Baking Chocolate Chip Cookies

I couldn’t think of a better way to finish 2020 off than spending the day baking. Something I didn’t do much of in the RV due to space limitations, but now that I am in a big kitchen with a regular oven, I feel like I’m in heaven, so today I baked up quiet a few things. One of them was some chocolate chip cookies. This recipe has been shared before, but it is one that is worth sharing over and over because the cookies are so good. I think one of the reasons they always turn out so well is because I use butter-flavored Crisco instead of just butter as the original recipe called for. I like tweaking recipes to add my own flavor sometimes depending on what it is I’m cooking/baking.

To get started I pulled all my ingredients out including sugar, brown sugar, flour, eggs, salt, baking soda, vanilla flavoring and most importantly chocolate chips.

The first step is beating the two sugars and Crisco together until smooth.

Once the sugar and Crisco is smooth, add your eggs one at a time mixing well after each one.

After the eggs, you will add the flour, salt and soda that were sifted together. (I forgot to get a pic of that step) And last you add the chocolate chips….the more the merrier!

Once you have it all mixed up, drop by the teaspoon or tablespoon on your cookie sheet. I done something new this time by adding parchment paper instead of my silicone mats and was very pleased with how the cookies baked up and slide right off the pan. I prepared two sheets at once and cooked them both at the same time on the same rack. Did I say how much I am loving this bigger oven? If not, believe me when I say this bigger oven is a blessing.

Look at that delicious dough. I love eating it raw too. It is so good.

Both pans baked up wonderfully.

 

Four dozen cookies later. I’ll share some of the other stuff I baked today in other posts.

Hope everyone has a Happy New Year and that 2021 brings you peace, joy and love!

A Christmas Without a Tree

This year presented a year without a Christmas tree, which has only happened one other time in my life that I remember anyway, but I’ll get to that in a minute. This year I opted not to put up a tree because we were closing on the new house on the 18th and would be moving over the next couple days afterwards. Once we got moved in, Greg asked if I wanted to get a big tree to put up, but I declined. The tree we used in the RV was only 3 feet tall, which is all that would fit. Being that none of my kids live in the area and none of them have been to my house for Christmas since I moved to the Nashville area in 2009 I didn’t see the need to have one. I had already sent all the gifts, which had been delivered a week ago.

On Christmas I got the following two pics from my two daughters of the grandkids. The first pic is my Louisiana bunch who don’t look that happy when they were opening their gifts on Christmas morning. Maybe mommy got them up a little early. I remember getting my parents up by 4 am to open gifts as we were always so excited to see what we were getting. Afterwards they would tell us to go back to bed, but we would sit in our rooms and play with all our stuff. The good old days.

This pic is of the oldest grandson and oldest granddaughter from Florida. I can’t believe my oldest grandchild will be 17 years old in a few days. I wonder where the time went and how he could be this old, which in turn makes me feel really old, but then I remind myself that I’m not that old, I just started early. Matter of fact, when I was his age I was waiting on the birth of my first child who I had five months after my 17th birthday. I grew up real fast and don’t wish that life on my worse enemy. Life was hard for me due to my own choosing, but I have come a long way since then.

I mentioned in the beginning about a Christmas without a tree. It was Christmas 1992. I had three kids, (7 years, 3 years and 21 months). We had moved to Graceville, Florida for my husband at the time and my self to attend bible college. We actually moved in on Christmas Eve. No idea why we moved in then as classes didn’t start until January some time, but I know we always done things backwards sometimes.

Anyway, we arrived on the 24th of December and didn’t have any presents for our kids as back then we didn’t have much money. One of the couples that helped with the move handed my husband a box right before they left and said, “do not open until the kids go to sleep”. We had no idea what was in the box. We unpacked as much stuff as possible to give the kids beds to sleep on, but we didn’t have a Christmas tree as we always picked a live tree and had no time to do that during the move. Matter-of-fact we didn’t even have the stuff to cook Christmas dinner, but things were fixing to change.

No sooner had we finished unloading and reality started setting in as people started knocking on our door bringing us a turkey, cooked pies and all the fixings for a Christmas dinner. I couldn’t believe the generosity of people who I had never met before. It was a blessing in disguise and God knew what we needed and he provided.

Once the kids were in bed we opened that box that the Hawkins had given us (I still remember their names, but have no idea where they are now) and again was overwhelmed by the generosity of others. The box was filled with presents for our children. As a parent, I can’t express how this made me feel. Even though we had presents, I said to my husband, “but we don’t have a tree” and he said, “it’s okay we don’t need a tree…the reason for Christmas is not about trees anyway, it’s about Christ.” And because of that, we unpacked the nativity scene and set it up so we could share with our children about the real reason for the season. It wasn’t about trees and gifts, it was about Jesus and being with family.

I don’t know if my children remember that Christmas or not as two of them were really young, but it is one that I do remind them of on occasion as even though they are adults now with kids of their own, I want them to remember what Christmas is really about and teach their children the same.

I hope all who reads this post will remember why we celebrate Christmas and glory in the things you do have instead of longing for the things you don’t.

