mulled wine. with cider!

We got it in our heads that we wanted fall beverages ("bevvies" if you're Kerri) for the duration of the weekend and mulled wine just had to be on that list, right after apple cider (rum not mandatory). Mulled wine is wine with a bunch of spices in it and while it doesn't have to be served warm, I like it that way. It adds to the whole festive nature of the thing. It's sort of like (dare I say it?) Christmas in a glass. Luckily I had juuuust enough boxed red wine left and only needed a bit of fruit and nutmeg and anise (which if I'm being honest I still cannot pronounce) to throw some of this together. The original recipe and far superior photos are here.
What you'll need:
1 bottle (or in my case a partial box) red wine
3 cups unsweetened apple cider
1/4 cup honey
3-4 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean, cut lengthwise
4-5 star anise
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Unnecessary garnishes (and please say "garnish" with indignation like Kathleen Kelly in You've Got Mail when she is yelling at Joe Fox for the caviar situation):
1/4 cup brandy
1 lemon, sliced
1 lime, sliced 
1 small orange sliced

Put the wine, cider and honey in a pot over low heat. 
All the spices go in a separate pot and roasted over medium heat for about five minutes, tossing around occasionally. Don't do what I did and walk away because it was a bit touch and go there after the fact.

Then add those roasted spices to the wine concoction and heat for however long you want; the smell is amazing. At least a half hour though. And don't let it boil. 

Right before serving add the brandy and the fruit to taste or to pretty or whatever. And yes I removed the orange peel and no I shouldn't have done that but I needed the peel for this.

And drink with friends. Wala!


apples at masonic villages with some k ladies

Kerri was up visiting us from central Florida for the weekend and I made it my mission to give her the most fall themed weekend I could. On Friday after Letty was dropped off at school and Dominic's 9 month well visit was over we headed to Masonic Villages for some apple picking. 

There is a farmer's market there with a cafe and an ice cream shoppe as well as tons of gourds and pumpkins and all things apple. David took his wagon driving very seriously, this of course over shadowing any and all apple picking. By a long shot. Dominic was just along for the ride and let me tell you, it was a much calmer experience than the time before that. I brought out the What Would Kathleen Kelly bag by Natalie for the first time that Kerri got me and I just love it. Big fan girl, this one. Besides the warmer than ideal fall weather I think it was a top notch fall activity for that Floridian girl.

Some of these photos were taken by the Kerri herself and so well. Credit given where credit is due. 



Dominic, aged 9 months: We had a visitor this past weekend and quite surprising to both Kerri and I, he actually liked her. He let her hold him. He laughed at her. It was very unexpected from the normal mama boy routine he's got going on. And that toy he is chewing on? That was mine from oh well my... before I was in preschool. We all say it looks like a pack of birth control but it's actually a compact. So... that.

David, aged 3 years: A new addition to the ever-growing repertoire of this three year old now includes: I'm just so bad! But what he really means to say is: I'm just so MAD! He's bad at me for not giving him his sippy when he said he no longer wanted it. He's bad that his ipad battery died even though I warned him 334 times that day that leaving it on would lead to this very conclusion. He's bad that just about everything in life is happening.

Letteria, aged 5 years: I'm having hair issues with this child. Everything that I try to do to keep it under wraps throughout her school day fails. She comes out of there looking like she just has had the world's craziest night. She says that it's because they make her rest, which by the way she never does but she does lay down. Any one with any suggestions for taming the Merida-like locks I'm all ears.

Past weekly shots here.


first apple picking of the year

And in the first item off my fall bucket list we have the picking of the apples. This time with five kids in tow, down to our local (sort of ) orchard. All the mothers were sweating before the picking even began on this nice cool fall morning. All the children were just so loud. Capital l. A few had breakdowns. I am just glad that we were there upon opening and therefore alone. The hills echoed with the sound of these kids. 

We came. We picked. We conquered.

I immediately (by way of Home Goods and Target) went home and made myself an apple cake, not that I eat desserts as of late but there it is. Maybe I'll make a stove top potpourri.... and maybe some applesauce. The world is my oyster.

These apple picking adventures aren't what they once were that is for sure... but it's been six years of it and we can't stop now!

Last year's picking here. Year before that here.