Monday, July 29, 2013

Chocolate Chip Mookies

We have been having some crazy cool weather for July lately.  Last week, it was a breezy, cloudy 70 degree day.  Audrey had her heart set on going to the pool, but I really thought it was too cold.  So instead I said that we could stay home and make cookies, and she liked that idea!

We made chocolate chip mookies.  They are cookies with a muffin-like texture, thus the name mookies.  I originally found the recipe here.  I've tried baking a lot of different healthier, whole wheat muffin/cookie recipes, and they are never any good.  Too dry and dense and just not good tasting.  For a 100% whole wheat recipe, these mookies are surprisingly light and fluffy.  And they really do taste good, at least me and the girls think they are good!  We gobbled them up way too quickly.  They are still not the same as a real chocolate chip cookie, but for a healthier-ish alternative, they get two thumbs up from us.

In the original recipe, she gives lots of ideas for changing things up and adding different ingredients.  Here is the version that we make around here:

Chocolate Chip Mookies

1 cup oats
1 cup plain yogurt
1 egg
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
1 cup plus 2 T. white whole wheat flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
about 1/8-1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Stir together oats and yogurt.  Cover and allow to sit on the counter for about an hour.  (I'm usually impatient and don't wait that long, and they are still good).

Take the egg out and allow it to come to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Add egg, sugar and coconut oil to the oats/yogurt mixture.  Stir well to combine.

In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients.  Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined.

This is not in the original recipe, but at this point, I usually add in a little bit of milk to make the ingredients come together.  The dough is just too dry for me.  So I pour in some milk (I'm estimating about 1/8-1/4 cup) until the dough starts to stick together a little better.

Fold in the chocolate chips.

Plop heaping tablespoons of batter onto the baking sheet, and bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned and the top springs back up when you touch it.  Allow to cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before removing them.

Makes about 15 mookies.  They are best eaten on the day they are made, but they are still pretty good on day two.  I've never had them last longer than two days, so I don't know how much longer they would stay fresh tasting and moist!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

July 27: Looking Back

One of the things I love most about blogging is being able to look back at what we were doing on this day last year or two years or three years or four years ago.  Its fun to have a record of our ordinary days.  Looking back also motivates me to do a better job of blogging on a regular basis, something that I have not been doing lately.

On July 27, 2009, I hosted a Stampin' Up open house.  I used to sell Stampin' Up rubber stamps and scrapbooking supplies  I stopped when Isla was born, and I don't do it at all anymore.  In fact, I have sold almost all of my supplies.  Crazy how what was such a big part of my life four years ago means absolutely nothing to me now! 

 On July 27, 2010, we walked down to Baskin Robbins with a 20 month old Audrey for some ice cream! 

On July 27, 2011, I had just discovered Pinterest for the first time!  I am still a religious user of Pinterest.  Can't believe I have been using it for two whole years now.  If you are an avid online researcher/idea seeker like me, Pinterest is a great way to organize all of the ideas that you discover.  I use it as a recipe book, party planner, home decorating source, and much much more.  When I originally posted this picture, I had 10 boards with 73 pins.  Today I have 43 boards with 918 pins!

On July 27, 2012, the girls and I were in Iowa at my mom's house.  Daniel must have been working at Muni.  It must have been pretty hot, because we played in the slip n side at mom's house and then went swimming at my dad's house.

Now for July 27, 2013...I didn't take any pictures!  And I had the perfect opportunity to take pictures, as we hosted our small group for a cookout at our house.  The weather is really cool right now for July.  It was a breezy, sunny 70 degree day today, feeling much more like fall than summer.  Beautiful weather to hang out outside! (Right now, at 11 pm, the temp is 56 degrees).   It was a fun night...I just didn't ever break out the camera or my phone for that matter.  Must. Take. More. Pictures.

I did take a couple of pictures of the girls the other day, so I'll share them instead.  They both wanted to get dressed up to go to SummerFest...with stick on earrings, ponytails, dresses and temporary tattoos.  This is not unusual for Audrey, but Isla rarely will let me put her hair in pigtails and she hasn't ever tried earrings or wanted me to put tattoos on her.  So, we got all dressed up and took a few pictures to document it all!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

July 23: SummerFest

Two nights down, two nights to go!  SummerFest, our church's VBS, is going well.  We decided last year to start writing our own VBS each year.  When we bought VBS curriculum, we always ended up rewriting most of it to make it work.  So why not just write our own?  Last year, we did an Olympic theme.  And this year:  the circus!

Here are a few pictures from our week so far:

Thursday, July 18, 2013

July 18: This and That

Here are some random happenings from around here this week. We are getting ready for SummerFest, our church's VBS, which begins next week.  I've been helping to plan it, and we are down to crunch time getting everything ready.

