Sunday, August 3, 2014

Berry picking and picnic

Yesterday I think we succeeded in wringing all the fun we possibly could out of one day. :)

I let M sleep in a little bit when the kids woke up at 6:30 (he returned the favor today) and played with H and E in the living room for awhile. H loves to copy everything that E does, which I think is really funny since he's the older brother and I'd think she would copy him? Maybe it'll change when she gets older; I guess she's not really old enough yet (at 9 months) to copy most of what he does. Anyway, he was crawling around behind her, picking up whatever toy she picked up and then putting it in his mouth (or whatever she was doing). It's always funny when he does that.

When E took her first nap (she's a two-nap-a-day lady right now, which I LOVE, and they're usually both solid 1.5 - 2 hour naps. She is more than making up for the nap challenges she had when she was an infant!), I made bacon, biscuits and gravy for breakfast. DELICIOUS!!! I used to make them pretty often for MM, but haven't in over a year. They turned out very well, although I used beef bacon as the fat source, and I think pork bacon fat is more flavorful (I stopped eating pork years ago). MM rescued them with a tiny sprinkle of bacon salt that he made months ago and froze (basically you char bacon in the oven, then pulse in a food processor with coarse salt) and with that addition it was perfect.

When E woke up, we hustled out of the house (the one disadvantage of a two-nap-a-day baby is that we only get 2-3 hours of activity time between naps, which does break up the day quite a bit. But I'll take it over the alternative!) and drove out to a pick-your-own orchard about half an hour away. They have the BEST apple cider donuts (at pumpkin season you can get them warm out of the fryer! OMG! The last time we went I think I ate 6!), a goat pen, and a small playground in addition to all the orchards and vegetable fields. So we got some donuts and paid for a blackberry-picking basket, then went over to the playground to let H burn off some energy.

He loves the slide. He does not like the swings (I'm so confused - I LOVED the swings when I was little! I still like them, although I actually get a little motion sick now, which is a bummer). But he'll spend an hour going down the slide over and over. It was empty since it's not a peak picking time (it's packed every weekend in the fall when apples and pumpkins are available) so we got to take turns sliding down and then racing each other back to the ladder. :)

We finally pried him away from the slide to go visit the goats. They have little candy dispensers that are filled with cracked corn, and you can buy a small handful for a quarter, so we got some corn to feed them. This one was a total pig and ate most of our corn; there were 5 or 6 other goats that came over to investigate us but weren't hungry, and a few that just hung out on their toys in the middle of the pen.

He liked the goats but didn't want to feed them (or touch them in any way), so he just put his corn into the little corn chute that sticks through the fence.

E was not impressed.

Then we negotiated down to only 5 more trips down the slide, and after a quick potty pit-stop in the parking lot (we brought his potty with us; now that he's 3 we're getting serious about potty training), it was time to go pick blackberries! We drove over to the blackberry field, and while we were parking, a beautiful red fox ran across the lane right behind our car - it was really cool. I've never seen one that close before. We picked and picked - the blackberries were HUGE and very ripe, and it took maybe 20 minutes to pick 3 pounds. H helped a little, then spent most of his time squishing all the berries that had fallen on the ground.

I sat on the tailgate and nursed E while MM finished filling our basket, then we headed home. We rocked out to Harlem by New Politics all the way home at H's request (he says, "That's my song!") and the Doodle napped in her carseat. After a quick lunch, both kids went down for real naps, and I hung out with MM, made mixed berry galettes from a Pioneer Woman recipe for our picnic, and uploaded photos from my phone. When they woke up, we headed out again to the playground for a picnic dinner!

Delicious picnic (thrown together from the odds and ends in the fridge) of salami, cheddar, Wheat Thins, crusty bread, olive tapenade, turkey sandwiches, sparkling lemonade, and an apple for each kid, with the galettes for dessert. H grudgingly ate an apple and a few Wheat Thins, then wanted to play on the playground. E attacked her apple like it was her job - each time she's been given an apple (maybe 3 times now), she spends at least half an hour (if not longer) completely devoted to eating it. With only 4 teeth, 2 of which are barely erupted, she doesn't actually ingest much of it, but boy does she love working on it!

Look at those fat little arms. Look at the rolls! I just want to bite them all day long.

E's new trick is doing, "So big!" and she loves it - she'll do it dozens of times in a row, mostly when we're eating. H likes to do it with her. Here they're both doing "So big!" but E didn't want to relinquish her apple. :)

Here is a proper execution. :)