Friday, June 29, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip (ERMAHGERD) Cookies!

ERMAHGERD! These are the best cookies. 


Yesterday the baking bug bit me, it bit me hard. Like any adamant sweet toother I checked my Pinterest boards


These babies were just sitting there waiting for me. Waitin for mama! 


(You can check out the original post here at How Sweet It Is.)


Now what I was really looking for was a basic recipe with ingredients I would always have on hand, and that was versatile enough to handle whatever mix-ins I had handy. This, my friends, is that recipe. 






Want the story behind this picture? I said to my husband "Oh, I forgot I need to take a picture of those cookies for my blog post!", Mr. Eight: "Well then you'd better hurry because there's only one left..." Yep. That's the last cookie. 


So, without further ado. 


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies 



2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
8 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled
6 Tbsp of creamy peanut butter, melted and cooled
1 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. sugar
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 C. chocolate chips (I used peanut butter chips and Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips as well as chopped walnuts, highly recommended)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Microwave peanut butter and butter together in a bowl until melted, check it every 20 seconds and mix. Let it cool completely.
Mix the flour and baking soda in a bowl and set aside. 
In another bowl, combine the sugar, brown sugar and melted peanut butter and butter. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and stir until mixed. Gradually add flour and mix. (The original recipe notes here that if needed you may add a tablespoon or two of milk if the dough is too crumbly, I didn't have this issue.) 
Fold in the chocolate chips. (Don't go over the 1 1/2 C. of add-ins, I ended up with about a 3/4 C extra of a tiny bit of dough and a lot of chips and walnuts.) 
Shape the dough into 1-2 inch balls. Place on a baking sheet two inches apart and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are slightly brown. This took about 10 minutes in my oven. The centers should be soft and puffy. Do not over bake and be sure to let the cookies cool all the way before devouring. It's worth it to let them sit! 
Enjoy!

GRANDMA'S Soaps Giveaway 7/14

summer-sunshine-backgrounds-for-powerpoint-1

A few days ago I posted my review of GRANDMA'S Pure & Natural Soaps. These are amazing soaps made with all natural ingredients! Best yet, this soap can help you survive the summer and here's how! 



Jewelweed grows wild in close proximity to poison ivy throughout much of the United States. For centuries native American peoples have used Jewelweed (Impatiens Capensis) as a natural preventative and treatment for the itch and rashes of poison ivy, oak and sumac. GRANDMA'S now brings this powerful natural remedy to you! Relieves the itch of poison almost immediately and heals the rash in 3-4 days!


GRANDMA'S Don't Bug Me Bar is a natural solution to an annoying little critter - the mosquito! Using a special formula of essential oils GRANDMA'S Don't Bug Me Bar repels mosquitoes effectively without the use of DEET or other chemicals. Pleasant smell. Won't stain clothing.

One lucky winner at Eight Days a Week will win a GRANDMA'S Don't Bug Me Bar and a Poison Ivy & Oak Bar! You'll be set for the summer!

BUT! You can also enter on 19 other blogs for a total of 20 chances to WIN! 

Each individual may only win ONE giveaway. In the case of duplicate winners a second winner will be drawn. 

 Use the Rafflecopter form to enter, and visit the blogs in the following list to enter the other giveaways! 
GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Playgroup Fun - Colorful Coffee Filters

I hosted playgroup at my house this week. We've been really lucky in our PCS here in that there is an amazing community here of moms interested in providing their children with educational play. After deciding to get together to try out a fun activity seen on Pinterest (this all stems from Pinterest, I swear!), the most organized Mom began a Facebook group and setup a weekly time for us to meet and take turns hosting a (mostly) educational play date! 


This week was my turn. I decided to try out eyedropper painting on coffee filters with food coloring in water. The idea is to have your child use the eye dropper to drop colored water on the filter and watch it spread out, and see what happens when you use multiple colors.


Well, once we got all the kids and parents assembled in the backyard it was clear that there were far too many to successfully handle eyedroppers and food coloring. My neighbor suggested we use markers instead and then spray the coffee filters with water. A much better activity for the group that we had! 




