Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween w/ Mom's Sugar Cookies

I've been craving my mom's sugar cookies for months and decided last week would be the perfect time to make some Halloween sugar cookies to enjoy and share with others.

One of my favorite things about this recipe is that the cookies are ready to roll and bake as soon as the dough is mixed. You don't have to refrigerate the dough and wait hours before you can bake!

My kids all wanted to help with the cookies and it was a fun project to do together.

Mom's Best Sugar Cookies Recipe

(This recipe is one my mom has made for as long as I can remember. The recipe calls for shortening, but I prefer to sub butter.)

Mix as for pie crust (I mix in my Kitchenaid)
2 cups of butter @ room temperature
6 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of baking powder

Then add:
2 cups of sugar
2 beaten eggs
1 cup of evaporated milk soured with 1 Tablespoon of vinegar (mix evaporated milk and vinegar and let sit together for a few minutes)
1 teaspoon baking soda (mix this into the milk mixture and then add to batter - hold over bowl while mixing)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Mix and then roll out dough. I like thick cookies, so I keep the dough pretty thick.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes or until the top of the cookies are still white and the bottom of cookies are slightly browned. Do not over bake because soft cookies are the best.

Cream Cheese Frosting

While cookies are cooling, mix up the frosting with a mixer.

4 oz. cream cheese
1 box of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
A splash of milk

Mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla. Then slowly add a splash of milk. Continue adding milk until the frosting is a thick and spreadable consistency. You can add food coloring if desired.

Everyone at our house gave these a big thumbs up!  Let me know if you try these and how you liked them.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Project Life: August 19 - 25

Today I'd like to share another week of my Project Life Album from back in August. This was a pretty typical week for us. School had been back in session for about a month and we were in full swing with homework and after school activities.

When I went to put this week together, I discovered that I didn't take many pictures, so I printed off a screen shot of my calendar to include in a few of the slots.  In ways it's nice when I don't have a lot of pictures because then I need to get creative with things to fill the space.

Teaching Primary @ Church /// The Busy Afternoon Calendar

Rain! (Always an exciting thing in Phoenix) /// Water Softener Garage Flood /// Off to a Meeting /// Fruit Pizza for FHE /// Friday Night Lights

I'm continuing to keep it simple and use up things on my desk. I have a big stack of tags that are my go to embellishment and it's exciting to use up extra supplies.

Hope you are having a great Tuesday!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Happy Day @ Grimaldi's

While we were in NYC this month, we knew that we wanted to have some really delicious thin crust New York style pizza and decided that Grimaldi's Pizza in Brooklyn was the place to go. As I mentioned last week, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. Our destination after crossing the bridge was Grimaldi's. We walked about a mile after getting off the bridge and the kids were not sure if they would survive until lunch.

Once we arrived at Grimaldi's, we were met by a line out the door. We expected the wait and the line thankfully moved pretty quickly.

Each of the kids got to order a bottled soda and Max tried cream soda for the first time. He thought it was a winner!

We (my friend Janet and I plus our 6 kids) almost finished off 3 very large pizzas. I think all of our walking helped us work up a good appetite.

Layout Supplies /// News Flash /// Happening Now /// Harvest Moon ///

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Around Here /// October 2012

Around here today:

Cooking cornbread muffins to take to our church Trunk or Treat Halloween party tonight.

Enjoying cool weather in the mornings and evenings. It was even cool enough to wear boots out last night.

Happy that Ward and I tried out a new restaurant with friends last night. After dinner we enjoyed a couple great rounds of Euchre back at our house.

Watching our kids play soccer this morning was so fun. I love watching the kids happy and doing something they love.

Loving my new fall banner made by my friend Jennie that I bought at a boutique today. The coolest part is that it is reversible and says "give thanks" on the other side. I'll flip it around after Halloween.

Listening to my girls play together. Music to my ears. Audrey is such a kind big sister and is willing to sometimes play Barbies with Hannah. This makes Hannah so happy.

Relieved that we enjoyed two birthday parties, a trip to New York and our daughter's baptism this month. All wonderful events and I'm happy to have the good memories of the events and no worries about planning them anymore.

Relaxing at home with our family this afternoon. It's become a rare treat to get to enjoy an entire afternoon without commitments or places to be.

