- 1 stick margarine, softened
- 1 c. brown sugar
- 1 c. sugar
- 1 1/2 c. peanut butter
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 4 1/2 c. oatmeal
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 c. chocolate chips
- 3/4 c. M&M's
Friday, April 20, 2012
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
- 16 oz rotini noodles
- 1 lb hamburger
- 1 14 oz package Polska Kielbasa sliced
- 1 16 oz jar of hot sauce
- 1 24 oz jar of spaghetti sauce
- 1 package of mozzarella cheese
Pour mixture into 9x13 pan and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. You will notice my mixture doesn't have any cheese in it. A few of my family members don't like cheese! I know, crazy huh? Anyway I add cheese to each individual serving after it's baked. My family literally scarfed this casserole down before I had a chance to take a picture of it in the pan! The picture far above was what I was able to get on my plate.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
This tart consists of a flaky, buttery crust filled with a fresh, creamy lemon filling and topped with perfectly whipped meringue. I'll be honest this recipe does take a little time but with worth it! I was so excited how well this tart turned out!
Lemon Meringue Tart
For the crust & meringue you'll need:
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 plus 3 tablespoons sugar
- 6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, diced
- 2 tablespoons cold Crisco
- 1/4 cup ice water
- 4 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Put flour mixture in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add butter and Crisco and pulse about 10 times until butter is in small bits.
Add ice water and process until dough comes together.
Dump on well-floured board and form into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.
The first time I made this I did not have a food processor so I used a pastry cutter to cut in the butter and mix the dough.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Roll out dough to fit into a 9-inch tart pan with removable sides. Don't stretch dough to fit because it will shrink during baking. Cut off excess by rolling the pin across top of pan. Line tart shell with piece of buttered aluminum foil, butter side down, and fill with dried beans or rice. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove beans and foil and prick bottom of shell over with a fork to allow steam to escape. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
Above while your dough is sitting in the freezer for 30 minutes you can make your lemon filling. For the lemon filling you will need:
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 extra-large eggs
- 3 extra-large egg yolks(save the whites for the meringue)
- 1/4 cup finely grated lemon zest (6 to 8 lemons)
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
Pour mixture into small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until thick, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Whisk briefly when it starts to thicken and cook over low heat for a minute or two, whisking constantly. Don't allow to boil! It will be 175 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Pour into a bowl and cool to room temperature.
Now you can let your filling cool while you roll out and bake the crust above. While crust is baking you can make your meringue. For the meringue, whip the 4 egg whites, 1/4 tsp cream of tartar and 1/4 tsp of salt in bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment on high speed until frothy. With the mixer still running slowly add 1/2 cup of sugar and beat until meringue is think and shiny, about 2 minutes.
Now you can spread your cooled lemon filling into the cooled tart shell and pipe the meringue over it with a large start tip. Be sure the meringue covers the entire top and touches the edge of the shell, to prevent it from shrinking. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes, until the meringue is lightly browned. Cool to room temperature.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
For the mini strawberry tarts you'll need:
- 6 mini graham cracker crusts
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 tablespoons strawberry jello
- 2 cups sliced strawberries
- Cool Whip
Fill tart shells with fruit and jello mixture.
Place pan of filled tart shells in refrigerator until ready to serve. These don't take long at all to set up. Once you are ready to serve, top with Cool Whip and enjoy! These are so delicious it's hard to eat just one!
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Pamela learned a few simple rules when parenting toddlers. Now these tips may sound like common sense as they did to Pamela, and she hasn't quite perfected the knack of French parenting, but she sure is trying. French parents believe that when they say 'NO' their child will obey, they also believe if they tell their child to 'wait a minute' they'll wait. In a nut shell it appears that French parents are very confident with their parenting practices and the children can sense it.
Toddlers are often found at restaurants in Paris and they aren't having melt downs or tantrums or even throwing food on the floor. They sit and wait to eat just like everyone else. Again, in Paris, French parents seem to mold a child to fit their lifestyle, not change their lifestyles to fit the child. The parents control the child, not the other way around. French parents are very good about taking time for themselves and school children as young as five will go on week long field trips with their class. This gives parents a break from parenting. Pamela does believe that French parents just seem a lot less stressed all together, which may be in part to the fact that in France you don't pay for preschool, health insurance or college.
