Fall (and Halloween) All Around the House

We love to decorate our home for the fall.  There is something about pulling out all our little creatures and favored fall items that make me excited and nostalgic all at the same time. The truth is once the calendar flips over to October, I am in a perpetual good mood pretty much until we get to January.  And then I find other happy things to focus on.

This year I added this new centerpiece box to my collections.   We have a new DIY workshop that popped up in our little downtown that I will be visiting quite often.   Although the centerpiece is not just for fall, I quickly added my fall obsession to it.  The fun little cauldron bowls in front are new from Crate and Barrel this year.  They were perfect for our first bowl of chili this year.

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We have been married almost nineteen years so we have collected fun decorations over the years.  I love integrating the season into my house.  You might look on a shelf and see my usual decor but a little pumpkin or owl might be right beside it.  Take what you have and add around it.

For the past 6 years I have had a Halloween tree.  Honestly, it is just getting me ready for the Christmas trees coming in a just a few weeks.  I light up my tree every morning and it makes me happy as I pass by it throughout the day.  Instead of presents under this tree, I have glittery, fun pumpkins.

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My side doors are complete with spooky wreaths and a simple burlap bow.

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Yes, even my animal statues are subjected to getting into the spirit.  This is sweet Hanna.  She loves to dress up too.  (Yes, all my animals have names).

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It’s not too late to add your flair to the holidays.  Also look for steals and bargains right after the holidays.  Pick them up and store them for next year.  I know I will be adding more before the big night.  Let me know if you find something I need.

Looking Forward,
Amanda

 

 

 

Apple Treats in Three Seconds

Apples are every where this time of year.  We will go apple picking, cook with apples, craft with apples, and today we made a treat for our teachers with apples.

It is super simple and a great way to love on your teachers.  We used our family favorite, Honey Crisp Apples.  Then we purchased individual caramel sauce.  Stick them in a bag and tie it up with some ribbon.  You are finished.

Whit loved giving these treats to his teachers this morning.  And his teachers enjoyed a fun, yummy snack after school.

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First Week of School Cookies

Well, we have almost made it through our first week of middle school.  Eeeekkkk!  How did he get so big?  Each year, we make cookies for the first week of school.  It is a welcomed treat after the first day of school.  Nothing says welcome home like warm cookies and cold milk.  This gives me time to talk about his day and hear about all his adventures.  Also, my kid likes to bring his lunch.  He enjoys having his first week of school cookies in his lunch box.

This year we tried to cram all his favorites into one cookie.  Chocolate chips, M&Ms, peanut butter, and oatmeal made these cookies extra yummy.  Simple and tasted amazing.

Here’s to a great school year and lots of singing and dancing in the kitchen!

Looking Forward,
Amanda

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First Day of School Cookies

½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 t vanilla extract
1 whole egg
¾ cup all purpose flour
¼ t salt
1 t baking soda
1½ cups old fashioned oats
1 cup M & M’s
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a mixer cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Then add in peanut butter.   Add in vanilla and egg. Mix until combined.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda.  Add the dry ingredients to the batter.  Mix for a little less than a minute. Do not over mix.  Fold in old fashioned oats, M & M’s and chocolate chips.

Make teaspoons of dough and place on prepared cookie sheets.  I prepare my cookie sheets with parchment paper.   Bake cookies for 11ish minutes or until lightly golden brown and firm on the edges.  Remove from the oven and let set for 3-4 minutes.
Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Once completely cooked, keep cookies in an airtight container.  Cookies  (if not all eaten) will last up to a week.

 

 

And the class lists are posted….

It is that time of year again. We are rushing around to find that every thing on our school supply lists. Wondering if 4 glue sticks will even last one week? Spending our last days soaking up the end of the summer and getting ready for this year. I wrote this entry last year and it still is so true. As we are preparing for middle school and Mom’s Morning Out (fingers crossed but not holding my breath), I recognize the importance of seeing class lists and teacher assignment’s from all angles.

Sing and Dance in the Kitchen

I was born wanting to be a teacher. By second grade, it was clear that I would teach elementary children. I taught my Cabbage Patch Kids every day after school. That Christmas I asked Santa for a chalkboard, a lesson plan book, real workbooks, and a stool to sit on. (My favorite teacher, Mrs. Thornton, had a stool.)

It was not that long ago, I waited in anticipation for my class list. All of these names with no faces yet. I wrote their sweet names over thirty times all over our classroom. Would they like me? Would I be enough for them? Was I prepared to teach them everything they needed to know?

I had worked all summer preparing our classroom. Spent so much of my own money to get all the final touches my room needed. I wanted my students to love it. This was their home away from…

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Heart Shaped Cupcakes

The day of LOVE is here.  This is a super easy treat to whip up for your little sweeties.  We even cheated and used a cake mix and pre-made icing.  And guess what, it was still yummy!

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Pick your favorite cake mix- I used Pillsbury Devil’s Food Cake
Pick your favorite icing- I used Pillsbury Cream Cheese Icing
Cupcake Liners
Glass marbles
Sprinkles for decorations

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Make cupcakes according to recipe directions. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Spoon batter into liners.  Fill cupcakes only 1/2 full.  If the liner is too full, you will not end up with heart shapes.
After filling the liners, place a marble between the liner and the pan. You will see the cupcake take the shape of a heart.
Bake cupcakes according to recipe directions. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Add your own flair with sprinkles.

What Happened in January?

I cannot believe January is over.  It was a good month of starting over and focusing on new goals.  We had a couple cooler days so we enjoyed more indoor activities.

It does not matter what time of year it is I LOVE having fresh flowers around the house.  In high school, one of my first jobs was working in a flower shop.  I loved this job and now realize how this job was just a cool learning opportunity for me at a young age.  My boss, who was my former Sunday School teacher, took time to teach me the art of arranging flowers.  I learned how to tie bows, care of plants and flowers, and how to deliver flowers to the happiest places and the hardest places.  Through it all, it was a perfect job for me.  I still love to buy my own flowers and create.  I have a thing for daisies so they are usually always around.

 

As part of our goals, we decided as a  family to focus on one scripture verse a month.  This month we chose, 1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  This verse was up in our mudroom all month and we would recite it, talk about it, and try to apply it to our daily lives.  So whether I was taking final bites of leftover Mac&Cheese, driving Will to school, or cleaning baseboards, I was trying to do it for the Glory of God.  A simple but powerful verse for my boys.  Will got so into focusing around a scripture, he asked if he could pick out the verse for February.

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We experienced a few rainy days this month.  On one particular rainy day, Whitaker and I made yummy, simple chocolate chip cookies.  It is always fun being in the kitchen with my boys.  Plus the learning that goes on in the experience.

20170123_133058_001Plus little brother thought it was really cool to have a snack ready for his big brother’s arrival home from school.  You probably have all the ingredients right at home now for these Simple Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Welcome to February!
Looking Forward,

Amanda

 

 

You Have Everything You Need Chocolate Chip Cookies

It was a rainy Monday and Whitaker realized we were out of cookies.  In a house of boys, running out of cookies is a bad thing.  Whitaker is a problem solver and quickly declared, “Mommy, we can just make some cookies.”  I had several other ideas on my to-do list for the afternoon.  But I was quickly reminded that checking off boxes on my list could wait, I need to make cookies with Whitaker.

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He loves using the mixer.

This chocolate chip cookie recipe is so easy and you will probably have everything you need to create them right in your kitchen.  It is a great recipe to have a young chef to help you with because the measurements are easy and they love scooping the cookie dough on to the cookie sheet.

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Simple Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg
1 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
3 cup quick oats
2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a mixer, stir together, butter, brown sugar, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Then add flour and baking soda. Add oats and stir until well combine. Lastly, add in chocolate chips.  Mix all well.
Scoop into 1″ balls & place on greased cookie sheet or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Add additional chocolate chips on top of scooped cookies.  (This makes your cookies look even better after they are baked.)
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges start to turn a light golden brown.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies.