I have loved going to the orchard with Maddy, and now Elliott. And I will continue to make this an annual tradition. But let’s dispense with the notion that U-Pick = U-Save. I have written about apple-nomics before, but not with respect to U-Pick.

We bought $45 of apples yesterday. We just kept filling and filling the bags. Later, at Target, buying extra Ziploc containers in which to freeze my sauce, I even looked into spending more cash on a set of Ball jars and the associated gear for canning the applesauce I’ll make. (I’m going to freeze). 

Then we got the apples out of the car and into the kitchen and thought: $45 of apples? At $1.89/lb that means almost 24 pounds. We just  … kept … going.

Later last night I read up on agritainment.

"In years past, picking your own produce was also a way for families to save money. But be warned that at most U-pick orchards these days, you will pay more for your apples than you would at the grocery store. You pay for the "agritainment" — the experience of living a Disneyfied version of rural life." -

OK, I get it. But just what is the difference here between a day trip plus hours of labor at home and the cost of U-Pick apples, and a jar at the grocery store?

Take this Ball jar recipe for applesauce. It calls for 12 lbs. of apples to yield sauce for 8 16-oz Ball jars, or 128 oz. of sauce.

U-Pick price:

12 lbs. apples x $1.89/lb.= $23 (rounded)

$23 of apples / 128 oz. of sauce = $0.18 / oz. in apples, plus some other ingredients like sugar and lemons, but we won’t even count that.

Store Bought Price:

The cheapest price I could find for organic* applesauce online is $4.39 for 23 oz. And that comes in at  … dun-dun-dun … $0.19 / oz!  

So, yes, in this case, with this cheap online price, you are saving a bit per ounce, on apples alone, going the U-Pick route.  But taking into account the cans and canning supplies and peeling, coring, cooking … it has to be a labor of love. 

And there’s nothing wrong with a labor of love. There’s value in doing it the old school way to educate kids, host a social canning event, or just make the house smell amazing. 

I just won’t feel too guilty next time I grab a jar of apple sauce off the shelf in the store. Nor will I make my husband carry 24 lbs of apples home next year. 

*Note that my comparison uses organic.  You’d go cheaper than U-Pick with non-organic store sauce for sure.

#apples #latergram

#apples #latergram

Her first picks. #apples

Her first picks. #apples

Matt Reenacts Me Bumping Into a Door. 

A vacation highlight, 9/23/14.

This was in New Buffalo, MI, on our magical one-night getaway to wine country, the beach, spa time and a room with a jacuzzi. And two very surprising French doors….

Here are Mom & Dad walking with Maddy yesterday, their last full day in Chicago. We did the Welles Park tot spot and lunch, and then they helped me get the kids down for a nap and then my watched the baby while I napped. Such luxury! 

Here are Mom & Dad walking with Maddy yesterday, their last full day in Chicago. We did the Welles Park tot spot and lunch, and then they helped me get the kids down for a nap and then my watched the baby while I napped. Such luxury! 

#shadow #toddlerhair

#shadow #toddlerhair

I’m up too late looking at stuff. But come on.

I’m up too late looking at stuff. But come on.

Cake decoration by Maddy! #birthday

Cake decoration by Maddy! #birthday

40 Days to 40: Day 1. Random Year Memory: 2006 & 2012.

This is it! I may not have done the entire #40daysto40 project every day, but I completed it. After this post I will have covered 40 entries and 40 years. Remember, I have 2 years to go …


I worked at Starbucks for a stint. Health insurance, mmkay?

I worked on Christmas that year. It was fun. The staff all rallied together, and the cheery customers tipped well. Holiday Pay + all tips to that day’s staff.  We went out for drinks afterwards at a local dive bar.

What I remember, and the reason I chose this memory, was the feeling of rebelliousness for doing something imperfect and nontraditional with a major holiday. Even we Jews commemorate Christmas somehow, be it with our goy friends or the traditional Movie & Chinese. Not that year. Work, food service, coworkers, bar and the kindness of strangers. There’s a certain freedom in it. 


As the name of this blog reminds us, this is the year I became a mom. What I remember most about that final pre-baby time is how much it felt like wedding planning all over again. 

Stuff like …

  • I created a PowerPoint .pdf of nursery plans and ideas, including color schemes, floor plan and links to potential purchases. 
  • Matt refurbished a night stand I found at the Salvation Army to go next to my nursing chair. 
  • We spent an inordinate amount of time putting decals of forrest animals on the wall in just the right way.
  • The Great Blackout Curtain Project. 
  • I hand-stitched a name banner for my daughter over the course of my third trimester, mostly while watching the entire series of Desperate Housewives
  • Freaking out completely when painted night stand is left in the nursery to dry. Because of fumes. A month before the baby is due.
  • Freaking out because low-VOC paint for the walls has a smell. Google this and contact Benjamin Moore. 
  • Watch seven hundred hours of product videos on YouTube.

Of course, the instinct is to then contrast this frenzy of fluff with the more practical preparations for the second child. He had crafty projects too (most notably the installation of a giant, Pinterest-inspired peg board for hanging baskets of diapers above the dresser that we purchased to double as a changing table — did I never blog this?! — and the several related trips to Home Depot) but they were more utilitarian in nature. 

Such as …

  • Get the pack n play set up in our room. Find the sheets.
  • Get out all the baby toys. Put in a “baby bin.”
  • Go to and know exactly what to order. (!!!)
  • Realize you’ve no choice but to purchase a second changing pad. 
  • Buy cute wall decals for his area in our room, but never put them up until way after he’s born because you forget you have them.
  • Make him a name banner like his sister’s, but don’t hang it until several weeks after his birth because you add a “T” to the end of his name in the hospital even though you realize this will mean more sewing. Also: Use a SEWING MACHINE this time.
  • Travel to two Targets (while barely able to walk) to find him his own special, fuzzy Carter’s blanket like his sister has. (Give birth the next day). 

And now, I rock that healthy & sweet baby down in the middle of the night as I type. And I turn 40. Nothing is Pinterest-perfect. Everything is perfect, because it’s as it should be. I may not sleep much, but when I do, I sleep really, really well. 

Birthday dinner! (at Carnivale)

Birthday dinner! (at Carnivale)