Tuesday, September 16

{Fresh} Peaches & Cream Dessert

I realize this may be a little late in the season for some of you, and I apologize.  These last six weeks have been busy with potty training, swimming, school starting, you know.....LIFE.  Quite honestly, I took the pictures when I made this dessert the last time and then I got busy with back to school and her party and I just forgot.

If you still have access to some fresh peaches (or nectartines--I've made it with both and it is yum both ways!), you won't be dissapointed.  My family (immediate and extended) gave it rave reviews--which, let's face it, if they won't be honest with you, then who will?

It is perfect for the hot summer day when dessert is in order, but baking something is not.  Which is how this recipe came about--I searched the internet high and low and couldn't find something that suited my fancy because:

1.  I wanted to make a fresh peach dessert, because I had several sitting on my counter that needed to be used.  
2.  It was 90+ degrees all week and I SO was not turning on my oven.
3.  A hot dessert in 90+ degree heat does not sound appetizing.  AT ALL.

So, what's a girl to do?  Blend about five different recipes together until it suits her purposes, that's what. 


{Fresh} Peaches & Cream Dessert


2 cups finely ground graham crackers (I used about 1 1/2 sleeves of graham crackers and used my food processor to grind them up)
1/3 cup of melted butter

Mix together graham crackers and melted butter until evenly coated.  Firmly press mixture into a 9x13 glass dish or pie plate (and as I was editing my photos, I realized that a pie plate would have made an even prettier presentation. Duh, Jackie!)


Whipped Cream~

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2-3 tbsp real maple syrup (you can use powdered sugar to taste as well)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp unflavored gelatin
2 tbsp water

In a small bowl, mix together the water and gelatin.  Let sit for about five minutes.  This will allow the gelatin to "bloom."  In a separate mixing bowl, mix together the whipping cream, maple syrup or powder sugar, and vanilla extract until soft peaks start to form.  Stop mixing and test your gelatin.  It should have bloomed, but it will probably be pretty firm.  Microwave it at 5 second intervals until it softens and becomes liquid (this shouldn't take more than 5-10 seconds).  If it becomes hot, stir it until it cools to room temperature.  Start beating your cream again and when it is nearly finished, pour in the gelatin liquid while the beaters are beating the cream, so the gelatin becomes fully incorporated. 

Please know that you can substitute in a container of cool whip if blooming and whipping so isn't your style.  Just proceed with the next stepsJust sayin.

Cream Cheese Mixture~

8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
3-4 tbsp real maple syrup (again, you can use powdered sugar instead)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream together the cream cheese, syrup and vanilla extract until mixture is creamy and incorporated.  Once it is fully mixed, fold in the whipped cream mixture to the cream cheese mixture until combined.   Spread evenly over the refrigerated crust and refrigerate about 2 hours or until completely firm. 

Peach Layer:

4-5 peaches or nectarines

Pit and slice peaches or nectarines and arrange in layers on top of the cream cheese layer.  You may serve immediately or if you need to refriderate, I would suggest adding the lemon glaze on top.  It makes it look all pretty and glossy and the lemon helps the peaches to not brown and get all icky looking. 

Lemon Glaze:

1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon

Mix together in a small sauce pan over medium heat, stirring often.  Sugar will dissolve and mixture will became thick.  Once the mixture can coat the back of a spoon, remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.  Using a pastry brush or silicone brush, coat the peaches with the lemon glaze. 

Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Serves 8-12. 


Sunday, September 14

Surprise Visit

We had a surprise visitor this last week.

Well, "we" technically didn't, my parents did.  My sister was able to visit for the Peanut's birthday!  She hasn't been home in nearly two years and her sweet husband made all the arrangements so she could make a visit home.  It was such a special treat!  

They are hoping to move home next spring {sound familiar?} and we are praying that that be the case.  It was such a fun visit for the whole family.  It was super good times and super good food (thanks, Mom!). 

She got to love on my kids, so that was extra special as well.  We miss them so, and my kids miss their auntie and uncle so, so much! 

I am very hopeful that we are all blessed with their opportunity to move home in the next six {or so??!?} months.

Saturday, September 13

Six Years

Somehow she is six years old.

I just can't even.

And now, because she is in school, I don't even have the privilege of spending all her birthday with her any more.

I tried to match her gift wrap in the pink/black theme of the pirate party, but I also kept it in true {My} Favorite Things fashion and some of her presents were brown paper packages tied up with string.


To quote my husband, "You are such a nerd."

Yep.  Indeed I am!

She was a busy girl on her birthday with waking up bright and early for school and then coming home to open presents from Mommy, Daddy and her brother, then off to a BBQ at Grandma and Grandpa's.   She had a fun filled day to be sure.

We sprung for a cute, girly Chargers hat so she could be an athletic supporter (name that movie!) like her Daddy and brother.
I'd say she liked it.

'Cause I know her daddy was proud.

Happy 6th Birthday, my dear, sweet girl. 

Thursday, September 11

Girly Pirate Birthday!

Yep, because that's my girl.  She's the girl who would gladly play in the dirt.....while in dress up heals and a princess dress.  She's a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll.  And while I don't love having to stain treat her clothes, I LOVE that she is her own person.

