Sunday, January 29, 2012

Today we are...




{his request}


Traveling treacherous roads

How was your Sunday?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The BEST Peanut Butter Cookies

Did you know that today is National Peanut Butter Day?  Did you know that there was a national peanut butter day?  I didn't until a couple of hours ago.  A couple facts about peanut butter:
  • An average American child eats 1,500 PB&J sandwiches before graduating from high school.
  • It takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter.
  • Americans eat around 700 million pounds of peanut butter per year (about 3 pounds per person).
  • I definitely eat more than 3 pounds a year...due largely in fact to these cookies.  
When I was pregnant with Malacai {or was it Lincoln...}, Dunkin Donuts had delicious peanut butter cookies with chunks of peanut butter cups in them.  I craved them something fierce.  But buying cookies daily can get expensive.  So my mom said, let's make them.  And she showed up at my house with a bag of peanut butter cups and we pulled out a cookbook and found a peanut butter cookie recipe and went to work.  And these little bad boys - so, so delish.  They are one of my favorite cookies.  Ever.  And one of my most requested.
I make them on the smaller side.  I think that helps with texture.  They are soft, moist, so peanut buttery and just perfect!

Peanut Butter Chunk Cookies
1 cup butter, very soft {but not melted}
1 cup peanut butter {I use Peter Pan - just in case you're wondering}
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2½ cups all-purpose flour
appx. 28 miniature peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. If you'd like, line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. {If not, just use ungreased baking sheets}
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and peanut butter. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Add in the granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, and baking powder.  Beat till combined, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Beat in the eggs and vanilla till combined.  Add the flour {slowly} and mix just until incorporated.  Add in the chopped peanut butter cups and fold in gently with a spatula.
Drop small rounds (appx. 1 1/2 inch balls) of dough onto the baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake 6-8 minutes.  The cookies may seem soft immediately after coming out of the oven but they will set as they cool. Do not over bake your cookies, please!  {This is the secret to soft cookies!!}  Let cool on the baking sheets about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Yields: appx. 45 cookies

Source: Cookies adapted from Better Homes & Gardens {a cookbook I have}.  Peanut butter facts from here.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Penny Thoughts

You know how when you're hanging out with friends, you're doing just that, hanging out.  You're not busy getting things done on your to-do list.  You're not working or cleaning.  Just hanging out.  I've realized that this is what is causing me to feel like I'm not getting things done.  Michael is my friend.  My bestest friend.  And we're always just hanging out!  When he's not here for the evening, I get so much more done.  And when I'm gone for the evening, he gets so much more done!  {And I say evening because our daytime hours are spent either at work or chasing little boys around}.  Eeps!  Oh well...I choose hanging out with him over a crossed off to-do list any day!

Totally random, from out of nowhere question.  If you were changing your clothes and someone walked in, would you rather they catch you changing your shirt or changing your pants?  I'd rather be caught pant-less.  I do not like what pregnancy did to my stomach.  So worth it.  But so not fond of it.  

Tonight while I was getting Malacai a bed time snack, he tooted {I didn't hear it, but I sure smelled it!}, and then he said, "Mom, did I toot for a reason?"  Haaa!!!  This kid says the funniest things!

Cait gave me this vintage necklace for Christmas and I am so loving it {obviously not a vintage picture...although it did have one in it originally}!  I wear it everyday.

Today I did good with my New Year's Goals - I called and made a doctor's appointment for myself and I got on my exercise bike!  And I did an ab workout with Michael {the couple that crunches together, stays together}.  Goooo Manda!  {Like how I'm my own personal cheerleader ;)}

How was your first day of this work week?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Thrifted Goods

Went to the thrift store last week.  Excited about these goods that I picked up {along with a ton of clothes for the little many in fact that the clerk had to ring up my purchase as two orders because the register has a limit for how many items can be rung per purchase - eeps!}.

A mini globe.  A cute little tray.  Pretty turquoise glass bottle.  A new butter dish.  A sweet blanket.  All vintage. Love...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ask Nicely...

Malacai just asked me in the sweetest little voice, "Mom, can I please hit Levi?"  Well, since you asked so nicely...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My new fashion statement...

One of my pet peeves is not being able to breathe out of my nose....especially while sleeping.  Right now I have a cold.  And a stuffy nose.  Which means I am not a happy camper when it's bed time.  I'd seen those silly commercials for the super attractive nasal strips you could wear that would help open up your nose and be able to breathe better.  I decided that no matter how silly you looked, if they would let me breathe out of my nose, it'd be worth it.  So I got some {mine are just a generic brand}.  I don't notice a huge difference - but I think it might make a little difference.  And for that, I'll use 'em!  

Here's a photo of me sporting my I-have-cold look.  Mike always has some smart comments to make about my fashion statement.  Breathing through my nose is so worth the dorkiness!!

