Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes :: Fall Bucket List Check Off!

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes by jRoxDesigns
I absolutely LOVE this recipe!  I made it for the first time last year and it became an instant favorite with our family.  I probably made them a half a dozen time since then and already twice this Fall.
 My Mom even asked me to bake them for her birthday instead of a cake last year (which I don’t think we have ever had a birthday in our house without a cake!)
I found the recipe from the talented Michelle at  Une-Duexsesnes and I’m telling you her recipes are amazing and I am crazy jealous of her unbelievable food photography skills!  I always like to try a recipe and tweak it a little bit to my family’s tastes but I keep coming back to her original cupcake recipe.  It is a little bit heavier then most of the recipes that I use but I think it works well for this type of cupcake.  I also backed off a bit on the butter in the graham cracker crust because I like crust a little lighter.  The biggest change I made was I swapped out the original pumpkin pie recipe for my Mom’s recipe which I’ve grown up on.  We have had it every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas and I just didn’t seem right to me to have it any other way.  So without further adieu the most amazing cupcakes you will ever have….


1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 cups sugar
1/2 tbsn. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk, divided
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsn. light brown sugar
2 1/2  tbsn. unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz.) Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 can (12 fl. oz.) Carnation Evaporated Milk

Start off baking your pumpkin pie first because it will take over an hour to bake and it needs to cool completely before you can use it to pipe your cupcakes.  Mix sugar, salt cinnamon, ginger and cloves* in a small bowl.  Beat eggs in a large bowl.  Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture.  Gradually stir in evaporated milk.  Pour into pie pan.  Bake in preheated 425 F oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce temperature to 350 F and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a knife is inserted near the center and comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack for 2 hours.

* You can substitute 1 3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon, ginger and cloves which is what I usually do since I don’t usually have ginger or cloves!

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a cupcake pan with liners, set aside. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add the butter and 1/4 cup of milk. Mix on medium speed until smooth, about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. In another bowl, blend the eggs, egg white, remaining 1/4 cup milk and vanilla. Add to the batter in 3 additions, mixing for 2 minutes on medium speed after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl in between additions. Set aside.To make the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter in a medium bowl and mix well. Add 1 tbsn. of the mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner and bake for 5 minutes until the graham crackers are golden. Remove from the oven then fill about 1/2 full with the cake batter. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely.  To frost, scoop the pumpkin pie “frosting” into a piping bag and pipe onto the cupcakes.

**I don’t usually have cake flour so I wanted to share with you a substitution that I have found works well.  Since this recipe calls for 1 3/4 cups of cake flour I make 2 cups of cake flour in a bowl and make sure to mix the cornstarch in well with the flour.  Once I’m sure the two are mixed I simply remove a 1/4 cup of the mixture and use the remaining portion for my recipe!

Cake Flour Substitution

Place two tablespoons of cornstarch in a one-cup measuring cup and simply fill the rest of the cup with all-purpose flour.  One cup of the substitute is equal to one cup of cake flour in any recipe.


Don’t forget these tasty treats wrapped up in a cute box make a perfect thank you gift or even a hostess gift for your holiday parties!  Jake and I wrapped up this big box as a Christmas present for his teacher.  I’m pretty sure he is going to love them!


Pssst….want to see more behind the scenes pictures from this post and other fun projects we are working on?  Follow us on Instagram!


Fall Football :: Fall Bucket List Check Off!

Here is the South we are very passionate about a lot of things, like sweet tea, southern hospitality, Bojangles (if you do not know what I am talking about immediately find the location closest to you or ask for someone to overnight you some chicken and pray that it is still warm once you get it!) and FOOTBALL!  Around here we start our kids off with a football in their hand as soon as they are born and once they are four it is off to flag football!  Growing up my sister and I never missed a high school game and I was even crazy enough to be a glorified water girl for my middle school team (hey what can I say my best friend and I liked the cute boys!)

This year was Jake’s third year playing tackle and let me tell you this boy LOVES football!  He moved up an age bracket this year so he was back to being the youngest guy on the team again but that has never stopped him!

I know he is supposed to be a tough football player but I can’t help but love that sweet face of his!

From August through October he practiced 2 hours a night, three nights a week and that was after he completed twenty hours of conditioning within two weeks!  Every Saturday my whole family would come out to support Jake.  The beaming smile on his face every time he would turn around and see us all was priceless!

This year he was able to play on both offense and defensive lines.  He loves offense but that boy LOVES to tackle!

No matter what it didn’t matter how many times he got caught up by the other team he would play tough through every play.

What really made this year great was of course the awesome line up of coaches!  Our team had eight coaches which was the maximum we were allowed to have and with only 24 boys they each got a lot of one on one time.

We even had the cutest dance team this year!  I hate to say it but most of the boys didn’t pay them much attention.  The girls were so sweet though!!

Jake of course had his own personal little cheerleader.  Emma Grace watched him the entire season and wanted nothing more than to go play on the field with her big brother.  She would scream to him from the sidelines.  She thinks the world of him!

