life · Must Have Monday

Must Have Monday– Must Have Monday edition

TTM_MHM

Today is Must Have Monday and I’m slacking. It was the boys last Monday of school, I sent off my resumes yesterday and I had a long list of things to clean today. Oh and the fact that the power went off at 3:15am or something like that this morning and we were awake until it came back on could have something to do with me being slightly distracted today.

Typically I decide on my Must Have Monday topic over the weekend, but this was a crazy weekend of fighting over finishing homework. Completing science projects and other parenting things that are not always enjoyable. So I didn’t think about Must Have Monday.

So what must you I have in order to write a Must Have Monday post?

  1. You need sleep. I don’t know about you, but I never function correctly without a full night sleep. I need a good 6 hours, but really I need 8 to function.
  2. You must have a topic to write about and plan it before you sit down to write it. Now don’t get me wrong I don’t blog the whole thing in my head, I just typically have an idea of what I’m going to talk about and a few of the must have items to list.
  3. You must remember that it is Monday and that you write Must Have Monday on Monday.

Hopefully I can remember these steps next week, but I don’t make any promises since it is a holiday. Anyone have a Must Have Monday topic for me to write about????

 

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food · Must Have Monday · reviews

Must Have Monday– the cookie baking edition

TTM_MHM

I have decided that I want to have a weekly post on Mondays. I have been debating on this for a bit and decided that Must Have Monday works. One of the big things this does for me is makes it so I don’t have to think about what to blog about on Monday mornings!

Each Monday I will post about some must have items. I have found over the years that many items that I didn’t know I needed later became must haves or at least must use once I’ve had the product.

Since I’m baking cookies, Amish Sugar Cookies, today to take to the boys’ school for their teacher appreciation lunch tomorrow, I figured I’d blog about my cookie baking must haves!

When I was engaged and planning my wedding registry one of the first things I knew I was putting on my list was a stand mixer! I had a decent hand mixer and I still use this at times, but one knows that every good baker needs a stand mixer… right??

I have had my KitchenAid KSM150PSER Artisan Tilt-Head Stand Mixer with Pouring Shield, 5-Quart, Empire Red (mine is white not red) for almost 14 years now and it has seen a lot of use! It sits in the end of my island right below where I keep my laptop. Since moving into our new house, I think I’ve used it at least once a week. Whenever I bake cookies it is the first item I pull out and get ready. So let me get it out so I can start making the Amish Sugar Cookies for tomorrow.

While my butter, oil and sugar cream together, let me tell you a few tips that I’ve learned. I keep my granulated sugar in a food storage container like the one pictured. I do that so it stays fresh and there is no chance of sugar falling all over the floor if the bag tips in the pantry. I keep my flours, as well as, powdered and brown sugars in the freezer. This keeps the flour fresh and bug free, after living in the heat and humidity of Florida I appreciate this knowledge a bit more. Not that I’m using nuts today, but keep your nuts in the freezer too, they won’t spoil as quickly.

Time to check on my batter. When using a stand mixer, you need to make sure you do a good job scraping the bowl. Let me grab my spatula and get the mixer ready for the next step. I have this set of spatulas and I like the variety of sizes and styles. I use the “spoonula” when I’m baking since it has a decent size curved spatula and can get in there and get all the good stuff off the bottom.

A few food must haves when baking cookies (well at least in my book they are must haves)… you must have real butter. I typically buy salted butter even though most recipes call for unsalted, and I still add the salt to the recipe. I love the taste the salt brings out in sweet recipes. I also believe that you MUST use pure vanilla extract. I try very very hard not to use artificial flavors in any of my cooking/baking. I also only use real sugars. Ok so the recipes aren’t going to win any healthy eating contest, but they will taste good and, in my opinion, as long as you have it in moderation… why waste calories on fake food?

Time to whisk together the dry ingredients.  I pulled out my OXO Good Grips 3-Quart Mixing Bowl, White/Black. This is the bowl I always pull out when my boys were helping in the kitchen when they were little. It had a very sturdy base and didn’t tip when they used it. I like the fact that it has a wide lip and spout which helps when transferring the dry ingredients into the mixer. Make sure you have the mixer on low and you do this is small doses or you will we sweeping up your dry ingredients off the floor.

I’m tossing this dough into the fridge so it can chill out for about 30 minutes. The recipe doesn’t call for it, but this recipe reminds me of snickerdoodles and snickerdoodles dough gets chilled… so off to the fridge I go with the dough!

