Archive for February, 2013

1,221 Recipes for Chocolate Chip Cookies

February 27, 2013

Don’t worry, I’m not going to post all those recipes here on my blog.  You can do a number of Google searches for your favorite cookie recipe, but today I will highlight one of our favorites, Nestle Toll House Cookies!

When I looked for the original recipe All Recipes  (our favorite and most reliable source for great recipes) listed 1,221… according to my research no cookbook could be large enough to list ALL the different kinds of cookie recipes.

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Week #9 ~ LIFE’S simple pleasurescookies

I wouldn’t, but I probably could write 1,221 posts about cookies… yeah… that might get boring pretty quick.  Every language has a name for their own thin, sweet,  either crisp or soft, usually small cake: England and Australia – biscuits, Spain – galletas, Italian – biscotti and German – Keks.

Cookies were ideal for traveling because of the size and they would stay fresh if packaged correctly.

In the  1930s  Ruth Graves Wakefield created a twist on her Butter Drop Do cookie recipe at the Toll House Restaurant near Boston.  She had to substitute her normal chocolate for chopped up bakers chocolate or semi-sweet chunks and added them to her mix, hoping they’d melt.  But they held their shape.  She eventually sold her rights to the recipe to Nestle  and the Toll House (copyright name) Cookie was invented.  It is one of the most popular cookies made today. She was one smart cookie!! :0)

A balanced diet is a cookie in both hands ~ Cookie Monster

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C is for Cookie

February 26, 2013

…that’s good enough for me!

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Week #9 – LIFE’S simple pleasures – cookies

Oh, there could be so much to say about cookies being a simple pleasure.  

Everything in moderation, of course. 

I’m toying with the fact that this simple pleasure in LIFE could go in many directions… my first thought for this topic of Week #9 was baking.  Making things from scratch, baking something special for a holiday event, wonderful smells in the kitchen, teaching the kids the difference between a tbl & tsp, browsing through cookie cook books, milk & cookies, smart cookies, fortune cookies, tough cookies… today it’s a yummy peanut butter cookie with white chocolate drizzle.

This is from my Betty Crocker’s Cookbook: Peanut Butter Cookies
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix sugars, margarine, shortening, peanut butter and egg.  stir in  remaining ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours.  Heat oven to 375.  Shape dough into 1-1/4″ balls.  Place about 3 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Flatten in crisscross pattern with fork dipped in flour.  Bake until light brown, 9-10 min.  Cool 2 min; remove from cookie sheet.  About 3 dozen  I then drizzled melted white chocolate on cooled cookies.

housesSorry, a little blurry picture, but this is a greeting card I made, approx. 4″H x 8-1/4″ w.  I really love this technique of paper piecing together the houses with mod podge and then adding the blues/greens/red and honey comb… makes this a country ♥ art feel.   And what could be better… a nice ‘homey’ greeting with some freshly baked peanut butter cookies!!! Yum!

I don’t always change my internet settings, but when I do I enable my cookies!!! Love it!

It’s a Cover Up

February 22, 2013

The February sunshine steeps your boughs and tints the buds and swells the  leaves within.  William C.  Bryant

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It may only be funny to us, but my husband will often say out loud, “where did the sun go?”…. and I respond, “it’s still there, just hidden by the clouds!”…. not funny ha ha… but true.  One true staple in LIFE, every day the sun SHINES, sometimes it’s just covered up.

Where you go no matter the weather, always bring your own sunshine.

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Lately, my heART♥ has been completely different, challenging, soul full, interesting…. Quite a difference between the top picture and the one just above.   I love the precise clean-cut line and color of a simple greeting card.  The on-line class I’m taking is having me color outside the lines and create mixed and matched collage art.  Because it is so new to me, I feel like it is a little cloudiness covering my sunshine!  But in a good way, I’m using my brain in a different way, that’s all.

It is the artist’s business to create sunshine when the sun fails ~ Romain Rolland

Week #8 – LIFE’S simple pleasuresthe sun

SHINE on!

