Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fun at the Pumpkin Patch

Ever since Munch was a baby, we've made a trek out to Dixon to a great farm where we go on hay rides and pick a pumpkin off the vine-it's the same place we head to chop down a Christmas tree. This year, we decided to stick a little closer to home and explore the farming valley in our own little town. Just east of the Napa Valley, there are vineyards, olive groves, and many farms in the Suisun Valley. One favorite produce stand is always crazy busy, with people loading up wheelbarrows full of fruits and veggies at incredible prices. At the pumpkin patch, we discovered a huge variety of pumpkins and squash- including these beautiful swan squash but first Munch had to climb the hay bale tower,do a little pumpkin bowling, and do a run through the corn maze.Finally, we headed into the fields to find just the right pumpkin. We also loaded up our wheelbarrow with a bunch of other squash before stopping for a delicious snack of pumpkin bread. At home, Munch quickly went to work on painting her mini pumpkins and later that night, we carved our larger pumpkins-They turned out really well and Munch enjoyed sitting in the dark with them as she ate a sweet treat- ghost cupcakes!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wii Fun!

I LOVE my Wii! Thank goodness AudioDad got the hint last Christmas and got it for me, even though I don't get to it as often as I'd like (you know, parenting & housework & a job kind of get in the way...) It's also a challenge to find games that Munch and I both can enjoy and that she is coordinated enough to play. MarioKart is one of our favorites and I finally got around to purchasing an extra Wii wheel- just in time for her cousin A's visit a couple of weeks ago. They were SO funny to watch once I handed each of them a wheel. In deep concentration, they'd use their arm's whole range of motion to turn the steering wheel, frequently ending up with it behind their ears and over their shoulders. Once both got comfortable driving on their own for a couple of races, the trash talk started- preschoolers are SO competitive! "I'm going super faster than you and I'm PASSING you!!!" one would announce as they proceeded to drive the course IN THE WRONG DIRECTION!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Most Super Duper 4th Birthday Party Ever!

Wow! I just got back from a birthday party that an incredibly creative and talented friend planned for her 4 year old. It all started with the invite, a curious and colorful little tin that arrived in the mail one day-Inside we found with instructions to inflate the balloon, upon which were printed the specifics of the party (note to self: don't pop the balloon!)-When we arrived at the party today, the festivities began before we even reached the door-Munch got her tickets and proceeded to decorate her party hat. Would you believe it's just a rolled up, painted grocery bag?
Munch looked awfully cute wearing it on the firetruck ride-After making a sand art necklace, we headed in to the rest of the birthday carnival-which was set up with several great games for the kids
Munch started in the jumpy then went down the row of games, collecting prized in her goody bag as she went-There was popcorn, cotton candy, face painting, and a fun house mirror-After yummy food, cupcakes, and a pinata, the final surprise was unveiled- a candy buffet for everyone for fill a favor bag- And would it be a carnival if you didn't win a goldfish?Big smiles after a fun time!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits

I had a big carton of buttermilk left over in my refrigerator from a recipe I tried recently- what it was, I don't even remember now... but with the little chill in the air, thought I'd whip up a hot batch of biscuits. My go-to recipe has always been Fannie Farmer's baking soda biscuits- sometimes with buttermilk, sometimes just with regular milk. They're good, as homemade biscuits are, but I wanted something that brought out the buttermilk flavor even more. I found it in this recipe for Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits from Pinch My Salt. If you've never made homemade biscuits, there's a really good photo tutorial- and it's really easier than it seems (put down the canned biscuits...) Using cake flour, if White Lily is not available, is the key- I could tell just by mixing them that they'd be much more tender. And using butter, instead of the shortening called for in my old recipe, gave these the most wonderful flavor. I also use a pastry blender instead of my fingers- keeps the butter colder. These biscuits are incredible- I've made a big batch a couple of times this week already. Go make some RIGHT NOW!