Thursday, November 27, 2014

thankful


Happy Thanksgiving from this little guy on his first turkey holiday!

I am so very thankful that he joined us this year, and has brought immeasurably more joy into our lives.

I am so very thankful for his loud, energetic, adventurous older brother, who keeps me on my toes all day long.

I am thankful for their daddy, who complements me so perfectly. He is always ready with advice, perspective, or encouragement. And he calls me beautiful on days when I feel nothing of the sort.

I am thankful for a God who continues to forgive my mistakes, even when I make the same ones over and over. His mercies are new every morning, and I will continue to listen to His plan for my life.

I am thankful for my entire extended family. It is not easy for me to be so far away on holidays, and I hope they know that my heart is right there with them.

I am thankful for the many friends in my life. Again, I live at a distance from the majority of them, but I share in their excitement over their marriages, new babies, and job opportunities. I can’t wait for future reunions!

I am thankful for our cozy house that accommodates us so well, for the pantry full of food, for our silly dog, for snow-laced trees, hazelnut coffee, warm winter scarves, and all good things that I take for granted.

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H A P P Y   T H A N K S G I V I N G!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

the best blackberry pie

The Best Blackberry Pie 
One of the very first things that I learned about my mother-in-law, Alice, is that she makes an incredible blackberry pie. It is sweet and deliciously tart with a soft, flaky homemade crust. The best part is that the pie is nice and solid when you cut into it, so that the fruit filling doesn’t ooze out onto the plate. Alice credits the origins of the blackberry pie to her mother-in-law, Steve’s Grandma Gloria, who passed away in May. And now it’s not a holiday without blackberry pie and a dollop of vanilla bean ice cream on top.

Alice came over on Monday to teach me how to roll the dough and assemble the pies (we doubled the recipe to make two). I brought one to my MOPS group yesterday, and Steve and I have been quickly chipping away at the second. :)

I’ll let you in on this famous family recipe. You’re going to love it!

Ingredients:
Crust:
2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 Tablespoons cold water

Filling:
4 cups blackberries
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon lemon juice

The Best Blackberry Pie

Directions
:

In a large bowl, combine blackberries (can be slightly frozen still), 1 cup sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Set aside.

In another bowl, combine flour and salt. Next add oil, and mix until grainy. Sprinkle with water. Mix to moisten. Add another tablespoon or two if the dough seems like it needs to be softer or more pliable.

The Best Blackberry Pie
The Best Blackberry Pie
The Best Blackberry Pie
Form dough into two balls or patties. Use the larger half for the bottom pie crust. Roll out each half between 2 pieces of wax paper.

  The Best Blackberry Pie
Remove one piece of wax paper from the larger rolled-out dough. Place the dough paper-side up in a 9-inch pie pan. Peel off the paper. Press the dough into the pan. Trim, leaving a 1/2” overhang. Fold under.

  The Best Blackberry Pie
Pour in the filling. Cut up little pieces of butter and scatter them on top of the filling.

With a knife, make slits into the top half of the dough. Unpeel the wax paper, and lay the dough over the pie filling. Trim, leaving a 1/2” overhang. Fold under and flute edges.

The Best Blackberry Pie
Bake at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

The Best Blackberry Pie  The Best Blackberry Pie  The Best Blackberry Pie The Best Blackberry Pie

Try and enjoy!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Linking up with Andrea for Recipe Club.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

“small talk” + giveaway

Small Talk by Amy Julia Becker
I love age three. Sure, there are ridiculous tantrums and a whole lot of trouble, but the things three-year-olds say, and the amount that they can comprehend—so FUN.

Nolan understands things in very simple terms. He likes to talk about how when the sun is up, it is time to be awake. When the sun goes down, the moon will come up, and it is time for bed.

He likes to talk about how he is hungry. And when he eats, the food all goes into his tummy, and he is full.

But pretty soon, I know we’re going to have some deeper questions. About Jesus. About Heaven. About his cousin Abby who has special needs. About sin. We’ll answer with carefully-worded answers. And his views on all sorts of things will start to be shaped and molded. This makes our job as parents SUPER important.

“Small Talk” by Amy Julia Becker, includes countless stories from a mother who has learned so much from simple, day-to-day conversations with her three children. It reads almost like a devotional, with short chapters, each on a big life topic. She offers up her grown-up, complex thoughts on each issue, and includes the simple, naive, wonderful thoughts of her children as well. Her oldest daughter, Penny, has Down Syndrome, and Penny has given Amy a new perspective on so many things, including true beauty.


I haven’t quite reached the end of this book, so I am excited to read more of this special memoir.


“Amy Julia Becker writes about faith, family, and disability for Parents.com, the New York Times Motherlode blog, TheAtlantic.com, The Huffington Post parents page, Christianity Today, The Christian century, and numerous other publications. Her first book, A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny, was named one of the Top Ten Religion Books of 2011 by Publishers Weekly. Amy Julia lives in western Connecticut with her husband and three children.”

Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win a copy of “Small Talk”!
"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Must live in U.S. or Canada.”

Monday, November 24, 2014

november favorite things

 
Monday morning already? Hope you all had a relaxing weekend!
For November’s Favorite Things, I’m sharing five Christmasy items under $10!


We are using this Bath & Body Works “Mixed Berry Tart” soap in our kitchen right now, and it smells heavenly! Steve said to me, “It’s like washing your hands in gummy bears.”

 
I picked up this gorgeous Essie polish yesterday. The glitter flecks are red, green, silver, and purple. It’s called “Jazzy Jubilant”, and I think it’s a perfect top coat for holiday festivities.

 
My favorite Christmas candies are out! I couldn’t find them at Walmart, but CVS didn’t let me down. They are hands-down the best holiday chocolate out there. Pricey, yes, unfortunately. But I’ll be stocking up until the mini eggs are out for Easter, haha.


I am not one for Hershey Kisses, but I forgot how good the caramel ones are! (I bought these at Walmart when I couldn’t find the Cadbury balls :)

 
And for the baby. . . Aren’t these Gerber Puffs the cutest? I love how they jazzed up the normal packaging with these bundled-up penguins! Ephraim is practically going through one can a day! He is hungry and wants to feed himself, but he has no teeth (at almost 10 months), so I am a little limited with what I can give him. He LOVES these! :)

Linking up with Andrea and Erika!  I can’t wait to read everyone else’s faves!

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

friday favorites


Happy Friday! 

I don’t know about you, but I am pretty beat at the end of this week. We don’t have any plans this weekend, so I’m hoping for some time to relax and catch up on projects, reading, and what not. Here are my favorites from the week:



I have to take a proud mom moment :)

The boys are getting so smart! Nolan’s sentences have gotten really elaborate, and some of his thoughts are incredibly imaginative and funny! He will occasionally break into “Super Nolan” mode. He will shout, “Super Nolan to the rescue!”, raise his arms, and run around the room. When he does this, he gives us a running commentary of everything he’s doing, and refers to us as Super Mommy and Super Daddy. And when that boy gets an idea in his head—he is bound and determined for the rest of the day to get what he wants. 

As for Ephraim, he has started to sign “more” when he is ready for the next bite! And if he does something that makes me laugh, he will do it over and over again, watch for my reaction, and then laugh with me. It’s precious!


My favorite face! He puffs up his cheeks and blows air. It’s absolutely darling, and makes me laugh!


 
I had the pleasure of meeting one of my favorite bloggers on Saturday! I won a giveaway on Kacia’s blog, Coconut Robot, to attend a day conference for moms. I had lunch with Kacia (and her adorable two-month-old Jones), and she could not have been sweeter!


Steve picked me up from the conference, and on the way home, we stopped at Chick-fil-a for some soft serve. :)




There has been major work going on in our kitchen! I mentioned that we are a little obsessed with the show “Rehab Addict”. A couple of times this week, I headed out to the store or out to lunch with friends, and I came home to see pieces of the kitchen gone. As if Steve doesn’t have enough work to do :)  Our kitchen is from the 50’s—and I was pretty happy to see the scalloped wood pieces taken down.


He tore out the drop ceiling above all the cabinets. He also took out a couple of shelves, the accordion doors of the pantry, and a panel above the fridge.

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It looks awesome, but there is disgusting peeling paint that needs to be dealt with soon!


We also lost a big chunk of the wall on Wednesday afternoon, haha.

I made a couple of free printables this week. Feel free to right-click and save them to your computer. I typically have them printed on cardstock at Staples, and they turn out really nice for my walls. I needed a little Thanksgiving reminder for this week!

Free Print: Always Be Thankful 

And another:



Free Print: Represent Him Well
This one I had posted before, but tweaked it a little bit since then.  It hangs next to our back door, as a reminder to be Jesus-like in our actions as we interact with people outside the house.


 
I have been meaning to share a final tally of what we grew in our garden this summer. I was waiting for all of the crops to be done before I posted—and we were still getting raspberries last week! Now that it’s terribly cold and snowy, I figure we aren’t getting anything else. :)

2581 raspberries!!
5 pumpkins (including one large, 22 pounder)
950 green beans
9 spaghetti squash
66 tomatoes (although most had been affected by some kind of blight)
27 zucchini
47 cucumbers
11 carrots
0 peppers—they never came up!
This was our very first garden, and I was going to be content if we only had one or two good vegetables. It came to the point in September where I had more green beans, cucumbers, and zucchini than I knew what to do with! I can’t wait to start again next May :)

Thanks for stopping by today. Hope your weekend is full of relaxation and hot chocolate! 

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Linking up for Friday Favorites with Andrea, Erika, & Narci.


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