Surviving Arsenic Hour: Part 3 Storybook Endings

Sunday, March 11, 2018

This is a recent development in our home, and an idea that I got while visiting with my nephews.  They have a stack of simple, homemade books and an array of fun art materials and they will spend hours creating their own storybooks.  The results were inspiring, and inspired me to implement the activity in my own home.  My 6 year old has no interest in writing, he seems to actively dislike it.  We struggle to get him to write anything- except letters to his cousins and these books.  He's taking ideas and story lines he's already telling me about, or playing out with his toys, and putting them down on paper.  It's wonderful for writing practice, spelling, understanding story elements and so much more. Sometimes the best ideas are, blessedly, also the easiest.

Step 1: Pre-make the books.  Construction paper on the outside and a few sheets of blank, lined or otherwise prepared white paper, stapled or taped together.  Viola.  Magic waiting to happen.

Step 2: Stock up on writing materials. Kids love exciting writing supplies, think sparkles, invisible ink, etc. The supplies we've had good luck with are colorful, fun and good for writing. Here are some of our favorites:

Step 3: Have some writing prompts ready.  Just in case your little writers need a boost getting started. Here are some great sources and already developed prompts to help you along:


Surviving Arsenic Hour: Part 2 Mind Games

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Another favorite way to pass the time is playing games.  Family game nights, while absolutely wonderful, are a different beast, and we'll do another post on those in the future.  Those nights are all about fun.  Everyone is home, fed and happy, probably eating treats. Games during Satan's Revenge?  None of the above. We're focusing on games here that encourage independent play and problem solving and which keep kids occupied.  Here are some of our top picks:

1. Rush Hour: We'll start out with the classic traffic jam logic game.  Released in 1996 with more 10 million sold, this game is a classic for a reason.  In case you're not familiar, Rush Hour sets up "traffic jams" on a grid and the players goal is to manipulate the pieces until you're able to drive the red car off the board and out of the jam.  It says ages 8 and up but I've had more than one 5 year old sit down and work through multiple beginner level cards without getting frustrated.  The game comes with 40 challenge cards in 4 different levels.  And, bonus, when my son gets tired on working on the challenges, he'll often entertain himself with cars and game board for an additional 20 or 30 minutes.

2. SmartGames Little Red Riding Hood: Isn't this just darling? This is similar in some ways to Rush Hour but the story element and fewer steps makes it a little friendlier for the younger crowd. Appropriate for ages 4 and up.  If Little Red Riding Hood isn't your kid's cup of tea, there are multiple other versions of the game: dinosaurs, North Pole Expedition, the Three Little Pigs, etc.

3. Q-bitz and Q-bitz Jr. : This is a newer game in our home and a great addition.  The winner of numerous awards (Parent's Choice Gold Award, National Parenting Publications Awards' Nappa Gold. Tillywig Toy Award's Brain Child Award Winner, and the Major Fun Award), Q-bitz is simultaneously engaging in numerous ways.  Each player has a tray with a number of patterned dice (16 for regular and 4 for the junior version) that they must use to recreate the pattern on the challenge card.   And there's a lot of room for improvisation, you can create patterns with the dice for your child to extend, challenge them to recreate patterns from memory, or have them create patterns on their own.  

4. Set and Set. Jr.   The idea for set came when Marsha Jean Falco was doing genetic research on German Shepards and drew symbols to represent the different traits she was tracking.  After seeing the fun in finding patterns among the traits, SET (and a game empire) was born.  This versatile game is genius, you can play alone or with up to 4 people, and it's a great for a wide range of ages.  The Jr. version is a great way to ease into recognizing the patterns, which can seem a little overwhelming at first and is suitable for ages 3 and up, but the regular version is for ages 6 and up so no need to get it unless you've got really young kids.  Each card has four different characteristics and a set is formed when three cards have each of those characteristics ALL in common, or ALL different.  It's fast-paced, challenging, educational and still fun.

5. Keva Brain Builders : If you've followed us for a while, you know that we're huge proponents of building toys.  Both of our toy rooms are filled with them.  I love that this game incorporates building, and requires you to consider the challenge from three different angles to come up with the solution.  Taking the challenge from 2 to 3 dimensions, building, and problem solving all in one.