Now French children aren't angels by any means but according to Pamela they seem to mind more than American children do. French parents do set up strict guidelines but allow a lot of freedom within these guidelines. For instance if a child is to go to bed at 8:00 p.m., then he goes to his or her room every night at 8:00 p.m. no questions asked, however he does not have to go to sleep. The child can do whatever he likes in his room as long as he stays in his room. They also put their kids on an eating schedule. Most French toddlers eat breakfast, lunch, gouter (gooh-tay), which is what they call afternoon snack, and dinner. That's it, period! They also allow their kids to have sugar daily during the afternoon snack and allow it at holidays as well, other than that a child does not get cookies, cake or chocolate. They feel sweets in moderation are good for the child, that way when the child does have the chance to eat sweets they do go crazy with them.
Speaking of sweets they often serve gateau au yaourt for gouter or as we would call it, yogurt cake. They do a lot of baking with their toddlers, it's a tradition in many families to bake together on the weekends. So I decided to have my four-year-old make yogurt cake and it was delicious. He was so excited when I told him he could make a cake all by himself!
For Yogurt Cake you will need:
- 2 6oz containers of plain whole-milk yogurt or for a lighter cake use low-fat plain yogurt (use the empty containers to measure other ingredients)
- 2 eggs
- 2 containers sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Just under 1 container vegetable oil
- 4 containers flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- A mix-in (could be 2 containers frozen berries, a container of chocolate chips or any flavoring you like)
Gently combine yogurt, eggs, sugar vanilla and oil. Yes, I let my four-year-old crack eggs.
He stirred all the ingredients himself and was very proud.
Then mix in dry ingredients.
This part can be a bit messy but fun!
Mix gently and don't over mix. Now you can add either the berries, chocolate or flavorings if you like. We doubled the recipe and made two cakes, one with frozen blueberries and one with chocolate chips.
Let it cool, slice and top with whipping cream or in France they use creme fraiche, however, I still have yet to find creme fraiche in my local grocery stores. Enjoy!
Monday, March 26, 2012
This weekend I made an ice cream Oreo dessert that was simply mouthwatering. Literally, my mouth watered as I served myself up a piece. Part of the fun of this dessert was that I got to use my new food processor that my parents got me for Christmas and boy was that fun! This dessert includes all of my favorites; Oreos, ice cream, fudge and Cool Whip and combines them into a rich and creamy treat.
For this dessert you will need:
- 1 package Oreos
- 1/4 c. melted butter
- 1/2 gallon of vanilla ice cream softened
- 1 8oz tub of Cool Whip
- 1 4oz bar of German chocolate (found in the baking section...green box)
- 2/3 c. evaporated milk
- 1/2 c. margarine
- 2/3 c. sugar
- dash of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
Now on to the homemade fudge. If you wanted to save time you could substitute this for a jar of fudge but this homemade version only takes about 5 minutes and it's well worth the time! In a sauce pan heat German chocolate, milk, margarine, sugar and salt until smooth then boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Set aside to cool completely.
Next pull pan from freezer and spoon in the softened ice cream spreading evenly. Place pan back in freezer for about 15 minutes or until fudge is cooled. Pour fudge over ice cream and spread evenly, place back in freezer until ready to serve. I top with Cool Whip and sprinkle with more crushed Oreos just before serving but you can do that step earlier and freeze if you like.
Let sit out for about 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Friday, March 23, 2012
Not only do my kids love banana bread they love making homemade butter. This is a very simple recipe that my mother-in-law taught my kids a few years ago. One day my kids came home from her house talking about making butter so I had to get the recipe!
For the banana bread you'll need:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup shortening (I use butter flavored Crisco)
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 3 very ripe bananas
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
Mix in order given.
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- Salt to taste
Thursday, March 22, 2012
I had mentioned in a previous post that I recently came across a book called, Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman, and even though my children are older I was still very interested to read it. I got the book from my local library the other day and read a few chapters last night. Pamela is an American journalist who moved to Paris, got married and so far in the book has given birth to one child, a little girl they've nicknamed Bean. Once Bean was born Pamela couldn't help but notice how differently French children act than that of American children. Many of her Parisian friends told her that their babies slept through the night by two or three months! She was shocked and decided to research this further.
It appears that French women are taught to observe their baby for a few minutes when it begins to cry. They do not immediately pick up the child, they wait to see if the child will self soothe. Now they may wait a few minutes for a newborn and bump it up to five to ten minutes for a two week old, but they believe they are already teaching the child patience. The other thing Pamela discovered was that when it comes to sleeping, we sleep in cycles. A baby may wake itself up between the cycles and an anxious mother who picks up the baby and feeds it or rocks it back to sleep is actually interrupting the babies ability to fall back asleep on its own. A calm French mother will let the child cry for five to ten minutes to see if the child will go back to sleep, in the meantime she is observing the child to see if it may in fact need a diaper change or is hungry. In the book you will see that there have been American studies on this method and the studies not only show that this works, they also seem to prove that it doesn't matter whether the child is breastfed or formula fed. I was always under the impression that breastfed babies needed to eat more than formula fed babies, but according to this book, that is not the case.
