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Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies …

I have come full circle in my quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie.  After trying dozens of recipes over the years, I have returned to the first chocolate chip cookie recipe that I ever made.  I have determined that everyone’s opinion of “the best” chocolate chip cookie depends on what kind their mothers made.  If your mom made well done, crispy and crunchy chocolate chip cookies, then that kind is your favorite.  If your mother made the kind of chocolate chip cookie that is a little under done and chewy, then that is your favorite kid. 

For years, I’ve tried new recipes for chocolate chip cookies.  I’m always in search of “the perfect” one.  (Which is really going to mess up my kids, because THEIR mother doesn’t have that ONE kind that they were raised on)  It’s been difficult, because Ron and I were raised on different types of cookies. He likes his crisp and crunchy, and I like mine super soft, chewy and gooey.  So I’ve been trying for almost 25 years to find one that makes us both happy.  Each recipe that I’ve tried, I make half or so that I underbake for me, and half or so that I “burn” (as I lovingly call it) for him.

I’m not going to search any longer.  I have made my decision and counted to ten (anyone know what movie that quote comes from?")  I have found the perfect chocolate chip cookie FOR ME, and it is my mom’s recipe for soft chocolate chip cookies.  Especially when they are just warm from the oven, they are crispy on the outside and chewy and gooey in the middle.  So if you like chewy and soft….TRY this recipe.  I think you will love it!  (and I will  continue to “burn” a couple of cookie sheets of them for my wonderful husband !)


This is a picture of my mom and dad on “their bench” at the Fulton County Fair.  I LOVE this picture.  This is my 15th Mother’s Day without my mom, and tomorrow will be the second May 13th without my dad (his birthday).  I love and miss you both!  Happy Mother’s day, Mom, and Happy Birthday, Dad!


  • 1 c. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening (I like butter flavored Crisco sticks)
  • 1 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 5 c. sifted flour
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2 t. baking soda
  • 1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips (I might be guilty of using more!)

Cream butter, shortening and sugars til light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Beat again til light and fluffy.  Sift together flour, salt and soda; stir into creamed mixture.  Add chocolate chips.  Drop dough by rounded teaspoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in 375 degree oven until cookies are brown around the edge but centers are not done, Between 8 and 9 minutes.  Makes 96 cookies.



Saturday, February 9, 2013

Shutterfly book complete!

Whew…what a project.  I had a coupon to that expires next week, so have been cramming out the scrapbook pages for Rachel’s first book.  Big sigh of relief here…it is ORDERED!

Click here to view this photo book larger

You'll love award-winning Shutterfly photo books. Start your own today.

Monday, January 28, 2013

French Market Soup

Ok, so please ignore the fact that I haven’t posted on this blog in a long, LONG time.  Between Facebook, Pinterest, creating Rachel’s senior (!!) scrapbook, work, and attending all the kids activities…well…my time is just tied up in other things.  Once again, I will try to give some time to updating my blog every few days.  No promises, though.

I mentioned on Facebook that I have a HUGE pot of French Market Soup simmering on the stove.  That led to several inquiries as to exactly what that is.  I decided to write it up quickly so that others can enjoy the deliciousness of this soup.

It has been a family favorite for 20 years or so. It’s usually a big hit at family gatherings. It makes a huge pot, and it freezes really well.  Try it!

  • 1 pkg. 15 bean mix
  • 1 meaty ham bone or several pieces of ham
  • 2 bay leaves
  • pinch of thyme

Soak the beans overnight (I usually cheat and do the “quick soak” method on the package) as directed on the package.  Drain.  Simmer the above ingredients in 3 quarts of water for about 3 hours, covered.

Then add:

  • 1 quart of tomatoes (or juice)
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 6 stalks chopped celery and leaves
  • 1 large chopped green pepper (I don’t like green pepper in my soup, so I leave it out)
  • 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • 2 medium chopped onions
  • salt and pepper, to taste.
  • several pieces of raw chicken

Simmer until chicken is done (I have already added the chicken at the same time as the ham bone, but not always).  Remove chicken when it is done, and debone, putting the chicken back into the soup.  Also add

  • 1 pound smoked sausage, sliced thick

10 minutes or so before serving, add some chopped parsley if desired.

(Remember to fish out the bay leaves and cloves before serving.  This is made easier if you tie them into cheesecloth or something before adding to the pot )



Thursday, August 30, 2012

Stuffed Pepper Casserole

…it’s what’s for supper tonight!


  • 4 large green bell peppers
  • 1-1 1/2 lb  ground beef
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (12-14 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
  • 1/2 pound raw bacon
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 2-3 chopped tomatoes (or a can of tomatoes)
  • up to 2 cups shredded cheddar (optional)


Cut tops off peppers and set aside (for later use).  After removing seeds/membranes, cut each pepper into 8 pieces.  Cook peppers in boiling water for 3-5 minutes.  Remove and place in the bottom of a casserole dish.  (A 7x11 pan would be a good size.  This dish is EASY to add to if you want to use a 9 x 13)


Brown ground beef and onions.  Add salt, pepper, rice, corn, tomatoes and sauce.  At this point you can also add black beans if you like them…or pinto beans…and we really like it with jalapeno peppers sliced into the mix as well. Heat through.

