Happy belated Thanksgiving, friends! We just wanted to take a moment to share the things that we’re thankful for this year. I (Melissa) will go first! Although this year has been a roller coaster of events and emotions, I wouldn’t change a thing. This year I’m thankful to have seen my children grown up while only having to work part time. I’m thankful that Bailey is becoming more and more her own person every day, even when that person wants to contradict what her mother says. I’m thankful that Kale, in the last couple of months, has started becoming independent and not so dependent on me. He’s starting to cling to his daddy and it’s so fun watching those two boys play together. I’m thankful for my husband and that he’s right where he should be – home safely. I’m thankful that in a time that is so hard for so many people, I have everything that I need and then some. Although I’ve enjoyed my job and the experiences that it has brought me, I’m very thankful that next month will be my last month. I’m so excited (and a little scared) to start my new adventure as a stay at home mom and hopefully a home schooling mama. Lastly, I’m thankful for this blog and the people who continue to share with us, pray for us, support us and read about our shenanigans each day. Oh, and I’m thankful for the other half of this blog and the friendship that we share. Woof, friend!
Woof to you, too, friend! This year has been a roller coaster for the both of us. We’ve seen things unfold that we couldn’t have imagined ourselves and we have watched the Lord work in both of our lives this year. I (Heather) am thankful for so much, but not nearly often enough. Thanksgiving is a great day to give thanks, but it also causes me to pause and take note of all the days throughout the year in which I am not thankful enough. I’m thankful for the Lord and his unfailing, unwavering, and unconditional love. It’s His unconditional love that loves me even though I am whining, complaining, and rebelling. Even when I push Him away, He loves me still. And that has happened more often than I would like to admit this past year. I’m thankful for my husband, who had to humble himself, swallow his pride, and give up on “dreams” to support and provide for his family. I’m thankful for the job that was rewarded to us as a result and the wonderful town we have relocated to. I am thankful to be out of my mom’s house and into one of our very own. On that same note, I’m thankful for my mom and stepdad, who took us in for waaaay longer than they were supposed to and never once complained or made us feel like we were imposing.
I’m thankful for my children. For my little boy who is potty training now, becoming a big boy. For my little boy who hardly needs me at all, but still calls me mama, strokes my face, tells me I’m pretty, and doesn’t let go when he calls me at night, wanting me to stay just a little while longer. I’m thankful for my girl, for a whole year with her. I am thankful that she is learning to walk (literally) away from me, but I am thankful that I still get to nurse her, watching her as she sleeps, snuggled up against me and playing with her hair. I am thankful for those little hands that reach up to me and call me Mama.
I am thankful for my friends. All the new friends I made at Manna Church before I left, and the new friends that I will make here in Wendell. I am thankful for my best friend, who has helped me in every single way imaginable, over and over and over again. Who loves me when I forget to charge my camera and realize that after we’ve set up a shot. Who loves me when I forget things days in a row. Who loves me despite the fact that I am completely unorganized and chaotic, and she is…not. Who loves me despite the fact that I am kind of pretty much totally neurotic. Who just loves me. (And again, I’m thankful for my husband. Because he deals with those things AND lives with me every day.)
I am thankful for heat on cool nights and air on hot days. For hot showers. For comfy couches. For clean clothes and good food. For dark chocolate. For Apple products. Except maybe the iPhone, because mine continues to jump off of things and further shatter it’s screen. I am thankful for deep mixing bowls and good-ish kitchen knives. I am thankful for the library and nice days to walk there. I am thankful for sippy cups that don’t leak and the fact that my pre-Ella pants still fit. I am thankful for the treats that I continue to make, apparently to challenge that. I am thankful for life. For my health and the health of my family. I am thankful for the air in my lungs and the blood in my veins and the heart that beats for my Savior. I am thankful for a son who loved me enough to offer one last sacrifice for all, Himself.
-Heather and Melissa
Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting
For the cupcakes:
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
For the caramel sauce:
2 cups granulated sugar
12 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1 tbsp fleur de sel or coarse sea salt
For the frosting:
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup salted caramel sauce
- For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, stirring occasionally until brown flecks form. Once you see the brown flecks and smell a nutty aroma, remove it from the heat. Pour into a bowl and let cool.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices.
- In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, sugars, eggs, vanilla, and brown butter. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined.
- Divide the batter evenly among the cups, filling 3/4 of the way, and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire cooling wrack and let cool completely before removing the cupcakes.
- For the caramel sauce: Take all of your ingredients out and have them ready. Once you start, you will need to be careful not to burn the sauce. This can happen quickly. Also, you might not want to do this in the middle of potty training or your caramel sauce will come out a little darker than you intended. Just sayin’.
- In a heavy 2-3 qt saucepan, heat the sugar over medium-high heat. When the sugar starts to melt, start whisking. The sugar will clump, but keep whisking and it will continue to melt. Once it is mostly melted, stop whisking and swirl the pan to melt any remaining.
- Continue to cook, swirling the pan as necessary, until the sugar is a deep amber color, or 350 degrees. Watch it very carefully at this stage, because it can go from golden delicious to burnt in a second.
- As soon as the caramel is a deep amber, carefully add the butter and whisk until melted.
- Remove the pan from the heat and carefully whisk in the heavy cream until combined. Whisk in the sea salt and let cool for 10 minutes in pan before removing to a container.
- For the frosting: In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Reduce speed to low and add the powdered sugar, mixing until combined.
- Turn off the mixer and add the caramel sauce. Mix on low until combined, then beat on medium-high until light and airy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Frost the cooled cupcakes and drizzle with caramel sauce. Enjoy!
Source: Two Peas and Their Pod