Fall Fun - In and Out of the Kitchen
Oct. 19, 2013 6:03 am
Updated: Oct. 22, 2013 1:49 pm
Friday was that "special" day in Northeast Ohio where kids have the day off from school, and school employees do, too - NEOEA Day. It's a day for educators to attend special workshops or to just do something where they may possibly pick up some new, useful,
knowledge for their classroom. Since I hadn't had a day of fun in forever with my special little kiddos, I knew this was my opportunity. Plans were made with their mom and dad for Kristal and I to pick them up from the restaurant. From there it was only
to be good times!
Kristal brought Maggie to my house early in the morning and headed to her "special" workshop for the morning. When she was finished she and I picked up the kids. What were we going to do? Jeanette, the oldest, had already expressed interest in learning how
to make "that yummy pie" I made last year. "That yummy pie" is pumpkin pie. They had never had it before and they loved it. So... a few weeks ago Kristal had a Pampered Chef party and I ordered the mini pie pans. Six came in the pack - that would equal
out to two pies per kid. Pie baking was definitely on the agenda! So was pumpkin carving.
First stop was the apple orchard to buy pumpkins. There were so many to choose from it took quite a while for three little kids and two big kids (Kristal and I) to pick out the perfect pumpkin. If you go to an apple orchard to buy your pumpkins - what else
must be bought?? Apples! Apple Cider! Also - a stroll along the orchard to see the apples growing on the trees was in order.
It was a beautiful Fall day yesterday and I was thankful for that. For more reasons than just seeing the sun shining on a beautiful day off from work. We could carve those jack-o-lanterns outside and save my house from total mess! The girls all grimaced
and "eew'ed" their way through cleaning the guts out of the pumpkins; but in typical Yahir fashion - he had a blast playing with his pumpkin's guts. He made pumpkin balls with the innards and squished them through his fingers, making a great mess. Yup -
I was very thankful for this beautiful, sunny day! We all set to work planning our jack-o-lantern's faces. Jocelyn wanted a princess - we convinced her it was too hard to do that. So instead she insisted on a "Hello Kitty" pumpkin. Kristal found a picture
on her phone to copy from and set to work carving out a "Hello Kitty". I must admit it turned out fantastic!
After the clean-up was done and Maggie had on her Queen Bee costume photos were taken and we moved inside for the kitchen fun. Maggie loves her Halloween costume and wore it the rest of the day, quite proudly I might add. A bowl of pumpkin seeds had been
saved - we were going to attempt roasting them later. I decided that we would mix up pumpkin pie filling and apple pie filling and each kid could make one mini pumpkin and one mini apple pie. I knew there would be enough for a large pie of each as well.
I found out they had never had apple pie before, but they do love apples.
These kids play well together, even though they are siblings, so making the crust was a breeze. There were plenty of ingredients and steps for each one to get a turn. Even Kristal got a turn. :) Individual pies were a great idea - each one rolled out their
own crusts and since they were "mini"-sized it was simple for them to transfer the crusts into the pans. I showed them how to crimp the edges and they all did a pretty good job. Jocelyn declared that was the best part of making pies. Somehow we even managed
to keep most of the pie dough on the table!
Next we mixed up the pumpkin pie. The only issue we had was who got to turn on the mixer. I let each one pour the filling into their pie shell. A half cup fit perfectly. Then came the apple pie filling. I dug out my apple peeler/corer and each kid got
a turn using that with Kristal's assistance. Apple pie is Kristal's favorite and she loves the kind with the brown sugar topping so that is what we were making. Jocelyn was sure she wouldn't like apple but I told her to just wait and see.
My new oven is great! I could fit those pies in there and I used the convection oven to shorten the baking time. The huge window was perfect for little faces to peer inside and watch their creations bake. The house began to fill with the wonderful smells
of Fall baking. We pulled the pies out to cool just as the men (aka Jon and Jake) began to arrive home from working all day. Hey - somebody has to work while the rest of us play, right?
Now it was time to prepare dinner. We needed a kid-friendly dinner and I recalled from back in the day when my kids were young that the best kid-friendly dinner of all was homemade French fries and homemade chicken nuggets. I set to work breading the cut-up
chicken breasts and Jake assisted by watching the fries in the deep-fryer. Trying to keep three hungry kids away from a hot fryer was a chore, but eventually they remembered there was a huge box of leggos to play with and off they went to build a Leggo town.
I'm not sure but I think I breaded a half ton of chicken. Okay, maybe it was only 3-1/2 or 4 pounds. When dinner was over, though, there was not one crumb left.
I told them they could take their mini pies home and we would sample the big pies for dessert. I started cutting pieces of pie and Jeanette served them. Pumpkin for Jon and Jake. Pumpkin for Yahir and Jeanette -with plenty of whipped cream, please! Jocelyn
wanted pumpkin until she saw the apple for Kristal. She took a tiny taste of Kristal's apple pie and changed her mind quickly - she LOVED it! I had apple pie, too. By the time I sat down with my piece of pie, Yahir was ready for seconds - he wanted some
of that apple! Jeanette did, too, and she cut and served seconds. She's a handy girl to have around! Eleven is that perfect age where she's almost big enough to do all the grown-up things and she really wants to learn.
While we were eating our pie the pumpkin seeds were roasting away in the oven. I'm not a fan of them, but the kids and Jon thought they were pretty darn good! By now it was almost 9:00 pm and there were three kids who had settled down considerably. There
were two grown-ups who were feeling pretty tired, as well. The ringing of my phone forced me to get up to answer it. It was Federico, wondering if everything was OK. The restaurant would be closing soon and were we bringing the kiddos or did they have to
come pick them up?? I assured him we would return them once the pumpkin seeds were finished and cool enough to put in a bowl. The trip to the restaurant was a much quieter ride than when we picked them up. But a 10-minute ride is long enough to revive those
kids so when we got to the restaurant they were all talking at once and showing off their pies and jack-o-lanterns to their parents, the servers, the cooks, and whoever else would stop and listen. A couple was just leaving, but stopped to admire the jack-o-lanterns.
It had been awhile since I had gotten to play with my kiddos and today was just what I needed! Last year we spent the Fall season cleaning the huge tree off of our house and out of our yard; cutting and stacking firewood. This was a much better way to start
off the Fall season!
The start to our Fun Fall Day
My "Apple Dumpling" Gang
My Pumpkin Heads
A Happy Crew with "Queen Bee" Maggie