Coffee Break

Dana's Bakery macarons

Hi! Today is a fun day! I’m going LIVE on my Facebook page and Instagram account. I haven’t filmed a LIVE baking demo in 3 months, so I’m thrilled to get back in the kitchen with you. On the menu? We’re working on pie crust. Troubleshooting through it all. Making a festive pie crust design like you see below. Fun pie crust designs = November’s Baking Challenge. 🙂

Tune in on my Facebook page and Instagram at 1pm ET. The video will be saved on Facebook if you miss it. Just go to my video section and find it there. See you soon!

Pie crust design with leaves on

7 and 1/2 weeks in with our little miss! Last time I checked in, we chatted about the struggles of motherhood. It’s been a difficult adjustment and I was immensely comforted in the fact that many of you experienced the same. Obviously I’m not jumping for joy that other moms struggle, but I don’t often find that women openly admit the hardships. So thank you– from the bottom of my heart– for being honest and offering advice from your own personal experiences. I appreciate it so much.

Once we hit week 5-6 and Noelle began SMILING, I hit a major turning point. Her genuine reaction to my face!!! Oh my gosh!!! It melts my heart. It was at this point that things began to *click.* It’s no easier, but it feels more manageable. Seeing her reactions to my silly voices, little tickles, and gentle lullabies gives me a sense of reassurance and strengthens my confidence. I AM a good mother. I AM doing this right. We also began establishing *somewhat* of a routine, which is huge for the general sanity of the household. She’s still very young, so we don’t have a rigid routine or anything– but introducing a loose schedule has helped me predict her needs. I know it sounds silly, but even when her needs are SO simple, it’s difficult to comprehend them. Especially when you are a new parent.

You know what helped? I began writing everything down. When she fed, how much she ate or how long she nursed, when she was fussy, when she was alert, when she napped, etc. I just started tracking it all. Such a simple concept. When you’re sleep deprived and recovering from childbirth (surgery!!!), your mind is practically mush. So writing it all down helped me see and understand it all.

Look at this little cupcake!!

Noelle 6 weeks

Her purple cupcake onesie is by Gerber. I bought it a few months ago off of the Gerber website and I can’t seem to find it online anymore. I really want it in the next size. 🙁

Onto another child!


Little Franklin had surgery last month. He found and gobbled up a piece of corn cob he found in the yard (no idea how it got there. We haven’t eaten any in over a year!) and it got stuck in his digestive tract. Last I updated you, he just had the surgery. He had the staples removed last week and is feeling back to normal. Playing with his toys, bones, and barking at the mailman. We can take him on long walks again and there’s NO MORE CONE! Those couple weeks were so rough– his sad puppy eyes wearing the cone! I couldn’t handle it! Thanks for your well wishes for our little guy.

As for Jude? He’s all smiles, as per the usual.


I know I’ve talked about my obsession with Dana’s Bakery macarons before. Dana, the owner, sent me some pink macs to celebrate Noelle (at the top of this post!). Strawberry shortcake flavored, the same flavor we had at our wedding 3 years ago. Dana and I got to talking and I’m going to offer a fun macaron giveaway on Instagram in the beginning of December. Stay tuned for that!

Interested in making macarons at home? I have a French macaron tutorial.

Random question. Would you be interested in a list of suggested holiday gifts/items for the bakers in your life? Or for you? I’ve been thinking about rounding up some baking related favorites for gift giving and such. Things like fun pie plates, oven mitts, adorable aprons, baking gadgets, kitchen decor, etc. Thoughts?

Have you planned out your Thanksgiving menu yet? Tell me everything you’re making. I love seeing/reading others’ holiday menus! I’m off the hook from cooking this year, but you know I’m in charge of dessert. There will be pie. And plenty of it.

Apple pie filling on

Happy baking!


  1. Oh, Sally, how I love your honesty in these posts. As a soon-to-be-first-time mother with a c-section coming up on Monday, I’m terrified and every other emotion imaginable. There is something so comforting in your words here, and I appreciate them from the bottom of my heart. Your sweet Noelle is precious. Thank you for sharing your life with us.
    (And add me to the list of people that would love a list of baking-themed gift ideas!)

