picmonkey-collage

Reupholster Or Just Get A New Chair…What To Do?

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Posted by Katie Gambone

This chair, which may not look like much in pictures, is the MOST popular seat in my house house.  By far.

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It’s kind of on the small side, which means if you are a petite person like me your feet will still touch the floor even if you are sitting all the way back in it.  But tall people like my husband also enjoy it – especially when playing video games.

Misha enjoys resting on it.  Exhibit A below.

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It is now Matteo’s favorite spot for reading, playing with toys, thinking, drinking milk…the list goes on.  You may have guessed this is quickly becoming his chair.

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The curved back and arms almost feel like they are giving you a hug.  I can’t explain it unless you sit in it yourself, but it is just really, really comfortable.  It’s one of those “they don’t make em’ like this anymore…” chairs.

Anyway, it’s gotten so much use, and has had so much abuse (from Misha when she was a puppy) that it is really looking a little rough.  I strategically place a pretty oversized scarf thingy from my mom on it to hide the missing buttons and the places where Misha….gulp…decided to eat the stuffing out of it.  I was pretty mad at her about that.

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So anyway, we love this chair a lot.  It was a hand-me-down from Abby and Drew, which explains some of the attachment.  But I also just really love this chair.  I can honestly say there is no other piece of furniture in my house that I feel so passionate about.  I just can’t see getting rid of it, but I know that it needs a makeover if we are going to keep it  for much longer.  So I’ve been investigating the costs to reupholster it.  If you’ve ever done this research yourself, then you know that the cost to reupholster something is about as expensive as just buying a new chair.  Holy cow is it expensive! I couldn’t believe it!  If you haven’t researched it, I’ve had quotes for anywhere between $500 -$700 to get the job done (re-stuff, purchase fabric, and man hours).  If it was any other chair, I would just replace it, but I really want to keep it.

If I was brave and had more time, I would try to do it myself.  But I think I’m going to leave it up to the professionals.  I know it can look amazing.   In fact, I have been viewing examples of fantastic looking reupholstered furniture to get myself motivated.  The picture below is a really lovely makeover of a settee or couch – I can’t tell which it is – but I think it looks great.

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In looking through pictures of reupholstered furniture I have also realized that there is a trend to use multiple fabrics on one piece.  I think it looks pretty on the chair below.  I’m really into the black and white color combo.

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This white couch with blue printed backing is also really, really elegant.

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So, for my little chair, I’ve been daydreaming about how to pretty her up.  I am really into navy blues.  If I went with two fabrics, I think I would do a blue velvet fabric for the front.  Here is an example of a blue velvet chair just so you have a visual.

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And then for the back of the chair, maybe a bolder print.  For example, I really like either of these navy prints.

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Or I could add some color, like this awesome mod print with big red flowers.  The only thing is, I worry I would get tired of it after a while.

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Or something like this pink print would be unexpected.  But again, I worry I would get tired of it and I think it would be hard to match with my other furniture.

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Or I can pay homage to the chair’s original color and stick with a yellow fabric like either of the options below.

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I’d love to hear what you guys think!!  Should I do it?  Should I go with two fabric patterns or just stick with one?  Should I go  with navy blues or try a more neutral color scheme?  Also, if you’ve had anything reupholstered professionally or tackled this type of project yourself  I’d love to hear about your experience.  Leave me a note in the comment section below or email me at buttonjar3@gmail.com.

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Halloween Dinners, Treats & Movies-Oh My!

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Posted by Abby Branham

Let’s celebrate Halloween with a bang!  As promised in Monday’s post highlighting 18 Spooktakular Games, here is a list of delicious Halloween themed dinners, treats and movies to help you celebrate this weekend.  The best part though is that these ideas prove that Halloween treats don’t have to only be about sugar.  Give them a try and let us know how you like them.  If you have any Halloween themed dinner, treat, or movie ideas that you think should be on our list, please let us know!  Enjoy the holiday!