This really worked great. The water causes the colors to run together making a pretty pattern :) Have your child color away with different colors on a single coffee filter, then spray with water, and hang to dry! You can fold these into shapes and hang them to make a pretty mobile!






I'm going to try the eye droppers again soon when it's just Miss M and a couple other kids. The eye droppers are good for fine motor skills. The markers are just fun! Be sure to use washable markers though, especially if you're working with toddlers like we were!



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

FREE BLOGGER OPP SIGN UP! Fall In Love With Handmade Giveaway Hop

Join Going Green With the Grizls, The Vagabond Studio, and Eight Days a Week in celebrating handmade products from WAHMs, entrepreneurs and other small businesses in the Fall in Love With Handmade Giveaway Hop! 






The theme of this Hop is Handmade, so anything goes! Diapers, jewelry, clothes, you name it, if it's handmade-- it's in! Each blog will be responsible for hosting their own giveaway for an item(s) of at least $25. Those blogs with giveaways valued at $100 or more will be given a special feature in the linky title.


There will also be a Grand Prize made up of all types of handmade products! This is a free blogger opportunity, if you would like your Facebook page added to the Rafflecopter form we only ask you to pretty please create a post about the giveaway event on your blog to help spread the word! Be sure to use the button above and post it in your sidebar! It's not required but would be greatly appreciated! :D


Facebook links are free and you can also add a Twitter, Pinterest, and Linky Followers or GFC link for only $1 a piece! Whoever gets the most referrals wins a prize so be sure to let everyone know! 


The giveaway will run from September 1st through the 14th. Go here to SIGN UP! After you have signed up, be sure to join the Facebook group to stay updated on changes and announcements! 


Also, be sure to add yourself to the linky below!


We look forward to working with you and celebrating all things handmade!



Summer Blog Challenge - Day 26 - How Does He Melt Your Heart?

Going Green with the Grizls


Today's Topic: How Does He Melt Your Heart?


It's always the little and mundane things that get me. 


Getting up with the kids in the morning so I can sleep in. 


Making dinner. 


Doing the dishes. 


Bringing me flowers or my favorite candy. 


Little things :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

CorsetChick.Com Review PLUS Giveaway Coming Soon!!

You can win a corset too! Come back July 15th for your chance to win a corset from CorsetChick.com!


Needless to say, Mr. Eight was pretty tickled when I told him I'd be reviewing a corset. I was pretty excited too. Now that womankind has successfully rid themselves of the daily corset requirement, we've kind of decided it's fun to wear one every now and then. They can be uncomfortable but man do they make your boobs look good! 


Corsets are great because of their function. They're not just fun, flirty and sexy, but they also hide rolls of any size and give you a nice shapely figure. 






A good corset can cost you a lot of money, so those of you look for something a better quality than the corsets sold at Hot Topic will be happy to know that CorsetChick.com has matched good quality with a good price. 






The corset I received is the Green Fairy Dryad Corset. Cute name right? ;) It runs for $27.99 and I can tell you right now that it is well worth the price! It is a much better quality than anything you'll find at Hot Topic or any local "adult" store, and about half the price depending on where you look. 


I own another corset I purchased in California at a very nice lingerie store, I was even fitted for it the old fashioned way holding onto a post while the clerk behind me tugged and pulled on the laces! The corset I received is comparable in quality, this is definitely going to last a while! Corset Chick corsets are adjustable too. This particular corset features steel busks (the stiffening strip used in corsets) and hook enclosures on the front. Find a good friend that can help you lace up the back. It comes pre-laced, but if you want a good fit then you may need to undo it and have a friend tie you back up. 


The sizes on the site run SMALL. There's a warning note about it above the sizing chart on the site. I am a size 12 in jeans, and have a fairly large bust, I wear a 36G (that's one above DDD), and I ordered a 2X. So suck up that pride (lord knows I did!) and order the best size, you'd rather have too big than too small. 


Corset Chick offers an extremely large variety of products, all kinds of lingerie, corset tops, and even corset dresses! Check out this pink corset dress with the black tutu, perfect for a costume party! 






