apple picking ’18

our annual apple picking adventure has come and gone. and boy oh boy, it was a hottttt one! we had planned it with my mom, my brother dan, his girl agata, our family, my sister’s family, and my sister. it’s hard to coordinate a day with that many people, so we had settled on a sunday {the weekend before fall officially arrived}, where honey crisp apples were ripe for picking!

the temperature was not in our favor. i was hoping, everyday leading up to the day, that it would change but it did not. it was going to be 90 degrees and humid. ugh. i don’t mind it being hot but when you have two little kids and one who is high maintenance, it’s literally a sticky situation.

as soon as we got there, ellie was having a fit. her cheeks became extra rosy and she was sweating profusely. oh goodness, she was so grumpy and uncomfortable!

we met up with everyone in front of the restaurant area and once we were all there, we headed to the line. it wasn’t as long as when we first got there {everyone rushed into line when the orchard opened} but it was still long and you definitely don’t wait in the shade! ellie screamed and cried and wanted to be held but it wasn’t comforting for her at all. oh boy.

we finally paid for our bags and got into line for the tractor wagon {and the workers there warned us of the mosquitoes in the orchard, they said it was realllllllll bad and to top it off, honey crisp apples were not available to pick. whaaaaaa?!}. they dropped us off in the field and we walked down a row of trees and boom! the mosquitoes attacked!!!!! bzzzzz zzzzzz zzzzz bzzzzzz. no joke. they landed on us left and right. buzzing in our ear. biting us. bleeding on us. bouncing off my face. biting us through our clothes. i swatted mosquitoes off the girl’s faces non stop. five mosquitoes landed directly in the middle of ellie’s forehead! holy crap! it almost looked like child abuse, i was hitting the girls so much just to get the little blood suckers off their bodies! my sister and family came running at us {they were a bit further down the orchard row} and said they were leaving and ran away! ohmergawd! it was so bad!

we all left, although, we actually did a decent job picking apples despite the circumstances {my mom, agata, thuy, and dan decided to hit the other side of the orchard to pick}! the rest of us walked back to the main area and debated on leaving or staying. we weren’t sure what we wanted to do but i definitely didn’t want it to be a wasted trip. ellie was a mess. so, hc took her to the car to cool down. my family and i decided to get food. we walked into the restaurant, ordered food and sat in an enclosed area…it wasn’t air conditioned but it was covered, there was no sun shining directly on us and no bugs!!!

we cooled down, relaxed, and really enjoyed ourselves. after filling our bellies and imbibing some cool libations, we were feeling good. we all decided to head on over to the shop and peruse a bit. {i text hc to bring ellie and meet us} we nabbed mini apple cider doughnuts, bought too much candy, toys, and random knick knacks. after hanging out in the shop with my family for a half hour or so, we decided it was time to leave. we had apples, we had pictures, we had doughnuts, we had fun! we really did!

here’s to hoping that next year’s date is a lot cooler and less buggy! happy fall y’all!

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[apples on the market]

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[ellie started to burn up right away! she was so uncomfortable!]

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[here comes the tractor and wagon]

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[mom and thuy]

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[my sweet family]

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[collecting apples!]

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[she’s sweet as pie]

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via tandeminlove.com[my current favorite picture of her…she’s so tumultuously sweet]

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[the only moment where she wasn’t crying…]

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[me and my babe…i can’t express in words how wonderful she is]

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[hey girls…let’s take a picture together. girls: let’s look the other way!]

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[yup…ellie cried, they were melting from the heat, and olive asked me if she could stop itching from the mosquitoes bites]

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[cooling off and eating bug free. she had pink spots all over her face and neck from the mosquitoes]

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[my handsome nephew!]

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[oh look, another handsome nephew!]

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[olive can you wink? wink. wink.]

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[twinning at its finest]

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xoxo

apple pickin’

we went on our annual apple pickin’ outing this past weekend!

i was so excited…i love this time of year! i am happy it is october, i am happy the weather cooperated {70+, not 90+ as it was the prior weekend and the previous years we’ve gone}, and i am happy!

we arrived at the farm and as we were walking towards the main area, terry and famille drove by! yay, right on time! everyone met up by the apple picking lines but we decided to go eat first, the boys and olive were hungry.

i was quite surprised, with it being such a nice day, that it wasn’t busier. don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of people there but i really thought it would be packed. it was the first weekend of october and a beautiful day, but there were no real long lines anywhere. when we got into the line for the food, we were first {well, there were people in front of us but they were served}. when we got into the line for the apple picking, there was no one waiting in front of us to buy tickets and the next tractor wagon ride that came by, we got on it right away! sweet! that was pretty awesome!

my heart was so full seeing olive so excited to pick apples. she was learning all about it in school the week prior, so i prepped her before our outing and told her we were going to pick apples. she was so stoked to do this! when we were driving in, she saw all the apple trees and couldn’t wait to get out to pick some. she’s so sweet! i love her innocent ways!

we picked golden delicious, empire, and jonathan apples and had a lot fun doing so. yum, yum, yum! i honestly can say that this time around picking apples was the best time we’ve had since we’ve done it. in the past, it’s either been too hot or olive was not having it and it was at times, miserable {but still oddly fun because i love picking apples so much}. this year it was a combo of all good things and that really made it enjoyable.

after we picked, we {as usual} perused the shop and bought a few yummy items. we never leave without apple cider doughnuts! {helloooo, that’s definitely our second purpose} we bought some chocolate covered pretzels, white cheddar popcorn, and apple butter. all items we don’t need, don’t need to consume, but hey, it’s fall y’all!

we hung around for a bit more {relaxing, being silly, and having fun with the kids} and then decided it was time to leave. my how time flies when you are having fun! more than 3 and a half hours later, we were ready to go! we left happy, satisfied with our bags of apples, and all the extra delicious goodies we bought. it was a successful and super fun time apple picking!

happy october!

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[ellie sitting in the dirtiest high chair we’ve ever seen…thank you hc for cleaning it]

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[“ohhhh snap, did you see what she was wearing?”, said ellie…hahaha!]

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[she’s getting excited!]

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[the tractor is moving]

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[godmother godchild]

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[she LOVED picking apples!]

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[she totally groaned at me after this pic…she was so exasperated i was taking a picture! ha!]

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[cutest apple pickers]

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[hey ladies]

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[pete, avery, and lan]

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[yummy apples]

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[the family that picks together, stays together]

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[let’s try this family picture thing]

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[almost]

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[yayyyyy!]

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[get it girl!]

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[she’s so excited over her apple!]

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[gosh, i love this babe]

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[these take two pics amuse me]

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[so proud of his stash!]

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[she was so excited to be sitting on the bench]

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[she thought reagan was so funny!]

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[this girl loves her popcorn]

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xoxo

multitasking apple pie

hc helps out with the apple pies every year. he’s very good at it and now that we have a new baby and a toddler…multiple hands at multitasking is a must! we tried our best to make the apple pies while ellie was sleeping…she is the one we have to hold if she gets fussy, otherwise, olive is easy! she just entertains herself with her iPad or toys.

we got pretty far along before ellie woke up. i had peeled and sliced all the apples, hc made the batches of crust, and he was on to the walnut base. i took care of ellie and then wrapped her up in the carrier to finish making the apple filling.

we have made the same recipe every year but next year, i think i might want to replace the walnut filling with almonds. i think it’ll be a better compliment! every year, we get better and better at it…one year we had too many leftover apple slices but not enough to make another apple pie, one time we were short on the dough to make the top crust but this year we hit the nail on the head! we had the perfect amount of apples {pulled less than what the recipe called for} and we had copious amounts of pie dough to make a hearty and healthy sized crust for both pies {we doubled the recipe}! i even made cute little leaves for the tops of the pies…something i didn’t get to do the years prior because we would never have enough! hahaha!

we assembled our pies, brushed the crust with milk and sprinkled it with sugar, baked them for an hour, and let them cool down on baking racks. later that night, i sliced the pie and served it with ice cream ~ yummmmmm! it was delicious! i must say…it was our best pie yet!

happy fall y’all!

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[apples picked from the orchard]

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[making apple pies in pj’s! what i do best!]

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[peeling and slicing apples]

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[my awesome helper]

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[walnut base]

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[rolling out the dough]

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[i love this messy haired babe]

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[sweet baby ellie]

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[the finished product]

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[apple pie a la mode…the only way!]

xoxo

walnut apple pie

yet again, after apple picking…the gratuitous apple pie baking begins. i used the same recipe we used last year that you can retrieve from this post here. it’s a walnut apple pie recipe that is quite delish. we make everything from scratch.

we started with cleaning and peeling the apples…about six apples per pie. as hc did that part, i started mixing together the crust ingredients. flour, salt, shortening, and then some, all mixed by hand. after i finished the crust, i stored in the freezer until we were finished with all the other ingredients and we were ready to assemble the pie.

i started next on the walnut layer. i crushed three fourths cup of walnuts and mixed it with brown sugar, butter, and vanilla. once hc was done coating the apples with cinnamon, nutmeg, butter, and vanilla, we were finally ready to assemble the pies!

i rolled out the crust and covered the bottom of both pie pans and then smoothed on a layer of the walnut mixture. i filled the pans all the way up with the apple slices, dotted each pie with cubes of butter and then covered it with the¬†crust. i was a bit disappointed because last year we were a bit short on dough, so this year i doubled the recipe and still ended up short! boo! i know i didn’t thin out the dough enough! anyhoo, after i placed the top crust, i then brushed it with milk and sugar and popped them in the oven for sixty minutes {or until the crust is golden and it’s bubbling!}.

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[ingredients]

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[peeling and slicing apples]

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[watch out! she’s got a rolling pin]

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[roll with it]

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[the finish product]

i really enjoy making the apple pies every year after we go apple picking! i mean, what else should you do with them apples?! hahaha! no really, it’s always fun to bake something delicious and i can’t wait until olive is older and we can bake pies together!

xoxo

caaaaramel apples

i made some caramel apples! so easy peasy. annndddd, i was able to finish out the bag of apples we had from our apple pickin’ outing. woot. woot.

i had to only pick up a few ingredients. i really wanted to use branches for the caramel apples but, honestly, i wasn’t about to go into the yard and hunt for sticks. although, i am really digging the aesthetics of it but not enough to treasure hunt. hmph.

so, lollipop sticks it was. i purchased a bag of sticks, a tub of marzetti’s caramel sauce, and sprinkles. i washed and dried the apples, then removed the stems. once that was done, i took a lollipop stick and tried my best to center them into each apple. i pulled out a sheet of parchment paper {what i had on hand} but you could also use wax paper if you have it.

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[stick it to ya!]

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i then warmed up the caramel sauce in the microwave. i did it in ten second increments because the sauce heats up quickly. between each interval, i would stir the sauce to even it out. once that was complete, i took each apple and dipped it around and around in the tub, evenly coating the apple. i then placed each apple on the paper to cool off.

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i decided to do a variety of toppings. i crushed animal crackers, i crushed nuts, and i had halloween colored sprinkles. i then pulled out another sheet of parchment paper {it’s easier this way and neater!} and would pour the toppings onto the paper. i rolled each apple around and around over each topping. i covered the base first and then slowly rolled each apple until i got to the desired coverage.

i did tricolored toppings. just sprinkle toppings. mixed toppings. simple toppings. all sorts of yummy flavored toppings. i had a lot fun decorating each apple! i then cut out little squares for each apple to settle on.

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[pummeling some animals…crackers that is!]

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[walnuts and almonds]

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after i decorated each apple, i then placed them all in the refrigerator to harden. after that, i wrapped each one in cellophane and finished it with a black ribbon. woooo! i was done and super happy with how they turned out. it’s so easy to make, totally festive and fun, and of course….yummy to eat! sweet and tart. a perfect combo!

xoxo