HALLOWEEN HEALTHY TREATS

Yes, we all love a little sugar, but I am trying to show restraint.  The fantastic blog Double The Batch has some clever, easy and cute Halloween treat ideas that I just  had to share with you. These healthy Halloween treats contain ingredients my girls already love, so I know that they will be more inclined to eat them.  For instance, these Banana Ghosts and Pumpkin Tangerines are sure to be a hit.  Aren’t they clever and easy?

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Why not make an adorable veggie or fruit tray by simply shaping it into a ghoulish figure like this Pumpkin Shaped Veggie Tray?  Brilliant!  I bet broccoli would make a fantastic Frankenstein head.

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And finally, these Apple Teeth literally make me smile.  The marshmallows probably add the  perfect amount of sweetness.

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halloween dinners

For your main course, keep the Halloween theme going with these two Mexican cuisine dinners, which can be made together or separately.  I love these Jack-O-Lantern Quesadillas by Florasippi Girl.  Honestly, how cute and easy are these?

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Again, I can’t stop smiling at these Halloween Style Stuffed Peppers by Everyday Jenny.  My entire family will love these.  The shredded chicken, black beans, and cheese are calling my name.

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Halloween show stopping treat

And finally, dessert!  If you manage to save room for even more delicious Halloween inspired food,  I suggest this spook-tacular cake made by Button Jar’s very own,  super talented, Olivia Sell!

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Olivia and Randall worked on this amazing cake this past weekend and it would be the perfect table topper at any party.  It is loaded with super moist chocolate cake,  buttercream icing with candy corn inside, covered in chocolate ganache, and a marshmallow spider web tops it all off.  (Sugar overload is an understatement.)

The full directions and video for how to do it are on How You Cake It with Yolanda Gampp.  Even if you are intimidated by making her amazing creations – it is fun to see how creative cake making can be.

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HALLOWEEN MOVIE LOVE

To go with your amazing Halloween dinner, here is a  list of Button Jar Halloween movie recommendations.  My sisters and I, and our children now, have upheld the tradition of watching these movies over and over for many a Halloween season.  We could probably quote half the lines from each of these so it would probably be pretty annoying to watch with us.  It’s worse with Christmas movies though…

  • It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
  • Pooh’s Halloween Heffalump
  • Maurice Sendak’s, Little Bear Halloween Stories (My girls love Little Bear right now, it had to make the list.)
  • Hocus Pocus
  • Harry Potter
  • Beetlejuice
  • Frankenstein with Boris Karloff  (You really need to watch this with my Dad for the full effect.)

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house-drawings

My New House Has A Drawing – Come See It!

Alicia_Sell

Posted by Alicia Sell

Today I am pretty excited and nervous to share this post with you because it has been such a long time coming.  As a recap, Randall and I sold our house very unexpectedly in late August.  We didn’t have a house ready to move into and we got turned down on a few of the bids that we submitted, which was okay because it never felt quite right.  In the end, we felt fortunate to find a cute fixer upper that has been lovingly kept by its only owner and sits on 10 beautiful acres.

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It is a new adventure for us, but we have always wanted the chance to take a home and transform it into something we would love.

So what I am able to share with you today are the preliminary drawings that our builder put together for us.  We interviewed quite a few builders but ultimately we decided to work with the Alam Design Group & Family Builders.  Husain Alam, the owner, is great to work with and he really listened to and understood what Randall and I wanted to achieve on our budget.   Our personal style is very clean and simple, but with a nod to the traditional architecture that dots the rolling hills in Southern Virginia.  So, without further ado, here are the drawings for the house.

Home Renovation Drawings – Courtesy of Alam Design Group & Family Builders.

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Front Elevation.  The front of the house will be dominated by a classic country front porch that takes advantage of the beautiful views and the early morning sun.  Large windows will allow for you to enjoy the beautiful view from every angle.  When you are looking at the house from this angle, the existing house is the part sticking out to the right.

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Rear Elevation. There will be a hearth room (ie the kids play room) off of the back of the house.  The kids can be in this room with friends, playing video games, etc. and it will help keep the noise separate from the rest of the house.  From this angle, the existing house to the left.

