Animals and Apples

We have been trying to do at least one family activity each weekend and this weekend we decided to head to Wellwood for donuts, petting zoo, and maybe even some apples. It feels a tad early for apples, but we somehow managed to miss strawberry and blueberry picking this year, so I guess we’d better get the apple picking in while we can!

We started with donuts, of course. I’m wishing, in hindsight, that I took a few pictures of that, because check out this picture from our first time ever at Wellwood Orchard!

It doesn’t get any cuter than this!

We had some donuts, chatted with a friend we ran into there, then headed for the petting zoo! Always a crowd pleaser.

Hungry baby piggies

So many birds! Look how tall Lex is!

We watched the piglets for awhile. They were adorable! Then momma pig started doing her bathrooming business and we decided it was time to go! Blech!

Eve tried to feed the piglets.

Lex had more luck feeding the sheep. These sheep need a shearing. They looked HOT!

We sure know how to take a family photo! LOL!

Those eyes!! She wasn’t really rolling them at me (not exactly), but she was mad at me for not letting her climb the trees. She said, “what’s the point of being here if I can’t climb the trees?!”

Can I just have my sweet little girl back, please?! (Of course, she IS in a tree in this picture!)

There’s her smile! Luckily she doesn’t stay angry for long. Who can be mad when they’re sitting next to that handsome fellow?!


We swung back by the store on the way out and bought fudge and other treats. Then home again. Over all a very nice day and a very nice memory from the past! Now… off to eat some apples!


The Great Vermont Corn Maze

Every year we hear about the Great Vermont Corn Maze, but this is the first time we’ve gone.  We have corn maze experience, of course, (2014, 2013, 2012, probably other years, and 2008) but nothing like this!  They say the average person take about two hours to get through.  We spent two hours and fifteen minutes inside, with moods ranging from excitement to frustration to annoyance to excitement to boredom to excitement again. We were in there for awhile!


Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Moe was the theme this year.


A water bottle man selling reusable water bottles.


We found a bridge and hoped it would help to get a higher view. It didn’t.


What a corny family!


There were hole punch stations along the way and the kids had cards to collect punches. It relates to an online activity, i think, but they also served as landmarks in the corn madness.


Me and my girl


At the end of the maze there is a Bell of Success. We discovered that in the maze there is also a Bell of Frustration to mislead you. It worked!


“Look, a boat!”


Me and my boy


Eve wanted in on the selfie action!


Me and Alan. He was there too! :)


There really was a boat. We were heading that way until a helpful maze worker suggested (hinted) that the exit was not that way.


Another Bell of Frustration!




We made it!!


It’s beautiful up there!


Posters of past years. I took a better picture but my phone didn’t save it. Oh well.

They stop admitting people at 2pm and start helping people at 4pm.  We got there just before two so by the end we got a few tiny hints from the staff along the way to get out.  Hints like which way to turn at the next junction, which were barely helpful.  I was joking that we would need to get airlifted out, but instead we ended part of a large group all trying to get out and sharing info about hints we got or paths we tried.  Eventually we all made it out, no airlifting required!

Then we played in the kid village, visited the petting zoo, played gopher in the big gopher tunnels, and jumped from one giant hay bale to the next in the hay barn.  Really the kids did all that while Alana and I made dinner plans and turned off our brains for a few minutes.  :-)


Dinnertime snuggles


Car snuggles.

Overall a fun way to spend a lovely fall day!

The leaves are falling…


It’s leaf raking time again!

And so it begins.  This picture amuses me because her face so perfectly sums up how I feel about fall raking, but really she and a friend were outside and raking leaf piles to jump in, all on their own accord.

This evening she drew a picture of her fall fun… or at least her memory of it. :)


We had a busy, but fun day today. The kids went to karate, then Eve had a friend over, then they had overlapping birthday parties to attend. Fortunately Lex’s party was right down the street so he walked to and from his party, and Eve and I rode our bikes to her friend’s party. When we got home Eve kept riding and her friend from down the street came out to play. I think everyone will sleep well tonight!

Apple picking time again.

