Recipe || Pumpkin Spiced Cookies

Fall is full of flavors in our home, most of them orange and pumpkin-y in character; so, it’s only a matter of time before something predictably spicy accompanies that seasonal delight. My lovely friend, who shares my affinity for all things autumn and edible, first introduced me to these little bites of goodness and I have made them and subsequently devoured them, more times then I care to admit to since that day. They are soft , fluffy, cakey in texture and delightfully spicy- making them a dangerously delicious combination in the holiday cookie department. You’ve been warned-now grab your apron, channel Martha, and lets bake!

~Pumpkin Spiced Cookies~

1 cup sugar

½ cup butter softened

3 eggs

1 ½ cups of canned pumpkin

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups flour

4tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

4 tsp of pumpkin pie spice

~Cinnamon Nutmeg Cream Cheese Frosting~

4 cups confectioners’ sugar

½ cup butter softened

¼ cup vegetable shortening

8 oz. of cream cheese at room temperature

3 tsp pure vanilla

1tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

Frosting Instructions

  1. In stand mixer, with whisk attachment, cream the butter, shortening, cream cheese, vanilla until fluffy and blended
  2. Add the cinnamon and nutmeg
  3. Gradually incorporate the powder sugar until everything is blended, smooth, and fluffy

  1. In stand mixer, with paddle attachment, combine sugar and butter until creamed and fluffy.
  2. Add eggs, vanilla, and pumpkin, mix thoroughly
  3. Sift flour, powder, salt and pumpkin spices together and fold into wet batter
  4. Mix on low speed until well blended
  5. Pipe batter into equal portions or drop cookie dollops onto the baking sheet (I like to use parchment paper or a silpat mat to prevent sticking and help with an even bake)
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 12minutes
  7. Remove cookies from pan to cooling rack
  8. Once completely cooled, frost tops liberally by either piping the buttercream onto the cookies or slathering them generously with a spatula. They taste scrumptious regardless~trust me!

 

 

 

 

Happy 1st Birthday my boy…

My darling dimpled boy, I can hardly believe you are a year old! It simultaneously feels as though you have been here always, in every moment of our memories, and equally as though you have not been with us long enough. 
One year. One entire year. So many days, months, years were you prayed for, yearned for, hoped for; and how long those years felt while we waited for the answer. Then, suddenly as we were accepting the path of infertility after years of battling that diagnoses, you happened. You my sweet angel boy were given to us in a time when we never expected to be gifted-at the end of surrender and the beginning of a new dream you came. And now, as I type this with tear filled eyes, I’m reminded of His love for us, His perfect timing, His faithfulness. When I look into your grace filled face, hold you in my arms, and kiss your squishy little cheeks my heart is full.


  For one whole year you have brightened your dada and mamas days, bringing sunshine to the PNW with your contagious smile. Always the analyst, you are a observer of people and I’ve witnessed you both charm and intimidate your acquaintances instantly upon entering a room. You are brave and adventurous, a lil mischievous, and a lot cute. The only thing you are consistently afraid of is the vacuum, although you have no trouble playing with and subsequently hiding all the attachments when it’s off (which I believe is some sort of retaliation for the offense it first committed to you).

You are my best adventure buddy and generally share my enthusiasm for our outings, be it to Target for the 100th time or the children’s museum, you chatter with me and oblige yourself to my shenanigans. However, let it be noted, you also share our fondness for routine and the comforts of home; a quality I must admit I’m glad you delight in. 
Although you are ever on move these days, you are always a fan of snuggles. You will cross a room to be in your dads arms and more times then I can count have volunteered to be held over exploration and freedom. I sincerely hope you never lose this affection for others my love, it does both you and all those who participate such good. 
My do you have a voice. I love that you are opinionated. While that’s challenging and a test of my patience at times, our job is to lead you, love you, train you, and I don’t want to break that in you. You are designed to participate in this world, and your voice means something. Learn to be humble in your approach, but know your mind. Stand for something or you will fall for anything. 

