No Bake Chocolate Drop Cookies

Lately I have been in the mood for chocolate, so I decided to make my favorite cookies. It was the first cookie that I ever learned to make from scratch. I actually made them for a school project in 7th grade. Everyone who tries them loves them and wants the recipe. So here it is. I don’t exactly know where this recipe came from, it has been in our family for a long time. I have seen recipes for a similar cookie on the internet but this is how our family makes them.

Ingredients

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup milk

 

1/4 cup butter

 

2 cups quick oats

(For best results use Quaker brand not the store brand)

 

3 TBS cocoa

 

3/4 cup peanut butter

 

1 tsp vanilla

 

Wax paper

The most important things to remember when making these cookies is to measure ALL of the ingredients ahead of time, and to work quickly. The most time consuming part of the cookies is the measuring.

After all of the ingredients are measured out lay out some wax paper to drop the cookies onto. Place two spoons there as well.

Over medium heat bring the milk, sugar and butter to a boil. Stir constantly. Let it boil for 1 minute while continuing to stir.

Then, remove from heat and add the peanut butter stirring until smooth. It is important to work quickly from this point on or the cookies will turn out dry.

Add the vanilla, cocoa, and oats and stir.

Once the mixture is stirred evenly, use the two spoons to drop the mixture onto the wax paper

Let the cookies cool and dry and then enjoy.

The cookies will taste amazing even if your timing was a little off. If the mixture is dry and not sticking together, the heat was probably too high and/or they were not dropped quickly enough. Even if that happens the crumbs make a great topping for ice cream.

These cookies never last very long at our house. With a melt in your mouth rich flavor they almost taste more like a candy than a cookie. They are fairly quick and easy so make up a batch today.

First Meet of the Season

Yesterday we had a stressful start. My little one had her first meet of the season and we left early to make sure we were able to get a good parking spot. For those who don’t know, finding parking and a seat at a meet is difficult. If you are not there early, you could end up parking a few blocks away. I can’t walk that far so we try to get to the meets early. We were on the freeway when we heard a funny sound and the car became hard to steer. After a moment we realized we had a flat tire. Luckily I was able to pull over quickly. We called Triple A, and my dad to bring us the other car. It seemed like it took forever and we had decided that more than likely we would not find a place to park. My dad and Triple A actually arrived at the same time, so we took the other car and were off to the meet. When we got there cars were parked along the side of the road for a few blocks away from the gym. We drove closer and found a handicap parking place right in front. Then we checked in my little one and paid to get into the meet. We had a seat right up front and were able to see quite well.

My little one and 2 of her teammates waiting to begin.

My little one got her rainbow ribbons (9.0 and above) on the beam and vault and a pink(8.5 – 8.9) on the floor. Bars is not her strong suite and she received her first blue ribbon (7.0 – 7.4) yesterday. She was upset, but I hope that the “bad” score pushes her to practice harder. She has not been putting in her full effort at the gym lately and it shows. They don’t have another meet until May so we will see if she can get her scores up by then.


Warming up, our girls are in purple.
 

Our level three team now has 6 members two of whom competed for the first time yesterday. All of the girls did very well and with the exception of the bars received a rainbow (9.0 and above) or pink (8.5 – 8.9) ribbon on all of the events. They have all improved from last year and it is neat to see them change over time. One little girl on the team tried so hard to get a rainbow ribbon on an event last season and was unable to do so. Yesterday however she received two rainbow ribbons and her teammates were so happy for her. Over all the meet went very well. It was a mixed meet which had the level threes and fours competing at the same time. Those type of meets don’t happen very often, but it was a nice chance to see some of the other girls from our gym compete.

After the meet we went to lunch at Richie’s Diner and had a good meal. It was a long day!
I will be posting the videos of her beam and floor routine on Facebook, if you would like to see them here is the link to the page. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Daily-Life/411107232304311

Flourishing Abode Blog Planner – Review

I am not a very organized person when it comes to paperwork, so when I found out that the first item I would be reviewing as part of the Mosaic Review Team was a blog planner I was a little worried. In the past I haven’t ever really planned to blog about something. After going somewhere or doing something special I would download my camera and see if there was anything worth blogging about. Often I would have a great idea about a blog, but would not get to it for a while. As you can tell from my sporadic posts I often went weeks between blog posts. That has changed.

