Yummy Pumpkin Muffins

IMG_4234There’s nothing better than a warm pumpkin muffin, fresh out of the oven, with a nice bit of butter on it, melting as the muffin melts in your mouth with that first delectable bite. I love pumpkin and that is one of the many reasons I love this time of year. In the Fall, pumpkins and pumpkin recipes and dishes abound.

Whether it be preparing for the Thanksgiving feast or the events at Halloween there are pumpkins everywhere. And I am quite happy to take advantage of this and enjoy as much pumpkin as I can. There is so much you can do with pumpkin from soups to pies, cheesecakes, even drinks like martinis and lattes! (Who else can’t wait for Fall so we can experience once again the delectable flavors of a pumpkin spice latte)?

IMG_4224Muffins are one of the quickest and easiest ways to use pumpkin. They are great for snacks, to put in lunches and easy to freeze, if they last that long. My kids love muffins of any kind and will gladly gobble up the pumpkin ones just as quick as the strawberry rhubarb, apple, blueberry, etc. Of course I tend to make my favorites (or honestly what is in abundance at our house, for instance earlier in the Fall we had all the apples from our apple tree).

Over the past couple of years I have adjusted my pumpkin muffin recipe, passed down from my Mom to make it sugar free and dairy free, meeting our new dietary choices. I have IMG_4237also been experimenting with gluten free recipes as well and therefore have found some good gluten free pumpkin muffins as well. (Usually I still need to do a little adjusting with the sugar, but it has become second nature now and is a quick and easy substitution).

So I make both at times, as my kids will eat either, though I am finding I am moving more towards gluten free only because I am noticing how my body is feeling after gluten sometimes (which is not so good). And today I am sharing both recipes with you. Both are equally easy and delicious, so it is simply your preference or dietary needs to decide which one to try (You could, like me, make both).

Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins

1/2 c. tapioca flour

1/2 c. garbanzo flourIMG_4225

1/2 c. brown rice flour

1 c. coconut sugar

3 tbsp. flaxseed

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. nutmeg

2 tsp. cinnamonIMG_4220

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 c. pumpkin puree

1/2 c. safflower oil

2 eggs

1/2 c. dates or raisins

In a medium mixing bowl, mix dry ingredients thoroughly (flours, coconut sugar, flaxseed, baking soda, salt and spices). In another bowl, mix wet ingredients together (pumpkin puree, safflower oil, eggs). Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and add wet ingredients to dry. Stir until just combined, then mix in dates or raisins.

Line muffin tin with muffins cups or grease with coconut oil. Fill each cup. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins

Pumpkin Muffins

1 3/4c. all purpose flourIMG_4223

1/2 c. coconut sugar

3 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. cloves

pinch ginger

2/3 c. almond milkIMG_4233

1/2 c. pumpkin

1/3 c. olive oil

1 egg

1/2 c. dates or raisins

In a medium sized bowl, beat together egg, pumpkin and oil. Add almond milk. Sift together dry ingredients and add to mixture. Mix in dates or raisins.

Line muffin tin with muffin cup or grease with coconut oil. Fill muffin cup and bake at 400F for 25-30 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins

Do you have a favorite pumpkin muffin recipe?

Exploring the Alder Trail

IMG_4171One of the things I love about Thanksgiving weekend (and Fall in general) is that it is usually a beautiful sunny weekend, with crisp mornings, blue skies and warm afternoons, surrounded by the gorgeous colors of leaves turning. This is the time of year when I really enjoy getting out hiking, or for short walks in nature. With or without kids, I love to explore the forests, park, mountain or whatever location it is that we decided to go and check out during this beautiful season.

This weekend we went out to Bragg Creek, which is only a 30 minute drive from our house, to the provincial park. It is a beautiful spot with picnic tables and fire pits, just up from the river with lots of lovely walking trails, of various lengths.

The kids were excited to pack up and go for a picnic and have a fire. In fact, I have not seen Luke and Chloe get ready so fast and out to the car, chomping at the bit to go! I was still packing things up and they were already in the car!

