I found his cookies


David came home from practice yesterday, made a protein shake in the blender, took a shower, and then wandered back into the kitchen and said in his morose-sounding Eeyore voice, “I think I want to make chocolate chip cookies.”  “Do it!” we all cried.

“Mom, where’s your recipe.”

“I just use the one on the bag but add more flour.”


He wanted walnuts in them but couldn’t find them.  I knew this by the loud moans and groans, so I ran to the kitchen to pull out a stool to help him look.  When I found them I sang a happy celebration song, sort of bragging, until he said, “Okay, stop.” in his dry way.

David is charming to me.  I used to blog about him the way he was when he was a little boy and all the interesting things he would do….catch birds with homemade traps, catch turtles, draw comics, fish, swim in his underwear, read interesting books, make crafts, say interesting things as only he can say them.

I still blog about him the way he is, with his shirt off, now 16 years old, working on cookies, trying to take a 8 minute nap on the couch as each tray bakes, and suddenly noticing “Mom has the camera out.”




“I think I feel sick,” he admitted.  “Too much cookie dough.”


Sarah started watching him.

“Dave?  What kind of cookies are you making?  If you answer me now, I won’t ask you again later!”

“Sarah go away.”

“Dave, how can you be so mean, I never heard her ask a question so sweetly!”

“I know!  She’s being FAKE.  I can’t STAND FAKE WOMEN.”

She’s not even nine yet.


“Just so everyone knows, these are MY cookies, I’m going to hide them and save them for rewards.”

He has to watch his weight for wrestling so I think this is smart.

He likes to put cookies in the toaster to warm them up.

He doesn’t wear an apron, he doesn’t need to, because skin is easy to clean.

He tidied up his mess somewhat, but this morning when he was gone at school I scrubbed the cookie sheets with hot soapy water and put them away.  I also got to eat the one solitary remaining cookie for breakfast, dunking it into my coffee.  Thinking about my son.  The walnuts and chocolate tasted so good.

Later on, when I wasn’t thinking about him at all, I found his cookies.


bird pics//sugar crinkle cookie recipe

Monday night we had two baseball games at the same time so Rich and I wandered between two fields, it was freezing cold outside and I had a winter coat, a pair of jeans over leggings, gloves, a big scarf, boots on my feet, and a thick blanket around myself like a native american.  We watched more of Caleb’s game than Seth’s because the older kids know more about the game and therefore do more exciting things.  Seth’s team surprised us, though, we saw a few nice plays and Seth got the game ball.

Yesterday Dave had an orthodontist appointment at 11.  I was out in the field until the very last moment and then rushed to get him from school.  Afterwards we went to Panera for lunch.  He was craving a broccoli and cheese soup bread bowl.  We sat near the garbage can and were shocked at how much food grown ups were throwing away.  For example, we were there for about 20 minutes and two people threw away their entire bread bowl after just eating the soup out of the inside, “criminal” says Dave.  One wonders if the parents say the words, “finish what’s on your plate” any longer.  Or, “don’t let your eyes be bigger than your stomach.”

Yesterday’s after school activities were 1) Dave had a baseball game 2) Seth had a baseball game, and 3) Caleb had a band concert.  All at the same time.

I made tacos for dinner, dropped D and S off at their respective fields, went back home to get C, and went to the concert while Rich got home from work, changed his clothes, and went to S’s game.  I pulled Caleb out of the auditorium as soon as band (the only thing he was in) was over because I just could not/would not sit through another 2 hours of chorus and awards, and we went to D’s game down the road just in time to see him get his one and only up to bat–a nice base hit.  Seth’s team lost, David’s team won by the mercy rule so we were home just in time for Dave to watch his favorite TV show “Flash” at 8pm with Michael and the girls (who had stayed home together).  In fact, David’s baseball expertise is stealing bases and his nickname is “Flash”.  oh boy.  Have I mentioned he’s taller than I am now?  This morning I am washing dirt and taco sauce off of his white baseball pants because he didn’t eat his dinner until after the game.

This morning I’ve been crazy busy trying to get the upstairs ready for the professional carpet cleaner guy to come at 10.  Although we use a gate on the bottom of the stairs, Parker continues to do some “marking” in Sarah’s room whenever he finds it left open and although I cleaned it the best I could with my small shampooer, I felt it was time for the big guns, so to speak.  The carpet guy is also cleaning two area rugs on the main floor.  Jacob is sleeping downstairs in his room.

The dog is not on my good side as he is also digging huge holes in my gardens.  HUGE!

Tonight David has another game and Caleb has practice.  And the weather is till winter-like.  (currently 50 degrees)

Jacob is going to drive to Vermont to get Ethan tomorrow with Rich’s truck because E is done with finals and ready to come home for the summer.   Grace and Jacob are both going to Senior banquet on Friday and then…….FRIDAY is ALSO Brimfield antique show with my brother, sisters, and sons and the weekend is more sports and church and then next week Rich is gone on a business trip and Ethan starts his new job………and life is just going too fast……all I can do is employ a good sense of humor and let out a necessary ahhhhh (scream) now and then.

so let us watch birds and make cookies for a little rest and relaxation, shall we?