We Closed on Our New Home

We closed on our house on the 18th. This is the second house we have bought in the last two years. We only lasted 9 months in the first one we bought back in 2018 as we didn’t like our neighbors, nor the drive for me every day back and forth to work. This one will be a 45 minute drive to the office, but due to COVID-19 I have been working from home for the past 9 months with no end in sight as to when or if I will ever go back to the office to work. The new house includes a combined office/craft room that I am really excited about.

We are more in the country, but do have neighbors and are actually considered within the city limits, but due to the house being in a smaller town, we don’t have to deal with all the “city” life type of stuff.

I got my front porch and a screened in back porch with this house, which I am totally in love with. I can’t wait to add my own touch to both. The pics below are what it looked like when we first viewed the house and what sold us on this purchase.

Can’t wait to add my own chairs to this front porch. This was what the house looked like the day we visited.

The back porch on the day we viewed the house!It will take me a while to get everything set up the way I want. The closing went very smoothly and our lender even sent us a gift that was delivered on Saturday as we were moving in. I was very surprised to say the least.

Our Free Gift!

After living in the RV for the past 15 months it will definitely be an adjustment getting acquainted with all of this space. Lucky for us we still had all our furniture from the house we bought in 2018. For the first time in my entire life I hired movers to move all that heavy furniture. It was the best $600 ever spent. Once I get us moved in and settled I will post updates documenting the progress.

The pics below are just a few of the rooms showing how bare it looked on move in day.

Kitchen

Living Room

Master Bathroom – Don’t really care for the tub….looks big until you get it in! 

Not a big fan of this huge tub. I would rather have a big walk-in shower….haven’t even moved in good and already thinking of remodeling the bathroom to expand the shower and get rid of the tub.

Master Closet

This closet is big enough for a nursery to be in here. Our stuff only fits on one rack after living minimal in the RV for so long. Told my husband I needed a new wardrobe now that I have room to put it.

Laundry Room

I love the size of the laundry room. Too bad I sold my washer and dryer a few months back before we started talking of buying a house. I can’t believe how much the price has risen in the last 18 months. There is room to add a table to fold clothes straight out of the dryer.

Mud Room/Pantry

Behind those doors is a pantry to die for. There is more than enough room for just two people to store food. The mudroom for shoes is one of my favorites of the house as well.  It is right off the garage so very convenient for coming and going.

Any advice on how to decorate those two beautiful porches would be welcomed. I want it to feel welcome and inviting.

PS. If you know anyone looking for a 41′ fifth wheel, we have one for sale.

Thanksgiving 2020

Despite everything that has happened this year I still have a lot to be grateful for. I fixed our Thanksgiving dinner and we enjoyed our meal together just like previous years. It always feels strange only fixing enough food food for two people, and you would think after all these years, 11 to be exact, I would be used to this, but with each holiday I am reminded that all I have left is my husband and furbabies.

Thanksgiving feast

Yes I have grown kids and grandkids, but they never come to my house for holidays as I have lived in the Tennessee area for the past 11 years. I don’t think they realize how it hurts me that they don’t come to visit. They always want me to go to them instead.

Greg (my husband) has a saying, “Us against the world” and it really feels like that more times than not, especially at the holidays.

For this Thanksgiving, I am grateful that after all that we have been through this year we have come back together as husband and wife. We are currently in the middle of purchasing a new home which we are scheduled to close on December 18th. We will still be in the Nashville area, but will be trading the east side for the west side.

In addition to fixing our tradition dinner, I also baked a cheesecake. For the first time in my life I bought a cheesecake pan to use. It didn’t turn out as great as I would have liked, but using something new always has a few learning curves. I’m sure I will get better the more I use it. Regardless of how it turned out, it was still edible and we enjoyed every bite.

Cheesecake in my new pan

Doesn’t look the best when I took the circle off.

Thick slices that tasted delicious!

Bedroom Renovation in the RV

Last year this time we started renovating our 2017 Montana as I had had enough of the dark dreary look that to me made the RV feel smaller than it already is. At the time we had been living in a house that we bought in October 2018 after having lived in an RV for 3 years, but had decided living tiny was more what we really wanted. It’s much easier to move away from neighbors you don’t like when your house is on wheels. However, before we moved back into the RV we wanted to do all the renovations including new floors, painting and new blinds. We figured we would get it done way before the house actually sold not knowing or even thinking that the house would sell as fast as it did. We got a cash offer the second day on the market with a 30 day close. We had an entire house full of furniture to unload, which ended up in storage and an RV to get renovated. Well we didn’t quite make that deadline. We only got the living room area completed before we were living full-time in the RV again.

So here we are a year later and I’m still trying to get the renovations finished. The only full room left is the bathroom; although I do have the floor planks and know what I’m doing with the walls. I just have to make time to get it done. The closet in the bedroom also has to be finished as when I painted the bedroom I only painted the closet door, not the inside of the closet. This weekend I finally added the accent wall that I had been wanting to do. It’s peel and stick wallpaper from RoomMates. I purchased two rolls, but only needed one. It came as a 20.5 inch x 10.5 foot roll. I still need to complete the decorations for the walls, but for now I consider myself done.

Below are several different views.

 

In order for you to have an appreciation for how good it looks now, you need to see what it looked like before. What a difference! I am beyond excited for the transformation and can’t wait to get the decorations on the wall.

UPDATE: So after I posted this I decided to add a little something to that accent wall. I love how this sign turned out. It’s the first time I’ve done one with a stencil and paint.