Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Monday Night Sweets

Monday nights are Bachelor nights. My friend Heather comes over every Monday night and we watch the perils of several young women competing for the love of a single young man. Would I want my daughter participating in something like this? In a word...No. Does it make for interesting and entertaining television? You bet.

We always enjoy a sweet treat during the show. Sometimes Heather brings something yummy, sometimes Peyton provides it. Last night, Peyton made these incredible chocolate cookies. They are amazing. Seriously. She found the recipe on Pinterest, and it originally appeared here. If you love chocolate, you must try these cookies. Even if you don't indulge in watching The Bachelor on Monday nights.

Double Chocolate Fudge Cookies

Ingredients:
  1. 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  2. 2 tablespoons butter
  3. 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons flour
  4. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  5. 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/2 cup sugar
  8. 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  9. 2 eggs
  10. 2 tablespoons milk
  11. 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Directions:
  1. Melt 1 cup chocolate chips and butter together for 15 seconds at a time, in microwave, stirring in between, until smooth. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugars, eggs, milk, and vanilla.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Don't over mix.
  5. Fold in chocolate/butter mixture.
  6. Add remaining cup of chocolate chips.
  7. Stir until combined.
  8. Scoop 1/4 cup batter onto baking sheets, lined with lightly sprayed parchment paper.
  9. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven, temperature reduced to 300 degrees when you put them in,  for 18 minutes.
  10. Makes about one dozen cookies.
  11. Allow cookies to cool before removing.
Yep.
That's one cookie.
Add one tall glass of cold milk.
This is as good as it gets, my friends.
Enjoy!


Monday, February 20, 2017

Another Fashion Post

Also known as..."What I Wear When I Actually Get Dressed To Leave The House For An Extended Period Of Time In February, And It Is Sixty Five Degrees Outside". But seriously, as much as I was happy to have a warmer day, I wasn't quite ready to think about where I had put my lighter clothes. Our mudroom currently houses an assortment of various boots, winter shoes, hoodies, and winter coats. For the past four months or so, when we leave the house, we grab a coat, throw on some boots and head out the door.

What to do when it is still mid winter in Pennsylvania, but feels more like April or May?? Situations like this always throw me off. I have to think too much! So, I did what I thought would work. I compromised. I grabbed a lighter sweater from my closet, but also wore my boots. I guess it worked out alright. I really am not the best person to ask about fashion. I am all about neutral colors, one or two pair of pants and a couple pair of jeans. I like sweaters over tanks or blouses...thank you midlife...and I have no interest in shoes! I honestly had the same pair of black slip-ons for at least six or seven summers. I suppose I collect books like some collect shoes and bags. Do what you do, right?!

In any case, this is what the fashion challenged me ended up with on a random Saturday in February...

So this is on our driveway...
Where it windy...
And right before Rhett reminded me I wasn't a model.  : )

Maybe this would be better.
Outside a bit later.
Annnnd. 
Maybe not.
But for the record:
Sweater-Gap Size L
Black Blouse- Loft Size L
Jeans-Loft Size 10
Boots-Macy's Size 8
Bag- Dooney and Bourke

I love the sweater because it is light and comfortable.
The blouse is a favorite because. Black.
Slimming and all.
But really, it does hide a great deal. : )
The jeans are THE MOST COMFORTABLE jeans ever.
They give, but not so much that they stretch out.
The boots are fun. Not the most comfortable.
And the Bag?
Love.
It was a gift from Steve.
I like to think of it as an all season bag.
Anyway, there you have it.
And yes. 
I'm already in my pajamas as I type. : )



Friday, February 17, 2017

Weekend Plans And Valentine's Day Wrap Up

We are more than halfway through February. Our school year is more than half over. And in about six months, I can start thinking about decorating for fall! Ok, maybe that last one was a bit much, but the way times passes, it actually will be here before we know it. That is one reason why I am really trying to live mindfully, to live in the here and now. It all comes and goes so quickly.

Our weekend plans are typical for us this time of year...The slower paced, mid winter, cozy days we are enjoying now. Friday night we are free. I have some tilapia in the freezer, so we will probably have that with some jasmine rice and a vegetable for dinner. Then we will settle in for some games and television together. Peyton and I really enjoy a new show we found on HLN. It is called "How It Really Happened" and it revisits several famous cases of the past. They focus on one each week. It is really interesting.