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Right Elevation. The porch will wrap around the entire new front piece of the house.  This means I am going to have to add to my collection of rocking chairs!

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Left Elevation.  This is the side of the house that people will approach when they come up the driveway.  We have a little entry into a mudroom area, which is likely where everyone will be coming into the house.

Again, special thanks to Alam Design Group & Family Builders for working with us!

So what will it look like?

I am a very visual person and it is hard for me to conceptualize what this will look like just from drawings, so I put together a little collage of pictures that are similar in style to what we are hoping to accomplish.

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The beautiful wraparound porch, big windows and open floor plan match up with all the things that I could ever want in a house.  The final size will be about 2600 square feet, which is just big enough to feel spacious but not too big to overwhelm me.  I have never wanted a huge house, just a house that is quaint and has character.  And light.  Lots of light.

This is still all preliminary and subject to change based on budget and resources, but we are hoping we can stay true to the character that Husain has drawn up.  We are also hoping to do some of the work ourselves (yes, that is crazy).  We are looking forward to getting started and I will keep you updated as things start to move along.  We are on this crazy train and starting to pull out of the station – I can’t wait to see where this adventure takes us! Stay tuned!

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picmonkey-collage

18 Spooktacular Games

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Posted By The Creative Crew

pin_halloween-gamesHalloween is right around the corner!  This holiday always brings back fun childhood memories.  I (this is Katie writing) would get so excited to go trick-or-treating that I once had a vivid dream (nightmare actually) that I slept through it!  In my dream I could see kids in costumes walking by my window, and I kept thinking “Wake up!   Wake up!  Get your costume on or you will miss all of the candy.”  But I just couldn’t get out of bed.  Soooooo scary, right?   Don’t worry though, I had dreams that I slept through Christmas too…clearly it’s just me being overexcited and weird.

Anyway, we here at Button Jar love traditions associated with any holiday but Halloween was always very special to us, not only for our love of trick-or-treating, but also because each year we got our “game face” on for our family’s annual pumpkin carving contest.  We carried on this tradition until a few years ago when all of the new little kiddos in our lives made it a challenge to get together.  We hope to pick back up with it soon.  Also, way before Halloween Superstore days our mom always came up with fantastic costumes for us.  She was a costume designer for a theater company for a short time and even sewed her own wedding dress, so she is pretty darn good at it!  Trust us.  Glinda the Good Witch from The Wizard of Oz was perhaps one of the most memorable costumes she put together for Alicia..so sad we don’t have a picture of that.  Alicia may have cried a little bit over the extreme volume in her hair because the curlers took a little too well, but she looked fantastic!

Anyway, whether you celebrate Halloween or not, fall is a fantastic time to play games with your kids or even throw a party.  We have compiled a list of 18 games that you can play with adults, kids or a combination of kids and adults.  We hope that these games get you in a festive spirit! Have fun…it’d be hard not to!  Also – be sure to check back in on Friday for some more holiday inspiration – our theme will be dinner and a moooooovviiieeee.

Pin The Face On the Jack-o-lantern

Matteo is a little obsessed with pumpkins right now so I made this game for us to play in the few minutes we had before nap time.  It took all of 10 minutes to make.  Using some poster board I had on hand, I drew and quickly colored a large jack-o-lantern.  I then colored and cut out shapes for Matteo to make a friendly face on his pumpkin.   Each shape had tape on the back to make them sticky.  So easy and so much fun!  Matteo was a little freaked out by the mouth even though he pretended to put it on his face, but he was totally digging the triangle shapes.  We’ll play with this again in the future.

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Spider Races from Still Playing School

This is another one that is great for kids, but it could honestly be fun at an adult party too.  All you need for this game are some straws, plastic spiders from the dollar store, and a make-shift race track.  Prest-o magic-o! You’ve got yourself a race.

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Guess the number of Candy Corns in The Jar

Any Halloween or Fall Party needs at least some kind of candy game and candy corns are my FAVORITE.  So, get a jar, fill it up, and have paper slips available for your guests to guess how many candy corns are in there for a fun prize.  The hardest part is making sure that the candy corns don’t get eaten before the game is over!