Pamela was also astonished to learn that many babies miraculously started sleeping through the night when the mother went back to work, which was typically after three months. It's almost as if these women share a form of telepathy with their babies. French mothers believe that a baby is an intelligent being and that you explain to them when they need to start sleeping through the night.
I have to admit when I was a new mother I would feed, change and rock my baby and still wonder 'why is she still crying'. I was not calm all the time and in fact the constant crying would make me very anxious. If only I had known I could say, "Mommy has to go back to work and you are 12 weeks old so you must start sleeping through the night," life would've been a lot easier! Now my children are too old to test this theory on, and I do not plan on having any more children, so I will never know if this truly works but I thought it was worth sharing.
I know there are a lot of parenting magazines, books, website and articles out there, but I just thought I'd share what people from a different country are doing. If anything can make life a little easier on parents then I'm all for reading about it. I'll share more about what I learn about French parenting, however, so far there seems to be a common theme. The theme is patience; they spend a great deal of time teaching their children patience, how to entertain themselves and how to cope with their own frustrations. So far it has been a very interesting read!
If your baby is "beautiful and perfect, never cries or fusses, sleeps on schedule and burps on demand, an angel all the time," you're the grandma."
-- Theresa Bloomingdale
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Here are the ingredients you'll need for the lemon pie.
- 2 cups of softened vanilla ice cream
- 1 8oz tub of Cool Whip whipped topping
- 1/3 cup of powdered lemonade (I use Country Time)
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1 graham cracker crust
My pie set up nicely in less than 4 hours, which was great because we were ready to dig in!
Those are the lemons I'll be using to make my Lemon Meringue Tart for an upcoming post, but the next post will be my banana bread and homemade butter.
Monday, March 19, 2012
After becoming a mom I spent a couple of years working full-time and searching for that at-home opportunity, but shortly after giving birth to my second child I realized I was more suited for a part-time job opportunity. I loved my kids dearly, but I needed a few days with them and a few days outside the home. We all know in our hearts if we can be at home full-time with our children or if we need something else. However, sometimes as our children age our career needs change. I loved the part-time work; I had three days to focus on my job and four days to focus on the kids counting weekends. On my days off I'd often take them to the park, the library, the pool or we'd play games and bake. Once the kids got older and in school I wanted to be able to spend even more time with them in the summers, so finally in 2006 I was able to quit my part-time job and work from home. I love the flexibility, the work and the hours, however, I'll be honest, working from home isn't for every one. You need to be organized, dedicated and truthful with yourself as to whether or not you can do it. Some people think working from home is easy and they get caught up in at-home tasks like dishes, laundry and cleaning, and they neglect their work. If you want to work from home and keep your at-home job then the work must get done! The work should become a priority. Since I've been working from home I've often been asked to help brainstorm ideas for other moms who want to make some money from home.
The best advice I can give is to figure out a way to use your current education, passions, skills and talents to form your own business or seek out businesses that might employ you to do those things from home. Write a list of all the things you love and see if something triggers an idea. Owning your own business can be very challenging, yet rewarding. One of the drawbacks of working from home is at times you feel like you never get away from the responsibilities of your job. You have to create a schedule and try to stick to it. You deserve your own time just like everyone else.
Several of my friends have started working with home party or direct sales companies and some of them have done exceptionally well. A childhood friend of mine has earned several trips with Premier Jewelry and absolutely loves her job! There are several home party business out there to choose from, and you probably already have friends who are involved in a few of them. I know direct sales opportunities aren't for everyone, however, I recently came across a great new direct sales company called Blessings Unlimited. Blessings Unlimited started about five years ago and currently has around 2,000 consultants nationwide. A newer company like this gives people a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor. Blessings Unlimited is a Christian inspired company founded by DaySpring. They sell home decor, dishes, books, jewelry and more. If you are interested in learning more about this company please visit www.myblessingsunlimited.net/lynnarnquist.
If you are still trying to figure out the perfect work-from-home job or business here are some other ideas I've come across.
1. Create & sell homemade diapers
2. Create & sell homemade jewelry
3. Create & sell cards and stationery
4. Website design, graphic design, logos & branding
5. Tax preparer
6. Virtual assistant
7. Business consulting
10. Candy making and/or baking
11. Event planning
12. Give music lessons
13. Daycare Provider
Be creative, think outside the box and ask yourself questions like, what are people willing to pay you for and what would you enjoy doing for them? I realize not everyone has the entrepreneurial spirit, but there are plenty of companies now that will hire people to work from home for them. It takes time and research, but once you find your niche you'll enjoy it!