Thinking we should start putting costumes together to wear to the Halloween party tonight. This is the first year I haven't done anything ahead of time to get costumes ready. Hoping our costume box will have enough supplies.

Trying to work more exercise into my daily routine. Last week I ran three nights during soccer practices and walked around our neighborhood another night with a friend. I like using Runkeeper to track how far/fast I'm running and listen to Pandora to keep me somewhat entertained.

Friday, October 26, 2012

NYC w/kids: Day 1

Earlier this month our family was fortunate to get to spend five days in New York City. I love that place.

We went because my husband had a two day conference to attend and decided to have our family go along since the kids were on fall break. We had our three kids (ages 12, 10 and 8) with us and we all had a blast. We even met up with friends from Baltimore for 3 days of the trip and who also have kids the same ages as our kids.

I thought I'd share what we did while we were there in case you even find yourself planning a trip to NYC and would like some ideas on things to do. Of course, I'm not an expert on NYC, but thought it would be fun to share what we did.

Since we were there for 5 days, I thought I'd share a post for each day of the trip during the next month. So here's a look at what we did on day 1.

Red Eye Flight

Since we were traveling from the west side of the US, we decided to not waste daytime traveling and took a night flight. We departed Phoenix at 11:30 p.m. and we all tried (somewhat unsuccessfully) to get some sleep. We arrived at 7:00 a.m. into JFK and took a taxi to our hotel in Manhattan. We dropped our bags off at our hotel in Union Square and then we were off on our adventure.

Walk, Walk, Walk

The kids thought they might not survive all of the walking we did on the trip, but they did! We were sure to pack good walking shoes for everyone plus a supply of band-aids. One of my favorite things about walking it that you get to see the city and find places you'd miss if ou were on the subway all of the time.

For example, on the walk from our hotel to the Empire State Building we stopped at a cute corner cafe for a delicious bagel breakfast. I was excited that our family all ate breakfast for a total of $9. Not bad for NYC.

You also get to see awesome city views while walking.

We ended up walking at least 40 miles during our time in NYC. Perfect for working off calories from all of the treats we sampled along the way.

Empire State Building

This is something that is fun to do once while in NYC and we hadn't done it as a family. There were people outside of the building trying to get us to buy upgraded tickets to the Empire State Building where we could skip the line, but that would have been a waste of money. The lines weren't bad and moved quickly.

It was a clear day and we had great city views. It was crowded, so we just took our time and waited for our turn to see the views from each side of the observation deck.

New York Public Library

We happened upon the New York Public Library while we were walking from the Empire State Building. I'm so happy we stopped for a look around.

It was a beautiful old building where you could easily spend a whole day exploring and relaxing. Not only do they (obviously) have books, they also had several museum style exhibits. We took some time checking out an exhibit titled "Lunch Hour" that documented the history of lunch in NYC. It was a cool exhibit that my husband, kids and I all enjoyed.


There are so many restaurants in NYC. We used Yelp to help us locate places to eat. On this day we wanted something quick and cheap and we found a pizza by the slice place really nearby. This isn't hard to do since there are pizza by the slice places all over town. It was a perfectly quick and tasty lunch.

9/11 Memorial

We had reserved tickets for viewing the 9/11 Memorial at 1:30 in the afternoon. We took a subway down to the Memorial site. The tickets are free, but you need to reserve and print them at home. They do run out of tickets ahead of time, so if you are planning on going be sure to reserve your tickets as soon as possible.

This was a very peaceful and reflective Memorial that is beautiful and well done. There are two large square fountain structures with waterfalls that are on the site of the Twin Towers. The names of everyone who died on the site on 9/11 are engraved around the outside edge of the fountain.

This was a very reverent place and it was moving to be there.

Visiting this site gave us an excellent opportunity to talk to our kids about what happened that day while we were walking to the site.

There were nice views of the new Freedom Tower that is being built near the memorial site.

Carlo's Bake Shop

We took a PATH train from the World Trade Center site across the water to New Jersey so we could go to Carlo's Bake Shop which is featured on the TLC show Cake Boss. The ride was only 10 minutes and cost the same ($2.25 per person, per ride) as ride the subway in the city.

It was a 5 minute walk from the train station to get to the bakery.

There were cases filled with cakes, cookies, cheesecake, brownies and pastries. Heavenly!  We selected a few things to share and then sat out in front of the bakery to enjoy our treats and the beautiful weather. We decided that the cannoli was our top pick our of the treats.

Central Park

After the bakery, we made our way to Central Park via the train and subway. This is one of our favorite places in the city. We visited Central park 4 out of the 5 days that we were in NYC. The kids LOVED playing on the playground here. It's a perfect place to relax and enjoy the city. There are vendors all around the park selling pretzels, nuts and other small snacks. Since Max's favorite snack is a soft pretzel, he was pretty happy to enjoy a pretzel at the park.

At this point in the day (around 5:30 p.m.) we were all VERY tired since we really hadn't slept much on the plane the night before and had been going hard all day. Everyone was begging me to go to the hotel to take a little nap. I knew we would probably not wake up for hours from the "little nap", so we decided to push through the tiredness and get some dinner before turing in  for the night.

We decided on Max Brenner for dinner because they have the most amazing chocolate drinks and it was close to our hotel. This is a chocolate lovers paradise. They have a huge assortment of chocolate drinks (an entire menu for them) plus the food is quite good. They even dust their fries in cocoa powder. 

We called from Central Park and made a reservation so that we would have to wait for a table. 

By 8:00 p.m we were officially exhausted, so we headed back to our hotel and went to sleep. We slept until 8:00 the next morning and then we were ready to go again. The red eye flight not only is great because you don't use up a travel day flying, it is also a nice option because you are so tired that first night you are adjusted to the new time zone. Since is was only 5:00 p.m. at home, if we had flown during the day, I'm sure the kids wouldn't have wanted to go to bed until hours later.

Thanks for joining me on day 1 of our NYC adventure! Day 2 will be posted soon.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Project Life: August 12 - 18

During the week of August 12, I did a terrible job taking pictures  Our house was broken into on the 12th and that just really through things out of whack. It was a crazy and somewhat stressful week and apparently, that means I wasn't busy taking many pictures.

Luckily we did have a night at a local resort (Arizona Grand) booked for the weekend and there were several photos taken there. We had a free night at the resort because a fire alarm had gone off repeatedly when we had stayed there earlier this summer. Can't complain about a free night at a resort with a waterpark especially during such a crazy week.

Max scored 100% on a math test this week and got to go to the mall for pretzels as a reward. He is very capable in math, but tends to make silly mistakes. We'd told him anytime he gets 100% on a math test this year, then we'd take him to the mall for a pretzel, which is his all time favorite snack.

Pretzel Reward /// Break In /// Cousin Rose /// Texting /// Insurance Forms /// Scouts

Dive-in Movie /// Fountain Playtime /// Lazy River /// Relaxing

Another week has officially been documented! Loving this project!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Our Lego Loving Boy

For the past few years, Max has asked for Legos for his birthday and Christmas. His birthday requests earlier this month were no exception. Max is lucky because his birthday always falls during our fall break and he gets lots of extra time to enjoy his gifts. So the morning after his party, he set to work on the floor by me in my scrapbook room and started building his new Legos sets.

He will sit for hours building until a set is finished. I love that.

It was nice to have a little companion near me while I was working. It was also nice that I thought to pull the camera out and snap some photos.

I love it when these little moments are captured and documented. Sometimes I feel sad that time is going so fast and our kids are growing up so quickly. Looking at these photos reminds me that I still have a sweet young boy at home and that there is still plenty of time to enjoy him before he is all grown up.

Layout Supplies /// News Flash Kit /// Bulletin Kit /// Happening Now Kit

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Project Life: August 5 - 11

After my unintentional blogging hiatus earlier this month, I've decided to get myself organized and planned out my blog posts so that there will be a new one each weekday for the next month. I'm excited to challenge myself to create and share more here.

I've decided to designate Tuesdays and Thursdays as days for sharing Project Life pages. Since I'm pretty far behind on sharing, it may take a while to catch up!

Here's a look at what we were up to back in August.

These pages are a bit of a hodge podge, but I'm okay with that.  At least they are finished! I just pulled and used whatever was on my work desk. One of my favorite things about this project is that it is a perfect way to use up my scraps and embellishment bits from other projects.