If you miraculously have all these games, here are five more on our wish list:



Surviving the Arsenic Hours: Part 1 Shut Up and Dance

Monday, February 26, 2018

As I stood, huddled in the dark corner of my dining room, eating a cinnamon roll and pretending not to hear my offspring fighting in the kitchen, I realized that perhaps I was surviving, not thriving, this evening.  And the evening before that, and the evening before that. 4:30 p.m. hits in our house and, almost like clockwork, my children turn into demons.  When you add in homework, meal prep, dinner, clean up, bathing, pajamas- an absolute delight.

We both have husbands who work very, very long hours and travel extensively.  Our arsenic hours, from the beginning to bitter end, are almost always exclusively our responsibility.  So we've had to get a little creative, finding ways to fill the time without developing ever more elaborate hiding spots.  I still have days where I need to hide from my children, for my own survival and theirs, but there are some pretty beautiful moments of thriving thrown in there.  And I'll take it.

This is the first in a series of five posts, where we'll share some of our favorite ways to make it through Satan's Revenge/the witching hours/the arsenic hours.  We would also love to hear what works for you, because if we've learned anything so far, it's that thriving as parents requires help from a tribe.

Cranking up the music and setting the stage for an impromptu dance party is probably the quickest and easiest way to lighten the mood and bring a little fun into the evening slog.

First off, I think the disco ball is non-negotiable.  My kids, and every kid that we've had over during a dance party, love it.  It takes the activity from listening to music in the background to serious business.   It's inexpensive, small, portable, and remote controlled. We've gotten hours of use from ours and I don't see that changing any time soon.

Second, accessorize.  My daughter loves to wear things that sparkle and twirl, and especially enjoys being in character during Disney songs.  My son's dancing is often a lot like running in a giant circle around our main level (burning energy=huge win) and for some reason, wearing his Indiana Jones get up or golden ninja costume seem to help that along.  But our all-time favorite is a giant crying baby-face mask.  It is hilarious. I bought it as soon as I saw it because it's one of those things you just need to own- even if you're not quite sure what you're going to do with it.  Everyone looks ridiculous, with their tiny bodies dancing under this huge, whiny face and it never fails to up the ridiculous factor.

Third, let your kids add a personal touch.  Sometimes they want the songs to be along a specific theme, sometimes all the curtains need to be closed, sometimes they want to teach you a few moves.  The other night my son brought up our box of instruments and laid them out in very specific groupings so that we could play along while dancing to the music.  They're really small things, but giving them a chance to make a decision and exert some control and independence goes a very long way.  Especially in the evening hours.

Fourth, have a playlist ready. Have a list of songs that your kids love, that are upbeat or silly or dramatic and fun to dance to.  I'm the first to admit I have terrible taste in music but, lack of refinement aside, here are some my kids really enjoy:


How to Put Together a Capsule Wardrobe for Kids

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Okay guys, I am going to give you a peek into how my mind works and why I decided to try out a capsule wardrobe for my kids and myself

First of all, I feel like I am drowning in laundry. Yes, laundry is a part of life but as I was folding my kids clothes I realized that there are just too many of them. Part of that was clothing that needed to be sorted out, because it was too small or in disrepair, but even after the sorting I realized I could eliminate more.

Next, came the realization that I am probably spending more than is necessary on kids clothes. When it comes to their clothes, I want my kids to have items that will hold up, that are comfortable and that are styles that they like to wear, so I am somewhat selective in what I purchase for them and have been trying to follow the quality vs quantity mantra, but I realized that creating a capsule wardrobe would help me do better.

Lastly, I decided that I should look at ThredUp for as many of their capsule pieces as possible. My train of thought for this was very convoluted, involving random thoughts on the desire to buy new things vs the need for the new things, the amount of clothing in landfills, how expensive kids clothes can be, etc. Regardless of how I got there, ThredUp turned out to be a goldmine for me so I thought I would share some of my insights on how I created this capsule.

Full Disclosure: this post is NOT sponsored by ThredUp, and they have no idea I am writing it. Just passing along some mom hacks because I love saving money and making my life easier, and I figured some of you might too.

How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe

Capsule Wardrobe Details:

The key to a capsule wardrobe is sticking with a limited color palette so that everything goes together easily. Which means that pulling together outfits will be a simplified process for my tween, and that will help eliminate decision fatigue, at least that is the goal. With her help we settled on, shades of pink, blues (mostly chambray), white, gray and hint of olive green for her capsule color palette.

I also thought about how many pieces I thought she needed and worked off the general idea that less is more. We can always add if we need to, but I find it is a lot harder to take clothes away from kids once they have them, unless they are itchy.