    1. Victoria, good luck! And congratulations! You’ll be great. The whole process will be a blur. A beautiful beautiful blur. Take your time in the healing process, try not to overdo it, and just enjoy sitting with your little one. I’m so excited for you!

  2. I know it seems ages away Sally, but things DO get better! Definitely not easier but more manageable. My daughter is now 6 (almost 7) months and I have to say that we’ve gotten into the groove of things over the past 2 months.
    The great (read: crazy) part about motherhood is the fact that it is never constant! Once you feel like you’ve got a set routine down, baby goes and changes it on you! We just started solids and so things have changed again. Lol! But by month 6 you’re able to manage things better and you and your baby are much more in tune with each other.

    Hang in there, mama! ❤

    1. Thank you thank you. I couldn’t have said it better. Even in these past 7 weeks… nothing has been a constant. Everything changes. Everyday. But I’m generally getting the hang of things. Looking forward to so many moments ahead!

  3. Noelle is so cute! She looks so tall, and those beautiful eyes. What a sweetheart. Thinking back to when my daughter was little, I remember it was about the 6  mth point where everything really seemed to click. Not that it was all difficult up to that point, but I remember thinking I think she’s getting the hang of being alive outside of me. When you think of what a shock it is to be born and then all the sensory stimulation, it sounds pretty traumatic to me. I also found that if one day was hard, the next one was easy. I know that you are an amazing Mom and am glad that you are being gentle with yourself. Glad Franklin is doing well. I find squirrels bring corncobs into our yard. We find them in our grill and everywhere. I am going to bring a Brussels sprout dish. I do like the gift list idea. 

    1. She’s SO tall! Was too long for her newborn clothes a couple weeks ago already. I’m glad you mentioned how hard it is for the little ones too. I can’t imagine how scary it in this new environment! More reasons to snuggle them so so so tight.

  4. Noelle is adorable (and I love her name) glad the smiles make you feel like you’re doing it right. And yes to the baking gift guide!!

  5. Oh my,  Sally…   Noelle is the sweetest little angel!!  Glad you are all  settling in to your new life together. 

    I always love seeing your product advice so a Holiday wish list would be fun.  

    Have a wonderfully relaxing Thanksgiving… it’s my favorite holiday… love the food but especially love the sentiment behind it and it makes me sad that it gets whisked over between Halloween and Christmas.

  6. I love the idea of a holiday gift list!!
    Im making your banana cream pie for Thanksgiving! I made a test one last month and it was a hit, I cant wait to eat more. ☺

  7. Noelle is adorable.  Appreciate your honesty on the new Mom bit!   I’ve printed and saved all your other baking info, guides, things to buy so would love the gift ideas.  Not cooking this year, hallelujah, but will travel to another State and be with friends.   

  8. I’m glad you are finding your balance with Noelle. It is tough for first-time moms because everything is so new. As someone else pointed out, just be prepared for things to change just when you think you’ve got it all figured out! My babies are 20 and 17 (not so much babies anymore) and each new stage presented new challenges to deal with and involved finding new ways to keep my sanity (particularly with my oldest one just because of his personality)! My personal mantra was, “This too shall pass” and it helped me many times when I felt I just couldn’t take anymore.

    I for one would love a list of suggestions for gifts. My husband and I both enjoy cooking and my youngest is getting ready to go off to college and she loves to bake (and has made several recipes from your site). So I’m always on the lookout for new gift ideas.

    I don’t know what we’re having for Thanksgiving, but it will just be the four of us so I don’t feel any pressure about producing a giant meal. We are having our annual Thanksgiving potluck at work today and I made your Brown Butter Pecan Pie Bars and your Ultimate Magic Cookie Bars (doubled the recipe). I thought I had coconut at home, but it turned out I was wrong and I was very sad about that, but it was just too late for me to head to the store so I just added extra chocolate chips and butterscotch morsels.

    1. I’m sure no one minded the extra chocolate and butterscotch on those bars. I love that recipe.
      Thank you for the advice, Beverly. I’m going to borrow your mantra. It help certainly help me get through the especially difficult days. Have a relaxing Thanksgiving day with your family!

