Monday, November 26, 2012


We made the trek to Michigan again this year to celebrate Thanksgiving. We got to be there for a week and a half so that Sam could go to a couple of interviews. Sam's parents were there too so it made for an extra-special visit.
I took about five pictures while we were there, which I guess is better than none, right?
I love this picture because it's totally not posed. Just some true family bonding.
Abby loved using the apple peeler/corer/slicer.

Abby was also Grammy's assistant on the rolls.

Aunt Sarah bought the girls these cute turkey headbands. I love Clara with a mouthful of roll. To be honest, I think that's about all she ate.

The delicious spread.

To make up for my lack of pictures, I thought I'd share the pie recipes I used this year. I made four and they all turned out delicious.
I used this recipe for apple pie. I've made apple pie about a million times and I don't think I've ever used the exact same recipe. This one was yummy though--not too sweet. I used Granny Smith apples in place of the Northern Spy because, seriously, what is a Northern Spy apple anyway?
Tar Heel Pie via Woman's Day


  • 1/2 recipe Standard Pie Dough, or 1 store-bought refrigerated rolled pie crust
  • 1/2 cup(s) (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup(s) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup(s) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup(s) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon(s) instant coffee granules
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) kosher salt
  • 1 cup(s) pecans, roughly chopped
  • Whipped cream, for serving                         

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together 1 cup flour, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, work the chopped butter and shortening into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (if necessary, add additional ice water, 1 teaspoon at a time).
  2. Transfer the dough to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a 1-inch-thick disk. Wrap tightly and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
  3. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll a disk of dough into a 12-inch circle. Fit it into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Trim the dough so that the overhang is even all the way around (about 1/2 inch from the edge of the pie plate). Fold the overhang under itself to create a thicker rim of dough and crimp as desired. Refrigerate until ready to fill.
  4. Melt the 1/2 cup butter. Place the chocolate in a large bowl and pour the warm butter on top; stir until smooth. Add the brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, coffee and remaining 1/3 cup flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and mix to combine. Stir in the pecans.
  5. Pour the chocolate mixture into the pie crust and bake until the filling is set and the crust is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Let stand for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.
This recipe was SO good. It was like a brownie inside a pie crust. Yum!

Blueberry Pie (Make Ahead) via Cook's Country

1 recipe double-crust pie dough (The Pillsbury Just Un-Roll is great)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 whole graham crackers, crushed to fine crumbs
6 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 ¼ dried cranberries
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons minute tapioca
2 teaspoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt

On lightly floured surface, roll 1 dough into 12-inch circle (or just unroll if using store-bought). Transfer to 9-inch pie plate. Brush crust with 2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle with half of cracker crumbs. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll second dough into 12-inch circle and brush with remaining butter, leaving 1-inch border around edge. Refrigerate, covered, on large plate for 30 minutes.

Heat 4 cups blueberries and cranberries in saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally and mashing slightly, until blueberries break down and mixture is thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool slightly, then stir in sugar, tapioca, lemon juice, salt and remaining blueberries. Refrigerate until cool, about 15 minutes.

Transfer filling to dough-lined pie plate. Sprinkle remaining cracker crumbs over filling. Fold lip of bottom crust inward over filling. Brush border of dough with water, then arrange top crust, buttered-side down, over pie. Crimp edges of pie. Cut six 1-inch slits, about 1 inch from crust and four 1-inch slits near center of pie. Allow pie to firm in freezer for 1 hour. Once pie is firm, wrap it tightly with plastic, then aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 2 months.

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 375. Bake until juices are bubbling and crust is golden brown, about 80 minutes. Let cool on wire rack at least 2 hours.
This pie is seriously delicious. There were a few blueberry pie skeptics but this recipe made them all believers.

For some reason, the site with the Vanilla Bean Pear Pie recipe isn't working so I'll just post the Pinterest link in hope that it will work again soon.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pretty Tootsies

I forgot to post this gem a few weeks back...
Abby really wanted to paint her own toes but I told her she could do mine instead. I figured a larger canvas would be easier to work with. I was a good sport and even went in public with them like this.
After she painted them, she said, "Oh mom, they look really bad." Ha! I convinced her that they were, indeed beautiful. It sure is fun doing things with my girlie girl.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Shopping Trip

I went shopping today and here's what I came home with...

It's time to start stocking up for Baby #3. It's a BOY!

We are thrilled to have a little man joining our family. He is due March 28.

As I'm sure can can imagine, this pregnancy has been particularly stressful. The ultrasound appointment brought a lot of relief. We were so happy to see a beautiful, healthy little one.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

First Snow

I looked out the window and noticed it was snowing (actually, I looked at facebook and read some one's status that said it was snowing). I told the girls to come look outside and they were thrilled. Abby loves the snow and Clara loves everything that Abby loves. Naturally, they had to go check it out.


There's something so cute about little girls with snow in their hair.

None of the snow stuck around, thank heaven. I'm really hoping for a mild winter like last year.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Stroller Revamp

The girls' doll stroller has been very well loved. I've done a few minor repairs but as of late, it's situation was pretty dire. Well, enough was enough. We went and picked out some fabric at Jo-Anns to make a whole new seat for the stroller. I wish I had taken a "before" picture to show you it's sad state. Here's the "after":

Piggy made a wonderful model.

I used parts of this tutorial and some of this one and a little bit of my own ideas (which mostly came as a result of me making a mistake/the lady at Jo-Anns cutting my fabric cock-eyed).

I love how it turned out. Hopefully the sturdier fabric (I used canvas for the backing) will hold up better to the love of every child who enters our home.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Abby Turns FOUR

On October 31 we celebrate Abby's 4th Birthday. I'm not at all sure where four years have gone, but alas, they are definitely gone.
We are so blessed to have such a sweet, beautiful, loving, smart daughter. She is a great big sister, a wonderful helper and a joy to everyone around her.
In the morning, I let her open this new bow shirt to wear to preschool.
We waited for daddy to get home to open the rest of her gifts and the wait was excruciating! She was spoiled rotten. Her favorite gift was the Barbie she showed us at Target a few weeks back.
We had balloons to play with all day, which is always a hit.

 Abby and her friend, little Abby (plus Tiff).

We had an ice cream bar, complete with all the fixin's. I also made cupcakes in ice cream cones. It was the least stressful party I've ever planned because there wasn't a lot of prep work involved. It was nice to spend the day with Abby instead of in the kitchen.

I made this cute sign and also these ice cream cone balloons. What did we ever do without Pinterest?

Clara was sure to snitch some strawberries before the party started.

After the party, most of our guests joined us for trick-or-treating. We were quite the popular group with so many cute little ones.

A rare occasion...a picture of the moms!

Clara LOVED Trick-or-Treating. She would walk right up to the doors and hold her hand out. She would often continue holding it out with expectation of more treats. As this picture shows, she also refused to let go of her bucket, even when it weighed as much as she does.

Abby's costume was quite popular. It still looked pretty cute covered with a coat. We didn't even put Clara's feathers on so you couldn't really tell what she was supposed to be.


This girls snagged a ton of loot.

Abby had a blast on her birthday and everyone else had fun joining in her celebration.
We love out sweet girl!

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