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Mummy Wrap

This is one of my personal favorites (Katie again).  There are lots of variations on how to play, but, in short, pair up in teams of two, get a few rolls of toilet paper and make the best mummy you can.  Busting out of the mummy wrap is probably even more fun than getting in costume.  Lots of laughs with this game.

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Pumpkin Carving Contest

My parents judged a pumpkin carving contest between us sisters each year.  So fun!  This contest requires a little bit more time and it gets pretty messy so I recommend asking your guests to carve their pumpkins ahead of time and bring them to the party.  Make sure you have prizes for different categories like scariest, funniest, most original, etc.  As a side note, toasted pumpkin seeds make a delicious, salty party snack.

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Pumpkin Miniature Golf From A Girl and a Glue Gun

If you are particularly adept at carving pumpkins, it is fun and creative to create your own miniature golf course.  You can make a large course or a single hole for play – either way will be fun.  This actually would be awesome as part of an obstacle course!

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Bean Bag Toss from Paige’s Party Ideas

I love this idea from Paige’s Party Ideas.  Grab six trick-or-treating jack-o-lanterns from the Dollar Store and some bean bags.  You can make your own pretty easily if you can’t find them at the store.  Whoever gets the most bags in the pumpkins wins.  Simple, inexpensive and cute.

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Ghost Bowling From Paige’s Party Ideas

Another great idea from Paige’s Party Ideas (I highly recommend visiting her blog for year-round fun) is this ghost bowling.  Stick googly eyes on some toilet paper rolls, grab a ball or pumpkin, and get bowling!

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Bobbing for Apples

This is as easy and old-school as you can get.  This was played at every single Halloween party I ever attended (this is Alicia writing) and it was always the highlight of the night.  Young and old alike can’t help shoving their head under water and trying to grab an apple.  I have seen it played where you can have your hands on the side of the tub or where you had your hands behind your back, but the point is you can only use your mouth to get the apple out of the water.  You can time it for 30 seconds to see how many you can get or just see if you can get any at all!  There is a trick to the technique but I won’t give it away – you have to figure it out for yourself!

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Pass the Tiny Pumpkin with your Neck Game

So, a safety tip with this one.  Cut the pumpkin stem off so no one gets poked!  Second tip, make it a smallish pumpkin because you can’t easily tuck a 10 pounder under your chin.  This can be done with all numbers of objects, such as pumpkins, oranges, apples, a balloon, etc.  No matter what the object, the game is always the same.  Form two teams that have equal numbers of players.  Have each team line up in a straight line and everyone has to hold their hands behind their backs.  No hands allowed!  The person in the front of the line holds the pumpkin by tucking it between their chin and their neck.  They then turn to the next person in line and have to pass it by placing the pumpkin into that players neck without either player using their hands.  If the pumpkin falls, it goes back to the first person in line.  The team to successfully get the pumpkin passed to the end of their line first wins!

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Eat the Donut off the String

I have played this game with either a donut tied to a string OR an apple tied to the string.  The apple is really hard, so you might reserve apples for the older players.  No matter what you use, the rules are simple.  Tie donuts or apples from a pole at varying heights.  You can also tie a rope between two trees and hang the donuts off of strings that are tied to the rope.  Each player lines up under their “donut.”  With their hands behind your back, they have to eat the entire donut without it falling off the string onto the ground.  If it falls, you are eliminated.  The first person to eat the entire donut is the winner! (But really everyone feels like a winner because you get a yummy donut.)

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Knock the Ghoul from the Table

This is a super easy game kids can just keep playing all night long.  It is can toss, but each can has been painted to look like a Halloween ghost, pumpkin, witch, etc.  Get creative!  Use a tennis ball or a bean bag to knock the cans down.  Reset and repeat.

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Candy Corn Toss

I saw this online and wish I knew who to credit because it is so cute!  I have a feeling Randall is going to have to make one of these for next season.  Again, this is a simple bean bag toss game but with a giant candy corn as the target.  You can award points by color.  Little kids stand close, big kids have to be far away.  Kids will enjoy playing this over and over, no matter if they are 2 or 22.

