Monday, October 1, 2012

Backyard Camping

As soon as we moved here, hubby wanted to take Miss M our backyard.  It's the perfect way to camp, since it's the first time for her. 

Then, he decided it might be fun for other Dad's & Kids to join them...
Now, initially, he wanted to do this little party over the summer.  I was able to talk him into postponing until the wildlife calmed down weather cooled off...

So, this weekend, he & Miss M invited some of her closest friends (with their Dads) to come over for an evening of campfire stories, bonding with Dad & of course, s'mores!

I must admit, I'm pretty darn impressed that he planned the entire evening.  Everyone arrived around 5pm.  Hubby loaded their gear onto the tractor and hauled it down to the firepit area on the north side of our property.  They all helped each other set up tents.

They roasted hot dogs on sticks over the fire...played games...told stories...and ate s'mores & cupcakes.  Although late, they did all end up going to sleep.  And the weather was was a cool 47 degrees, so the campfire & sleeping bags were snugly and warm.

I'm sure you're wondering, "Where were Moms and/or younger siblings hanging out?"...

Well, a couple of my nearest & dearest stayed and we had our own little sleepover INSIDE the house...complete with wine & crafting.  We woke early to make breakfast for the brave campers.  My amazing friend Mrs. K, is also an amazing cook...she made these pancakes for everyone!   
(Recipe below)
image via Taste of Home

Since this was a successful run, I think it will definitely become an annual gig.

 * * * * *

Another annual 'gig' that is rapidly approaching...the winter holidays!  It seems crazy to me that it's already October, and yet, I'm sitting here planning holiday gifts.

Anyway, I have a fun & special gift planned for the girl's teachers this year...I'll be sharing the details on Wednesday.

* * * * *

 October 1st...seems strange to me that 2 years ago today, I was living in Ocean City, MD with the girls while we had just started construction on Grayce Lane.  Whew...2 years!

 * * * * *

Pumpkin Pancakes with Apple Cider Compote



  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 c apple cider or juice
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 can (21 oz) apple pie filling
  • 2 tbsp butter


  • 1 c old-fashioned oats
  • 1-1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 c milk
  • 1 c canned pumpkin
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 c chopped pecans, toasted, divided

  • DO THIS:

    • In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon.   
    • Stir in cider and orange juice until smooth.   
    • Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.   
    • Stir in pie filling and butter.   
    • Remove from the heat; set aside and keep warm.
    • Place oats in a food processor; cover and process until ground.   
    • Transfer to a large bowl; add the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, pie spice, cinnamon and salt.   
    • In another bowl, whisk the egg, milk, pumpkin, syrup and oil.   
    • Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened; fold in 1/2 cup pecans.    
    • Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a hot griddle; flatten with the back of a spoon. 
    • Turn when the undersides are browned; cook until the second sides are golden brown. 
    • Serve with compote and remaining pecans. 
    • Store leftover compote in the refrigerator.   
    • Yields 14 pancakes (5 cups compote)
    Editor’s Note: Leftover compote may be served with hot cereal or vanilla ice cream. It’s also a tasty condiment for pork chops.

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