I took these photos yesterday from 9 to 10 in the morning.

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As I took these I thought I was shooting the same yellow bird, but when I got home and looked at them closer I realized they were different.  One has a black mask.  Taking bird photos is surprisingly hard, imagine trying to focus from across the room on a ping pong ball during a game.  And then put trees, branches and leaves in the way.

Maybe bird watching isn’t as relaxing as I thought.  LOL

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These birds were moving around in the grass so quickly I didn’t even know they were sparrows until I looked at the photos later.


Ah, now we’re seeing something exciting…..

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I ADORE the colors in these bluebird photos.  So calming.

Aren’t the early springtime trees beautiful?

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My friend Mr Mallard Duck, I saw him the other day, too.  I refrained from saying an excited Hello as I did not want to scare anyone else away.


like this Solitary Sandpiper!  I do so love to see these birds.  They do the funniest motions when they walk, bobbing up and down.  They are pretty little water birds with long legs and a long beak.  It’s my favorite photo of the bunch, I love the reflection in the water, the muddy bank and the blurred out grasses in the foreground.  Not to mention the bird itself is pretty, too.


Delicious cookies for Mother’s day or any other day!

Sugar Crinkles

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup shortening (I used half butter and half butter flavored crisco)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Cream together the sugar, brown sugar, shortening, vanilla, and egg.  Add the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.  Mix well.  Roll into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar.  Place the balls about 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake in a 350 oven for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

I was a little late picking up Grace from school the other day because these were baking in the oven but she was pacified with three fresh and warm cookies (the ones in the picture!) when I finally arrived.

candy cane cookies


1 cup butter


1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

cream in mixer


add 1 egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla


1 teaspoon peppermint extract


cream all together


then add 2 1/2 cups flour


half a teaspoon salt and mix well.


divide dough in half; mix red food coloring into half the dough

chill until firm enough to handle


now comes the fun part: playing with the dough

make two ropes with each color dough, twist together into a cane.



bake each tray at 375, 8-10 minutes



PS, Dave, I was texting you the whole time I did this blog post.

my new garbage disposal


“There is often more wisdom to be found at the edges of life than in its middle.  Life-threatening illness may shuffle our values like a deck of cards.  Sometimes a card that has been on the bottom of the deck for most of our lives turns out to be the top card, the thing that really matters.  Having watched people sort their cards and play their hands in the presence of death for many years, I would say that rarely is the top card perfection, or possessions, or even pride.

“Most often the top card is love.”

My Grandfather’s Blessings, by Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.


Good morning, friends.

When I first woke up this morning, I sat in my bed with a cup of hot coffee and listened to the wind.  It was a lovely autumn wind, yellow leaves were flying past the windows.  Wind chimes were loud enough to hear and their music was saying, “It’s a windy morning!”

It has died down some, and the rain of yesterday is past, leaving clean fresh air and a brilliant blue sky.  It’s hardly 50 degrees and feels invigorating but chilly.

I’m eating lunch as I type; vegetable soup.

The children are home from school for Columbus Day.  Sarah Joy had a dentist appointment at 9, which I was not looking forward to after her year of kidney stone adventures.  She was so sweet and brave until the last when the tears came…..she was worried that the dentist would pull her loose tooth out right then and there.  The dental hygienist was sweet and understanding with Sarah.  As a mom, that meant the world to me.


On Saturday we spent the entire day at the football field.  Rich, myself, Sarah, Seth, and Caleb.

Rich officiated Seth’s game.  Seth made several good plays as a quarter back (at his level, the boys take turns trying different positions).  I was able to get this series of photos showing an impressive pass to his teammate, who did a great job at catching the ball.


Seth with the ball……


…..ball in the air……


…..with a catch and first down!   Not bad for 6 and 7 year olds!

We had time to leave and eat dinner before Caleb’s game, which they won brilliantly.

It was raining on and off the whole day and we were soooooo ready to be home afterwards.


I love this little girl with all my heart.


And this one, too.  Rich took Grace with him to go get a new garbage disposal.