Spread hot filling on top of peppers.  


Top with pepper tops, (only 4 pepper tops is never enough to cover the whole casserole, but it looks nice)  raw bacon slices and cheese (or cheese and then bacon…whichever you prefer.)


Bake stuffed peppers at 350° for 30 minutes, or til the bacon is done.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Wow. Just….WOW!

It’s August, and I’m not ready.  Mentally…I think it must be, oh, about June or so.  I really, really, REALLY want to flip the calendar page over and discover that it is June again. 

It was really such a wonderful summer here this year.  Cameron was home and manager of the pool.  Rachel worked as a lifeguard.  We had no traumas, no sickness, no hospital visits, no deaths this summer.  Instead we had our niece Jenna’s wedding to the amazing Justin Brown (We’re SO glad you are now officially part of our clan!) and a graduation (Congrats to Adam!)  Caleb was able to be home for a long weekend or a week at a couple of different times.  Ron and I got a couple day trip in to a lake side hotel along Lake Michigan in Wisconsin (the trip also included some beer brewery tours and some shopping)  Ethan enjoyed low key time vegging out with his friend Uriah.  They ran a LOT this summer.

We all spent time alternately loving our dog to death and being frustrated by some dumb dog behavior (why does he want to run away from us?  He LOVES us!)

So, since it was such a nice…pleasant (although the hottest summer on record in a long time!) summer, I’d just like a do-over.  I know that reality won’t allow that.  I know that God has plans for my next few months (and years), and I need to joyfully walk toward that future and not spend too much time dwelling on what I WISH I was still doing.  But really….I do wish it were always summer, always sunny and I were always sitting by a lake …clear…blue, beautiful lake.

Part of my not wanting to face the year ahead is that it is Rachel’s last year home.  I’ve promised her already that I’ll cry at the silliest (to her) things. But that I won’t be able to help it.  She’s making big decisions, doing great things.  Running Cross-country…(I’m going to miss watching her run in those things!) Drum Major in marching band (she does AWESOME, and I love watching her), playing beautiful music on our piano(might the the thing I’m going to miss the most!), and her playing the organ at church.  She’s at a point in our lives where she isn’t stressful to be around.  She’s just a joy to sit and visit with and work with.  I’m going to miss her terribly.  But before I miss her terribly, I’m going to enjoy every moment we have together!

So….no pictures in this post (I don’t have my pics all on this computer yet, but had to give up on my old one til I get it cleared out).  I’m sure there will be some senior pictures posted soon, as well as band, cross country, music performances and who knows what else!

Praying that Jesus helps me to keep a positive outlook on what He has planned for me this week!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy 17th, Rachel!

We DID celebrate on her birthday.  I have pictures to prove it.  I just am not sure where the weeks have gone since then (although…my kindle has been in my hands almost constantly…I’m either on the couch reading, or out on the deck reading….have I mentioned that I LOVE SUMMER?)

Anyway, to celebrate Rachel’s big day, she told Ethan she wanted him to make her cake.  She wanted “white cake and funfetti frosting”.

So….we bought a white cake mix.  Does it matter if the COLOR is actually white or not?  I hope not, ‘cause we made her a tie dye cake.  It was pretty awesome, if I do say so myself!

First, Ethan made the cake as directed on the package.  Then, he divided the cake into 6 fairly even portions.  He added food color til the batter was the color he was looking for.  I really wanted to try it with neon colored food coloring, but we had to go with what we could get at our little store here in town.

Then, he layered the colors.  He put most of the purple in the bottom of pan 1.  Then he put just a LITTLE less blue on top of the purple.  And then a little less of the green than he used of the blue…and so on with the yellow, orange and red (ending with just a fairly small spoonful of the red.




Then, in the second pan, he did the opposite, using all the rest of each color, but using lots of red, and then there was a little less orange, and less yellow, etc.


Then, we baked, cooled, frosted and decorated the cake.




Next, we took pictures.

The beautiful, amazing, talented, creative, funny, smart, adorable, kind and loving BIRTHDAY GIRL!!


You bring joy and laughter, sunshine and happiness to me.  I’m SO glad to have you as my daughter!  I really can’t wait to see what all God has planned for you!  I just know it’s gonna be AMAZING!


And these are her amazing friends, Alexis and Katelyn.  I love these 3 girls! 

And then we sang.  And then we ate it!  And it was beautiful AND delicious!



Happy birthday, Rachel!!

Memorial Day

Fredericksburg always has a really nice Memorial Day service.  Our Middle School band performs the theme songs from the different branches of the military.  They did a great job again this year! 



One of the highlights of the program is always a flyover , but they flyover so fast that I rarely get a picture!  This is one from 2009….the last year that I was able to capture the shot.


Then we came home, grilled out and had a relaxing day.  I LOVE summer time!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Are you tired of hearing about our dog yet?

If so…sorry.  He’s just a BIG part of the activity around our house right now!

We really want him to learn to play fetch/Frisbee.  He loves, loves, LOVES to fetch…but he’s not so good at the bringing it back and dropping it part yet.  But we’re working on it!


Look how nicely he sits while waiting for Ethan to throw the Frisbee!







and the tired boys walk home…