I’m adding a new element to my blog: Around Kansas City. Why? Because, since I did a Summer Bucket List and actually did so many fun things with the kids, I really want to make the most of our weekends and holidays off of school. It’s important to me that we explore, get lost for a day sometimes and generally experience the world. Maybe someday the element will be more like Around the World, but for now we’ll play in our own backyard.

I have a little catching up to do, since we’ve been exploring for a bit. But I’m going to start with this weekend and our trek to find a great orchard in which to pick our own apples. Truth be told, I was getting a little bit frustrated; the places I knew about had been posting things on Facebook and their own websites about the wonky weather and how that made the picking less than ideal. Some said the season was late, others said it had ended early. But once I told Erin that this was something I was thinking of doing, she kept on me every. darn. week. to find a place to go.

Luckily, I came across this site, which led me to Fieldstone Orchard and Farm. I was hesitant; it’s an hour drive, and that means that expectations would be high. Having never been, we could have ended up pretty disappointed. ┬áBut we decided to go anyway. Nicholas wasn’t all that crazy about the idea, but Erin couldn’t wait. She even packed us a picnic lunch to eat on the way.

It was cold this weekend; in fact, we needed coats and mittens to keep going once we got there. And I’ve never taken these two picking. I’d taken Adam, so long ago that I was actually pregnant with Nicholas at the time. But these two had been deprived. We had conversations about the different varieties of apples (Fieldstone boasts 38 varieties, though not all were ready for picking while we were there), why they’re so much bigger at stores than here on the tree and what organic and natural mean. We talked about recipes, and just what we’d like to make with the apples that were quickly filling our buckets.

We also watched chicken races (definitely a first for us), listened to live music, sipped spiced cider and bobbed for apples. Well, I didn’t bob; Nicholas and Erin bobbed. And instead of sticking their heads in buckets of water to bob, they spent a good 15 minutes taking a bite out of an apple hanging from strings. That, in and of itself, was worth the trip.

That was yesterday; today has been partly spent turning some of these apples into something else. The big batch of applesauce I have going in the crock pot is making the house smell a.maze.ing and the caramel apples that Erin and I made are ridiculously good. She couldn’t have been happier with our assortment of candy bar ingredients; we alternated dipping the gooey caramel apples into crushed chocolate cookies, Twix bars, Reeses peanut butter cups, Halloween inspired M&Ms and Kit Kat bars. Couldn’t ask for a better fall weekend.