2013 in review

I know we are a little more than a week into the new year but it has taken me a full week to get back into the normal routine of things (I can’t be the only one who’s in the post-holiday struggle for normality). As I look back on almost a full year with this blog I thought I’d review some of the highlighting events of 2013.

So here is a review of 2013 blog style:

January: survived our first NY winter:  A Lesson in Independence and explored our local museum’s winter events: 2300 degrees

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February: Started a new Valentines tradition: Valentine’s Pie: a New Tradition, and explored what it means to be newly married :Dispelling Marriage MythsMarriage Myth busting: Round 2

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March: Celebrate Luke’s birthday with brewery tours/tastings in Rochester: A Chemistry lesson for a birthday present, Shared about my allergy to barley: Why I am barley free: Part One, and celebrated Easter: Hot Cross Buns and Berry Salad

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April: Celebrated 6 months of marriage: Wow it’s been 6 months!, shared details about our wedding:The Dress and  learning how to look for a job: Patience: giving myself time

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May: Traveled to the West Coast for an Oregon vacation and my brother’s college graduation: Vacation Highlights Part 1: Family TimeVacation Highlights Part 2: Date Days

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June: Went Kayaking in Rochester: Kayaking and BBQ, bottled our first homemade barley-free beer:  Bottling our first homemade brew and celebrated my birthday in Ithaca: An Ithaca birthday Adventure

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July: Explored local festivals: Two festivals and Korean BBQ, Fixed up the front porch: Home Improvement: The Front Porch Project, and traveled to Washington to be apart of pre-wedding events for my brother’s wedding : Pre-wedding Jitters

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August:  Particpated in my soon-to-be sister-in-law’s bridal shower: Stina’s bridal shower and other wedding events, attended two local foodie festivals in NY: Smoke on the WaterTaste of Ellicotville, and hiked a local landmark: Walkins Glen State Park= Gorge-ous

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September: Looked back on my brother’s wedding: The Wedding, and shared more about my job-search: A New Year: Teacher without a classroom

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October: Picked pumpkins and attended an Apple Festival: Picking Perfect Pumpkins;  Apple Fest,  shared about my allergy to tree-nuts:Why I am tree-nut free Part one,  and celebrated a year of marriage with a trip to Niagara Falls :Niagara Falls anniversary Part One

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November: Kept busy with non-blogging activities and shared about them in: busy: and update

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December: Started two new holiday traditions: Post-Parade Cookies and Cocoa and Christmas Concert TSO. Attended our local holiday festival: Sparkle and shared our Christmas with my parents: A Very Corning Christmas present and A handmade and heirloom Christmas

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That is one very full blogging year! And that is only a small portion of the blog-post in this past year and doesn’t include any of my recipes. So what can you look forward to reading about this next year? You’ll find out soon enough.

Glimpses of Fall

Fall (or Autumn) is my favorite season for so many reasons. The season makes me feel welcomed and comfortable. The cooler air, the wind, the beautiful colors of the trees, the opportunity to wear scarfs, flannel, boots, and of course more excuses to cook and bake. And the smells are warm and inviting (who doesn’t like cinnamon and cloves?).

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This is our first time experiencing fall here in New York and I more than a little excited, mainly because upstate New York, especially the region we live in, is know for a beautiful fall foliage. The trees are starting to slowly turn, I will see glimpses of yellow or orange here or there. I can’t wait to go on some beautiful drives and hikes in the colorful trees.

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Other hints towards fall are less inviting, because of the cooling weather we have an increase in spiders. 😦 After a few bites we discovered it is typical for East Coasters to spray their houses down when fall hits. So we bought some Ortho home defense and coated the outside of our house before the problem got any worse. Since then we have been bug free (let’s hope it stays that way).

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our future bite preventer

I am looking forward to corn mazes, pumpkin patches and carving, and autumn flavors. (I have already looked up the closest pumpkin patches and corn maizes in the area). Speaking of flavors I have also jumped started the season with some pumpkin spice coffee mix and granola. (Hopefully this will keep me from ordering sugary drinks out).

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Labor day weekend I made an orange spice cake that fit perfectly into the transition of seasons. This week I also tried out a new recipe for cinnamon oat apple muffins.

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Then finally this past weekend when I went to the store I found my favorite hard cider: Woodchuck’s limited release Fall. It taste just like an apple pie! It also brings back memories of our honeymoon last October eating Gluten-Free pizza and drinking hard cider while enjoying our rainy beach-front view.

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In addition to this,  I bought a wreath for the front door on sale (before all the season’s crafts were turned over to Christmas!). It started off a little bare but with a few extra wire wrapped leaves and berries I was able to make it a full autumn bouqet. Using orange and gold wire wrapped ribbon, I tied the broadest ends of the twine leaf shape together and tied off a bow. I’m waiting to see other autumn wreaths on my neighbor’s doors before hanging mine.

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This past weekend we took a rare trip to the mall and I bought a pumpkin candle I plan to use every fall. It’s labeled pumpkin cupcake but to me it smells like something is pumpkin flavored is baking in the house a very similar to when I make my family’s pumpkin bread.

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This is also the time of year that people begin to persevere summer produce. Jars of jam and pickled foods are popping up everywhere. Someone at Luke’s work found out he is a big fan of pickles. Next thing I know he came home with a cardboard box filled with mason jars of pickles seasoned and prepared in a large variety of ways. Alongside the preserved pickles came a small jar of grape jelly (one of Luke’s favorite fruit flavors).

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Only a small portion of the goods Luke brought home (the rest are in the fridge)

We also have begun preserving produce. This past week we finally started using the dehydrator bought for our us from our wedding registry to make fruit leathers/roll ups. We even picked up and an apple corer-peeler and a few extra trays for the dehydrator so now we are ready to make apple chips, pie, or roll-ups/ fall fruit leathers.

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Our new kitchen gadget means less of this

Of course also with the change of the season I changed out my holiday tree. (Don’t know what I’m talking about then see Holidays grow on Trees) I filled the small mason jars with a dark roast coffee beans then placed votive pumpkin candles in the centers. The base of the tree is filled with small pinecones and pumpkin shapes. I also picked up a plastic pumpkin to stick in the pine cone base. Then I tied it all off with a beautiful wire rapped ribbon in orange and gold. The extra base filling I added into the vase where I’ve been displaying/storing our wine corks.

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What are your favorite fall activities? Flavors/Foods?