IMG_4178Once we got out there and claimed our spot we went for a short walk before enjoying our picnic (which would be roasted hot dogs and banana boats). A few weeks earlier I had been out there and came across the alder trail, which is a 1.6 km loop. At the time I wasn’t sure how long the trail actually was so decided not to complete the loop that particular day due to time constraints. I was looking forward to discovering this trail and what it was all about.

It turned out to be a beautiful trail, through moss covered floors and old growth forest. The trees were tall and covered in old man’s beard, which I pointed out to Luke and Chloe. They looked on in amazement and giggled as I asked them if they would like a beard of lichen.

IMG_4182The trail is fairly flat and great for kids, with interpretive signs along the way describing the life of the forest. With information on everything from the animals that live there to why we experience chinooks and the effect they have on our environment. Both Luke and Chloe asked me to read every sign and listened attentively as I read. Matthew even stopped at each sign and read what it had to say before moseying on.

Luke was often stopping at trees and knocking on them or giving them hugs, Chloe and Matthew (my more adventurous ones) attempting to climb the trees. Our pace was not rushed but not too slow and everyone enjoyed exploring the trail. All in all our hike took us about an hour (which I thought was pretty good with two 4 year olds) and we returned to the picnic area ready to roast hot dogs and enjoy the fire.

We rounded out the afternoon with some soccer and frisbee, yes it felt like the perfect family scene, tacky but nice; and a short trip down to the river. Exploring along the river bed and tossing rocks into the stream.

IMG_4203Exhausted, satisfied and happy we hopped back into the car for the short drive home. I feel blessed living so close to such a beautiful area that we can enjoy and explore. To me getting out in nature with kids is so important, and not just going out for a picnic but going for a walk or hike of some kind. I had to pry my oldest away from his iPad, but will do so again (and again) as we all need to get outside more and enjoy our natural environment. Cause each time you go out there, it’s different. You find something new to share, learn about and appreciate that you may not have before.

For the Love of Fall… and a peek of what’s to come

IMG_3169

Camping in Drumheller

It’s that time of year again, back to school, back to routines and also time to try new things.   We had a fantastic summer full of camping trips, days at the lake and all kinds of other adventures. You may have noticed I was suspiciously absent during the month of August. This is because I packed up the kids and went to Australia for 3 and a half weeks! My sister is there for a year with her family as her husband is on a teacher exchange.

I couldn’t resist the opportunity, as Australia is a place I absolutely love! And even though I have been before there is so much to see and do, it was time to go again. Plus this time we included a week in New Zealand, which I had not been to before.

IMG_0110

Sydney Harbour, Australia

As a result I have tons of things to share with you and lots of blog posts to write about where to go and what to see in that area of the world. So this Fall I will include a weekly feature about some fabulous place in Australia or New Zealand. Giving you the scoop on how it works for families and children and what recommendations we have.

Also this Fall I will continue with sharing fabulous recipes that I have found and tried, that are sugar and dairy free, and sometimes gluten free. There seems to be an endless stream of yummy recipes out there! and I have a big bag (literally) full of them to try. For instance this morning I made Apple Cinnamon muffins again, which I tried last year and we really enjoyed. This year I tried something a little different, using leftover almond mash from making almond milk. They were so moist and yummy… Of course I promptly shared them with my neighbor and friends this morning over coffee as we sat outside amongst the beautiful fall leaves.

IMG_2135

Apple Cake Muffin

These are the posts I will guarantee in amongst all the joys, trials and insights of having 3 children, whether it be tips on how to get them out the door in the morning or programs and crafts that I would recommend. And sometimes whatever moves me, whether it be a good book I’ve enjoyed or a moment I need to share. This is the joy of blogging!

Right now I am up to my ears in apples, like last year, we have reaped an abundant crop from our tree and are enjoying apple everything. I have made more crumbles than I can count, as well as pie, muffins, smoothies (ever tried an apple pie smoothie? Yum!), juice, etc. Though I have recently discovered apple butter – OMG! delicious and might try making that.