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Costume Contest

The best part of Halloween is getting to dress up in creative costumes!  Have a few prizes ready to give away for funniest, scariest and most creative.  My son, Colin recently won funniest costume at a Halloween party he attended last weekend.  He was “kid from the 80s,” wearing all genuine 1980s gear that belonged to Randall and his Uncle Corey.  Randall swears half shirts were really popular, but I am not convinced that they weren’t just popular to him. We can only pray that fashion choice doesn’t return anytime soon – ahhh!

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Pumpkin Tic-Tac-Toe

Making a board is easy.  You can tape it off on a piece of plywood, or draw the tic-tac-toe board with chalk on a driveway.  Do orange pumpkins vs. white pumpkins or paint them with cute stripes – the possibilities are endless.

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Glow In The Dark Pumpkin Ring Toss From Kid Friendly Things To Do

Glow in the dark ring toss!   Why didn’t I ever think of this?  Grab two large pumpkins with decent stems.  Again – hit the Dollar Store for glow in the dark rings.  Set everything up a few feet apart and let your guests get tossin’.  This one can be fun in the daylight or the dark.

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Ghostly Pillow Sac Race From Fireflies and Mudpies

This is such a fun activity for the young and young at heart!  Cut out some face shapes and tack them down to old pillow cases you won’t be needing anymore, except for future pillow sack races.  Line up….and GO!

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Pumpkin and Spoon Race

For another fun race idea, take some of the many mini pumpkins and gourds laying around your house and give each participant a spoon.  Again, line em’ up and…….GO!  This is sure to be a hit with my twins (this is Abby writing).

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Don’t forget to check back on Friday for fantastic Halloween inspired snacks and movies.  You can make sure you get all of Button Jar’s posts by subscribing to our email list by clicking here, or by following us on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. Also, sharing is caring! If you like this post, please share it on your social media networks. Thanks!

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Baking Is Good For The Soul – Apple Brown Betty

Katie_Gallup

Posted by Katie Gambone

I don’t know about you guys but I am starting to crave delicious home-baked desserts.  The cooler weather, the fact that Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching and it’s time to start planning the menu, the mounds of fresh apples at the grocery store – all of these things makes me want to bake, bake bake.

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So, to feed my cravings and because I believe baking is good for the soul, for the Recipe of the Week I am sharing with you  one on my favorite desserts – Apple Brown Betty. This guy was my helper in shopping for today’s post, so a big shout out to Matteo!  Don’t mind the little bits of breakfast bar on his face. Haha!

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Apple Brown Betty is a recipe handed down to me by my Grandma Linton and my mom.  It’s quick, easy, and you can replace the apples with different types of fruit if you need an excuse to make this recipe all year round.  You really don’t need an excuse though – just go  for it!

One day I’d like to try making a version of this dessert in a skillet.  I’ve seen blueberry crumble skillet recipes and variations of it all over the cooking magazines and blogs.  I’ll let you know if I get brave enough to try it.  If you already have tried a skillet version- let me know what you did!  Anyway, let’s get baking friends!

Apple Brown Betty

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients

5 cups sliced, peeled cooking apples
2 to 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup regular rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg, ginger or cinnamon
1/4 cup butter or margarine (warned to room temp)
1/4 cup chopped nuts or coconut (optional)
orange juice (optional)
ice cream (optional)

Get Cookin’

Place fruit in a 2-quart square baking dish.  Stir in granulated sugar.

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For topping, in a medium bowl combine the oats, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon.  Cut in soft butter until mixture resembles course crumbs.

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Stir in the nuts (I didn’t use any in my recipe, but they are really good).  Sprinkle topping over the fruit.

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Sprinkle orange juice over topping.

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Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes (40 minutes for thawed fruit or until fruit is tender and the topping is golden.)  If desired, serve warm with ice cream. Sadly, I didn’t have vanilla ice cream on hand, but I did have this Weckerly’s Burnt Sugar Apple ice cream, which was just as yummy! Enjoy!!

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