"If you can't find your dream job, then create one." Unknown
Thursday, March 15, 2012
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 cups skinless chicken breast (we found 4 large chicken breasts worked well)
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cups water
- 4 beef bullion cubes
- 1 14oz can diced tomatoes with liquid
- 1/2 cup brown rice (uncooked)
- 2 cups celery, roughly chopped
- 2 cups carrots, roughly chopped ( I chopped baby carrots that were already peeled and ready to eat)
- 8-10 whole peeled garlic cloves
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste or 1 6oz can (we used the whole can because we weren't going to waste any)
- 2 cups fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces (or 1 can of green beans)
- 1 1/2 cups whole pearl onions, skins removed (these come in a can or jar, or if you want to use fresh pearl onions boil them in water for a few minutes, drain, then plunge into ice-water to cool. The skins will slide right off then. I thought I could just skin them all using a knife without the water trick and it took me forever!)
- Salt to taste
First brown meat then add everything into a crock pot. Cook on medium-low for 4 to 5 hours or until meat is tender. This stew is super easy and tasty!
It was so nice I had to take my pictures outside today!
A bowl for myself.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
For this recipe you'll need the following:
1 pkg white cake mix (Betty Crocker)
1 pkg lemon cake mix (Betty Crocker)
1/2 c. sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 c. whipping cream
1 8 oz pkg Mascarpone Cheese (Italian sweet cheese)
1 c. powdered sugar
4 Tbsp softened butter
Make white cake according to the directions on the box, adding sour cream and vanilla. Bake in a 10 inch round baking pan. (Okay, I didn't have a 10 inch round baking pan so I used a 10 inch deep dish pie plate. It worked very well except I was "multi-tasking" while I was baking and I forgot to grease the pie plate....don't forget to grease the pie plate or cake pan.)
Cool the cake completely and I do mean completely! I was rather anxious to make my dessert so I didn't let it cool long enough. I'd say leave it for a couple of hours. This cake is so moist and delicious that if you try to do anything with it too soon it will fall apart.
For the lemon cream filling, mix the Mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar, lemon zest of half of lemon, juice of 1 lemon (make sure the lemon is at room temperature before you squeeze it for juice, The average lemon will get you 3 Tbsp of juice) and whipping cream. Mix until creamy and smooth.
For the crumb topping, combine 3/4 cup of the lemon cake mix with the softened butter so that it's crumbly. Softened butter is the key, I used melted butter-which I knew better, and got lumps not crumbles...it still tasted good though!
To assemble: Cut cake in half, spread a generous amount of filling between the cakes layers, then top the cake with more cream filling, finish by sprinkling crumbles all over cake. This cake is best served cold so place in refrigerator for several hours or over night.
Here was my finished product, with what I learned and shared with you today yours should look prettier..regardless of looks it was delicious, moist and creamy!
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Happy Birthday my friend! I hope you use this journal for writing, or for jotting down new ideas as they come to you......your brain never stops! I love you!
That journal, among others, is full of my hopes, my dreams, my goals and my ideas. Some of them have come to fruition, some of them vanished over time, but many of them are still on my list of Things To Do Someday.
I feel as though what I am is a professional juggler. I am juggling a family, a career, a passion for so many things that I try to fit into my blog, which is definitely a work in progress, and a social life. I do find myself blessed because of all the people who have entered my life over the years. I find inspiration in so many of them, and they continue to push me whether they know it or not. I have a very dear relative who inspires me daily, which she finds ironic because she feels she is currently lacking in motivation and ambition. I believe some people just have a special gift, and they don't even know it. They don't realize how they affect people, it's the little things in life that create a big difference. It's a smile, a 'hello' or lending a helping hand. You never know how your actions can impact another person's life. I need to do more to show people how much I appreciate them. I should send more cards, make more phone calls or even take the time to write a letter.
Life gets busy and we try our best to fit everything in. In fact to quote the character of Gloria from one of my favorite movie's, Grown Ups: "Life can be difficult sometimes, it gets bumpy. What with family and kids and things not going exactly like you planned. But that's what makes it interesting. In life the first act is always exciting. The second act... that is where the depth comes in."
