Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Best Blueberry Coffeecake Recipe

Sometimes you just gotta have coffeecake. And coffee. If you've been searching for the perfect recipe, look no further. You've found it! This coffeecake is light and spongy, not at all dry or coarse as some tend to be. And the crumb topping? Just makes it even perfect-er.  ;)

The original recipe comes from my beloved King Arthur Cookbook, which was a special wedding gift by a dear friend. Apparently I have been making this gem since 1999! (Do you "date and rate" your recipes? I always do, more for sentimentality than for actual informative reasons. I love looking through my books and seeing when I first made things that we love to eat, especially if I've cooked with one of the kids and they date and rate it. Makes it so special and meaningful when it's in their own handwriting. And I love the idea of them browsing through my books after I've left earth for heaven and seeing comments in my handwriting, much like I adore hand-written recipes from my own mother. Maybe nobody else thinks this way, but I do.)

Anyhoo. Onto that fab recipe...

The recipe is divided into two parts: the cake batter and the crumb topping

Coffeecake Batter
2 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp baking powder
dash salt
scant 3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla (less if using "real")
1/2 cup whole or 2% milk
2- 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 375F degrees.

In a medium to large mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar, egg and vanilla (not the milk yet!); in a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt together. Next, add the flour mixture and 1/2 cup milk alternately to the creamed mixture, ending with flour. You just want them blended so it doesn't take very long. Gently fold in the blueberries. **If using frozen, drain and dry them ahead of time unless you want purple-looking cake batter; mine is generally purple.  =)

Coat a 9-inch pie plate or baking dish with cooking spray or butter; pour cake batter into dish and prepare crumb topping.
Crumb Topping
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, softened

Using the same small bowl as before, blend together the flour, sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter with a fork or knife until mixture is crumbly. Gently cover the batter with the topping. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until edges are browned and cake tester comes out clean. Let cool before slicing and serving. Enjoy!

PLEASE NOTE: you can easily double this recipe and fill two separate baking dishes or one 13x9 dish. Cooking times may vary slightly so keep a close eye, as it may need slightly longer or slightly less time to finish baking. This is a terrific crowd-pleaser for brunch. This coffeecake also freezes well.

The original recipe calls this a blueberry buckle; I have adapted it slightly, and also refer to it as a coffeecake.

sharing with:

Monday, July 28, 2014

Project Minded...But Still Having Fun!

Oh my crazy goodness, have we been up to our eyeballs in projects this week! Remember those awful, ugly, nasty orange front steps? Gone. The ongoing dilemma/debate in finishing off the upper 4 inches of Isabelle's walls? Decided upon and fixed. That Goliath-sized rock wall garden in our front yard? Oh yeah, finito. Done, done and done. We solved the problem of too-narrow shelving in the upstairs linen closet with, literally, the easiest, quickest, and cheap fix ever. And I love it so much!

So with projects, summer life- you gotta have beach days and trips to the farmer's market and impromptu ice cream shop visits- and an insane amount of sewing, I am tuckered out. Smiling deliriously, but seriously tuckered. I don't have pictures of all our projects to share, or any recent ones, really, that are edited and ready to go, so I'm posting about a very special, fun day with my main squeeze. It was our last hurrah before the boys came home from camp, and Isabelle Katie had a sleepover with my parents. Aah, I love my children so, so much, but those little breaks are nice too. =)

We strolled around historic Portsmouth. Such a beautiful, picture-perfect day.
Then we sat here on this deck overlooking the water and enjoyed lunch. Right beyond that bridge is Maine, which we spent about ninety seconds in because we were in such deep conversation that we missed a turn. ha ha

I must get one or two of these glass bottles with the pop-off tops. I've seen them all over TJ Maxx and other home stores but was never that impressed with them...until I saw this little spread awaiting us. While I'm on the subject, those cobalt blue glasses made me a little weak in the knees, too.

More walking, strolling, and talking.
Without interruptions. Whoa.  ;)

One night when Isabelle was sleeping over at her other grandparent's house, we packed a picnic for our favorite park. So fun!

And now massive thunder clouds are rolling on in as the winds pick up. I heard there is a chance for a tornado. Ugh. An actual tornado ripped through a small town in Massachusetts this afternoon, destroying several buildings and homes. We aren't used to that up here, so that has me freaking out just a leetle bit. Okay, a lot. God is in control, God is in control....

Have a great week!  =)

Oh, and if you are interested in something from Rose & Ruffle, not to pressure you, but I will be taking some time off soon and won't be making more summer items. Just a heads up. Thank you as always for your support and patronage.(You can find the Rose & Ruffle blog here.)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Girls' Day...All Week Long!

I am always amazed at how different things feel when members of the family are missing. Our house was so quiet every single morning the week the boys were off at camp, I honestly didn't know what to do with myself! Isabelle Katie is my late sleeper, so I literally had every morning to myself until around 8 or 8:30.

