Friday, July 14, 2017

Peanut Butter Blossoms

I am sharing my recipe for one of my favorite cookies today.  These Peanut Butter Blossoms are a little old fashioned, but in the greatest way.  If you are a fan of chocolate and peanut butter, give these a try.  I think you will be very happy!!

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Cream butter, egg, peanut butter, vanilla, and sugars.  Add dry ingredients slowly into creamed mixture and mix thoroughly.  Take a spoonful of dough, rounded into a ball, and place on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and press a chocolate kiss in center.  Return to oven and bake for 2-5 minutes more until the edges are lightly browned and the center is still soft.

Now for a few tips . . .

To form the balls of dough, I use my 1 tablespoon scoop to portion the dough, so they all end up the same size, and then roll them into balls.

When they first come out of the oven they look like this.

Press the chocolate kisses into the cookies, so they look about like this - then return them to the oven.

When you remove them from the oven after the second bake, they look like this.  Perfection!!!

And just because I love these cookies so much, I am sharing a couple more beauty shots of these babies.

Perfect Peanut Butter Blossoms (or Peanut Butter Kiss cookies - I've heard them called both.)  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Organized Cleaning Closet

I am popping in today to share my organized cleaning closet. This closet is a work in progress, and I am sure that it will evolve and improve over time, but this is where we are at for now.

When I was designing my kitchen, I knew I wanted a large closet to hold cleaning supplies.  This was something that was sorely lacking in my previous home, so I wanted to make sure that I had a place to hold everything.

This is the cleaning closet from the outside.  I apologize in advance for the pictures in this post.  My island is between the windows and this closet, so I get a weird shadow that I am not skilled enough at photo editing to remove, plus they are a little blurry, because I couldn't use my tripod with the island in the way.

Open it up and this is what is inside.  

I love this shopping bag dispenser.  I know a lot of people don't use shopping bags anymore, but with my large family, I can't take enough reusable shopping bags for everything I need, so I use the ones from the store.  Our store has a big recycling bin at the entrance where I can return them to be recycled, but I always hold onto some, because they definitely come in handy sometimes, and this dispenser keeps them nice and compact.  Plus it is easy to use.  Originally I used the adhesive strips to mount this to the side of the cupboard, but they didn't hold the dispenser up for long, so I ended up mounting it to the cupboard with screws.

This broom/mop holder is also a great way to keep those things in order.

I keep my vacuum in another closet (that is a post for another day), but the attachments are all in a bag hanging from the broom/mop holder.  Cleaning supplies that are used for other rooms are kept in a caddy.

I also attached a wall file to the door to hold other miscellaneous cleaning supplies.  I love how it takes advantage of the extra space on the door.

I purchased the bag dispenser and broom/mop holder from Amazon, and I am including affiliate links to the exact products I purchased.  I bought the wall file from Ross, but I am including an affiliate link for something similar at Amazon as well.

There are still improvements I would like to make to this cleaning closet, but for now, I am pretty happy with how it is working for me.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Top Two Star Wars Party Tips

A few years ago, I threw a Star Wars party for my then six-year old boy.  It was a total hit, and since it still seems to be a popular theme for boys that age, I thought I would share the top two things that made our party so fun for the boys that were invited.

I won't go into everything we did.  There are so many great things online to choose from, and I think it is best if you try to tailor your party to your child and their friends, but I will share the two things that every single boy that was at our party enjoyed and couldn't stop talking about.  These are the things that I would advise any parent to do if they are throwing a Star Wars party for their son that is around six years old.

Light saber training. This was, by far, the biggest hit of the party.  We got a bubble machine and held it up high while we moved around the room a bit.  We told the boys they had to pop all the bubbles with their light sabers before they hit the floor. They did this for a long time and kept saying over and over "This is awesome!!!!!!"  The light sabers were made from the ever popular pool noodles, cut in half, with a little silver duct tape and black electrical tape for handles.  I would definitely recommend something like this, or something even softer, because each child is bound to get hit a time or two in the frenzy to pop all the bubbles.  We had a few perplexed faces after being smacked by their neighbors light saber, but no tears, and the boys all recovered quickly and got right back to it.  
We used this bubble machine and it worked great for us. (affiliate link)

The Star Wars cupcakes.  I used these Star Wars:  The Clone Wars rings as toppers. The boys loved them and were picking up all the extras to cover as many of their fingers as they could.  

These rings are no longer available, but I found some other cute Star Wars rings that would be just as cute, as well as some cool light saber toppers that weren't available when I threw my party, but I think the kids would have loved them.  I am providing affiliate links to them below.

This Star Wars party was so fun for the boys and I must admit that I had a lot of fun with it too.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tuesday's Tip - Simple Organized Kids School Work

Today I am sharing how I organize my kids past school work.  I know some people have awesome filing systems or scrapbooking methods to organize their kids keepsake school work, but all of that is a bit too much work for me - especially when I consider the following story.

Right after my husband and I were married, his mother brought out a box of keepsakes for us to take to our house.  I guess she was sick of storing it.  It contained old school work, report cards, art projects, etc.  After we got home, my husband went through it quickly and then threw it all away.

