Pumpkin Pie to Mark Some Firsts…and Some Lasts.

Day 275

“Mom! Mom! Wait for me!” His shoes slip ever so slightly on the gravel. His backpack, almost half his size, swings from side to side. Up the hill he scrambles. “Mom, wait! I have a treasure for you.” In his tightly closed fist he holds four dandelions. All in various stages of blooming. He gallantly presents then to me, smiles and then, runs off to catch up with his older brother.

Day 273

Not before long, he stops again. A twig. A heart shaped stone. A 3-leaf clover. Queen Anne’s Lace. “Do you like when I give you treasures Mom?”, he asks, this littlest one of mine. “I love when you give me treasures.” And then, having asked hundreds of times before and already knowing the answer, the same answer I gave his brother before him, he asks again, “What do you do with the treasures?” “I tuck them in my pocket to keep them safe and then, when I’m missing you, I pull one out…and think of you.” He smiles again. Pleased with his good deed, he runs off in search of more tiny treasures.

Not but 3 weeks ago, I dropped this littlest one of mine off for his first day of Kindergarten. I’m still not sure how I feel about it. A little happy. A little sad. While his older sister is always representative of firsts, he represents, lasts. Last diaper. Last binky. Last sippy cup. Last one to entertain all day. Last one to curl up on my lap. Last one to be at home with me. Last one to hold my hand.

Day 274

“How was your first day of Kindergarten?” I had asked him when I picked him up. “Good.”, he replied. “And what did you do?” Like a true boy, he responded, “I did recess and PE.” Then, letting go of my hand, he ran off hollering, “Can I play on the playground?” Apparently taking the whole thing in stride. Not knowing that this “first” for him was a monumental “last” for me.

With backpacks stowed beneath the bench and lunch boxes emptied, I place a slice of pumpkin pie and a mug of warm chocolate milk down for each boy. Our annual fall ritual. Pumpkin pie to mark the beginning of October. The midst of fall. The countdown to the holidays. Eating pumpkin pie when it can truly be enjoyed. Savoured for the seasonal treat that it is. Not shoved in after a long, heavy meal.

Day 253

I get up to clear my plate and I feel my throat catch as I glimpse the Queen Anne’s Lace hanging out of my pocket. Myriad of “lasts” start flooding my mind….last pumpkin pie to mark the Kindergarten year, last one to ask me to come closer so he can whisper in my ear, last one to throw stones in the stream wishing for his kitty to come back…but then, I shake my head and tell myself, “Don’t do this.” Concentrate on the firsts.

First one to go to Kindergarten without tears. First one to make his own breakfast before the age of 10. First one to organize his own social life before Junior High. First one to watch PG-13 movies before the age of….6. First one to know that if the Lego store or Santa doesn’t have it….eBay will. First one whose first day of Kindergarten marked my first day to reacquaint myself…with myself. Who am I now? What will I do now? Where will this new chapter in my life take me now? And that first…is kind of exciting.