The other day I was tired and grumpy but trying very hard to not say anything.  Zak was here and he played a prank on Jacob in the kitchen.  Jacob had left his cup of coffee on the counter while he went to the bathroom, and while he was gone, Zak put coins and butter in his coffee.  I was in the kitchen, working, saw everything, and became annoyed.  Jacob came out and dumped his coffee down the drain, and into the garbage disposal went the coins.  I continued to be annoyed and I said to Jacob, “YOU put your hand down there and get the money out.”  I assumed he did and the next day when I used the disposal it of course made (along with me) a terrible noise of distress and woe.  I instantly knew what had happened and was mad this time.  I put my hand down there and retrieved two almost unrecognizable pennies.  I got the broom and used the end of the handle to try to get the disposal moving again, but no.  I sent Jacob a text saying *no friends this week* (it was last week now) and he was still saying things like “It wasn’t me, it was Zak”…. like I cared WHO it was, which I did not—as long as I was not the one to have to deal with the messes of teenagers.  “It was only one penny” they insisted.  Rich was alway on a business trip and now my garbage disposal wasn’t working at all.  As a homemaker, this was very unsettling.  I called the plumber and he fixed several things (like a drippy faucet in the bathroom) but said he would have to get to the disposal in a few weeks.  When Rich had time to look at it on Sunday, he discovered a QUARTER stuck so tightly in the disposal that there was nothing to be done but buy a new one.  Thankfully, the disposal was old anyway and honestly needed to be replaced or I would still be annoyed at this moment.  (I am over it and Can Now Laugh).

Rich and Grace came home with a garbage disposal so quiet I don’t believe it’s even working because I’m used to my old one that was as loud as a chainsaw and dripped gray water into a bowl under the sink each time I used it.


While they were out shopping for the disposal, I had asked Ethan *which would he rather take back to college with him, brownies or cookies* and he picked cookies and said, “Thanks Mom” which completely melted my heart.  He kept coming in the kitchen to eat the dough.  My kitchen was a mess because the disposal wasn’t working.  True!  Really!  🙂


I made the best chocolate chip cookies ever and even snuck in some wheat flour.  I pressed pumpkin seeds on top of a dozen (kids won’t eat them, of course).  Ethan took about a dozen with him to school.


This is an easy snack for the kids….buy a loaf of garlic bread at the store and bake it according to the package directions.  Then, open up the loaf and put some sauce, cheese, and dried basil and bake it again until it’s done.  Glorified french bread pizza.


I watched David play the piano.


And noticed Gentleman Gray sleeping in an odd place with his leg sticking out.  🙂


We ended up sitting on the floor in the corner together, petting the cat.


Jacob made the trip to Vermont yesterday with his brother.  They took Grace and Tessa along, and Zak, too.  Although it was sad to have to say goodbye to Ethan again, I heard this morning that they had a very nice time together on their little road trip, listening to music and stopping for coffee and a buffet for dinner.


The view from the porch yesterday evening was stunning.


“Blessing the life in someone usually requires a deep respect for their uniqueness, an openness to allowing them to uncover who they are rather than shaping them into who we want or need them to be.  Innately, blessing life confers a greater freedom on those we bless.”  ~Rachel N. Ramen, M.D. 

i’ll triple the recipe for you


My dear little children,

I love you so much.
I’ll give you all the hugs you want.
I will wash your dirty clothes every day.
I will drive you all over the place.
I will bring your forgotten stuff to school for you.
I will watch your plays and games.
I will laugh at you, and with you.
I will take many pictures of you, because I think you are cute.
I will let you stay up late sometimes.
I will read you books.
I will nurture you.
I will triple the cookie recipe for you.


That’s a lot of cookies.

three days in


It’s November 3rd and on my way back from the chicken coop I saw the first ice.  It was on the patio in a plastic slide and I sighed because they were in school and would miss it.  The first ice (and first snow) has always been so exciting for them.  I made my way back into the house, ran Sarah her bath, cleaned her all up, dressed her, did some laundry and cleaning, and …… Sarah went outside to get a cat and discovered the ice all on her own.  She giggled with joy and promptly ran inside to get socks, boots, coat, scarf, and mittens so she could COMPLETELY and THOROUGHLY enjoy it.  She ate it, skated on it, insisted on sharing some with me (to eat), and because it was melting and her siblings were not at home, we bagged them each a piece.   It’s waiting in the “white frozen refrigerator” (her words) for them as a surprise for later.



Despite freezing temperatures, there is still plenty of beautiful green parsley in the garden.


Seth is learning how to read and write by leaps and bounds in Kindergarten.


We just wish he would restrict himself to paper to practice on.  He’s getting better about it now.


This artwork was done by Sarah Joy.



1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup nuts (I didn’t add nuts)
1 cup chocolate chip (I used peanut butter chips)

Combine pumpkin, sugar, shortening and egg.  Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together; add to pumpkin mixture alternately with baking powder, dissolved in milk.  (I did not do this, I just mixed the wets and then added all the dry and mixed with the KitchenAid).  Add vanilla and chocolate chips.  Drop on greased cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees.

This recipe is from a 1972 Pennsylvania State Grange cookbook.  If you happen to have the same one, it’s on page 239.  The cookies are a moist cake-like texture.  I made them on Saturday and they are still fresh in a big ziplock bag on the counter.  Unfortunately, the children don’t seem to like them……..I have to walk around and hand them out to get them consumed.