easy sunday

I been thinking a lot about time. And weekends. And using the both of them well. I think we nailed it today. I woke up today thinking that it would be fun to go out to breakfast (something we do very rarely). But while I sipped my morning coffee and scrolled through my blog feed, I happened upon this recipe for and Apple Pancake. I’ve always wanted to make a Dutch Baby, but keep forgetting. Thinking that this seemed basically like the same thing, and the fact that I had all the ingredients, it seemed the perfect Sunday morning breakfast. Maybe even better than going out.

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It came out delicious, but not as fluffy as I was expecting. No matter, it was basically like having apple pie for breakfast! Now that we were off to a good start, I started thinking about what other fun things we could do. We decided on a short hike and lunch out. We all threw on some shorts, grabbed the dog, and headed out. The only thing we were missing was the Girl, who is gone doing other fun things this weekend.

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I live in Southern California, and in case you haven’t heard, we are in the middle of a huge drought. Never was that more evident that out in the hills. Dry though it is, there was still a lot of beauty there. We even spied the reservoir, which was the only water to be seen.

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Now I feel perfectly entitled to spend the rest of the afternoon knitting, quilting, embroidering, and drinking tea.

Hope your Sunday was fun and restful.

summer fun: one child at a time



IMG_2547IMG_2559IMG_2552{photos by 11 year old Boy #2}

Both boys are off at sleep away camp this week. They are at different camps, one is at youth group camp and the other at soccer camp. The dynamic is so different with only one child at home. When this does happen, it is not usually the Girl that is the one at home. But this week it is and I want to soak it up. The Girl is sixteen and I am painfully aware that she will be off to college in not too many years.

So, while the boys are away, we are planning on some Girl Time. She is actually at theater camp until 2 pm everyday, but after that, we have some simple plans. Yesterday involved a stop by Jamba Juice for a smoothie and a little summer wardrobe refresher shopping. Her favorite dinner–Moosewood Mac and Cheese and Twelve Years a Slave, a movie that we would not have watched if the youngest boy was home.

Today will be a stop by Starbucks and then Mother-Daughter pedicures at a local nail spa. Not sure what dinner will be yet, but if I let her choose it will most certainly contain cheese and bread or pasta. Having the lactose-intolerant boys out of the house has released all restrictions on cheese.

Tomorrow may include a nice long afternoon at the bookstore and maybe another movie that we have said no to because of younger brothers. Maybe a little sketching out on the patio with a cup of tea. And talking about books, summer plans, and life.

Whatever we do, and it doesn’t really matter, I am loving this one-on-one time with my girl.IMG_2408

summer fun: mini crossbow

My boys are 11 and 14, and it is sometimes a bit hard to get them off of their iPods and tablets. But there are limits in place, and they have dug into some fun projects already this summer. The first one was this mini crossbow that basically just required hairclips, popsicle sticks, embroidery floss, and a hot glue gun.IMG_2157IMG_2164IMG_2155IMG_2163IMG_2167IMG_2169It shoots toothpicks and I find that mildly concerning.

 

father’s day

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Father’s Day was a nice, relaxing day over here. The day actually started out with soccer game for Boy #2, but that was bright and early and over with by 9am. There were cards and gifts and donuts. Then a picnic at the park with some frisbee and sadly two bee stings. We ended the day with some grilled steaks, asparagus, and baked potatoes. Chocolate chip cookie bars with vanilla ice cream topped it off. Who could ask for more?

ten things I’m looking forward to this summer

IMG_1813Ten things I’m looking forward to this summer:

1. no alarm clocks

2. eating outside, possibly every meal of the day

3. walks after dinner

4.  summer fruit

5. lots of salads

6. free evenings

7. going to the beach

8.  finding out what the kids’ summer obsession is (in the past: origami, juggling, rubik’s cubes, geocaching)

9.  just hanging out with my kids

10.  dinners that don’t involve turning the oven on

It was hard to keep it to just ten. So many reasons to love summer…

 

 

cookies


Chocolate chip cookies are the absolute favorite cookies in our house. I’ve tinkered with many recipes over the years and this one has emerged as the all-time favorite. I rarely have to make them myself anymore, as my daughter has taken over as the Head Cookie Baker. However, I did whip up these the other day for Boy #1 to take to school for a party.

26 cookies 126 cookies 226 cookies 31 cookies 21 cookiesHere’s the recipe, I think the difference is the bread flour, but it works with all purpose flour too. If I have time, I refrigerate the dough a bit. The cookies come out a little thicker that way. We often don’t make actual cookies, but put the dough in a pan and make cookie bars. That has become the favorite, because the are thick and gooey. On this day, I doubled the recipe and did both, cookies to give away, and cookie bars to keep. Enjoy! (My daughter named the recipe :))

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

Ingredients:

2 3/4 c. bread flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 bag  (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside

3. In large bowl combine butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract; beat until creamy

4. Beat in eggs

5. Gradually add flour mixture

6. Stir in chocolate chips

7. Refrigerate dough for an hour (this is optional, but results in thicker cookies)

8. Drop by level measuring tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets

9. Bake at 375 degrees for 11 to 12 minutes

10. Take cookies out of the oven, let them cool slightly on the cookie sheet, and then remove to cooling rack to cool

Cookie Bar Variation:

Put dough in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Cook at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.