While it’s chilling I’ll clean up the prep mess and get out the next items I need. Let me grab my cookie sheets. Ok so mine aren’t really cookie sheets they are actually Calphalon Classic Bakeware Special Value 12-by-17-Inch Rectangular Nonstick Jelly Roll Pans, Set of 2. I like the size of the jelly roll pans better than the cookie sheets. I can typically fit a dozen cookies on each sheet and I have 4 sheets (2 sets). I have this so I’m not having to wait for a sheet to cool before I can prep the next pan. I just prep them all and toss them in the ovens. On top of my “cookie sheets” I have Silpat AE420295-07 Premium Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat, Half Sheet Size, 11-5/8″ x 16-1/2″. This is one of those I didn’t know I needed it until I had it items. I do not have to spray my pans, the clean up is sooo easy and the cookies almost never burn (if they do, they don’t stick).

Another item I didn’t know was a must have until I had one, or three, is OXO Good Grips Cookie Scoop, Small, Stainless Steel. I have three different sizes of these scoops. I love that using them helps with the consistency of the size of the cookie or other item I’m making.

Once I have dished out all the dough onto the cookie sheets using the cookie scoop I’ll bake them off. I need to bring 2 dozen to the boys school and if I have extra I’ll send them into work with Richard. If not, maybe I’ll just have to bake again later in the week. Seems like I’ve been baking a lot on Thursdays.

I’ll be sure to share pictures of the finished cookies. I have made these before and I know they are yummy! Last time I froze half the batch to pull out at a later date, you can do this with cookie dough before or after baking. Such a versatile product, don’t you think.

Well you will have to let me know what you think of the first installment of Must Have Monday.  Do you have any of these products or something similar? What are your must haves for baking cookies? What other must have ideas would you like me to blog about? Share you thoughts, click on the links, join the fun… and please read my disclosure statement since this post contains links. Remember that if you purchase items through these links it doesn’t cost you any more money and helps me out too. Thanks!

life

blogger laziness and a bit of rambles

Yesterday I was a slacker blogger. You may have noticed that I just popped off a quick post at the end of the day yesterday. I was at the school from 7:20 until 2:00 helping out with the Science Olympiad. It was a lot of fun and the kids had a blast. Colby came home from school exhausted as I’m sure most of the kids did. This was their last school day before testing starts, so that was a fun way to prep for state testing. Blake has testing the next 2 weeks and Colby has testing the next 3 weeks.

I also didn’t read anyone else’s blog yesterday, that is normally a morning time thing for me, so I tried to plow through a lot of them today. I try to keep up with most of the bloggers who leave comments on my blog. I always feel this is the start of a conversation/ a kinship/ a something and when I know that you are reading and commenting on my blog, then I’m more drawn into reading yours on a regular basis. Others, I tend to read if they peek my interest. Am I the only one who blogs this way?

This week has been a revisiting of winter for us. We had some type of snow every day and woke up to a little over an inch of accumulated snow today again. Ok… I’m done with winter now. Can we move onto spring?

This weekend will be a slow keep life simple weekend. We will try to stay on our normal routines and get the kids to bed at a reasonable time. I really hate state testing, yes I know I’m a teacher, yes I know there is a need for accountability, but this still doesn’t feel like it is it. At least here in this school district (or at least this school) they don’t stress the kids out as much over the whole thing. My sons don’t feel the pressure as much as they did in FL.

This coming week also finds me finally going and taking the PA teacher tests. I am not stressing out over this… it is what it is. I am not going to study. I’m not going to do anything but show up and take the test. I’m totally in the mode of if it is meant to be I’ll be fine.  If not… Oh well. (part of me know that I’ll be totally ticked with myself if I don’t pass… I don’t do failure well!)

Well… time to get ready to head to the gym. I wonder what the boys will do this week in their little lifters class? I’m dragging and my throat is scratchy so we will see how much energy I have for working out today. But… I’m going and that is a start.

Happy Saturday!

 

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March is a month of milestones

As the month of March comes to an end I was looking at my insights/stats on my blog. I just reached 100 followers! Thank you to everyone who follows my blog. I am glad you are long for the journey.

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The month of March found me with the highest number of site view with 1.1K views just in March, this is crazy to me. I began this blog last June and had 24 views. This month found me with an average of 35 views a day. Thank you to everyone who stopped in to see what is on my mind each day. I love sharing these rambles, reviews, and photos with everyone. In 2018, I have already surpassed the number of likes I had for all of 2017 as well as the number of comments.