Now I try to post between two and three times a week. This change has been possible because of the Flourishing Abode Blog Planner. It is a printable planner that looks nice if you print it out in black and white or in color. This blog planner has a lot of great features. One thing that I enjoy is that it is just one page. I like that I can see everything at a quick glance. I often have so much going on in my life that simplicity is best. It also has a place where I can write what I plan to blog about each day. There I jot down what I think I will write about at the beginning of the week. I don’t always follow my original plan and when that is the case, I just move my blog idea to the next week. There is also a section for future post ideas that I found helpful. Prior to using the blog planner I would think of great ideas but wouldn’t have the time to write. Then when I had the time to write I wouldn’t remember my ideas. I try to think of at least two new ideas to put in that section each week. Now when I can’t think of anything to write about I have a list to get me started. My favorite part of the planner would have to be the “Images to Make” section. There have been a lot of times that I wished I would have taken a different picture or times when a picture didn’t turn out the way I had planned. I like having a list of the pictures that I want to include, it also reminds me to take multiple shots of pictures that I think are key to my blog (just in case the first one doesn’t turn out). Since I started using this planner my posts have become less sporadic and my page views have gone up. I think that the person who created this blog planer has put everything I need in one place to help me make my blog the best it can be. It was created by April over at The Flourishing Abode. She is a very talented blogger and is giving this blog planner away for free. You can click here to go to her blog and print off your own blog planner today.

 

The only thing that the blog planner didn’t have that I wished it would have was a small calendar so that I could put in due dates for reviews. To solve that very minor issue I just printed a blank calender on the back of the planner and put important dates on there. I have found that little switch to be very helpful.

If you are looking for an easy way to keep your blog organized, I recommend you give this blog planned a try! I know this is one product that I will keep using.

Product At a Glance

 

What is it?

 
The Flourishing Abode Blog Planner.

 

Who would use it?

 
Anyone who wants an easy way to plan their blog and likes simplicity in planning. It would also be great for someone just starting a blog.

 

Where can you get it?

 
Click Flourishing Abode Blog to be connected to where you can get your own blog planner.

 

How much will it cost?

 
It’s FREE!

 

Why try it?

 
It is a great way to keep all of your blog information in one place. It is a nice way to get your blog organized.

 
 

 

 


Potato Soup

I found a new recipe that I really enjoy, Creamy Potato Soup. I can’t eat canned soup or soup from a restaurant because it normally has an ingredient that is derived from corn in it. I hadn’t had soup, except for homemade turkey noodle, for almost a year. So I went searching the Internet for an easy soup recipe and found a great one here. The first time that I made it I followed the directions to a tee. I measured all of the spices and put exactly the amount of potatoes and broth.The second time I changed some things up a bit. When I was younger and my mom would make something like potato salad, she would never measure anything. I would ask her how she knew how much mustard to add and she would say that she just knew. I never really understood that until now. The second time I made the soup I didn’t measure the spices and I added a little more potatoes than the specified six cups and it came out great.

Here is my version of the recipe:

 

  • 6 cups of potatoes pealed and cubed
  • 6 cups of chicken broth
  • Salt
  • Onion salt
  • Pepper – I used both red and black
  • 1 Ham Steak – cut into cubes
  • 1 – 8oz package of cream cheese cut up into cubes
  • Grated cheese to sprinkle over the top
 
You cook the broth, potatoes, ham, and spices over medium heat until the potatoes are tender when stuck with a fork.

Then you use a potato masher and smash some of the potatoes.

Once the soup is the consistency you like turn the stove down to low and add the cream cheese. Keep stirring until all of the cheese is melted.

Then dish up the soup and sprinkle with some grated cheese.

This recipe was fast, easy and tasted great. Making it with the ham made it more filling. I was so glad that I found this recipe and was able to turn it into my own.

A Good Day

Our plans for Valentines day didn’t go exactly as we had planned. My mom wasn’t feeling too well so she slept in and we started our day off a little later than we wanted to. It started with me waking my little one up. She woke up on the right side of the bed and happily got in the shower. While she was taking her shower, I made breakfast. I made her red scrambled eggs, toast that said I love you and pink milk. She loved it. It was just little food color, but she thought it was the best breakfast ever. (I didn’t get any pictures) Then she got dressed and I fixed her hair for gymnastics. After everyone was ready we went to take care of my grandma. I was pleasantly surprised to see her in a good mood as well. We went through her mail and took care of a few things then we went to lunch.

Now I have been living with a corn allergy for a while, and have been watching everything that I eat but Thursday I made a mistake. We went to Joanne’s, a restaurant close to my grandma’s that we go to almost every week. I ordered a steak sandwich and didn’t think to ask for it on sour dough bread. I always ask for my sandwich on sour dough because I know I can eat it without being sick. The bad part is that once it arrived I still didn’t think anything of it and part way through the sandwich I realized my mistake. The sandwich came on a hogi type roll which must contain either baking powder (made from corn), corn syrup, or corn starch. I got so sick. Luckily I was ok after a while and or day went on.
Then we dropped grandma off and went to the gym. My little one was so excited to hand out her goodie bags.

 

Don’t you just love the glasses? She received so many complements on them.

 

She was at the gym from 3 to 6 and worked very hard. They have their first inner squad competition next Thursday so they are getting ready.

After gymnastics, we went to the Montclair Plaza and bought some SEES candy for my grandma. Then we ate dinner in the food court, and got a smoothie (corn free) on the way out. My little one told me it was the best Valentine’s Day ever. After that we did her grocery shopping and went back to my grandma’s. We didn’t get home until about 10pm. That’s pretty typical for our Thursdays.  So despite my mistake at lunch we had a nice day.

Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day! When I was in school Valentines Day was one of my favorite days. I loved to fill out the little cards and hand them out to my friends. All day I would wait until the last hour of school when we would have the Valentines Day party. My little one never had that experience. She attended a regular school for kindergarten, first and second grade but they went year round. She was off track every February so there was never a Valentines day party at school. She always wanted to give out valentines so we would let her give them out at gymnastics. It has been a tradition for her to hand out cards at the gym and a few years ago she started handing out goody bags to her teammates. She looks forward to it every year and is always so excited. I am glad even though she goes to school at home that she is able to participate in Valentine’s fun.

This year I found a new facebook group called Homeschool Swapping Adventures. I am still very new to the group, but they do postcard exchanges, state box exchanges, pen pals and there was a Valentine Card exchange. I have to admit that after a Christmas Card exchange in another group I was not to sure about signing up to exchange Valentines. We had sent out over 30 Christmas cards and were suppose to receive that many in return, but only received about 6. I asked my little one if she wanted to participate, and she was excited. We looked online to get some ideas for a homemade card and after seeing so many we decided to use parts from a few different ones we saw. This is what she made. They are hard to read in the picture they say, “You are just write valentine”

She sent them to two little girls in West Virgina. Yesterday my little one received her cards in the mail along with two heart shaped cookies. She loves to get mail so that made her day. This is one facebook group that we will be sticking with.
We won’t be doing too much to celebrate today. I got my little one a small box of chocolates and a giant pencil with hearts on it. I found a cute bread stamper that stamps the words I love you when the bread is toasted. I am going to try that out for breakfast. We will be checking on grandma and then spending three hours at gymnastics. Thursdays are always busy. I hope that everyone has a wonderful Valentines Day!

Home Made Compass

We are still working on our electricity and magnetism unit. We just completed a really neat experiment. My little one created her own compass. It was quick, easy, and we had all of the materials here at home. Below what she wrote about the experiment.

Magnet Madness

Today I made my own compass. I filled up a bowl with water. The next step was to take a piece of cardboard or foam and make a float. I took a bar magnet  and slid a needle across the top of the bar magnet . I did it like five or six times. The needle became magnetized and even stuck to the refrigerator. Then, I taped the needle to the foam and put the float in the water. The needle pointed to the North. Then I moved the needle to the West and the needle moved by itself to the north. The needle kept turning to the north. If I know where North is I can always figure out what direction I am going. I never knew that you could make a needle have a magnetic field.

I love the fact that her science has so many hands on experiments. It really helps her to understand the concepts.

If you want to see a video of the experiment visit our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Daily-Life/411107232304311

Vocabulary Fun


My little one HATES vocabulary. When she sees that orange book sitting out her attitude changes drastically. She has a hard time understanding how words can have so many meanings, and I have to say the way the words are presented makes me take a double take at times. I shouldn’t have to look at the answer key for a fourth grade vocabulary book when none of the answers make sense. We can’t change the curriculum we are using so I try to make the best of it. In order to make our days run a little smoother I decided to make vocabulary time into a game. It is very simple and doesn’t require much time, but it has made vocabulary practice a little less painful at our house. What do we do? We play a game of Jeopardy.

I made a Spelling and Vocabulary Jeopardy game with just a whiteboard and a few colorful markers.  I make different categories that have to do with her spelling and vocabulary words for the week. Then she chooses a category.(She takes this part seriously and acts as if she is on the game show) I give her a list of her vocabulary words and a small whiteboard when we start.