Most likely, my boys will be the same way, so I don't want to hold on to every little thing, or spend hours and hours on some fancy system to organize their things.  But, on the off chance that they are a little more sentimental than their dad, I want to make sure that I hang onto at least a few things from each year.

So, my simple solution is just a bin for each one of them.  I store them on the shelves of their closets, and then when something comes home that I think I want to hang onto, I simply put it in the bin.  About once a year, we get them down, the boys look through everything and we decide if there is anything that can be tossed.  So far, the bins have not filled up - although my older boys may need a second bin in the next year or two.  My boys enjoy looking through their old work, and I have to admit, I enjoy it too.  It is fun to remember them when they were littler, and to see how far they have come.

I don't even give these bins a pretty label.  I just use a black sharpie to put their name in the corner, and we are good to go.

So, if you are looking for a simple, fuss-free way to organize your kids past homework/art projects, I highly recommend this method.  It is nothing fancy, but it works.

I have created an affiliate link below to the bins that I use and love.  They are nothing fancy, but they are functional and durable.  I have had mine for years and they still look like new.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Organized Kitchen Drawers

I am popping in to share a bank of my kitchen drawers that I have finally gotten around to straightening up.  One of the best things about my new kitchen is my lower cabinets are mostly made up of drawers rather than cupboards.  I love how easy it is to get to everything, and that I never have to unload an entire cupboard to get to something in the very back.

Today, I am sharing the bank of drawers that is to the left of my sink.  The top drawer is shallow and then there are two deep drawers below it.

The top drawer hold dishtowels and dishrags.  These are hard working rags, and it looks like it may be about time for some replacements.  I didn't change anything in this drawer.  It usually looks like this.

The next two drawers are a different story . . .

The next drawer down holds our water bottles.  This may seem like overkill, but with five boys playing sports, we have multiple practices and games each week.  So, we use most of these bottles on a weekly basis.  As you can tell, this drawer was a complete mess.

It didn't take long to separate the lids and containerize them and then I just straightened up the bottles. It looks way better and works more efficiently too.

The bottom drawer was a mess of containers that I use for leftovers, and school lunches.

Again, I found a container to house all the lids, and then I took out some containers that I don't really use and straightened up the rest.  It didn't take long, but I feel so much better every time I open this drawer.

I will be back soon to share another section of newly organized kitchen.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Tuesday's Tip - Stirring Natural Peanut Butter

I love natural peanut butter, but I don't love stirring it.  See that layer of oil on the top?  Stirring that back into the thicker peanut butter that has settled below it is a necessary evil.  If you eat natural peanut butter you know what I am talking about.

Before I learned this little trick, I always just took a large knife or spoon and did the best I could to stir the peanut butter together, but I always made a mess and I never did  a great job.  The top of the jar was still a little loose and oily and the bottom of the jar had peanut butter that was so thick I could hardly use it.

One day, while on Instagram, I saw this little tip given by SimpleHealthyLiving.  It was one of those moments for me that I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of this idea myself.  It is so smart.

Just dump the entire jar of peanut butter in your mixer.  Scrape it out well, so you are sure to get everything.

Beat the peanut butter together in your mixer until everything is evenly incorporated.  I used my Kitchenaid.  She does two jars at a time in her Bosch mixer.

Put the peanut butter back in the jar and store it in the refrigerator.

Since I have started doing this, my peanut butter is always the same consistency, and we haven't had any trouble with it separating again once it is in the refrigerator.

I hope this little tip works as well for you as it has for me.

**I am not being paid by Adams for featuring their peanut butter.  It is just one of several brands that I have tried and liked, and happened to be the one that I had on hand this time around.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Organized Bathroom Drawers

I recently organized my bathroom drawers.  I want to share them - not because I have the cutest organizers, or any groundbreaking new organizing ideas, but because with all the construction, and moving that has been going on around here I am T I R E D.  I hate living in a disorganized house, but I have been having such a hard time finding the energy to get everything in the shape I would like it to be.  So, finally, I decided I had better start organizing, taking pictures, and posting them to help me be motivated. 

There will probably be quite a few posts like this coming, as I work my way through my house.

I have two banks of drawers for me in my bathroom vanity.  My husband has another bank of drawers, but I won't be sharing those.  I never thought I would fill up both banks, but somehow I managed to do it.  

So, first up, this is the top drawer and the one I am in most often.  It holds my toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, contact lens case, and my face products that I use daily.

The next drawer down holds my make-up.  Do you think my brushes have seen better days?

The polka-dot bag in the back of the drawer holds things like nail clippers, manicure scissors, tweezers, etc.

The next drawer down holds hair styling tools.  I keep waiting for my blow dryer to die.  It is seriously over 15 years old and even though it is still going strong, I am just sure it is going to give out on me one of these days.

The bottom drawer holds pedicure supplies.

The next bank of drawers holds clippers for cutting the boys hair, a mirror, ponytail holders, bobby pins, and other miscellaneous hair supplies.

The next drawer down, holds various spa-day type stuff.

This drawer holds all the new spare products that I like to have close at hand whenever I run out of something.

Finally, under the sink I have bins that hold lotions, hair products, saline solution, etc.

So, there you have it.  My organized bathroom drawers.  It is nice to have at least one space in the house that is a little more the way I like it.  On to the next one!!

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