Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What's up Wednesday--spicy oatmeal raisin cookies

These were our Sunday cookies this week, and these have been a family favorite since 2002.  Yum!  These are the absolute best oatmeal raisin cookies.  They make your kitchen smell so good when you are cooking them.  These freeze well if you have any leftovers, which we seldom do, so enjoy!
Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups rolled oats
 1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350.  In a large bowl cream together butter, shortening, brown sugar, sugar eggs and vanilla until smooth.  Add the four, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt into sugar mixture and mix well.  Stir in the oats and raisins.  Drop by tablespoons full--I always use my medium cookie scoop from Pampered Chef for cookies--onto ungreased cookie sheet.  

Bake for 10-12 minutes until light and golden but do not overbake.  Let them cool for 2 minutes before removing from cookie sheets to cool completely.  


Monday, September 28, 2015

2015 Blue Jeans Week 39

A good week. Lots of cookie making going on here. Another successful cross country race under our belts and a very relaxing and enjoyable  weekend--away football games are so nice :).  Take a look at our week.. .
Miss E working on our Sunday cookies.  They are the chocolate mint cookies I posted last week on Wednesday.  Yummy!

People ask me how things are going as I serve on the Board of Education now.  Well, so far it has been making lots, and lots, and lots of cookies :)  I have visited each of the 5 schools in our district and wanted to bring a treat for the teachers, so lots of cookies.  I am really enjoying my service on the board and learning a lot.  It is going to be a good 4 years!

Our cross country meet for the week was at home.  How nice!  Miss O rockin' it in her race!

And Miss A also rockin' in hers!  So proud of these girls!  They are running a 5 K--3.1 miles.  A very long race on a very hot day!  We need fall temps now not summer!  Ugh!  Wish these girls would have a nice cool day to run their races on!

Miss O in her race that day.  Middle school runs 2 miles.  She did a great job!  So proud of her!

Relaxing this weekend.  Mr J and Ben working on his Spirograph kit.  Lots of fun!

Thanks for visiting.  Pretty crazy week this next week--homecoming and Miss A is a homecoming queen candidate!  Crazy here we come!  Hope we can make it through in one piece!  Wish us luck!  Come back soon!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Thoughts---family pictures

We had family pictures taken in August along with Miss A's senior pictures which I will try to share next week.  We LOVED them!  A sweet sister missionary that served in our area about 2 years ago came back to visit us and took them for us.  She is amazing!  Love you Jenna!  Loved how they turned out.  Take a look. . .

Lots of fun!  Sure love my family!  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

What's up Wednesday--chocolate mint cookies

I think I have mentioned before that once school started we had the goal to make a different type of cookie each Sunday.  Some are old favorites, and  some are brand new.  This past Sunday we did brand new ones.  These chocolate mint cookies use a cake mix as the base, so they are super easy.  We doubled the recipe because one  recipe doesn't make a whole lot, and we like lots of cookies at our house.

These are the Andes mint baking chips we used.  Enjoy! 

Chocolate Mint Cookies

1 box chocolate cake--devil's food, German chocolate or regular is fine
1/3 cup oil
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 eggs

Mix all of the above together well.  It will be a thick batter.  Add in 1 cup of the Andes mint baking chips.

Roll into balls--or we use our medium cookie scoop to place on ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake 350 for 8 minutes.  When they come out of the oven, move to cooling rack and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  


Monday, September 21, 2015

2015 Blue Jeans Week 38

A good week for us this week.  Having the girls all in the same sport really does save my sanity.  Sad moments as I think "This is Miss A's last. . . "  having a senior is crazy!  Ben had some work meetings this past weekend at a little town in Iowa, so I tagged along and had a great time.  Nice to get away just the two of us!  So, here is a look at our week. . .
Love that my Mr J still loves his trains!  Sunday afternoon he made an awesome track in the living room.  

When Miss O and Miss A came down for school they both had their hair in cute buns, so I had to get a picture--twin hair day :) Love their goofy expressions

If my kids need help with English homework, they ask me.  If they need help with math, they know to ask their amazing dad because their mom has no clue :)  So Ben was helping Miss O with her college algebra tonight.  Fun stuff!

Kind of a blurry picture, but for youth group tonight they played ultimate Frisbee.  Miss A on the right and Miss E in the back and white.  They had fun!  Sadly Miss O was not feeling well and was home sick.

Cross Country race for the week--and Miss O was still sick, so she missed it. Miss A and her teammate stuck together through most of the race and both medaled and did awesome!  It was just way too hot still--over 90 and really humid.  We need fall!

So we drove many hours to get to Ben's work meetings, and they were in this beautiful part of Iowa where the fields looked like this.  I loved it! 

While Ben was in meetings the little town we stayed in was having an Antique Festival which I got to walk around and enjoy.  Lots of fun!

Thanks for visiting!  Come back Wednesday for a yummy and super easy cookie recipe we made Sunday.  We try to make a new cookie recipe each Sunday.  This one is good!  

Have a great week!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday thoughts. . .

If you don't know this about me already, I love Christmas.  love, Love, LOVE it!  I start getting ready way too early and love the countdowns and things like that.  I LOVE Organized Christmas which has a 6 week countdown I have done since 2002 I think?  Anyway, love it.

This year they are doing 101 Days until Christmas, and it just started 3 days ago.  Today is 98 Days until Christmas.  The website is here.  They just give one little thing to do or think about that day to be ready for Christmas.

Time flies by and this is my oldest daughter's senior year.  Over the years I feel like if I can get Christmas done before December I am a happier person and can enjoy it more.  Ben agrees, and he helps me quite a bit too which is nice.  I really want to try to enjoy things more this year since it is her last year home.  Sob, cry, groan, gulp. . .  ok, I am better now.

So if you want to be ahead of the game, check these out.

I also like their House and Holiday plan which is only on week 3, so if you want to catch up on that you can join me.  I don't do everything, but I like to do a lot of the things.  Go through rooms and get organized and clean things out.  It is nice to do that.  Working on my master bedroom this week.  Getting rid of lots of stuff.  Love it!

Anyway, just some early get ready for Christmas tips if anyone is interested because that is really my thing :)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

What's up Wednesday--Blueberry cake bars

I meant to post these in more of the blueberry season, but I misplaced my recipe.  I found it Sunday tucked in a cookbook and was so happy because these are good!  I love blueberries, and even though these call for fresh, I am sure you could use frozen.  Enjoy!

Blueberry Cake Bars

1 yellow cake mix
2 sticks of butter, melted
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon

Place above 6 ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.  Reserve 1 1/2 cups of mixture for top.  Put remaining batter into greased 9x13 pan.  Press into bottom of pan.  

In a small bowl gently combine

2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar

Spread blueberry sugar mixture over crust.  Scatter pieces of reserved crust over top.  Bake 350 until light brown about 40-45 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

2015 Blue Jeans Week 37

A good week.  We loved the long weekend.  Didn't do anything big, just stayed home and relaxed.  Another cross country race, and school marches on.  We are soooo ready for fall here and cooler weather, but it hasn't hit yet.  Just waiting for it.  The girls would sure appreciate the cooler temps as they run!  Take a look at our week. . .
Sunday afternoon we just enjoyed a nice family day and some family time. Miss E took this picture and not sure what Mr J and Miss O were doing :)  We were playing Phase 10.

Monday Labor Day BBQ.  Lots of good food, but way too hot to eat outside, so we enjoyed it all inside.  Yum!

Our family loves the show Studio C which is a comedy show on BYUTV.  We have been anxiously waiting for the new season that started this week!  Hooray for clean, funny family entertainment!

Cross country meet for the week.  Miss A with Miss O right behind her.  Those girls are awesome!

Our awesome girls cross country team :)

On Saturday I took Miss O and a friend to a church dance in the big city.  They had a Wizard of Oz theme, thus the yellow brick road.  The girls had fun, and I enjoyed spending time with them.

That is our week.  Thanks for visiting!  Come back soon!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday thoughts

Short thought today, or more just like a memory I want to remember. . .

We were playing Taboo the other night.  It is a game where you have to get your team to say a certain word, but you can't say certain words when you describe it.  Miss O was trying to get us to guess her word, and she said, "vertically enhanced mammal."  Can you guess what she was describing??

A giraffe. 

We laughed so hard.  She couldn't say "tall" or "neck" or "spots" or "long" or "animal."

I thought that was a pretty creative way to describe one :)

Happy Friday!  Enjoy your weekend and play a game with your family this weekend.  Make some memories and have some fun and laugh lots!  We recommend Taboo, and if you get giraffe, you now know exactly how to describe it :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

What's up Wednesday--peanut butter blossoms

We decided we were going to make a different kind of cookie each Sunday during the school year.  The ideas was they would be for the kids' lunches for the week.  We are quickly finding they don't last that long.  This past Sunday Miss E made homemade peppermint oreos, and they were gone in about 15 minutes, so no picture, but they were so good!  The Sunday before Miss O and Mr J made peanut butter blossom cookies.
Aren't they cute?

And these are the finished product--yum!  Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Blossoms

1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup shortening
1 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 bag Hershey's kisses

Combine first 6 ingredients and mix well.  Add in eggs and milk and mix well.  Gradually add flour and baking soda.  Rolls into balls--or we use our medium sized cookie scoop and place on pan.  Bake 350 for 8-10 minutes.  As soon as they come out of the oven press a kiss into each cookie's center.  Move to cooling rack and cool completely

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

2015 Blue Jeans Week 36

We made it through the first full week of school--first cross country meet of the season, first football game and band performance.  It was a busy week!  Trying to get enough sleep and balance everything is quite the challenge, but it was a good week!  Take a look. . .
We decided we are going to make a different kind of cookie each Sunday.  This week Miss O and Mr J made peanut butter blossom cookies.  Yum!  Will share the recipe tomorrow.  

First cross country meet of the season, and it was soooooo  hot!  I am so thankful that Miss E is running middle school cross country.  Because she is she has the same coach, practices and meets as the high school, so all 3 of our girls have the same sports schedule this fall.  LOVE THIS!  It is saving my life with all the other crazy we have going on.  So this was Miss E's first race ever--my sprinter doing distance.  She did awesome!  You can see Ben in the green shirt behind her cheering her on.  Didn't realize I got that in the picture until after.  Pretty neat.  So proud of her!  A medal in her first 2 mile cross country race.

And this is our high school girls cross country team--yes only 3 girls and 2 of them are mine.  

And this is their team prayer before they run.  Love it.  They all did great despite the horrible heat and humidity.  Ugh.  Hoping this next week will be cooler and feel more like fall, not midsummer.

Friday was the first football game and the first performance for the band.  Miss A is out there as a drum major--she is on the ladder in the back field.  Miss O is playing the mellophone somewhere in there.  They did a great job!  Excited for marching band season and Friday night lights!

And Saturday was the best college football game day EVER!  Did you see the BYU vs Nebraksa game?  At least the last second of the game?  OH my!  Love our cougars here!  Our friends had us over for a football watching party, and Miss O was really getting into it :)  love us some cougar football here!

Thanks for visiting!  Hope you had a great week!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

What's up Wednesday--buttermilk syrup and pancakes

Yes I realize it is a Thursday, but my week didn't have a Wednesday this week.  It just disappeared into crazy chaos and so you get this amazing recipe today.  Please make it.   It is divine!  Now that school is back in session, I try really hard to make breakfast.  That includes making tons of pancakes and/or waffles, muffins, etc and putting them in the freezer, so the kids and Ben can just grab something out of the freezer and either toast it or microwave it, and they have a hot breakfast ready to go.  This week I made a huge batch of my buttermilk pancakes and also a batch of this buttermilk syrup.  Oh. my.  It is so good--like lick-the-spoon-off good.  Not only is this good on pancakes, waffles and such, but also so good on ice cream.  Enjoy!
Buttermilk Syrup
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup Karo syrup
2 sticks butter
2 tsp baking soda
4 tsp vanilla

Mix everything together EXCEPT the vanilla in a large pot--this expands a ton while boiling because of the baking soda so I used my stock pot.  Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Serve warm.  Store leftovers in a glass mason jar in fridge for 1-2 weeks.

Buttermilk Pancakes  
(I always double this and freeze the leftovers)
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 Tbs oil

Mix the above well in a bowl.

In another larger bowl mix

2 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbs sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt

Add wet ingredients to mixed dry and mix together with a whisk.  Add more buttermilk to thin if needed.  Use 1/4 cup to measure out batter to cook pancakes.  Turn when bubbles start to pop.  Cook until lightly brown. Enjoy with buttermilk syrup.