Apples, Hay, and Tacos

My plans for a playdate are not usually very exciting, so I have my friend to thank for the idea of taking the kids somewhere new today.

I may have been apple picking as a child…. I have vague memories of paper bags and apples on the ground…but no sense of whether I enjoyed it or not. Today I got to try it with the kids at Hillcrest Orchards.

It was a perfect day, sunny and in the low 70’s, and the place was big enough to accommodate everyone without seeming crowded.

Of course there is the requisite hay maze……

As well as the farm-themed cut out boards for the kids to pose as animals, farmers, or pumpkins…..

We finally headed off to the orchard to put the kids to work, getting there on a rickety tractor pulled wagon of course.

We picked honey crisp today, and at first I thought the rows of trees were just baby saplings. I was shocked to see them bearing fruit, an amazing amount compared to their tiny size. Super sweet, we were allowed to eat them right off the trees. Bonus that the kids found that irresistible. Jenna was shocked to find seeds in the middle of her apple….because she has only ever eaten her apples sliced on a plate before. Eating food from it’s original source, off the tree in this case, instead of from the fruit bowl seemed to stimulate their appetites. I wonder what she would do if I pointed at a chicken and told her that’s where her chicken tenders come from??

There were more things for the kids to do, like a track for go cart type bikes. I can’t show you a picture because I spent my time there pushing Sammy on his, or riding Jenna on the back of mine. GREAT workout, but not fond of the unattractive panting after I was finished.


More acceptable ride that doesn’t require mom to exert herself…


Didn’t mean for this to be freaky…but reminds me of “The Ring” and if she had started crawling on the ceiling I would have left her there…


And the day would not be complete without dried corn stuck in everyone’s pants


And finally. The best part. The grand finale of my trip. The reason I will definitely more than consider going back……..

Before we left we wanted snacks. There was a little eatery inside with cider, water, apple cinnamon donuts and cookies.  There was a food truck outside, with a menu posted on it’s side.

I was amazed at the selection of food…. and please, please forgive me for not having a picture of the actual menu. I can recite a couple things by heart…. such as the all beef hot dog in toasted pretzel bun, complimented by apple chutney and cheddar cheese….. or how about the rosemary parmesan fries, complete with garlic aioli dipping sauce? Or my personal favorite….. drum roll please….. butternut squash and black bean tacos. Oh my god. I’m so glad I ordered them, because they were amazing. Not what I expected from a food truck at this farm out in the boonies.

I did not take photos of my food because 1. I didn’t want to look weird and 2. I ate it way too fast. But I checked Pinterest and found something close to just give you a tiny idea….


Trust me when I say the tacos and fries I ate today were so much better looking and tasting than these examples, but you’ll have to trust me unless you check out Hillcrest Orchards yourself.





Proof of her love


Fall weather in Ohio is really tricky…… getting the weather to cooperate for all the pumpkin festivals and hayrides can be a challenge.

Take this past Friday. We really wanted to check out Mapleside Farms during the fall festivities. The kids play area, the huge jumping thing, the apple fritters, donuts, and other artery clogging delights. But most of all, I wanted to go down the slide. It looked so fun! A super long, multi-lane slide that you can race your friends down as you sit on your burlap sack. I fantasized about the awesome family pictures I would take as we laughed and zoomed down.

Friday came and it was cold, but DRY. I had winter coats, hats, gloves. I had cash for donuts. I was ready.

My sister, my awesome sister met us there.

As I drove and parked, I marveled at how sunny it was. We walked in, saw the crowd of people lined up for the slide… Sammy was not ready to wait in line, he wanted to head to the playground first.

Ok, fine…we have plenty of time for the slide.

As the kids are playing, I see my sister walking in. Perfect timing!

And then it starts raining.

A drizzle turned into something more…. we had to hide inside the apple store to wait it out.

Afterwards, it was a lot colder outside, and a lot darker. The sun wasn’t coming back. We ate a little something, as I bitched about wasting almost $50 just to get wristbands, only to be rained out within 15 minutes.

We decided we at least had to do the slide before going home.

Well, look… no line! Seemed like the perfect time for us to go after all. Once we got closer, I realized how long it was….  We also realized why no one else was in line. It was pretty wet. The guys handing out burlap sacks to sit on were blunt about it.

“You’re going to get wet”.

My optimistic sister seems to think the bags will soak up the water. They shake their heads at her.  “Oh no, there’s way too much water on that slide. Your GONNA get wet.”

I look down at my pants, and notice that even with the sun not shining, we have plenty of daylight left. I don’t feel like walking around looking like I peed myself. I’m ready to turn around.

The kids by this time wanted to go down the slide, but I was really ok with disappointing them to avoid a cold, soggy butt.

My sister jumps in and offers to slide in my place. No hesitation. I know she hasn’t been drinking, she came right from work. She must be in her right mind.

Ok. Knock yourself out!

So she takes them to the top. Settles Jenna on her lap, and Sammy next to her. His coat was actually long enough to sit on to keep his own bottom dry. I take video and pictures as they slide down, laughing just like I imagined.

Of course she got wet. But she took them two more times, with nary a complaint about it. I love my sister, braving the cold, the crowds, and the questioning looks from strangers as she proudly walked around after their trip down the slide. She risked damage to her pride, and the potential for awkward chafing to show my kids a good time.

Thanks little sister!!

down the slide!!