We then shopped her closet for pieces she already had that would work with the palette and transition well to spring/summer which is essentially the same season where we live in Texas and which I generally just describe as HOT. And I am pretty visual person, so I created a pinterest board for each capsule I'm working on.  You can check out my daughter's board here.

4 ThredUp Shopping Tips:

1- The ThredUp sight is really amazing in terms of user friendliness it lets you drill down and search by size, brand, style, category, gender, color etc. which makes finding things you want to buy so easy. It may be the East Coaster in me, but I love Crewcuts (J.Crew's kids line) so all I had to type in the search box was 'crewcuts', then select girls and the sizes I was looking for and all the available items would appear.

2- Also, they are always offering promo codes so be sure to take advantage of them for even more savings.

3- If you see something you like, add it to your cart because usually there is only going to be one of that item and once it is in your cart it is reserved for 24 hours. So you will have plenty of time to consider everything and then remove items if you find something else.

4- Be prepared for slower shipping. We know we are spoiled by Amazon Prime but ThredUp shipping ranges from 3-8 business days which can seem like an eternity.

The Nitty Gritty (for those of you who love details, like I do)


Crewcuts Bon Bon Bon Tee via Thred Up (similar)- when looking for basics I still like there to be something a little bit special whether it is a fun graphic or an embellishment so this one fit my requirements and in my cart it went.

Crewcuts Daisy Tee on Sale, I probably subscribe to way too many store email lists, but one of the reasons is that I like to make the most of my dollars and generally only buy my kids clothes when they are on sale. When J.Crew sends out the additional 50% off sale emails I usually find a gem or two and this was one of them.

Crewcuts Striped Peplum via ThredUp (similar, similar), another versatile top with a cute peplum shape.

Crewcuts Chambray Top on Sale, such cute details and once again super versatile- meaning she can wear it with leggings, jeans, shorts, skirts.

Pink GapKids Flutter Sleeve Tee her closet (similar), soft comfortable and love the details on the sleeves.


Crewcuts Ruffle Pull-on Shorts, I have these labeled as "wishlist" because I am waiting for them to go on sale before I buy. They are really cute, but I am not willing to pay full price for them and my motto is that "eventually everything goes on sale."

Tucker & Tate Chambray Shorts via Thred Up (similar), easy pull on styling that will work with basically any top she has.

Abercrombie Kids Pink Bermudas via ThredUp, I was only going to buy one pair of pink bermuda shorts and had my daughter select her favorite between the pale pink and bright pink, but when it came time to check out I was either going to pay for shipping or another pair of shorts so I picked the shorts. Anyone else hate paying for shipping?

GapKids Pale Pink Bermudas via Thred Up (similar).

Crewcuts Striped Bow Shorts on Sale, I am a sucker for anything with bow details.


Crewcuts Heart Dress via ThredUp (love this one too), works for church and any events where she needs to be more dressed up.

GapKids Pineapple Romper via ThredUp, my daughter has wanted a romper since last spring and we both loved the cute details on this: tasseled drawstring, buttons at the shoulders and the little cutout on the back. As an extra bonus, it was in their "new with tags" section so we snatched it up.

Crewcuts Striped Dress via Thred Up (another cute option), I generally only like to buy items that are described as in excellent condition, could be mistaken for brand new. However, this one said there was a little snag, but I decided to take a chance to do a little comparison. If it doesn't work out when it gets here, I will send it back and get credit towards another purchase.

Crewcuts Chambray Dress via Thred Up (similar, similar) a chambray dress was another item on my daughter's wish list and I have one on mine too, so I was happy to comply.

Crewcuts White Embroidered Dress via Thred Up (similar), seriously loved the details on this and it will be great for the heat and humidity here.


Crewcuts Candy Cardigan on Sale, I am thinking of this as a splurge compared to everything else I bought, but it will literally go with everything and my daughter was in love with the candy details.

GapKids Disney ruffled Jacket her closet (similar), we picked this up when it was on sale and with GapCash.

ArtClass Sweatshirt her closet (target), I'm not going to lie, this was an impulse buy. It was one of those times my daughter was with me and she was lured in by the softness of this and my parental resolve was low. Luckily, she loves and wears it.

Crewcuts Factory Tulle Sweatshirt her closet (similar), this was on clearance when I bought it and it has been so versatile.

GapKids Cable Cardigan her closet (similar) another clearance find.

Swim & Shoes: 

Mini Boden Seahorse Suit from her closet (similar)

Mini Boden Ticking Stripe Suit, another item on the wishlist, meaning I will wait to purchase until it is on sale or look for something else.

