Monday, October 27, 2008

The Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies

These bad boys are a frequent request from my kitchen. My sister will come to town and ask if I'm making them, Sofia will remind me when I haven't made them in awhile, and OHSU even been paid me to make 12 dozen of them last year! Many have asked for my recipe and so I'm going to post it here. I'm a firm believer in sharing recipes. If someone else can benefit and learn from my recipes than I'm that much happier of a baker and cook. I think it's silly when people won't share their recipes as if it's some huge family secret that only those born into a family can benefit. I like to share and I believe when you have something great that others can enjoy, you should share!!



1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cup unsifted all purpose flour (may need extra flour)
2 cup chocalte chips
1-2 cups M&M’s® or nuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Beat in salt and baking soda.

Gradually add flour one cup at a time. The mixture may need more flour above what the recipe indicates. To determine if the mixture needs more flour, wash your hands and touch the dough. If the dough is extremely sticky to your fingers, it needs more flour. Note: by not adding more flour you can count on a very flat cookie.

Begin by adding 1/2 cup additional flour at a time.

Beat or mix the dough until the flour is well mixed.

Repeat the sticky test. Continue to add flour until the dough is not sticking to your hands. After you add sufficient flour (usually an additional 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 more cups flour).

Add the chocolate chips and any additional ingredients (i.e. M&M’s ®, nuts)

Lightly grease cookie sheet and roll small to medium-large sized balls in your hands and then place on the cookie sheet. I like to use a food scale to weigh my cookie dough in 1 or 2 oz balls. The recipe will produce around 50 1 oz cookies and just over 2 dozen 2 oz cookies.

Bake 8-12 minutes, depending on the oven.

Watch your oven and the cookies as they bake to determine the necessary amount of time to bake in your oven. Cookies are done when they are just barely starting to turn golden. If the cookies turn golden brown throughout, you can count on them being soft and moist the day they are baked but they will harden the next day. That is why pulling them out of the oven right when they're just starting to turn golden is essential to having a cookie that will stay soft and moist as if you just cooked them that day! (that is if they even last longer than a day!)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Church of the Grid Iron

Quick pic at the game. We weren't about to let someone take our picture for us with our Nikon D60, Nigel. This was the best we could do holding the camera ourselves!

A gorgeous view of the Seattle skyline. Btw, We actually spent our honeymoon in Seattle over 7 years ago!

Yes, that's the church we attended while in Seattle, Sunday, October 12th. The Green Bay Packers were in town to battle the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field and we were fortunate enough to get tickets! It was the first NFL game Ryan and I have ever attended. It was also our first date out sans ninos since way before Sydnei was born. Gratefully, my Mom and sister, Darci, watched the girls while we spent the day together. (Thanks a million!)

National Anthem

Seahawks enter the field.


It was awesome to be at a live football game. Ryan's childhood friend and high school teammate, Brady Poppinga, plays for the Packers so it was even more cool to watch him play live. He's a starting linebacker and #51.

The night before, we dined with Brady at an awesome fish house on the pier and it was a lot of fun to watch those two catch up. They joked about old times and we laughed about new times--especially raising young crazy kiddos.

QB Aaron Rodgers #12

I scored a shot of the last touchdown that sealed the deal on the Packers' win.

The game was exciting to watch as we screamed, and ate hot dogs, cotton candy, and popcorn! (So we're fat kids--but hey that's what you do at a football game!) The fans were awesome as the Packers have quite the following (see pics below). We were seated in an area where to the left of us were a bunch of Seahawks fans and to the right were the cheese heads--a.k.a.--Packers fans. Our locale definitely made for an entertaining game!

Diehard Cheese head.

Gotta love the contrast of fans in this pic. Clearly the Packers fan is more dedicated.

My hot hubby. Love you!

The cotton candy hit the spot, it had been YEARS since I had eaten it!

Packers won the game: 27-17.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Swimming in Seattle

The weekend of October 11-12th we took a little road trip to Seattle with my Mom. Conveniently, it's only a 2 1/2 hour drive. My sister, Darci, lives there so we got to hang out with her, enjoy the beautiful weather and stay at a hotel. The first thing we did when we checked in was find the swimming pool. Sofia has been dying to show off her latest kicking skills she's been learning in swimming lessons so off we went. It was fun to put Sydnei in the water for the first time ever. She was pretty tranquil and watched her little sister like a hawk. Good times, good times.

Holding on for dear life, Sofia practices her kicks.

Me and my girls. Sydnei looks half asleep or drunk depending on how you look at it!
I love my girls!

Swimming with Papi for the first time.

Papi and his girls.

Papi y Sydnei. PRECIOUS!

Having fun with Papi.

We made some sweet memories that day. We can't wait to go swimming again!

More Natalie and Sofia Fun

A couple of weeks ago, Natalie came over to play with Sofia for the afternoon. These two can be quite dramatic. They'll pretend play for awhile, change their clothes fifty times, get in a little quarrel over what they're going to do next, make up, and then repeat the same process. At one point, I noticed they were having a hard time getting to the make up stage and it ocurred to me they were probably hungry. So, I went upstairs to tell them they would soon be served and to be ready to dine in Sofia's bedroom. Their eyes immidiately lit up and all they could keep asking was "What are we going to eat?" "Do we really get to eat in my room?!?!" I explained it was a surprise and that they needed to wait patiently at their table. They quickly sat down and even invited their "ponies" to join them in the highchair.

I returned with a half banana for each of them on a pink plate. They quickly scarfed that down, and anxiously awaited the main course. What is every kids' favorite food? Yes, you guessed it, mac n' cheese. When I returned they were over-joyed to see their bowls of mac n' cheese and kept saying how much FUN they were having. Sofia said: "Mom, this is so cool, you know it's my favorite." Natalie added: "Yeah, I love mac n' cheese, we even have matching bowls and plates!"

I left them alone to indulge and returned for some pictures. Here are a few of the sweet shots I captured of their lunch date. Remember, when all else fails, a little mac n' cheese with a change of scenery will go a long way. Works every time!

This is so gooooood!!

Cheers! (gotta love Sofia's milk mustache)


Monday, October 20, 2008

BFF Natalie Espino's 5th B-day

We have some stellar friends, the Espinos. Their daughter, Natalie is one of Sofia's BFF's. These two are two peas-in-a-pod. They are both independent, humorous, crazy, and dramatic. So much personality you don't know what to do with it all. September 25th, Natalie turned 5. Her mom Amy and I, took the girls on a movie date to see Wall-e (the only g-rated flick in the theatre). It happened to be canned food festival day so we got in by each taking 3 cans of food for the Oregon food bank. The girls got a kick out of handing over the food for their tickets. It was a very cute movie. The girls kept cracking up and each enjoyed their OWN bag of popcorn AND drink (compliments of the canned food festival). Afterwards, we took some pics of these two. They are hilarious and so entertaining when they're together.

So excited, they were literally climbing the walls.

Little sissy, Sophia, Natalie, and Sofia

Since Wall-e has been out since summer, the poster is no longer up. So the girls chose the Chihuahua poster to pose in front of. Silly girls.

Sydnei chillin' in her car seat after the movie. She sat in my lap the ENTIRE time watching the movie with us.

What a fun movie date. The following day, Friday, we made pizza at the Espino's house and decorated an orange butterfly cake to celebrate with Natalie and her family. Fun memories. Yumm-o food. Happy Birthday, Natalie! Thanks, Espinos!

Sydnei Nicole at 3-months Old

Yes, everyone, Sydnei turned three months old almost one month ago! So yeah, a bit behind but that's ok, really. I can't even express how much fun we have with this little baby girl. The biggest highlight in her third month of life was our discovery of her natural attraction to elephants. Yes, elephants. She lights up at the sight of any elephant she sees. Her eyes get super big and she makes little coos and gurgles at them. She has a gymini play mat that she's been playing on and insists (we can tell by her sudden cries) that she must be underneath the elephant. She'll play with this purple little guy for 45 minutes reaching for him and talking to him. Precious.

I can't wait to take her to the circus when she's older and watch her experience her very first elephant ride. Awesome.

Little Miss Independent

Sofia is just that. She was born independent, a natural born leader, and ready to conquer the world. Juggling dos bambinos is a challenge and requires every ounce of multi-tasking talents I can muster. So when our Miss Independence picks her own clothes, gets herself dressed, and does her own hair, it really helps the process of getting everyone dressed and ready to start our day. At 4 years old she's seen here blow drying and styling her own hair all-by-herself!!!

"Papi, I can blow my hair all by myself!"

"here's this side"

"and this side..."

All done. Check me out!

Tagged...Random Stuff!

My cousin, Meredith, tagged me to share 7 random things about myself. I think ya'll are going to get a kick out of a few of these!

1. I can never EVER find my keys. I literally throw them where-ever when I walk into the house or someone else's house for that matter!

2. I hardly ever wear a coat even when it's really cold. I did this when we lived in Utah and it snowed there! I'm just hot-natured, I guess.

3. I can pretty much quote the entire movie, Tommy Boy.

4. I pluck my eyebrows while driving. Lindy has hated this about me since we were missionary companions 9 1/2 years ago! Some things never change.

5. I'm addicted to the white noise of a fan when I sleep at night.

6. I have to have all clothes and towels folded and stowed PERFECTLY and facing the same direction or I will un-do and re-fold it all! Just ask anyone who has ever helped me do laundry.

7. I HATE to iron. I'd rather scrub a toilet. My husband is the King of "Ironing" but since he has 25+ dress shirts and slacks we use our local environmentally-friendly dry cleaners. Some conveniences are truly worth every penny.

I tag: Lindy, Tori, Lori, Rach, Michelle, and Amy. Thanks, Meredith--this was fun!!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Take a Picture, It'll Last Longer

In the midst of our morning rush to get dressed, have breakfast, and pile into the car to go to school, I just had to take a picture(s) of Miss Sofia. That's right, for the first time this year she is actually wearing PANTS! And when I say this year, I mean 2008!

The child is convinced that princesses only wear dresses. In fact, we didn't even have to buy one pair of shorts this summer, she wore a dress every day. Might I add Sofia has at least 20 dresses. Luckily, she has a Great Grandma Holgate that supplies her princess craving with the cutest handmade dresses and does so in style. If only I had the talents of Great Grandma Holgate. When she attended soccer camp this summer, she only had shorts to wear because Auntie Syd (a BIG thank you!) sent her them for her birthday! They were pink and with flowers, so she managed. :)

Sofia is attending preschool at the Westside Dance Academy here in Tigard. They incorporate tap dance and gymnastics into the curriculum and so she has to wear a leotard to school each day (under every dress). This morning, when we were getting dressed her leotard's were all
dirty (I'm so behind on laundry) and consequently she couldn't wear a dress. The skirts she owns that have shorts built in would suffice but since we couldn't find any, pants were the only option. It took about 15 minutes to convince her to wear the pants. I followed her all around upstairs with the PINK pants in hand saying they were her only option while she frantically looked in her closet, dresser, under her bed and in even in her toy bins for a leotard or skirt but to no avail. She turned to me and said: "Well, Mom, they're pink. I guess princesses can wear pink pants and they'll look so cute with my new pink and black shoes!" WOW. Could you get anymore girly than that? I love my Sofia, she cracks me up!

It was her idea to take some pictures because and I quote: "We need to send a picture to Papi at work, he isn't going to believe it!" Yes, her words exactly. And well, these pictures will always serve as a memory of the day Sofia actually wore pants. Check out the proof below:

Showing off the pink pants and the pink and black shoes.
She is holding the fresh dandilions she just picked for me. Cuteness.

"Let me pose like this, Mom!

"See, Mami, I can stand on one leg, I learned that in gymnastics!"