Sunday, September 21, 2008

Perfect Sunday

Our lives are generally pretty crazy, what with both Aaron and I each working an average of 50 hours per week and spending nearly every weekend on the road, either visiting family or friends, so when we have a day or two during the weekend at home, we tend to take complete advantage of the situation and do something fun around the city. Lately, Grace has been mentioning to us that she wants to go to Apple Holler (since she went there once with day care and loved it), which is an orchard/restaurant/farm/petting zoo located about 30 miles south of Milwaukee, and being that Autumn has been in the air and I have been jonesing for some apple cider, we decided to go to Apple Holler today.

I was surprised at the huge crowd of people at Apple Holler when we arrived, but then it made sense to me when I remembered that the Packers play late tonight. We immediately headed over to the food area to participate in the yummy brat fry that was taking place, and then we headed to the orchard to go on a hay ride. (Hay ride is a misnomer--it was more of a trailer-being-pulled-by-a-tractor ride, but it was fun nonetheless.) During the ride, we were afforded a look at the vast expanse of the apple orchard as well as a tour though an enchanted forest, complete with leprechauns and elves and animals of all kinds (wooden, but still cool) and jugglers and strolling flutists (actual humans). Grace was beside herself with excitement, screaming, "Elf! Leprechaun! Apples! Juggling guy!" I had to laugh.

After the ride, we rented a wagon and headed back out to the orchard to pick our apples. I was so impressed with the size of the orchard and the wide variety of apples that were offered. We started off in a large area of Golden Delicious apples, and for the first time in my life I picked an apple off of a tree and ate it immediately. Grace was just amazed at the apple trees and the fact that we could just walk up to one and pick off some fruit to eat. Good stuff. We spent a long time in the orchard, looking at the different apples and just enjoying some peace and quiet outside. We ended up with a half bushel of apples of all different varieties (I made sure we threw in plenty of Cortlands--my favorite variety) and then when we were tired and full of fresh apples, we pulled the wagon back into the main grounds and spent the rest of the afternoon shopping, sitting on hay bales and listening to live music, and watching Grace play in the super fun kids' area.

(The only thing that made me sad about Apple Holler was the apple cider, which I was looking forward to. Being a preggo, I have to make sure that things like apple cider are pasteurized before I drink them, but when I asked a worker whether or not the cider is pasteurized, I received the very vague answer that the cider is "gently pasteurized". Hmm. When I probed for further information, I was told that instead of traditional pasteurization, Apple Holler used ultraviolet rays to pasteurize their cider. We ended up buying a gallon anyway, but I've done some research tonight, and it seems that the jury is still out on that method of pasteurization. So I'm not drinking any of the tasty cider. Sad.)

On our way home from Apple Holler, Aaron and I chatted about all of the things we wanted to do with our pile o' apples. One of the things we decided to do, along with making apple pies, applesauce, apple jelly, and canning apples, was to make apple dumplings. As soon as we got home and Grace woke up from her car nap, Grace and I made a batch of homemade apple dumplings together. Grace and I haven't done much baking together recently, and I had forgotten how much fun it is to bake with her. And she is so freaking good at it!! I watched in awe as she mixed ingredients and flawlessly rolled out the dough and formed the dumplings perfectly and placed them gently in the pan. And then she helped me clean up with as much gusto as she put into making the dumplings. What a kid.

Grace and I wrapped up the evening cuddling on the couch, watching Sesame Street and talking with Aaron about our fun day. I love my family more than anything, but days like today remind me that life is so fantastic with a family of my own. Yes, it is hard sometimes, and sometimes I need a little break, but the most fun that I have and the most fulfilling moments that I enjoy are with my little family. We had the most perfect day together and I will go to bed with a smile on my face.

Now, if we could just get those Packers to look a little better tonight...


Carrie said...

We drove past Apple Holler today on our way back to Kenosha to get the girls, and we laughed thinking about how sophisticated our girls are at 4. "Oh, let's go to Apple Holler," like, she's been reading the Shepherd Express to survey all the local events.

Glad you had fun. We did the apple picking thing for the past two years, and I am actually begging off this year to go to a regular pumpkin farm instead. But I hope they still have donuts!

Sara said...

I'm laughing to imagine Grace perusing the Shepherd Express. "Hmmm...perhaps we could try a show at The Riverside this weekend..."

We're going back to Apple Holler in a few weeks to get our pumpkins. I couldn't bring myself to buy pumpkins in September.

Mom said...

I'm glad you had such a perfect day. Those happy memories will always be remembered by you Aaron and Grace. Grace is a good baker, she helps me too.

Angie said...

I love Apple Holler for their fab weekend brunch and the hot apple cider they refill for you like coffee. Jenny likes the goats. I have a four year old too!