If you're looking for a corset then I'd like to recommend this one to you. They have an amazing selection to choose from and a wide variety of sizes, something that can be hard to find at the store! Be sure to keep up with Corset Chick on Facebook to find out about great deals and sales! 



Sunday, June 24, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge - Day 25 - Ideal Day of Me Time

Going Green with the Grizls


Today's Topic: Ideal Day of "Me Time"


This would most certainly involve coffee. More specifically a skinny sugar free vanilla latte. 


My day would start early. As much as I like sleeping in, I always feel a little bit of disappointment later when I think of what I could have accomplished. Early morning hours can be so quiet and pleasant. 


A little bit of reading while I enjoyed my latte. 


Some kind of outdoor physical activity. Something like hiking, kayaking, swimming, snorkeling, biking... 


A hot shower uninterrupted by children, one in which I was allowed to shave both legs in peace. 


And after a long day of fun in the sun: a night out! Maybe even a little shopping for a new dress, the out on the town! 


On a side note, if money wasn't an issue then I would be spending this whole day with Mr. Eight in Monterey, California, our favorite place in the world so far :) I'd get my coffee at Plume's, we'd spend the day out on the bay and finish with dinner at Pepper's. 


Perfect :)

GRANDMA'S Soaps Review


Look for the giveaway opening this Saturday, June 30th! Twenty blogs will be coming together to give you not one, but 20 chances to win! Each blog will be giving away a Poison Ivy & Oak Bar and a Don't Bug Me Bar! You can only win once but you'll have so many more chances to win!


I was super excited when I found out I was getting the opportunity to review GRANDMA'S Soaps. Especially the Don't Bug Me bar! I grew up in Alaska, so I'm no stranger to mosquitos (we lovingly refer to them as our state bird). However, now we are living on Oahu in Hawaii and let me tell you, the mosquitos here are a whole 'nother breed! They are fast, big and the bites itch like crazy! After a good rain and as soon as the sun starts going down you are sure to get eaten up. Especially the kids. 


What I love best is the natural ingredients used in place of chemicals, that makes this nice and safe to use on the kids, while also limiting our exposure to chemicals. I foamed up and headed out into the warm evening to fish for some mosquitos, and guess what (!), they weren't biting for once! 


I really wish we were still living in Maryland so I could test out the Poison Ivy Bar on my husband. I swear it seemed like once a week he was getting poison ivy rashes. It grew behind our house in the woods and I think it got on him when he took the dog out. I easily could have used him as a guinea pig ;) 


Here's some useful information from GRANDMA'S website





Jewelweed grows wild in close proximity to poison ivy throughout much of the United States. For centuries native American peoples have used Jewelweed (Impatiens Capensis) as a natural preventative and treatment for the itch and rashes of poison ivy, oak and sumac. GRANDMA'S now brings this powerful natural remedy to you! Relieves the itch of poison almost immediately and heals the rash in 3-4 days!





GRANDMA'S Don't Bug Me Bar is a natural solution to an annoying little critter - the mosquito! Using a special formula of essential oils GRANDMA'S Don't Bug Me Bar repels mosquitoes effectively without the use of DEET or other chemicals. Pleasant smell. Won't stain clothing.


I promise if you buy this the first thing you will notice when you get it in the mail is the wonderful aroma coming from the box! You could definitely sniff this package out with a blindfold on! 


The Lye Bar is great as well. Perfect for the skin, it has no fragrances and, of course, is made using all natural ingredients. It makes your skin feel nice and fresh


Another great thing about GRANDMA'S? The price just can't be beat! You can order the Don't Bug Me bar for just $6.00! Definitely worth the cost! 


GRANDMA'S also makes soap for acne, pet's and there's even a nice and gentle bar just for babies! 


I recommend this product to all my readers out there! GRANDMA'S has something for everyone!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Aloha Friday! 6/22

Welcome to Aloha Friday! It's a weekly blog event that started at An Island Life where I ask a simple question, answer it, then invite you to answer it also! 






Definitely getting this one out a little late, but better late than never! 