  9. Noelle is such a cutie pie!  And so glad Franklin is doing well!  Jude is looking great!
    Hope you and yours have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

  10. Sally, my husband and I got an app on our phone to track things for our little dude. It’s called Baby Connect, and it costs just a couple dollars in the app store and we have it on both our phones and the iPad. You can track sleep, diaper changes, feedings (breastfeeding and bottles, depending on what you’re doing) and even moods, activities, doctors’ visits, etc. TOTALLY worth the few dollars and all three of our devices sync up. Very highly recommend it 🙂

    We’re doing Thanksgiving with friends and starting the day with waffles, strawberries, and whipped cream. Then turkey and all that stuff, and I want to try your almond apple cranberry pie. Plus pumpkin pie, a Dutch apple pie (my husband will not let me deviate on that one) and possibly a cherry pie if I can squeeze it in the schedule. Enjoy your first Thanksgiving with your wee little miss!

    1. I just downloaded a baby tracker app and I LOVE it! DOn’t know what I did the first 7 weeks without it.

      Your entire Thanksgiving day sounds delicious and I love that you don’t start it on a light note. WAFFLES and whipped cream. Breakfast of champs. I know you’ll love that cranberry almond  apple pie!

  11. Sally, my first baby (and only daughter) will be 6 this Christmas. I had such a rough time with her in those early months. Unexpected, emergency surgical birth and struggled to bond with this tiny person who I was so eager to meet for so long but who felt like a stranger. It takes time for you to get to know each other. I’m sorry for the struggle. Things will get better and in the meantime you can take things one second at a time and I promise you will make it through!

  12. Tracking Joey in an app was a LIFESAVER for us. We were able to see an actual schedule emerge from him around 3-4m. It was amazing. We still use it to track his sleep, but up until he was a year, everything went in there (diapers, eating, bottles). It was so helpful and will be helpful to have as reference for our next little buddy, even if he’s completely different!

    Seriously though, those smiles change everything. It’s amazing what reciprocal love can do for a sleepy mama. So glad you’ve turned a corner! 

  13. Sally, I know I am (and will always ever be) only a DOG MOM….but the caring, nurturing and endless LOVE ‘parts’ are the same. You are not a GOOD Mom…you’re a GREAT MOM…in every sense and in every way. Being a Dog Mom all these years were your ‘training wheels’….and now you are a human Mom who is loving and caring and nurturing. Yes, it will take time and patience, but God has now granted you and Kevin with the ULTIMATE LOVE of your lifetimes. Savor it, enjoy every minute and don’t rush a thing! She is so precious and beautiful. God Bless you both. You both have a LOT to be Thankful for this year…your true Blessing 🙂

  14. I am actually in charge of pies this year so I will be reading your blog nonstop until I choose which pies to make! So many options I can’t decide!

  15. I would love a list of gifts for bakers! I feel like I never know what I’ll need/want until I start a new recipe and it requires 5 new kitchen gadgets. I’d much prefer to get them as gifts now!

  16. I would love a list of your suggested holiday gifts for bakers! 

    I’m helping my mom with Thanksgiving The is year. I’m doing peanut butter cookies, cornbread dressing and pecan pie! 

    Noelle is adorable! Love seeing her updated pictures. 

  17. Noelle is precious and that old saying is true, life does get easier!  You are one smart momma to write things down and see her patterns.  Wish there were patterns for teens! 
    Did a DRY run on a turkey last night, (they scare me), and pun intended, it was real dry.  I’m going to purchase a smoked turkey from a local barbecue restaurant!  With 15 people all together coming it will be a potluck, but I’m making the stuffing, brussels with bacon & pomegranates, cranberry sauce and a delish cranberry salad, and your pumpkin oatmeal cookies. I’ll search your site for stuffing recipes.
    A baking gift guide sounds great!