Chicken is your favorite food, followed closely by berries, and broccoli. Taking drinks from the ‘big cup’ is a treat and you like to stalk us for sips and bites. Dory is often found in our house, Pooh Bear is your bestie, and outside is one of your favorite places to be. Dads arrival home every evening is easily the highlight of your day and moms good for those spontaneous cuddle sessions when he’s not around;). We often find you “reading” books in your teepee or strolling through the house narrating your movements from room to room. While you generally sleep 12 hr stretches every night, you would prefer it not be in your crib, but rather in our arms, a yearning that’s proved hard to resist #cosleepnosleep. Anything to do with water draws you, probably because you’ve picked up the affinity from so much dory, I’ve no doubt that you will be our lil fish one day soon. Changing your clothes is like wrestling an alligator down in the bayou(based solely on my observation from swamp people), you would prefer to run around half clothed 24/7 like a lil baby mowgli. You hair is blonde with a subtle red tint, ode to the Irish in ya, and forms the most perfect kewpie curls just like your dads used to. Your sparkly blue eyes and toothy grin get me every time, and I have a camera roll full to prove it. 
How treasured you are to all that know and love you, and oh let me tell ya darlin, you are loved. You have an entire country filled of family that love you, prayed for you, and subscribe to the happenings of your life. You have so many people in your corner, never feel alone. 
As this chapter of infancy closes and we move forward to a new season Know this, my boy: countless times this year I have whispered up prayers to the Lord to thank Him. To thank Him for choosing me to be your mama. To thank Him that He made us into a family. To thank Him that you are our little. Thankful. That’s how I feel today. Thankful and blessed. Blessed by my Asher boy. 


Happy 1st Birthday, my Asher Lee. I love you forever and always. 

Mommy

Recipe || spiced pumpkin bread 

When the crisp fall air descends upon us, and the calendar gives way to the autumnal days of September, the loaf pans and pumpkin spices make their grand entrance round here. The mixer is humming and the babe is at my feet, giving these sweet days all the more tender feelings then the years before.

I can almost imagine myself in a little white farmhouse, set perfectly among the rolling prairie. Chickens clucking in the yard, orange and red foliage waving blissfully in the breeze outside my window, while the wood floors beneath my feet creek from age and the changing temperatures; scents of fall filling the space within… Dreams made up almost entirely of Chip and JoJo’s Fixer Upper’s and my southern upbringing; dreams that will remain thoughtful imaginings for now.

Luckily, my tastbuds need not only consider the flavors of fall, but get to participate in a full on sampling, beginning with the traditional loaf of pumpkin bread. This recipe has quickly become a family favorite and may I venture to say, is a no fail. Its moist, and ever so pleasing to the palate, topped with a delightful crumble, and seasoned with the most perfect proportion of spices. If you lovelies are craving the flavors of fall, this little ensemble will deliver. Disclaimer: best enjoyed with loved ones and a cuppa-something warm.

~Spiced Pumpkin Bread~

1-15oz can of pumpkin puree

4 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

2/3 cup water

3 cups white sugar

3 ½ cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 ½ tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cloves

½ tsp ginger

{or 1 tbl pumpkin pie spice}

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees, butter and flour loaf pans or muffin tin. {I like to use the jumbo muffin pan and have large, bakery style muffins-they make quite the lovely presentation}

Mix together all wet ingredients until well blended

Separately, whisk together all dry ingredients

Gradually incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet until it is mixed together thoroughly

{at this point, you may add nuts, or chocolate chips if you desire ½ – 1cup usually suffices}

Transfer batter into prepared pans

Crumb topping:

1 ¼ cup flour

¼ cup white sugar

¼ cup instant oats

½ cup brown sugar {you can substitute one pck of instant maple and brown sugar oatmeal here if you like}

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

½ cup melted butter

Pulse all ingredients in food processor and distribute crumble evenly over wet mixture in loaf pans

Bake for approximately 45-50 min, or until bread has risen and is cooked through

Remove from oven and let sit for 10min, before removing from pan to rack

Enjoy while the scent is fresh and the bread is warm; preferably with a pad of melting butter smeared generously over the top. Happy Baking!

 

 

seasons of lovely

All the fall things….

It’s finally here, the loveliest, most darling season of them all…fall!

I get positively giddy at the word. For me the season represents all the beautiful things; crisp, delightful, scrumptious, cozy things!

Working at a farm, more specifically this time of year, a bountiful pumpkin patch, the spirit of autumn is not in short supply, my coworkers are equally as ecstatic, and my friends have come to appreciate my passion, if they did not already possess their own zeal from the beginning of our acquaintance.

At home, we all look forward to the shift in mentality that the season ushers in. The busy summer period is shelfed and logged in our memories, as our hearts and minds make the transition to a softer, more comfortable time of the year. Evenings at home again become the “new normal” and an appreciation for all things ordinary and simple is revived. A hot beverage is usually close at hand, and something drool-worthy is always baking or bubbling away on the stovetop, tempting our senses.

Most of our moments are unplanned this time of year, as that seems to be what we all desire, a slowing in pace and less restrictive schedule to just take time and “be”. However, while not knowing has it charms, there is always a list of autumnal delights that we plan to enjoy together while the season beckons for our participation; and this year we will add a few more bit & pieces to our traditions as our little man begins his exploration of the fall things.

~Autumn Delights~

drink one-let’s be honest, several-pumpkin spice lattes

mums for the entry

collecting pumpkins of all temperaments

gather a spectrum of leaves on our breezy evening walks

skip rocks by the river

apple picking in an orchard

shadow puppets by the light of candles

pumpkin scented candles everywhere!

Cider sip’n

play in the crispy fall leaves together

loaves, upon loaves of warm pumpkin bread

get lost in a corn maze

cozy blanket cuddles and warm sips

multiple trips to mama’s farm

seasonal viewings of You’ve Got Mail-The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown-& now Winnie the Pooh’s Blustery Day

pumpkin patch pick’n

get sticky fingers with fresh, gooey caramel apples

splash in a puddle

make many a dutch oven delight

craft a hand turkey of little man’s tiny dimpled fingers

roast pumpkin seeds

try new recipes with farm to table squash

re-enter the world of Hogwarts and all things Harry

football and fan moments

reading in bubba’s teepee

boo at the zoo

bonfires and smores

facetiming with those far-away

putting our phones down and recording these sweet days and happy bits of togetherness in our hearts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

through the eyes of my little

learning through the eyes of my little:

There is still magic in the world

The ordinary is extraordinary

Find wonder in the simple things

Discovery awaits

Curiosity leads to adventure

Routine is a comfort

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again

Never hide who you are

Playing is learning

Time spent with the ones you love is never a waste

Human touch is healing

Embrace messy moments

Love is expressed in the sparkle of your eyes

Two hearts can beat as one

Time doesn’t stand still

Words and actions are equally as important

Always look for the best in people

Trust isn’t instantaneous

and it’s always better to know more then you say; think more then you speak; and notice more then you realize

 ~I am so very thankful I get to be both your teacher and student my little man cub, you are the very best everyday adventure partner my darling and I am appreciative of your lessons~

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tribe Wars 

It takes a village. At least that’s what we’ve been told. One usually hears the phrase uttered at, or by, an exhausted mom in the throes of child rearing. Personally, I must admit the words have never held an endearing attribute to me. In fact, they tend to resemble the familiar ambiance of the expression “bless your heart”, uttered by a slick southern tongue and followed with a gentle, but judgmental head nod at the end. Let’s just say, I never feel “blessed”, and the village is never there when I need them.

A typical day in the village looks something like this; your morning starts uneventfully enough, coffee is brewed and served with a side of steaming hot guilt, the comparison game begins, Suzy Q down the street becomes your new family life expert, books are being ordered, outfits are being staged, and every parenting decision you have made up until now is brought into question. Discouraged and paralyzed you seek advice from the village at large and find your method to be antiquated, trending societal norms begin to come to mind, out of fear and exhaustion we think, “if everyone else is doing it”, and then fall into bed making resolutions that we have no plans to keep, all because the “village” thinks it’s best. I know, because I’ve been there. Now, having arrived at the outskirts of town, I’m here to say: I’ve seen the village and I don’t want them raising my child.

The word village, has such a disconnected and cold feeling to me. More situational and fluid, when what we long for is something communal. Particularly in today’s society, where everything is permissible and parenting is an adjective more often than a verb, I’m looking for expectations, standards, and common goals. What I desire as a parent is a framework to build within, not a prism dependent on time, place, and situation, but how can we create that if we are constantly rocking with the ebbs and flows of the latest village trend? Well, we can’t. Plain and simple.

This realization was a turning point for me. An “ahah!” moment in the vast sea of mom firsts. At this point, I was teetering on the edge of self-doubt; so, I took a deep breath and jumped in head first armed with a thing called instincts. You may have heard of this, it’s what our mothers, grandmothers, and the women before them used to raise children, turns out they can be quite handy. Choosing to believe in myself was an empowering step. I know my child best, and I know myself best, so where better to start molding one’s parenting style then with the clay itself. A weight was lifted. Decisions were made. The day continued and nobody died. We “survived” is frequently the end cap accomplishment for the day. Yes, I regularly reevaluate my decisions, brainstorm, implement new methods, scrap the plan entirely, but I consider that growth now, not failure and for the days that I’m not feeling so Pollyanna-ish I have my tribe.

Now, that might not sound too different from the aforementioned village, but to me it has an entirely different vibe. MY tribe consist of family, friends, community, people that are in our life by choice because they belong there. That doesn’t mean I’m exclusive to a “members only” policy, I’m always eager to welcome another into the clan, initiation ceremony and all, it just means I’m careful with the people I welcome into our space. There’s no doubt about it. Motherhood is draining, it’s physically, mentally, and emotionally more exhausting then anything I’ve ever done in my life and I’m just at the beginnings of this journey. But that’s where my support team, my tribe, my band of mothers, if you will, step in. When my momma heart needs a rest (or defibrillator depending on the day), that’s when I call on my tribe. It’s a phone call, a text, a long walk, a cuppa warmth, a heart post, an insta-feed, it’s a gentle word or a kick-in-the-pants, they always know my need. When I’m yearning for encouragement, relation, a little nugget of honesty-dare I say, authenticity even- I seek out my people. A community of common hearts. Truth speakers. Beautiful souls. A tangible picture of His love. A blessing in my every day. They are my tribe. I need them. As cliché as it sounds, you need them too. Find your tribe and love them hard.

a letter to my little

IMG_3433.JPG

To our darling blessing,

you should know by now that you are the apple of my eye, the smile in my day, the laughter in my heart. you were prayed for, anticipated, and desired far beyond anything in my life ever has been and yet I feel as though I can’t remember a time without you. memories of these early days with you will forever be etched upon the pages of our story and I desire to soak up every silly second. your sweet dimpled fingers, eager eyes, and delighted smiles captivate me every time, never fails.

everyday I see you soak up the surroundings of our life, the people, the places, the things we encounter and while I’m excited to watch you learn and grow, my momma heart wants to keep you my little squish forever. the stages arrive and depart all too quickly and I often feel I’m scrabbling to keep up, a sensation I don’t see passing with time, but rather amplifying with each milestone. as you grow, there are a few things I hope you glean from your father and I, if not by our example, for we are far from perfect, by our admonition.

always, always, always choose kindness. it won’t be easy, but the world needs more of it and we must all make a choice between what is right and what is easy. I hope that you learn relationships are far more important then things, and that the ability to empathize with another human being is one of the greatest gifts and comforts. ambition is what you will need to make a difference, but never doubt your heart, do what you love and have passion for it. be hopeful and show courage my boy, for the power of creation is in you. don’t be discouraged in difficult times, but rather tell your mountain about your God. work hard, but play harder, life is meant to be joyful. live humbly. “speak softly and carry a big stick”. know that forgiveness is not weakness, but rather freedom to love. hold those you cherish close to you, linger on the couch, and cancel your evening plans to be in their presence. never hold back your affection for the ones you love, respect your wife, and remember chivalry is not dead. and finally, most importantly, seek a relationship with your maker, because your faith in Him is foremost in creating any life worth living.

never settle. never give up. never grow up, not really my love. never lose your child-like wonder, your enthusiasm for adventure, and your joy for life. don’t just fly darling, spread your wings and soar!

Your first love,

Mom

 Follow my blog with Bloglovin