Saturday we have to be up and about early! We have an appointment...yes, an appointment...at our local post office to get our passports. I had no idea this was such a big thing, but when I called to ask a question, the woman working there said we would need an appointment. Now...we don't actually need them for a big trip...say to Denmark, for example...quite yet. But we decided to finally do something about those forms that have been sitting on my desk for close to a year now! Having said that, a trip to Denmark this summer is not totally out of the question!!

After the post office fun, we are heading to visit Steve's mum, who is doing remarkably well lately! Thank you all for your prayers! We are looking forward to a nice visit with her. We are also looking forward to a nice lunch out at a favorite restaurant which is yet to be determined. Which translated means...as soon as we all agree. : )  We have Mass in the early evening, and then a quiet evening at home.

Sunday is free. And that means only one thing...spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove all day long. Steve and Peyton will make some meatballs, and we will have a delicious dinner. Throw in a nap and a few hours with my book and I am all set. Sounds exciting, right? But to me...it is. : )

Here is a look back at the past week in our part of the world...

We started off our Valentine celebration last weekend with some festive clothing for Mass...

And a few pictures to capture the memory.

We decided to go out to eat after Mass, completely oblivious to the fact that it was Valentine Weekend! I guess my mind doesn't think like that anymore! Anyway, we were there early, and actually were thrilled, because the menu was amazing!!! My mom and I both ordered this Alfredo.
It. Was. Delicious.

And the dessert?
This. Just this.

First Grade science was fun this week...

Even if our hypothesis was proven wrong.
The hearts are yummy, but they most certainly do not float. : )

Valentine's Day arrived and we were ready to celebrate...

Flynn and I set the table before anyone else was awake.
She absolutely loves special days like this.



Later in the day, my mom joined us to celebrate...

And to have our traditional Valentine's Day dinner...

Stuffed Shells, garlic toast, and salad.
For some. : )

Then the kids exchanged Valentines...
And the thing that I will remember the most about this special day is my little Flynn.
She was so very excited to give her Valentines out to her family!
She was thrilled!
And that made this mommy's heart so happy.

These two.
I am in awe of their love.

After we exchanged our cards, both store bought and homemade, we enjoyed some delicious heart shaped cupcakes. Peyton did it again. : )

In non-Valentine-related news, I redid a wall in our family room this past week.
I had a new print to hang, and Steve was thrilled...ok, maybe that is too strong a word...let's says he was willing to help.

I found this on Etsy.
And I love it.

Finally, I will close with this.
This beautiful photo came from my girl.
My Madison is currently in Sweden with her Nicolas and his family.
They are skiing this week.
And they saw this...

And this.
No words can add to this beauty.
So I will leave it alone.

Have a wonderful weekend with your people, my friends!
Thank you for visiting. 









Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Best Pancake Recipe Ever

I found it. The best pancake recipe ever. Finally. And would you like to know where? In this precious cookbook Flynn received from our little Christmas elves...


And by the way, it is on sale now on Amazon!

Pascal's Pancakes

Ingredients:
  1. 1 egg
  2. 3/4 cup milk
  3. 2 Tbsp oil
  4. 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  5. 1 cup flour
  6. 2 tsp. baking powder
  7. 1/2 tsp. salt
  8. Pam spray or butter
Directions:
  1. Crack the egg into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk in milk, oil, and maple syrup.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Add to egg mixture. Stir just until combined. It will be lumpy!
  5. Lightly grease a griddle or frying pan warmed to medium heat.
  6. Pour batter on using a 1/4 cup measuring cup.
  7. Cook until the tops start to bubble. Flip and continue cooking until golden brown.
  8. Enjoy!
  9. Oh. I double this for our family. They reheat great too. : )


P.S. In case you are like me, and have no clue who Pascal is, Flynn was quick to inform me that he is Rapunzel's pet chameleon.
And he makes amazing pancakes.
Who knew?!








Monday, February 13, 2017

Because I Want Them To Know How To...

Do you remember the days before Google, when we actually had to think about how and where to look for the information we needed? Me neither. Technology is wonderful. It actually brings the world to our fingertips. Part of me worries, however, about the things our children will never have to do and the things they will never have to learn. While I embrace all this amazing new technology, I also cling to certain parts of the past that I feel should not be lost. And that is why I want my kids to know...