Seeing Spots

February 21, 2013

Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun ~ Pablo Picasso

shine

It is so much fun for a doodler to create the sun, a circle with a few lines shooting out…color in YELLOW, and voila`… the sun reflects happiness on a greeting card! cooper 005sunshine, suntan, sunrise, sunlight, sunbathers, sunglasses, sunflowers, sunseekers…

To recap 2013 first 8 weeks of LIFE’S simple pleasures:
1. Beverage
2. Snowflakes
3. Fuzzy Socks
4. Fireplace
5. Books
6. Teddy Bears
7. Valentine
8. Sun

In 2013 I am using my blog to share my simple pleasures that I discover in my so-called LIFE.  I am hoping to find FREE or minimal costing items that are easy and simple to enjoy.  I may re-visit a post and just add to it.  And I want to incorporate my little greeting card business, and the art journaling I’m doing in LifeBook 2013, and Brave Girls and the House of Shine…  I just think that there is so much in LIFE that we miss, just because we can’t see what is right in front of our eyes.

Brighten Someone’s Day!

Good Day Sunshine!

February 20, 2013

Yeah we all SHINE on like the moon and the stars and the sun ~ John Lennon

sunn2I did a google search to find songs with SUN in the title, and it brought me to a blog that listed over 128 songs (and counting) .  I notice a number of songs were from the Beatles… what a powerful force the sun is!

Another day with the sun brightly shinning, but with a slight wind, I look at the thermometer on this winter day and it reads 12 degrees… I’m sure it’s a bit colder than that even with just such a slight windchill.  Forecast, another snow storm is to move in… so I will enjoy today’s sun!

Week #8 – LIFE’S simple pleasurethe sun!

The English language is always a strange thing when writing on any topic.  When I started thinking about this week and the word sun came to mind, I couldn’t help but think if I were to let my son SHINE!

changeofheart 019The mothers of little boys work from son up until son down!

The sun is 85% brighter than all of the other stars according to one astronomers statistic that I read. It in fact is a star, but it larger than all others because it is closer to Earth. It is also 109 times larger than the size of Earth. When we are looking at the sun it is actually how it looked 8.3 minutes ago because that’s how long it takes for that precise moment to reach us.

These are just a few ‘fun’ facts… some of the others were immensely technical and I can only just give kudos to scientist who study such a wonderful and massive ‘big thing’.  All I know for sure is that when the sun is shining it just makes my day even  better!!!

Look toward the sun and the shadows will fall behind!

LIFE’S simple pleasure – the SUNsun, sun, sun, here we come!

Hello Sunshine

February 18, 2013

You are my sunshine!

sun1

What a difference a few hours makes!

When I began this post earlier this morning, it was a bright and sunny day with blue skies and temperatures stretching unusually high into the upper 40s… now it’s overcast, but it brought me inspiration to Week #8 – LIFE’S simple pleasures ~ the sun!

I notice I feel different when the sun SHINES! More alive… if that is possible!  I’m sure too, in every season of the year … I will be able to post something about how the sun feels slightly different to me. (You have something  to look forward to…. spring sun 8.1, summer sun 8.2, fall sun 8.3)

It’s still the same big star at the center of the solar system…. but on a winter day when there has been gloomy days filled with cold and blustery conditions… a day full of sun shine and warmth is a true simple pleasure!

At times I try very hard to believe that… where you go no matter the weather, always bring your own sunshine!  I need to keep my journal with me and look up my doodle pages that remind me that this is possible!

Some days you just have to create your own sunshine!

In Other Words…

February 15, 2013

adore, affection, crush, flame, infatuation, passion, fondness, sweetheart, xoxo, kiss, hug, emotion, like, friendship, hankering, yearning  …. all words that relate somehow to the word love, which is part of your heart ♥, which is part of the commercial Hallmark Holiday, which makes up Valentine’s Day, which is this Week #7 LIFE’S simple pleasures.

heart1It’s all really simple… a greeting card made by a child like the one by my daughter above (a few years ago)… if you scroll down and see my other posts about Valentines, a new age phone text greeting is wonderful, better than nothing, but it can be gone (deleted) in a nano second, cards like the one above, can be preserved for a life time… in a little box underneath the bed, gathering dust bunnies!!

Throughout this week I’ve noticed different medias highlighting stories that relate to the simplicity of a greeting card, especially when it comes from the heart.   heart2I hope that I wont be out of yet another job soon!  I still can’t emphasize enough how special people feel when they are recognized… there is never a wrong time to send someone a card when good intension are behind your feelings!!!

heart3I know that one of the best things about my hobby is that I can truly share it with a lot of different people.

At times it might seem that I am closed up in my little craft room, and I know that I feel guilty if I CASe (copy and steal everything) someone elses design concept….I’m starting to get over that one.  But enjoying something that I do, and feeling that it really can make a difference in someone’s life… Brighten Someone’s Day… if you will…. is a very important part of who I am and where I am in my life right at this moment!!!   heart4Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life ~ Confucious

Okay, you may know me by now… I can say I wish that quote were absolutely true… but ya gotta eat!  I am truly blessed at this point that I can pursue a hobby that I love.  And I hope that I can bring a smile to some, when I make a Valentine, or other creative greeting… because acknowledgement, acceptance, adoration, achievement, amor… are truly one of LIFE’S simple pleasures!

It’s All in the Details

February 13, 2013

Trust in what you love, continue to do it, and it will take  you where you need to go. ~ Natalie  Goldberg

val2 006I love to make greeting cards!  I am fortunate to have the time and resources to make greeting cards!  If I can just “Brighten Someone’s Day”… possibly every week… maybe… I’ve done my hearts desire!

This weeks LIFE’S simple pleasure ~ Valentines, could be considered very controversial topic!! Yup, I hear ya laughing :0)  how is that possible?  Have you NEVER not received a Valentine card from the one you love and wondered what was going on with your sweety?

Yes, it’s a Hallmark holiday, but exchanging candy & gifts and cards is part of love’s ♥ celebration. However, in this day and age of electronic techiness, card purchasing is at a 40% low according to one of my sources.  People don’t have the time to go to a store, find the perfect card, write a sentimental note, address it, find a stamp and finally wait for it to get there through snail mail!  The average Hallmark card is a whopping $4.99!! Is it easier to just send an electronic ♥ note?

Just like I mentioned in Week#5 – Books and possibly in some upcoming post about stairs vs. escalators…. I’m not sure if some will give up the traditional hard copy books versus electronic readers, and actually walking up & down stairs versus mechanical moving stairs.  Some traditions last.  Greeting cards and the emotions inside them can be preserved for a life time…. a text can be erased in a nano second.

cupigThrough the years of my card making I have been supported by many friends and family who have suggested I should go work for Hallmark!  I appreciate their kind words.  That just didn’t seem to be the plan for me… so instead I decided to develope my own ‘creative greetings!!’ There is no doubt, these are special cards … and through the years I have met many special people who I want to express my gratitude… it’s all in the details!

Cards don’t have to be sent on Hallmark Holidays… FuN MaiL can be sent and received any day of the year!!! Support your local artists!

Week #7LIFE’S simple pleasuresValentines

I don’t understand why cupid was chosen to represent Valentine’s Day.  When I think about romance the last thing on my mind is a short chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon!

 

 

You + Me

February 11, 2013

The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in ~ Morrie Schwartz

val1

It’s Week #7 and time for one of LIFE’S simple pleasuresValentines.

There is so much more into figuring out these blog post than I originally thought, because I like to go off on tangents and some of these simple pleasures aren’t so simple… in that they really are much ‘bigger’ than just one post… or one word definitions.

