quarterbundtcakesapplecider

Apple Bundt Cake with Cider Glaze

 

 

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This apple bundt cake is perfect for fall and the holidays.  The glaze is amazing and takes only a minute or two to mix up, so don’t skip it!

I love Bundt cakes. They are simple to make, unpretentious, and can be packed up as gifts or sliced up for snacks and (ahem) breakfast. The only thing I like better than them are small bundt cakes. That way I can make a full recipe and divide it into either two or four cakes. One to give away, one to keep, one to freeze, etc.

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The Problem with Fake Pumpkins

(All pictures are of my own fake, cheap fall decor.)

There is something about fall that brings out the country look everywhere. Probably some deep evolutionary response to the harvest season. Or maybe just decades of marketing. It usually starts in August, peaks in late September, and by October, Christmas has taken over.

But during those glorious days of fall advertising-season, it is all scarecrows and hay bales. And of course, pumpkins.

Sometimes it is so fun to go to a local pumpkin patch, pick out a pumpkin from their fields and get a gallon of apple cider. Sometimes it is a pain because it’s still in the 80s every afternoon, yellow jackets are everywhere, and those pumpkins are really heavy. And the farmers market ones are expensive, especially if you want different colored ones.

So one day at Target you see a really cute display. They are fake, of course, but look pretty all together, especially with some fake gourds mixed in. And that little weathered sign that says “welcome fall.”. So you add to the cart. Or maybe you are a little more upscale and you go for the expensive Funkins, which can be carved. I used to save up for one a year, to eventually amass a grouping of them carved in the shape of fall leaves.

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Now you don’t have to worry about them rotting on the porch in the September heat. When Christmas advertising season rolls around, you can just stick them in the basement. What’s not to like?

I’ve written before about James Howard Kunstler, and his theory that the countryside is disappearing in part because Americans love the countryside.  They each want a piece, so they divide it up and swallow it.  This feels a little like that.  We love the idea of the fall harvest look, so we copy it.  But we do it in a way that destroys any actual fall harvesting in our communities.

Every fake pumpkin that is bought is a real pumpkin that didn’t get bought. It is a local farm that wasn’t visited, a farmer’s market stand passed over. It is choosing convenience and cheapness over an easy chance to enrich your local economy. It is a choice to instead enrich a factory far away churning out fake squash. I am now imagining a factory in Cambodia, the workers laughing at us, thinking what is this and why are people paying for it?

And really, it is hilarious. We pave over farms to build suburbs that we decorate to look like farms. But do we at least support the remaining local farms as we decorate? No. We do not.  Our decorations are the most superficial thing possible, because they are the very opposite of what we value. At least there won’t be any crows on the front porch.

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The problem with fake pumpkins is that they are another piece of junk that chips away at a local economy. They are more styrofoam adding to the mountain of trash in our country. They are one more emblem of a world we destroyed and now so poorly try to imitate.

There are a lot of problems with no solution. But this one is easy.

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Getting Ready for Winter at Home

I find that I am ready for each season as it comes.  Halloween is over, and I was ready to say goodbye to it.  Bats, scary crows, owl candle holders and rubber spiders are already packed away, and more restrained Thanksgiving decor reigns.

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I love getting cozy in the fall, and our weather has finally turned chilly.  Hats and mittens have been brought up to the mudroom, and beach towels, sunscreen, and bug spray packed away.

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Fires in the fireplace are such a big part of winter here.  It feels like such a luxury and yet it is an economy.  Just like homemade bread and flowers from the garden.  But with that dry, radiating, wonderful heat, comes a lot of work beforehand.

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I will help stack this, but Matt does all the work splitting.

The fireplace gloves and kindling have been brought out.

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I am on the hunt for the perfect dark olive green velvet to make pillow covers for our living room throw pillows, just something to make it a little more warm and cozy.  All of our throws and quilts have been washed and folded neatly by the couch for chilly mornings before the fire gets going again.

The view is changing out the windows and off the deck.

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The tea drawer has been organized.  I need to get a tea kettle.  Going to ask my parents for a copper (coated) one for Christmas.  I love the coziness they add to a kitchen, and I am tired of boiling water in a pot for my tea like some kind of lunatic.

And we still haven’t had our first frost, so I am still picking sunflowers and tomatoes.

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My parents are coming over for dinner tonight and I am making panini with ham, cheese, and caramelized onions.  We’ll have chicken tortilla soup on the side and pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese frosting for dessert.

Stay cozy!

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Fixing What Bothers You

I love staying home and caring for kids and the house,  but sometimes I feel myself going a little nuts with small frustrations.  In some ways the kids get easier as they get older, and in some ways harder.   Everything become physically easier but a tougher battle of wills, as food pickiness, homework resistance, and laziness emerge.  You can no longer excuse their bad behavior with their age, and this makes them more frustrating.  You are expected to feed all members of the household and clean up after them when they are perfectly capable of doing it.  And yet… you are a housewife.  Isn’t that what you are here for?  And so on.  Small annoyances.  You can fix them.

I read somewhere to make a list of what bothers you and see if there aren’t solutions.  Think of what advice you would give a friend with these complaints.  It sounded like a very silly exercise, but I did it.

Here is my list.

  1.  Kids don’t clean up after themselves and waste art supplies and create piles of paper.
  2. The kids stain their clothes and are ruining them and they have to last for three girls.
  3. I hate making lunches when everyone is home.
  4. My husband piles his stuff up on the kitchen counter even though we have a mudroom.

So, on to the solutions.  They have an art cabinet in the breakfast room that was getting cleaned out and then messed up constantly.  I look everything out, labeled it, and told them everything must go in the correct box before they go up for baths.  They figured it out pretty quickly.  Having things labeled has made all the difference.  They produce a stack of art every day, and every  night I go through it, tossing most of it and keeping select pieces to go in their art folders that live in the drawer above this cabinet.

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To keep them from staining clothes, I put a bundle of already stained or torn clothing in the mudroom and they must change into this before playing outside.  Maddie has to change into an old shirt before eating because she is destroying all of her clothing with hot sauce.

To deal with lunches, I have started having more ready to eat foods available so people can help themselves on the weekends instead of asking me “what’s for lunch?” and driving me batty.  On kitchen days I cut up veggies and make a tuna or chicken salad, I boil eggs, make sandwich rolls to pop in the freezer, mix up salad dressing, and pre cook bacon so those of us on low carb diets can still eat something quick.

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For the age old kitchen counter piling problem.  This is a problem I need to work on on my end, having some patience with someone who has just come home from a long day at work.  I also added the basket on the very left to at least corral the papers.

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Then I got distracted and rearranged the open cabinet.  I am slowly realizing I despise color. There was a pretty red bowl in this shelf before but it was too… red.  It is a cabinet, and now everything is beige or white.

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So beige. So dusty.  I just dusted two days ago.

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So beige!  Is this an acceptable decorating style?  I want to add white.  Brightness but no color.

I have ONE burgundy sunflower plant still blooming.

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Colors are acceptable here.

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What a masterpiece!


Fall at Home

After a very sad week, I am back home and settling in for fall and the upcoming holidays.  I always crave baked goods and hot drinks this time of year, but have not had much of either this year since I am trying to lose the last of the baby weight.

Every time I lose five pounds I buy a small treat for myself.

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Some cleaning products and some twine.

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Is it sad how excited I was for these to arrive?

The children have been having plenty of sweet treats.

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And I whipped up a cute little pillow for the living room.

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The kids are in charge of all Halloween decorations this year.  My middle daughter saw a picture in a magazine of a “haunted porch” and is determined to recreate it.  They are slowly haunting up the place.

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I have only set out mums and pumpkins on the porch…

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And changed out the placemats for fall colored ones…  And left the rest of the decorating to the kids.

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I have been busy enjoying the company of a little friend.

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In a cozy spot for just the two us.

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Enjoying the fresh air while we can.

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