Pumpkin Plate Silly Face

Pink Hair Pumpkin Plate FaceHole Punch Pumpkin PlateGoogle Eyes Hole Punch Craft GlueThread Pipe CleanersGoogle EyesGoogle Eyes Teeth SmileGlue the Google EyePipe Cleaner BraceletSilly Pumpkin FacesSilly Pumpkin Plate Face on Fridge

In case you still need to decorate for Halloween, here’s a simple and silly craft that will put a smile on your face. I put it together for a childcare group earlier this month, so when I had special breakfast guests over the weekend, we made them again at my place!

Supplies: orange paper plates, google eyes, colorful pipe cleaners, hole punch, craft glue, sticky magnet (optional).

Directions: Punch the orange paper plate with three holes in the top for pumpkin “hair” vines and two holes in the bottom for the smiles. Thread the pipe cleaners through the holes and twist them to style unique hair and smiles. Glue the google eyes on the plate and add a magnet to the back.

Plum Apple Oat Crisp

Apples and Plums from the Orchard.jpgCutting Apples and Plums for Crisp.jpgSqueezing Lemon.jpgChopped Plums and Apples.jpg

Mixing Oat Walnut Topping.jpgApples and Plums from Skillet to Dish.jpg

Apple Plum Oat Crisp.jpgOat Topping Apple Plum Crisp.jpg

We are on the cusp of autumn here in the midwest, and this dish bridges the fruits of the seasons in a most comforting fashion. It’s a recipe that I think is worth making for the aroma alone. Apples and plums simmering on the stovetop calms my busy mind and reminds me that I have so much to be grateful for. As I look at these photos I celebrate the goodness of the harvest, the joyful opportunity to share kitchen projects with my niece, and the hopeful promise of friends and family who gather together around the table.

I learned the method of making an apple crisp by first cooking apples on the stovetop with sugar, lemon juice, and butter, from Nigel Slater via Orangette. His brilliant method begins by warming a pan of butter and allowing the fruit to release their natural juices and slightly caramelize before adding the topping and finally baking it altogether in the oven. In this instance, the purple plums cook down, bubble up, and turn the flesh of the chopped apples a brilliant ruby red. The color reminds me of those gorgeous sugar maple leaves at their peak of autumn transformation.

Cinnamon, oats, and walnuts finish off the sweet and tart fruit. No flour is necessary for this crisp topping, but there are many lovely toppings that you could choose instead. Be sure to use gluten free oats if you are not able to eat gluten. Enjoy it warm for breakfast or for dessert with a scoop of frozen whipped cream.

Plum Apple Oat Crisp

4-5 apples

12 plums

1 lemon

1/2 C brown sugar

4 T unsalted butter

Chop the apples and plums into bite-sized pieces. Juice the lemon. Mix together the apples, plums, lemon juice, and brown sugar in a bowl. In a large pan, melt the butter on medium-high heat. After the butter is melted and stops foaming, add the fruit mixture to the pan. Next comes the transformation! Lightly stir from time to time. It can take up to 20 minutes on the stovetop for the juices to begin to thicken. You will know that the magic has happened when the fruit is completely coated and the air is filled with that delicious Fall aroma.

While the fruit is on the stovetop, mix up the simple oat topping. Hand mixing works the best for me.

2 C quick cooking oats

1 C walnuts

1/2 C brown sugar

8 T unsalted butter

1 t ground cinnamon

1 t kosher salt

Transfer the caramelized, cooked fruit to a baking dish and evenly top with the oat mixture. Bake for about 30 minutes in a 350-degree oven, or until the topping becomes golden.

super seven

a a waiting for party guests at the doora decorating paper party hats pom pomsamerican girl party 7 birthday dolls eatamerican girl party 7 birthday little treatsb cake 7cake 7 american girl candlesStrawberry Cupcake Sewingstrawberry pink sewing needlea b waiting at the door for guestsMy niece turned seven earlier this month! We celebrated the way she wanted to, with our favorite dolls. For her and her peers, this meant having American Girls, Bitty Babies and well-loved stuffed animals at the dinner table. The rest of us had our own interpretations. At her birthday lunch, we were joined by delightful people (some who called their dates “dolls”) and puppets, where there was also no shortage of smiles and laughter. As I look through the photos of the weekend fun, I think about the wonderful people that have come into her life this past year, both big and small. We know better than to call this year a lucky seven, because it is already a super seven.

Thank you, Oh Happy Day! Party hat template http://ohhappyday.com/2011/02/party-hats-diy-template/ on card stock for the basic hats.

the air in sitka

poppies sitka alaska2015 633looking up silhouette alaska2015 528eagle totem sitka alaska2015 474becca looking alaska2015 509roots sitka alaska2015 567I took these photos two months ago in Sitka, AK: “the village behind the islands.” The Sitka National Historical Park has to be the most breathable place I have ever been. There I saw towering totem poles quietly telling stories of Tlingit, Aleut, and Russian heritage; I heard ravens orating and echoing throughout the forest trees; I learned that balance and reciprocity are important concepts to the Tlingit society. I wish I could have spent more time in Sitka but am grateful for the day I was there.