The first few days were nice, but then it just got lonely. And kind of sad. I missed my boys!!!

One day after swim lessons we had a picnic date at the park. We don't eat much fast food, but for our special date, I let her get a Happy Meal. Oh joy. No, for real. You'd have thought she just won some huge prize, but really it was just a teeny tiny stuffed animal thing (who has slept beside her since that day!).

Several of our friends happened to be at the pool that day. Don't you just love it when things like that work out? Everyone had so much fun!

 I was picking up new thread and looked down and saw this. Totally my girl.  =)

Daddy took Isabelle on a date, too! But she probably had way more fun with him, because he takes her to get her nails done. She hadn't ever had a pedicure before, and she was SO excited to tell me about the lady slathering lotion on her feet and legs after they soaked, ha ha!

My Mom and I whisked her away for a special day later in the week. First we went to the farm to see goats, enormous pigs, and other farm animals, as well as this handsome fella. He was working really hard to impress the lady.

No, she didn't look terribly impressed to us, either.

I forget what it was called, but it had huge chunks of fudge and brownie batter swirls in it, and it was good! I had a small pistachio and it was so creamy and delicious. Yum!

Next we headed off to Newbury, NH to visit the summer estate home of John Hay (The Fells). Absolutely gorgeous.

Deep in thought constructing a fairy hut in the Fairy Village.

There is a post up on the Rose & Ruffle blog about some sewing projects. I focused mainly on the tunic top pictured on Isabelle above...the top that made me cry and nearly got kicked to the curb. I also wrote a little more about our day at The Fells. You can read about it here.

Have a great week! The temps are supposed to skyrocket again, so we'll be in the water somewhere for sure! Ahh, summer.  ;)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thinking, Planning, Dreaming

I was going to write about my Girl's Day with Isabelle and my Mom, and then maybe post that recipe for the blueberry coffeecake, but... my mind is seriously mushy after spending multiple hours this week researching curriculum guides, text book options, non-text book options, making school schedules, chore schedules, cooking schedules and all that craziness.

And well, the thing on my mind and heart at the moment is just this: what a beautiful opportunity I have to spend this time with my children.

I don't have to be perfect (never gonna happen anyway), I don't have to have the perfect outline or schedule or whatever. I can simply love my kids. I can invest in their hearts and minds. I can be there for them, as we work and play, but also as we navigate the community and world around us.

And I can be thankful for this amazing, challenging, life-changing opportunity.

And whatsoever ye do, be in it in word or deed,
do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
                                                                                                                             Colossians 3:17

I hope you are encouraged today, as I have been this whole week. Have a fun-filled, exciting, amazing day!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Another Fun Week of Summer

It's a rainy, muggy Tuesday here. I can feel my hair getting wider and bigger as I type. Lovely. Anyhoo, I'd better type fast because I promised chocolate chip pancakes this morning, and well, they don't just make themselves.  ;)

I had my two middle favorite adventurers out at the seacoast one day. These guys make me smile. 

We took a little detour on the way home so I could surprise them with a McFlurry, which is not the norm for us, and then I thought I remembered a shortcut. Which led me in the opposite direction about 5 miles before I even realized. And THEN I thought I could get back via a certain avenue, and no. Another 15 minutes out of the way. By this point, that big ol' iced tea I had was kicking in. We got laughing pretty hard over that one, and we fiiiinally made it home.  =)

Oh this. I forgot I'd been getting in some nice early morning walks. Not so much this past week.

I don't know why, but I get beyond happy to see my dog playing in the water. I literally squeal and call for him, clapping my hands and jumping up and down, probably to the extreme embarrassment of the people around me who may now be pretending they don't know me. Maybe it's because he used to be so scared of water, and it reminds me of how far he's come. Well, it's super fun to watch him whatever the reasoning.
Poor Ryder got in a tangle with an evil aggressive neighborhood dog a couple of weeks ago, and it was really bad. The vet said we were lucky because he was close to needing his tail amputated. Thankfully it has nearly all healed and he is no longer in pain. He's kind of messed up psychologically, though- he's even more nervous and frantic than before. Poor baby.

My classy gang. I love them more than words can even express.
Another splurge. Nah. Gift cards. Gotta love those gift cards.

Leave it to Jonah to find some critter wherever we go. We ventured far from home for one last hurrah before camp week. This is a Northern Pike, or something like that. Fish and things don't normally creep me out, but this guy screamed creepy. When he opened his mouth he looked like a cross between a platypus and a crocodile, and he had the body of an eel. Yuck.

These pictures look like they're from the same day. Nope. We spend a lot of time in the water when we're frazzled and crazy-hot. Sweet little ducks. There was a younger family that paraded through our area later on- they still had fuzz! So cute!

