Friday, October 31, 2014

Happiness. Lately. October 2014 (vol 5)

Happiness.  Lately.  October.  My monthly collection of "Happiness" - appreciating God's goodness in the little things and seeing his grandeur in the simplicity of my life and "Lately" - what I've been into and up to... in which it becomes very clear, very quickly that much of October revolved around food.

Happiness is...

this delicious treat in the produce department (finally under $3/lb and worth every penny of the splurge at $2.69/lb)...

fall candles... oh, how I love my scented candles, especially in Fall!! I don't burn many candles over the summer because we're not in the house that much, and heat, obviously.  But Fall is about coming home, gathering in, cozy-ing up, and hunkering down.  It's the best time ever to have a harvest-smelling home!   My November favorites are ready to go...

thermal everything.  It's true, I *heart* thermal :)

celebrating autumn with lots and lots of leaf collecting...

busting out my l.l. Bean fleece I got for $1 at a yard sale over the summer!!  (I love this color!  And it was A DOLLAR!)


We started the month out with a Rosary cake for the fest of Our Lady of the Rosary!  (We prayed one too!)

We went apple picking with my mom...

I hosted my 7th annual frozen meal exchange with friends.  I love this event so much every year.  This year was considerably different than all previous years in that it was a moms only wine and dessert evening.  In the past, I've had moms and kids over during the day for the exchange, but since we have a combined 27 children this year.... well, I don't think you can fault me for switching it to an night out for the moms!  We had a lovely time!   Aside from the social aspect and meals-on-hand aspect, one of my favorite things about the meal exchagne is I love having dinners that are out of our normal menu plan.  They're always delicious and such a treat.  This year I made my chicken sweet potato tacos (raw, frozen, ready for the crock pot) and I got chicken azteca, cabbage sausage soup, broccoli mac n' cheese, baked ziti with meatballs, and tuna noodle casserole.  Yum! 

I haven't been doing much reading.  I recently finished These Beautiful Bones: An Everyday Theology of the Body, by Emily Stimpson with the ladies from my prayer group.  I'm also reading (for the fifth time!) Five for Sorrow Ten for Joy, by Rumer Godden in the hope that I'll be able to participate in the October/Nov on-line book discussion hosted by Micaela at California to Korea (and back).  (Rumer Godden is one of my all-time favorite authors.  Have you read anything by her??)  

I've been crocheting more dish cloths, hats, something fun for the Fall Soup Party, and a couple rows here and there on blankets I started a while ago.  I usually crochet while "watching" something...

I made this Maple Bacon Upside Down Cake for Russ' birthday.  He loves bacon and I love him so...    
(I got the recipe from Shower of Roses via Amanda at Erring on the Side of LoveThanks, Amanda!  It was a hit!)

We spent a lot of time using up the 100 lbs of apples we picked (can't beat $.85 a pound!!) - tons of apple sauce (that's what's in the bottom drawer of the freezer) and lots of baked good goodness - apple crisps, pie, apple galette, apple pancakes, and this wonderful apple spice cake.  I've made it four times now, and just today two friends contacted me for the recipe, so... it's really that tasty :)  

Our annual Fall Soup Party is coming up, so of course I've been making soup like a boss.  My past method of making most of the soups in one or two weekends wasn't going to work for me this year.  So I've been cooking and freezing for several weeks a little at a time.  I made my own chicken stock for the first time (!) with some guidance from my friend, Lori, who, with her husband, runs a farm that conveniently has chickens!  Lori gave me chicken parts and tips on how to do it and two days later I had about two gallons of stock!  So my chicken soup is really homemade this year!

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**  Feel like joining me in reflecting on the past month and sharing some of the moments that made you happy and the things you've been up to?  Link up your October list of Happiness. Lately.  I'd love to have you join me! **  Don't have a blog?  Let's chat in the comments!


  1. What a brilliant idea doing a meal exchange! Just made my own first batch of beef broth, doing chickens next:)

    1. I think I'm done for a while. I felt thrifty doing it, but the smell of chicken broth for two days was getting to be a little much :)

  2. I've got to disagree with the "(can't beat $.85 a pound!!)". The peck of apples I just bought on Thursday weighs at least 10 pounds and cost 7.99 while the larger quantities are even less expensive per pound.

    1. That's a great deal! I love seasonal prices on produce :)

  3. I have that same purple fleece! Well, maybe... I think its Lands End not l.l. bean.
    I wish I had a freezer that looked like that...!
    Oh, and that apple spice cake sounds really yummy. I needed a dessert for All Saints' Day/Sunday and I have all the ingredients, so I just might make that today :-)

    1. hope you like the cake if you make it!

    2. It was so, so good. My husband really loved it, too. Thanks!

  4. Your organized freezer is making me swoon. I am glad I do not live close to you, because I would come over and melt it all by just standing there staring at it with the door (and my mouth) hanging open. Well done!

    1. haha! Thanks! I love having my freezer stocked, but even though the whole point of it is to have meals on hand, I'm always a little sad/hesitant to start taking the dinners out b/c then it means the stores are dwindling :(

  5. I want freezer meals like that!! Do you have some tips?

  6. Nevermind, I have found all the posts and tips you've posted before! LOTS of good stuff!


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