plain ol' chocolate chip oatmeal cookies

Walking through the door and the warm sugary smell of cookies intoxicating your senses is one of my favourite memories from childhood. They were routinely the same cookie. Sometimes my mother would throw us for a loop with her coconut cookie, but usually it was the plain ol’ chocolate chip oatmeal ones.

These are not fancy. They do not require browned butter, sifting flour, necessary refrigeration time etc. Throw the ingredients in a bowl in a sloppy manner and you are good.

I have had this recipe memorized for years. I reguraly fill my home with the smell of these delicious confections to please the hungry bellies walking through my door after school.

In fear of pulling a ‘Gramma Birdie’ (rest her soul, I wish I had known her properly), I will scribe it for all to use, lest at some future point the recipe becomes a medley of 3 fistfuls of flour, half an eggshell of oil, just the right amount of sugar…

Plain ol’ Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

makes approximately 40 cookies? not sure, as the cookie dough is often pirated away…

1 cup margarine

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups quick rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

  1. Prepare 3 cookie sheets with parchment. I prefer LIGHT cookie sheets ~ the dark ones can cause excessive browning on the bottom of baked goods. Preheat oven to 350 F.

  2. In a mixer, with a paddle attachment, cream margarine and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Scrape down sides of the bowl and mix until evenly combined.

  3. This is where I get sneaky…. Traditionally all the dry ingredients are sifted together and then added… I simply add the flour on top of the creamed mixture, make a small well and nestle the baking soda, baking powder and salt inside. Place the oats on top, give it a light mixing with a spoon and continue to blend with the mixture until combined.

  4. Add the chocolate chips and mix until distributed.

  5. Using a 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop, spoon or your hands make 1 1/2 inch mounds of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Lightly push down the tops, not flat like a finished cookie, just a wee bit.

  6. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool on sheet. Freeze well!

tara's cozy creations.

I met Tara years ago. She was a fifth grade teacher and eagerly anticipating the birth of her first child. She has FOUR now…. and she is divine.

Whenever I do a family session for her I am left with a fire of determination. She has built a business from the heart of what she loves AND she has the patience and love of a saint with her kids. I struggle in this area…. I love being around those that inspire me pause and love more. To take in the crazy, the wonder and spirit that only kids can bring. Thank you a million times over!

If you are in search of the perfect gift, search no further. Really really. My Pippa sleeps with her own handmade blanket every.single.night. It has accompanied us on every holiday and soothed many sorrows. A life-saver.

Weighted blankets are also one of her many offerings. Miracles upon miracles! Anxiety sleepers can finally have some peace. CHECK IT OUT! Really…this is not an affiliate thing, just my heart offering you something I love.

the simple portrait.

I overthink. ALOT. This is my Penny. I wanted a portrait of her for while, but I keep waiting for the ‘right’ moment. Finally I told myself to shut up and just took a picture after school.

And guess what…. IT IS ENOUGH. Everything I love because all I ever needed was her. Not new clothes, coiffed hair, a spectacular location… she is enough.

I adore a simple portrait.

kyla hornbergerComment
BIRD HATS...

I have deeply desired to make a bird hat for YEEEEAAAAARRRRSSSSS. I am still perfecting the creation of this pattern and I do plan on adding to my ETSY shop so all can create bird hats at their whim. Miss Pip was going to wear it for Halloween. She is not. Her latest plan is a Peter Pan princess or a replay of last years little Red riding hood. Or a princess. Or a princess ninja. She has a princess thing going on….

halloween.

The end of September was COLD. Which caused me to immediately toss summer aside and start playing with Halloween. I always have grand intentions and a flurry of anticipation for every holiday…. however, once the holiday is upon us I have usually disengaged somewhat.

I decided to outsmart myself and did most of the prep in the very beginning of October… leaving lots of time to fall into a slump. Nailed it. Made fun Halloween crafts with the kids AND became useless the closer the day came.

