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
|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
|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~
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
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!