Now for my super easy delicious cinnamon rolls. Growing up I was spoiled, my grandmother made the best cinnamon rolls ever. I've tried to duplicate them and they just don't turn out like grandma's so when my kids want 'homemade' cinnamon rolls I use another super quick and easy recipe. You'll need:
1 loaf of Mrs. Rhodes freezer white bread
2 Tbsp real butter
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp cinnamon
You can thaw the frozen bread dough in the refrigerator overnight or I just lay mine on the counter in the morning and make my rolls in the afternoon. My kids will eat them the next day for breakfast. After your dough has risen, roll out on a counter top or large cutting board into a large rectangle. Brush with melted butter, and sprinkle the brown sugar, sugar and cinnamon mixture on top. Roll and cut into 12 rolls. Place in greased 9 x 13 pan, cover and let rise 1 hr. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Allow to cool then drizzle with icing.
For icing mix:
3/4 c. powdered sugar
3 Tbsp mascarpone cheese (sweet Italian cheese)
1 Tbsp milk
OR 3/4 c. powdered sugar, 2 Tsp butter, 1 Tbsp milk and 1 tsp vanilla
These are ooey, gooey and super delicious. Your kids will love them, and they are so easy you'll love to make them! Where was this picture taken you ask? Well, that is my window sill....you'd better watch it I might start taking pictures of food in odd places. :)
Monday, March 12, 2012
The sky sort of reminded me of a painting that my 4 year-old had brought home recently. He had painted almost every inch of a piece of paper in blue, pink, orange, yellow and purple, and I remember thinking, this reminds me of a sunset. You will see from the photo of the sky below how magnificent the colors are. Our creator took those colors from his palette and splashed them into the sky for all of us to see. It was an amazing site and the pictures don't do it justice. I am always in awe of my surroundings and try to find the beauty in the world. If you are surrounded by nature you shouldn't have to look very far.
This is my son's painting:
On to the delicious stuff......dessert, yum! Blueberry Cream Cheese Tarts is a simple and easy dessert that I created myself. There are a few ways to put this together. You can either make 6 tarts in a cupcake pan & one mini pie, two mini pies or one large pie. The ingredients you will need are as follows:
1 box of refrigerated pie crust (I use Pillsbury in the red box) leave on counter for 10 to 15 minutes before use
1 21 oz can of blueberry pie filling (2 cans if you are doing one large pie)
1 8oz brick of cream cheese softened
1/3 cup of sugar
1 tsp of vanilla
I will tell you, I absolutely love to bake but I don't have all of the fancy gadgets that some people have so it's called improvising. To make my tarts I used the Pampered Chef crust cutter (3 1/2 inch) because it's round like a biscuit cutter and cut 12 rounds out of the crust. (I can hear a few people laughing at me already)
I placed 6 rounds in the cupcake pan then put a tablespoon or more of the blueberry pie filling in each one. (It's not an exact science)
Then, in a bowl I mixed the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with a hand mixer until smooth. I then placed a tablespoon or so of the cream cheese mixture over the blueberry pie filling in each tart. Next, I placed another round of crust over the top of each tart, folding it a bit so it looked more rustic and sprinkled each one with a few drops of water then sugar. I did cut a hole in the top of each tart as well. I baked these at 425 for 15 to 20 minutes. And here is the result:
I used the leftover ingredients from making the tarts to make one mini pie. Bake the pie at 425 for 15 minutes then cover edges with aluminum foil then bake another 20 to 25 minutes longer.
Friday, March 9, 2012
Now this isn't the first time I've had this happen. About a year ago, I had a zit on my chin that looked like another human being was trying to sprout off my face. One evening as I was getting ready to play in a women's volleyball league my husband looked at me and said, "Honey, I'm afraid your team might be disqualified tonight for having one too many players on the court." Isn't he hilarious! I admit that zit was the worst, in fact when I showed up at volleyball one of my friends was like, "Hi, how are you...whoa, what is that on your face?" I replied, "It's Sally our Sub." Needless to say, zits are not something we are proud of, we don't walk around accentuating and showing off our zits. You never hear someone say, "Did you see her zit? It's beautiful, I wish I had a zit like that." or "Why couldn't I have been blessed with such a magnificent zit? She is so lucky." I want people speculating whether zits are real or not...can't you hear the gossip? "Nobody has a zit that perfect. I think she's had hers done." When it comes to my zit, I am proud to say, it is real and it's spectacular!
Zits are the pits, but unfortunately they are a part of life. I don't want my random zit to hold me back because I'm embarrassed or mortified really that I'm still having skin problems in my thirties. I will hold my head high, cover that zit with as much cover-up as I can and continue to live my life. I realized a long time ago that everyone has a "zit" they are self-conscious of. As the mother of a pre-adolescent daughter I want to teach her that a "zit" doesn't define who you are as a person. We aren't perfect inside or out, and we have to learn to accept ourselves and each other for who we are. Greatness comes from within and people won't remember you for the zit you had back in 2012, they'll remember you for the person that you are.
Stay tuned for my next posts: One on Blueberry Cream Cheese Tarts & another on Super Easy Cinnamon Rolls. Also next week is Lemon Week. All of my recipes will have lemon in them. Spring is near and I love lemon, slightly obsessed in fact, for a while all of my pinned recipes on Pintrest were lemon based.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
My four-year-old helped me bake these cookies tonight and did fairly well. He didn't insist on breaking the eggs and he didn't want to lick the batter before it was done either. Instead he spent time making tunnels in the flour with his hand. Yes, he was in my flour container up to his elbow. I'm sure the baking process kills the germs, right?
He did, however, insist on assisting in the baking process. My oven is in the wall and when I wasn't looking he turned the dial to 450 degrees!!! The cookies were supposed to be baked at 375 for 8-10 minutes. Needless to say my first batch turned a little brown. Here is a picture of his brown cookies, they actually don't look too bad. They just turned out a little hard. The picture of my less brown cookies is below, after the recipe.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe:
1 stick softened butter
1 cup butter flavored Crisco
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
Mix well, then add
1 1/2 tsp good vanilla
3/4 tsp water
Mix again, then add
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3 1/3 cup flour
Mix well and then either add one 12 oz bag of chocolate chips or a combination of chips. I like to mix things up since I bake them so often, so I might do half chocolate, half butterscotch or half peanut butter, half chocolate or a mixture of chocolate, peanut butter, butterscotch and white. Play with it a little. This is how they turned out. Enjoy!
Do you know anyone with the entrepreneurial spirit? These are people I am fascinated by, people I seek inspiration from and people I wish I knew more about. Their stories are amazing. I do live in the same town as the founder of Tastefully Simple and she has quite a story as well! Jill Blashack Strahan created Tastefully Simple with a shoestring budget in a shed! She packed her gourmet foods on a pool table back in 1995, and today she operates a Fortune 500 company that has become a $100 million-plus enterprise with thousands of consultants nationwide.
There are many women in the world today that are truly inspirational. I know a lot of us sit around and think, why didn't I invent that or why didn't I start that company?
If you are eager to be the next Forbes billionaire then here are some things to think about when creating your invention or idea.
1. Think about necessity. What are some things you wish you had or things that your life would be better if only it existed?
2. Are there things you think others could benefit from? Maybe it's not something you could use but you see other people struggling and you wish there was an item to make their life easier.
I really think that if you dream it and believe it, then you can achieve it! You can't succeed if you never try!
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Now the word 'dessert' in the dictionary is also pretty disappointing. I bet you wouldn't guess that the definition of dessert is cake, pie, fruit, pudding, ice cream etc. that is served after the final course of a meal. For me dessert is more than just food, it's something you look forward to, it's something you cherish. Dessert is a vacation, a dip in the lake, a much needed break, a massage, a stroll on the beach and a brand new magazine. Dessert is your wedding day, your honeymoon, your precious babies and the love of your life. I'm an ambitious, goal oriented person and I'm determined to have my cake and eat it too. I want the guy, the house, the kids, the job, the vacation, the crazy life and the dessert.
Speaking of dessert in my next post I'll be giving out my favorite and most basic recipe for chocolate chip cookies. My family and friends absolutely love this recipe. My four-year-old will be helping me bake them this afternoon. Wish me luck! Usually, we end up with egg on the floor, flour in our hair and dough on our clothes.
"My momma used to say, Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." Forrest Gump
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Monday, March 5, 2012
As we age we get very comfortable with our lives, our jobs and our friends. Which is not a bad thing, however, when we aren't challenging ourselves than we are no longer growing as individuals. I'll be honest, I was not crazy about moving to a new state or having to make new friends. I already had a home and I already had friends. I was very comfortable where I was at. Moving was hard at first but then I realized that I was just given the opportunity to learn and grow as person. This was another adventure and I was going to make the most of it and I have. I've only been here for less than six months, but I've meet some really great people, I've got an awesome freelance writing gig lined up for this summer and my business is growing. I've met some very ambitious people who have inspired me to step outside of my comfort zone and live life. I've got a lot of goals I want to accomplish in this lifetime and I'm not going to accomplish them by being comfortable.
Just for a day try something you normally wouldn't. Talk to a new person, apply for a job you'd love to have but don't think you can get, try a crazy new recipe or chop off your hair. It doesn't have to be big just something different, something that makes you a little bit uncomfortable.
