Happiness Is…Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Latte


Happiness is FRIDAY!  I am actually calling this Friday SUPER FRIDAY because…

Happiness is NINE days at home with my family!  Today is our last day of school until after Thanksgiving.  I have always looked forward to this break.  This year, we have been plagued with many illnesses since the beginning of October, which has had us scrambling to doctor’s appointments, trying to figure out who has the best schedule to take the day off, and missing out on sleep to cuddle sweet, sick babies.  And, to top it all off, our hot water heater went out yesterday, in the midst of still trying to get two of the three littles, one with bronchitis and one with croup, healed in time for Thanksgiving.  However, even through all of that, we have been very lucky because…

Happiness is a sister who lives right next door.  And, true happiness is two nieces who love their beauty products so much that showering in their shower was like a spa experience.

Happiness is a little boy who has gained two years of expressive language development in the one year since we discovered that he has Childhood Apraxia of Speech and put him in private speech therapy.  Ethan is having an amazing year at school, and we are so happy to see him truly shining.


Happiness is a bigger little boy who sang his little heart out at the State Capitol yesterday. And, true happiness is that he was so happy to see us.  I am not sure when/if that will end.  I just keep hoping and praying that we are modeling our family life in such a way that he is always happy to see us, always proud of us, just as we are of him.


Happiness is a little boy who loves his big brother.  I did not even know that Ethan was kissing his brother on the cheek during this picture until I looked through all of the pictures last night.  It made me smile.  It made me very, very happy.


Happiness is a little girl who has been so sick for the past 5 weeks – stomach virus, bronchitis, pink eye, herpangina, and croup – but who still wanted to go to the Capitol to support her biggest brother.  I know.  All of the illnesses sound awful, and they have been. And, I have worried and worried about her immune system because she has always been my healthy one. But, she has also always been at home with me – no day care or preschool. So, apparently, Kindergarten is just the year to start really building up her immune system. Gabriel missed around 20 days of school in Kindergarten, and Ethan missed at least that much when he started the Early Learning Program at the school.  It will get better, and she will have a stronger, healthier immune system in 1st grade.


Happiness is a husband who has taken all of the balancing sick days and work schedules in stride.  He knows that I love working and going to school with my littles, and he values me as a wife, a mom, and as a teacher, too.


Happiness is a yummy, hot drink on a cold fall day.  I am not a coffee drinker.  Instead, I prefer tea. However, when I saw this Pumpkin Spice Latte over on Lori’s blog, I knew that I simply had to try it.  Click here for the recipe.  You will be so happy that you did!


Pumpkin Carving with Papa


Sean is an amazing father.

I remember when Gabriel was born, as I fell more and more in love with Gabriel, I fell more and more in love with Sean, too.

There is nothing like watching your husband become a father.

So, when I walked around the corner at school last Friday and saw Sean carving pumpkins with Summer, my heart fluttered a little.  I could not stop smiling.



She was so cute, so happy to have her papa by her side.


Sean worked that morning and took off in time to make it to the pumpkin carving.  He was one of the last 4 fathers to arrive.  Each child waited on the mat in their classroom until their father arrived.  I asked Summer if she was getting worried or sad that Papa would not show up.  She looked at me like I was crazy and said, “No.”


She knew that her papa would never, ever let her down.  She believes in him.


There is a good reason for that.

Enjoying the Day – Recipe: Pumpkin Trifle


In case I have not mentioned it just a few times, I love fall.  I love the cool air, the holidays, the pumpkins, and the gatherings in my backyard.

I love hearing the sounds of pure joy as my sweet husband plays football with all of the kids.




I love walking outside to see my oldest little joyfully climbing a tree.


I love seeing my youngest littles work together to pretend to plant some seeds for the harvest.


I love watching my niece happily swinging.


I love seeing pumpkins everywhere, especially in early fall, as they signal that so many wonderful, joyful days are ahead.


And, I love the feeling of creating recipes that I know my family will enjoy.

Pumpkin Trifle

Pumpkin Trifle


For the Muffins:

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground gloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For the Cream Cheese Filling:

8 ounces cream cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup powdered sugar

1 cup sour cream

For the Whipped Cream

1 pint whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup sugar

For the Topping:

1 Butterfinger, finely chopped


    Preparing the Pumpkin Muffins
  1. Preheat the oven to 350, and line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.
  2. Mix together the pumpkin, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, add the remaining ingredients.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture, until combined.
  5. Using an ice cream scoop, add one scoop of the batter to each cupcake liner.
  6. Bake for 18 minutes, and remove from the oven to cool.
  7. Once cooled, cut into cubes (or crumble) for the trifle.
  8. Preparing the Cream Cheese Mixture
  9. Add the cream cheese, sour cream and vanilla to a bowl, and stir to combine.
  10. Slowly add the powdered sugar, and mix until combined.
  11. Preparing the Whipped Cream
  12. Add the heaving whipping cream to a bowl.
  13. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed.
  14. Slowly add the powdered sugar and vanilla.
  15. Continue to beat for 8-12 minutes, until stiff, fluffy peaks start to form.
  16. Preparing the Topping:
  17. Finely chop the Butterfinger into small, crumbles.
  18. Putting it All Together:
  19. Add a layer of the cubed or crumbled pumpkin muffins.
  20. Spread a layer of the cream cheese mixture.
  21. Sprinkle on half of the Butterfinger crumbles.
  22. Repeat pumpkin muffin and cream cheese layers.
  23. Spread a generous layer of whipped cream on the top.
  24. Sprinkle with the remaining Butterfinger crumbles
  25. Refrigerate until time to serve.

Have a great week!

Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Spice Islands.

I have shared this recipe at Mom’s Crazy Cooking, Frugal Antics, A Southern Fairytale, Make-Ahead Meals, Delightfully Dowling, Homemaking Haven, Skip to My Lou, Mrs. Happy Homemaker, Sweetology, Eat at Home, and  Add a Pinch.