“Okay, you tussled in the snow with Midnight, let’s get you warmed up. You want some hot cider? Or cocoa? Or are you hungry? A little snack before dinner?”

“Do you have butterly pie?” Janie asked.

Cady stared down at her.

Shannon bumped Kath with her shoulder.

The dust was again rising.

“I…no, honey. I don’t have any of that,” Cady answered.

“You made us butterly pie and it was yummy. Mommy and I loved it. Mommy said to be sure to say thanks, so thanks!”

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Brand and I were sitting at Creed’s island with Brand talking a mile a minute, while Kara and Creed were making what they told me was called a “pizzookie.” The pizzookie, as described, was a phenomenon whose existence I was shocked I’d not only never heard of before, but also had never partaken of, copiously. Apparently, you took store bought cookie dough, sprayed a cake tin, scrunched a bunch of dough in the bottom, baked it until it was just cooked but mostly gooey, plopped a shitload of ice cream on top and ate it out of the pan. If you were feeling saucy, Kara further explained, you could do this with brownie dough.

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Honestly? I have no idea where I put this recipe...

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“Since I didn’t have time, I cheated on the key lime pie and made the pie my grandmother taught me how to make, ‘When you’re in a pinch, sugar plum.’ That was, frozen lime juice concentrate mixed with Cool Whip, tossed into a premade graham cracker crust and chilled. It didn’t hold a candle to the real thing but, like Mamaw said, it did in a pinch or at least the way Hop, Molly and Cody wolfed it down, it seemed to.”

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Yes, I’ve named this after myself because I’ve tinkered with...

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“Elly Belly?” she called. “Can you give me a manicure after school?”

“I gave you one yesterday, sweetie,” Bella answered, still scrubbing the skillet, which was, Fiona thought it important to note, thoroughly clean and had been for the last five minutes.

“Can you teach me guitar?” Sally went on.

“The guitar’s too big for you still, Sally. Like I said before, give it a year or so and we’ll start.”

“Can we have your apple caramel-umble for pudding tonight?” Sally pressed. Apple caramel-umble was the name Sally had given the pudding Bella had made the week before. It was supposed to be a crumble but she’d been distracted by her boxes arriving and she was unpacking at the same time she was getting the Christmas decorations out therefore she accidentally doubled the brown sugar and the butter so it ended up a gooey, caramelized mess, which the children had adored.

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