Jul 24, 2014

Blueberry Cinnamon Pie

You know how some people have a love language for gifts, touch, words, quality time, or service? Well, I'm pretty sure the love language in this house is pie. We love it and it makes us happy. We don't eat it too often (mostly for special occasions), but that just makes it even more special when we do get to enjoy pie.

The week before my husband left he bought blueberries to make our favorite blueberry pie. Only one thing led to another and he didn't get around to making it. (Let's just put the blame on the military for throwing a bone in that plan.) The morning of his departure, I saw the blueberries sitting there on the counter and I got pretty sad. Sad that he was leaving and sad that we wouldn't share our pie after all. So I decided right then and there, while he was scurrying around the house to pack his last-minute items, that I would make a pie.

Now, pie making is not my area of expertise—it's where my husband excels. He makes the most delicious, tender crusts all by hand and puts extra love and care into the filling. Love is essential when cooking and baking, by the way. But me? Besides making him lemon meringue pies (one came out in the form of soup) for his birthday occasionally, I stay away from pie-making.

But I needed that blueberry pie, and I especially needed it on that particular day. So I got out the cookbook, flipped to the flour-infused page for pies, got out a bowl and measuring cups, and started making a pie. I didn't get all fancy with the crust—Pillsbury is a-okay in my book (I convinced my husband to buy it during our last shopping trip, because I didn't want his hands tied up for too long making the crust/pie), so that eliminated one of my pie-baking fears.

When it came time for the filling, my husband let me in on his secret ingredient—the most delicious thing that sets his blueberry pie apart from any other I've ever tasted: cinnamon. He doesn't just add a dash or two. Nope, he adds heaps of it—maybe 2 Tablespoons heaping or more. And it makes it taste amazing. "Basically," he said, "When you think you've added enough, add a lot more." Done and done.

We decided to leave the house around 10:30 am that morning, and the pie was scheduled to come out of the oven at 10:15 am. Once I did the math and realized he wouldn't be able to enjoy any of it, I was crushed. He loves pie and had I made it earlier in the morning or even the night before, he could've taken some with him. Unfortunately (or fortunately in my case), there wasn't enough time for it to cool, so we left the house with the pie still bubbling thickly on the counter.

By the time I came home a few hours later, the pie had cooled and left a nice aroma in the air—a welcome treat when coming back to an empty house. In all honesty, I forgot about the pie that night (actually, it's because I gorged myself on delivery pizza and didn't have room for a single bite of dessert), but it called to me the next morning. I promptly took a fork out of the drawer and dug in for breakfast. No need for plates since that sucker was all mine!

The pie lasted a little more than a week and each bite tasted better than the last. I'm 100 percent positive that's the first time I've ever eaten an entire pie by myself (nope, I didn't even give a bite to Julia—what a horrible mom I am). 

Here's the recipe, by the way, so you can indulge in this yourself:

Blueberry Cinnamon Pie
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

2 pie crusts
5 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 (heaping) tablespoons, cinnamon
melted butter or milk (optional) 
cinnamon sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Place first pie crust in your pie plate; trim pie crust, if needed, to the edge of the plate. In a large bowl, combine blueberries, sugar, flour, cornstarch and cinnamon. Stir the berries until everything is completely coated. Mash a few berries to get their juices flowing. Dump blueberries into the pie plate. Transfer remaining crust and cover berries, cutting out shapes or slits for air to flow through. (Optional: brush crust with milk or melted butter, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.) Bake for 30 minutes or until filling is bubbling and the top is golden. Wait for it to cool before you eat it. Seriously, wait. Otherwise you'll burn your mouth and then you'll be sad.

Jul 21, 2014

Want, Need, MUST Have {July}

You guys, I just typed "May" in the title, and when I realized it's actually past the middle of July, I kinda freaked out that I lost my mind. I'm glad I fixed it—talk about embarrassing!

This month's must-have post is a bit smaller than usual, but still awesome, nonetheless. My sponsors love traveling and their kids, which are two things right up my alley. Every girl needs an awesome travel piece and every mom needs a Sophie in her life (am I right or am I right?)!

1. A Vera Bradley rolling suitcase! With all the trips planned, this thing is just the ticket to my packing woes! It's got wheels and it's stylish! {Megan from History and Hockey Sticks}

2. I saw this dress floating around Pinterest and now it's all I can think about. It looks incredibly flattering and I love the colors. Totally smitten with it. {Me}

3. I NEED Sophie the Giraffe. I got confused and ordered the double ring Sophie and it is just not the same! And maybe a nipple shield-teething and nursing is NO JOKE! I have never had bleeding nipples before! {Alyson from Port and Starboard Monogram}

What are you crushing on and must-have this month?