Crewcuts Terry Pom Pom Dress- I swear J.Crew's pricing changes every day. I just bought this last week for the price I have on my graphic but now it's back up to full price. Another example of why it pays to read their marketing emails.

Rose Gold Saltwater Sandals in her closet- I love having a pair of metallic sandals in her closet because they can be worn to church and for play.

Tan Saltwater Sandals - I've been buying my daughter salt water sandals each summer since she was a toddler and I love the tan ones best. I also have a pair and wear them constantly.

*These do have a little bit of a break in period and I have my kids take them out of the box and then drench them in water outside to help them form to their feet and soften the leather once we make sure the size is correct.

Adidas Pink Baseline Sneaker - she is dying to have these and I am won over by the pink too.


NEWS FLASH: Not All Princess Books are Terrible (just most of them)

Friday, February 2, 2018

Princess Picture Books
My daughter loves absolutely anything having to do with princesses.  Her play dates with friends are essentially two hour dress up sessions as they change from one Disney dress into another.  She won't let me touch her hair with a brush unless we're doing her hair into Princess Anna or Queen Elsa braids.  And, when we go to the library, she is exclusively interested in books having to do with royalty.  Which is how I discovered how many terrible, tedious, and thoroughly mediocre books there are in this genre.

To save my own sanity, I've been hunting for picture books that are clever, beautiful, and engaging- as all picture books should be- even though they are about princesses.  Today we are sharing a few of our favorites.  (There are also so many wonderful versions of Cinderella, here are ten of our very favorites) To anyone with a daughter under the age of 8, you're welcome.

1. Princess Cora and the Crocodile:  Released last year, this tale (written by Newbery Medal winner Laura Amy Schlitz and illustrated by Caldecott Honor winner Brian Floca) is delightfully different.  Princess Cora leads an extremely structured and dull life until she and her pet reptile switch places for a day.   Chaos  ensues and life at the castle will never, thankfully, be the same.  In addition to being a fun read, it's also beautifully illustrated- and at $8 for a hardcover is a steal on Amazon.

2. Princess Hyacinth (The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated):  Princess Hyacinth has an unusual name, and an unusual problem.  She spends her days weighed down, figuratively and literally, until she finds the freedom she seeks, and an unexpected friend saves the day when things go slightly awry.

3. The Ordinary Princess:  This is the story of a princess who, though born looking and acting exactly as a princess should, is given the extraordinary and unexpected gift of becoming ordinary at her christening.  How she escapes the confines of the castle and then returns on her own terms is an adventure that I absolutely loved as a child. The ordinary princess was more appealing to me than all the Disney princesses put together.  Please note that this is a chapter rather than picture book, but it makes for a wonderful read aloud.

4. The Paper Bag Princess: This one is a classic.  If you haven't read it yet, you need to, there's a reason the NYT has called it one of the best children's books every written. Ahead of its time, author Robert Munsch turns the traditional rescue of the fair maiden on its head and gives his readers a feisty heroine worth cheering for.  The ending is my favorite.

5. The Apple Pip Princess: This book is sadly out of print, but I loved the thoughtful and original protagonist.  After the queen passes away, the once beautiful and vibrant kingdom becomes hopeless and barren.  When the king charges his three daughter with creating something meaningful to determine who will inherit the throne, Serenity finds a way to bring new life into her kingdom and restore lost hope.  The illustrations are as beautiful as the story.

6. Sleeping Beauty: A Mid-Century Fairy Tale:  The inimitable David Roberts has partnered with his sister Lynn to re-imagine several classic fairy tales.  Set in the 1950's, their fourth collaboration, Sleeping Beauty, features an all female cast and David Roberts' brilliant retro illustrations on every page.   Need I say more?


Christmas Book Advent 2017 | 10 more Awesome Christmas Books

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

We are all about simplifying our lives in certain areas, but not when it comes to our Christmas Book Advent. Christmas books are a serious weakness of ours and we generally add several new titles to our burgeoning collections each year. We’ve seen a variety of beautiful book advents but still find that the perfect set up for our Advent happens to be the bookshelves in our playroom.

This year we’ve added an adorable letterbox for our kids to write letters to Santa to their hearts content, they’ve already stuffed several drawings inside in hopes that once our elf arrives he’ll whisk them off to the big guy.

If you are Christmas book addicts like us, or are simply looking to start a new tradition, we’ve rounded up 10 more Christmas favorites below and you can also check out our list of 24 from last year.

