Monday, March 30, 2009

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies....Ever

I don't know about you, but I'm definitely more of a chewy cookie person than a crunchy cookie person. I don't know why, but chewy is just the way to go.

As long as Wade can remember, his Mom has made the most amazing chocolate chip cookies. Having been a partaker of the amazing cookies for the past 9 years, I concur. The thing that I love most about them is she keeps them in the freezer, and they are still chewy....straight from the freezer!!!

Now you should know that Wade only cooks/bakes 3 things in the kitchen: Kraft Mac-n-cheese, stove top popcorn and these chocolate chip cookies. He makes cookies every other weekend or so and it's become the kid's favorite activity with Daddy around our house. But last week we were craving them and just couldn't wait for Daddy, so we did it ourselves.

Now I guess credit for the recipe should go to Aunt Judy (Wade's aunt) in South Dakota, but I have only ever eaten them at my in-law's house. I've always thought the recipe should be patented and then sold to someone who is willing to pay millions for the recipe, and by doing so, secure my in-laws' retirement (if a "secure" retirement even exists anymore), but I think the chances of that happening are slim, so I am choosing to share the recipe with you.

I hope you appreciate what I am about to share with you! Now that we have moved away from family, and can no longer "stop by" for our cookie fix, I made sure I had the recipe perfected when Wade's parents were visiting us in February. I don't dare change the recipe or steps in anyway, because I don't want to mess with perfection!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream the following (I use a Kitchen Aid mixer):
1/2 cup crisco
1/2 stick of margarine (not butter....I've made that mistake)
1 cup light brown sugar (not dark...again, made that mistake)
1/2 cup white sugar

Add 2 eggs and continue mixing
Add 1 tsp baking soda and continue mixing
Add 1 tsp salt and continue mixing
Add 1 tsp vanilla and continue mixing
Add 2 1/3 cups of flour and continue mixing
Add 1 cup of chocolate chips and continue mixing

Put the dough in the fridge and chill for about 20 minutes.

Spoon a ball of dough onto a sprayed cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.

When you take the cookie sheet out of the oven, hold the whole sheet about 6 inches off the floor and drop (yes, drop!!!) the whole sheet onto your kitchen mat or floor. This helps make the cookies the same shape and size.

Cool them on a wire rack covered in wax paper.

Store the cooled cookies in the freezer, and they will be chewy straight from the freezer!!!!!

Sunday, March 29, 2009


One of my new projects is a wall of photos in the downstairs living room. I've decided to do 3 rows of 3 frames with images of the kids and/or our family with the following TTV look. I'm so excited to get this project done but I know it's going to take a while to go through all my photos and choose just 9!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Our new addition

I am so proud of myself!! I have been thinking about two things that I really wanted to get for this summer for the kids. The first was a jungle gym for the backyard. I searched and searched on-line, and quickly realized you don't get a lot for your money, and I wasn't about to spend $300+ for what I wanted.

So I turned to Craig's list, and there it was. The perfect jungle gym, only $95, and it was only 45 mintues away! Ta-dah!!!

The kids and I spent this morning cleaning and scrubbing it, and I know it will get a lot of use this summer. Now we don't have to drive to the playground to get some climbing in....

P.S. The second thing I wanted to get was a double child bike trailer. They are on sale for only $75 here! Nashbar is a generic brand of bike parts and accessories, but for what we need, it's perfect. Other name brand double child bike trailers can cost up to $500. We also got the stroller conversion kit so I can use it as a stroller if I need to. Fabulous!!!

I'm so proud! Two large purchases for the kids, and all for about $200. I love finding deals.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sibling Love

WARNING: Photo overload. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Pretty much everyday after Tyson's nap, the kids want to jump together in his crib. It usually turns into a wrestling/tickling tournement, and then it turns into a big love and cuddle fest. I love it.

I'm saving these for when they are 17 and 15 and Ava is tired of carting around her little brother in the car, and when he won't leave her alone when she has friends over, and when Tyson gets tired of Ava telling him what to do.....then I will pull these out and remind them of how much they love eachother!

Whenever I show up with a camera, Tyson is the first to give me the biggest "cheesiest" smile he can. Wonder where he learned that from?

I'm pretty sure Presta thinks we're all crazy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Maritime Aquarium

We spent the morning at the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, CT with my friend Meredith and her kids. We saw seals, penguins, stingrays (we all got to touch them!), turtles, snakes, sharks, otters, and soooooooooo many fish.

The four kids had a great time together and so did we!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Signs of Spring

Is anyone else excited about the signs of Spring?? Friday was the official first day of Spring, and Rye celebrated with a snowstorm. Nice, huh? After our beautiful day in the park flying kites, God decided to blanket us with another layer of sugar. But I really didn't mind. It snowed hard for about an hour and then it was gone and melted. And now Spring is back!

As we were driving to church this morning, there was a hillside in Greenwich (a small hillside, but still a hill) covered in crocus. I LOVE crocuses. Having spent a few years of my childhood in England, crocuses to me are the first sign of Spring. Our town in England was just covered with them. I love 'em.

Well I think we have crocuses in our backyard, but I'm not sure. They don't look at thick (if I can use that word to describe a flower) as crocuses, so maybe the ones we have are a daintier type or something. The kids picked a few and Ava was really excited to put some in a little bottle by her bed. "Then I can look at them and smell them anytime I want Mommy!" I love how she's thinking.

The other sign of Spring in our house is that Ava gets to wear her "spark-il-e" (not sparkly) shoes outside, instead of her Uggs. She could not be more excited. She even wore her Easter dress to church today because it was nice enough outside, and I am a firm believer in wearing your Easter dress for multiple Sundays.

Happy Spring everyone!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Last Day With the Girls....

This is my last post about the Purty Thirty girls week. So sad. Our last day in the City was all about Martha. Yes, I've only lived in New York for four months, and I've already been to the Martha show twice. No, I'm not a Martha junkie, but it is fun!!

Marcia Cross , from Desperate Housewives, was the featured guest, and she and Martha made the cutest felt hats for kids. Adorable!! Martha made Irish soda bread, and then there was a segment on Richard Gere's new restaurant in Bedford, NY called The Bedford Post. It was a great show, and Martha seemed to be in a much better mood than the last show I went to (which isn't saying much).

We ended the day at the Plaza Hotel for drinks. We decided to end the trip having a Manhattan in Manhattan. We really should have looked at the ingredients first, because we quickly realized that bourbon is not our favorite. But at $20 a pop, we finished them. We should have ordered a Cosmopolitan which is much yummier.

We sat there for well over an hour, so I guess $20 was alright for sitting in such a beautiful hotel!

Don't you love our beautiful manicures?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ode to the Granny Cart

Oh, the granny cart. What a beautiful thing! One of our greatest days in the City was two Sunday's ago when we ventured into Chinatown for our hopeful purse purchases.

After two days of carrying around heavy purses and/or backpacks and feeling like SUCH tourists, we opted for the granny cart since we knew we would be buying some larger items.

And it was a it made us look more like locals, except the only other people using granny carts in Chinatown were actually grannies who were buying their daily groceries!

Oh well.

So we headed to Chinatown and were quite successful in our purse purschases. If you ever have a chance to go to Chinatown, it's worth it. There are many ladies walking up and down the street mumbling, "Gucci, D&B, Tiffanys". If you mention you are interested, they get on their Nextel "push to talk" and give you directions to your next contact. Then you get invited into a "store", which is just a front, and we were ushered into a back hallway (behind a hidden door) and up the back secret staircase. I felt like I was in Anne Frank's house!!! And then...tah-dah! You're in a room filled with what look like amazing designer purses. Honestly, I didn't know what I was getting into.

Lord, forgive me for my Dooney & Bourke purchase.

Let's just say we had a lot of laughs that day and will have memories for a lifetime. I actually dared to ask the guy why this was so "hidden". He looked at me, and in a very thick Chinese accent, he said, "Fust time to Chinatown?" I quickly gave him my money for my giraffe print bag and kept my mouth shut for the rest of our visit.

So this picture? I'm not sure, but let's just say you can buy a bit of everything in Chinatown.

After our adventures in Chinatown, we headed to Little Italy for an amazing dinner and then found ourselves at an Italian bakery and cafe, Ferrara and sampled some amazing gelato (chocolate and raspberry were amazing) and cannoli. Wow.