Want to be part of this must-have feature next month? 

Jul 18, 2014

The Blogmopolitan Quiz!

This morning I actually got up a little early and had grand plans to blog about surviving our first week alone, including cute pictures of the little one. (Thanks a million for all your comments and emails regarding my husband's deployment. It means a heck of a lot to me!) But instead of blogging, I decided to make blueberry mint lemonade instead. Best decision ever, because it's DELICIOUS and will be perfect in the sweltering Georgia heat. We're currently experiencing a "cool front" right now, but the humidity should be back tomorrow. At least I'll have some tasty lemonade to get me through the afternoon slump.

Anywho, I'm excited about today's post, because I've been wanting to participate in this for awhile, but I always drop the ball and forget about it. Erin over at Two Thirds Hazel put together a little blogging quiz that was fun to fill out. I actually started working on it on my computer, but got frustrated figuring out font sizes and stuff, so I just printed it out, used my own chicken scratch, and then scanned it back in. With that said, I apologize if you can't understand my writing; I can barely decipher it these days. I should really write more. (Note to self: send some real letters and work on your penmanship.)

Speaking of chicken scratch, here ya go! (I'm pretty sure it'll enlarge if you click on it. Also, shoot, the scanner cut off some of the words on the right. My bad. They should say "seriously," "apart," and "the".)

Want to fill out your own quiz? Download it here and play along over at Two Thirds Hazel!

Jul 14, 2014

So Long, Farewell, See Ya Later

Well hello there, Monday! I for one am happy today is Monday. It means that we not only survived the weekend, but that we're one week closer to this deployment ending.

Oh yeah...the deployment. I wasn't planning on writing this post for another few weeks, but the military had other (very last minute) plans for us. We knew my husband would be leaving at the end of the month, so we were preparing for that. There was a to-do list with items being crossed off every day, there was a weekend trip away for the holiday weekend, and mentally, we started preparing ourselves for our inevitable time away.

But then my husband said there'd be a chance he may have to leave early. He insisted that it probably wouldn't happen, but I knew better. I quickly revised the to-do list and moved higher priority items to the top, and we kicked things into high gear, just in case he was called up two weeks early (the newly proposed timeline). With two weeks to spare, we started making plans for the weekend and even planned a date night. Silly, silly us.

A few days after he told me about the early possibility, I got a text asking me to call his office. I called and he told me he was slated to leave in 48 hours. I almost laughed and asked if he was kidding, but then I remembered a very solid rule in our house: never joke about deployments. So, with that bit of knowledge, I told him okay (it's not like whining or protesting it would change anything) and held back the tears. He told me he was sorry and that he loved me, and that's where I lost it and let the tears fall.

He wrapped up the call and said he'd be home soon, but he had to finish a lot of things at work. All in all, he ended up spending around eight hours between that day and the next getting prepped for the deployment. We knew he'd leave sooner rather than later, and since I was already prepared for him to leave anyway, I figured I'd be okay with it...and I was, until the two-day notice popped up.

Bella totally has a sixth puppy sense for when he's leaving.

Two days isn't much time to get things in order. When he was home, he was scurrying around packing, finishing some last-minute things around the house, and spending as much time with Julia as he could. On the bright side, he left before the dreaded pre-deployment arguments and fighting could occur. On the downside: he left the house a mess. We usually put all of his crap away so I'm not reminded of him with every step I take, but he left so quickly that cleaning up didn't happen. Blergh.

This is our sixth deployment and, as always, the lead-up to him leaving and the day of is always the toughest part for me. Looking back on it, I'm actually thankful for the 48-hour notice, because it let me rip that band-aid right off. Do I wish this upon anyone else? Absolutely not, and I would absolutely rather have him home with me right now. But like I said, we knew this deployment was coming. I think that's the difference between this time around and our last short-notice deployment.

Minutes before we said our goodbyes. I'm so thankful she's young enough to not really process what's going on.

So now that he's gone, Julia and I are figuring out our new normal. This separation won't be as long as the last time, so I feel like we have a pretty good handle on the time. I dug out my planner this morning and filled it up as best I could. My mom is also coming out here in August, and then I'm going home to visit for a couple weeks in September/October. Technology is basically the best thing in the world, since we've already been able to FaceTime with my husband a couple times.

That's what's going on over here. Sorry for the silence lately, but I was spending more time with my family than on the blog (not that I need to apologize for that). I can't promise posts will be back up to par in the coming weeks, mostly because chasing a toddler all day drains my brain cells at night and all I want to do is watch The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family, but I did add blogging to my schedule, just to keep me accountable. Writing has always been my outlet, so I need to make time for it.

Are you going through a deployment right now or have tips for making it through the next several months with a toddler?! I'd love to connect with you in the comments below!