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Make Your Own Fall Fun + Apple Muffins

“It’s no fair!”

We get a lot of that around here. This time, my big girl was disgruntled that the cooking class in the school enrichment program was only for bigger kids.

So we had our own cooking “class.” We invited some friends, and although we ended up with a smaller group than we hoped, we had fun with apples.

The kids peeled, cored, sliced, and grated apples. They measured sugar and spices in between playing with Legos. Then while things cooked, they became ninjas and butterflies. I’m pretty sure that didn’t happen in the regular cooking class.

Up next: Pumpkins

Easy Apple Muffins

2 medium apples
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 egg
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda

  1. Grate the apples into a mixing bowl. Pour sugar and spices over apples and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat over to 350.
  3. Mix egg and oil into the apple/sugar/spice mixture.
  4. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix to combine.
  5. Fill greased muffin pans and bake for 20–25 minutes. (Makes about 18-20 small muffins and 12 medium size ones.) Alternately pour the batter into a greased 8×8 cake pan and bake for 50–55 minutes.)

    I love fall foods and getting back into baking after a summer of using the oven less. I love cooking with my kids even when it’s messy or looks a lot more like dress up play. I love that they wanted to share this fun with friends.

What do you love?

Write What You Love is back. I hope you’ll join me.

Write What You Love—3 days to start writing and connect to what you love

On the first day of fall

Hello, fall.Welcome fall
Hello blue skies and hints of yellow in the trees.
Hello purple asters. Hello hum and shimmy of busy bees.
Hello wardrobe confusion—jeans in the morning, shorts in the afternoon.
Hello red wine, goodbye white.
Hello porter and stout.
Hello applesauce and apple pie and apple crisp.
Hello sunshine and crisp air.
Hello apple pork pie and shepherd’s pie and pea soup.
Hello cool nights and smoky fires.
Hello, fall.

I sat in the sun today drinking coffee, catching up with a friend, watching the bees all over the purple asters. I walked around the block under warm sun and felt the difference in the shade. I made applesauce and baked apple muffins with my girls to welcome this season.

At dinner time, we all put on long sleeves to eat  outside, because we still hang on to a little summer even as we embrace the new season. I love this straddle of a season and the changes coming in. I look forward to the vibrant colors and comfort foods. Welcome!

What do you love about fall? What changes are you welcoming right now?

First Day of School Selfie

“Let me take your picture before we eat,” I said imagine chocolate smears from the muffins all back to school breakfastdown her first day of school outfit.

As I grabbed the camera (I still don’t have a cell phone), she raced to the stand in front of the flowers where her sister had stood for her first day of school picture last week.

“Only with K!” she demanded wanting her sister in there too. Then quickly she changed to, “I wanna take a selfie.”

My preschooler wanted to take a selfie.

I didn’t go to preschool, but when I was in school, I didn’t know the word selfie because it didn’t exist. When my first day of school pictures were taken, my mom took them with a camera. With film. Long after school started, when we finished the roll and remembered to drop off the film and remembered to pick it up, we got that film developed and actually saw the pictures.

These days, my kids want to see the picture practically before I take it. “Let me see. Let me see!” Digital means  you know if you got a good shot or not, but there’s no waiting, no anticipation. Sometimes it feels like everything is RIGHT NOW all the time.

But last week, my big girl headed off to school on Monday and the little one turned to me as the bus pulled away. “I’m bored. There’s no one to play with.”

Despite everything feeling “on-demand,” she had to wait for more than a week for her school to start. But today was her day. She was up early and dressed in the outfit she had picked out, the one that wasn’t my favorite on the rack, but was so her, bright and bold and sassy. She was all big grins that she had the same kind of muffins her big sister had had for her first day of school.

She waved her sister off and then hurried to the car. It was her day, and she was rWriting Prompt: Write about something that has changed since you were a kid.eady to start.


Both my girls are back in school, and I’m settling back into my own routine, including writing more regularly.

Are you writing today?

Think about what’s different now than when you were a kid. Make a list or zoom in one change. How do you feel about this change?

Warming Up

I don’t know where to start, so I’ll start here, with this cool morning that made me pull a sweater Stuck writing? Start with where you are.over my pjs, at least outside on the porch. I curl my hand around the smooth glaze of my coffee mug, the curved walls fit my hand perfectly. I feel the warmth, watch the steam rise up.

I take a bit of bagel, crisp then chewy and taste the sweet then bitter peach marmalade. More coffee. My eyes are still grainy with tiredness. I know more coffee isn’t the answer, but it’s warm and says wake up if only by routine.

There is a high, vibrating noise in the distance. I think alternately coyotes and a swarm of bees, but now it has settled into music, closer. And then again, far away, the high pitched yelp, and above me, “Caw, caw, caw!”

I’m distracted by cold feet, but I won’t go get socks, not until the kids wake up. I want this quiet time, but still, that vibrating hum far away, and within me. I’m restless, feeling the change in the air, school starting, new routines. I’m ready to settle in, get back to writing, back to running or walking, back to knowing when my work time is. And I’ll miss the lazy mornings, when we stayed in pajamas and read book after book and wandered out in the dewy garden.

I look up from my journal. The paint on the porch is peeling, white chips fallen or waiting to fall, patches where it’s been scraped already. It’s supposed to be painted this summer, one more thing of the endless to do list. Over the railing, the garden waits to be weeded. I see the last zucchini plant, shrived and brown taken down by powdery mildew.

And then motion. A bit of red. Hummingbird. I watch it hover, wings abuzz. Does it ever get tired of so much motion?

I hear the feet on the steps before the, “Mom?” at the screen door. And then it opens and a new part of the day begins.

I’ve been reading Madeleine L’Engle’s A Circle of Quiet, and she talks about five-finger exercises and how even the pages that you throw away have purpose. This idea that writing is like running or playing the piano or any thing you do that you need to practice and keep up with isn’t something new. It’s something I know, something I’ve said, and sometimes I still need that reminder.

It’s been a busy summer and I’ve fallen out of practice with many things, writing among them. So I’m here, doing my finger exercises, getting back into the habit of sitting down and putting words on the page. I almost didn’t come here today. I thought, “Next week, when both kids are in school,” but I’m tired of waiting. I’m doing an exercise challenge with my sister, and this morning I can feel in my legs handful of lunges I did last night. I need to feel my writing muscles again too. So I’m here, and I’m writing.


What are you warming up to do again?

Making yourself do what you love

Writing prompt: I didn't want to . . . but . . .The other day I was out in the garden in a misty almost sprinkle.

I had to drag my self off the couch, away from the computer, out into the gray. I didn’t want to go out, but I knew the garlic needed to be planted.

For years, I’ve said I should grow garlic but come October or November, I’m not programmed to plant. I’m programmed to harvest and preserve. I’m pushing myself to get the garden cleaned up before it gets too cold. I’m ready to nestle inside with something in the oven to warm the house and meet my need for comfort food.

But this past weekend, I pushed myself out into the mess of weeds and the fallen leaves choking the bed where I planted late lettuce.

I looked at the carrots ready to be pulled and the potatoes ready to be dug. I noticed the three green pumpkins on wilted vines, dry grass, and wilted weeds, and the cosmos and zinnias that had finally succumbed to the cold.

“Garlic,” I reminded myself, and I started to dig.

I loosened the soil and dug weeds just where I needed to. I rolled the creaky old wheelbarrow over to the open face of the compost pile and pushed aside the mulched leaves my husband has started to pile there.

I added the compost to my beds, pressed the paper sheathed garlic into the soft, cold ground. I didn’t worry about watering. The weather would do it for me.

I worked until my glasses started getting to spotted, and I found myself smiling and relaxed and invigorated. Instead of a chore, I was doing what I loved. I was outside, moving my body, gettin my hands dirty. I starting something new during a time of wrap up, getting ready for winter and getting ready for spring.

I should get out there today. It’s not even raining.


Write with Me Wednesday

What makes smile, even unexpectedly? Write about something you love doing even though it’s uncomfortable or messy or hard or mundane. You might start with

What do you love doing once you get yourself get started?