This year we bought Jake a pair of awesome yellow cleats so that we could pick him out easily on the field!  Let me tell you that was the best money I have spent in a long time.  All you had to do was take a quick look on the field and scan across the ground until you found him.  I LOVE those cleats!

The referees always cracked me up.  They always seemed to keep their cool even when a coach or a team mom on occasion became confrontational!  Good job refs!

The best part of this year’s football season?  We now have TWO boys to cheer on!  My little nephew turned four this year and guess what that means?  It’s flag football time!  He has grown up surrounded by football since he was a baby.  Between all of his cousins football games and watching Jake he has been waiting for his time to shine!

He was one lucky boy because with his Daddy as a coach there was always someone to help him out when he would forget to tighten his belt and loose his flags!

This little man has got some serious moves!  He scored more touchdowns this season than I can even keep up with!  He was born to play football!

I’m so proud of both of my boys this year for how well they did.  More importantly they both had so much fun and learned a lot.  I can’t wait for next year!

Psst…you can still download your own copy of our Fall Bucket List here!

Say what?? A professional photography session with Mandy Johnson!?!


Did catch this post from the National Association of Professional Child Photographers‘ blog this morning???

“Spearmint Baby Reader AMBER SMITH is our Grand Prize Winner!”

Oh yes you read it right!  Sorry I had to geek out a little bit and share with you all today my fabulous news!  A couple of weeks back I entered a contest on Spearmint Baby (which you all know by now is one of my all time fav blogs!) to be entered to win a new Organic Bloom frame and be entered into the pool for the Grand Prize which was a professional photography session with the amazingly talented Mandy Johnson.  I never gave it much thought after hitting enter because seriously, we all love a good giveaway and we will still enter a contest even though there are hundreds of other entries.  We just press the submit button and think about how much fun it would be if we actually won.

A couple of days later I was shocked when I got an email letting me know that I won the Organic Bloom frame!  I have lusted after those frames since the first time I laid eyes on them and I was just elated to be able to finally have my very  own to show off in my home.  At the same time they let me know that I would be entered in the drawing for the grand prize which would be announced in the next couple of weeks.  I tried to not think about it but let’s be honest I couldn’t help but think about how cool it would be to actually win.  Then last week I was out having a shopping day with the girls I got an email that I won the GRAND PRIZE!  I was a so excited I may have done a happy dance and a little bit of screaming may have been involved.  Considering I was in the dressing room I apologize to anyone who may have been startled by my excitement!

I am kind of embarrassed to say that I think I only have maybe two pictures of the four of us as a family.  I have literally hundreds of pictures of the kids but because I am always behind the camera I never have any of myself!  I have a really cute picture of Jeremy, Emma Grace and I right after she was born and then I have one of myself along with the two kids at the beach this summer.  I do have one from Easter of all four of us but I think that might be it.  I couldn’t be more excited for this wonderful opportunity!  I am blessed with the most amazing family and I am so happy to be able to finally have some great pictures of us all together!

Although the session will not be until after the new year I can’t help but start thinking of what to wear and where we should go.  Anyone in the Triangle have a great idea for a location?  I have a couple of good ideas and I’m already thinking I might have to go shopping for some new clothes!  Don’t worry I’ll keep you up to date on all the details and I’ll be sure to share our photos too!

Fall Wreath Makeover :: Fall Bucket List Check Off!

This week is all about what we crossed off our Fall Bucket List before we jump into Christmas next week!  Fall always seems to get short changed because everyone always thinks about December as Winter BUT the last day of Fall this year is actually not until December 20th!  So there is still time to download your very own copy of our Fall Bucket List!

I love wreaths!  I get made fun around my house because I seem to have quite a few wreaths for different times of the year and for special occasions.  I just think a wreath makes our entryway more welcoming!  A couple years ago I tried to make my own version of this wreath which I shared with you last week on Inspiration Wednesday.

Burlap Wreath on Darris and Shawn

When I first made the wreath it looked AWESOME!  Once Winter came I carefully put it away for the next year but unfortunately it didn’t fair as well in storage as I had hoped.  The burlap had creased where it was supposed to be softly folded.  So I took it apart, ironed the burlap, put it back together and I had a pretty wreath again.  Unfortunately this is what it looked like when I pulled it out this year.

Whomp whomp!  Why do you look so sad little wreath?  How about a different angle?  Nope I hate to say it but you still look pretty bad.

Last year I had an idea that maybe I could make it a bit more fluffy by putting beads in-between the folds.  Which worked well but the burlap kept moving around so I had to keep fixing it which became a big PAIN!

I bet you didn’t even notice the cute little flowers that were on the bottom did ya?  I loved the idea of the burlap and the flowers but it became pretty clear to me this year that I needed to update it.

Being the cheap person that I am I didn’t want to have to go buy another wreath form   Then I remembered seeing on Pintrest how people had used pool noodles to make a wreath form!  Oh yes I had three of them stashed in my closet from this summer.  Score!  I put some fast drying tacky glue on the ends and then added some duct tape and I was set!