Except when it comes to minding her mommy and daddy, then I want the perfect little soldier.  

But I digress.....

I gave her a couple different party ideas earlier this spring and she landed on the pirate theme.  I may have even done several different design boards for the party theme suggestions.  You know, so she could make a fully informed decision.  Ahem.

I know, I know, who does that, right?

Her only request with this party?  She wanted a piñata.  Because nothing says pirate party theme like piñata.  I guess we'll get to appropriate entertainment for corresponding party themes next year.

Honestly, though, I can't complain, because the Peanut is pretty easy to please.

And thanks to Oriental Trading (not an affiliate link), they have any and all pirate wares available.

Even treasure chest piñatas.

Once again it was a HOT day for the day of the party.  Topping out at a whopping 96 degrees!!!  But at least it's didn't rain, right?  Thanks to my parent's pool, some shady trees, and a killer mister fan, I think most guests stayed somewhat comfortable.

My dear sweet husband made my request of making a treasure map into a reality.  He stayed up late on more than one occasion {during his vacation!} to get it all done.  I think it turned out pretty awesome.

The kids had to complete a treasure hunt with different riddles leading them from clue to clue, which finally led them to their pirate gear/gift bags.

I also learned my lesson from the puppy party and the cupcakes DID NOT get covered in the refrigerator--and the result?  The pretty sugar balls held up beautifully, as did the tasty cream cheese frosting. 


 I think our favorite little pirate had a great time!!!


Wednesday, September 10

Fading Into the Sunset

Straight out of camera
With school starting, it feels like summer is over. But according to the almanac, we have 13 official days left and with the 10 day forecast including several 90 degree days this weekend, I know summer will be going out with a bang.

I took this on the way home from my parents the other night.  This photo doesn't even do the sunset justice, as the colors were WAY more vibrant than this shows.  I was in the passengers seat and my camera was in the back of the car.  I asked the Hubs to stop so I could get out the camera and take a picture of said sunset. 

Adjusted lighting curves in PS CS5
So he did. 

In the middle of the road.  

Even as I was adjusting the settings on my camera, a car slowed down behind us and I waived them on, showing them my camera.  They just gave a big smile as they passed us and drove on. 

Have I mentioned I love small town living??!?

Friday, September 5

First Day of Kindergarten

I'm not anything but predictable.....

After fin.a.lly getting her to eat 3/4 of her breakfast, we went outside to take the obligatory first day of school pics. 

After I finished, Daddy was putting the little brother into the car {yes, we made the first day drop off a family event}, Peanut begged to have a picture taken with her brother, "because she was going to miss him so much."

I think that last one pretty much sums up their relationship. 



Thursday, September 4

A New Chapter

Her lunch is all packed, and her uniform is laid out for tomorrow and she is FINALLY asleep.  She usually doesn't go down at night without a fight and tonight was no exception.

The first day of school butterflies, to be sure.  But whether or not they are jitters or if it's just all around excitement, I don't quite know.  When I was her age, it was jitters all the way (even through my first days of new classes in college!), but thankfully not much seems to make this girl scared.  I certainly don't want to plant those ideas of nervousness in her head, so I don't ask if she's nervous.  I ask if she's excited, and I get all sorts of yeses combined with jumping up and down.

She starts school Friday and yesterday, we fit in a last minute trip to the coast.  We've been talking about it for awhile and the days and weeks just seemed to be getting away from us, so it hadn't happened yet.   My mom encouraged us to make it happen, so we did.  And I am so glad we did.

Because they had SO much fun.  My one regret is not packing their swimsuits.  I am sure you are thinking you went to the beach and you didn't pack swimsuits?  But hear me out.  This is the Pacific NW.  The high for the day was supposed to be 65*.  And our ocean water?  NOT warm. At all. (It hovers around the high 50's this time of year, which to me sounds absolutely miserable!)

But I forget my kids are not my kids when it comes to water activities.  They are their father's children through and through, loving any and all water related recreational activities.  Like I said, that is so not me.  My idea of good recreation is a Netflix marathon.

You think I'm kidding. 

It ended up being such a nice day and the kids were taking off their overprotective mom gear (rubber boots, socks, sweatshirts....) and rolling up their pants within minutes of getting out on the sand.

To put it simply, they played for hours.  And thankfully they have a daddy who loves it just as much as they do.

This mama was content to take pictures and try and record as many memories as possible.  In other related news, I was also the pack mule, carrying my purse (never leave it in the car anymore, not after having my car broken into and my purse stolen from said car) and their shoes and sweatshirts and camera bag.

Thankfully I had a decent excuse for not taking off my boots while on the beach.  Not really--I tripped the other day and ripped off half my big toenail.  Ouch!!! It's still very much in the early healing stages, so I was not about to get all kinds of sand in it.  So for me, the boots stayed on.

I wanted to get a fun jumping up and down picture of all of them.  They gave it their best effort to be sure, but the timing was never quite right.  However, lots of laughs were gained in the process--and that was priceless!!

It was a great bookend to our summer.

As for tomorrow, it's a new beginning......


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