I may be biased, but Autumn in the Hudson Valley is pretty darn gorgeous. This afternoon I just took a few photos around the yard while waiting for the school bus.
Well, it has been a month of adjustments around here. The kids are adjusting to school again. I am adjusting to having all three kids in school all day. And I am also adjusting to a new part-time job. I wasn’t really intending on going back to work so soon after school was back in session, but a nearby library was looking for someone for weekday afternoons. I interviewed and got the job.
I’m working a lot more more hours than what I had been working at “my” library, and it is much busier. The time goes by quickly, but the vibe is very different — definitely not as personal. It’s just taking some getting used to. Since I work afternoons and don’t get home until after 5, I’ve been trying to get everything I need to do done in the mornings — cleaning, appointments, phone calls, dinner prep. My husband telecommutes, so for now it all works. He is able to get the kids off the bus and get dinner going.
I’ve been ridiculously emotional lately — I think all these changes are causing it. It is strange to not have any little ones at home during day, and I think that is the hardest adjustment for me. I definitely miss it. Luckily, they all love school so the fact that everyone can’t wait to go makes it easier. But there’s also the realization that baby and toddler days are officially gone. And while I know our family is complete, and I really don’t want any more kids, there is a little part of me that is very sad about this.
Stupid things set me off, like driving by our local Friendly’s and seeing that it had closed. I immediately got all teary, remembering how we used to go there all the time when Jake and Noah were little. When we first moved up here, dinner at Friendly’s and walking through the mall was our standard Friday night out.
Change is hard, even for grown-ups, I guess. Everything just feels different. I can’t explain it and I probably sound like a fruitcake. But like the kids, I will adjust. It only takes time.
In the meantime, I’ve set aside my Stitchcation Afghan and I’ve been working on an infinity scarf. Believe it or not, the yarn is by Red Heart! It is so soft, and the colors are just beautiful. I think RH gets an undeserved bad name. Their yarns (even the SuperSaver) have really improved since I first started knitting and crocheting 10 years ago.
Outside, it is definitely starting to look like fall. My burning bushes are turning red. Leaves are falling. The days are shorter, and the evenings are cooler.
A couple weeks ago, Drew had the brilliant idea to take some extra bricks we had lying around and build a firepit. So on weekend evenings, we’ve been enjoying an outdoor fire (complete, of course, with roasted marshmallows). Saturday night we decided to do sparklers for no good reason other than that they are fun!
My parents also visited this weekend. Dad helped Drew paint the back of the house (it’s a huge project, let me tell you), and Mom cleaned up my front garden because she actually enjoys doing that 😉 It looks a thousand times better! I would have gotten around to it (probably), but I am very appreciative that she just did it for me. After my last bout with poison ivy, I’m still kind afraid to touch anything green without wearing a hazmat suit.
So all in all, things are good! My weepies, I’m sure, will subside. I am fortunate to have (so quickly) found part-time work that works with our schedule (because really, the kids are only home for about an hour and a half before I get there — it’s not THAT bad). And really things are just moving right along.
How are things with you?
It seems that pumpkin (or pumpkin spice) gets all the attention as the featured fall flavor. But you know what? As much as I love pumpkin, I still adore apple. Apple cider, apple pie, and of course… apple crisp all top my “must make” list for autumn.
I think this was another recipe I started making while in college (thinking back, I did a lot of cooking in that Amherst apartment). Sure there are more exciting variations on apple crisp. They might call for oats or walnuts or something fancy. But I love the simplicity of this recipe. It never lasts long in my house, and is especially delicious warm and topped with a little vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!
- 4 c. sliced apples
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 c. water
- 1/3 c. butter, softened
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3/4 c. flour
- 1 c. sugar
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the sliced apples evenly in an 8x8 baking dish. Sprinkle the apples with a mixture of water, cinnamon, and salt. Stir together the sugar and flour and then work the butter in, using a fork or a pastry blender. Spread the crumb mixture over the apples and bake uncovered for 40 minutes.
What a weekend! I have so much to tell you about, but I thought I’d start by sharing some photos I took yesterday. While Drew and Jake were at ComicCon, my mother-in-law suggested the rest of us spend the day at the New York Botanical Gardens. I’d never been there and she certainly didn’t have to convince me — I was so excited to finally visit!
We saw the gorgeous Monet’s Garden exhibit, as well as the Haunted Pumpkin Garden (very non-spooky, very fun, and great for children). Noah had a great time planting buckwheat seeds and dissecting an owl pellet, while Laura enjoyed playing in the outdoor puppet theatre and just looking at all the incredibly creative pumpkin sculptures.
Seeing all these beautiful plants makes me wish I was a better gardener! Just gorgeous stuff. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
I could have spent the entire day wandering around. If you live in the metro New York area and you’re looking for something fun and Halloween-y to do, this exhibit was a lot of fun, plus the grounds are just so beautiful. We plan to go back for the holiday train show and I can’t wait for that!
To me, fall is all about squash. Spaghetti squash, acorn squash, and especially butternut squash. I enjoy it prepared pretty much any way possible, but my “go to” recipe is for a soup that is simple enough to whip up for lunch whenever I have a craving (so long as I have a fresh squash on hand, that is). I like to pair the soup with a salad consisting of greens, goat cheese, cranberries, walnuts or sunflower seeds, and honey balsamic dressing.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
1 medium butternut squash
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 c. chicken broth
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
salt, pepper, olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half and discard seeds (or save and roast them if you’re ambitious). Drizzle flesh with olive oil and sprinkle on some salt or pepper if you feel like it. Place the squash face-down on a foil-lined baking pan or cookie sheet along with the onion quarters and garlic cloves (which you should also drizzle with olive oil). Roast for about 40 min. or until the squash is soft.
Transfer the roasted vegetables to a medium saucepan and add the chicken broth, curry powder, and pumpkin pie spice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Allow the soup to simmer for about 15 minutes, then puree with an immersion blender or in your food processor. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.
The sour cream is optional, of course, but I really feel like it gives the soup a delicious tang. If I have chopped walnuts on hand, I like to add those to the soup as well. I know, it sounds a little strange, but they add a delicious crunch in a soup that lacks a lot of texture.