Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dare to ... Eat Cookies!

It's another week of Kim's Dare to DIY!  This week is cookies - my favorite.

Back when I used to have a job, I would constantly be schmoozed by vendors wanting our business.  Unfortunately for my waistline, this often came in the form of food.  Last Christmas, someone sent a box of Momofuku cookies from NY.  Instead of being regular old cookies like everyone else sent, these were ah-mayyy-zing.  (spoiled then? yes)  Let me tell you - hands down - best. cookies. ever.  I totally hid them under my desk and did NOT share with the coworkers.  I let them have the candy canes.

Since it's cost prohibitive to order myself some, I decided to try to make a knockoff version of their Cornflake Cookies, using this recipe found online.  They turned out pretty well!  Certainly not as delish as the real version, but definitely yummy.  And they are very pretty - large and lacy - so I think they would be perfect to give away as a Christmas gift, perhaps tied in clear cellophane with fancy ribbons.

Again, here's the recipe  from The Cookbook Chronicles if you want to try these yourself!  My only recommendation would be to DEFINITELY let the dough sit in the refrigerator for a while before shaping into balls - otherwise it's too messy.  And certainly leave yourself plenty of room for them to spread - 6 max on a regular cookie sheet.

Copycat Momofuku Cornflake Marshmallow cookies
makes 20 cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp kosher salt (plus more for sprinkling)
3/4 cup oatmeal
1 1/4 cup lightly crushed cornflakes (= about 1 1/2 cup cornflakes before crushing)
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips*
about 3/4 cup mini marshmallows
*the chocolate chips in the original Momofuku Milk bar cookie are minis, though substitute with regular-sized chips if you prefer
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes on medium speed. Add the eggs and vanilla extract, and beat until combined.
Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and beat on low speed, just so the dry ingredients become incorporated. With a wooden spoon, mix in the oatmeal, crushed cornflakes, and chocolate chips.
(If you have time and would like the cookies to spread a little less, refrigerate the dough for two hours.)
On a parchment-lined baking sheet, scoop up and roll the dough into golf ball-sized spheres. (Six will fit comfortably on one pan–give them room to spread!) Lightly press down 4 mini marshmallows in the center of each ball of dough. Sprinkle tops with a touch more salt. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Bake for 9-10 minutes. The cookies will still look soft in the middle when you take them out of the oven. Allow them to cool directly on the tray for a few minutes before moving them onto a platter.

And go check out all of the other delicious treats at Newlywoodwards!

Dare to DIY

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Simple Pleasures

Parks and Marlee (our Bffs' babies) snug as bugs in rugs.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dare to ... Entertain!

It's Week 2 of Kim's Dare to DIY!!  

I'm so excited that I will actually be "entertaining" this year!  Holidays are often a bit of a stress, since my family is in Tennessee, and Tony's are here in Georgia.  There are always schedules to align and travelling to do.  Always worth it, of course, but still.  However, this year, my parents and Grammy are coming down to stay for Thanksgiving!  So we will have both sets of parents (and Gram!) here with us.  I love playing hostess, probably because I never do it.

Anyway, it's a stretch to fit this many people in our little house, but it shall be done.  I wanted to decorate in a natural, neutral kind of way.  This is the table I came up with this year for $0.

The DIY'ness of this table comes into play with the placemats and the leaves.  I didn't have any appropriate placemats for my fall table, so I took a large piece of burlap I had lying around and cut it into squares.  I fringed the ends by pulling out the threads.  Easy peasy.

For the leaves, I copied an idea I saw on Pinterest, by Mod Podging real leaves.  I simply plucked them, Podged them, and then stuck them under the glass plates I had.  The leaves turn out really shiny and waxy, making them durable enough for this.  I wish I had thought to do this sooner, before all of the really brightly-colored leaves were gone...

The still-living-non-rotting pumpkins were a donation from my mother-in-law, and I just grabbed some grosgrain ribbon to tie up the napkins I had.  The little cups are for eggnog, of course.  It's a Thanksgiving tradition in my family - no one is allowed to sample eggnog of any sort until we have it on Thanksgiving.  To me, nothing signifies the start of the holiday season better than this!

Not bad for free!

Visit Newlywoodwards and see all of this week's submissions :)

Dare to DIY

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Dare to... Be Thankful!

Hooray!!  It's Week 1 of Kim's Dare to DIY party!  This week, it's all about being thankful.  I've always liked the various methods of showing what you're thankful for each day, whether it be via a Facebook status or a jar of collected paper.

 So I went with a frame.  I sit at our office desk for many hours out of the day doing homework, so what better place to remind myself of the good things in life than here?  I see it daily and can change what I'm thankful for, reminding myself to appreciate the little (or big!) things each and every day.

It was easy, but I'll tell you how I did it anyway.  I simply spray painted an old frame I had lying around.  Then I wrote out the words on a PowerPoint slide (in one of my favorite fonts, Opifico), and printed it on scrapbook paper.  I then taped it to the flimsy mat that came with the frame, jazzing it up with ribbon.  Finally, a dry erase marker lets me change it everyday at ease!

