17 October 2010

Polar Bears and Apples and Pumpkins, Oh my!

We had a busy end to our week, but it was a blessing. I am once again grateful for our zoo membership which my mother-in-law generously provides for us each year. We get so much use from it. 

On Thursday, I headed to the zoo for the afternoon with the kids and my dear friend, J'Nessa and her kids. It was a beautiful fall day for the zoo. The animals were active and fun to watch, though we didn't see even a quarter of the zoo on this trip. That's another blessing the membership provides. We go for as long as we want without worrying about seeing everything all in one trip. This time, we took our time seeing North America and the Polar Region. 

The kids had a great time with their friends all afternoon, though my children had a brief issue with making bad choices (this could be for another blog post). Don't you hate it when you think your kids are too old to behave in a certain way, and then they do it, and they decide to do it in public when you're with a friend? And why is it that no one else's kids ever do such a thing? Lest you think that my children are perfect since I'm always raving about them on my blog, I'll just leave it at this. They're not, and I was not pleased. It kind of rained on my zoo parade, but we had a lot of fun prior to that incident. Is it creative parenting or emotionally scarring to make your children walk through the zoo arm in arm because they can't seem to get along?

Back to the positive points...One of the polar bears was actually in the water, and we got to watch her swimming from underneath in the tunnel where I got several amazing photos!!! I am so hoping the bears are just as cooperative when we go to the zoo with my sister and family in a couple weeks!

Yesterday was also an ideal day. Eric didn't have to work (maybe at this point, I should say he didn't GET to work since he would REALLY like to have a full-time job), so we headed to Lynd's Fruit Farm in Pataskala. In an effort to save money, I decided I wanted to make my own applesauce this fall. I've wanted to make applesauce for a couple years, but it hasn't worked out thus far. This summer and fall, I've been trying to preserve as much fresh produce as we can afford in order to both provide better nutrition for our family and to save a buck. I'm all about frugality!

What I learned yesterday is that picking apples is super easy, and, with four people picking, you can have about 50 pounds of apples picked in about 10 minutes. Seriously. I thought we were going to be there for at least an hour or two. I'm not complaining, mind you. I guess I was remembering all those apples I picked from our very tall apple trees swarming with bees when I was a kid (and then peeled them so that Mom could can applesauce). That wasn't fun, but this was. 

We picked Fuji apples as that is all that was being picked this week. If you go to Lynd's and you decide to fill your bags of apples to the brim, don't bother getting creative and try carrying them between two people so that you can get more apples in the bags. The orchard does not view this as frugality. They will suggest that you fill another bag when they see your apples spilled all over your trunk and ask you to pay more for the bounty of apples which you have picked. We didn't realize that we weren't supposed to try to get as many apples into the bag as possible. Next year, we'll take a less thrifty approach if we return to Lynd's and just fill them as much as we are apparently supposed to.

After we were done with the apples, we headed to the pumpkin patch also owned by Lynd's. I don't know if they were just very, very picked-over or if we're spoiled by the pumpkins that we usually get at Renick's or if this was just a bad year for pumpkins. Whatever it was, we had a super hard time finding good pumpkins. We ended up finding what we needed and spending MUCH less than we usually spend at Renick's (again, yay for frugality!), so I won't complain about spending 45 minutes trying to find pumpkins that weren't either rotted or cracked.

We made some great family memories yesterday. I love our annual pumpkin patch trip, and this one was made even better by the apple picking. We may be eating nothing but apples and pumpkin this week as I spent a good portion of my grocery budget for this little adventure, but it's all worth it in the end to make good memories, right? Haha! I'm kidding, of course. We are eating apples in many ways...apple pancakes, apple crisp tomorrow and Ava is asking to eat apples ALL DAY LONG! She likes apples, but I think she is just completely excited that she's eating apples that she actually picked. I promise we'll be eating other things as well (baked apples? apple cobbler? apple pie?....heehee).

I hope that you're making memories with your family this fall. It's a great time of year for memory making and traditions! Pick some apples, pumpkins, pears or whatever floats your boat! Try something new. Make applesauce or pumpkin pie with fresh pumpkin. Your kids will love helping to create culinary masterpieces with the produce they helped pick! It's another memory making opportunity. Tomorrow? I'm certain Ava will join me in the kitchen where we will make a warm, bubbly apple crisp for the kick-off of our next family memory maker....our celebration of Sukkoth, which I'm sure you'll be able to read about later. 

Thanks for stopping by my blog! You are much appreciated!

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