~ Cookie Comfort ~

How do you bake cookies while simoultaneously holding a whining infant who may have RSV and has been clinging to you desperately all week day?

One hip…baby. Other hand…cookie scoop. Wasn’t this such a clever invention? I used to see it as a needless tool (my hubby wanted it) that I avoided just on principle. But, I’ll admit, today it has greatly come in handy.

We should be dosing up on meds and trying to clear out this sickness pervading our house. I should be packing the last little bits of our house. But there is something ultra comforting about home baked chocolate chip cookies in the middle of the afternoon! I mean, seriously, look at all that sweet, warm, fresh gooey goodness!

I’ve adapted our recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. The only change being that I use all butter. No shortening or margarine in this house! And Adam has taught me to add the flour slowly at the end testing for that just-right-consistency. That has made all the difference in cooking the perfect cookie!

I cook mine at 350 degrees for exactly 9 minutes. No more, no less. Always pull even if you don’t think they look done! Everyone’s oven is different so that part may take some experimenting.

Scratch Real-Butter Ultra-Comfort Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 3/4 Cup White Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup Butter (slightly softened)

~ Mix with beater.

  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp real Vanilla
  • 2 Eggs

~ Mix again with beater.

  • 1 3/4 Cups – 2 1/2 Cups Flour 

~ Mix in 1 3/4 Cups flour with beater. Slowly add 1/4 – 1/2 cup more at a time till dough is still sticky but can be squished together in hand and keep shape.

  • 1/2 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

~ Stir in chocolate chips.

Cook, eat and enjoy!

And, by the way, the other cool secret about this recipe? You can use it for any type of cookie! Making peanut butter cookies? Add peanut butter and adjust flour accordingly. Making oatmeal cookies? Add a handful of oats and adjust the flour accordingly. As long as the dough has that same consistency then you’re good to go! This helped me in memorizing just on recipe and ditching the rest. Ultra simple for this overly busy mom!

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Slow Reading ~ The Gentle Art of Domesticity

As sometimes happens, I am walking along the bargain aisles at Barnes and Nobles hoping to catch that great homeschooling find when out of the corner of my eye I spy this cover.

I know you are not suppose to judge a book by it’s cover but I am a visual person by nature and, unfortunately, this is too often the case with me…at least with books! And this one didn’t disappoint! It’s all in the title: The Gentle Art of Domesticity {Stitching, Baking, Nature, Art & The Comforts of Home} by Jane Brocket. What’s not to love? For $10 I found a homey book that I can curl up with at night or on the weekends and enjoy in my new home!

Sometimes in this bloggy world we adults develop a bad case of attention deficit disorder. We get so used to perusing and looking and envying that we never take the time to stop and read and do the things we are looking at. Or is that just me?  I often need to force myself out of this destructive pattern. This book is a breath of fresh air in that department. It’s like reading a blog (beautiful pictures married with wonderful content) but in long form. Instead of sneaking a 5 minute reading blog break, you can take an hour and read on the comfort of your couch.

This isn’t a how-to book so much as a how-I-got-here book. It is all those homey ideas I want to ruminate in for a while. And her take on our culture is spot on. Take this excerpt for example.

For the gentle arts are just that: gentle. They do not demand to be practiced. No one is obliged to pursue them. They have not been taken up by any government department and regulated and repackaged with health and safety messages and warnings. They are a matter of individual and personal choice. They can be enjoyed by anyone with an interest and the ability to thread a needle, break an egg, choose a color or wield a pair of scissors. They don’t require complicated skills, qualifications, training or equipment…What they do require, though, is a consicious choice to do something ‘old-fashioned’ and ‘quaint,’ to choose not to buy and consume endlessly, but to make and create for a change…It’s the awareness of the worth of the gentle arts that counts, the ability to see that the feminists of the 1970s were misguided when they thought that teaching young girls to devalue domesticity constituted progress.” {emphasis mine}

Wow! And this from an author who was, herself, a proclaimed feminist! It was her journey through that process of attaining a family and struggling with careers that landed her in this ever-so domestic world. I love this for two reasons. One, the book reads like a blog journal ~ interactive with you while at the same time maintaining that personal awareness and growth that only comes with writing things down. And two, you don’t have to be that traditional Martha Stewart-y crafty girl to enjoy this book. You can be that career momma or retired grandma with time on her hands or even the mom who longs to do crafts but is up to her elbows in a dirt-colored-snotty-nose season of life and still resonate with Jane’s writings on domesticity. It is that inherent domesticity in all of us women, designed by God himself, that connects us as a collective whole despite our individualistic bents.