One of my favorite fall things to do! Saturday was Customer Apprecition Day at Wellwood Orchard and my Facebook feed was full of pictures of friends picking apples. I wanted nothing to do with the crowds that day, so instead we went today. Mema was here today too, so we took her along.  Her first time at Wellwood!  It was much calmer, though really hot!! The website said they stopped making donuts at 11am, so we made that our first stop. Once we were sugar-fueled, we went to check out the animals.


Feeding the goats


An albino peacock?


Don’t stand directly under the birds!


Piglets! Mama pig was looking very hot and uncomfortable. Not an attractive look for anyone, especially a giant pig!


Baby bunnies. It was so hot they were all panting in unison.


Eve caught herself a bunny! I’m glad it wasn’t a “catch and keep” situation. :-)

We met some friends in the animal pen and hung out for a bit. The kids were happy to run around with friends for awhile. Then we refueled again with another round of donuts (this post brought to you by fresh made sugar covered donuts!) and then hitched a ride in the wagon up to the orchard.


We met a friend there who volunteered to take group photo.  (I should probably crop this picture better, but my lousy blog posting system doesn’t make that convenient, so… you get what you get!)


Oh yeah, we went apple picking too.


I called this one the toddler tree. Tons of apples at a very accessible height.


Not that my monkeys needed help. I let her climb one, but after hearing the apples tumble down I realized that wasn’t the best idea.


Pears! Adorable, but not really ready yet.


Hot and tires. Just a few more apples.

We had plans to go out for lunch after this, but everyone was hot and sweaty and “fun family time” came to a grinding halt. Instead we headed home to a cool, dark house where everyone could have a little space to calm down and regroup.

Now I have two giant bags of apples on my counter. In the old days the kids and I would bake pie or make applesauce together, but tomorrow they go back to school and I’ll be home making pies and applesauce on my own. It will be different, but good in it’s own way.

If you want to get lost in adorable pictures, type “apple picking” into the little search bar near the top right of this page. Lots of pictures from years past. Apple picking is an annual fall treat for us. :)

Halloween Gingerbread

Last week we went to visit a friend who had, in the past (2012), helped us make gingerbread houses. We don’t see her often and when I mentioned our plans to visit, Eve immediately asked if we would be making a gingerbread house. I told her no, just visiting, but the idea stuck and she insisted. Sooo…. behold the Halloween Haunted Gingerbread House!

completed house

Our Haunted Halloween House

The process took a few days. On the first day we made the dough.

eve baking p1

Eve in the kitchen. I love it!

eve baking p2

She doesn’t even need a chair, just a little stool. :)

Then we rolled it out, cut it, and baked it.

eve baking p3

She was eager to help cut out the pieces and ended up doing most of them all by herself.

baked pieces

Here are all the pieces.

On Saturday we built the house! Sadly my royal icing was not strong enough and did not “set” quick enough, so, alas, we had an unstable house on our hands.

construction p1

Off to a messy start already! I think I need to use a smaller icing tip next time.

decorating extras

While we waited for the walls to dry we decorated the trick-or-treaters and house accessories.

construction p2

The roof is on. We decided to add an M&M border to the wet icing, on the assumption that it would dry quickly!

construction p2

After a wall and roof panel fell twice I decided it was time to bring out the reinforcements!


The second collapse also gave us a chance to put the gingerbread people and ghost inside, which we had forgotten the first two times we put the roof on!

I stuck the house in the fridge for awhile and we all went out to play. You have to take a break from the sugar fumes sometimes and it was a beautiful day!


These look good enough to eat!

house decorating

When Aunt Rosy arrived we decorated the gingerbread house and added the accessories.

house p1

Ta-da! I took away the glass in hopes that the roof would stay. We propped it up with some gingerbread trees. :)

house p2

In this picture you can see the gingerbread dog house, the dog (white with red spots), and the trick-or-treater dressed as a pencil. I love that costume idea! I told Eve she should be a pencil next year and she decided Lex could be an eraser to go with her. :)

house p3

A rickety old house needs a rickety old fence in the backyard.


Happy bakers! (Eve has her bunny ears under her chin and it looks like some weird neck scarf.)

The house was lovely, kind of, and I stuck it back in the fridge for a little more firming up. It stayed there all day Sunday while we were busy with the CHaD (another post on that will follow soon). This afternoon I cleared off the table (not a small feat!) and set up a nice Halloween display. The kids were super excited when they came home from school.

on display

I tidied up the table and set up a nice Halloween display this afternoon before the kids got home. They were excited to see it all setup. (Notice the glass behind the house? It started sagging after all the decorations were one, so we figured the glass was a required structural support. Lex added some candy to the top to make it look better.)

Sadly, we got back from karate to discover this:

caved in

Oh no! It lasted for a few hours before it caved in. Not even a nice roof slide like the first few times, this was just a complete cave-in.

Eve did a dramatic cry for awhile and then moved on. We agreed it was now a super spooky fallen down Halloween house. There were two casualties of the roof collapse, but the kids were consoled when I promised they could have the casualties for snack tomorrow. I claimed the third causality, a ghosts, for myself!

The house might not be perfect, but we had tons of fun so I’m going to call it a success!! (and try my friend’s royal icing recipe next time!)

It’s apple time again!

We took our first trip of the year to the apple orchard this week! I’d like to go back a few more times, but we have so many apples already!! We went with Elizabeth and Alistair and had a wonderful time. We ran through the corn maze, picked golden raspberries, apples, and blueberries.


When I say “we” I really mean “they” ran through the corn maze while Elizabeth and I moseyed behind, chatting and occasionally regrouping the kids. Alistair looks like he’s yelling his corn maze battle cry! (I wish I could harness his energy!)


Fortunately Lex took care of reading the clues so we weren’t lost in there forever!

a corn

Alistair says, “what’s the point of a corn maze if we can’t pick the corn?!”

e corn

Eve says, “well… if he picked corn …”
I say, “You’re not supposed to pick the corn! But… since you already did let me take a picture.” :)


Lex waving to the tractor driver hauling pumpkins.

lex apples

Lex’s picking method was to fill all of his pockets as full as possible before coming back to the bags. I love his efficiency.

lex tree

We broke a few rules that day. He’s so cute though! A little monkey in an apple tree.


This year we got a wagon. I learned my lesson from last year, hauling apples all the way down the hill.

weighing pumpkins

While I paid for our goods, the kids decided to see how much the pumpkins weighed – altogether.

strong eve

Eve helped bring the apples to the car. Strong girl!

Yesterday I made apple pie and triple berry jam. We had lots of black raspberries in the freezer from our back yard so I added those to the golden raspberries and blueberries we picked at the orchard. It came out great!


Wait, don’t cut it yet! I almost forgot to take a picture!

Pumpkin Festival

We went to the Keene Pumpkin Festival today. I’ve wanted to go for years, but it hasn’t worked out until now. The weather was perfect, the day was somewhat free, and we had Rosy in town! Every year they try to beat their own Guiness World Record for most jack-o-lanterns in one place. You’re supposed to bring a jack-o-lantern or carve one there, but we skipped that step. Too busy this week for pumpkin carving.

Lex had a birthday party to attend this afternoon, so we had limited time at the Pumpkin Festival, but we had fun walking around, exploring, eating junky fair food, watching the costume parade (we did not dress up), and riding the ferris wheel. Good times!

pumpkin p1

There were a lot of pumpkins to look at!


We watched the costume parade. Check out this guy playing the trombone with a pumpkin on his head!


Lunch on the curb. Pizza, popcorn, and french fries count as a healthy lunch, right?

pumpkins p2

Wall ‘o pumpkins! We noticed later that these pumpkins have rows of Christmas lights running behind them, with one light in each pumpkin, instead of the little candles like the other pumpkins all have. I guess it would be tough to climb up there an light all those jack-o-lanterns!


Eating ice cream and drooling over candy. Gives me a bellyache just thinking about it! :)

pumpkins p2

Pumpkins, pumpkins, everywhere!

jol ears

I love the ears on this jack-o-lantern!

jol hair

This one has glow sticks for hair! Cool idea.

in line

Look how happy Lex looks. He loves it when Eve hugs him.

me n lex

We waited for an hour to ride the Ferris Wheel and finally it was our turn!


A view from up high (though not the highest).

eve n rosy

Eve and Rosy rode the car in front of me and Lex. Alan waited patiently on the ground.

tired girls

It was a long drive there and a long, tired drive home.

We wanted to stay longer and check out the pumpkin bowling, but after the ridiculous Ferris Wheel line (patience is not my speciality!) we were out of time and had to head home to get Lex to his birthday party. I’m glad we did too, because the birthday party was a ton of fun! Lex wanted me to stay (twist my arm!) so I hung out while the kids played games, bobbed for apples, had cupcakes, opened presents, and played Quidditch!

(These pics are from my phone. I swear neither camera did very well today. :/)



This kids rode on “broomsticks” and had to throw a big ball through the hoops. One kid was the snitch and they had a ball tucked into the toe of a yellow sock, then tucked into the waist of their pants. The snitch ran around while two seekers (one from each team) tried to get the sock, meanwhile the rest of the kids tried to get the big ball into the hoops for points. It was a lot of fun, especially to watch!

Another big day tomorrow with the CHaD run/hike and a post-run party. Feeling popular this weekend. We’ll have to rectify that (and get caught up on all my school work!) next weekend. :)

Fall fun

Friday was a beautiful day! We had a few friends come over after school and we all had snack then spent the afternoon building a leaf man, running around, riding bikes, swinging, playing hide-and-seek, and having a generally wonderful fall day.

pumpkin head

Meet our new friend, Pumpkin Head.

silly kids

We had a very silly afternoon.

more stuffing

We need more leaves! The girls continued stuffing long after the boys had moved on.

Then they spent some time pretending to walk past the house to see how it looked.  They varied their walking styles and speeds, in case that made a difference in the appearance of the leaf man.  :)

Then they spent some time pretending to walk past the house to see how it looked. They varied their walking styles and speeds, in case that made a difference in the appearance of the leaf man. :)

These beautiful fall days are limited, so we’re trying to enjoy them all!

Happiness is…

Fun with leaves! (These pictures are from a few days ago when Lex’s face was still swollen.)






Today was another beautiful day and we were right back out there!


Lex is working and saving and trying hard to save enough money to buy the latest Lego Mindstorm, the EV3. Today we decided to pay him to clean up the leaves. We’re paying per bucket that he fills and dumps into the ravine. He went right to work! I don’t mind paying him since we pay someone else anyway, and because Lex needs the fresh air and exercise, and because he is trying so hard to earn money! The other day he decided to draw dinosaur pictures and sell them to the neighbors. I thought the leaf raking would be more a more useful way to earn money. :)




IMG_0173Can you guess what’s awesome about this next picture?  It’s not my daughter or my husband, although they are both awesome of course…. It’s the empty(ish) garage!!  Guess what’s in there now?!  Yep, my car!!  First time since early June.  Whoo hoo!  Just in time for a chilly, rainy weekend. :)


A beautiful day for a hike

** this was all pre-bee sting drama **

I dragged the kids out for a hike Sunday. Outdoorsy, we are not! It was a beautiful weekend though, and when I mentioned a hike on Saturday they were all for going Sunday. We were busy Saturday anyway. When Sunday rolled around they wanted no part of it. However, as I suspected, once we got out there they loved it! Mostly. The hill proved to be quite steep, so there were a few times when they swore they just. could. not. go. on. But we persevered and were rewarded with breathtaking views of the fall foliage. We hiked up the back side of a skiway, so for the return trip we just went down the slopes, a trip which would have been much faster on skis! :)

IMG_0064Check out this cool spiney tree.

IMG_0066Lex was doing good for awhile!

IMG_0068Alan convinced Eve to go barefoot!  She loved the mud squishing in her toes. :)

IMG_0070This hike was part of the Appalachian Trail.  We came across a cool lodge and stopped for a visit.  For some reason this one had three fireplaces!  We checked it out, had a snack, then continued on.

IMG_0076The incline got steeper…

IMG_0084… and the kids got tired-er.

IMG_0085Lex giving me a good grumpy face. :)

IMG_0087The view from the top was amazing!!



IMG_0095Straight down!


IMG_0100We went down the front of mountain, straight down the ski slope!


IMG_0105Check out this cool rock we came across.  We spent some time climbing on and around it.  There’s another big one right next to it, behind those two trees, and a fallen down tree between the two which made for a great climbing bridge.  Good times!


IMG_0110Then home again, home again, went the tired hikers.  A good day and a good time was had by all… until they went outside to play that evening