1-  Pick a Pine Tree We are also pretty serious about picking out just the right Christmas tree, we like them straight, full and piney fresh and of course we go en masse to pick The One each year. This book perfectly captures the tradition of picking out a Christmas tree and the excitement that comes with getting the tree set up and trimming it with an assortment of sparkling baubles. The illustrations are bright, lively and lovely and are perfectly complemented by the rhyming verse. This one evokes all sorts of nostalgia as well as excitement for welcoming a new Christmas season.  A wonderful read to kick off seasonal festivities!

2- Waltz of the Snowflakes This wordless picture brings to life the beauty, splendor and even uncertainty of seeing The Nutcracker for the first time. We love how the illustrations evoke all the feelings one can feel when attending a performance for the first time and not knowing if it should be something to be endured or enjoyed.

3- Finding Christmas As three woodland critters, Squirrel, Mouse and Hare prepare for Christmas they find a sick Sparrow in the snow that they lovingly rescue and then nurse back to health. This is a truly special book that focuses on the spirit of giving and on the power of compassion.

4-The Little Reindeer This new release is a simple and charming. We go with Ollie through the snowy forest as she follows the sounds of jingle bells to a pretty perfect Christmas adventure.  I particularly appreciated the illustrations.  The pops of red in the otherwise muted color scheme are perfect and the little bits of silver and cutouts add just the right touches of magic.

5- A World of Cookies for Santa This one had us at cookies; within these pages you will find a thorough overview of the different types of cookies left out for Santa in countries around the world. Also included are some of the Christmas traditions and several recipes for cookies mentioned in the book. A great primer for those who love to bake and learn about other cultures.

6- One Christmas Wish A beautiful British import that explores a boy’s loneliness on Christmas Eve and the magic that occurs after a Christmas wish helps remedy his sad situation. Emily Sutton’s illustrations are an utter delight.

7-Presents Through the Window A slightly less traditional Christmas read, we love Taro Gomi's tale of Santa's deliveries gone hilariously awry. Humorous, original, and interactive- all the elements of a great picture book.

8-The 12 Days of Christmas This is not new, and it's not exactly a picture book- but it's one of my absolute favorite holiday reads.  I laugh every year.  Told from the perspective of the appreciative, then exhausted, then exasperated, and finally furious recipient of the absurd gifts outlined in the classic holiday song. John Julius Norwich has created a holiday treasure.  And the illustrator?  None other than the inimitable Quentin Blake.  Highly recommend.

9-Harvey Slumfenburger's Christmas Present If you like charming and humorous stories this one will not disappoint. On Christmas Eve, after his sleigh and reindeer have been put away for the season, Santa discovers one last gift that still needs to be delivered to a Harvey Slumfenberger. Santa must use his ingenuity to get the present to Harvey at the top of Roly Poly Mountain without his traditional mode of transportation.

10-The Nutcracker in Harlem Inspired by the Harlem Renaissance, author T.E. McMorrow, takes the magic of the Nutcracker and introduces its magic to a new place and time.  An original and breathtaking spin on the familiar classic.


Keep calm, and eat pie.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

I could take or leave Thanksgiving dinner; I know, I know, I'm a weirdo.  I like the elements of a traditional Thanksgiving meal okay. I'm just not crazy about them.  But pie, well that's another story.  When I was little, we always had Thanksgiving at my grandparents.  New Hampshire in November is freezing and my grandmother would store all the pies on their covered back porch.  I loved going out there and just looking at all that baked goodness and planning what order I was going to eat them in.  It just doesn't feel like Thanksgiving if there aren't at least half a dozen pies to choose from. In case you're in the same boat, or just need some inspiration, here is a roundup of some of our favorite pies.  We'd love to hear some of your favorites too!

1. Apple Pie
There are so many great variations of this classic: dutch, deep dish, sour cream, salted caramel, pie with cheddar baked right into the crust (as my grandmother used to say, "A pie without cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze.").  They're all wonderful but you'll never go wrong sticking to the basics.

1/2 C. white sugar
2 Tbs. instant tapioca (this is just a thickening agent, not critical)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
6-7 thinly sliced apples (a mixture of tart and sweet)
Combine and let sit for about 10 minutes, then pour into pie shell.  

Mix until crumbly and sprinkle 1/2 on top of the filling (save the other half for another pie): 
1/4 C. unsalted butter
3/4 C. brown sugar
1/3 C. flour

Cover with top crust or lattice.  Bake at 400 oven for 50 or so minutes.

2. Pecan Pie
Cooks Illustrated probably has the most outstanding pecan pie I've ever had.  It's pretty straightforward, but you need to build in a fair amount of time for the filling to set after baking.  About 4 hours.  I also love adding a tablespoon or two of bourbon.

6 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 C. dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs
3/4 C. light corn syrup
1 Tbs. vanilla
2 C. whole pecans, toasted and chopped

Melt butter in medium bowl set over simmering water. Remove bowl; mix in sugar and salt until butter is absorbed. Beat in eggs, then corn syrup and vanilla. Return bowl to hot water; stir until mixture is shiny and warm. Remove from heat; stir in pecans.

Pour into still warm, baked pie shell and bake at 275 for 50-60 minutes until the center feels gelatinous. 

(Recipe from Cooks Illustrated)

*Molly Wizenberg from Orangette wrote a memoir, A Homemade Life, and shared another delicious but unbelievably simple chocolate pecan pie that we make fairly often- Hoosier Pie.  Here's a link to that recipe.

3. Chocolate Cream Pie
I'm always looking for a reason to make this- it's like eating chocolate custard, on a cookie, slathered in whipped cream.

Cookie Crust:
Pulse together 16 Oreo cookies (with filling) in a food processor until finely ground.  Combine with 2 Tbs. melted butter and press into pie shell.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes then set aside to cool.

2 1/2 C. half and half
pinch of table salt
1/3 C. white sugar
2 Tbs. cornstarch
6 large egg yolks
6 Tbs. unsalted butter (cold), cut into 6 pieces
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate (chopped or Ghiradelli chips work well)
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 tsp vanilla

Bring half-and-half, salt, and about 3 tablespoons sugar to simmer in medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Stir together remaining sugar and cornstarch in small bowl, then sprinkle over yolks and whisk until mixture is glossy and sugar has begun to dissolve and mixture begins to thicken, about 2 minutes. When half-and-half reaches full simmer, drizzle about 1/2 cup hot half-and-half over yolks, whisking constantly; then whisk egg yolk mixture into simmering half-and-half. Return to simmer, whisking constantly, until 3 or 4 bubbles burst on the surface and mixture is thickened and glossy, about 15 seconds longer.

Off heat, whisk in butter until incorporated; add chocolates and whisk until melted. Stir in vanilla, then immediately pour filling into baked and cooled crust. Press plastic wrap directly on surface of filling and refrigerate pie until filling is cold and firm, about 3 hours. Top with fresh whipped cream.

(Recipe from Cooks Illustrated)

*Another pie that both Sarah and I have made fairly often is this s'mores pie from Epicurious.  You're killing me smalls.

4. Berry Crumble Pie
Bursting with fruit and a great counterbalance to some of the heavier, traditional holiday pies.

36 ounces of mixed, fresh berries (raspberries and blackberries are great)
1/2 C. cornstarch
1 C. white sugar
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
zest of one lemon

Gently combine ingredients and pour into fully baked pie crust.

Pulse in food processor and sprinkle over berry filling:
1/2 C. flour
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. butter
1/2 rolled oats

Bake at 375 for 1 hour.

(Recipe from The Italian Dish)

5.  Key Lime Pie
Smitten Kitchen is one of our favorite cooking blogs, I could give you a list of dozens of recipes from the blog that have made their way into rotation in our  home.  This key lime pie is one of them.

Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs (from about 10 crackers)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 pinches sea salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated lime zest
3 large egg yolks 
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup fresh lime juice (from about 1 dozen tiny key limes or 4 persian/regular limes)
To Finish
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 to 2 tablespoons powdered or granulated sugar, to taste
Make crust: Combine graham crumbs, sugar and salt in a medium bowl and stir until mixed. Add butter and stir until crumbs are evenly coated. Press crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of pie dish. Bake crust at 350 until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Set on cooling rack while you prepare filling. Leave oven on.
Make filling: Zest limes into the bottom of a medium bowl until you have 1 1/2 tablespoons. Beat zest and egg yolks with an electric mixer until pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Add sweetened condensed milk and beat until thickened again, about 3 minutes more. Squeeze zested limes until you have 2/3 cups juice. Whisk into yolk mixture until combined. Pour into graham crust and bake pie for another 10 minutes, until set but not browned on top at all. Let pie cool completely before adding topping.
Spread freshly whipped cream over chilled pie.
(Recipe from Smitten Kitchen)


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