Cupcakes 2 ways

 

Julian is a place San Diegans’ go to make us feel like it’s fall even though often it’s almost 80 degrees.  It just so happened that the day we went to Julian it was actually cold.  Like really cold.  I went with a group of friends from church to pick apples and none of us thought we might actually have to bring gloves or hats.  My 3 kids didn’t pick much because they could only think of how cold their hands were, but it was so much fun.  I got to chat for a few minutes with the owner and she said many of the trees are heirloom trees and they don’t even know how old they actually are.  Pretty cool.  You might be thinking that I don’t have a picture of apples above and you would be correct.  The apple place was closed so we picked pears instead.  No biggie.  I also learned on my visit that the apple pies in Julian are no longer made with local apples and sometimes even canned ones which is so so soooo very sad.  Apparently they are pretty much all from Washington unless you request one from a local orchard that makes them from fresh picked apples.  Oh bother.  What is the world coming to.  So, we didn’t stop for pie but we did get cider :).

 


I had plans for these but alas we were leaving just a few days later for PA.  I had a pile of bags to sew for a non-profit I help out with and a birthday party for a sweet 3-year-old.  So, we basically ate them raw mostly.  I also made a tart and put some in a panini with prosciutto and goat cheese brie.  Pears make all things yummy.

One thing I made were these pear muffins.  I had just read flipped through Martha’s kids magazine and saw different fruit muffins at the end.  The recipe for apple muffins didn’t look mind-blowing, but it was perfect timing for me.You can find it here.  My pears were ripe so mine turned out a little sunken.

Here are some shots of our day:

Fun day.

The second muffin is the pumpkin spice latte muffin.  I saw this recipe and knew I had to make it.  I just so happened to have that birthday party to bake for so it was a done deal.  I don’t like the pumpkin spice latte (gasp!  I know.  How could I?) or pumpkin pie.  I thought maybe I would like the flavors in a cupcake and, oh man, I do.

I would like to dedicate this cupcake to Jeff Rush who thinks the Pumpkin Spice Latte is the most awesome of all coffee drinks.  I’m glad I was finally able to post this recipe so that he might enjoy baking this whenever he pleases.  That good, Jeff?

The recipe was from Annie’s Eats.  I HIGHLY recommend it and didn’t change a thing (gasp again!).

 

The little guy celebrating year 3 at his soldier birthday.  Birthday parties are a necessity if you ask me.  It’s a single day a year to celebrate one person’s amazing life.

 

It was sweet of my sister to take a picture of me with my buddy.

So, I returned the favor.

Dressing Up

 The week before Halloween, Miss F would have told you she was going to be a beautiful monarch butterfly.  Then I made the mistake of saying under my breath that a “Mighty Macs” costume would have been cute.  Note that I said “would have been”.  However, I looked into the eyes of the girl who thoroughly enjoyed going to Philadelphia for the premier of  “The Mighty Macs” (read about it here), copied movie advertisements to hand out to strangers (was upset we didn’t walk her to the grocery to hand them out), asked to call all of her friends to come see the movie, was doing basketball drills in the front yard, and now wants to be a basketball coach just like her Gram.

So, I said yes.

Thank goodness for the world series.  I made it on a night when my husband had a buddy over and I just went for it for a few hours.  I just traced a pattern from an old jumper.  I couldn’t see a great picture of what these uniforms looked like in the 70′s, so matching the pleats was tough.  I only see the hemline I didn’t bother ironing out of haste and also laziness.  She doesn’t notice it though and I need to remember that.

 

Future basketball coach.

 

He was pretending to be in a bad mood but I only saw cuteness.

Protector or villain?

 

Little D pretty much wears this every day so this day wasn’t too different for him.

 

The bunch.

 

My annual picture with the kiddos for my birthday….with a China man’s hat.  It’s very necessary.  They kinda look confused, though.

A Few Little Fall Finds

1. Honeycomb Earrings from oliveandcocoa.com that I love so very much.

2. Goat’s milk caramels’ from happygoat.com.  These are awesome. Truly.

3. Adorable wicker backpack for picking apples on the weekend or as a very expensive toy picker-upper.  brookfarmgeneralstore.com

4.Madeline Weinrib makes amazing textiles…that is no secret.  madelineweinrib.com

5. Super-cute and cozy looking sweater-cuff boots from urbanoutfitters.com

6. How perfect is this marshmallow roaster? shopterrain.com

7. This camera has been on my wish list for a while.  I do miss film.  lomography.com

This Week:

I feel like I was able to take a deep breath in life this week.  My husband was gone, but it was still a pretty good week.  This was only because God helped me see it that way.  This is a heavy travel time for my husband, mostly because he’s making up for a loss right now that wasn’t his fault.  It’s a tough position for him and it also demands a lot from me.  I don’t really watch TV with the exception of Project Runway and Top Chef, but I was able to watch the entire Mad Men series on netflix while he’s been gone.  That a crazy lot of episodes.  When my little buddy was crying this week , I was remembering what I said when he was a newborn babe in my arms.  I told myself, no matter what, that I would take the time to cuddle him while I could and kiss his tears away.  Someday he will smell like BO and will ask me what’s for dinner.  My sweet girl is ridiculously distracted by birds during school.  True, I created this monster by introducing her to the Audubon books, but it’s kind-of a problem.  I’ve learned to help it by stopping for bird breaks in exchange for focus.  It kinda works.  My middle guy is constantly telling me I don’t play with him which is completely not true because I build him a Lego set (sometimes the same one every day) every morning before school.  It still hurts my people-pleasing heart to hear those words but all I can do is my best.  It seems that I am constantly hearing, “Let’s get together”.  No, it’s not the song from “The Parent Trap”, it’s people that I care about who need a friend.  I love and care about each one of my friends, but it’s so hard to have really good connections with people when you only see them every now and then.  I can only have so many people over, ya know?  We do so love to entertain, but it would be nice to take a break every now and then and be the company ;)  It is great to see them when I can and this week I got to see quite a few.  So, you see, at the end of the week, we can only do our best, every day, to pick out the things that gave us the most joy instead of the most pain.  Sometimes my best feels like a failure, but this week God gave me the peace that it was enough and I am so very thankful for that.

28 is looking pretty good so far.  Oh yeah, it was my birthday this week.

Another bright side to life: I’m thankful to still be in my 20′s a bit longer…

Pumpkin-eater

Orange is a beautiful color, not just because it is nice to look at, but because it is a glowing representation of the air turning cooler.  When I grew pumpkins last year, it was fun to see how the chill actually does make the difference between a pumpkin that is a dull orange and one that is a bright orange.  It’s like the chill gives it a little fall glow.

I like to go to this little pumpkin patch near our house every year because it’s the closest thing to a country scene as you can get in the middle of a city.  We tried out a new one last year with Miss F’s Kindergarten class called Oma’s, but it was sooo far away and basically in another city.  It was a cute little place with an awesome cottonseed hill for the kids to slide down.   We got an invite again this year but it was so warm  and last year the other parents were MIA, pretty much like every other field trip, so we opted for a local family trip.  The kids always want to go for the parking lot set-up with the little ferris wheel and flashing lights.  I’m pretty old-fashioned about stuff like this so chances are they won’t see me driving up to one of those places.

silly girl

When there is no pumpkin class being taught, it’s a great place to hop about.

He found out it ate leaves and was pretty thrilled.

This is so true to his character.  One minute he’s here, the next he’s off to find trouble.

Love my sweet girl.

Everyone needs coffee for a walk in a corn maze.

We found this little Acrea moth caterpillar in the maze.   We took him home and checked out his stats a bit.  He also went on the hayride.

The haze is setting in at this point.

This sweet man in the yellow shirt has been at this pumpkin patch/Christmas tree farm for as long as I can remember.

I love that.

Vacation In A Jar

Vacation is a wonderful thing.   We recently got to go back to PA to see some family and friends,  the Bloomsburg Huskies play (the special teams coach is my father-in-law), and attend the movie premier for “The Mighty Macs” (about my mother-in-law…check it out  here and here).  It was a fun yet very exhausting trip.  I’m still glad we took it.  It’s very difficult to squeeze everyone and everything into a 6 day trip, but we made it happen!  If there’s one thing I’ve learned about travel and family it’s that you can never make everyone happy so you might as well make the best choices you can considering all and move on with that choice.  In any case, I wanted to bring a piece of Pennsylvania home so we could talk about our trip and what we did.  So, as we were pulling away, I grabbed some moss from the grass by the fence and threw it in a bag, hoping security wouldn’t snatch it away.   I threw a few orange and red leaves in for good measure.  Thankfully, it made it all home with no questions asked, just a few raised eyebrows.

At Papa Ed and Grandma Trudy’s house.  We all loved the green.  Look at my sweet boy :)

All of us with Gram.

All of us with Papa Ed and Grandma Trudy.

Back to the fantastic moss.  Isn’t it lovely?  To make sure we could enjoy this moss for a long time, I decided to make a terrarium.

To make a good terrarium, you have to make sure the moisture is balanced enough for the moss to be alive but not grow mushrooms.  Mushrooms are cute, but the kind that grow in this dirt are very much not.  You’ll need soil, small rocks or pieces of gravel (about the size of aquarium gravel), charcoal pellets (to keep odor at bay), and your moss of choice.

Of course the project lady herself was involved.  I can’t think of one thing I have done, of late, that has not involved this girl.  Am I creating a monster?  If so, at least she’ll be a productive monster.

So, we layer the materials as follows.  I realized afterwards that my rocks should go on the bottom for drainage.  Sorry.

R O C K S

1/2  D I R T, moist

C H A R C O A L   P E L L E T S

1/2 D I R T, moist

M O S S

The idea is for the moist soil to keep the moss wet enough, while not getting moldy and soggy.  I spray mine every now and then with a spray bottle.

Here are the layers and Miss F adding the finishing touches.  This mushroom is actually from my super-cute pincushion from Hi Tree.   It is a felt tree stump, like below.

Cute, right?

You shouldn’t need to re-moisten it for a LOOONNNG time.  If you do see moisture on the lid, remove it for a day.

Enjoy your vacation!

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