"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes

Recipes for simple chocolate chip cookies tend to be one of the things I ignore.  So, feel free to ignore these recipes if you already have a fabulous recipe of your own.  I have a recipe I love that's my normal chocolate chip cookie recipe, but it makes a lot.  A lot, a lot.  Last night I made a batch so I could stock pile my freezer cookie dough collection.  I two-thirded the recipe and came out with about 4 dozen cookies.  So, when I want to make a chocolate chip cookie and not be overwhelmed by the amount of cookie (or the amount of butter I'm using), I have two new go to recipes.  The first my mom got from some woman in her church congregation, the second is from a church cookbook that is several years old from my mom's congregation again.  The second is an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe and is my dad's new "go to" recipe (even though my original recipe is his normal recipe).  And besides being delicious, each of these recipes is easily halved using only one cube of butter and one egg.  Jed appreciates this because otherwise, he has to try to figure out how to halve all the crazy fractions.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Directions: Preheat oven to 375.  Cream the butter (when it is still pretty firm).  Add sugars, eggs and vanilla.  Mix dry ingredients then add to butter/sugar/egg mixture.  Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.  This makes about 48 cookies.  Halved, 24.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour
2 1/4 cups quick oats (I use regular oats)
2 cups chocolate chips

Directions: Preheat oven to 400.  Combine butter, sugars, vanilla and eggs.  Combine dry ingredients and add to wet ingredients.  Roll into small-sized balls.  Bake at 400 for 7-9 minutes.  Makes about 3 dozen cookies

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I don't like confrontations.  And that basically sums up why I don't like being involved in, or even witnessing political "discussions."  Last night there was a knock on the door, I should have made Jed get it, he LOVES political "discussions."  Unfortunately I answered the door to an older woman with a clipboard who appeared to be, or at least, led me to believe she was checking voter registration, making sure people were paying attention to the presidential campaign and noting what were the key issues in the campaign to me.  I'm totally cool with that, everyone should be thinking about an upcoming presidential campaign, everyone should be registered to vote.
When I expressed the few issues that I feel are important to the election, she started disagreeing with me.  Basically, she is pro-Obama and wanted to argue me on points, telling me "it's the truth" to which I had to tell her, "my opinion differs from yours, I don't believe your "truth" is true."  Then I politely told her she'd never change my mind, I had no interest in going to Obama's website and she was free to have her opinion.  All while I'm standing in my doorway, 8 1/2 months pregnant, with a temperature above 90 and probably 90% humidity.  THAT I am not okay with.  Arguing her political point to me, at my house, under false pretenses, while out of decency I'm forced to be uncomfortable and annoyed. 
And for the record, I'm not really happy with either candidate, but I'm less happy with the current president than I am with any of his competition.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Need a Girl Scout Cookie Fix and it's Not Cookie Season

Photo from this USA Today article.
Nestle article here.

We saw a commercial over the 4th of July at Jed's sister's for these Limited Edition Girl Scout cookie candy bars.  Jed went looking for them without success.  We spotted them at Walmart yesterday (at the checkstands).  Yum!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Baby Countdown

Three more weeks (+/-).

Here's how I make sure the baby doesn't come early:
     I don't have a car seat ready.  I haven't bought diapers or wipes or binkys.

Here's how I make that plan backfire:
     Jed set up the crib and we washed all the boy clothes, blankets and burp cloths.

Or maybe it's the reverse of the above.  Maybe because I don't have diapers, the baby will come early.  Or maybe because the crib is set up, the baby will be late. 

And my newest fear:
     While walking around looking super pregnant I start getting paranoid that weirdos are going to kidnap me and cut the baby from my belly.  I think I read bizarre news headlines too often, and watched too many made for TV movies in the 90s.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Simple Little Dessert

I got this idea (chocolate and banana cream) from Pinterest and simplified it.  She actually makes the pie crust, the pudding and the whipped cream from scratch.  I could do all that, but just for a simple treat for the family, I didn't need to.

I bought the refrigerated Pillsbury pie crusts, rolled them out and used a small round cookie cutter with a decorative edge, baked them (I think 400 for about 5-6 minutes) then let them cool.  She used vanilla pudding for the banana cream pie bites, I had banana cream pie pudding on hand so used that.  Use a small dollop of pudding to hold the banana in place and top it with more.  When I used too much pudding on the bottom, the whole thing started to slide away.

Taken with my phone when I couldn't find my camera.