What about you have any tips or tricks {or oddities} that you use while sick?  

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Oven Fried Pickles

I know what you're thinking, fried pickles?!  But they are soo good - if you like pickles...and I am a pickle lover.  I think the first time I tried them was at a local restaurant, Bourbon & Burger, and I was head over heels.  Worth going to eat there just for the fried pickles.  {And they have some stellar burgers too}
When I saw this recipe, I was excited to try it because they aren't actually fried.  And I hate frying food.  {It stinks up the house and seems like more work than it's worth}.  Plus, healthier too!   
I made these to take to my sister's baby gender reveal party - a perfect snack for a preggers girl, right?!  These were delish!  You don't even miss the fried part!  And they are pretty easy and quick to make too.  These would be a great appetizer to serve at your Superbowl party...I think I need to add it to my menu.  And I'm pretty sure I'll be making some of these tomorrow...I'm really craving some after writing about them - and I have a jar of pickles sitting in my fridge!   

Oven Fried Pickles

1 jar whole pickles, sliced into spears {I used about half of a 32 oz jar}
2 eggs
1/3 cup flour
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Adobo seasoning
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs

Ranch dressing, for serving

Adjust the oven rack to the center position. Preheat the broiler. Set a wire rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet. Spray with nonstick oil; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and flour. Add the Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, garlic powder, Adobo seasoning, and black pepper. Stir until fully incorporated.

Place the Panko bread crumbs in a shallow bowl, a pie plate works great. Dip a pickle spear first into the egg mixture, then coat with the Panko bread crumbs. Set on the greased wire rack. Repeat with remaining pickle spears.

Broil for about 3 minutes on each side. Serve immediately with Ranch dressing.

Freezing Instructions: Before broiling, place coated pickle spears in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Flash freeze for 20 minutes. Transfer frozen pickles to a labeled freezer bag. When ready to prepare, preheat the broiler to high and broil on the greased wire rack set in a baking sheet for 4-5 minutes on each side.

Source: barely adapted from Pennies On A Platter

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Old Man Winter...

has finally made an appearance.  And it's brutal.

Beautiful...but brutal.  I had foolishly been hoping that maybe we could just go a season without the bitter cold. The blowing snow.  It's been bliss this winter without a winter.  No icy roads.  No scraping windshields.  No looking for lost mittens while trying to run out the door.

So today has been spent snuggled indoors.  Wearing cuddle duds.  Making the most of this snow day.  {Not a snow day as in no school - this is Western New York after all  - it'd take a couple feet of snow to cancel school here}.

Remembering the good about these cold, snowy days.  Like sipping hot coffee under cozy blankets.  Enjoying that the snow mutes the sounds of the world {like traffic zooming by}.  Lincoln's excitement over snow drifts in the backyard.    

Getting a chance to just stay in and rest and recuperate.  {This little guy has yet another cold.  Our nights have been as brutal as the freezing wind.  I think poor Mike spent more time awake than asleep last night. And we seem to be going through boxes of tissues like they're going out of style.}

And getting to end the day with a popcorn and hot chocolate party.  {Lincoln wanted to call it a party}.  And snuggled up with my love watching a movie.

Welcome back old man winter...

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Levi's Vintage Style: Yellow Car Onesie

Yesterday was so nice here in WNY that we were out frolicking in fields with onesies on!  Not really...although we did have a superb January day yesterday.  I was going through pictures recently and realized I had never posted these gems - they were taken back in August.
I believe this super cute Healthtex onesie was a gift from Cait.  Vintage Healthtex is one of my favs - especially with little boys.  They seem to be the brand I can find the most of for the boys.  And I love that this onesie has a turtleneck on it - so great!
I don't remember where I picked up this baby buggy - I know I had been wanting one for a long time and was excited to finally get one.  Mike - not so much.  He's complained about it taking up space in the garage since the day we brought it home.  And I really can't use it out here in the country.  If I lived where we had sidewalks - I'd definitely be strolling around town with it.  So, I finally caved and actually have it on Craigslist right now.  It's a steal.  {Any takers?  :)}

Onesie: vintage, gift from Cait  |  Buggy: vintage, ??  |  Quilt: vintage, thrifted |  Chair: from Gramma

Linking up with Small Style...

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Grand Opening!!

I am so excited to announce the grand opening of our new shop!!!  Well, it's Mike's shop - but he makes me do all the "business-y" stuff, so I get to claim ownership too.  I do give some creative input too.  ;)
My husband is so very talented - he can pretty much do anything.  I've been bugging him for a while to start making things & selling them and the day is finally here.
We plan to keep adding new things as much as time allows.  Right now, we've got all-natural, wooden teethers and rattles.  A super sweet bird mobile.  And paintings!  

