Monday, April 28, 2014

It's Just a Matter of Time

Two Saturdays ago, we celebrated Emily's sweet 16 birthday.

She wanted to do some painting for her birthday. She's quite the artist this one! I love her!

I love her brother Andy too!

I'm not the only one who loves this guy! Look at the love his cousin Sarah is pouring on! Heart melts!
Years ago these two kiddos took up residence in my heart. They cozied in right next to Miss Sofia and Miss Emma Bean. The more the merrier!!

Oh my word! They are so blasted cute! I just want to wrap my arms around them and kiss their foreheads and tell the I wuv them!! I shall restrain myself however. They are much too grown up for that. It would be so-oo embarrassing! And eyes would roll. -sigh-
I am utterly blessed that their Mom, my very good friend Amy, allowed me to love them like my own. I'm ever blessed that she loved my girls as her own.

I couldn't help, as we enjoyed each other's company, laughed, and celebrated Emily's birthday with her Dad, Andy, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends, but miss Amy's presence. 

I can't believe that June first will mark one year since Amy died. How can that be? How can time move on so swiftly? Time, it seems, is no respecter of grief. 

Joy and sorrow, side by side.

The day after Emily's birthday was Easter Sunday. The celebrating continued.

And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit." Having said this, He breathed His last. Luke 23:46

I know what it is to grieve, yet I don't know if it can compare to what Jesus' followers experienced when they watched as the Christ, the son of the Almighty God, their teacher, the One they witnessed perform miracles, their beloved friend was unjustly hung on the cross to die.

I wonder how they managed to move through the days that followed.

I wonder how Jesus death shook their faith.

I wonder if they too felt that time should stand still to mark the moment.

Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb...they found the stone rolled away! They did not find the body of Jesus! They were reminded that, "The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again!" (This passage can be found in Luke 24:1-7)

Jesus had risen from the dead! Jesus conquered death!!

Where time felt as if it should stand still, it moved forward to the fulfilling of the promise.

When Jesus gathered with His disciples...Then He (Jesus) said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Luke 24:46-47

Where their faith, days earlier, may have felt shaken, ROCKED! It was now proved!

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive! 1 Corinthians 20-22

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life! John 3:16

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." 
John 14:6

Time marches on. The question is what is your time moving on to?

This year's Easter celebration left me greatly comforted that though time moves on, because of Jesus, time is moving on to eternity with Him. 

Eternity where, through Jesus, God will...Wipe away every tear from our eyes, and death shall be no more, neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for these things will pass away! Revelations 21:4

Oh yes, Whoever believes in the Son, Jesus, has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:36

Time moves on. I miss my friend very much. I still shed tears. 

Easter is the great comfort!

It's only a matter of time. A short amount of time actually, to have to wait for an eternity of joyous celebration, and to be reunited with dear loved ones!


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie Perfection

Warning! This blog post contains gluten. My apologies.

I've made a lot of cookies over the years.

I mean a lot, a lot.

From after school snacks for the kiddos to fundraising cookie sales.

Did I mention I've made a LOT of cookies??

For a few years I even ran a small business selling my cookies.

Yep, a LOT of cookies!

I've often been asked if I would be willing to share my secret chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Well, there is no secret chocolate chip cookie recipe. I have always honestly shared that I use Nestle Tollhouse morsels, and I have always used the Nestle Toll House recipe

It has always surprised me when I receive a look of shock at this news and hear, "Mine don't turn out that way!"

So my friends, I'm going to share with you my tips for making the perfect Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookies.*

Nestle Toll House recipe

21/4 cup Flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs (I always, ALWAYS, use jumbo size eggs!)
2 cups Toll House semi sweet morsels (I always, ALWAYS! Use 2 cups of chocolate chips! I never, NEVER, use just the 12 ounce bag of chocolate chips! I always use 2 heaping cups of chocolate chips!)
1 large portion of love! (my girls like this part the best!)

The recipe calls for softened butter. Do not allow the butter to get too soft.

When the butter gives slightly, it is soft. In moderate temps, it only takes about 20 minutes for butter to be softened once removed from the fridge. If the temps are high, and humidity is high you want to watch that the butter does not get too soft. If the butter happens to get too soft, say because you get distracted by your children or The Ellen show (could happen), set the butter in the fridge to firm up slightly. 

Cut the butter into chunks and place in mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl combine flour, salt, and baking soda.

I have found that my cookies will turn out with less than desirable results if I use any flour other than Pillsbury flour. I will always, ALWAYS, use Pillsbury flour to make cookies! I highly recommend you do the same.

Pack the flour into the measuring cup. Yes, that's right, I pack my flour.

You're thinking...WHAT??

Do it.

I'm just saying'.

Scoop the measuring cups to overflowing, gently press the flour into the measuring cup, and scrape flat.

When placed into the bowl the flour will hold the shape of the measuring cup.

Trust me! This is especially important when the weather is humid!

Add to the flour the salt and baking soda.

Stir to combine.

In the mixing bowl, add to the butter the granulated and brown sugars.

Mix until combined.

It will look like this.

Add in vanilla and jumbo eggs. Mix well.

Once eggs and vanilla are mixed in, slowly add in the flour mixture one large spoonful at a time, scraping sides of the bowl as needed.

Once all of the flour has been added the dough will look like this.

The dough will be stiff. You will likely need to stir in the last of the flour by hand.

Once the flour is completely incorporated, add in the chocolate chips, 1 heaping cup at a time.

I use my mixer.


Drop dough in spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet.

I highly recommend using dark, nonstick, jellyroll pans for baking your cookies. Mine are Target, CHEFS brand. My baking pans are getting old, but they still make the best cookies. Trust me! The kind of pan you use can alter the way your cookies bake.

If you find that the cookie dough is a little too soft, and sticky, place the pan of unbaked cookie dough drops into the fridge to chill for a few minutes.

Place the pans of cookie dough drops into a preheated 375˚ oven. Bake for 81/2 minutes. Yes, only 81/2 minutes! Check the cookies after 81/2 minutes. If they have slightly golden tops they are done! If the tops are not yet golden, bake for 30 seconds longer.

Immediately, and very gently remove cookies from baking pan. Allow to cool on a cooling rack.


And there my friends is the love!

It doesn't get any better than that!

Unless you add ice cream!

Perfection kicked up a notch!! 

I think you just drooled a little. No worries! I completely understand!!


 * The views and opinions expressed in this blog post as to what is the perfect chocolate chip cookie are the views and opinions of the blogger only and may not be the views and opinions of anyone else.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Note of Thanks

I'm doing a happy dance!!

My domain name,, has been restored! Hurray!!

It could not have happened without the help of Mauro from Google's customer service.

Mauro walked me through accessing a Google admin account that I didn't know I had, and once I learned I had the account, I couldn't access on my own. Eh hem. Not super tech savvy on my part. Yep, I'm very thankful that the Husband provides my tech support!! Love him!!

He made note of the emails back and forth between me and Google as the husband and I struggled to sort out renewing the domain name, prior to the domain's expiration date and after Google made changes to handling domain names. Again couldn't access the necessary account. Bah!

Mauro noted that we were making an effort to renew the domain, but repeatedly received instructions from Google support that didn't work to allow access to previously unknown about account. Double bah!

He then gave my case priority status to get things resolved and restore the domain name. He also kindly mentioned that I wasn't the only one who was struggling with this issue. Yep, my domain name wasn't the only one that was locked up. My lack of techability, (that's right, I'm making up my own word here) my lack of techabilty wasn't completely to blame. Whew!!

I would say that it was my lucky day when Mauro was put on this case!!

Thank you, thank you Mauro!! You're the best!!

And I shall now blog happily ever after!