My Gwynnie had a party… Here is some of the fun. We kept it pretty simple. I perused the Halloween edition of BHG and instantly started to fall into the perfection trap… happily I pulled myself and remembered that paper plates and simple crafts the kids create is ENOUGH. I do love pretty magazines, though…

The front door spiders were the super cheap rings I found at Wallymart. I snipped off the ring part and glued on tiny magnets. The wreath spiders are the full ring clinging on for their dear lives.

crazy cakes Lethbridge

I few years ago I resented my hubby for insisting on living in Lethbridge. Dreaming to live with fruit trees, mild winters and flowers, I was unsettled.

Overtime I have found little pockets of gold nestled in Lethbridge and area that are slowly appeasing my heart. One of them is little shops like Crazy Cakes. It is just like out of a novel. Quaint, family owned, with fiercely loyal patrons. The confections created are immaculately made and taste like sugar drops from heaven. Long ago I dreamed of having a little ‘patisserie’. Finding one that I can admire and frequent stirs my heart in the fondest ways.

These pictures are from I went with my two youngest when summer was a thing…

Zion's Canyon Trip Part 1

pictures are magic. they have the capacity wipe away the petty toil of the actual event like the balm of Vick’s vapour rub on a congested nasal passage.

My hubby and I are opposing characters in many ways. This was not an intentional arrangement on our part really… we were stupidly young when we embarked on marriage and really had NO IDEA if we were well suited. Nineteen years and five kidlets later we are still married and wildly opposites. Really though, does one ever really know if you are well suited? I would offer that the disposition of the person willing to change, learn and love is what creates prolong companionship. AND NOT GETTING MARRIED STUPIDLY YOUNG. That was for my kids if they ever read this.

My dearest is a avid hiker. I am not. I am a dreamer, a maker. Hiking is all well and fine, but it TAKES ALL DAY. When I realized my aversion stemmed from that thought I recognized maybe I needed to be a little more present. maybe… Nature is the companionship of mindfulness.

The other morning he approached me with a heavy face and presented his Merrell Hiking boots for my inspection. Years of marriage has taught me the proper response… ‘Are they broken? After 20 years? They were the boots you wore on our first hikes together! Glue won’t fix them this time. Shall we perform a burial service?’

We have traversed many many hikes and trails over the years. MAAAAANNNNNNYYYYYY. It’s give and take, right??? Last Easter we feasted on ZION’S CANYON. Here is what we learned on our adventure, may it guide you if your choose to sorjourn to this wildly amazing place.

Easter is a crazy busy time, but I think it is always busy so….

We stayed in Springdale, Utah at the Best Western Plus. It was brand spankin’ new with intro rates that Adam found with his obsessive hiking trip planning behaviour and it was DIVINE. The view is surreal from the hotel itself. The mountain scape is stark orangey-red with luminous blue skies. In early April the evenings were mildly cool with the days mounting into the high 20’s (CELSIUS, so WARM).

The local atmosphere was quaint and had some good local food joints. Our faves were Zion Pizza & Noodle and Oscar’s Cafe. We were panicked with the food situation at first, as we usually do it cheap with grocery stores and ‘value food’…. The grocery store option was wanting and the local Subway wasn’t in business yet. Feeding a family of 7 with restaurant fare can become rather steep quickly… We ordered 3 meals and split it between us ~ we always pack dry soup, microwave emergency food as one kid will ALWAYS hate the supper procured…. we had bagels for lunches.

Our first hike was Kolob Canyons. It is INSANELY BEAUTIFUL and outside the park, itself. DO IT. It isn’t as busy with people and is a little more ‘rugged’ than inside the park. We were thrown for a loop with how ‘developed’ Zion’s was…

molr dental club

Brushing one’s teeth is a must. Really really. Yet, convincing my kids of such is a feat I often face. They will go as far to wet their toothbrushes to FAKE IT. What they don't believe is that I was once a kid and I may have done the same thing. I disgust myself.

I was tickled to do this commercial shoot for Molr Dental Club . I had so many ideas swirling in my head. Honestly, I still do. The best part about the whole business was how ridiculously excited my kids were about these toothbrushes. Like BEGGING me for them. Right down grovelling. Needless to say, they are brushing those pearly whites and not just wetting the toothbrush now. Give yourself the gift of grovelling kids are dangle these vibrant brushes in from of their eyes.

caramel apples.