How to look up names in a phone book.
Perhaps the day is near that these books will be obsolete, 
But I still think kids should know the basic skill of looking things up using alphabetical order.

Actually looking for information rather than having it magically appear increases the possibility of actual retention, don't you think?

I want them to know how to make and receive a phone call.
Maybe we won't be using phones as much as or in the same way as in the past, but I believe the basic principals of good manners should remain. Not to mention an engaging conversation is much more enjoyable than an impersonal text.
(Says the woman who dislikes speaking on the phone, but you get the idea.)

I want my children to know how to write a note and a thank you card.
With actual paper and pen.
I hope and pray this simple gesture isn't lost amid the fast paced world of texts, Facebook, and Instagram that dominates our world today.

It is so important to me that they realize how much people appreciate and enjoy an actual acknowledgement of a kind deed.
I fear in this age of instant gratification, young people lose the ability to appreciate things fully. 
The simple gesture of writing a thank you note ensures that my children appreciate the kindness of others.


And while we are at it, do they even teach this anymore?
This is a basic skill I found my children were lacking.
Maybe the day will come when all correspondence will be electronic, but until then, I want my children to know how to properly address an envelope. : )

I want my kids to know what it feels like to actually hold a book in their hands.
Ebooks are convenient, but nothing can replace the feeling of holding an actual book in your hands.
Of knowing that inside the cover, words arranged on pieces of well worn pages await you.
And an adventure is about to begin.


 I also want my children to know how to play.
Our world is filled with noise...fast paced electronic games with flashing lights and sounds.
Our children are surrounded with high tech phones, games systems, and computers. 
While all these are fun and engaging, something is missing.
The quiet thoughtfulness and pure enjoyment that sitting and playing a classic game brings to families.
I was shocked to learn a few years ago that my kids did not knowhow to play Checkers.
My friend Marian taught them to play.
And they loved it.


Alright, this may seem like a strange one.
I realized recently that my older kids did not know how to light a match.
Funny, right...coming from the woman with the obsession for Yankee candles.
Last fall I bought a few candles in a new store and they came along with a nice box of matches.
Apparently my older kids are quite adept with the Aim and Flame lighter, but had no clue how to light a match.
I think that may be an important skill.
Sometime.
Right?

And finally, this.
I want my children to know how to make homemade pasta sauce.
The kind that simmers on the stove all day long.
The kind my grandmother taught my father to make.
Because that is something that should never be lost.

So there you have it.
A few things I want my children to know.
A few things I hope are never totally lost.



What kinds of things would you add, my friends?
Please let me know. : )

(Pinterest for the photos.)







Friday, February 10, 2017

Weekend Plans

I don't know about you, but I feel as if these weeks are flying faster and faster. It was Super Bowl Sunday, and then it was Wednesday. And now...Friday! I am glad I have this little space here that enables me to slow down and reflect on these fleeting days.

I wish I had some super exciting weekend plans to share with you. But. I don't. This weekend we have no plans. Which for me means a quiet, lazy relaxing, cozy weekend filled with books and coffee and naps and movies and games. And Mass followed by dinner out. : )

Before I share some photos of the past week, I want to share a favorite photo of my dear father, who left us on this day three years ago. I miss him more today than yesterday, and less than I will tomorrow, I'm sure. Death is hard. Faith makes it bearable.

Miss you, Dad.
Every single day.

Now a quick look back at the past week here in our cozy home...


I bought myself a little gift...
Life Is Good makes super cute mugs. : )

Aunt Marian came for Super Bowl!
We are all soooo happy when she comes.
Miss you, Mar!

Super Bowl was fun...

We decorated...

Made snacks...

And sweets...
Because that's what Super Bowl is all about, right?
Not pictured are the delicious Baked Party Sandwiches, 
Yummy Cheese Broccoli Soup, and amazing Ho Ho Cake.
Because I wasn't quite fast enough with the camera. : )

I did get a pic of our special Super Bowl candle though.
Priorities.

Monday, I ate fruit.

I absolutely love teaching my children.
I love the precious First Grade Math...

And I am actually enjoying the Freshman Algebra too!
Who knew?!

Mocha.
Photo Credit: Flynn. : )

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends!
And don't forget!!!!

It's back!!!
And I am thrilled!

Thanks Pinterest. : )

Happy Weekend!