This one's kind of random but do you do volunteer work? That is this weeks question! I love volunteering, but with school and kids I didn't have the time. Now that I'm not in school though, and Mr. Eight has been on a day shift (more importantly), we've started volunteering at the local SPCA. I just wish it was closer, it's about a 35 minute drive out. 


When I was at DLI in Monterey I volunteered at the Monterey Bay Aquarium for over a year. It was so much fun. I love the ocean and marine biology, I even had to take a 9 week course to qualify, it was great! 


So, what's your take on volunteering? 

Summer Blog Challenge - Day 22 - What Did You Want to Be When You Grew Up?

Going Green with the Grizls

Today's Topic: When You Were a Kid, What Did You Want to be When You Grew Up?


I don't remember wanting to be anything specific when I was a little kid. But when I was in 9th grade I decided I wanted to be an ambassador. Not just an ambassador either, I wanted to be an ambassadress. I saw the word in the dictionary and decided "Yep! That's me!"


My plan was to get my foot in the door by going to school in France and then getting a job at the UN after I graduated. Unfortunately, no one told me how expensive studying in France was going to be. So I joined the military instead. 


That's how I got here!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge - Day 21 - Words of Wisdom

Going Green with the Grizls

Today's Topic: Words of Wisdom Heard Recently That Stuck With You

http://www.spacetimetravel.org/galerie/galerie.html


"Apparently black holes are actually moving through space at great speeds, so don't waste the day!"


Organizing Food

Something I have been meaning to work on for a while is getting more organized in the kitchen. I don't mean where my silverware go, or which cabinet I put the cups in. I mean meals, food in the fridge, food in the pantry, knowing what is there and when it needs to be eaten by, as well as meal planning and pre-making meals


A couple weeks ago Mr. Eight started eating healthier, and part of that entailed pre-making his lunches and dinners for the week. The fridge is full of little Ziplock containers! It worked really well for him though, having a portioned meal ready to go, and no excuse not to eat it


I decided this week I would try the same thing with myself and the kids. We went to the commissary on Monday and bought a half cart full of just fruits and veggies. I brought it home and proceeded to chop up and slice everything I could. I separated grapes and carrots into little baggies, as well as steamed and roasted a lot of the veggies I bought. 


I made enough egg salad avocado sandwich mix (a recipe I'll be sharing soon) for two days of lunches, and even made a tropical smoothie, enough for 2 or 3 servings. I hard boiled eggs for breakfast, and chopped up celery too!





The next step was to ensure that I knew what was in the fridge and what needed to be eaten. We're really really REALLY bad about buying food and letting it spoil in the fridge. I hate taking out vegetables or meat only to find something underneath it I had forgotten about and had let go bad. 



To help me organize the food I was buying I wrote down all the meat, as well as sell by dates, and all the vegetables on a dry erase board in the kitchen. If I put meat in the freezer I plan on writing it down here as well. No more needing to dig through the fridge or freezer before I go to the store! As we eat it I erase it off the board. Easy! 


This has really helped me stay organized! If you have the same problems I have then give it a try and let me know!

Costume Discounters Review - Diego (Giveaway To Come 7/9!)

You could win a costume! One reader will win a costume from Costume Discounters, up to a $35 value! The giveaway opens July 9th so stay tuned!


When I got the opportunity to review a costume from Costume Discounters I had to decide who I would get it for, Miss M or Mr. C. I looked around at all the toddler costumes and decided it would have to come between Diego for Mr. C or Angelina Ballerina for Miss M. Unfortunately Angelina was out of stock, so I ordered Dora the Explorers Diego for Toddler. I figure by Halloween Mr. C should be big enough to wear it. 


Now I normally don't do costumes from the store. I might buy accessories but for the most part I like to do handmade. I think what I'll do is put together an Angelina Ballerina costume by myself and have Calvin be Diego. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about a store bought costume however. 


That all changed when I received it in the mail. Miss M was SO excited. She loves Diego, we watch it all the time! She wanted to put it on as soon as she saw what it was, and then didn't take it off again for a few hours. We went around the house to find things to put in the Rescue Pack, then headed outside to ride her Dora trike. 





