our everyday

apples, apples, apples

Last week we rang in the fall season with a family trip on a big special day, Jonah's birthday. It was a lovely, cooler-than-average-for-Georgia kind of day, perfect for spending outdoors. We headed up north where there are heaps of orchards and pumpkin patches to explore. Our choice was B.J. Reece Orchards, mostly because they had apple-picking open during the weekdays. It's a pretty popular place (especially on weekends) and we LOVED that it was so empty during a weekday. It made the whole experience of picking apples even more pleasant because there weren't any crowds to fight. We were able to take our time and take in the full experience as a family. The boys had a blast picking apples, running down the lanes in the orchard and generally being out in the beautiful sunshine and clean north-Georgia air. Not to mention all the apples you can "sample" as you go. I am not sure we have a photo where Aleksandr isn't munching an apple! 

We ended up picking half a bushel, then headed into the shop to see what other yummy things they had for sale (donuts, cider, and bags upon bags of apples). We were not disappointed with our choice of a dozen apple cider donuts, and ANOTHER half bushel of apples. So that gave us a grand total of one full bushel of apples. In other words that's around 50 lbs. of apples! Why so many? We were going to head out with our half bushel when I noticed they had a "seconds" section. Apples that had been picked but were old, or had been bruised. They were half price, and after looking at a bag (it was clear so we could see the apples), we saw only a couple in it that seemed to be "gently used". 

I have to say that I have been having fun seeing how far these apples will go, and Jonah is having fun keeping a tab on how many different items we can create. Yes, he even has a list to check off. Our tally at this point (a week later): apple chips, applesauce, apple crisp, apple butter, apple hand pies, baked apples, apple muffins, apple juice, and apple filling for pies. 

I have a little less than half a bushel left and we have some of these apple items in the freezer, so I'd say we are whittling away at it successfully! I really have enjoyed the apple peeling dates with Jonah! 

After the orchard we headed up to Amicalola Falls State Park. Jonah and I have been there way back when, on our first anniversary, so it was special to get to head back with our boys. It was the first time they'd seen a real live waterfall, and it is such a beautiful one too. A day filled with outdoor adventure made it a very special birthday celebration! 

elderberry syrup! an easy immune booster

When the leaves start changing colors it can only mean one thing around here. It's fall! With the beautiful display of colors comes cool weather, sweaters and jeans. Not to mention hot cocoa in the morning, fire pits at night and just a general "ahhhh" from both Jonah and I as we gladly welcome the crisp start to our days. We love the fall and are so thankful to live in a place where we can enjoy all four seasons. 

With the cooler temperatures it's pretty common to also start feeling yucky. And unfortunately colds and flu are "in season" too. I try to keep our diet close to basic real foods and over the years I've bookmarked and now pinned a lot of natural remedies and immune boosters to try in our own home. One of these is called elderberry syrup. It's a common item in the health food store but the price of one bottle can run anywhere from $14 and up! I read the ingredients on the back and then decided to search online for a home made recipe. It was easy to find several recipes that were very basic and quick. My biggest hurdle was finding dried elderberries locally. I could only find them online and with shipping added in it just wasn't worth it cost wise. I started my search for the berries a year or two back and gave up on making my own. 

I have to say that the Lord is good and He listens to our hearts, no matter how small a request we may bring to Him. I had prayed for a way to get some elderberries within our budget. I set my search aside and trusted that one day I'd find some berries! This past summer I decided to shop at a natural food store that I didn't even know was near us. I stumbled upon it accidentally and wouldn't you know that they carried dried elderberries in bulk? I was so excited to find them for a good price and locally! I thanked the Lord and waited about one day before I made my first batch of syrup! 

I have a jar of it in our fridge now, and we all take it daily right now as it's become cooler out and both Jonah and I have not felt the greatest. It's an immune booster and pretty tasty too. 

I used this recipe for ours, and it was super quick to make!  If you are local and would like to get your own supply of elderberries here's a link to the store I went to. Let me know if you make your own! 

Happy Saturday!

chucktown (part 2)

Our recent trip to Charleston was wonderful and we found so many great spots to visit as a family. Especially a family with young ones. As we already shared here there are some great things you can do as a family if you are visiting for the first time. Some of them are even free! 

We wanted to share a few more that we will be sure to visit again the next time we come back. 

Whenever we travel we love to find new toy stores that have unique hand made toys. The Magnifilous Toy Emporium immediately caught our attention from the street because of the small scale carousel in the store. Really! It's the first time we visited a toy store where there was a carousel you could ride! Well, that is if you are a small child. Our boys loved it! They giggled as it lit up and cranked out old tunes as they rode around and around on it. For $1 it was a very worthwhile investment! This store had a very hands on approach, as it should with toys. But a few cool things were a musical piano that played by itself, a real train horn you could pull to hear the whistle, a tall tower where you rolled a marble down and played a song, and a variety of quality brand toys that made you want to sit down and play with each one. Truly it was so much fun being in that store we were sad we had to leave. Before we left though one of the workers took us to the little courtyard in the back and showed the boys some giant bubbles with one of their special wands. We left knowing we'd be back for sure! 

For a sweet treat you have to stop for an icecream at Jeni's. Their icecream is made from grass grazed cow's milk (which means no hormones, and makes us happy!) and they offer amazing gourmet flavors as well as seasonal flavors. They also make their own waffle cones right there! You can smell the vanilla goodness from the street and you will not be able to stop yourself from going in! We also found out that they have one right here in our stomping grounds in Atlanta, hurray! (And since we've been back home we have already made a trip to it!)

If you have room for another sweet treat, or if you'd like a quick bite in the morning be sure to head to GlazedYou can choose from a variety of flavors here, made fresh. And by fresh I mean you can sit and watch them roll them out while you munch on the flavors of the day. We are donut people (um, who isn't?) and loved the donuts here. 

photo credit due to the talented  Amelia at Bloom and Lo

photo credit due to the talented Amelia at Bloom and Lo

We did some shopping along King St. and stopped in for lunch at  Jim-n-Nick's BBQ and loved that they had a simple and yummy menu with some options for the boys (grilled cheese, which is always a favorite in our home). We also just realized they have a location locally here in Acworth, so we will be able to visit again! Yum! 

And of course we headed out to the beach a couple times, driving over the amazing Arthur Ravenel Jr. bridge. We can't wait to visit again!