Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Ugly Side of Fall

One of the three piles of leaves outside our house. This one is pretty tame. Most piles also have tree limbs (from Snowtober), mums, and discarded hay bales from fall decorations in them. Its a mess.

The leaves are dropping swiftly now. Only a few more trees hold on to their leaves which means that there are huge piles lining the roadways making it impossible for more than one car to pass through. I am sure it is a daunting task for the clean up crews to remove all the leaves from the streets, but it seems like they have just thrown their hands  up this year and declared defeat. Most years the first snow fall comes before all the leaves are removed making the roads messy and nearly impassable. I expect this year to be no different.

Chloe upset that Oliver is destroying her leaf pile.

Oliver "helping" (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).
 Of course, two people I know like the piles of leaves. We'll see if this keeps up when they are in their teens and it is one of their jobs to clear the yard of leaves. Right now though, they love to rake. Chloe loves making piles and romping through it. Oliver loves to destroy the pile of leaves and send the leaves swirling around the streets and neighbors houses.

Playing with Daddy on a warm, fall day. And just a note, our yard had been completely cleared of any and all leaves just a few hours before hand. Look at it---leaves everywhere.
I have also been busy baking. Somehow I am perpetually on the bake sale committee every year at Chloe's school. Matt "volunteered" me when Chloe was in kindergarten and since I get an email in the fall and again in the spring telling me to bake something and drop it off at the bake sale chairs house. The fall bake sale is always the Tuesday of Thanksgiving week. I don't mind doing it, but its just an added stress to bake all these goodies when you are also the one who cooks Thanksgiving dinner.  And, of course I always channel my inner Martha and plan something a)containing tons of ingredients--none of which can contain nuts or processed in a nut factory---the rules of the bake sale and it makes for a long time reading labels b) requires assembly c) contains hard to find special ingredients.

Why do I do this to myself? Why can't I just bake sugar cookies? Anway, my great plans included turkey cake pops, "pumpkin" cupcakes, M&M cookies on a stick and chocolate mini loaves. Two out of three came out as planned. One didn't happen at all (cake pops). The ingredients were to hard to find. I went to two specialty cooking shops and one specialty grocery store before finding all the ingredients for the "pumpkin" cupcakes---and they are just cake, icing, orange sugar crystals and green fruit roll ups. How hard could that be? HARD apparently.

I've learned a valuable lesson---even though I live in the shadow of the largest city in the U.S., no one bakes here. There are specialty bake shops in NYC, but they didn't have all the ingredients. I did find one specialty shop that carried everything for all of my bake sale wish list---but they were in a small town on the NJ/PA border. Most of the stores in our area have their Christmas baking items out and have clearanced their fall baking items and its not even Thanksgiving yet!  I was so worn out that I gave up searching for all the candy parts needed for the cake pops---too difficult to find it all.  In the end, this is how it turned out....
The "pumpkin" cupcakes. I guess I should have started searching for orange sugar crystals and orange food coloring back in August. And green fruit roll ups don't exist. The fruit roll up stems were an improvisation---lets just say blue and yellow make green.


Popsicle sticks for the cookies---good luck finding those. In the end I just made giant cookies.

It was Oliver who reminded me, it all eats the same anyway....
Enjoying his M&M sugar cookie sans popsicle stick.

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