For the chocolate ones, I just used chocolate pudding, but there's a variety of different flavors of chocolate pudding out there that I'm sure we'll try in the future.  We shaved chocolate chips on top to make it fancy.  This was Buddy's family night treat last week so he helped with the pudding and whipped cream.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Weird Addictions I Have

I may have already blogged about how much I love un-toasted Pop-Tarts (or generic pop-tarts).  And I may have already blogged about how much I love the smiley face Walmart brand fruit snacks. But I've recently discovered that the fruit snacks at Aldi* (at least the dinosaur-shaped ones) are just about as yummy as the smiley face ones from Walmart.  More like a candy than a healthy fruit snack, but I wasn't talking about healthy addictions here.

*Aldi.  Not Aldis.  Why do so many people call it Aldis??  Drives me nuts.

Stupid Earthquake

According to this article, the earthquake from last summer that damaged the Washington Monument could keep the Monument closed until 2014 and covered with scaffolding.  This is extra upsetting to me for a couple of reasons.

1.  One of the things on my "to do" list while we live in the Washington area is to go to the top of the Monument and if things go the way we plan, we won't still be living here in 2014. 

2.  I want a family picture taken from this location (mainly family, but a definite "we lived near DC" feel to the picture) before we move:

Monday, July 16, 2012

Need to Make This

from Sew Much Ado: here

And when the pack my mom bought me runs out, maybe some of these:
from The Peaceful Mom: here

Friday, July 13, 2012

Curtain Project

When we moved into our townhome last summer, only two windows had any sort of window covering.  One is the unfinished part of the basement (aka Jed's office) and that window faces the front of the house and is next to the front door.  The curtain on it is just white.  The other is in the kitchen. Now, as you can see below (sorry, I don't have a shot of the actual window) the kitchen is very blue and white.  The curtain in the kitchen is tan with olives and burgundy accents.  It doesn't really match (AT ALL), but it's been low on my priority list. 

The other day I came across this idea on Pinterest and fell in love.  Simple, doable, doesn't require any sewing.  I just need to haul myself to the fabric store and make up my mind about some fabrics in blues and whites and maybe a little red.

Image from here: One good thing by Jillee

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Some ideas seem totally normal to us until we are asked to explain them to a child.  Little Guy (4 1/2) and I had this conversation this week.

Little Guy: Why is Spiderman called Spiderman?

Me: He was bitten by a spider and that gave him super powers.

Me: (thinking) That sounds nuts, I can't believe that's a believable movie plot!

Little Guy: Oh, it's probably because he can make spider webs.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pregnancy Fears

Among all the more major fears (giving birth, something going wrong, the baby having a health problem, etc.) I also have weird minor fears.  My big fear right now is that this baby will actually be a girl.  When I had the ultrasound, the technician told me it was a boy and indicated that when she was done with all the other measurements that needed to happen, she'd come back and double check for sure.  Then a higher up technician/doctor came and looked specifically at this baby's heart (because of Little Guy's heart) and the technician never went back for a double check on the gender.  She never really gave me a reason to think that it wouldn't be a boy, but her double check never happened and so in the back of my messed up pregnant mind I keep thinking, "what if it's a girl and I just washed all the boy newborn clothes!"  Or, "what if it's a girl and we don't agree on a single girl name right now" (even though historically, we've had half a dozen girl names picked out and no boy names for each of our kids).  Jed has a girl name picked out that he loves.  When his parents were quizzing him about it he had to tell them, no he's pretty sure no other person has this name.  This, from my husband who refuses so many baby names for so many reasons and here he goes and picks out a girl name that isn't even a name.   If we'd been able to agree on a boy name other than Little Guy's, I could use my all time favorite girl name.  And if stupid Adele hasn't won all those Grammys this year we'd be set with a girl name.  And if the other girl name we had picked out didn't rhyme with the girl middle name we picked out we'd be good.  So even though Princess Sparkley would love this to be a girl (I haven't told her about my secret fear so she doesn't get her hopes up) and none of us (well, Buddy and Little Guy might) would be disappointed with a girl baby, we're in trouble if this baby is a girl because her birth certificate might say "Baby Girl" for awhile.

Sunday, July 08, 2012


I decided this morning to take an inventory of our spoons since it seems (between cereal and bowls of ice cream) that we never have enough.  I wondered if it really was a matter of we are using spoons more frequently than forks and knives, or if we had less spoons.  Turns out we are now down to nine spoons (there are supposed to be twelve).  I believe last time I inventoried our spoons we had eleven.  I'm not sure which kid is the culprit (maybe all of them), but I have a feeling we're losing spoons to the trash.
The entire inventory:
12 knives
12 large dinner forks
12 small dinner forks
12 large dinner spoons
9 small dinner spoons
Looks like I need to go spoon shopping.
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