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Quick Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

My entire family can’t get enough of these cookies. I’ve been baking them at least once a week and gifting them around the clock. My dad adores them, and he is the one that eats the most, so naturally I need to keep him well stocked! I’m always on the look-out for new recipes and tweaking old favorites, and I think this oatmeal raisin cookie recipe is pretty outta sight. BONUS: It’s extremely simple so if there is a doubt, write it down/print it out/bookmark it for an hour and get to baking.

Ingredients

1 1/4 c softened butter (you can also use margarine in this recipe)
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 heaping tsp cinnamon
1 heaping tsp nutmeg
1 heaping tsp baking soda
3 c oats (I used instant and those seem to work just fine and dandy)
1 c raisins

What you do…
So, it gets pretty technical…

1. Preheat that oven to 375 degrees. Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper or just spray with a little non-stick spray.
2. In a bowl or standing mixer, cream together the sugars and butter (or margarine).
3. Once mixed, add in the egg and vanilla.
4. Once mixed, toss in the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking soda. No sifting required. (YAY!)
5. Once mixed, add in those oats.
6. Once mixed (last one, I swear), fold in those raisins.
7. Get your trusty gadget-that-makes-same-size-portions, like a tablespoon or your hand :), roll into balls and place about an inch apart on the cookie sheets.
I’m all over the place when it comes to sizes, so this recipe yielded me 2 dozen cookies one time, but a few times I had 18. Go figure. Sometimes I like em big.
8. Place in the oven for about 10-15 minutes. This is really dependent on the size of those suckers. I tend to babysit the cookies. Mads helps.

Ta-da! Cookies ready for eating! Enjoy!!

oatmeal raisin cookie, cookie recipe

BONUS: I ALSO MADE 3 INGREDIENT PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES, TOO! WAAAY TOO EASY.

Ingredients

1 c peanut butter
1 egg
1 c granulated salt

What you do…

1. Preheat that oven to 350 degrees. Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick spray.
2. In a bowl or standing mixer, mix together the peanut butter, egg and sugar.
3. Once again, get your trusty gadget-that-makes-same-size-portions, roll into balls and place about an inch apart on the cookie sheets.
This recipe will yield about a dozen cookies.
4. Place in the oven for about 10 minutes.
DONE. EASY. ENJOY!

<linking up with karly>


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Dad of the Year 2015

I don’t know what it takes to be called “dad of the year.” I’m unsure what characteristics or qualities a man needs to possess in order to earn this title, but if I had to give the description a good ‘ol college try, I would define it as…

Dad of the Year
noun.
[dad uhv th-uh yeer]
devoted fella who willingly gives his hands and heart to his family; active participant in tea parties, swimming lessons and outdoor catch; bedtime storyteller; joke teller; partner in trouble-making; piggy-bank filler; most likely wrapped around the little one’s finger

I think my big red could make the cut for a few reasons…

The summer of 2012 was one for the books. In Saint Louis, the weather was anything but pleasant. It was hot, humid and just nasty. Not super friendly for a pregnant lady. As a result, the summer of 2012, the summer before Mads entered the world, was filled with way too many snow cones, extremely low air conditioning temps and personalized car service to and from EVERYWHERE. He took on the role of chauffeur with no complaint. He worked hard to make every single environment we walked into was as comfortable as possible. Everyone always complimented me on how relaxed and calm I was during my pregnancy … it was because of my ultimate zen master.

maternity
On September 15, 2012, our gift entered the world with his help and support. And at that moment, the connection between bubbs and Mads was instant. With eyes wide open, she looked at her dad and he stared right back in complete wonderment. He doted. He took a million pictures. He swaddled her over and over and over again while mama took a moment to breath. He remained strong and positive when we couldn’t take her home when we expected. And he remained patient and the slowest moving vehicle on the road on the day when we could finally welcome her into her new home.

hospital
In September 2014, summer started to end and apple picking was the place to be. A farm boy at heart, he couldn’t wait to get his girl there. Along with the dearest of friends and Mads’ godparents, we laughed and ate and laughed some more. Creating moments that connect his past to his present is magical and will always connect Mads to his soul.eckerts with dad

In October 2014, we took our first trip without Mads. A welcomed and enjoyable trip, but it was definitely tough to part with our little, even if it was just for a few days. In the end, bubbs and I spent the time reconnecting, indulging in good food and great conversation, remembering why we are proud to call each other “best friends,” and also, remembering the beautiful life that resulted from our love. As moments passed, we thought of her future, prayed for her path and of course, bought her souvenirs. Once we arrived home to be finally greeted with open arms and too many kisses, he absolutely joined in with a much needed belly-laugh-filled leaf attack.playing in leaves

In December 2014, the air turned crisp and the first weekend of December was here – officially kicking off the holiday season. Mads’ uncle called to let us in on the tree lighting ceremony in town. A last minute event. My big red’s heart swelled. His favorite holiday was near and there was no way he would say no to sharing this experience with our little. We turned up the Christmas music in the car and hurried over to the tree lighting. Although we arrived late, he still shared his love of the holiday with her and let her soak in the experience for as long as her little red nose would let her. And after that, hot chocolate. christmas with dad

Everyday is different. Everyday has ups and downs, laughter and tears, conversations and disagreements, but regardless of the situation, he remains steadfast and devoted to this strong-willed, independent spirit that is our daughter. And for that, I think my big red is Dad of the Year.
kisses

Loving you forever and always, bubbs. xo

Wishing a wonderful Father’s Day to you and your Dad of the Year!

<<>>linking up with emily<<>>


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How Was Your Day?

Another day in the toddler life is complete. She is tucked into her bed, wearing her “deep dream diving suit” aka extra cozy footy pajamas, and quickly dozes off with Eeyore and Tigger by her side. Her dad and I start to wind down and relax. But before these very quiet and sweet moments, an entirely different universe existed – one that swirled and swirled into a million different colors and directions.

In the early morning hours, you weren’t sure what outfit you wanted to wear, but I tried to hurry you along. I know you were getting frustrated with me. I know you wanted to take five – ten – fifteen extra minutes. But, the unfortunate ticking on a weekday clock does not cease. So, hurry to the car we must. And once inside, I did not want to listen to Disney. But that was all you wanted to hear. “Just one more time, mama, please.” Again, I know you were frustrated with me. You were using the manners I asked you to use and dialed down the sass for Disney. But, you have no idea what that tune does to me. I can’t do one more time. I failed.

Of course, your request quickly subsided, and we arrived at school. You’re greeted by your teachers and best friends. As I drove away, you blew a kiss and waved to me. My heart sunk. I could do better. I need to give more.

The day continued on, and we were in two worlds. While I worked on spreadsheets and sitemaps, you were coloring pages and singing songs. As I logged on to a conference call, you walked out to the playground. At the end of the day, I’m tired. But the only thing I wanted to do is rush to you. I jumped into my car and rushed to scoop you up and put on that Disney song … one more time. When I arrived, you were ready to go. “Mama!” you say. And we were off. Disney song cued up. A win to bring back the balance.

But then we got home. And I started dinner. And I couldn’t be everything you wanted me to be right at that moment. The world ended when you didn’t have a new outfit to put on at that moment. I know that you needed [something]. You shouted. But I dismissed it. Am I failing again? As we sat down and you looked at the plate of food that you once loved, you said you weren’t hungry. You don’t like it. You don’t know I’m frustrated. But it’s okay. Your dad ushered you off, and the two of you started to get ready for the night. I tidied up and met you. And you were crying. Well, it was more of that screaming crying. I know it. It’s second nature for me to pick out the type of scream/cry. You were exhausted. You were frustrated. You were done.

Eventually, we relaxed, read stories, and I brushed your hair. You brushed your teeth. We smushed our cheeks together and let out a small giggle. We hugged each other tight. So tight. It’s that tight that just takes your breath away and for a moment, I just wanted you to stay with me. But your bed awaits.

As I put her down and said goodnight, wishing her the sweetest of dreams, she asked…

“How was your day, mama?”

I answered, “It was good. How was your day, Madeline?”

“It was a good day, mama.”

That was all I needed. Another perfect day. Couldn’t ask for anything more. xo

IMG_7311


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Random Acts of Kindness

Sometimes juggling it all gets to be too much.

As a mom, as a wife, as a daughter, as a sister, as a friend, as an employee, as a member of society…

It gets to be too much. Sometimes.

We have these million and ten “things” we try to accomplish with minimal fault, but in reality, getting to just cross something off the list is a feat in it of itself. I’m absolutely okay with good enough a lot of the time. Sometimes. And I support fellow parents and persons that work from the same motto. We are hustlin’ on the daily to make it good enough for our families. And it can be a weight. Sometimes.

So, when Melissa posted her list of 15 random acts of kindness for parents, I knew this was something I could get behind and try to offer a little bit of support to fellow mamas and dads. The best part is that the list contained several ways on how to just reach out to your fellow parents every single day. For me, writing the notes was a big one. {I have another one lined up for today. It’s like those darn potato chips – once you start, it’s hard to stop!} Also, continuing to hold the door at day care but then addressing the parent by name is such a day maker. I know, I know. It seems so automatic, but during the morning rush at day care drop off, sometimes being extra considerate is the last thing on your mind.

Anyway, I started to make the extra effort, and not only did I start seeing more smiles on my fellow mamas, but it started to put a smile on my face waaaay earlier in the morning. It was great. And then, something happened…

I walked into the house at the end of the day and noticed a card with “Babers” on the front. Obviously it was from my big red, but what was this for? Seriously…

And when I opened it, it was just the best thing ever.

bubbs card

My partner tells me that he appreciates me. He tells me that he never wants to take anything I do for granted. I do believe that to be true. However, when I opened up this card, this simple act seemed to speak volumes. A simple act of kindness. It went a long way. I just looked at him. I hugged him. Everything I do, I do because I love it. It’s not a chore. It’s not a duty. I’m called to do the things that I do, but it can be exhausting. Sometimes. And his single act of kindness recharged me.

I adore passing on the gratitude and kindness. Getting this note just made my heart flip and I want to give that flip to someone else. So, on to the note writing I go!

**And here is a special note for you… you’re amazing. I would LOVE to send a personalized note your way. Drop me a line and let’s connect!

<<>>linking up with emily and tiffany<<>>


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Summer Cocktails | Featuring Gin

Pool season is upon us. It’s time to fill up the red solo cup with something refreshing and seasonal. Outside of the fact that it’s my birthday season, another reason I adore summer is that it gives me a chance to play around with fun cocktails. Great time to grab some fruit, fresh herbs and get to creating! Here are two new favorites…Enjoy!!

 

summer cocktails, summer drinks with gin

Orange-Mango-Pomegranate Gin Fizz

Ingredients:

+ Orange Pomegranate San Pellegrino

+ Gin (your favorite!)

+ Juice from 1 orange & orange slice for garnish

+ Mango simple syrup

Simple syrup recipe:

1 c sugar // 1 c water // Frozen mangos

Over medium heat, dissolve sugar in water. Add in frozen mangos and bring to simmer. Let it simmer for about ten minutes, or until sugar is completely dissolved. Squish up the mangos as it softens on the stove. Pop in blender and finish the job.

Drink recipe:

Fill your favorite glass with ice, 2 parts gin (or more if you want it to be a bit more boozy), 1/2 part simple syrup, 1/2 part orange juice and top off the glass with the orange pomegranate san pellegrino and orange slice.

orange-pom-mango-drink with gin, summer drinks orange pom mango pellegrino drink for summer

Blackberry-Raspberry Gin Lemonade

Ingredients:

+ Pellegrino

+ Gin (your favorite!)

+ Juice from 2 lemons

+ Blackberry and raspberry simple syrup

+ Blackberries and rosemary for garnish

Simple syrup recipe:

1 c sugar // 1 c water // Frozen blackberries and frozen raspberries

Over medium heat, dissolve sugar in water. Add in frozen blackberries and raspberries and bring to simmer. Let it simmer for about ten minutes, or until sugar is completely dissolved. Squish up the blackberries and raspberries as it softens on the stove. Pop in blender and finish the job. {Simple syrup is so… simple! Seriously, it’s so easy to make a million and ten flavors!}

Drink recipe:

Fill your favorite glass with ice, 2 parts gin, 1/2 part simple syrup, 1 part lemon juice and top off the glass with the pellegrino, blackberries (or raspberries!) and rosemary.

blackberry-raspberry-gin cocktail with lemon, summer drinks blackberry-raspberry summer drinks

 

Hope you enjoy! What summer cocktails are you mixing up this season?

Looking for more inspiration? Pop on over to these delicious concoctions.