Homework in Mom's Office /// Big Bowl of Pasta with Aunt Michelle /// Haboob! /// Music while Working /// First week of Piano Lessons

More Homework /// Sister Picture for National Sister's Day /// First Eye Exam /// Date Night /// Favorite Stuffed Animals /// Grocery Shopping /// Another Date Night (Yes, 2 in one week!)

Loving this project! It's the perfect place for storing all of the daily bits of goodness that occur in our family. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge

Okay, it's been way too long since I've shared something here. Life has been extremely busy. In the past two weeks, our family has taken a 5 day trip to NYC, I was a cochair of a women's night at church and our youngest daughter was baptized. Plus the kids were on fall break which means we are really off schedule. Lots of good stuff going on around here, just not much creative time or blogging.

Now that the kids are back to school and I do not have a big evert to organize, I finally has a little time to create today and decided to play along with Tessa's Color Challenge over on the Scrapbook Circle blog.

The challenge is to use this color palette as inspiration for a page:

Since the News Flash kit is filled with these colors, it was pretty fun to draw inspiration from this palette.

My page is about walking the Brooklyn Bridge while we we visiting NYC. The kids thought they might die from walking so far that day. I think we ended up walking about 12 miles that day! The bridge was about mile 8 on our walking adventures that day. The views of the city for the bridge were fantastic and we also had a nice view of the Statue of Liberty.

I figured that the walking was great since we were stopping numerous times along the way to enjoy treats and delicious food. We even had cupcakes for breakfast that day we walked the bridge. I'm planning on doing another blog post about our NYC trip and all of the great treat places we visited throughout the city, so be on the lookout for that.

I used my Silhouette to cut out the arrows on the page. I just figured out what picture sizes I wanted to use on the page and then set up the cuts so that they would point at each of the pictures. The arrows were a great way to bring in little bits of color and pattern on the page.

Hope you are looking forward to a fantastically productive week!  I am.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Project Life: July 29 - August 4

I'm now back in the groove with Project Life and loving it. My pages are current and that is a great feeling. Each spread is nice on it's own, but with this project I think it's the cumulative album that is where the true importance of the project is. Although my pages are now current, I'm a bit behind with sharing them here.  I won't overrun the blog with tons of PL pages, so I'll share them a couple of times a week until I'm caught up.

Since I was weeks behind, my goal was to catch up and save time by keeping things very simple. At the beginning of the year, I never just printed a full 4 X 6 picture and stuck it in the slot. I'd make the picture smaller and add embellishments. Now a plain photo looks good to me!

Dirty Dishes /// Scrapbook Circle Box Pick Up /// Lunch Receipt /// Night Out with Friends at Lucky Strike

Break from Intense Heat /// Bedtime Stories /// Pool Time /// Homework /// Meds from Tooth Extraction /// Lunch with Friends @ Joe's Farm Grill

When I went to print pictures for this week, I noticed that we had taken  pictures of (and eaten) a lot of treats during this week. I used an insert page to document the goodies.

Homemade Chocolate Shake /// Strawberry Lemonade Slush /// Ollie Cake Cupcakes

Strawberry Feta Salad /// Frozen Pretzels /// Banana Bread

Okay, there's another week completed!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hole in the Rock

We have a little collection of mountains/rocky hills near the Phoenix Zoo that we like to visit once a year or so. One of the mountains in aptly named "Hole in the Rock" because, well, there is a hole in the rock. Someone did some very clever naming sometime in history.

See the little hole at the top of the rocks?  There is a nice 5 minute trail you can use to walk up to the hole and get a good view of the city.

Since we are currently on fall break, we decided to go to the zoo one day last week. Each of the kids brought a friend and after we spent a couple of hours at the zoo, the kids all wanted to climb to Hole in the Rock.  A couple of their friends hadn't every been to Hole in the Rock, we we were excited to show off this cool little spot.

It was over 100 degrees while we were climbing the rock, so I was grateful that this wasn't a long hike. I think everyone finished off their own water bottle while climbing the rock just to try and stay cool. We are definitely looking forward to some fall weather arriving (hopefully) soon.

A lot of the embellishments on this page came from the October Scrapbook Circle printable and a couple of the custom Scrapbook Circle tags that are in the kit this month were used too. It was fun to piece this page together. I couldn't resist using the "You Rock" speech bubble for this page.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Layout Supplies /// News Flash Kit


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