What I mean… the idea of sending and receiving cute ‘Valentine Cards’…. is very simple!!!  But describe the meaning behind St. Valentine and how the whole ‘holiday’ has evolved…. not so simple!

valentine 003

For any youngster, how fun is it… the anticipation of going out to purchase your valentine cards…finguring which friend got what card, signing your name to all of them, then  making some sort of mailbox to receive all of your ♥ notes, the Valentine party where the BIG exchange would happen, the candy.. the treats..RED HOT!!!

You can always get a sense of what is popular the year of a particular sweet ♥ holiday… current tv shows or Pixar/Disney movies, games, celebrities, sports figures that are hot, hot, hot… the one above was popular during Finding Nemo’s popularity.

val3And I love ♥ it when someone takes the time and effort to create their own Valentine.  No store-bought loving going on here!  With Pinterest and other blog sites, there are tons of ideas out there … with a little time and effort any family can search for homemade Valentines and create their own special sweet heart cards.

book1Years ago when I was a room mom, one of the projects we made was a tiny booklet like the one above. The kids could glue their Valentine cards into it, color it and decorate it, (some cards come with stickers… perfect to put them in the booklet) and then have a keepsake to look through later.

Not everyone is as sentimental as I am with my creative soul!  I think it’s awesome to find things written by me when I was a grade schooler. Maybe one day, as my kids go through their memory boxes they’ll stop… look through it and say… “cool” before they toss it!  :0)

Q: What do you call a very small valentine?

A: A valentiny!

Stuffed with Fluff

February 7, 2013

She could see no good reason to act her age.

I like teddy bears!

Maybe I should just change that and admit, I ♥  teddy bears!  In retrospect,  I am surprised how much these cuddly childhood companions have been a part of my life!

oldbearMy memory is pretty bare (ha ha)…  this bear above is one of my oldest friends.  I think my Godparents may have given it to me in the 60s… but I can’t find any identifying marks.  I have a sense they brought him back for me on one of their visits to the German homeland… Could I possibly hope it’s a  Steiff bears  (German manufacturer) who were a stiff competitor in the early 1900s when the first Teddy Bears were stuffed in a America. He has sentimental value, but sometimes it’s kind of exciting to think maybe if I keep this ‘forever’ it might be worth something!

In Week #6 ~ LIFE’S simple pleasures…. I’m talking about Teddy Bears. “Sometimes” said Pooh, “the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” 

Who doesn’t hold a plush Teddy Bear close to their heart and give it a little warm squeeze?  Who doesn’t take a tiny stuffed bear and bop it on a child’s nose and dance it around saying ‘here comes the bear’.

poohbear

I even have a few favorite Poohs.  This one is a puppet.  He is so dang cute!  I guess I’m very lucky that some of these simple pleasures, my husband lets me collect a few to leave on display (it’s really a dusty shelf in the basement)…they always bring a smile to my face.

At one point in time I even thought about naming our oldest Christopher… like Poohs’ friend.  You know how I love a play on words…. Christopher Robins(on)…. but I didn’t want him to be called Chris….

If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient.  It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear ~ Winnie the Pooh

A.A. Milne has such wonderful stories with Pooh and his friends.  The quotes are so simple, yet powerful and full of meaning.

toybear

Do you know this bear?  It’s Lots-O-Huggin’ Bear from Toy Story.  A whole trilogy of movies about Toys that come to life and bring happiness to children. Stay tuned… some day I may highlight my Toy Story collection, but that’s a whole ‘nother story!

Valentine’s Day is coming up!  I saw bins at Wal-Mart full of stuffed, plush and cute TeddyBears… the gift that symbolizes love ♥.  Personally, I have enough Teddy Bears… but I can still think they are one of LIFE’S simple pleasures!

Why do I leave the zip of my bag a little open?  So that my bear can breathe, of course!

PS:  darn, I know I should always carry my cell phone with me, mainly for the photo opportunities… but yesterday on my walk, I saw 3 perfect snow angels….if you go search for Week #2… I write about snowflakes.   As part of my testiment… or journey into 2013… I can go re-visit something I have discovered and build on that pleasure…snow angels, how simple!