Thank you for helping me reach these milestones. I look forward to moving forward with my blog and continuing this journey with you my followers.

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life

blank!

Image result for I don't know what to write about

Some days I know exactly what I want to blog about and can jump right on and blog. Other days something will jump into my mind as the day goes along. But days like today, I’m clueless what to write about.

I’m reading two books, but not ready to blog about either one. I made carrot cake yesterday, but haven’t had it yet, so can’t blog about that. I’m making beef and peppers with homemade rolls, I could write about that, but it’s not OMG I need to share this recipe with everyone.

Maybe it’s the fact that it is raining for the second day in a row? Maybe it’s because my sinuses are telling me that spring is in the air and the air pressure is changing? Maybe I’m just in a rut?

Who knows, but this is the best I can do. Talk about how I have nothing to talk about. (oops I guess write about having nothing to write about, or maybe I should say type even).

I see my blog as a conversation with my readers. I type the same way I talk. I guess it is often just a one sided conversation?

Today is the boys Friday as they have Thursday and Friday off, originally they had Monday off too, but that is being used as a make-up day for snow. So maybe tomorrow I’ll have something to write about. You never know what kind of things will pop in my head when the kiddos are around all day.

I hope your Wednesday is full of fun and excitement. I hope you enjoy(ed) your day and have a fun thing for me to read about on your blog. If you have any suggestions of what I could/should blog about… let me know. I hate not having a plan/topic to write on. Oh well… it happens to the best of us.

Talk/write/type with/to/for you soon!

family · life

Blog post based on a blog post

I was just reading the blog post To Pick Me Up, Or Put Me Down on Dolly Mamma. This blog is written by Ester, she has recently become a grandmother and is the mom to 4 grown children. I enjoy reading Ester’s blog knowing that she has traveled the path so many of us are on now, but also reading the adventures she has that I will never have. That’s life

Her post today, discussed how no matter what stage of parenting you are in you are always going back to the same dilemma you had when your child was an infant… do I pick him up and soothe him or put him down (not pick him up) and let him self soothe/ fix it on his own.  She asked what our thoughts are on this subject. I started writing this as a reply and it got long and wordy… so instead my reply is a post.

Please go to Dolly Mamma’s site and read her post. It really is written well and will help you see where my thoughts and reflections are bouncing off from…

There are so many situations in parenting that need to be dealt with as a situation and not necessarily as a pattern. Just because I pick up the baby and soothe him once doesn’t mean I need to do it every time and vice versa. I think you need to assess both the needs of the child at that moment with your own emotional needs and then figure it out. Ok… you have 0.002 seconds to make that determination of what is right and what is wrong… go! That’s what it feels like, but often times that isn’t really what it is. I learned early on that I needed to that whole 2-5 seconds or even minutes to really assess the situation. Am I doing this because I feel it is right for my child or because I feel it is right for me. It’s hard to see your child scream, fall, fail, or figuratively crash and burn, but are we helping them if they NEVER do any of these things?

I also think a lot depends on the child. I have parented my two sons totally differently since they were born. We have the same rules and expectations, but how we deal with them is different…. because they are different. their needs are different. I think this in itself has helped me see so clearly that we can’t judge other parents.We can’t judge others choices. Just looking at them as tiny babies. Blake needed more of the cry it out time. If you coddled him he was calm, but that didn’t help him settle for sleep. Unless you let him fall asleep in your arms he would just cry again. When I started letting him “cry it out” it took almost no time for this process to work. He learned to settle himself and within a few days the time it took decreased quickly. I learned that with him I could go in and just rub his back or talk calmly to him and it was enough, he quieted down. I provided him a sleeping routine early on and he still uses it to this day. Then Colby came along and we tried what worked for Blake and this crashed and burned. It took Colby longer to settle. He needed to physical contact to calm himself. You could hold him and then put him down and he would settle, but you couldn’t just put him down. It took longer for this process to work for him. I can remember many nights laying on the floor next to his crib with just my hand inside trying to ween him off my presence in his room. It worked. To this day Colby struggles to settle down to sleep and needs a bit of extra one-on-one time before bed.

Was I better parent for Blake because he can now just lay down and go to sleep? Or was I a mean parent because I made him cry at night? Was I a better parent for Colby because I didn’t let him cry as much? Or was I a worse parent because he still struggles to fall asleep now? Or were my parenting choices both correct because my sons aren’t the same? Who has the right to judge??

