Happy Fifth Birthday, Peanut Butter Pie.

Dearest Payton,

Today you are five years old. How we got to an entire hand is just insane. I have loved every minute of being your mother. You have the sweetest soul and everyone who knows you cannot wait to tell us this. You are a genuine friend and care deeply about those you love. You are the best big sister and watching you teach your brother brings so much light to my life. I love our tooshie dances, our chases up and down the hallway, our lunch dates and your story telling. My! Oh my! Can you tell a story. You have one wild imagination and I cannot wait for you to start writing your own books. Though, this is your new thing to do at school, your picture books tell amazing stories already, sweet girl you are destined to do amazing things. Everything about you is amazing. I could not imagine my life without you in it.

When I was growing up I had a love for Winnie the Pooh. I know I have told you about this but that silly old bear holds a special place in my heart. When I was gradutaing high school my parents made me a scrapbook of my life thus far. A special Winnie the Pooh-ism that will forever be with me is:

If ever there is a tomorrow when we’re not together. There is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think. But the most important thing even if we are apart I’ll always be with you. – Winnie the Pooh

My wish for you sweet girl is for you to live by this. You are a strong girl with the biggest heart and no matter where you are, I will always be with you. Happy fifth birthday! Your birthday, along with your brother’s are by far the best days of my life.

Things you are loving:

horses, all things princess, puzzles, drawing picture books, Frozen, Taylor Swift, dance parties & playing dress-up.

You are:

51 pounds, you wear a size 12 shoe, wear a size 6/6x.

payton payton2


Pumpkin-Apple Spice Cheesecake with Rolled Oat Crumble


No matter what the holiday is I am the one in charge of creating the desserts. Before it was me, it was my Dad and before him, my Grandma. It’s like the passing of the torch per se. I can never bake the same dessert, I wish I could because it would be a lot simpler to just re-create the recipes my family has already approved. But if you know me, you know I like a challenge and a baking challenge is always right up my alley. No matter what the dessert spread always includes: pumpkin pie for my sister because it’s the only pie she likes, there’s apple for my husband because that’s what he likes and typically there’s a cheesecake for my Mom and I. The kids never seem to mind what there is as long as there’s plenty of cookies and whipped cream involved. For Thanksgiving I baked the most amazing pumpkin bourbon cheesecake. For Christmas, I felt that I could jazz that recipe up and create a spin on my favorite, dutch apple cheesecake, creating my newly developed pumpkin-apple spice cheesecake with rolled oat crumble. Doesn’t it sound so heavenly decadent? I mean, the name in itself is a mouthful to say so why not make it the most amazing holiday dessert all wrapped into one?!?


This decadent cheesecake will complete any dessert spread for the holidays and if you’re the giving type, it makes an even better present to give to neighbors and friends alike! You can make this cheesecake as individuals, mini’s or as an 8″.

If you’ve ever baked a cheesecake you know that it takes time. If you’re baking a cheesecake with many layers it will take even longer to prep. Make sure to give yourself enough time for prep and chilling. A good cheesecake needs to rest and chill in the refrigerator overnight.



Gingersnap Oat Crust: Gingersnap Cookies, Rolled Oats & Butter

Rolled Oat Crumble: Oats, flour, cinnamon, brown sugar & butter


Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Filling: Cream Cheese, Pumpkin, Brown Sugar, Eggs, Flour, Spices & Sour Cream






Pumpkin-Apple Spice Cheesecake with Rolled Oat Crumble
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Add this decadent cheesecake to your holiday spread or gift to neighbors and friends this holiday season.
Recipe type: Dessert
  • Crust:
  • 20 Ginger Snap Cookies
  • ¼ cup Quaker Oats Quick Oats
  • ½ stick Melted Butter
  • Filling:
  • 2 (8oz.) packages Cream Cheese
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons canned Pumpkin Puree
  • 2 Eggs
  • 4 tablespoons Sour Cream
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon Fresh Ground Nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2 Apples, thinly sliced and diced.
  • Crumble:
  • ½ cup All-Purpose Flour
  • ¼ cup Quaker Oats Quick Oats
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • ¼ tsp Cinnamon
  • ¼ cup Butter, cold and diced into ½-inch cubes
  1. This recipe will make: six 3" individual, three 3" individuals + eight cupcake size, one 8", or 24 mini cheesecakes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350*F
  3. Prepare crust by combining cookies in a food processor. Pulse until a fine crumb is achieved. Toss any large chunks of cookies that didn't process. Add in Oats and melted butter and pulse until combined.
  4. Add two rounded tablespoons of moist crust crumbs into each individual springform pan (1 tablespoon if mini). Use the back of the spoon (or I like to use my fondant rolling pin) to press down the crumbs, to form a crust.
  5. Prepare the filling-
  6. Beat the cream cheese, pumpkin, eggs, sour cream, sugar and spices, flour and vanilla in a food processor until well combined. (You can also use a hand or stand mixer but since my food processor was already out I opted to minimize the dirty dishes).
  7. Pour filling into prepared crusts.
  8. Top each cheesecake with 1-2 teaspoons of diced apples.
  9. For the streusel:
  10. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, quick oats, brown sugar and cinnamon. Add cold butter and using fingertips, rub butter into dry mixture until it comes together it small crumbles and pieces of butter are no longer visible. Add 1-2 teaspoons of crumble to each cheesecake.
  11. Bake cheesecakes in pre-heated oven for 20 minutes. Turn off oven and let cheesecakes sit for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool about 15 minutes. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours minimum or overnight.
  12. For a large (8") Cheesecake- Follow general directions above. Press crust into the botom of a 8" springform pan. Prepare filling (as listed above). Bake cheesecake 1 hour, let cool in oven for 20 minutes and then remove. Cool 15 minutes at room temp and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight before serving.


