Sweet Sixteen

Sweet Sixteen

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'll Take It!!!

Today was rainy and cooler so my "Inner Fall" was finally awakened!

I can handle a few days of rain if it means the temperature is lower and we can open a few windows and enjoy the breeze.  In honor of our first Fall-like morning, I treated the kids to a mug of chai tea, blueberry muffins, and a pumpkin-scented candle on the breakfast table.  I'm definitely getting in the "Fall Zone"!

In order to keep the Fall-vibes alive, the kids and I put together the perfect "Welcome Fall" dinner. I had 'Texas Stew' simmering in the crockpot, pumpkin bread cooling on the counter, and so it was time for the group-effort applesauce making. If you've never made your own applesauce before, you really need to.  It's VERY easy and so much yummier than store bought...and it's something the whole family can help with.   Michael got the coring and slicing job--a great upper body workout when you're working through a 5lb. bag of gala apples.

Once I peeled the apples, Allen cut them into chunks and threw them in the kettle. It doesn't really matter how big or small your chunks are but I think the smaller ones are easier to mash in the next step.

Throw some sugar and cinnamon over your apples,then stir and simmer until the apples start to get a little soft.  I cover them to speed things up and just check on them in-between the rest of the dinner prep.

Then you just continue to mash the apples until they get to the consistency you like.  You may also add more sugar and cinnamon to taste!  Nothing says Fall like homemade applesauce! :)

While the guys were helping me cook, the girls were playing in the living room (as it should be right? ha ha!)  My niece comes over after school once in awhile to get her "Nadia fix".  She's a huge help to me so I'm more than happy to pick her up and bring her over!

Josi and the other kids have worked VERY HARD with Nadia to get her to play with toys appropriately instead of throwing everything across the room.  I still wouldn't give her one of our toy trucks or anything that could do some real damage, but she's definitely making progress.  (There were no visible toys in her groupa at the orphanage so she's having to start from the beginning in this area.)

"Boys, is dinner ready yet?  I'm getting kind of tired waiting."

Come and get it!
(Did I mention yet that Fall is my Favorite time of year???)

So how do you celebrate Fall? 


  1. Can you share your Texas Stew recipe? Are you talking about chili or something else? I like fall a lot, too. Too bad it's still in the triple digits here! We're going to go up north to a pumpkin farm in a couple weeks though!

  2. Did my fall table inspire you??

    I love making applesauce like that! I don't make such a large batch but I guess I ought to do so.

    Okay, so Stas spends his day wondering the house picking everything up, trying it in his mouth, patting it, putting his ear on it to see what it sounds like when he bangs it, and then throws it. Over and over... He has been pushing a little car now...cute. Nadia wasn't quite doing that-- was she?

  3. I want your stew recipe too....can't wait for fall cooking!

  4. Here is a link to the Texas Stew Recipe: http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=519937

    It's a "Southern Living" recipe. I substitute diced tomatoes for the stewed tomatoes and for a spicier stew I used hot Picante sauce last night instead of the mild in the recipe. It also yields more than 6 servings (which is stated on this online recipe--my recipe book says 10 servings). Enjoy!

  5. Thanks for the applesauce lesson; I will definitely try it! Wonderful pics... jealous that you have fall already. Here in Cali, it still feels like summer. I can't wait for the rain! And crock pot meals! God bless.

  6. Oh, it looks so cozy and beautiful!

    THATS what I want my table to look like.

    I used to make applesauce, but haven't for years....thanks for reminding me how good it was! We have to do it again soon.

    The kiddos are all so cute :)

    I'm glad you got a little bit of fall.

  7. Can I come over?? :-) I love fall!!

    About Nadia throwing toys...that's like Darya. When we first started visiting her three weeks ago she didn't know what to do with them. She throws toys. She is slowly learning to play a little with them, but I figure we will wait until we're home and work on teaching her how to use them :-) But the boys will probably like her "baseball" arm.

    I'm so glad that everything is going so well for you all and that you're finally getting a taste of fall!

  8. Oh my goodness, how in the world????? Seriously. I am NOT worthy! My family will pay you big money to come and camp here for a while. :)

  9. That was a really really good meal!! Hmmm speaking of applesauce, I think I'm gonna have some right now for a kinda late night snack.... Well its not the good stuff like you guys made, but it'll do! I thought that was so funny how Nadia was laying next to me listening to her duck, until she got bored on the floor, and crawled on top of my to listen to sing "Quack Quack I like to say hello when friends are passing by, even when its time to go I like to say bibi!" Or something like that-see? I already have it practically memorized :)

  10. Kristin, is that beautiful niece of yours "llamagirl"????? he heee hee

    It's kinda funny that it runs in the family!

    ahhhh, how special, when the herd all gets together.

  11. Beautiful fall spread, Kristin. I forget what night you wanted us to come for dinner. Let me know?

  12. Recipe please?!?! :))) Please?!?! I wish I lived nearby so I could invite myself over for dinner. :) I love fall, too. We are having a really warm fall--today was 79 degrees. Our trees are still not very colorful yet. For fall, I love getting out my decorations and decking the halls. :) I decorate just as much for fall as I do for Christmas. (well...except for the tree!)

  13. Fun Fall Festivities---Did you make pumpkin rolls yet? Are you saving them for the wknd of the 9th? Forget the healthy applesauce, I want the sweet high calorie fall food! ;) Yummy!

  14. What a gorgeous table! You make the Pioneer Woman look like an amateur. I love getting the kids to help cook. But even better is getting them to help clean up!