Sneakers knew something was up and kept his people close by all week long. As in, on my table and counter tops. Ugh. Gross.

Back at the ocean. My favorite place. Even though someone sat on my glasses. =)

Jonah found the teeniest sand dollar I've ever seen!

I referred to this as 'mercy laundry" on instagram. Last minute things that they just had to have with them at camp. I must say, I got away with something like two loads of laundry for The.Entire.Week. Wow!

A certain little someone was beyond excited to see a certain big someone again. Sigh.
Notice how he isn't hugging back (in front of friends) but he let her stay "attached" for several minutes before finally sending her on her way, back to me. =)

And now we are all under one roof again. That feels so good.

Here is a blueberry coffeecake that I have been making since I was a newlywed. About a hundred years ago. ha ha It's the best...I'll share the recipe soon!

Happy Tuesday!!

Monday, July 14, 2014

My Special Day of Fun with Caleb and Isabelle

Hey hey, how are you? I am thrilled to have my boys home from camp! Aaaannnnddd, I am behind yet again, even though I promised myself not to let weeks (months, years) lapse before posting about particular happenings in our life. About two weeks ago I grabbed my youngest two for a day full of animals and adventure at York's Wild Animal Kingdom and Amusement Park. I'd been on the fence about bringing Ethan and Jonah, but it worked out perfectly. This place really is suited to a younger crowd, in my opinion. As much as I still don't like doing things/going places without everyone, those older fellas were having a blast with their grandparents. Win win!

Okay, so here come about 100 photos of our fun day. You've been warned.  ;)

First things first, we wanted to see the butterfly habitat. Since they're usually muggy, we kind of wanted to get it out of the way before we got really hot, but it felt pretty cool and comfortable. And it is so, so pretty!

I love butterflies (posas, around our house). I could have stayed there longer, just looking and watching, but these two wanted to move.  =)

Okay, so by the time we got to the lions, we were A. sweating profusely; B. thirsty; C. a nameless person was getting a tad whiny/restless. This is the best photo I got. They were incredible- that big pussy cat of a lion was having a dream, SNORING, and twitching his ginormous paw. Priceless.

Mom fail. Totally forgot to bring some quarters. Thankfully, lots of food gets dropped on the ground so they scrounged up a few pellets to feed the deer.

I also love monkeys and lemurs. They are so fascinating to watch! Every kid (and grown-up too) kept calling these guys King Julian, ha. I may or may not have performed the famous professional whistler scene right there on the spot.

And here's Marty. =)

We had a cooler filled with lunch and drinks in the car, and thankfully the parking lot isn't far, so we recharged and then hit the amusement park. On a side note, if you're a NH resident, I highly recommend the Breathe Fun Pass if you enjoy things like this because Isabelle got in totally free.

Okay, so here is a lovely shot overlooking Short Sands in York, Maine. And then I nearly had a panic attack. Seriously.

Isabelle looks perfectly happy...

...and here I am, trying in vain to take a fun-loving selfie to send to my mister. If you want to torture me, put me on a ferris wheel. I'm not afraid of heights until I look down. And move up backwards. Yikes!

I snapped this one really quickly while we were near the ground. Caleb wanted to go on alone, so he is up in front of us.

My daredevil. He rode this thing at least five times.

I just have to add this so I will always remember: Caleb brought his own money just for the purpose of getting us a special treat while we were there. So thoughtful and kind! We had chocolate eclair bars and Isabelle chose a Hello Kitty popsicle thing. Which melted off the stick and plopped on the ground within minutes because she was too busy looking at everything instead of eating. ha ha

I don't know why this happened, but I'll cherish it forever. He looked over at her and smiled, and asked if she wanted him to hold her hand. Melt my heart.

Big Brother also came to the rescue on this little roller coaster. They were each sitting in their own car, but at the last minute- as in, having to get the guy's attention to stop it right after it began- she pleaded for Caleb to sit with her. I can see the nerves in her expression here.

But she got over it rather quickly. She rode solo on this about 100 times afterwards!

We had such a great day! We walked through some of the zoo again before heading out, and Caleb really, really wanted to ride on the paddle boats. But we couldn't. I was wearing a knee-length skirt because I don't own any shorts, and it was just not the kind of ride a grown woman should be on in a skirt. He didn't understand, and I felt so badly because he got terribly upset about it, and unfortunately we left in kind of a funk at that point. He has such a sweet soul- he apologized several times on the ride home because he didn't want that to ruin the fun we'd had. I was really proud of him. I guess I was mostly disappointed in myself because the reason I didn't have shorts is because I feel self-conscious in them. Boy, that probably sounds so dumb, but it's the truth. My self-consciousness cost me a precious time of fun with my little boy. And I regret that.

So I made myself a pair of shorts, and I've worn them a LOT.  =)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...