"A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown.” Denis Waitley
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
I'm tougher than I look so I drove my sick husband to his parents. I don't really remember it, but I do remember the drive to the hospital. Ben and I sat in the back and his parents were in the front. I've always had a pretty high tolerance for pain, and I remember at one point Ben's dad leaned into his mom and said, "I'm not so sure she's really in labor." Once we got to the hospital and got a room, the nurses confirmed that I was in fact in labor, and that I was going to have a baby that day. I was a bit relieved because it was February 28th on a leap year and I didn't want my baby born on the 29th if I could avoid it. It's just one of those weird things, some people don't want their kids born on Friday the 13th or on an odd number or on the same day as someone else's birthday. However, most times we can't avoid this.
After several more hours of walking, soaking in a warm bath and a great deal of pain our baby girl was born at 2:28 p.m. She wasn't breathing very well and neither was I. They gave me oxygen immediately, and I watched the nurses rubbing my baby roughly trying to get her to breath. Finally we were both breathing normally and I was able to hold her. She seamed so tiny at 7 lbs 7 oz and 19 inches long. She had a mop of dark hair, and she was the most adorable thing I had ever seen. In an instance my husband and I were wrapped around this tiny girl's tiny little finger and now today she's 12!
Where has the time gone? So much has happened in the past 12 years, Montana's gained not one but two little brothers. We've moved a few times, changed jobs, purchased different homes and different vehicles. It's amazing how much as happened in 12 years and how fast it has gone! It is true what they say, the older you get the faster time flies so enjoy every moment.
I've come to the realization that I have one year left of having a teen-free home, so I'd better enjoy this year as much as I can! LOL! But the reality is, before I know it I'll have a child-free home. I really do stress to my children to take every opportunity they can and to know their limits. You can't do everything but do the things you love and enjoy. I also encourage them to challenge themselves so they constantly grow and learn. This is easier for children than adults, adults tend to get comfortable but if you are too comfortable then you are no longer growing. My next blog post will be about forcing yourself oustide your comfort zone. Well as usual I've managed to ramble on so I must close for now.
Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone
Thursday, February 23, 2012
I want to spend my time coloring pages with words, but perhaps you want to sell baked goods out of your home, or knit scarves, or go back to college to become a lawyer. Whatever it is you want, you should put it on paper. Brainstorm ideas, map out a plan and put that plan into action. I recently read a blog post my cousin forwarded me from Gypsy mom and it inspired me to write even more. Writing is what I love, and I realized that you never know how doing what you love could affect others. By doing what you love you could inspire someone, who inspires someone, who inspires someone and before you know it great things are happening and you would never know, they may have started with you.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
1) Find your passion - research career options a bit more and spend more time job shadowing.
2) Relax - you will get through things, sometimes the things we get so worked up about aren't big deals at all.
3) Be nice and tell people you appreciate them - sometimes our younger selves were snots!
4) Enjoy life - get outside, try new things, take advantage of great opportunities and have fun!
I've written about it before but what would your younger self write to your older self?
1) Be fearless
2) Dance in the rain
3) Stay active
4) Write down all the funny stuff in laugh that happens so your kids can read it later
Last night my four-year-old told me he was going to grow up, get married, live by the ocean and have two black labs. That kid is so random about his future but it seems he thinks about it a lot, which I find strange for a child that young. Right now my oldest wants to be a teacher when she grows up and my middle child wants to be an architect. I think when I was their age I wanted to be an astronaut. It's fun to watch their career choices change as they grow up. Some of us still don't know what we want to be when we grow up...maybe I'll have to make my next post about finding your passion in life.
When work, commitment, and pleasure all become one and you reach that deep well where passion lives, nothing is impossible.”
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Since my move, I no longer have my Young Mothers Group to assure me that what I'm going through is normal and I needed a fresh persepective. I saw an article in a local paper about a woman who did some research on French parenting. After settling in Paris she noticed that the children there were so well behaved. Toddlers in restaurants would sit patiently, waiting for their meals and then they'd happily eat fish and veggies. While at a park she'd notice that children played quietly, without tantrums, and without demanding the constant attention of their mothers. She also found that most babies slept through the night by the age of 3 month and she decided she needed to get to the bottom of French parenting.
I have a love of parenting and a love of all things French so I was curious to learn more about this. The main secret to French parenting success is that rather than structuring their lives around a new baby, French parents expect a baby to fit smoothly into the life they already have. They set firm boundaries but allow great freedom within those boundaries. They discipline using "big eyes"...you know the ones, I'm sure you've seen as a child or tried on your own children. They also use "the pause" - where they take a moment, or a minute, before responding, to teach patience and restraint.
