Triple Coconut Cream Pie

Triple Coconut Cream Pie

My husband turned 39 yesterday, so we made him a pie. My daughter had some thoughts about what kind of pie we should make. The conversation went like this:

Gem: I want to make Daddy a cherry pie for his birthday
Me: I just bought ingredients for coconut cream pie, because it’s his favorite
Gem: I think Daddy wants cherry
Me: Did you ask him?
Gem: Daddy, do you want a surprise?

Such is my life. For the record, we ended up making the pie I planned on, and she got away with being cute. It’s a kind of win-win. And, she was a great help in the kitchen.

The Dahlia Lounge has the best coconut cream pie in Seattle. Maybe anywhere. Aaron and I are big fans.

triple coconut cream pie

I was so thrilled to find that Tom Douglas and his team published the recipe for their Dahlia Triple Coconut Cream Pie in the Dahlia Bakery Cookbook: Sweetness in Seattle.  This cookbook is a great teaching cookbook. It’s more than just recipes, and it covers the how and why of techniques, so you really learn how to cook rather than just how to follow directions.

That was the pie I made for Aaron’s birthday. And it was amazing.


Happy birthday, my love. You are a wonderful husband and father, and we love you. I hope 39 is an awesome year for you.

birthday pie

FTC Disclosure: of course, I use affiliate links wherever possible, including this post.

Hey, hey it’s my birthday

Hey, hey it’s my birthday

It’s been said that there are few pictures of me where I’m not hiding behind a camera.

camera selfie - CoffeeJitters.Net

That might be true. But, since it’s my birthday, and I’m in a celebratory mood, I thought I’d just prove that there are a few pictures of me sans camera.

Judy Schwartz Haley - CoffeeJitters.Net

Also, since I was going through old photos, I got sucked into a vortex of Gem’s old baby photos. Seriously, people, I have the coolest kid. (This still counts as a picture of me, check out the reflection in her glasses.)

gem shades - CoffeeJitters.Net

How she got a carnival with pony rides for her 4th birthday

How she got a carnival with pony rides for her 4th birthday

Motherhood can pack a walloping dose of guilt at times, especially when your 4-year-old’s birthday lands at a particularly inconvenient moment with regards to time, money, health, energy, or even a working phone. This sense of guilt can then be further intensified when she patiently and politely reminds you 2 months later that you promised her a birthday party with cake and presents and friends.


So I had to come up with something fast, and just Mommy and Daddy around the dinner table with a cupcake wasn’t going to cut it. There had to be a party. And there had to be kids.

So now what?

Then my cousin, Amanda, came up with the most brilliant idea ever: her daughter’s school was having a spring carnival – we could meet up there, and then have cake and presents after.

So Gem and I baked brownies for her cake, and then we bought a bunch of frosting and decorations, and we put the girls to work decorating her birthday cake.  This was a job they took very seriously.


Doesn’t that just look delicious?


Yes, of course the grownups all politely made yummy faces as we each dutifully ate a piece.  🙂

And then there was the carnival.

There was a climbing wall: That’s my baby, waaaaaaaaay up there.


And pony rides!


A hug for the pony.


Face painting, temporary tattoos, and her bestest friend.


She got her big day, and she didn’t need to know this entire carnival was not just for her birthday.  Let’s keep that between us, ok? 😉

Four years… and a shark

Four years… and a shark

I spent the night in the ER last week. I wasn’t a big deal, just a recurring issue that’s a side-effect of a side-effect of my cancer treatment. It’s starting to feel a little routine.

This time it was a little different, though.

For one thing, the hospital was over-full. This hospital that I usually rave about, got less than high marks from me this time. When I was finally admitted, they put me in the over-flow of the patient over-flow area: pre-op. That was all fine and dandy from 2am when I finally got the room, till 5am when the surgical patients started showing up. Then the constant noise, the fact that the kitchen could never seem to find me to deliver my meals, the lack of a phone (and my cell phone died), the lack of a tv, and the persistent sound of various people vomiting started to get to me. A little. Maybe a lot. But, I was checked out by that evening, so I didn’t have to deal with it for more than a day. And I’m just fine now.

But, I diverted my attention by focusing on something else. It was four years to the day from the night my daughter was born. I went in to the ER just about the same time I arrived at this same hospital four years earlier. With no tv, and plenty of chaos to try to block out of my awareness, I passed the time remembering my daughter’s birth. What an amazing experience. And, I was released from the hospital in time to give my newly-minted 4-year-old a big hug on her birthday.

I’ve spent the rest of the week reminiscing about the past four years with my little girl, and I came across this picture of her baby shark costume from her first Halloween.

baby shark costume - CoffeeJitters.NetHmmm… maybe this sheds a little light on her current shark obsession. 🙂
You can learn more about my cancer story here:

my cancer story | Judy Schwartz Haley


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Dinosaur Ballerina Birthday Party

Dinosaur Ballerina Birthday Party

I posted on Facebook that Gem wants to be a dinosaur ballerina when she grows up, and our my cousins responded with shock. The shock, it turns out, was appropriate. Unbeknownst to us, they were in the midst of planning a dinosaur ballerina birthday party for their soon-to-be 3-year-old. Their little girl is even more crazy about dinosaurs than Gem, and knows ALL the dinosaurs.

This should be cute, I thought.

I had no idea.

When we arrived at the birthday party, Gem was helped into a dinosaur tail and tutu.

birthday party

My happy little girl was giddy. Dinosaur Ballerina!

birthday party

birthday party

The birthday girl’s grandma handmade dinosaur tails for all the kids, and coordinating tutus for the girls.

dinosaur tail


The weight of the tail dragging behind them cause the kids, especially the littlest ones, to exaggerate their waddle as they walked.

dinosaur birthday party

Cuteness overload

dinosaur ballerina birthday party

The lawn covered with littles followed by their tails.

dinosaur birthday party

A back yard dinosaur dig

dinosaur ballerina birthday party

Dinosaur ballerinas discussing books and their favorite dinosaurs

dinosaur ballerina birthday party

dinosaur ballerina birthday party

Even the birthday girl’s daddy had a tail.

dinosaur birthday party

Happy birthday, Isabella. Here’s to many, many more.

dinosaur birthday party

Wouldn’t you like to be a dinosaur ballerina, too?