The costume is really good quality. The Rescue Pack is plastic with a zipper, and is big enough to hold some goodies, and I'm anticipating using it for Mr. C to put candy in at Halloween! The costume itself is 100% polyester and hand wash only. It's designed for your child to step into, put their arms through the sleeves, and then attach it at the back with a single piece of velcro. It holds together well however. 


I received a size 2T-4T, and Miss M wears a 3T. The costume is a little big on her, but it's still wearable. I think the sizing is fair, however if you have a particularly tall toddler I would be worried about the shorts. My neighbors son wears a 4T and he's so tall I think he would look a little goofy in it! 


Overall I'm really pleased with the costume, I think it's going to make a great addition to the dress up box!

Summer Blog Challenge - Day 20 - Photo of You as a Child

Going Green with the Grizls

Today's Topic: Picture of You as a Child

I don't live near my parents and I don't have any of my baby pictures so unfortunately I couldn't share any really old ones. A while ago a friend from middle school posted a picture of me from my yearbook. I'm pretty sure this is 7th grade!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Wordless Wednesday 6/20

Welcome to Wordless Wednesday! 

Photobucket

I graduated last month but I didn't get a chance to go through the pictures my friend took yet. I just picked this one out of the folder :) 

Be sure to link up below with your WW post! 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge - Day 19 - Something You're Proud of From the Last Few Days

Going Green with the Grizls


Today's Topic: Something You're Proud of From the Last Few Days


Yesterday I went grocery shopping! I bought a half cart full of fruits and veggies, the rest of what I got came off of the grocery list for the SELF Challenge which I just started. I'm not big on sticking to diets but they have some great recipes and I'd like to mix up what I can and go from there. 


When I got home and got Mr. C down for a nap I went through all the produce and chopped up and sliced what I could, then divided it into baggies and containers that I can easily grab throughout the week. I'm hoping this will not only make it easy for me and the kids to eat healthier, but also to prevent wasting food. I have a big problem with forgetting about what I bought and finding it a week and a half later, brown and mushy in the bottom of the crisper :S 


Also in an effort to prevent wastefulness, I wrote down all the veggies and fruits on a dry erase board in the kitchen. As I eat them I erase them off the board. Before I buy more I can look and see what we have without having to dig through the refrigerator. I hope this helps! 

Summer Blog Challenge - Day 18 - A Recipe You Love

Going Green with the Grizls

Today's Topic: Post a Recipe You Love



This is my favorite recipe for Artichoke Dip! It was given to me by my awesome neighbor who has since moved. She always served it at our neighborhood BBQs, and now I keep the tradition alive. You will be sure to find this at every holiday gathering and birthday party! It's delicious! Thanks Jen! 

Hot Artichoke Dip 

Ingredients


1 c. mayo 
1 6 oz package feta cheese
2 oz  pimentos 
1 14 oz can of artichokes in water, finely chopped
1/2 c parmesan cheese
1 T minced garlic




Mix all the ingredients in a pan, I like to use the tin foil ones you can toss. Get one that comes with a lid in case you want to make it ahead of time or if there is leftovers (unlikely). 






Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes (without the lid, if you got one). You can make this ahead of time and keep it in the fridge, in that case bake for 40-45 minutes.


I love to eat mine with wheat thins, but I know some people also like it with tortilla chips.


Or you could just use a spoon. That works too ;)

Summer Blog Challenge - Day 17 - Your Personality

Going Green with the Grizls



Today's Topic: 3 Things You Are Proud of About Your Personality 



1. I'm super laid back. 


2. This kind of goes with #1 but I'm also a fly by the seat of your pants kinda gal!


3. I was once described as a person who "dances to the beat of their own drum", I love doing my own thing and having my own style! It doesn't bother me if I don't fit in. 


Summer Blog Challenge - Day 16 - What Are Your Fitness Habits?

Going Green with the Grizls


Today's Topic: Fitness Guru or Couch Potato? What Are Your Fitness Habits? 





It's funny this is a topic this week because I actually just started doing the SELF Challenge! This was my first week doing it and it felt great to have a plan and a goal. 


When I was younger I was a big couch potato, I couldn't run a mile in high school, and I didn't do any sports. 