I also decided that we should start painting our kitchen this week.  Not the greatest timing, but I'm ready to have it done.  Now to find the time and motivation to do it!  Painting around all the cabinets and countertops is a bit tedious.  Right now we have primed about 2/3 of the kitchen, and it looks like this.
I'm very eager to see the new color.  We are going with the color Dill Pickle.  I hope I like it, because repainting does not sound fun at all!

Audrey had her last day of swim lessons, at least for this week.  We are planning to sign her up for one more week this summer.  She has done so much better than I expected.  I need to learn to have higher expectations for this girl!  She has been so anxious around the water that I thought she would be too afraid to try anything in lessons.  But she did everything her teacher wanted to do, including going down under the water and getting a toy from the bottom of the pool!  
 Audrey isn't swimming on her own, but she is trying so hard!  When in the pool with her, all she wants to do is practice swimming to you.  She kicks her feet and tries to paddle her arms, and she can make about one or two dog paddle style strokes on her own before she starts to sink.  What makes me so happy is that when she does start to sink, she doesn't cry or freak out.  She just puts her feet on the bottom, stands up and tries again.  I love seeing her be so persistent and patient!  She might just be able to swim by the end of the summer.  We'll see!

We have some pretty flowers blooming in front of our house right now.

Our house has some really nice landscaping.   Plants/Gardens/Landscaping are not my forte, so I'm leaving the job of keeping all the plants alive to Daniel.

I also finally took some pictures of the front of our house!

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 15: Audrey's First Swim Lesson

 Audrey had her very first swim lesson this morning.  She did a great job.  I heard her cry a few times, but overall, I think she enjoyed it.  She did everything the teacher wanted her to do, including going under the water.  A week ago, she didn't want to even get her face wet.  Today, she was going under the water on her own over and over again.  Audrey also was willing to go into the three foot pool without her vest or her floaties.  A week ago, she insisted on wearing both her vest and floaties into the three foot pool where she could touch the bottom. So that is a huge improvement!

Her teacher seemed really nice, and I think Audrey liked her.  I took this picture from pretty far away, because I didn't want to distract Audrey.  We go back for lessons every day this week, so I'm excited to see what else Audrey will learn!  Her teacher told her that she would go off the diving board later in the week, and Audrey is very nervous about that.  Hopefully she will be brave enough to give it a try!

Audrey had the last lesson slot of the morning, and the pool opened as soon as her lesson finished.  So we stayed for some more swimming.  It was the perfect time, as the pool was nearly empty.  We had the whole baby pool to ourselves.  About an hour into our swim time though, it started to rain a little.  So I'm not sure if the empty pool was because of the time of day or because people just looked at the weather and decided to stay home.

Here is my new brave swimmer, showing off her moves in the pool!

 After watching Audrey go underwater over and over again, Isla wanted to go underwater too!  She was only willing to go under enough to cover her mouth.  And she kept doing it with her mouth wide open!  I tried to get her to close her mouth, and she would...until she got close to the water and then she opened it wide.  I don't want to think about how much pool water she consumed this morning.

We've been members of the pool for six days now, and we have been to the pool six times!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

July 10: Swimming Pool!

We finally got our membership to the neighborhood pool.  It was a long wait, as we could not get a hold of the person we were supposed to pay and she was not returning our phone calls.  But we finally got in touch, she gave us a discount to make up for the week we couldn't swim because we were waiting to hear from her, and we are all happy now!
 The pool is really nice.  It takes about two minutes to walk there from our house.  They have three pools and a nice concession area.

This is the baby pool.  It is 18 inches deep, so even little Isla can walk around in it fairly well.  I'm sure we will spend a lot of time here this summer when I am at the pool by myself with both girls who don't really swim yet.

This is the smaller pool  It is three feet deep, and it has a little slide.  The girls both enjoyed swimming here tonight.  Audrey got pretty brave (with her vest AND her floaties on, even though she could technically touch the bottom of the pool here!), and she even went down the slide once and under the water a few times.  Isla was really brave and just wanted me to let go of her.  I think she wanted to walk around in the pool, like she did in the baby pool.  Isla showed no fear of the water today, which is out of character from her normally extra cautious self...maybe she is going to be the swimmer in our family.

This is the big pool.  We didn't go in this pool tonight, because they don't allow swim diapers in this pool.  So this will be a pool for us when Isla is not around.  =)  When the girls gets bigger and braver, those water slides will be lots of fun I'm sure.

Since it was our first night at the pool, we decided to check out the concession stand.  We treated the girls to a hot dog and a juice box.  It wasn't too cheap, so I don't think we'll be getting concessions too often.  But it was a fun treat for them tonight.