I tell my sons I won’t rescue you… if they forget their lunch, their homework, don’t get onto the team, fail a test…. I won’t rescue you, but I will support you. I will guide you. I will help you. But I won’t make life easy for you… life isn’t easy. it just isn’t. my job isn’t to make sure you are happy. My job is to help you become the best adult version of yourself you can be. My job is to guide you in learning to make choices that are best for not just you, but also those around you, in your life and the world we live in. If children do not learn to deal with failure (of any kind), diversity, conflict, animosity, and so many other factions of life as children when are they going to learn? No one is going to be there for you in a boardroom when someone says they don’t like your presentation. When they question the decisions you made for the product you are working on. No one is going to rescue you when you get pulled over by the police. You won’t get a participation trophy for showing up to work and doing what you are expected to do. You won’t keep your job if you do the bare minimum or if you do you won’t advance.

What are we teaching our children when we blame the school for grades? When we blame other children when I own child is the one who did something stupid? What are we teaching our children when we cover up their choices? When we do their homework? When we hand pick their classes and friends? When we complain because they didn’t make the team or get enough playing time?

Who are we trying to soothe… our child or ourselves? Who are we trying to “make look good”?

We need to look and see is this choice of my child’s worth me stepping in or not? And remember that just because I do this time doesn’t mean I have to every time. Am I setting my child up for success or failure as an adult? Lets look at the big picture. Stop judging each other as parents. Stop making life so competitive that we feel that if we don’t fix these things then our child is behind or not as good as the others. Stop making competition where there doesn’t need to be one.

 

— side note, Richard and I made/make/will continue to make all of our parenting decisions together. I wrote this post from my point of view, but one thing you need to know is he is right there in all the decisions. Richard is now and always will be my sounding board. We work together to help our sons grow into men. I often feel like the parenting choices seem to be one sided, but in this family they are not. Together we made the decisions on how to deal with the boys sleeping habits when they were young. Together we decided when to stop stepping in as much with friendships and school problems. Together we talk to the boys about behavioral issues and overall life changes. While I wrote this post in my voice looking at these choices as how people will judge me, I know that the decisions made were best for our family as a whole at the time because of the conversations had with Richard.

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Sunshine Blogger Award

Today I’m happy to share that Teacher Turned Mommy was nominated for a Sunshine Blogger Award, an award that highlights various bloggers and allows them to share 11 facts about themselves involving blogging, life and everything in-between.

I was nominated by Horne State of Mind a blog by Erin who is a teacher, runner, dog lover and small town girl. She has the cutest dog who runs with her all the time. The dog is a better runner than me, but since I don’t run that’s pretty easy! Go check out her blog.

Here are my questions and answers:

What is your best advice to a new blogger?
Be true to yourself. It’s easy to start reading other blogs and think… do I need to blog about that? Should I use that format? Why do they have more followers? Find blogs you enjoy reading and read them. Comment on them. Get to know other bloggers and you will learn more about yourself as a blogger.

What is your favorite form of social media and why? 
Ok so I’m old, well not too old, but no where near young either. I only do Facebook and my blog. I had Instagram for a while, but never looked at it unless I was posting myself. So it just wasn’t grooving for me. I have a lot of friends from different times in my life on my Facebook feed who are now spread all over.

What’s one thing your mother/father taught you that completely changed your life?
My parents taught me so much. My mom taught me to be comfortable in the kitchen. She Image result for cooking vs bakingis who encourages me to try new recipes in both cooking and baking. She helped me learn to cook on instinct and not be stuck on measurements and recipes with cooking. But, that baking is a science and you need to follow the recipe or bad things will happen! It’s from my parents that I learned to be me. I learned that I can do anything I set my mind to, I don’t need anyone to make me happy, to accomplish tasks, or validate my choices. I can stand on my own and I’ll be just fine!

For what would you be famous?
Ummmm…. ummm. I have no clue. I known for my baking, but I wouldn’t say that makes me famous… it just makes me capable of following a recipe! If you flipped this question for what do I want people to remember me for then I may be able to answer… As a teacher–I want my students to remember me as a supporter for them. Someone who listened to them and showed them that are capable of so much. That every child can learn and that fair doesn’t mean equal. As a mother– I want people to see that I’m raising my sons to be men. That I don’t blame the school, the other child or anyone for the mistakes my boys make. My sons know that I set the bar high, but I will guide them with loving support, I will not rescue them, but I’ll be there to help in any way I can. As myself– I want people to see me as a strong woman who knows who she is (which is funny since I don’t know what I want to do next in life). I’m a loner, but at the same time I’d give you the shirt off my back if you needed it. I love life. I love music. I love reading. I love nature. I love being an individual and encouraging others to be true to themselves. (wow that was long winded!)