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Classic Pumpkin Pie
Course: Dessert
Serves: One pie
You probably have a go-to recipe for pumpkin pie, but on the off chance that you don't, keep this one handy for the upcoming holidays or like me, keep it handy to make a pie just because. Every Thanksgiving, my daughter is in charge of pumpkin pie and a few years ago she and I did a pie bake-off to try-out different crusts- all butter, all shortening, half and half- and we decided an all-butter recipe was the best. Not only does it taste delicious but you can make it in advance which means less time in the kitchen on the big day. The filling recipe is one my friend Karna passed on to me, and I tinkered with it to arrive at the recipe I use today.
For the Dough
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into large diced pieces
  • ¼ to ½ cup ice water
For the Filling
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 can (15-oz) pumpkin
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (heaping)
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • 1 can (12-oz) evaporated milk
  1. In a large bowl, or the bowl of a food processor, combine your flour, salt, and sugar, either with a whisk or by pulsing a few times. Add in your butter pieces. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, quickly work your butter into your flour until it begins to look like cornmeal with a few pea-sized pieces sprinkled throughout. If using a food processor, pulse for about 10 seconds to get the same effect. Pour your water in a little bit at a time, working it into your dough just until the dough holds together. If using a food processor, slowly pour your water through the feed tube with the machine running just until the dough holds together but not for more than 30 seconds.
  2. Working quickly, pour your dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gather it into a large ball. Divide the ball in half and flatten each half into a rounded disk. Wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper and place in the refrigerator for an hour before using. You can also put the dough in an airtight bag or container and put it in the freezer for up to a month. Pull out of refrigerator 15 minutes before using, or out of freezer 30 minutes before using.
  3. When you are ready to bake your pie, preheat your oven to 450ºF.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out your dough to about 12 to 13 inches in diameter and ⅛ inch thick or so. Gently place it on your pie plate. Using kitchen scissors, trim the dough so it hangs over the edge about ½ inch. Tuck that extra dough under the dough around the rim. Then using your thumb and pointer finger on one hand and your thumb on the other, push those fingers toward each other, crimping the dough, around the entire circumference. Pop your prepared dough in the fridge while you mix your filling.
  5. Beat the eggs, sugar, pumpkin and spices together. Then blend in your milk. Pour your mixture into your waiting pie shell and carefully ease it in to the middle rack of your oven. I always put a cookie sheet on the rack beneath the pie to catch spills.
  6. Bake at 450ºF for 10 minutes and then at 350ºF for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Allow pie to cool completely before serving. I prefer to eat my pumpkin pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I also tend to serve this to my kids for breakfast, after school, and right before bed. Enjoy.







  1. Louisa Neumann says:

    Your son is adorable!

  2. Courtney Cook Hopp says:

    Many of my first's circle back to you, and for that, I will forever be grateful.

    ps – save me a slice of pie!

  3. Yum. As usual.

  4. Louisa, I have to admit, I find him pretty darn cute myself.

    Thank you, sister.
    PS: Sorry. Pie gone.

    Thank you, Tina!

  5. Strawberry Cake says:

    Carrie, your site is beautiful. Fabulous. So blessed to have met you. Your photography is stunning. Looking forward to really reading your blog. Hugs! Heres to new friends….Luv, Sheila

  6. Sheila, Thank you, my dear. Loved meeting you as well. Looking forward to spending time on your site too. My life is richer for having met so many amazing women this weekend….especially ones like you. So, when's the next conference? 🙂

  7. Ann (napangel) says:

    Carrie, your pie is beautiful. And that square plate in the first photo is exquisite.

    Gus loves pumpkin pie, so I'll have to add this to my list of must-bakes.

  8. Thank you, Ann. You'll have to let me know how Gus likes it. (And, if I do say so myself, I kind of like those square plates too. 🙂 ) Cheers!

  9. What a beautiful place! Love your writing – your voice rings clear and true.

    Glad to know you now sweet friend.

  10. Thank you so much, Amy. I feel so grateful to know you now as well….

  11. bellini valli says:

    I remember when my daughter was 4 and went on her first afternoon play date from nursery school. A nice lunch was in order my husband thought. She is now 22, living in the big city and still in university. There gave been many firsts over the years as well as lasts and I am still discovering who I am.

  12. Just found your blog and love it – even if it brought me to tears. Here's to many firsts and lasts in the future.

  13. oh, what a lovely and sweet little one you have!.

  14. Thank you Bellini for reminding me that really…the road to discovering who we are continues on and on through all stages of our lives.

    Amera…you are so kind.

    Thank you Heidi…he's a keeper!

  15. Kristen Doyle says:

    I am sitting here in tears. Your writing and photography always makes me catch my breath. You are extremely talented, my friend,

  16. Thank you, Kristen. Your thoughtful comment means so much.


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