Fall Time

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Fall is in full swing, here in the Ohio Valley. Being the week of Halloween, there have been many fun activities that are fall themed. It’s part of the reason I was M.I.A last week, as far as updating the blog went… We went trick-or-treating at the mall, attended a fall festival at the university for the families of staff members, and we baked pumpkin spice cookies.

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Sophie has been increasingly affectionate toward me lately, which is nice since she is either being her introverted self, or she awaits daddy’s arrival from work to unleash her softer side. Perhaps it is the cool, fall cuddle weather? Either way, I’m not complaining.

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Growing up in California, I never got to experience fall. The seasons hardly change, few trees even lost their leaves, and palm trees of course, are perpetually the same. Fall still seems new and exciting to me despite having lived here for almost a decade now. Fall reminds me of the season in which I met J, and our romance blossomed.

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I love being able to share this gorgeous season with our children. There is so much excitement as we head into the holiday season!

Annual Apple Picking

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Last weekend we made our annual trip out to Peace Valley orchards. I thought Sophie would enjoy it more, now that she is a little older, but my little grumpy girl had just awoken from a nap as we were arriving. Cora on the other hand was thrilled and excited by the sensory overload.

She could not stop touching all of the gourds! Sophie preferred to stay in my Mother-in-law’s arms.

They didn’t only have apples in the country store on the property, but lots of other locally grown vegetables. We picked up an eggplant, [for the delicious ratatouille I’ve been making lately,] an onion, plums, and 2 peppers in addition to our bag full of apples. Of course, I couldn’t resist letting Cora pick a gourd since she had become so fond of them.

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It seems silly to drive 45 minutes just for some apples, but i enjoy driving the country roads and the atmosphere of the orchards. It really makes me feel like fall is approaching, even if the weather has still been hot and humid.

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I am so excited to share the holiday season with both girls. Sophie is getting older and subsequently more curious and excited about new traditions, while Cora has a curious nature in general. I love watching them explore and experience new things.

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In a few weeks it will be time to find a pumpkin patch, but for now, I need to come up with some truly delicious apple recipes. I have plans for some delicious pork chops and apple hand pies.

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Thanks for reading up on our apple picking adventure!

Day Trip to Columbus

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I am really excited for a little trip we are taking to Columbus tomorrow! A few months ago, our uncle got tickets to an Ohio State game for his birthday, and so it was decided that the men would go to the game, while the ladies [and babies] did some shopping. We have a hotel downtown and are planning on going out altogether, after the game, for a nice dinner.

It is so nice to get away, even if you’re only going a couple hours West. I love a change of scenery, plus my mother in law is good company. Hopefully the girls will behave, and we will all have a great time.

Be on the lookout for cute pictures next week! Until then, Have a great weekend!

GO BUCKEYES.

Winding Down Summer

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Like a true Californian, I want all the perks of fall time without the weather becoming too much colder. We have some exiting things coming up like : a double date with our friends, an Ohio State football game, and apple picking. I’m looking forward to these events, though still wishing that the warm weather won’t be leaving us.

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Even though I have grown quite fond of the Buckeye state, it is hard for me to reconcile with the impending doom of winter. Earlier in the week, my mom sent me a picture of a shirt that said: “I bake because punching people is frowned upon.” I, of course, laughed… but then I thought a little deeper about it and my love for baking. When the weather changes, I really do go into baking mode, and you can find me in the kitchen almost every day working on a new treat. I always thought that it was because I liked to be by the warm oven while it is cooling off outside. Here is my new theory though, the kitchen is where my expertise in baking collides with irreconcilable mourning of summer.

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I don’t know how or when I will stop longing for sunshine. Of course, I am the one who made the decision to stay out here in Ohio, so there must have been a good reason for leaving California. But like most decisions, we forget why we make the changes we do. We choose to see the past through the most flattering of lenses. Even though I know this, the weather still tugs on my heart strings and makes me question where I live and why I can’t go back to the golden state. So, I bake. I measure, I read recipes, I focus… it is where what I don’t know collides with what I do know.

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My mind is clear when I am in the kitchen. I carefully read instructions, take care when using specific tools, and improve my technique when I can. Baking is some thing that, when you follow the instructions and do the best you can, you will always get a perfect result. In life, [or at least in my own life] the reaction is almost always opposite. You can try your best, do every thing “right” and things may still not work out. I can control the speed on my mixer, but what I can’t control is every element affecting my everyday life. And so, I bake…

Fall Bucket List

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Now, before all you summer-lovers jump on my back like, “IT’S NOT FALL YET!” Trust me, I know. I am no lover of fall. Did you know…. after fall comes WINTER? Yeah, you don’t have to convince me that summer is the beast season, I know. So why create a fall bucket list? Simply for the reason that I have to psyche myself up for fall. Now That I have lived in Ohio for roughly 7 falls, I’ve come up with a few favorite things to do here that I can’t necessarily do in California.