  18. Hi Sally!
    Thank you for sharing a pic of Noelle.  She is just so precious!! And happy to hear that Franklin is past all the drama of the corn cob.  
    Love the idea of a holiday gift list! 
    As for thanksgiving, my husband & I go to his family’s house.  I have been requested a baked mac & cheese & a pie. Just have to decide which apple pie to make.  Also, will be making a loaf of the cranberry walnut bread for my friend for her thanksgiving table.  I love all the baking this time of year!! 🙂

      1. I’ve already tried it! Thats how my friend ended up asking me to make her one cause she tried it & fell in love! Its incredibly easy to make & SO yummy!! 
        Oh & I decided to make the chai spice apple pie for Thanksgiving! Yum!

  19. What a precious baby! I’m expecting our first in April, and I so appreciate your honesty too! I’m trying to do a ton of research to be as prepared as possible, knowing that there’s still going to be so much to ‘learn on the job’.

    My husband went on a macaron craze (baking not eating!) earlier this year, and it was so interesting! They seemed way too technical for me, but he’s an engineer and he loves a challenge so I think figuring out the proper measurements and temperatures and everything was like a fun puzzle for him. Me, I just enjoy eating them

    1. Congratulations!! New mom to expecting mom… you’re really just going to learn as you go. Every baby is so different and no amount of advice I received before she arrived truly prepared me. It’s a big shock to your entire life. An incredible one, but a shock nonetheless. You’ll be wonderful. You’re all that baby needs!

  20. Thanks, Sally, for your update. Your little one is the cutest!
    As we had our Thanksgiving in October….no special dinner till Christmas over here!
    Yes, please, to the holiday gift list – ideas are always welcome.

  21. Look at that sweet sweet little girl!!! Beautiful.

    For Thanksgiving, in addition to all the pies, I’m going to try making a pasta salad using tortellini, roasted butternut squash, caramelized red onions, goat cheese, walnuts, dried cranberries, and arugula. Then a brussels sprouts gratin with a bacon-pecorino crumb topping, truffle roasted mushrooms, and jalapeño cheddar cornmeal scones. Cannot wait!

    1. Sara! That pasta salad sounds incredible. I love that combo of flavor and texture. Anything with goat cheese and dried cranberries is sure to be a winner.
      And those scones, too! Can I join your Thanksgiving???

  22. What a wonderful update, I’m so happy you’re feeling more confident as a mother. I would love to hear your gift ideas! As for Thanksgiving, I just made your almond cranberry apple pie (with a few changes)! I omitted the cranberries and used a crumble topping instead of a second crust. I baked it the other day and put it in the freezer until I travel home next week. I’m sure it will be a hit!

  23. YESSSSSS about the gift idea…I am glad that your enjoying motherhood so much. I bet it’s wonderful. I know the slack of sleep is a killer but your doing great Sally

  24. Oh the smiling — it’s the best!!!  It’s like you finally get it and the baby finally gets it.  I was so tired I was just incredibly stupid with  my 1st child.  When he started smiling, I was so happy.  He was a difficult guy and is still very stubborn!  That smile melted my heart.  He would be screaming his head off for the millionth time in a night but would smile when he would see me.  So great!!!  Hang in there — you GOT this!  

    Would love a holiday gift guide for bakers!  I love reading any gift guides!!!  Bring it — any good ideas for an 8th grade boy?  I am LOST on him!  

    Thanksgiving — chocolate peanut butter pie and some kind of side dish with cauliflower.  I flash froze a lot of cauliflower from my CSA this summer/fall.  

    1. I’m just so excited for the giggles to start!
      What a combo… cauliflower and chocolate pb pie 😉 HAHA a great mix.
      I am the worst at gifts for teenagers/pre-teens. I feel like I never know what they are into!

  25. She is utterly beautiful!  Hang in there!  Your solutions to schedules make perfect sense!  Making those cheddar biscuits tonight to go with beef stew!  Yum!

  26. Noelle is so sweet! She looks so happy! Glad that she is smiling and responding to you- greatest gift ever. Soooo glad that Franklin is recovering- what an ordeal for the little fella. Jude’s smiling face always makes me smile- he really is the happiest dog that I know! I think your gift idea list is a brilliant one!

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally