Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Our Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

These Chocolate Chip Cookies are the best. Forget the Nestle recipe on the back of the chocolate chips or any other recipe for that matter. These are the best and the ONLY recipe I use when making Chocolate Chip Cookies.
These cookies are made with Coconut Oil. Yep. it is so good people. This is the coconut oil I use:

First, let me share that this is not a recipe that I came up with on my own, I would however love to be genius behind it but I am not.

These cookies are so moist in the middle and crunchy around the edge.  The genius behind these cookies is Cheeky Kitchen, go there now and make these for yourself and for your family. You can whip these up really quickly and believe me they will be gone before the day is over! I make mine big so I only get around 20-24 out of the batch. However, one thing I have noticed is that I must watch them toward the end of baking to make sure they don't burn. There is a fine line of being done to being toasty in my oven.  Her website is full of yummy and healthy foods and everything I have tried has been great and went over well with the family.
Plus, these are really great for sharing too! I had to pack these up before they all disappeared!

What are you baking this Tuesday?
Linking up with Let's Get Bananas.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wine & Dine Wednesday

Welcome to another post about wine!

For us, this one has only been enjoyed on special occasions such as anniversaries, etc. When we visit a favorite restaurant this is the bottle we purchase to go with our meal. After looking Markham up online, it is much cheaper to order online than purchase at the restaurant!

Markham is a full flavor wine, yet smooth, vanilla, boysenberry flavors complimented by oak and  roasted nut.

We love this wine with seafood and steak and as a nightcap.

Again, this one ranks as one of the best I have ever tasted,  we try to make it last as long as we can but the taste is fabulous and so smooth that it never last in our house!

What is your favorite wine?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wine & Dine Wednesday


The sun and sky is so beautiful here today and I hope it is where you are too! So happy Spring has arrived!!

Today we are talking wine again. This one we came across at a local wine store, again my husband picked this one. It has a great flavor, full of berry and a hint of vanilla. This one also has a great aged flavor.

This one I really enjoyed! It was Burgess Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 Vintage.

 You can check out the Burgess Cellars website here.

This wine was great paired with pasta, pizza and plus it was great to have alone and with cheese and crackers. Great flavor!
*I was not compensated for this wine all opinions are mine and we purchased the wine ourselves.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

DIY Family Notebook

Several months ago I realized that there were to many papers in different areas of our home that needed to be organized in some way, a way that worked for us  me. I had seen in different places around the Internet that some moms had come up with their own family organizer. Some were very detailed and some were not.  Some blogs offered free template downloads or you could purchase the templates for a fee and some just did not go with our lifestyle and some of the content was just to detailed for me to keep up with. I need something simple and easy otherwise it will not be kept up to date and a waste of time for me to have put together in the first place. So I started putting together information that I knew I needed and wanted to include and as a few months passed by, I found other items that needed to be included too.
This is something that works for me, it may not work for others but it has helped me contain papers and notes that may end up lost in a drawer somewhere.
Here is what I came up with.
I started with a 3 ring notebook from Target and page protectors. Some of the page protectors are top loading and I had a few that I purchased many years ago that are side loading and I love those for items that need replacing often; for example the kids weekly and monthly school newsletters, the weekly dinner menu template, grocery sales mailings, etc. The top loading page protectors house papers that I don't change very often. And page dividers for separating sections in the notebook.
I had some scrapbook paper which I cut to size and added a monogram on the front. 

I used the same paper to add a strip down the side and added the words "Family Notebook" with American Crafts foam Thickers. 

My first insert is one that I wanted to be able to get to easily. It is my coupon holder, a simple pencil holder.

My first divider is one labeled "General Info". This one has a lot of information in it. Some of it I am not going to share the template because of the personal information on it, but it has the names of our neighbors, family contacts, business contacts, emergency contacts, etc. The contact page is great for accessing numbers quickly.
Other information located in the "General Info" tab is our weekly schedule routine. I wanted to add this information because if for some reason I am not able to be here to care for my children, say an appointment or my husband and I went on vacation without the kids then whoever is watching them would know our routine if they aren't already familiar with it. Usually that is not the case, the grandparents are pretty darn good and know everything already but I like to cover my bases.
This information is very detailed.

Next page protector includes the local YMCA schedule.
The next page protector includes a template that I use to list out our weekly meal plan, I love this template and it works great for me, it is from Ali Edwards Blog.
Next up is my Costco savings flier, love that place! I keep this flier in the page protector that opens on the side.
Then I have the Whole Foods savings magazine, it is also in the protector that opens on the side.

Next up, is the Pantry Item list, this is just a simple chart I did one afternoon that lists some of the items in our pantry that I put into other containers or remove from the original packaging. This chart allows me to keep track of expiration dates and Lot numbers, this is helpful to keep track of expired foods and just in case any items are recalled. I use a pencil to write on this form, when the item runs out and I purchase new items I can just erase and put in the correct numbers.
Then I have inserted a Valuation Guide for Goodwill Donations, instead of having to look this stuff up, I just printed it out and included it in my notebook. This is helpful when having a yard sale or donating items to your local thrift shop.

The next divider is for our oldest child. This section holds his weekly classroom newsletter, the monthly lunch menu, the Box Top for Education form (this form has spaces to tape the box tops on the form to return to the school) and all of those forms are in the side loading page protectors because these forms get updated often. Other forms in the section were letters from school pertaining to art supplies needed during the year, the grade handbook and the grade level supply list.
The next divider is for our youngest child. This section has the monthly school newsletter which is in a side load divider, for easy updating. The other pages in this section include the school handbook, supply list for the school, general school information handout and also a recipe for play dough (the school request parents to make a batch or 2 during the school year for the class).
The next divider is the Maintenance/Clean section. This section includes my cleaning list which is broken down into weekly, monthly and seasonally cleaning. I also included a spreadsheet that I made which breaks down items that we do around the house just as maintenance, but it is always hard to remember when those chores were completed, so this is one way to keep track of that. The chores listed are flipping the mattresses, cleaning windows/blinds, cleaning the deck, etc.
The next divider is Helpful Tips/Info. This section includes stuff I find on the Internet and tips out of magazines, articles on how to freeze herbs, what food freezes best, food dyes to avoid, laundry tips, etc.

The last divider is Take Out Menus. This section keeps all of our favorite menus organized. And again the menus are in the side load page protectors for easy removal and return.
I feel like I will continue to add to this notebook, there are a few items that I have just recently found on Martha Stewart's website that I may add, she has checklist galore and many are very helpful. I am also sure that I will also change the items in the book down the road, I mean our lives change so much so as would our notebook. This works for me right now but this is something that anyone could make for themselves. I must say that it is so nice to have all this information in one spot, no more papers or checklist laying around!