Happy Monday & Happy Halloween! How was your weekend? We got 3 inches of snow on Thursday, approximately two months earlier than I had hoped. I LOVE a snowy Christmas, but otherwise, I’m happier to wait until it is actually winter for snow. January-March? Yes, please, I’ll go roll around outside in the snow every day. Snow in OCTOBER? No, thank you.
Luckily, the snow melted and we were able to get outside and enjoy the weekend. For the past two months Kevin has been living/working in Boston (surprise!), so we only get to spend the weekends together. My sister Debra describes it as having weekend custody of my husband, which is pretty accurate. Since we only have two days a week together, we try to maximize our time on the weekends. We’ve gone apple picking, to various festivals, and eaten lots of pancakes together on Sundays.
Last weekend Kevin and I went to Mike’s Maze together. Their theme this year is National Parks, and there are clues/wild animals hidden throughout the maze. We didn’t answer enough questions correctly to win a free pumpkin (womp, womp), but we still had a lot of fun. Luckily, a fresh batch of cider donuts were made right as we finished the maze, so we consoled ourselves with a warm donut.
Then, just to make sure they were actually the best cider donuts we’d had all year, we brought an extra with us and went across the street to buy a North Hadley Sugar Shack cider donut. We did an official scientific taste test of the two different cider donuts, and concluded that the ones from Mike’s were way better. Crunchy on the outside, super apple cider-y, and extra dense.
On the way home we stopped at a sunflower field and wandered around for a while. Somehow, just being out in the sunflowers elevated my spirits. I may only get to see Kevin two days a week, but feasting on donuts and walking through sunflower fields is a pretty good use of our time, if you ask me.
Kevin left for Boston, I made a few recipes for the blog, and then I went on a solo hike up Mt. Sugarloaf at sunset. It was a little cold and breezy, but so perfectly serene. I watched the sunset, walked down the mountain, and went home to make Polenta Bowls for dinner.
Fast forward to this weekend, and my sister Sarah and niece Mary came up to visit on Saturday. We all went out to Warner Farm to see the animals, play in the kids’ area, and get cider donuts. Mary got to meet Smokey the Bear, which was pretty exciting. She was particularly curious about the fact that he was wearing pants (“Bear! Pants! Bear! Pants!”). If I could capture this kid and keep her this small forever, I would.
We petted all the animals, ate cider donuts (yes, we might have gone here two weekend in a row just for the donuts…), jumped on the giant Jump Pad together, and sipped warm cider. Luckily it started raining so we had an excuse to leave, otherwise we would have been jumping forever.
After, we all went out to lunch at The Black Sheep in Amherst where the specials for the day were hilarious; I ended up getting a veggie wrap with hummus ( or “plus hummy” as the receipt said) and a coffee to go. Kevin got a Boston cream pie cupcake to eat after dinner, which resulted in him requesting a homemade Boston cream pie asap because the cupcake was good, but not Chelsea good. My gift is my curse.
When we got back to the house, Sarah wanted to know why I didn’t have any homemade peanut butter cups in the fridge (apparently a reasonable assumption about me…), so I quickly whipped up a batch. Well, sort of quickly; my assistant Mary might have slowed the process a bit. I prettymuch used the recipe for these hazelnut butter cups, but swapped in peanut butter. Mary assisted me by stirring the melted chocolate, sampling all the peanut butter, whacking the unfinished peanut butter cups with a spatula to make sure they were nice and even, and, of course, eating them. I was in tears from laughing so hard at her.
After Sarah and Mary left, it was pumpkin carving time! My sister Heather brought home massive pumpkins from work (coincidentally from Warner farm where we had just been all day). Heather carved a face in about 10 minutes, I took about 20 to make a sea turtle, and, not to be outdone, Kevin spent over an hour detailing his Doug face.
Looking for last-minute Halloween Candy ideas? Try these Healthy Homemade Twix or Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Butter Cups. If you have a toddler to help you whack everything in to place, they’ll turn out even better.
How have you been spending your weekends lately? I hope there have been plenty of cider donuts, chocolate-covered faces, and time outside!