Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Hallowe'en!

I wasn't sure we were going to make it, when Yoda woke up at 5am ready for trick or treating. But the day ticked by and the juvenile witching hour arrived at last.

So we left treats on the porch to reward the poor souls who ventured up our steep drive and off we went. A perfect evening for trick or treats, cool with a breeze to rustle the leaves and make the candlelight dance in the jack-o-lanterns.

But eventually the feet, that not long ago couldn't contain their excitement, slowed. Houses were skipped and the lure of checking out the bounty brought us back home.

The littles asking for bedtime milk, bleary eyed crawling under the covers.
T and I, ready to pillage in the name of a safety check. I think I'd better check another Mars bar, just to make sure it's OK.
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Three More Sleeps

Nearly there. Three more sleeps, the excitement building.
Orange day at preschool today. Showing off spooky shirts and Halloween skirts.

Cupcake baking for kindergarten tomorrow. Deep rich chocolate with orange buttercream and black sugar sprinkles.

And my little sugar plum fairy, off to the costume party at Sparks.
It's going to be a hauntingly good weekend. I can't wait.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Toffee Sauce Trio

Autumn baking is well under way in our home, and what have we discovered?
Toffee sauce goes well with just about everything.

An apple crostata courtesy of Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa. This rustic apple tart is simple and the lemon zest makes it shine. Topped with toffee sauce and toasted pecans, totally yummy.

And speaking of simple? Try the Inside Out Apple Crisp from Jamie at My Baking Addition. You can have it ready for the oven before the pre-heat is done. Oats, brown sugar and cinnamon, oh my!

While it may not look as swish as other desserts, these Mini Sticky Toffee Puddings are a dream. I've been making these beautiful moist cakes loaded with cranberries for years. Serve warm with toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream if you have it.

Toffee Sauce

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup whipping cream

Combine in a saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer until the sauce thickens. Keep in the fridge and heat up as needed. Enjoy!

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pumpkin Patch

For me October is one long warm hued, cinnamon scented romantic notion.
Thanksgiving, baking, apple picking, Halloween. Most definitely my favourite month. But the annual trip to the pumpkin patch is the highlight.
Five years now, we have been coming to the pumpkin patch. Anna, sixteen months on her first trip. She grabbed a mini pumpkin the moment we got there and carried it with her the whole time.

Jack, only ten months. Not much bigger than some of the pumpkins. Or the following year, when he hobbled around with his cast on after breaking a leg.

The pumpkin patch is as much a part of their childhoods as Easter egg hunts or birthdays. I will never tire of hunting for the perfect pumpkin or racing through the corn maze, and I hope they never will either.
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Apple Festival

You have probably gathered by now that I'm totally smitten with charming, homegrown activities. But pair them with my favourite season and our social calendar is full of crisp air, sweater wearing, autumn fair fun.

This past weekend was no exception. The Apple Festival in Halfmoon Bay was full of seasonal delights for all the senses.
A massive copper pot was in the final stages of cooking apple butter. The local ladies were selling apple baked goods of all types.

We listened to the sounds of the bagpipes and fiddles play. We explored the beach and poked sticks at enormous dead jellyfish.

And, of course, we ate. Samples of different varieties of apples and golden gooey caramel apples. Tooth-achingly sweet, but oh so good.
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Monday, October 18, 2010

Fire in the Hole

Ever see a pumpkin cannon in action before?
Neither had we, and the temptation was to much to resist.

250 feet, all the way down to the end. If you hit the vintage wheels, a prize of a massive pumpkin.

The boom is on par with a real cannon. The bang certainly made a few people jump who weren't expecting it.
T was so close, literally just inches off.

Maybe we'll plant a pumpkin patch of these giant beauties of our own next spring or maybe we should build our own cannon to practice with.
Now there's a family project!
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Saturday, October 16, 2010


To say I never had cousins wouldn't be entirely truthful. I actually have fifteen of them. But when you're young and your cousins, who are all much older, live half a world away in England, they just don't seem to count.
There were perks, like always having Grandma and Grandpa at our house for Christmas, but I always envied friends who had cousins the same age. Built in friends to keep long family dinners more fun.

I was so thrilled when my brother and sister in law had their first two months after Jack was born, and the second less than two years later.
Cousins for my littles. A gang of the next generation, a new set of branches on the family tree.

They came to visit today. A picnic at the playground and fun at the beach.
Shrieking, laughing, silliness. Love like siblings, but without the rivalry.

And the great part for me? I get to be cool Auntie Kate.
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Monday, October 11, 2010


So much to be thankful for.
A twirly girl in her new autumn frock.
A happy boy with a gooey caramel apple.

Friends and family from near and far gathered around the harvest table.
Cooing over a baby, knock knock jokes with the littles, catching up.
Happy chatter and clinking and munching.

A school poem read by Anna:
Thank you, thank you
Let's all sing.
Thank you, thank you
For everything.
Thanks for the flowers.
Thanks for the trees.
Thanks for the sun that shines on me.
Thank you, thank you
Let's all sing.
Thank you, thank you
For everything.

And today? Thankful for a day of rest.
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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Poster Kids

So, the week after Bigger Digger Day, I get an email from a friend saying "Check the paper, your kids are in it!" And sure enough on the last page there's a small photo of my peanuts all decked out in their hard hats. A little thrill to make my day.

Two weeks later, I open the paper and see this on the inside front page. Anna, smiling back at me. How exciting. What's next? The New York Times? Vogue? The Economist? :)

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Friday, October 8, 2010

The Jumping Pillow

Ever heard of a jumping pillow? Neither had I until we started our annual trip to the Apple Barn.

It's massive, probably 20x40 feet, and with no edge to fall off it's totally safe (save for the odd collision).

Adults, wee ones, everyone can join the fun!

Without a doubt, my littles favourite activity at the Apple Barn.
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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Apple Picking

The Apple Barn is full of country delights, but the big draw is, of course, the apples. The Taves family who own the orchard actually pioneered the Honey Crisp apple. Other varieties include Gala, Fuji and Jonagold. We were a couple weeks later in the season this year and it was the Jonagolds that were ripe for picking.

All the trees are pruned to be just the perfect combination of accessibility and maximum fruit bearing. So everywhere you turn, there is just one more perfect juicy apple begging to be picked.

Idyllic family times like these stoke my romantic notions. They fill me up and carry me through the daily grind. Reminding me how lucky we are, that the mess at home isn't that important in the end.

I'm not sure how many pounds we ate before we left, but the twenty pounds that did make it home have met an apple's best friends. Butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Only good can come of that combination.
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