The name of the shop is in honor of my Gramps - who was an amazing artist.  He sold watercolor paintings and his trademark was a little red cardinal in every painting.  The red bird in our logo is the cardinal from the painting he did of our house.  I used to always joke with Mike that he was Gramps' BFF - my Grampa loved talking with Mike and was always impressed by everything he did.  I think he would be honored that there's a little piece of his artwork in Mike's shop.    

So please go check out the shop and if you're an Etsy user - we'd love it if you'd favorite our shop and join our circle!  And if you want to give a shout out on your blog or FB page about our shop - we'd love ya to pieces for doing that!!    

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ten on Ten :: January

Linking up with Rebekah's Ten on Ten...

Every morning my love makes me a cup of coffee

Whipping up some Avalanche Bars for the MOPS mamas

On the way to MOPS {not actually driving while taking pictures...I do know I have precious cargo in the van!}

On the way home.  Score for the boys - their favorite thing is to catch a train...

Lunch.  Thanks Mama-love for making my salad!!

Hanging tough


Salt & Pepper



ten on ten button

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Why hello two thousand and twelve.

I'm not very big on making New Year's Resolutions.  I am a list person so it's kind of surprising that I don't get into it.  This year I've decided to write down a few goals though and see how I do with them.  Maybe writing these down on my blog will help motivate me to accomplish these goals.

1. Take more time for me.
Not in a take a daily trip to the day spa kind of way, but the you feel like throwing up the majority of the time and have bad abdominal pains and need to figure out why kind of way.  I have some appointments that I need to make for myself, but I keep putting them off.  I think that this is something a lot of parents struggle with.   It's so easy to get distracted by all of our kids' needs, that we neglect to take care of ourselves.  A lot of it for me is having to add one more thing to my schedule.  I'll have to try to find child care and work out a time that doesn't interfere with anyone else's schedule.  It just seems like so much work...I'll just put it off another week.  But not this year!
This category also needs to include my exercising & weight loss - even though it's so cliche and puts me in the oh-so-old age group to have weight loss as one of my goals.  But it needs to be done.  I need to make a time to exercise and make it part of my routine.

2. Update/finish rooms around the house.
For the first few years of our marriage, I didn't do a lot of redecorating because Mike & I had talked about moving in the somewhat near future.  {He wants land & remoteness....I want to get off this busy road}.  It seemed kind of pointless to put too much into a house we would be selling.  Then we started looking for houses, and looking and looking.  There wasn't too much that appealed to us without having to move far, far away.  Will we ever move...who knows?  In the mean time, I'd like to spruce things up a bit around here.  Or to be honest, I'd like Mike to spruce things up around here.  I'm just ready to give lots of direction and moral support.

3. Be more open on my blog.
This is the goal I think I'm least likely to accomplish.  First off - I have a hard time finding a good balance with blogging in my life.  I either feel like I'm spending too much time doing it or I pretty much just ignore it.  Secondly, the idea of being open, of sharing more of myself, scares me.  I've never kept a journal because I hated the idea of someone being able to read my private thoughts & feelings.  But I absolutely love reading the personal stories others share.  They are so inspiring, helpful and just make ya feel good.  And what if by my sharing I'm able to offer a little bit of that hope, helpfulness and feel-goodness to someone else?  We shall see...

4. Write down Levi's {and Lincoln's} birth story.
Um, yea, this should have been done like 5 years ago for Lincoln!!  Levi's is actually half done.  I must have been on a good blogging roll when Malacai was a wee one.  And seeing how this is the only place I keep track of the milestones in the boys' lives - it needs to be documented...before I don't remember any of it!

5. Finish my mom's Mother's Day gift.
Um, oops.  Sorry mom - this is horrible that it's on my list.  I just remembered again that it's still not done when I was going through pictures the other day.  :(

6. Spiritual Progress
I wasn't really sure how to label this goal.  I have a couple things for this category.
First, is to continue doing daily devotions.  The last four months or so, I've gotten into a good routine that includes time for Bible reading, a short devotional, and prayer.  It's not very long - but it's made such a huge difference.  I want to keep this going - and maybe make more time for myself?  {Eeps - that would mean waking up earlier!!}
Another thing to work on is patience.  With the boys.  I can sometimes feel so frustrated with one of them {or all of them} and then I talk "mean".  And oh how I sometimes hate this deadly poisonous tongue of mine!  My worst time seems to be in trying to get out the door...oh the frustration of trying to get little kids ready & out of the house.

So there we go.  Six goals.  Easy-peasy, right?  We shall see what the year brings!

And apparently I need to add learn how to drink to my goals this year as I just spilled pop all over myself whilst writing this post.  Or maybe, for the love of my new computer, just say no to drinking & typing?

{can you vote for me please? two clicks}


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