I long to recapture my own domesticity amid the potty training, homeschooling, disciplining, and laundry pile ups.  I know this art will take intentional slowing down on my part, as well as intentional thought about how I want our home atmosphere to look and feel. It’s not about the keeping up with the Jone’s I’m interested in, it’s the comforting feeling of hospitality I long for my family and guests to feel when they step through my door. I’m excited to glean some valuable nuggets of truth in this area from Jane’s book. I hope this one stays on my shelf for years to come!

{Update :: The wonderful reason this book feels like a blog in print is because Jane actually has the most wonderful, beautiful blog right here in this cyber world. It is called yarnstorm and is just lovely. Please, go check it out!!! Plus, the book is turning out fabulous. The perfect read to take slowly in bits over sips of coffee during those rare free moments.}

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~ Girling It Up ~

I meant to post these pictures as my first post of the new year. We had a great New Year’s Eve spent together as a family. There was much singing, laughing, dancing, and playing. But the funnest part was girling it up with my princesses. I am always amazed at how different they are from me! They may have received my genes looks-wise but I’m pretty sure they got Aunt Mandi and Sarah’s genes all-things-princess-wise!

Delilah put on her best party dress, found a feather to tuck into her hair and wanted some pizzazz on her face. Lily offered for us to use her new Monster High makeup kit. Daddy did our hair.  And, of course, they made mommy join in the makeup fun too.

My new year’s resolution?

To be more girly with my girls. 

I think it’s going to be a good year!

 

~ Taking a Breather ~

Chrrp chrrp chrrp…

Do you hear that? That’s the sound of the crickets chirping in this lonely cyber space.

In the midst of getting ready to close on our new house (Don’tcha love the sold sign?), I’ve been a busy busy beaver around here and haven’t had much time to post.

We are packing, packing, packing.

Still homeschooling among the boxes. (Hope to backtrack when I get some time and post all the great living World War I books we used!)

It looks so empty with all our books packed up. Sniff sniff…

And painting…can’t forget the painting. It’s easy lunches in the living room so that parts of bunk beds can get painted white  on our dining room table (way too cold to do outside!) to be all ready for this wonderful princess space. Can’t wait to show off the final product!

Still to do:

  • Pack coat closet.
  • Pack bathroom closet.
  • Pack kitchen.
  • Finish packing scrapbook supplies.
  • Clean desk (a.k.a. file the HUGE stack of papers and find homes for random stuff that’s been dropped off here) and finish packing office supplies.
  • Finish painting.

And the littles? 

They are merrily jumping on beds…with permission this time! We broke down bunk beds (i.e. see painting) and piled all mattresses in one room. They are “camping out” for the next 2 weeks. This makes a great space for daddy, his guitar and our nightly devos!

All the dressers have been moved into the other bedroom along with the toys. So we now have a designated toy space so I have room to pack. At least, that is how it works in theory! I must say I do like having all their clothes in one room. We paired them down quite a bit so all 6 children’s hanging clothes fit in one double closet. It is nice doing laundry and then putting everything away in one space. It makes me think that Michelle Duggar was on to something!

But today?

Well, today is no chores day. We had pop tarts for breakfast (Did I mention how we are on the easy convenience meal plan right now? My kiddos love it.) on paper napkins. No dishes. Laundry caught up yesterday. Most packing done. So this morning I will enjoy a cup of coffee and have a guilt-free morning blogging around and pinning stuff to my boards. Oh how I have house love right now!

Where I am visiting this morning: