Why Fall is the Best Time of Year

Autumn20140914_125814The best thing about living in New York State (yes New York is a whole state and not just a city) is that we get to experience four uniquely different seasons. Mother Nature must really like us to because we don’t have any real bad weather or natural events(aside from the occasional big snow storm) to worry about. We don’t have major earthquakes, tornados or hurricanes to worry about. We only have to worry about people who don’t know how to drive in snow.

But, to me, the best time of year is Fall. Fall wasn’t always my favorite. Obviously, as a kid I loved summer. But now that I am older and wiser (yeah right), I know that fall is the best time of year. So much happens in the fall (or near fall) that I enjoy so much.

First Day of School

First Day of School

The first thing that happens is my kids go to school. I know, technically it is still summer when they start, but to me, it is the beginning of fall. I love having my kids around, and I do miss them when they aren’t at home, but that 3 hours when they are both not here, makes it possible to get so much done around the house.

I also love the look and smell of fall. I love the color changes that you don’t get in the southern part of the country. I love the fall leaves while they are on the trees. Although, I do loath them when they are on the ground and I have to rake them for what seems to be eternity. I love the cool, crisp air. The fact that you can layer your clothes so that you are warm on the cool morning and then peal off layers as the day warms up.

But the thing that has really grown on me over the years, and especially now that I am attempting to garden, is that it is harvest season. I love the fact that all these great foods are being picked fresh and you can get so much good local fruits and vegetables. The best part is going to the orchard and picking apples with the family. We all enjoy it so much and have a ball going through the orchard picking all the different varieties of apples. The boys love finding the biggest, brightest apples they can find. They love running up and down the rows and rows of trees. I love the fact that I can get so much for so little. I am sure we will go back again and get more.

Apples from the Orchard

Apples from the Orchard

There is so much that can be made with them and I am just starting to scratch the surface of what I am able to make. I have made, Apple Pie Oatmeal, Apple Salsa, BBQ Chicken with Apples, BBQ Chicken, Apple, and Tomato Pizza, and Apple & Blueberry Butter. I also frozen some that I chopped and coated with Cinnamon and Sugar so that I can make a pie or apple sauce quickly. All this has been done and I still have a ton on the counter waiting to be used. What else will I make? Who knows. I am still learning as I go here.

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The Food of Champions

The FightThe Picky EatersI am going to start this off by saying that I love my children immensely. However, there is a constant fight in our house that I believe we will have for many years to come. We constantly fight about food and eating in general. I know I have touched on this subject a little bit before and I am going to expand on it here because honestly, it is exhausting. I will never tell you how to raise your kids, as I have learned that nobody can know how to raise your growing mutants more than you.

I have two mutants (yes they are mutants because they are constantly evolving every day). And because of their growing mutant abilities they have completely different tastes when it comes to food.

Alien Salads

Alien Salads

The oldest is very picky and really does not eat meat. Every-so-often we can get him to eat a cheeseburger from a fast food restaurant that starts with M and ends with cDonalds. I don’t really consider it meat, but he eats it. Every-so-often I can get him to eat a hotdog. Again, not really meat. I don’t mind the fact that he loves fruits and veggies, and loves pasta (only with butter and garlic of course, for his refined pallet).

Pasta that neither of the mutants will touch

Pasta that neither of the mutants will touch

The youngest will try anything meat. He likes beef, pork (especially the pulled or bacon-y kind), fish, poultry, eggs…the list goes on. Now veggies, he is a little bit picky and it takes a trained negotiator (my wife) to get him to eat some beans or broccoli sometimes. The thing with “N” is that he likes his food different. He likes it cut up, or with multiple dipping sauces (a kid after my own heart). He also likes to negotiate everything. And I will tell you this kid is tough. He knows our tactics and is skilled at getting around them.

Now these are not the only issues that we have at dinner time. “A” has ADHD among other things and honestly has a hard time sitting down for long periods of time. This has made eating out or just eating at home a challenge because it is a challenge to get him to stay in his seat for an entire meal. Now as any young brother would do, he copies his big brother but takes it to new levels running around the table and into the living room with his meal in his hands. This usually ends with the parental units yelling and threatening an early bedtime after numerous laps and calmer requests.

Homemade Pizza

Homemade Pizza

We realize where we can take our children to eat so we don’t go to nice restaurants with them. We go to fast food places, or the family diner, or the Chinese buffet so that they can get up and out of their seats and pick the things they like. At home we deal with the running (to some extent) as long as the food is being eaten. I also make three different meals when I make breakfast, lunch, and dinner because; honestly, it isn’t that much more work. This way I can make sure that everyone eats at least something. For instance, last week I made two different pizzas for dinner. One for my wife, my mother and I was a ranch chicken pizza (which neither of the boys will eat). The other pizza was half sauce with a little bit of cheese for “A” and the other half was oil, garlic, basil, oregano, and a good amount of cheese for “N”. We all had salad (different dressings for everyone). The best part is that everyone ate their meal with very little negotiating and not a lot more work.

It works for our family. It may not work for yours. But I would rather put in the extra work to keep the sanity.

I would love to hear your meal-time stories. I would love to hear how your family deals with the horrors that are picky eaters. Please leave a comment or email me your stories and how you deal with it.