** UPDATE:  A couple days later part of the noodle pulled apart under the duct tape so I had to go back and re-glue and re-tape the noodle.  I found that by placing two pieces of tape from one end of the noodle to the other in a criss-cross pattern gave the noodle more staying power than just going around in one direction.  Anyone else have the same problem?**

So, I took the old wreath apart and started at one end and began to wrap the old strips of burlap around the form.  Since I reused my original burlap strips they were anywhere from 2″ to 4″ wide.  If I was to start fresh and cut new strips for this project 3″ would probably be perfect.

Then there were my pretty flowers!  Originally I had put hair clips on the back of them so that they could be removed or changed to another wreath later on if I wanted to.  Boy am I glad I did that or else I would have had to make new ones.

The type of clip I used actually works great for burlap because you just pick a spot and squeeze it in-between the spaces and it holds great!

And that was it!  Ta da!  It probably only took me 10 minutes to do!  I love a quick and easy project.

The flowers are still one of my favorite parts.  I just love all of the different colors in the plaid.  They are so festive for Fall!

I didin’t have any more of the plaid fabric to make more flowers so I just decided to stay with the original three that I had.  If I was starting the project from scratch I would probably have added a couple more flowers to fill some space.

Instead to add a bit more interest I made my wreath hanger out of two different ribbons rather than one.  I pulled the blue and the orange out to match the flowers and I couldn’t help but smile because they are also my high school colors!

So there she is!  A new simple, pretty wreath to dress up the front door for Fall!

How do you usually dress up your entryway to great your guests?  Do you like to add fresh flowers or plants?  Maybe a welcome sign or a wreath like me?  Share with us!

Psst…you can still download your own copy of our Fall Bucket List here!

A Thankful Week and Celebrating Our 100th Post with a Top 10 Recap!!

I have had the best week full of wonderful blessings and making great memories with my family.  We had an amazing Thanksgiving and filled our bellies to the brim with all sorts of delicious goodies!  I did a bit of shopping last night with my sister and we had such a great time together.  While driving home listening to Christmas music in the wee hours of the morning  I couldn’t help but think about how lucky I truly am.  I have the most amazing family and friends that support me through everything I do.  I have a husband who adores me and two children that are perfect in every way.  I have a roof over my head and am blessed to have enough money in my pocket to buy a few new toys for my kids for Christmas.  I am so lucky to have the life that I have.  I just wanted to tell all of you, my wonderful readers how thankful I am for you.  I started this blog as a creative outlet and it has become so much more.  I have made so many new friends and learned so much along the way.  So today I wanted to share a big milestone for the blog…OUR 100th POST!  How exciting is that?  I thought we could all celebrate today by taking a look back at my most popular posts along with my personal favorites!

One of my most popular posts is Emma Grace’s Weekly Photo Project which is one project I am so proud of.  For all the hours and time that I’ve spent editing photos and preparing each shoot it is by far my most rewarding project!

34 Weeks

Emma Grace’s Nursery reveal was also a very popular post including my personal favorite, the French Provencal Dresser makeover!

Custom Painted French Provencal Dresser by jRoxDesigns

After being sick of my old worn out kitchen rug I gave it a fun facelift with a bit of creativity with the help of some paint!

An afternoon, a quart of chalkboard paint and waiting what seemed like forever and we have an awesome new space to jot notes and play tic-tac-toe!

My post about my journey to get my first tattoo has been my most viewed post and I received so much feedback I actually decided to offer custom designs in my Etsy shop!

Personalized Infinity Tattoo by jRoxDesigns

I celebrated Hyperemesis Gravidarum Awareness Day by sharing my own personal journey with HG.  It was by far my most difficult post to write but since I wrote about my story I have had several women who are suffering or have survived HG reach out to me.  Their stories of strength and encouragement made it worth finally telling my story.

Newborn Photography by jRoxDesigns Photography copyright 2011

I have learned so much about photography over the past year and I was excited to share with you all some amazing pictures that I took at a friend’s wedding.  That post along with the photos I shared from the very first wedding I was asked to shoot are some of my most popular posts!

Wedding Photography by jRoxDesigns Photography copyright 2012

Wedding Photography by jRoxDesigns Photography copyright 2012

I know everyone loves a pallet makeover and we had a great time turning an old pallet into a vintage soda sign for hubby’s birthday!

Vintage Sun Drop Sign by jRoxDesigns

Hungry?  We sure were when we made these AMAZING stuffed burgers filled with several cheeses, crisp bacon and sautéed onions!  YUMMY!

Stuffed Burgers by jRoxDesigns

Our free Fall Bucket List printable was a big success!  For the rest of November I will be sharing with you how many things we were able to cross off!

I hope you have enjoyed my special 100th post recap of my favorite and most popular posts so far!  Thank you for all of your support along the way and don’t ever be afraid to leave a little comment for me.  I love hearing from you!  If you want to keep up with what I’m up to outside the blog stop by and follow me!