Everyone at the pool was super friendly.  Audrey was introducing herself and talking to everyone.  It's really exciting to be able to spend our summers this way!  And Daniel mentioned something tonight that I hadn't even thought about yet.  I can also go to the pool BY MYSELF!  I hadn't even considered the thought of going to the pool without kids.  But when Daniel is home to watch the girls, I can go to the pool, take a friend, lay out, read a book, and get in the water at my leisure.  Maybe this will be the summer when I can finally add some color to my pasty white skin!

We're planning to go back to the pool tomorrow. And we can bring guests.  So to all our local friends (and any family/friends that want to come visit), let us know if you ever want to come over for a pool party!!!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

July 9: Dining Room Progress

Here's what the dining room looked like when we moved in:  (the walls were a sage green color, though you can't really tell in this picture.  We liked the color okay, but it didn't look good with our red curtains, and it was going to clash with the green we are going to paint in the kitchen)
 And here's what it looks like now:
I'm not calling these "after" pictures, because I'm not done with this room yet.  These are pictures of the room in progress.  So far, we have painted the walls, hung the curtains, and hung a few things on the walls. 

The only money we have spent so far was for the paint.  Everything else we already owned.  The color is Sea Hawk by Pratt and Lambert.  It is the same color that was already on the walls in our living room.  Since I am using the same curtains in both rooms, I liked the idea of using the same wall color for some continuity.  It's a nice looking, neutral tan.  I'm very happy with it.

Next up:  a new dining room table.  We bought this table when we first moved here about 9 years ago.  We were living in a condo, and we needed a kitchen table.  This table looked fine with the light oak cabinets in that kitchen.  However, we only lived in that condo for four months.  Once we moved into a house, the table did not look so good in our dining room next to the other furniture.

And in this house, it is really bad.  These pictures are only confirming what we already feel:  the table needs a new home!   The yellow tinted light wood does not look good with these floors.  The floors are a laminate wood, with a bit of a redish tint to them.  They just clash horribly with the table.
So imagine this space with a new table with a darker wood finish...and it will look much better!  The problem is that new dining sets cost a lot of money.  I've contemplated trying to refinish this table set, but my internet research shows that might be harder than I think.  I've found two possible tables on Craigslist, but neither worked out.  I've also thought about buying a cheap dining set, just until we can afford something nicer, but I don't think that is the wisest use of money.  So for now, we are waiting until we have enough money for a new dining set or until we find a nice looking used one.  It might be a while.  =)

Here are a few more views of the dining room in progress:
Here's my to do list for what else I would like to do in this room:
I really do love decorating and working on house projects.  I just wish I had more time and money to get things finished.  However, I think that is part of the fun.  Always having a list of projects to do, and then trying to do all of them on a limited budget.  There is a lot more to do around here, so stay tuned and I will share our house decorating/renovating adventures with you!

Oh, and I also have my eye on this chandelier to go over the table.  Daniel thinks it might be too big, but I think it might work. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

June 30-July 3: Camp

I'm still here!  It's been a while since I posted, but it's just been crazy around here.   I have a feeling it's going to be crazy for a while.

Last week, we went to church camp!  Our friend Amy is dean of a 3rd-4th grade week, and we go help out every year.  I teach a class in the mornings, and Daniel leads worship in the mornings and evenings.  The girls enjoy being there and hanging out with everyone.  We don't spend the night, so we spend the week going back and forth between home and camp.

I used to take a ton of pictures at camp, but I forgot my camera every day this year.  I took a few with my phone, and then I stole some from friends on Facebook too.

I got Isla's hair in pigtails one morning.  I always consider it to be a slight miracle when that happens.

Amy's nieces were there with us for the week too.  They are a few months younger than Isla and had fun playing with us.

Daniel's worship leading attire:
While Daniel was leading worship, they let the little kids and some campers come up on stage and dance.  Isla was the brave one who wanted to go dance on stage first.  This is how she danced most of the time.

Then Audrey got braver and decided to give it a try.  This was one of the first nights.  By the last night, she was going all out, singing and doing every single motion.  (I wish I would have video taped that; it was super cute!)

One of the highlights each day for the girls was watching the campers get thrown into the pool after lunch.  If a camper got a package or too many letters, they got thrown in the pool with their clothes on.  Isla especially found this hilarious.  She kept talking and laughing about it:  "Co.  Shoe.  Wa.  Ha, ha, ha, ha!"  (Translation:  Clothes.  Shoes.  Water. ha, ha, ha! )
 After camp is over on the last night, it is tradition for some of the faculty to go eat at Cracker Barrel.  It was a huge crowd this year!