Caramel apples….. the indulgence my kids have come to rely on every time  autumn makes it appearance.

What you need:

Wooden sticks (willow branches or craft store sticks)

12 - 15 apples of choice (i love a good Macintosh with caramel)

Crushed pretzels or chopped peanuts.

Cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Wash apples and rub them vigorously to dry, removing any wax or substances that could affect how well the caramel sticks. Insert the wooden sticks through the top centre of the apple.

Prepare the caramel. For apples I cook to 242 - 244 degrees F. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Start dipping! Drag the bottom of the apple on the edge of the pot slightly to clean off the dragging caramel. Cool and parchment paper until set. If adding an additional topping, roll the dipped apple right after dipping into a bowl of chopped peanuts, crushed pretzels, etc…

Classic Creamy Caramel.

I chanced upon this recipe yeeeeears ago and still feel as committed as the first time we met. I have no idea what the original source might be, but may they be praised for bringing my beloved Caramel and I together.

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup butter

1 3/4 cups white corn syrup

2 cups heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Combine sugar, butter, corn syrup and ONE CUP of the cream in a large saucepan. Use a nice big pot with a proper heavy bottom. Candy making can be temperamental with cheap, thin pots.

  2. Stir and bring to boil over medium heat. Once a boil is reached, add the remaining cup of cream. Wanna know what will happen if you add all the cream at once??? It will boil over, all over your stovetop relentlessly. Really.

  3. Bring back to a boil, stirring. Once it is boiling, stop stirring. Remove any sugar crystals that may have adhered to the sides of the pot by washing down sides with a pastry brush and clean, cold water. 

  4. Allow to boil undisturbed. It will take approximately 10 minutes to reach soft ball stage. Depending on the intent of your caramel indulgence will determine the temperature you cook it to. For a soft, firm ball stage cook between 238 - 242 degrees F.

  5. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

  6. Pour into a parchment lined pan or dip pretzel rods or apples directly into the pot.

baby love.

Welcome to the place where you always belonged. It feels almost reverent walking into the home where a brand spankin’ new babe is nested. There is a tired tension in the air, mixed with an atmosphere of vigilant protectiveness, weary parents and rattled siblings.

Baby, you are so so loved. Welcome home.

Lethbridge coulees

I still remember the first time my gaze fell upon the coulees. I was around 10, maybe, and my brother married a girl from southern Alberta; the beginning of many journeys to the area.

I was mesmerized and instantly wanted to explore and climb within their vastness. And I now I do. This stretch of coulee lies a few short blocks from our house and our own little paradise.

ginger swig sugar cookies

I have a complicated relationship with swig style of cookies. They are not my weakness like salted caramel or gelato, yet they demand my attention. I am halfway through a cookie before I realized I have nipped one from the freezer again. They are SOFT and delightful frozen. Rarely do it eat cookies fresh or at room temperature…. I savour the frozen cookie.

The recipe is delightful the way I found it HERE. Please bake it and freeze it….. and report if you struggle with the same magnetic force of the swig.

chicken.

I am still dying over this costume. Grab a long sleeve white shirt and safety pin white feather boas all over it. Yellow tights and yellow cleaning gloves stuffed and tied onto shoes, topped with a pilot cap with a red felt chicken thing on top.

I originally did this costume when my Penny was 2. I still remember seeing it displayed in the pages of the baby Martha Stewart magazine. I fell in love. I lOVED those magazines. We were poor students then, but I would still hoard each copy and thumb through them like a child with a Sears Wish Book. Years later my 4th baby would find the pilot hat I had clumsily made into a chicken topper and wish to be a chicken. Thanks again, Martha, can we pleeeeease be besties?

a pilot and her plane.

Another easy peasy costume! The pilot goggles are from aliexpress ~ order at least 2 months in advance as Aliexpress can be a bit of a wait. The plane is a cardboard box fancied up! I poked holes in all four corners to tie yarn into for straps.

