Autumn

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Granola

October 22, 2011

Homemade granolaAlthough I've been told making your own homemade granola is incredibly easy, I've never tried it until now. Granola is, in fact, really easy to make, and it's fun, too. It's really hard to mess up (unless you overcook it), and it's delicious as a breakfast cereal, stirred into yogurt, used in other recipes, or just eaten out of hand as a snack.

My five-year-old daughter and I recently cooked up a batch after kindergarten. Since it's fall, we decided to make a "pumpkin pie" granola, inspired by the pumpkin pie spice granola we often buy at Trader Joe's. This recipe (cobbled together from a few out on the Web), uses actual pumpkin puree as well as pumpkin pie spice to make it even more delicious and healthy. You probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already, too.

Book of the Week: The Apple Doll

September 18, 2011

The Apple DollMy five-year-old daughter must love the book The Apple Doll by local Bay Area author and illustrator Elisa Kleven (40 pages, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2007). She checked it out from the library no fewer than two times last year and got it again a few days ago. It's easy to see why it's one of her favorites: The Apple Doll is a charming book, and it's another great read-aloud story (with an added activity) for the fall season, especially if you happen to have an apple tree nearby.

The Apple Doll tells the story of Lizzy, a shy little girl who loves the apple tree in her yard and ends up making a doll out of an apple and twigs that she names "Susanna". She ends up getting teased by other kids for carrying around her apple-and-sticks creation at school. I know this sounds a little odd but the book handles the situation in a much better and sweeter way than I'm describing it here. Ultimately, Lizzy's mom takes the now long-in-the-tooth Susanna and makes an apple doll out of her, which inspires a class apple doll project and friendships and happiness ensue.

Pick Your Own Organic Apples at Gabriel Farm

September 4, 2011

Picking apples at Gabriel Farm in GratonStarting in 2012, you need to be a member of Gabriel Farm's CSA to participate in apple picking at the farm. You can sign up for a membership at the farm; the share consists of a case of six half-gallon bottles of the farm's Asian pear juice ($35). Non-members can still visit the farm store.

Late summer and early fall are apple season, and plenty of the tasty fruits can be found north of Marin in western Sonoma County, particularly in the area around Sebastopol, which is famous for its apples. Early every September, we head up there for a visit to Gabriel Farm, a family-run, certified organic farm on fourteen acres in the Graton area on the north side of Sebastopol. Gabriel Farm is especially fun to visit at this time of year because you can head out into the orchard and pick your own apples!

Gabriel Farm is open for apple picking on weekends from late August or early September through October from 11 am to 4 pm. (They're open this Monday, Labor Day, too.) Keep in mind they close at 4, so if you want to spend some time picking apples on the farm, count on arriving no later than 3:30 pm. Gabriel Farm also offers weekday visits and school group or group tours by appointment; call them at (707) 829-0617 to make arrangements.

The 2010 Marin Mommies Pumpkin Patch Poll!

October 29, 2010

Peter Pumpkin Patch at Spring Hill FarmCongratulations to our 2010 winner: Petaluma Pumpkin Patch and Amazing Corn Maze! The Petaluma Pumpkin Patch took first place with 33% of the vote, followed by last year's winner Peter Pumpkin Patch with 26%. Nicasio Valley Farms was third with 19%. Thanks to all who voted.

Every family has their best-loved spot to pick that perfect Halloween pumpkin. What's yours? Tell the world by voting for your favorite pumpkin patch below in Marin Mommies' 2010 Pumpkin Patch Poll. You don't need to be a registered user to vote, so make your choice known!

Last year's top three pumpkin patches were Peter Pumpkin Patch at Spring Hill Farm, the runaway favorite with 41% of the vote; Nicasio Valley Farms (18%); and the Tolay Fall Festival (13%).

If you don't see your favorite Marin or southern Sonoma County pumpkin patch listed here, let us know about it or make it a "write-in" vote by leaving a comment.

Peter Pumpkin Patch (Spring Hill Farm), Petaluma
22% (26 votes)
Nicasio Valley Farms, Nicasio
16% (19 votes)
Godmothers' Saint Vincent's Pumpkin Patch, Marinwood
3% (3 votes)
Adobe Pumpkin Farm, Petaluma
10% (12 votes)
Peterson's Farm, Petaluma
9% (11 votes)
Tolay Fall Festival, Petaluma
5% (6 votes)
Petaluma Pumpkin Patch and Amazing Corn Maze, Petaluma
33% (39 votes)
Anderson Organic Vegetable Stand and Pumpkin Patch, Petaluma
1% (1 vote)
Total votes: 117

Book of the Week: Thanking the Moon

September 25, 2010

This week's book is Thanking the Moon: Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival by Grace Lin (32 pages, Knopf, 2010). As the name suggests, it's the ideal story to share with your children at this time of year, especially with the gorgeous "Super Harvest Moon" we've had in the night sky this past week.

Vote for Your Favorite North Bay Pumpkin Patch!

October 23, 2009

Peter Pumpkin Patch at Spring Hill FarmThe 2009 Pumpkin Patch Poll is now closed. Thanks for your participation!

Every family has their favorite spot to pick that perfect Halloween pumpkin. What's yours? Vote for your best-loved pumpkin patch below in Marin Mommies' 2009 Pumpkin Patch Poll. You don't need to be a registered user to vote, so make your choice known! The poll will be open through Friday, October 23, 2009

If you don't see your favorite Marin or southern Sonoma County pumpkin patch listed here, let us know about it or leave a comment.

Peter Pumpkin Patch (Spring Hill Farm), Petaluma
41% (42 votes)
Nicasio Valley Farms, Nicasio
18% (18 votes)
Godmothers' Saint Vincent's Pumpkin Patch, Marinwood
8% (8 votes)
Adobe Pumpkin Farm, Petaluma
12% (12 votes)
Peterson's Farm, Petaluma
5% (5 votes)
Anderson Organic Vegetable Stand and Pumpkin Patch, Petaluma
0% (0 votes)
Tolay Fall Festival, Petaluma
13% (13 votes)
Ryan O'Shannon Farms Pumpkin Patch, Petaluma
4% (4 votes)
Total votes: 102
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