Monthly Archives

October 2009

46 In Life/ Recipes

Pumpkins to Eat

Good Friday morning! Last year this time I was up to my eyeballs in Apple Butter {which I hope to be up to my eyeballs in again a little later this month}, but right now it’s Pumpkin Butter.

I had no idea that they only stocked canned pumpkin in the grocery store in the fall. Apparently they don’t consider October 23rd “the fall” because the manager told me, “it hasn’t come in for the season yet”. So, I was forced to make my pumpkin butter the ole fashioned way.

**Update: Apparently the manager was unaware of the nationwide pumpkin shortage. If you can find it canned, grab it up. Thanks, to those of you who informed me!**


Pumpkins are in the same family as Butternut Squash so I baked them just like I bake Butternuts, face down with 1/2″ of water at 350 for about an hour or until fork tender.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I adore my oven because it’s 2 ovens for the size {30″} and price of one.  Which means, while my pumpkins baked below my seeds could roast above.

For the seeds:

I picked them out and ran them under cool water in a collander. Then spread them over a baking sheet coated with 1 tablespoon of canola oil. And then seasoned them with freshly ground sea salt.

They roasted at 325 for 20 minutes, stirring after the first 10 minutes.

When they were done I patted the excess oil off on a paper towel and tried to keep my little fingers out of them. They are excellent by themselves or this is just a little serving suggestion {equal parts seeds, milk chocolate chips and dried cranberries}:

When the pumpkins were done, I spooned out all the tender flesh and blended it in the blender. 3 baking pumpkins yielded a whopping 68 ounces of pumpkin puree.


In the heaviest and largest pot I own {my pressure cooker without the pressure cooker parts} I added the pureed pumpkin, apple juice, sugar and all the yummy spices. I used this recipe and ended up using pumpkin pie spice + ground cloves. 

Early in the simmering/reducing process…


30 minutes later…

If you try this I suggest you stir the Pumpkin Butter constantly while simmering, otherwise it will splatter all over. The hardest part of the entire process was stirring for 30 minutes. I thought the time would never be up.

By the way, your entire house will smell DELIGHTFUL!!

Once the Pumpkin Butter has reduced and thickened you can can it… but you can’t really can it because the USDA doesn’t recommend “canning” pumpkin puree and since I don’t want to make any one sick, I decided to freeze it in these.



Of course, I couldn’t freeze it all… I stuck some in the frige for now! I had it this morning on a hot, buttered Bays and seriously thought “I could eat it every day and every meal.”

You should try it this weekend! It is so good and would be much faster if you can find canned pumpkin in your grocery store… but good luck, it’s only seasonal!

And… while I was doing this nothing was happening at my house, literally nothing.


Unless you count this as something…

I only can count it as “cute”!

And why children should never be allowed to make “earrings” out of Silly Putty.

Happy weekend friends! And thanks for your overwhelming interest in McBeach!! Miki should be getting back to all of you shortly!!

111 In Life

Here Goes…

The longer I wait to write about our vacation the harder it is for me to remember all the wonderful details… so here goes.

We were in PCB {Panama City Beach, FL}, and let me start by saying PCB ain’t what she used to be, I didn’t see a single airbrushed t-shirt! 🙂 As I mentioned before, we were delighted and honored to be the guests at McBeach, the super fabulous, very accommodating vacation home of Mic {whom I will also refer to as “Miki”} & Mac. They used to reside in the lovely beach house and now live on a pond… I’ll show you it too.

I don’t even really know where to start with this post, I have so many pictures and such wonderful memories, a little blog post certainly can’t be all encompassing, but I’m going to try anyway. If you don’t have a hot cup of coffee and some time, you may want to go get one and clear your schedule for a few minutes.


We’ve never stayed “ON” the beach before as a family. We went on a church retreat when I was pregnant with John Martin… 3rd trimester + beach retreat center does NOT count as “staying on the beach“. So this was a first for us and we were all in heaven. They loved every single minute of being just a few feet away from the biggest playground they’ve ever seen. I can’t tell you how many times Morgan told me she wished she lived there. October is a WONDERFUL time to go to the beach. The crowds are slim, the temperatures are down, and the gulf is still warm!

We experienced the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. They clearly were marked with the fingerprints of a creative God who loves us enough to display himself in such a glorious way.

It was so freeing to let the children run and dance with the sand between their toes.

Justin had to work some back at home so he spent a few nights away, here’s a picture Mom snapped of me and the kids, kinda looks like they adopted me.


 Speaking of Mom, we were delighted that she could be there with us and sad that DaddyBoy couldn’t get away from the corporate world to enjoy sun, sand, and grandkids.


MommaSis, Uncle Chance, and little Sloane were there too for a few days…
Erika’s not too sure about John Martin, Sloane’s not too sure herself, and well, quite frankly, I don’t blame either of them. He’s pictured here with a domino that I feel certain he thought would be best placed in Sloane’s throat.

Our time was full of “highs” so I’m going to try to hit them all, briefly, or I’ll be here all day.

The porch… oh, the porch, it’s 100% Rover-proof with splinter-free composite decking, child-proof gates, and a heated water hose to fill the  baby pool. The kids could have spent 100% of their time out there… that is, if it didn’t overlook the gulf and make them want to go there too! And bathing suits were optional… for the kids!


Morgan collected seashells {and seaglass for me because she knew it was my favorite} every time she had the chance:


She {like her sister & brother} went to bed late, got up early, & watched a lot of Nick Jr. {we don’t get it, I didn’t know it exsisted, they loved it, and I let them}.

Honestly, we could have stayed in the house and been perfectly content; it happened to be…





This was the view from our room:

With cool nights I never wanted to crawl out from under the WONDERFUL chenille bed spread & duvet… it was a wonderful combination. The chenille is so fun and it’s everywhere you look at McBeach. Miki ordered it from Linen Source & the cute printed pillows from Garnet Hill! Don’t invite us to your house if you don’t want us to check your tags! 🙂


The girls slept in the “Gulf View” bunk room and loved every minute of their slumber in the bunk beds!

We spent a lot of time playing at the shore jumping and splashing and watching dolphins as they did the same.


Every morning the sun would rise behind the pier and I would watch with a cup of coffee in hand.

Just north of the pier is Pier Park, a brand new shopping center development with great shopping and great food. We walked there on a few occasions and the kids loved it. We all had our first 5 Guys burgers and sat next to a blog stalker, hi Ashley!

We also had the pleasure of spending some time at Mic & Mac’s new home, they traded beach living for pond living.


It’s equally as fabulous as McBeach, in it’s own way.

Before I go any further… here they are, I like everything about this picture except the shirt he’s wearing:

John Martin thoroughly enjoyed his time with them.

Miki found suckers for all of them inside the belly of a BIG fish. Justin doesn’t look too sure, I wish I knew what Paige was saying. Probably something like “I’m never eating food again, I will only eat suckers as long as I live.”

While the kids drooled over their suckers, Mom, Erika & myself drooled over the new house… with good reason.


My kids always have the hardest time making themselves at home.


Miki really has a wonderful & creative eye. She had this chair cushion reupholstered in a vintage Florida tablecloth. I love it!

Not far from the fabulous chair is this fabulous vanity.

She also has a built in coffee maker that she never has to fill up… I’m trying to figure out what Justin would say if I suggested we rip a wall open in our kitchen to accommodate for it… I love it. Seriously, you add grounds and press “brew”. It’s programmable and allows you select 1 cup, 1/2 pot or a full pot. Don’t you want one too?!

These are their furry babies. Besty Bug…


And Mr. Whiskers


We had an absolutely wonderful time, it seemed to go by quickly, the girls and John Martin loved everything about the house, the beach, and the porch. We loved watching them explore new surroundings. Miki & Mac, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for opeing up your home to our family, it was certainly a vacation for the record books.

Several of you have inquired about where we were and if it is for rent. If you will email me {} I can put you in touch with Miki. They do not have it listed with a rental agency, however they do have a few weeks next summer when they will not be using it and would gladly rent it out if you’re interested. It is a very roomy house and will comfortably sleep 14 to 16 people. I even think it would be a great get away for 3 young families, as it’s all set up for small children with baby gates, enclosed “child-proof” porches, bunk beds, etc. The only thing I think we forgot to bring was a baby sitter so we could have adult evenings out at dinner, movies, etc! If you are looking for any other beach rentals, Melise at Harris Properties is one my advertisers, she too has a handful of wonderful rentals just down the shore in Gulf Shores. Melise agrees that October is a wonderful time for a beach vacation… the rates drop and so do the crowds!

Be back soon when I get to the bottom of my laundry pile!

30 In Life

All our bags are packed…

I imagine if it’s crisp down here on the Gulf Coast that you too are enjoying a change of seasons where you are! We have thoroughly enjoyed our little “getaway” and we reluctantly are packing the car.

I can’t wait to give a full report, in the meantime, here are a handful of highlights of our time here…

seashell hunting






justin toasts