Fall is also my most favorite time of year! and I get super excited and motivated at this time of the year. Seasonally it is a time of ending, getting ready for a period of ‘rest’, but I see it as a time of new beginnings with all kinds of things that I want to try, or the kids want to try. Plus I love the warm golden sunny days, and the crisp Fall evenings. Gorgeous.

IMG_4087With that, I will leave you with the promise of what’s to come, and thoughts of what you’re favorite things about Fall are, or famous apple recipes you love. May you enjoy all that the season has to bring and more.

What are your favorite things/ activities in Fall? Have any good apple recipes? I’d love to try them. Please post in the comments below.

Butternut Squash Soup

IMG_2432A couple of weeks ago I was visiting my sister in Vancouver, having a little me time and also there to attend my friend Stuart’s 40th Surprise Birthday; she made this fabulous Butternut Squash soup. Now I have not been a huge fan of squash in the past but this soup was really yummy!

I had found that the texture of squash was not always to my liking, it felt kind of grainy on my teeth so I avoided squash in general. But lately I have been finding many recipes with squash that I and the kids have quite enjoyed. Like Spaghetti Squash with chicken and pears from Clean Eating Magazine, Acorn Squash with harvest rice stuffing and now this soup!

Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash

It is a dairy free, sugar free and gluten free soup, of which I think I had 3 bowls for dinner that night and then another 2 for lunch the next day!

I found the flavors delicious with coconut milk and cinnamon. The original recipe calls for 2 butternut squash but that day my sister used acorn and butternut squash and it was very tasty.

I was so excited about this soup when I returned home I went straight to the store to buy what I needed. Unfortunately, as life would have it, I did not make it until the other day as I could not get all the ingredients I needed, and then of course there was time and real life to get back to – you know 3 kids, running a household…

I made it with the 2 different squashes which I think just adds lovely flavor and served it to the twins for lunch. Both of them gobbled it up, asking for a second bowl, while I scarfed, I mean enjoyed, my own soup.

It is super easy to make as well and easily frozen if you don’t wish to eat it constantly for a week.

Butternut Squash Soup

2 medium butternut squash, or 1 butternut and 1 acorn

1 pink lady or royal gala appleIMG_2458

1 medium onion

1/4 c. Earth Balance vegan spread

900 ml chicken broth

1 c. coconut milk

1/2 tsp. dried sage

generous pinches of cinnamon and salt

1 tbsp. maple syrup (optional)

Chop and peel squash; cut in half and seed, then chop into small pieces. Chop onion and apple.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt Earth Balance, add onion and apple and saute until onion is soft. Add broth, squash, and coconut milk. Bring to boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes.

For the last 5 minutes add sage, cinnamon and salt. Squash should be very tender when done.

Use immersion hand blender in pot to blend until smooth or ladle soup into blender and whip on high until pureed. Pour back into pot and reheat if necessary. Serve.

You may add optional garnishes such as maple syrup drizzled on top, vegan sour cream, slivers of apple or dried sage.

Soup will keep well refrigerated for 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

An Afternoon at the Pumpkin Festival

IMG_2222One of the things I really enjoy about the Thanksgiving weekend is all the Fall Festivals that there are to check out. Fall in general seems to be a celebration of the harvest and represents the abundance in our world. Set against the fall colors and the golden sunlight I just find it a wonderful experience.

Now many of these festivals do run on other weekends as well, but I always like to pick one and make that the ‘trip of the weekend’, so that the kids associate Thanksgiving not only with turkey dinner, but with something fun as well.

IMG_2180This Thanksgiving we went to the Pumpkin Festival at the Calgary Corn Maze. And it was an absolute blast. Full of additional ‘pumpkin’ activities, such as pumpkin bowling, pumpkin decorating and pumpkin bingo, it is easy to while away your afternoon there. And that’s on top of all the regular activities that they have such as mini golf, navigating the corn maze, jumping pillows, hill slide, petting zoo and more!

Matthew on the hill slide

Matthew on the hill slide

The favorites were definitely the jumping pillow and the hill slide. Both which at first Chloe was a little hesitant to go on. On the hill slide once she went up and down a few times with me she got brave and started venturing out on her own. You could hear her squeals of delight when she got to the bottom and yelled that she did it all by herself, grinning radiantly from ear to ear. The jumping pillow was similar once D’Wayne was on there jumping with her for a bit, she became more confident and did it to on her own. (Now it’s debatable whether D’Wayne went on there to ‘help’ Chloe or because he really wanted to get on there himself. I remember when I first told him that they had jumping pillows, he got quite excited)

IMG_2230Even the maze was fun to go through with the kids, though it being at the end of the season is quite tromped down, the original paths hard to find. (Next year I am going at the beginning of the season when it’s fresh and green). The kids just wandered through the maze with us, Matthew taking the lead on finding the way out. Nobody got upset or worried that we were going to be stuck or lost in there, though I think the twins would have no concept of that at this point. Overall it was just a lovely, leisurely, fun afternoon. Checking out different activities as we pleased, no one rushing anywhere or hurrying people along.

IMG_2208Though there were a few activities that we did not get to, we did close the place down. The kids wanted one more time on the jumping pillow, so we went over for the last 10 minutes until they announced that they were closed for the day. We then gently got them all off, but no one complained or fussed, everyone seemed completely satisfied.

It’s afternoons like those that I really enjoy being a mother and having a family. There’s just something about going out and playing together that bonds us, relaxes us and satisfies the soul; for all of us, kids and adults alike. I think we need more of that in our lives, but sometimes that’s the challenge isn’t it?

The tractor ride

The tractor ride

Autumn Leaves

One of my most favorite things about Fall is leaf jumping! I absolutely loved it as a kid, making a big pile in the yard, jumping and playing in them. We would create huge piles  and run and jump. Or we’d bury each other in them and sometimes just lay there.

It’s hard to describe but there’s just something comforting about laying in the leaves, being surrounded by them. Both leaf jumping and lying in the them is something that I still enjoy and love as an adult!

Of course I was super excited to introduce this activity to my kids. Except in our backyard the number of leaves we had was small, being in a newer neighborhood. They loved it too.

On the weekend the kids went to Parkland Park with their Dad, which is an older community in Calgary where the trees are huge and the leaves are abundant. Luke, Chloe and Matthew all enjoyed playing in the leaves, Chloe even laying down and having a ‘sleep’.

I think this weekend we will all have to go and find some more leaves to jump in 🙂

 

Tis the Season for Apples (and yummy Crumb Cake)

Fall is a great time of year. Not only with the warm sunny days and crisp fall mornings, but the fall harvest and abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits that are available.

We have an apple tree in our backyard so each Fall we have an abundance of apples. So many that I don’t always know what to do with them. And with each year the amount of apples increases as the tree grows. We usually end up with an apple crumble every other day, apple pie, as well as I make homemade applesauce and apple juice from them. The kids will also eat them right off the tree but there is no way that they can eat them fast enough.

This year I decided that I wanted to try some new things with our apples, as though pie and crumble are good, well you can only have so much (can’t you?). I have been trying various apple cake and apple muffin recipes; and though good were only using 2 apples at a time. Then I remembered, when I was growing up my Mum used to make this crumb cake which is originally a recipe from my Oma. I remembered that sometimes she put apples or plums in the cake, which made this delicious cake even better! Perfect I thought that this would use up some apples for sure! So I decided to pull out the recipe and make apple crumb cake.

Apple Cake Muffins

I was surprised at how much sugar was in it! I knew it took a lot for the crumbs, but I didn’t think there was that much in the cake. I knew though that I could make the adjustments. Deciding on coconut sugar as the substitute, I set out making the cake, in hopes that it would not only turn out but that I could use a good amount of apples in it as well.

Only 4 apples and a short time later, I had the cake in the oven. Matthew had taste tested the dough by licking a beater, and informed me that it was yummy. (I always find that if the dough tastes good that is a good indication that your cake/ cookies will be). Things were looking good.

As it started to bake and the smells were wafting through the house, Chloe wandered into the kitchen saying “Oh something smells good!” Another excellent indicator.

It looked good too, looking like I remembered when my Mom used to make it. Now it was just the taste test. The timer beeped indicating it was done, everyone’s mouths watering in anticipation. I let it sit for about 20 minutes to cool (and to have supper) before we cut into it.

Everyone devoured their cake and quickly asked for seconds. Luke’s mouth still full as he asked for more. I found that it tasted very close to the original and was pleased with how it turned out. The only change I would make would have been to add another layer of apples on the cake before putting the crumbs on top. I like to be able to taste the fruit and though you could, a few more apples would do the trick.

I think next time, I will try using honey in the actual cake, still using coconut sugar for the crumbs, just to see what the difference, if any would be. I am always curious and like to see which sugar substitute is the best. Though sometimes the one I choose is good, another choice is much better. Regardless I know that coconut sugar works and is a very good choice as the twins have been going on about apple cake. Matthew even said that he would be the envy of all his friends at school when he has some in his lunch today, because it is so delicious!

Though it did not use as many apples as I would have liked the cake was a hit and like my aunt said, “That’s 4 less apples than you had before” which is true. My quest for using up my apples continues, looking for unique and delicious ways to do so. (So if you have some good apple recipes to share please send them my way!) The baking frenzy continues…

I know I can slice and freeze the apples, the trouble is I tend to forget about them down there in the freezer…maybe I should get into dehydrating?

Apple Crumb Cake (sugar free and dairy free)

Dough:

apple crumb cake

Crumb Cake

1 c. coconut sugar

3 1/2 c. flour

3 tbsp. baking powder

juice from half a lemon

1/2 c. Earth Balance vegan spread

4 eggs

2/3 c. rice milk

Crumbs:

1/2 c. Earth Balance Vegan spread

1 1/4 c. coconut sugar

1 3/4 c. flour

Dough: Cream Earth Balance, coconut sugar and eggs. Add flour and baking powder, mix well. Then add rice milk and lemon juice creating a soft dough. Press or roll dough into a cookie sheet sized pan.

Crumbs: Mix flour and coconut sugar in a medium sized bowl. Cut Earth Balance into sugar/ flour mixture. Form large crumbs and spread over dough.

Thinly slice apples and place on top of cake, slightly overlapping. Sprinkle cinnamon, coconut sugar and a little Earth Balance on top of fruit, then add crumbs on top. You can use other fruit such as plums for this cake. If choosing plums omit cinnamon.

Bake at 350 C for 1 hour.

Autumn Turkey Chili

One of the things I love about Fall is all the savory dishes that there are. The soups, the stews and all the fresh harvest vegetables that we have to put in them. Yummy! My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

I call them cozy foods, foods that are not only good for you, but make you feel warm and cozy inside. The smells wafting through the house as it cooks and the pleasure of sitting down to a nice warm meal.

Many of these meals I make using my slow cooker, which I also love! With busy schedules and activities, it is so nice to put something into the slow cooker in the morning, pretty much forget about it, and presto! ready for you at suppertime. Plus it adds to the anticipation of the meal as those flavors I was talking about, that waft through the house all day!

One of my favorite slow cooker recipes is Autumn Turkey Chili. I love how it combines fresh apples, butternut squash and coconut milk to create an amazing flavor and taste. It is chalk full of vegetables and spices – a really unique combination – that at first when you look at it you might not think so, but trust me it is delicious! Everyone loves it! And it usually makes enough that we can have it over 2 meals.

I found this recipe on the Crock Pot® website, where they have a large variety of slow cooker recipes. The only thing that I have modified in the recipe is the amount of chili powder, which I cut in half, as though we enjoy spice and flavor, we do not like it too hot 🙂

It does take a bit of time in the morning to chop and prep the vegetables and turkey, about 20 minutes, but it is well worth the time spent for the result at the end of the day!

Autumn Turkey Chili

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

2 cups apples, diced

2 cups butternut squash, diced

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 pound ground turkey, cooked

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper, each

10 ounces chicken broth, canned, undiluted (I use 10 ounces of homemade chicken broth and this works well)

8 to 12 ounces coconut milk, canned

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup black beans, canned, drained and rinsed

coconut flakes and cilantro, to garnish

Combine all ingredients (except garnishes) in slow cooker. Cook on HIGH 4-6 hours or LOW 8-10 hours. Open the lid for last 45 minutes of cooking to thicken if desired. Mash the squash with the back of a wooden spoon to thicken further if you wish.

Serve with rice or mashed potatoes, or just by itself.

Note: Use can use 4 cups diced cooked turkey or chicken in place of ground turkey.)

Enjoy!

If you try this recipe, please come back to the site and leave a comment. It’s great to share recipes and experiences with others!

Sugar Free Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I am not sure if it is because the meal contains so many foods that I love, such as turkey, stuffing and gravy, or my favorite pumpkin pie! (Actually I love anything pumpkin – pumpkin muffins, pumpkin spice lattes)! Or if it is because of the warm, comforting feeling that surrounds the holiday. The fall season, that makes me think of burning candles and cozying up by the fire.

Pumpkin muffins

Either way I thoroughly enjoy it, and it is something that I look forward to. Last year, when we went sugar free at our house, I was a bit concerned, in fact I was very concerned about how to make my pumpkin pie. This was not something that I wanted to give up. Was it possible to find or create a recipe that would be just as good? I hoped there was, so I started looking and within a short time discovered a recipe that met my requirements and was just as easy to make. I found the recipe at Honey Bunny, the same company that makes the Bodacious Tomato Ketchup and BBQ sauce that we now buy. The Honey Bunny recipe called for evaporated milk and since we are also a dairy free household made a simple adjustment and used coconut milk instead. It turned out beautifully! and was just as delicious if not more, than what we were used to. In fact I think we all had 2 pieces!

The other thing that I adjusted last year was our cranberry sauce, as store bought brands contain a lot of sugar. I have never been a fan of cranberry sauce, but others in the family enjoy it. So I decided to make my own. I got the original recipe off the bag of fresh cranberries and simply substituted honey for the sugar. Again I had great success! and even I enjoyed some cranberry sauce last year.

I find that the highest amounts of sugar that we consume are around the holidays, and Thanksgiving marks the beginning of a lot of feasting and delectable delights. I know many people who feel like they have overindulged during the holidays and put themselves on a strict diet after Christmas. But if we had treats that were good for us and did not contain the sugar than we could enjoy the holiday feasting and not feel guilty or like we have overdone it. Eating healthy and well can be done, regardless of what is going on.

There are many alternatives out there and ways to still enjoy the foods you love without the sugar or worry. You will also feel so much better and so will your family! Perhaps this Thanksgiving is a great time to start. Try these recipes below and add them to your dinner feast. You’ll be amazed how good they are and if you don’t tell anyone else at the table, I bet they won’t even notice.

Honey Pumpkin Pie

1-398 ml can pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1-398 ml can coconut milk

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Combine all ingredients together. Pour into 9 inch pie crust.
Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 F and cook for 35 minutes. Test with cake tester, if it comes out clean pie is done, and centre will move only slightly when gently shaken.

*note: if you do not have any of the above spices, you can use doTERRA essential oilsCinnamon Bark, Ginger & Clove. Use 1-2 drops of cinnamon and ginger, 1 drop of the clove. Also note that not all essential oil brands are created equally and not all essential oil brands are safe to ingest. If using an essential oil other than doTERRA (which is safe to take internally) ensure you research the brand you are using to make sure it is safe for use internally.

 

Cranberry Sauce

1 -12 oz. pack fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed and drained

1/4- 1/3 cup honey

1/2 cup water

1-2 drops Wild Orange essential oil (or grated orange zest)

Put all ingredients (except Wild Orange essential oil) in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. The amount of honey you add will depend on your desired level of sweetness. If you prefer your cranberry sauce more tart then use 1/4 cup of honey, if you prefer sweeter than add up to 1/3 cup. Let boil until berries start to pop (about 5 minutes). Stir as they cook.

Once all berries have popped remove from heat, cover and cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time.

Makes 2 1/4 cups

Happy Feasting!


Apples, Apples, Apples

apple activities for kids

Inspired by our apple picking the other day and with the abundance of apples in my kitchen, I decided to hop on the internet and look for fun crafts, games and ideas to do with the kids around an apple theme. Of course, I was not disappointed by the abundance of ideas out there, especially at this time of year.

After checking out a number of websites, I made a list of my favorites and have been trying them with the kids over the last few days. Here are the highlights and my faves.

Apple Crafts

apple activities

Fingerprint Apple Tree

Fingerprint Apple Tree – this craft is super easy and fun! You will need brown, red and green tempera paint and some paper. The kids place the side of their hand in the brown paint and then stamp it on the paper. Then using their index finger they dip it in the green paint to make leaves. Lastly using their pinky finger, they dip it in the red paint and touch it to the paper to make apples.

Matthew and I did ours just like the picture showed while Luke and Chloe, though they started out the same, ended up getting very creative with their tree. It was so cute to watch, both very focused, creating their tree. It was actually their first time using paints and they loved it! and have beautiful apple trees to show for it. And even though it doesn’t ‘look’ like the picture, they proudly call it their apple tree and share it with others.

Luke’s apple tree

Along the theme of apple trees, kids can also make a Pom Pom Apple Tree. Again very simple and easy. You will need brown paper, a brown marker, green paint, scissors, white glue and red pom poms. For this one I am going direct you to the website I found it on as they have done a great job of explaining how to put it together with great pictures.

There are other easy apple crafts I discovered that I like – Cinnamon Apple Wreath, Toilet Paper Roll Apple, Stained Glass Apple and one of my favorites, the Worm in Apple.

You can even do apple prints, like potato stamping, and create beautiful lunchbags, dish towels or a homemade greeting cards. A craft from Martha Stewart of course.

Cinnamon Apple Wreath

Apple Games

Hot Apple – Just like hot potato except you use an apple instead. Children sit in a circle passing around the apple while there is music playing. Children pass the apple from one to another; they want to pass the apple quickly because when the music stops if they are holding the apple, then they are out of the game. Game continues until there is only one child left.

Apple Relay – Divide the children into 2 teams. Designate a starting line and an end line.  Teams line up one behind the other at the start line. The first person on each team places the apple on their head and must balance the apple on their head while they walk to the end line and back. If they drop the apple they must stop, count to three, then place the apple back on their head and continue. Once they are back to the start line, the next person goes. The first team to have everyone on their team finish wins.

Apple Hide & Seek – this is great for younger children. Have the children sit in a circle and close their eyes. While their eyes are closed hide the apple. Once it is hidden children may open their eyes and then move around the room looking for the apple. Once they find the apple they leave it where it is hidden and simply return to the circle. The last person to find the apple can hide the apple for the next round.

Bobbing for apples

Of course there is the traditional Bobbing for Apples, which we typically do around Halloween, which is always a riot. I like the version where you have to bob for the apple, then go and use your nose to find a candy in the flour bowl. It can get quite messy but it’s a hoot!

Apple Books

An apple theme would not be complete without books about apples. From Apples, Apples, Apples to How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World
there are many stories that will teach and delight children of all ages.

apple activities

Apples, Apples, Apples is a wonderful children’s book that I discovered while doing my research on the internet. Written by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace, it’s about the bunny family’s trip to Long Hill Orchard where Mr. Miller takes them on a wobbly wagon ride and tells them all sorts of fun things about Fall’s favorite fruit. It also includes apple songs, sayings and a recipe to try.

How Do Apples Grow? is a delightful story about how apples grow from flower to fruit, ready for you to eat. Written by Betty Maestro, it is beautifully illustrated and easy to read.

Regardless of the apple activities you try, the kids will be sure to enjoy themselves learning about this abundant and delicious Fall fruit and you may even learn something new yourself!

apple activities

Chloe’s ‘Apple of her eye’