Here is the list:

  1. Apple picking – it’s just not the same in the golden State!
  2. watching the leaves change color – palm trees have no changing color
  3. bonfire on a chilly night
  4. drink seasonal spirits (spiked cider, pumpkin ale, etc.)
  5. photoshoot at the pumpkin patch with the kids
  6. put up seasonal decor
  7. go to a fall festival
  8. toast pumpkin seeds
  9. go on a hayride! (so many more local farms here!)
  10. curl up under blankets and watch a movie with hot cocoa
  11. make pumpkin bread
  12. jump on crunchy leaves
  13. get a fall themed mani/pedi (I like dark red)
  14. get out your football fan gear! People are more serious about their football out here.
  15. EAT CANDY

Ok, so that last one every one can do regardless of state or season… but its so much more fun when they come in festive little fun-sized packages!

Hope this helps you look forward to fall, even if you’re a summer-lover like me

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Pumpkin Crumb Cake

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I wanted a coffee cake, but I also wanted some thing a little more seasonal, and so I birthed this little recipe. It’s great to use your leftover pumpkin in, or you can take advantage of all the pumpkin your local grocery store has most likely marked down since it is after the Thanksgiving holiday.

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What you need:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 15-ounce can 100% pure pumpkin (I use Libby’s)

I begin by heating my oven to 350 degrees, and greasing a pan with some butter. I used a 9×13 dish. In a bowl, I mix all the DRY ingredients together [flour, salt, powder, soda, and spices… NOT sugar]. In a mixer, on medium speed, I mix softened butter with the sugar until beat together. I add the eggs to the mixer one by one, then I add the can of pumpkin. The texture of this mix will be some what chunky, that’s fine. Add half of your flour mixture to the electric mixer. Once it’s blended, add the other half of the flour and stir until completely mixed. Pour into the baking dish and set aside.

Crumb topping:

  • 1 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 stick COLD butter, cut into cubes 
  • 1/4 c. oats
  • 1 and 1/4 cups of flour

Combine all the ingredients in an electric mixer, until the cubes of butter have broken down into smaller balls, and all the cinnamon sugar is sticking. Sprinkle this mixture on top of your UNBAKED pumpkin cake, slightly pressing the sugar into the batter. Bake the entire cake for 60 minutes. Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Patch

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So just before we left for California, we squeezed in a spontaneous trip to the pumpkin patch. We kept saying we would go, but Ohio weather can be a bit unpredictable at this time of year, and it was either too cold, raining, or we were out of town. Since we were at a wedding on Halloween, I wanted to make sure we still got to do some thing Halloween inspired so Sugar Plum could show off her adorable costume.

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Last Friday it was sunny with a cool breeze so J asked if he could leave work early to take us. We went back and forth on whether to wait until Saturday or not, since the farm closed at 6 pm and we’d arrive there just around 5. However, on Saturday there was a 55% chance of rain… so we took the risk, J left work,  and we headed up to the farm an hour before closing… I’m so glad we did! It wasn’t crowded, the weather was nice, and it turns out that an hour is the perfect amount of time a 1 year old and 5 month pregnant woman want to spend there.

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Some things were closed like the kettle corn and fresh fry booth, but we still got to look at pumpkins and poke around the rustic little gift shop.

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J and I never really do anything just with Sophie. We always like to invite grandparents, which we definitely don’t regret, but as we were looking back on the past year with Soph we realized, we haven’t done a single thing, just the three of us. While grandparent time is certainly important, so is just regular family bonding. I thought it was particularly important to take a moment, just the three of us, to do some thing carefree and fun since soon it will be the FOUR of us! I want to treasure the final days J and I have to 100% focus on Sophie. Come February, I’ll never know how it feels to just be one-on-one with my kid ever again. I know that sounds dramatic… but it’s true. Even if I set aside time for each of my children, the others will always be in the back of my mind, and there will be a limit to how much time I can put the rest of them off while spending time with another. These are not necessarily negative things, but I do want to soak up these last moments of having an only child while I still can.

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And I don’t think Sophie minds the extra attention 😉

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