You can find the limited edition Quaker Oats Old Fashioned Oats 42oz & Quaker Oats Quick Oats 42oz winter canisters exclusively at Target. Pick up a canister for all of your holiday baking and breakfast needs! Plus you can use this coupon to save on your purchase!

Snickerdoodle OREO Cookie Ball Pops



This is my favorite time of year! I love breaking out my holiday cookie books to figure out what sweet treats I will be baking for our friends and family. I am always looking for something new to add to our cookie trays and I thought that this year I would try out the OREO cookie ball recipe. I have never made them but my sister has for several parties and I always obsess about them.

I decided to try out a snickerdoodle OREO cookie ball pop variation and because I love OREO’s so much I couldn’t just stop at snickerdoodle and went for double chocolate as well.


While I was at Walmart I picked up the following ingredients: 2 packages of OREO’s (double chocolate and vanilla), 2 8-oz. packages of cream cheese, vanilla chocolate wafers and holiday sprinkles.


I rarely crush cookies in a plastic bag to save time, but if you don’t have a food processor you can easily crush your cookies that way. I just have a little OCD and love when the crumbs are uniformed in size. I always like to thumb through the crushed cookies to pick out any large chunks that didn’t crumble.


I like to refrigerate my dough before shaping into balls. It also makes it easier once you dip your sticks into the chocolate to set faster. I refrigerated the balls for roughly twenty minutes before dipping. I decided to mix it up a bit with colored chocolate.


Your Holiday OREO Cookie Ball Pops will make the perfect addition to any cookie tray or for a cookie exchange party! Have you made OREO cookie balls before? I’d love to hear how you make them!


5.0 from 1 reviews
Snickerdoodle OREO Cookie Ball Pops
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These Holiday OREO cookie balls are the perfect addition to any holiday party and cookie exchange!
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 48
  • 1 pkg (8 oz.) brick cream cheese, softened
  • 36 OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 3 cups)
  • 4 pkg. (4 oz. each) semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted
  • holiday sprinkles (optional)
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon(optional)
  • ½ cup brown sugar (optional)
  • holiday pop sticks (optional)
  1. MIX cream cheese and cookie crumbs until blended.
  2. SHAPE into 48 (1-inch) balls. Freeze 10 min. Dip balls in melted chocolate; place in single layer in shallow waxed paper-lined pan.
  3. CUSTOMIZE it with your own ingredient additions or decorative skills.
  4. REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until firm.

If you love OREO’s just as much as we do join the #OREOCookieBall Pinterest party taking place on Pinterest on Saturday, December 6 at 12pm ET. 

Brayden’s Vintage Airplane Big-Boy Room

A few months ago we transitioned Brayden into his big boy room. This came after he was consistently climbing out of his crib and with turning three it was just time to turn the modern zoo nursery into a big boy room. I knew I wanted his room to have transportation as the theme so I started creating a Pinterest board to see what I liked the most. Because we were working on a budget of $1,000 I went off of my board and found a comparable piece for less. I would have loved to purchase all the swoon worthy products but in the end I am happy I went the route that I did! I love to lay in his bed and cuddle with him, it’s a perfect space for him and he loves it. For the first couple weeks he would ooh! and aah! over every little detail and ask, “this is for me?” There are still a few things to add like: recent pictures of Brayden, a few more pillows and my Dad’s Air Force patches that I want to frame with his photograph. My favorite pieces to the room are the airplane decals above his dresser and the custom airplane propeller above his bed. {To see a complete breakdown of where I purchased everything scroll to the bottom.} I just love this space and cannot wait to watch my big boy grow with it!






I highly recommend Urban Walls vinyl decals. We have our entire playroom decorated in the farm and we love it. They are easy to use and made from quality vinyl that will not peel easily. We have highly textured walls as you can see in the close-up picture and I didn’t have any issues with them adhering.





Bunk Bed: Ikea / Dresser: Ikea / Airplane Decals: Urban Walls / Bedding: Target / ‘B’ Pillow: Land of Nod / Vintage Metal Airplane Posters: Amazon.com / Airplane Propeller: Concept Wood Works /  Metal “SOAR” Letters: Michaels /

Back to School they go…


Earlier this month the babies, yes, both babies headed off to preschool. It feels odd that both are away from me three times a week, for three hours per day. I miss my little sidekicks but it is amazing to have three hours to myself. It’s insane how fast those three hours fly by! I barely drive to the gym, workout and then I feel like I am racing to pick them up again. The kids are loving their teachers. Brayden is in Payton’s classroom from last year and Payton is right next door to him. Every teacher Payton passes says hi to her and I have to say that she loves that. She is already basing her outfits on how many compliments she will receive, too! You don’t have to tell me how much trouble we are in for, it’s clear as day!! This first month has been a huge transition for us late sleepers. We’re setting alarms to wake-up to get them to school on-time. So far, I have been doing pretty well, especially on Monday’s when I work the night before. We’re keeping Tuesdays and Thursdays apart of the routine by getting to the gym at the same time we’re usually heading off to school. Making sure they have breakfast before school is an issue because they just aren’t hungry. Do you have this problem? I feel guilty sending them off to school with a minimal amount of food in their bellies. Thank goodness for snack at school otherwise I would really feel like a bad mom. Here’s to a fun year ahead of three and four-year-old preschool!




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