I'm not saying that these tricks will magically cure all of your parenting problems but they might be worth looking into. BRINGING UP BEBE by Pamela Druckerman explores French parenting and is said to be a fun read. I'll be reading this book, hopefully next week, and will be sharing other helpful tips.
Reading the article about French parenting got me thinking about how other cultures parent their children and what works and what doesn't. I plan on writing more about this and it should be a fun way to learn about other cultures and maybe walk away with a parenting trick or two.
“If you want your children to improve, let them overhear the nice things you say about them to others.”
- Haim Ginott
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Children are so ambitious and they love to be busy, however, at times they are lazy about looking for things to do. I don't like it when they say, "I'm bored." In fact, my kids don't say that anymore because they've learned that if they do I'm going to put them to work. I love it when the older kids help do chores which they do often and Boone loves to help. Unfortunately sometimes his helping just creates a bigger mess like the time he decided to eat shredded cheese under the kitchen table then got the broom out to clean up his mess. He pretty much just pushed the cheese all over the floor.
The cheese thing reminded me that my four-year-old likes weird snacks too. He loves to snack on shredded cheese, chocolate chips, Saltines, olives, marshmallows and pepperonis. I think it's because these items seem easily accesible to him.
This morning, for the second time this week, he decided to play with his S.W.A.T vehicles on the bathroom floor. My master bathroom isn't that big and I got out of the shower and stepped on his hand and one of his vehicles. We have an entire house he could play in but he chooses to play on the bathroom floor! I suppose I should go grab him some lunch. He just informed me that he'd like lunch, then a popsicle and then he'll lay down for a nap. A nap? Yeah, right, we'll see if that really happens!
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
All kidding aside, these super moms are actually slowly, but surely inspiring me to become a little more crafty. I mean let's not get a head of ourselves I probably won't be sending hand made Valentine's to school that look like ipods or sending fresh fruit to class that is arranged to look like little snowmen, yes you over-achievers know who you are, but I might try to plan some fun crafts for this summer. My daughter, Montana, will be twelve this month and she loves crafts, so with her help, she and I can surely draw up some fun ideas for her and the boys to do this summer. We could take pictures and post them on the blog. My ten-year-old son, Cody, will really enjoy this and Boone will too. In fact Boone saves all of his crafts from school. The newest one's get displayed and the older ones he keeps under his dresser. Montana is sure this is a fire hazard but he just can't bring himself to throw any of them away. This is where most mom's would sneak a few out at a time and pitch them but I'm saving them and then will save some of them to give him when he's married with kids.
Speaking of Boone, he came into my room this morning and crawled into bed with my husband and I. Then he said, "So when is Eagle Day, I'm just asking?" I looked at him. "What is Eagle Day?" I asked. "Well, I think it's November 14th and its about eagles and what they eat," he replied. I still have no idea what in the heck he was talking about but he was sure there was an Eagle Day.
“I find that when you have a real interest in life and a curious life, that sleep is not the most important thing.” Martha Stewart. (Speak for yourself Martha, I LOVE my sleep!)
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Boone also spent all morning building a fort out of blankets and the kitchen table. Then he gets under it and hides and yells, "Come find me." I love it when kids do that. He likes to do that in the mornings too after I get up he'll hop under my covers and yell, "Come find me." I always pretend like I'm tired and I'm going to lay on the bed but the mattress is too lumpy and then he starts to giggle. That carefree, not a worry in the world giggle.
A lot of adults have lost the carefree child in them because as we age we gain a lot of responsibility, which makes us feel like we can't let loose. I've often thought about having my children write letters to their future selves and tucking them away for them to read one day. I'd like for them to document their hopes and dreams and then when they are much older, I would give them back their letters. I think that would be really fun, to read at age thirty what you wanted for your life when you were ten. In fact, I'm sure I wrote a letter like that when I was a sophomore in high school but I didn't give it to my parents to keep for me and over the years I lost it. I don't even remember what year I was supposed to open it. So ironically at the age of 16 I wasn't responsible enough to keep the letter I wrote for myself to read when I was a responsible adult!
Also I should mention that today is Valentine's Day, so Happy Valentine's Day. Boone had his party yesterday and the first thing he said when he got home was that someone gave him a pencil. He was a little disappointed until I assured him that a pencil was a great thing for him to have and that I'd sharpen it for him. My older two children, 4th grade and 6th grade, have their parties today so it's getting interesting now. We'll see what kinds of things they got. In fact, in 6th grade bringing Valentine's were optional but if you did bring them you needed to bring one for everyone. I remember in high school buying the little kids Valentine's to give to my friends. I mean who at the age of 18 doesn't want a Care Bear Valentine?
"Just because I'm an adult, doesn't mean I always have to act like one."