What does your dream day look like?
Hmmm right now I think a lot about what I’m going to do next in my life. I think about how I’m going to decorate my house. I think about where we will go on our next vacation. But, mostly I dream about trying to be the best version of me I can be.

If someone were to play you in a movie, who would you want it to be?
Oh no I’m terrible with names especially actors. Most of the movies I see now a days are animated. So I’ll punt on this one and say I have NO clue!

For what are you most grateful today?
I’m grateful for the time I have with my guys. I love the house we have and the life we are creating together. I’m grateful for the opportunity to stay home and take time to figure out what is next in my life. I’m grateful that my husband has a job he enjoys and that can support our family. I’m grateful that my sons are opposites (not sure I’d want them any other way).

Image result for smile emojiWhat is your most-used emoji?
That one is easy… (: It’s one of the only ones I know how to make with keystrokes… again I’m old.

 

What was your first job?
Well I guess my first job was baby sitting. Apparently I was good at this as I had a pretty steady business for a few years and my name and phone number was passed around a few different neighborhoods. My first official job that I had to actually apply and get hired for was working in a DeMoulas, later renamed Market Basket, grocery store. I got a job at 14. I worked there until I was a freshman in college when my parents moved.

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What is special about the place you grew up?
Nothing… oops I shouldn’t say that. But, my goal in high school was to move out of the town I grew up in and never return. Which I actually did since my parents moved when I was in college. The neighborhood I grew up in was great. We had free reign of the neighborhood and loved every minute of it. We knew everyone in the area and enjoyed playing together as kids. Riding our bikes, swimming, sledding and so much more. I have many fond memories of playing with my neighbors.

What was the best compliment you’ve received?
Hmmm. I could say it was when I was dating Richard and he told me I was beautiful. I could say it was when I was working and I was told that I was a strong teacher who knows how to help kids of all abilities. I could say it was when someone told me I was a good mom. I think the best compliment is when you tell someone they are strong.

Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  3. Nominate 5 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

I nominate:

Dawn Wairimu
The Austrian Dish
A Petite Slice of Life
Leen Cuisine
Pine History Blog

Here are my 11 questions for anyone who wants to play along. Don’t want to do a whole blog post on it? Answer along in my comment section!

Questions:

  1. What is your favorite type of cookie?
  2. What was your favorite book growing up?
  3. What type of music do you listen to when you drive?
  4. What is one thing you have changed about your blog based on reading other people’s blogs?
  5. If you could go on vacation anywhere, where would you go?
  6. What is your dream job?
  7. What is one type of media (tv, internet, radio, telephone etc…) that you could not give up for an extended period of time?
  8. Besides the people in your life, what is one thing you cherish?
  9. Would you rather bake or cook?
  10. Do you have a song that means something special to you? What and why?
  11. If you could have any job, even ones you may not be qualified to do right now, what job would you want to have?

 

Ok… join the fun. Grab all the questions and post on your blog, or answer one or more in my comments!

 

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Blog Party. join the fun

I decided to join this blog party on Cranny’s Cove.  Click here to join the fun: https://cyranny.wordpress.com/2018/02/05/week-party-in-the-cove/

I know, it’s Monday, and most people work on Mondays!

But, as Lacey from Big and Pinky Toes pointed out after my first Meet & Greet party, some people stay out of the Bloggosphere during the weekend. Good point, Lacey!! So, I thought we could throw a week party, and just be very carefull with the booze, so no one has to call in sick just because of my silly idea!

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So here are the “rules”…

  1. Introduce yourself and your blog a little, for people who wouldn’t know you already.
  2. Share links to your blog, and/or to friends of yours’ in the comment box!
  3. Reblog this link in your blog, if you don’t mind of course! The more the merrier… And I’d love to see tons of new faces around!
  4. Stay around to chit chat a little… If you are a regular in The Cove, you know I love to fool around!

 

I’ll let the party go on until Thursday around noon. Come as often as you like, mingle with friends, make new ones, share and enjoy yourself! I’ll make sure to keep the fridge full of snacks and drinks, just help yourself!

I’ll even leave the light on at night… Hey! It’s always 5 O’clock somewhere!

I’m waiting for you, don’t be shy, and spread the word…