Family Life

How Tos


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Big Sugar Cookies!

Oh my gosh you guys, two words: SUGAR. COOKIE.

What's not to love? Two of my favorite things smushed in to one delicious snack (or is a cookie a dessert? Who can tell anymore...)!

Why BIG sugar cookies?  Well, only a select few "in the know" folks will have an answer to THAT question :-)

I had been threatening to learn to make decorated cookies for the LONGEST time and I finally decided to do it, sugar cookies were SO much easier than I thought they would be.  I had all of the ingredients in my kitchen already, and there was literally nothing particularly difficult about them.  It was just your typical, make a day ahead cookie dough, then roll, cut, bake and decorate!


Big Sugar Cookie Recipe

Prep time: 20 min
Chill time: 24 hrs
Bake time: 7 minutes



 1 cup margarine or butter, at room temp
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp lemon or almond extract
5 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt


5 tbsp. of butter
2 tbsp. milk
2 cups powdered sugar
food color or flavorings as desired


  1. Cream room temp butter and sugar together until fluffy, add other wet ingredients, mix to combine.  In a separate bowl whisk remaining dry ingredients together, then combine with wet.  Stir until JUST mixed.  Separate into two disks and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F
  3. Roll out dough onto a powder sugar-ed work surface.  Use powdered sugar the same as you would flour to keep the dough from sticking.  Cut out your cookies into whatever shapes you'd like and place them on baking trays.
  4. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until done, set aside to cool on wire racks.
  5. While cookies are cooling, grab two ketchup bottles (you know those cheap squeezy bottles with the pointy top, like this
  6. Also grab two microwave safe bowls, melt 3 tbsp. and 2 tbsp. in separate bowls.  Add 1 cup of powdered sugar and 1 tbsp. of mix to both.  Stir.  The one with 3 tbsp. of butter should be very liquidy, if its not then add milk.  The one with 2 tbsp. of butter should be very stiff, if its not add powdered sugar. 
  7. Add food coloring as desired and put frosting into condiment bottles.
  8. Use the stiffer frosting to edge the cookies, then flood the middle with the liquid frosting.
  9. Allow frosting to set for 5-10 minutes, the add words as desired with stiffer frosting.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

For no reason at all...

I was cleaning out Jaylee's closet and preforming the ever melancholy ritual of packing away clothes that are too small to ever be worn again when I came across the cutest dress I had picked up earlier this year at a little consignment shop in NC.  I realized that despite its picture perfect design, I never found quite the occasion to dress her up in it.  The dress was size 12 months and as Jaylee is over 20 months I figured there was no way it could possibly still fit her and it would have to be boxed up with the rest of her 12 month clothes but before I did that I had to try, JUST ONCE to see if I could squeeze her it.
Obviously from the photos you know how this story ends, it was as if the dress was made JUST for her!  It was the "Cinderella's slipper" of dresses.  Perfection!  As luck would have it, this also happened to be the only day in Jaylee's entire toddler life that she chose to sit still long enough for me to FRENCH BRAID her hair into PIGTAILS!  Thus...the impromptu, for no reason at all, photo shoot was born!  Enjoy!

About 10 minutes after we started randomly walking around the yard taking photos, Jaylee became FASCINATED by mushrooms, she kept picking them and studying them, trying to taste them, and then finally attempting to build a tiny mushroom house with them.  We might have a budding mycologist on our hands :-)

Finally as we were wrapping up and heading inside, the most delightful thing happened, while the chickens are typically a curious bunch, they don't ever get too close to the toddler...until today!

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Banana Muffins

For every single mom I know, having a toddler in the house means having a LOT of bananas in the house.  Having a lot of bananas means you will, eventually, have a lot of over-ripe bananas when your toddler goes on a completely random banana strike.

In these instances I typically make a couple banana breads and move on with my life, but this week my toddler has been on a CRAZY muffin kick, so we decided to try making some banana MUFFINS!

They are moist, delicious, and basically just a tiny muffin liner of YUM!  I hope you enjoy them as much as we did! 

Banana Crumb Muffins 

Yield: 12 muffins
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time:


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Crumb Topping

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon cold butter, shredded/grated with a microplane



1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Line muffin tin with muffin liners.
3.  In one bowl mix the flour through cinnamon, in another bowl mix the bananas through extract.  Combine the dry into the wet ingredients, mix and spoon into liners.
4.  Mix the crumb topping ingredients in a bowl by hand until crumbly, sprinkle over muffins.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, or until cooked through.



- Store muffins in a container with the top slightly ajar at room temperature for up to three days.


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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Blooming and Growing

I know I've been neglecting you blog - I'm so very sorry, but you see I LOVE to garden almost as much as I love to take pictures and that means when the snow melts up here in cold cold New Hampshire I am one BUSY  BEE!
I promise to tell you all about the raised beds I built this year and show you how I restored some beautiful 30 year old garden beds that had been neglected by its previous owners.  I'll tell you all about how I propagated bushes from friend's and neighbor's yards and everything else I've been up to this past month for now, but for I only have time for one quick post so I thought I'd show you what spring in New Hampshire looks like so you can see for yourself why I haven't been in front of a computer screen lately, enjoy!

Our Dwarf Lilacs

Our Dwarf Rhododendrons

Full Sized Rhododendrons

More Dwarf Rhododendrons

More Full Sized Rhododendrons

Wild Honeysuckle

The new strawberry patch

More strawberries

The beets sprouting up

The beets growing under the tomato plants

Some mystery pepper plants we acquired sharing a box with tomatoes

All nine new veggie beds standing proudly waiting for woodchips to fill in the walkways.

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