 

After she picks her category I select a spelling or vocabulary word that falls in the category. For vocabulary I give her the definition and also use the question out of the workbook.

For example: For the vocabulary word sift I would say, “This word means to put through a strainer. People blank soil to break apart lumps.”

That way she is doing the book work and doesn’t even realize it. For spelling words I simply say the word and use it in a sentence. For the first few days I had her just spell the word out loud, but she was making a lot of simple mistakes and leaving out letters that way. Now, I have her write the word on the small whiteboard. Writing them down seems to help her spell the words correctly more often.

We keep score for fun. Each day she tries to pass the score that she got the day before. She gets two chances for each question. If she gets it right the first time, she gets full points. If she misses the first time and gets it right the second time, she gets half of the points. If she isn’t able to get the correct answer I help her figure it out and she doesn’t receive points.

She likes her daily game of Jeopardy and has a fairly good attitude when it comes to practicing her words now. I hope she continues to learn and have fun!

We no longer have to use the dreaded orange book, but we have kept up the tradition with weekly games. Now we not only practice spelling and vocabulary, but we add in science, states and capitals, and any other item we have been learning about. I use review questions out of the books and make up my own. When you get to those subjects that seem dull and boring, think outside the box and add a little fun to your school day!

Whats for dinner?

If you would have asked me to make something for dinner a year ago, I could almost guarantee that the majority of it would be from a package. The thought of making something from scratch would never enter my mind. A lot has changed in the past year. In fact if I am shopping for myself I don’t even go down half of the aisles in the grocery store. I don’t bother with the chips, cookies, canned foods, or boxed foods. Chances are that I won’t be able to eat them. The cookbook became my friend and looking up recipe ideas online became the new normal. Now that I have learned more of the foods that contain corn (allergic to it) and substitutes for them, cooking  has become a lot easier. Now that I am more comfortable with some of the recipes I even play around and change things up. Sometimes the changes work out, and sometimes they don’t.

This was our dinner tonight.

We had roasted chicken, carrots, broccoli, and mashed potatoes.
The chicken and carrots were easy. After cleaning the chicken, I rubbed it with a little bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Then I washed the carrots and put the pan in the oven on 350. It should have cooked in about an hour but tonight for some reason that was not the case. It ended up taking almost 2 hours before the chicken was done. That threw off my dinner schedule a little. Once it was finally finished the chicken was very good and juicy.

It is hard to believe but this was the first time that I made mashed potatoes from scratch. I was lucky to find a brand that I can have so I hadn’t needed to make them before. We ran out of the packaged potatoes so homemade it was. It didn’t take as long as I had expected, in less than 30 minutes the potatoes were pealed, washed and already starting to cook. I let them boil a while and then mashed them up. I added garlic, salt, pepper, a cup of shredded cheese, butter and whipping cream. Then I mixed them up and they were done. I was a little surprised at how good they tasted. I had planned on making gravy but the potatoes were so good that they didn’t need it.

 

The broccoli was definitely not the hit of the night. I received a free bag of frozen Birds Eye broccoli when I went shopping last time. To make it you just put it in the microwave for about five minutes and it is suppose to steam the broccoli. The broccoli came out pretty hard and smelled funny. I think I will stick to steaming my own broccoli from now on.

So that was my dinner. We have chicken a lot and my family is tired of it, well my dad and brother are. So in addition to my dinner I also cooked a box of Hamburger Helper. It’s sad, but they would prefer the boxed foods and that means I have left overs.  What’s for dinner at your house?

Science Fun

Today my little one started the next unit in science. She will be learning about electricity and magnetism. In this unit there is at least one hands on experiment in each lesson. Today she learned about static electricity and did a very simple experiment.
First she blew up a balloon and rubbed a piece of wool on it. Then she had to place the wool next to the balloon and watch what happened. The balloon was attracted to the wool.
For the next part of the experiment she blew up another balloon. This time she rubbed both of the balloons with the wool and then placed them next to each other. The balloons repelled each other.

The next experiment involved magnets. First she placed two magnets on the table with the north poles of the magnets facing each other. The two magnets didn’t want to go together.

Next, she placed the magnets on the table with opposite sides facing each other. (One north pole and one south pole.) This time the magnets were attracted to each other.

 
The lesson learned from these two experiments was, opposite charges attract and like charges repel. She had a lot of fun playing and learning with the magnets and balloons. I have a feeling that this unit of science is going to go very well because she is a hands on learner.