Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Around here....

Hello. Thanks for hanging in here with me and my sporadic blogs posts over the last year.
It's been the kind of year that was so full and crazy that we lived it, tried to enjoy it, and at the same time just made it through. All this to say, I want to blog more, I want to be here, and I'll work on being here more. (probably saying this last bit more for myself than anyone else) *wink

The last four months went a little like this:

.Our third precious boy was born.
.I had a long recovery from my C-section.
.We drove to our hometown in Florida for my sister's wedding with our 3 week old.
.David and the twins caught the Flu on our last day traveling home.
.We had major car problems on our drive home, which long story short, resulted in trading in our current vehicle for a new one.
.Our 4 week old caught the Flu.
.Two trips to the ER because he was 4 weeks old.
.One of the above mentioned trips was spent in the NICU overnight.
.Everyone finally recovered.
.Still healing from my C-section.
.Our twins turned 6. What?!!!
.We celebrated with friends at the park and cupcakes at home.
.Trying to settle into life with a newborn again.
.Feeling like I was failing miserably and recognizing that things don't have to be perfect. Let it go!
.David and I made some decisions for our future.
.After looking for a new job, with a few interviews but no hires, since moving to Houston, we knew we needed to make some changes.
.His employment there had not turned out the way we expected when we moved to Houston.
.Deciding to move back to our hometown in Florida was a rough decision.
.We really liked Houston.
.Florida was not our plan.
.Sometimes plans need to change. Even if they feel like one of the hardest things you have to do.
.Our landlady let us out of our lease early.
.We had a clean house almost all the time because of potential showings.
.This was not easy with two 6 year olds and a newborn.
.The house was leased.
.My parents and youngest sister came to help us move.
.We would not have made it out of there without them.
.Loaded a U-HAUL and drove two days home.

(traveling. starting our second day. my three boys.)

.We are currently living with my very gracious (and wonderful, I might add) in-laws.
.Our new plan is to get on our feet again.
.David is still taking the BARR in July.
.He's currently looking for employment and had a 2nd interview with a company this morning.
.We are still settling in here.
.Being back is something I could have lived the rest of my life without but I do love being close to both our families again. That is something good.
.I'm looking for good everywhere because sometimes it still doesn't feel that way.
.I miss the busy-ness of Houston or city life in general.
.St. Augustine feels like home though.
.We are on the countdown for warm enough weather to make our first trip to the beach as a family of five.
.The twins can't wait. They love the ocean.
.That's all I've got for now.
.Thanks for hanging in here with me and my crazy blog writing.
.Sometimes it's easier to get out what I want to say if it's in a fragmented, small sentence, type form.

p.s. My baby is 4 months old today. I. Can. Not. Believe. It.
But I love him so very much.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Oh, Boy.

Liam Bennett arrived in December. He's precious, sweet, and has stolen our hearts.
I'm head over heels in love with this little man.

He has made our family even more wonderful.


I'll be back soon. Adjusting to life with three has been challenging and I'm still trying to find a good balance. Attempting to stay on top of select things around the house as well as caring for three boys has left little time for anything else. It also doesn't help that my emotions have been on a roller coaster, (as is likely to happen after having a baby), and I'm not quite back to feeling like myself. So, thanks for hanging in there with me.

Oh, and Simple October shop will be reopening with a few Valentine's Day goodies on Wednesday, February 5th.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Caramels for the Holidays

During the Holidays, I always think it's nice to give special treats to those you appreciate.
This week I went for my final haircut of 2013. Since I knew I wouldn't be back until sometime next year, I wanted to treat my stylist to something sweet.
Enter the Homemade Caramels.......they are so amazing!

You can find the recipe here at Inspired Taste. This is the same recipe I used for the baby shower I co-hosted at the beginning of this year. Only this time I chose not to dip them in chocolate. Instead, I wrapped each piece in a small bit of wax paper. Perfect! These caramels practically melt in your mouth.
All wrapped up and sitting pretty in a mint blue mug from Target. The red and white polka dot cozy is handmade to add a little extra charm.
It's so much fun to come up with little gifts to give. What are some of your favorite things to treat your friends?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mini Pumpkin Pies

Sharing my version of cooking a pumpkin, roasting the seeds, and my recipe for mini pumpkin pies.
Oh, how I love pumpkin!

Cooking a Pie Pumpkin from the grocery store:

Wash your pumpkin and dry. Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds and extra string-y-ness.
Wrap each half with foil, just like you would for a baked potato. Cook in a 350 - 375 degree oven for about an hour. Remove pumpkin from the oven and let cool enough to handle. Scrape out the soft, cooked pumpkin with a spoon and mash with a fork on a plate, or pulse through a food processor until it's the consistency you desire.

Roasting Pumpkin Seeds:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Separate the seeds from the stringy core. Rinse pumpkin seeds under running water. In a small saucepan, add the seeds to water, about 2 cups of water to every half cup of seeds. Add a tablespoon of salt for every cup of water. Bring to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.

Spread about a tablespoon of olive oil over the bottom of a four sided sheet pan. Spread the seeds out over the pan, all in one layer. If desired, sprinkle seeds with a little kosher salt to give them a little extra crunch. Bake on the top rack for 20 minutes or until the seeds begin to brown. When browned to your satisfaction, remove from oven and let the pan cool on a rack. Let the seeds cool all the way down before eating.

Mini Pumpkin Pies:

Crust recipe:
1 1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. plus 2 T. shortening
3 to 4 T. cold water

In a medium size bowl, mix flour and salt. Add shortening and cut in using a pastry blender until the mixture resembles crumbs. Stir in enough water to make a nice dough and mix just until incorporated. Scoop out 1/2 T. size balls of dough and press into mini muffin pan to create the mini crusts for the pies. Repeat until you run out of dough. Set aside.

Pumpkin Pie Filling:
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
3/4 c. pumpkin puree
1/2 c. plus 1/3 c. carnation sweetened condensed milk
1 egg

Whisk all ingredients together until nice and smooth. Pour into mini crusts and bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for 20 -25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool and enjoy with whipped cream or all by themselves.

*NOTE: If you wish to make a larger pie, double the filling recipe. I only make half when making the mini pies since you don't need as much for them. The crust recipe above will create one large pie crust.