It’s been a while…

For some reason, I was having some problems with WordPress every time I tried to post in the past few months (which was very infrequently). Not an excuse but…let’s catch up!

The air is crisp, the light is golden, and the leaves are turning shades of gold, auburn, and rust. It’s fall in Vermont, and hands down one of my favorite times of the year. We’ve had a little bit of a dry heat spell the past week, but yesterday gusty winds blew in and now there’s a chill in the air that you only get this time of year.

My garden is almost done-it was a great season for my tomato plants. I have lots of sauce and whole tomatoes frozen, and still every day more ripen for harvest (which I need to do today). My pepper plants didn’t do that great, but I’ve been using what I was able to get. My hot peppers fared better than the sweet bell peppers. We had a little sweet corn, but the texture was off. I think next year I will have a separate plot for my corn and squash plants, which fell victim to powdery mildew early in the season which was hard to manage once it spread-all my cucumbers, zucchini, and pumpkins were afflicted. I was still able to get a decent crop of my squash though. I have a huge bag of sugar pie pumpkins waiting to be roasted and pureed for various dishes and, of course, pie!!

I love the learning experience that gardening provides for my kiddos. The monkeys love to harvest-Monkey One loves to dig up carrots, and Monkey Two takes pride in anything he plucks, though often it’s a green tomato. Even though they still aren’t big vegetable eaters, they are at least curious about what they grow and will taste it, which for me is a win. They especially loved the little strawberry patch and cucumbers. I think next year I will plant more strawberries as well as some other perennial berry bushes for the kids. Monkey One understands now where we get the plant aspect of our food and how it grows from seed to table, and I am so fortunate that we have the ability to provide that valuable lesson for him firsthand.

Gardening and its bounty has inspired me to look for creative ways to use up my excess veggies. Currently, I am in love with the first Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perlman of the lovely blog Smitten Kitchen, which I have always enjoyed, and Brown Eggs and Jam Jars by Aimee Wimbush-Bourque of Simple Bites, a newer discovery for me. A friend recommended these cookbooks to me and I have earmarked and made so many recipes already! I’m trying to rely less on the interwebs and Pinterest for things as it gets waaay too overwhelming for me and I never end up doing/cooking/making what I find online or Pin, so I have been reading books from the library or ordering reasonably priced ones from Amazon to help me find my way with cooking, sewing, organizing….parenting…you name it.

Speaking of food, I made a huge batch of apple pumpkin waffles today-so yummy! I modify a recipe from the author of the Babyfoode blog, link here.  We’ve been in a funk with Monkey One starting school and eating habits, so it felt good to get some healthy whole foods that the kiddos will devour on the table, and they freeze up nicely for a healthy breakfast on crazy mornings. Of course, for lunch boxed mac and cheese was the request, as always…so I added in some sweet potato, corn, and carrot puree so I could feel better about the fact that my kids subsist off the stuff despite my efforts to steer and expose them to other foods. So, to my other parent friends out there-the struggle is real, it’s here, it’s everywhere, don’t let me fool you with my best laid menu plans because…they usually won’t eat it. Veggie/legume puree sneaks are my saving grace.

Monkey One also recently turned four! I can’t believe it…we had a dinosaur themed birthday party. My husband built a bigger sandpit to replace the beloved turtle and we put real fossils as well as some plaster of Paris dinosaur “bones” in it for the kiddos to find. I am fairly certain that I could have saved the expense of the real fossils and just thrown in the fake bones and had the same results on the happiness meter, but oh well. Inside my mother in law helped me create a lovely fossil touch table, where we combined our fossil resources (of which hers, a former science teacher, are impressive) to curate a “museum.” Oh, and my husband also put on a T-Rex suit and ran out of the woods toward the excavation site. It was met with 50/50 tears, screams, and laughs (mostly from the parents). I will post more in depth about the dino dig in a separate post.

So, we prepare for winter. Hubs completed the woodshed, deck is stained, and next project is revamping the front porch and replacing the stairs and railings on it, hopefully before it gets too cold. We have an excavator here now smoothing out some of the grade. Always a project…I have three separate pieces of furniture in the garage that need to be stained and painted but hey, there is only so much time in a day!

My sewing has slowed down for now, but I still have a plethora of projects planned, and have almost completed my first quilt top. Woohoo! I am going to try and make a goal of getting in at least an hour of sewing or craft/art time a week. We will see!

Last but not least, I’m going to start the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide this upcoming week. I’ll post my progress here! I am excited to start a fitness program again. I haven’t really committed to anything since Monkey Two was born, but I’m ready and want to get in the habit as winter closes in. I find I need the endorphin boost. I’ve also been naughty with my eating and drinking habits, combined with the limited physical activity (even though I am running around so much with the monkeys). I don’t want to lose weight, but would love to tone up and get some good cardio conditioning in. I plan to make more of an effort to eat more whole foods and lay off the goldfish. Wish me luck!

Till next time!