That changed a bit after I joined the Air Force. I was 19 and I didn't prepare as much as I should have before leaving for basic training. I had a really hard time keeping up with the physical requirements, in the end though I ran my mile and a half, did my push ups and sit ups. 


But it wasn't until after I had Miss M that I really got into working out. By then I had left the Air Force, so I had to do it on my own. At my 6 week postpartum checkup I was 45 lbs heavier than I had been when I got pregnant. I felt horrible. 


It took 9 months to lose it all, but I did it. I kept telling myself, 9 months on, 9 months off. And I did it! 


Since then I've really gotten into running. This year I did my first 5K, which was the Warrior Dash so it was actually a 5K obstacle course/mud run. 


I look forward to trying my first 10K next! 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day Gifts

Last year Father's Day really sucked. I didn't do much for Mr. Eight and I felt really bad about it. Especially since it was his first Father's Day after Mr. C was born. So this year I really wanted to make up for it. 


I felt the need to do something really crafty. I scrolled through all the Father's Day ideas on Pinterest and picked out a couple I really liked. 


Here's what I came up with!


Hand Print Art 







I traced the kids hands and then cut them out in some scrapbook paper I had laying around (probably from before Miss M was born!). I glued them onto small canvases I bought and painted with acrylic. I first used tempera paint to paint the message and that did not look good at all! So if you do this, stick with acrylic :) 


Salt Dough Footprints







I posted how to make these the other day. It was super easy and I can't wait to use this recipe again this holiday season! A friend also mentioned making necklaces with the kids thumbprints on them out of this dough... I'll definitely be looking into that! 


Dad also got a steam powered grill cleaner and we went to the bookstore and bought the fifth Game of Thrones book. He said I could read it first though :) Such a gentleman! 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Father's Day Gift: Salt Dough Footprints

I found this recipe over at The Imagination Tree and decided to give it a whirl. I wanted to get started on a Father's Day gift but Mr. C was napping in the room where I keep my craft supplies. These are so easy though I had everything I needed right in my kitchen! 








Recipe 


1 C Flour
1 C Salt
1/2 C Water


That's it! 

Mix it all together in a  bowl and knead it until it's nice and smooth. You can add a little more water or flour until you get a good consistency. You want the dough to be workable and not too sticky. Play around with it, it took me a few minutes of adding a pinch of flour and a few drops of water before I got it right. The kneading is great for the kids too! Miss M had a lot of fun getting messy. 


I made a half recipe and it was just enough to make a footprint for Miss M, so if you're only making one you can definitely half the recipe. You can either shape the dough yourself, or find a bowl or plate to press it into to make it smoother. Just make sure if you're pressing it into a bowl that the bowl is bigger than your kids foot! 




Pressing it into a bowl is helpful because it gives it a nice smooth surface. Carefully peel it out of the bowl and flip it over. Help your child press their foot into the dough. Press their toes down and the side of the foot to be sure to get a nice imprint. 

The nice thing about this dough is if you mess up you can easily mix it back together and do it again! 

Put the finished footprints on baking sheet lined with foil and place in the oven. Bake at 200 deg F for about 3 hours. Be sure to punch out a hole first if you plan on hanging it! A straw work well for that. 

The next morning I had Miss M paint hers while I painted Mr. C's. I then went over the feet with another color to help the prints stand out. 


Perfect! 


This was super easy and beyond cheap. When Miss M was 1 I went all over town looking for a kit to use for this and ended up buying one at the craft store that was actually meant for dogs! The dough was hard to work and I didn't really like it. This recipe was WAY better! 

Aloha Friday 6/15

Welcome to Aloha Friday! It's a weekly blog event that started at An Island Life where I ask a simple question, answer it, then invite you to answer it also! 








Hi everyone! I'm so sad I've missed a couple Aloha Friday's now. I hope to be back on track!


Today's Question: Father's Day is on Sunday! What do you have planned? Did you make anything crafty or fun?






I made salt dough foot prints of the kids and I'm still working on putting together some wall art using traces of the kids hands. I'm pretty excited about it and I'll be posting it as soon as I finish!


Thanks for playing and be sure to link up below!