I love that my older kids are festive about Halloween…may the always stay enthused!

Peter Pan.

October is upon us and that means I have been obsessing over Halloween costumes for at least 3 weeks.

Here is a throwback to last year and my lovely Peter Pan. EASIEST COSTUME EVER. Probably not true, but pretty darn close.

Oversized t-shirt from Wallymart, green leggings, old belt and the most adorable felt hat that Peter himself would obviously desire.

The hat is made from heavy acrylic felt. Try to find some that isn’t super bendy and has some stiffness. One seam and viola! Done like dinner.

I have attached the pattern below. Print at 100%(your printer is probably already doing it). I promise it is EEEEEAAASSSY! I usually sew with a 1/4 seam and then trim, turn your hat right side out and fold bottom up to create the brim!

May the world be filled with adorable Pater Pan everywhere.

welcome October.

About a year ago I fell shamelessly in love with a blog… I don’t even know how I chanced upon it, yet I did and I am forever inspired…

HOUSE THAT LARS BUILT

I wish I could be a proper groupie and find a way to work there.

I was inspired by this POST last year and have eagerly awaited the day to try some magic on our own pumpkins… SO MUCH FUN. My kids were in creative heaven.

TIPS for the creator with kiddos:

Paint pumpkins ahead with cheap craft paint. I used white mini pumpkins and one coat of paint. The pumpkin skin does show through mildly, but it wasn't a bother.

USE KIDS MARKERS (I used last years school stash of good ol Crayola). They worked better than paint or sharpies for those of us that are not illustrators…

DO IT!!!!!

Other thoughts… my Gwynnie declared she was going to do hers so the stem become the nose. My instant reaction was ‘NO! THAT IS NOT HOW TO DDO IT’…. Shameful. Me, not her. I corrected my thinking in about 1.3 seconds and she proceeded to create.

It is a lesson I learn everyday. Open my mind and let the kids show me different….let creativity move forward, not conformity.

anticipation.

the anticipation of more.

I see a growing baby bump and feel all the feelings I once felt. Not ALL the feelings ~ no back ache or angry heartburn… Rather the magic of waiting for the person that would grow your heart a million times over. The person that could only be imagined, yet would dutifully appear and fill you with a feeling that they were always were there. That nothing had really changed. Everything that was before was, in fact, imagined.

I wish I knew your name.

This past August my hubby gifted me a DNA test from 23andme for my birthday, which was such a fun gift idea. A few weeks after dutifully spitting into vial and shipping away my offering, I received the results…

I was expecting most of it… My progeny is pretty basic and a similar narrative to others in my part of the world. However, I was somewhat shocked and delighted to find out that I have 0.1% west African in my DNA (even with the 90% discrepancy). My heritage is one for keeping meticulous genealogy records, yet nothing is evident on paper. I must say, I instantly felt more interesting and mysterious than I was before. Yet….

My mind can't help but to wonder about who was written out of my story. Why? What was her narrative? Was it sorrow or love? Both? I carry on her DNA, but all other traces have been stripped away. It feels cruel and a slight of such shame that it speaks volumes.

I think history has shown its intent pretty clear. I am thankful for science granting me a chance to see what was omitted. As put so well by Winston Churchill, 'History is written by the victors.' Now the question is.... what history are we writing and what are we choosing to not see?

In honour of the 'WHO' that is unnamed in my history I made a doll. I want to say 'I see you'. Making is my love language and this is my offering to the story untold. I wish I knew your name.

melt in your mouth pumpkin cookies...

The thing is…. these melt in your mouth pumpkin cookies really do MELT IN YOUR MOUTH. If you, by chance, steal one from the freezer… they are soft, delicious morsels of sweet, tender heaven.

The only reasonable thing to do is to make them and then eat them. ALL. I made my buttermilk pumpkin scones twice and had just enough puree pumpkin left over to make these little goddesses. I bought biggest can of E.D. Smith pumpkin puree and used every drop.

I followed the recipe exactly (a rarity, for me). The only needed change was adding 2 minutes to the baking time ~ approximately 13.5 minutes total.

Find the recipe here.