The big girls were super excited to give her that big stash of gifts pictured above. They are all things they made her and have been working on for days! We came into the room singing “Happy Birthday,” while carrying her tray full of goodies, the big girls had a stack of presents in their arms, Ben videotaping Soul’s excitement, and Glow eyeing the breakfast on the tray. Soul’s moment had finally arrived and she was basking in all the love and attention.
The first thing she wanted to do was open presents. She opened the two Ben and I got her first; we got her some cute cat ballet flats from Old Navy (she doesn’t want to get them dirty so she doesn’t want to wear them out of the house) and we got her this wooden make-up set. Oh my goodness. From that moment, that make-up set has been stuck to her like glue. You will often see her pretending to put nail polish, blush, and lipstick! Ben is a bit uncomfortable with her obsession with makeup, but what can you do?! This is just one really girly girl! Then she proceeded to open the presents from her sisters (there are a lot!) and they are all the cutest things ever. They made her more “make-up” gifts! I think all their gifts and creativity deserve its own post. They take such pride in creating the perfect things for each other. I didn’t even know what they had made until Soul was opening them up!
All the girls did get to have the French toasts I made for everyone, but then we had to hurry up and skedaddle and send the big girls off to school. Soulie got to be queen for the day, and pretty much what she wanted to do, we did. I gave her a little spa treatment with a hand and foot massage and scrub, then proceeded to do her nails. Ben doesn’t allow the girls to wear nail polish at this age (it’s his preference), so it was a big deal that she got to do it for her birthday. It was one of her requests, so for her birthday, he obliged. She was loving that manicure and pedicure time! Afterwards, she relaxed in bed and watched her favorite show.
Before the big girls came home, I took Soul on a special froyo date and we had some sweet one on one time. It’s so special to be able to share some quiet moments with her one on one. It’s hard when you’re in the middle because she’s always had to share me. She is definitely the feisty one, but she’s still got a whole lot of sweet in her too, so I’m glad that we got to do a little celebrating of her that day.
Her birthday celebrating continued into the evening, filled with more girlishness and Soulie celebrating…
Week 12/9 – 12/13
Tuesday: Crab cakes
Wednesday: Ben’s birthday dinner
Thursday: Black Bean Soup
Friday: Sushi/pizza night
It’s been cold and soups (and spicy things) are all I’ve been craving. If you have a yummy, spicy soup to share, please do!
lightened up, but still delicious
Ingredients for the pie crust (adapted from this recipe):
1 1/4 cups flour
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
4 – 6 tbsp ice water, may need more or less depending on the consistency of the dough
1 cup mixed sugar: 1/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup Splenda, 1/3 cup erythritol* OR 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup Splenda
1/2 cup Light Log Cabin pancake syrup
1 tbsp light molasses (use 2 tbsp if using 1/2 sugar & 1/2 Splenda mixture)
2/3 cup quick oats
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped pecans
*Erythritol is a granulated sugar substitute available at health stores.
To make the pie crust
1. Combine all the dry ingredients in a food processor and mix thoroughly. Slowly add in butter by pulsing. Add a tbsp of water a little bit at a time, pulsing between each addition. Pinch mixture together, if it sticks together, the dough is ready.
2. Pour out dough onto a clean work surface and lightly knead together. It may take a bit of work to get all the pieces together. Form the dough into a ball and wrap with a plastic wrap. Let it sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour (I threw mine in the freezer for 30 minutes).
3. On a clean, floured surface, roll out the ball of dough until 1/4″ thick and about a 14″ circle. Place pie tin upside down on the dough and cut out a circle approximately 1″ – 1 1/2″ wider than the circumference of the pie tin.
4. Lightly coat the pie tin with flour (or butter) to help prevent crust from sticking. Place the dough into the tin and gently press down until it is resting on the bottom and sides of the tin. Cut away any excess dough, and using a fork, press it all around to crimp the pie edges. I’m not an expert pie crust fluter (would that even be the right term?!), but it did the job, and this was a homemade pie after all!
If you aren’t up for making pie crust, you could also use a 9 inch unbaked, ready-made pie crust, and it comes out just as delicious.
5. Preheat the oven to 450°.
6. Combine all the pie filling ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Once it is completely combined, pour the filling into the unbaked pie crust.
7. Place in the hot oven, and immediately lower heat to 325°, and bake for about 55-60 minutes or until the center is set. I find determining when a pecan pie is done to be slightly tricky. You want the center to be jiggly and no longer runny. Give the pie a little tap, and if the center jiggles, take it out, and the pie will continue setting outside of the oven. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
I know some people are hesitant about Splenda, but it’s just another thing to have in moderation. Just like with most things anyway, right? Ben will share it as an option for some of his patients (he’s a dietitian), because for some people with diabetes, who still need to satisfy their sweet tooth craving, it’s a good alternative. I usually don’t like the taste of artificial sweeteners, but in this pie, I can’t taste it. Obviously, if you’re anti-artificial sweetener, then just use 1 cup of sugar for the recipe.
Nutritional information per 1/12th slice: Calories, 200; Fat: 10g; Cholesterol, 60mg; Sodium, 210mg; Protein, 3g; Carbohydrate, 24g; Fiber 1g; Sugars, 15g. Calories may vary slightly between pre-made and homemade crust.
Obviously, you still don’t want to eat the whole pie! But imagine what a regular pecan pie might be like! Lightened up or not, something like pecan pie is still a sometimes food, but I’ll never object to having it on Thanksgiving or Christmas. I have another ball of pie dough sitting in the freezer, so this pie may be getting made again soon.best smelling rose bush in my garden. 2) I love fresh flowers by my bedside. 3) The first camellia bloom of the season.
I’ve been sick these past few days (Ben even had to call out of work to stay home and keep the house running), so these images from a couple weeks ago are reminding me that things will turn rosy again soon! To see more instagram snippets, just follow along with me here.
We haven’t even started any Christmas decorating at all! The girls keep asking about it, but I’m thinking we probably won’t even be able to get to it until this weekend. We made this advent calendar last year, so we will probably use this version again this year. Honestly though, we’re really bad at keeping up with it. It looks cute up, but life happens and we end up skipping days. Anyone else like that about their advent calendar?