Friday, October 29, 2010

getting ready...

(does the dress give it away? once I finished her costume, I couldn't get her to take it off!)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

these days

Is it work or is it play? We are drawn outdoors these days, trying to take in the last of the light, putting up our own to ease the transition from day to night.

If I stay inside when the sun goes down so early, watching as the lights inside begin to reflect back in the windows, it feels a bit gloomy... and so most days find us out back come sundown, feeding the flames.

The children like to imagine that they are keepers of the fires for a whole village, guarding the embers and keeping them alive. They wonder what it was like for the centuries of human existence before lighters and matches (not to mention furnaces). It seems like such simple play now, but was once such important work.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

on the way back

Heading home from Michigan, we stopped at Hesston Steam Museum in Indiana. It was an interesting bit of history out in the middle of a field. Here, you can ride on several different sized steam trains, watch a steam-powered saw mill, steam crane, steam engines and more.

We also took a little detour to visit Notre Dame, never missing the opportunity to help our children fall in love with one of our favorite places.

Monday, October 18, 2010

weekend away

We spent the weekend with Matt's family in Michigan, at a vacation home graciously made available to us by his uncle. There was lots of exploring and time at the beach, and more fantastic pictures than I know what to do with.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

the work we do

It's apple season around here and eager hands helped to gather what they could.



The first basket of pies and sauce and baked apples and fresh snacks went so fast none of it made it to the shelves.


Round two stuck around for some chopping and cooking and canning.


How we did it:

Core and chop apples (I like to leave the skin on for extra nutrients and flavor). Place in large pot, add about an inch of water and sprinkle on some cinnamon. Simmer, covered, until soft. Run the apples through the blender or food processor in batches and pour the mix through a wire strainer to remove any pieces of skin that didn't blend well.

To can, prepare jars (simmer glass, lids and rings to sterilize) and fill jars to the neck with boiling applesauce. Wipe the inside rims of the jars. Place the lids and rings on the jars, tightening them all the way, then releasing a quarter turn. Process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. A bushel of apples yields about 8 quarts of sauce.

We added our jars to the growing stash beneath the stairs, along with the season's strawberry jam, jalapeno jelly and pear sauce.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

with the push of a button

from peanuts to butter in no time...

It really is surprising how easy it is to make peanut butter. With a blender or food processor and some roasted peanuts, you are fully equipped. You can adjust the consistency by adding peanut oil, reserve some chopped nuts to stir in for a chunkier blend, or add salt, honey, chocolate, caramel... so many options!
We find it goes nicely on bread with the strawberry jam we canned this summer, though a favorite snack around here is to serve it up with some apples for dipping.


Saturday, October 9, 2010


Since I was little, I can remember autumn walks with my mom, taking in the spectacular colors of the season. The Morton Arboretum is one of her favorite places, and she has shared it with our family through the gift of a membership. It's a great place to explore all year through, but we especially enjoy it come fall. With a picnic packed and a perfect day ahead of us, we headed out for a fine day among the trees.