard goodies, the mamas sat under a big shade tree and enjoyed a nice visit, while the children played and played and played.  What a perfect way to spend a fall day!  

Here we are!
 Before we left home, the kids all said they couldn't wait to climb apple trees~ so here they each are in the apple trees!

Hayrides are such fun!

My friend Tracey, being an adoptive mama herself has waited SO patiently to love on Ellie. And today was the day that Ellie opened right up to her!
Taking a snack break
Ellie, too!
This is how the princess enjoyed her day of apple picking
After our apple picking and BEFORE our donuts and cider~ and yes, I might have used that as a bribe to get the photo
No photos of drinking our cider and eating our tasty treats, but this is Ellie's face after eating her cinnamon sugary donut!

Charlie FINALLY learned how to pump while at the orchard
Sheer joy!
A boy on his tractor!
Kate hopped right up on this wagon wheel and posed like this with no prompting from me.  She looked so cute, I decided to get a photo of each child posing~ we'll call them their school pictures!


We finally dragged ourselves away and headed home.  We ended up taking the long way home (unintentionally) and so we made a dinner stop as well, arriving home just in time for daddy to give some quick baths before tucking the tired children into their beds.  Don't you just love when children are worn out from a day spent outside in the fresh air and they fall into bed clean, tired and happy???  I sure do, and I wasn't long to follow!

And what are we going to do with all of our apples??? 
Here are two of our favorite recipes~

Spiced Apples

3 cooking apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
(I gotta say, I LOVE my apple peeler, corer, slicer~ and I would NOT be cooking with apples without it)

2 T unsalted butter, melted

1 T brown sugar

1/8 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 c pecan halves, toasted

Cook apples in butter in a large skillet over low heat, stirring occasionally, until very tender.  Add pecans and remaining ingredients, tossing gently.

Tonight I doubled this recipe for the 7 of us, and every bit of it was gone!


Fresh Apple Cake

1 1/4 c. oil

2 c. sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

Combine the above and then add:

3 c. flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

Mix well and then add:

3-4 large apples, diced (about 4 cups)

3/4-1 c. chopped pecans

Mix well and pour into greased bundt pan and bake for about 1 hour at 300 or until done.   Be careful not to over bake.  I usually start testing after 50 minutes and then check every 5 minutes after that.  After taking out of the oven, sprinkle with confectioners sugar.  Enjoy!    



Rita and John said...

What fun! I love the "school pictures"! You have such a beautiful family.

Wolfes Home said...

Oh, I love days like these! Great pictures, and wonderful memories made. Glad you got to share it with a friend, too. Our favorite apple book is "How to Make a Pie and See the World."

Catherine said...

What a perfect day together!! Fall is amazing! Thanks for the recipes - will need to try those.

I'm also going to write down the names and authors of those books. The other night I was in the library and totally lost as to where to start in the children's area. I was thinking, 'I wish P was here to help me out!' I know you're careful about the books you choose for your kiddos and the selection is nothing short of overwhelming. Would love to know some of your favourite children's authors!

Janet and Kevin said...

What a lovely day! Such happy children in those pictures, too. We love to cook with apples. I think I will try those recipes soon.

janet and gang

Leslie said...

So going to make that Apple Cake! I need to get to the orchard very soon.

I love that first book you pasted in, but some of the others we haven't read. Thanks for sharing!!!

Adorable (if sticky!) children!!!

Jean said...

I love your pictures and it sounds like so much fun!!

Your children are so beautiful- I love how they have grown!

And BTW I am thinking of our 22 yr old for Emily! He is so so wonderful!!And a bit more mature! (well, JOhnny is too BUT he's just all about soccer, sports, school, friends ... ya know!)

Jean said...

Oh yes and thanks for the book ideas!
I will be checking them out!!

Ohilda said...

Ooohh....loved your pictures!!

We're heading to an Apple Festival in Waynesville on the 20th and then a drive through the Blue Ridge Parkway for the foliage. We can't wait!

I need to look up where there's an Apple Orchard around me!

Kristi said...

How have I never gotten my kids to an apple orchard? (or myself for that matter) The closest we come is making several visits to the State Farmer's Market to sample many types of apples and purchase more pecks than you can shake a stick at.
Love that you have a tradition of going with your friend!

And I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to make that cake ASAP ~ we did buy a peck of apples on Friday...