My goal was to do something for $0.00, and mission completed.  It's simple, but it's definitely encouraged me to focus on the positive this month so far, so it's worth it.  This baby will be around each year.

Of course, I'm linking this up to Kim's Dare to DIY party.  Go check out what everyone has done - and join too if you want!

Dare to DIY

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Simple Pleasures

Fall around our house -- quickly leaving us for dreary winter.

And since I'm a day late in posting this, a bonus video of Roxy in our backyard.  I was trying to capture her daily 3 loops around the perimeter of our fence, but she stopped cooperating the moment I turned the camera on.  Spoiler Alert: she pees at the end...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Recent Happiness

Fall's been pretty awesome, no?  

I finally connected my phone to the computer to download the pictures I've taken recently on-tha-go.  Here's a little collage of recent happiness.

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Rethinking Tuesday

Tuesdays are by far the worst day of the week for me this semester. I get up at 5, go to the middle school from 8-1, then head to campus for my own classes from 4:30-9:30pm, then drive an hour home.  I know, poor pitiful me. Toughest life ever.  Oh I'm just blessed enough to be able to follow my dreams and go back to school and have only one measly day that's rough...

So, usually I'm so negative the whole day, knowing how long it is and how tired I am by the end of it.  But today I'm feeling the need to be positive, so I'm going to try my darnedest to make it through to the end of the day without feelings of bitterness or anger or frustration.  I'm going to cut the negative talk and complaining.  Less eye rolling and more optimism.  

Today I'm going to adopt my dad's favorite mantra from my childhood:

"Good attitude -- good day.  Bad attitude -- bad day."

It's as simple as that.  Who's with me??

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Simple Pleasures

Puppy "fights"

[let's pretend i posted this yesterday, shall we??]

Friday, November 4, 2011

Do You Dare??

It's one of my favorite times of the year in blogland!!  So much inspiration and warm fuzzies going around.  I'm so sentimental about holidays, so the more the better!!

It's also time for Kim at Newlywoodward's Dare to DIY party.  I just watched others participate two years ago, and last year I knew I had to give it a try!  It was fun!!  It made me get off my butt and do  stuff.  

Here's the schedule (of course, more info on Kim's blog - go check it out!) with links to what I posted about last year.

Nov 14:  Give Thanks  Thankful Blocks
Nov 21: Entertain  My Thanksgiving Table Setting
Nov 28: Cookies  My Baking Attempt
Dec 5: Homemade gifts  Christmas Crafts
Dec 12: Deck the Halls Holiday Cheer
Dec 19: Traditions  Our Fam Traditions

Really the best part is getting to share with everyone else who is participating - looking at what they made, getting to know someone new.  I think some of my favorite blog reads were discovered over the past few years through this.  

Thursday, November 3, 2011

All About Me

Do I ever write posts with substance anymore?  No.  Sadly.

I might detail to you the months/days/hours/minutes I have left of grad school, but that would sound whiny   Instead,  I will simply nonchalantly allude to them.  Onward...

So, thanks to the encouragement of our friends Kacy and Mikey, we joined them in a 'small group' they were a part of through their church.  It's basically a group of couples all in the same-ish life stage (we have 5 couples in our group) who meet once a week at someone's house and talk about stuff. :)  Well, that's the simple definition.

But anyway, as part of the whole getting-to-know-you process, each person gets a chance to tell their story.  So, literally, the story of their life, from start to present.

I don't know about you, but I have never had the occasion to actually sit down and tell someone all about myself - my entire life - in one sitting.  Of course, it's not every little thing about yourself, since you can only go over the highlights in a roughly one-hour session, but still.  It took me quite a while to actually write up my 'outline' (I did an outline so I wouldn't freeze when it came time to talk!).  

Where do you start?  What do you include?  What's fluff and what has actually helped shape who you are?  I was nervous to do it at first, but it was quite an enlightening exercise.

It's funny how when you condense your life down to the moments that really matter, patterns emerge, connections can be made, and you can actually learn a little something about yourself that you somehow never realized before.

I found myself typing out past events that seemed fairly trivial.  I added the highs and lows of different times in my life.  And then I read back through it all in order and realized how frequently I could connect my actions and attitudes later in life to my emotional reactions to events that happened in the past.  Undoubtedly, other factors came into play as well, as years and forgetfulness intervened between events.  Yet I could still draw connections, fragile though they may be, throughout the story.

I told (most) of my story to the group last night (before we ran out of time), and it is such a weird yet somehow extremely satisfying sensation to talk unabashedly about yourself for an hour straight.  The best part?  Everyone wants to hear you talk about yourself.

We all come from so many different places, both physically and emotionally, spiritually and experientially.   Yet just as I was able to draw those tentative webs of connection within my own life, so too are we able to all find bits and pieces of connection within each others'.  

Connecting to yourself and to others -- powerful stuff.    
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