For some reason we have never been to the Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point until this year. After going, it will definitely become an annual event for us as long as we live here. There were 250,000 tulips! I've never seen so many flowers at once. It was absolutely gorgeous. I told James that I think that's what heaven must look like- flowers, fields, lots of green grass. He said it was missing a few soccer fields.. ;-)
The three of us finally went to Florida ALL together! We headed out for a last hoorah with Michaela before she left on her 18 month mission to Peru (hence the bitter sweet). I love spending time with my family and especially other friends and extended family back in Lake Butler. It's a good recharge for the soul.
I must say that I'm pretty impressed with Jillian's traveling skills. She only fussed for about 20 minutes on the second flight, about 45 minutes before we landed. It was 11pm, so girlfriend had a right to be cranky. I feel like I should do a "tips for traveling with toddlers" post since we've done it a few times now. There are definitely some do's and dont's.
But our time there was very well spent. Jillian was thrilled to see her cousins, Milly and Eliza. She wasn't so thrilled when Eliza was equally as excited to see her and frequently expressed that excitement through death-gripping bear hugs. But it was so fun to watch them play together!
Since we were all together, naturally my mom arranged for some family pictures. Thanks to the wonderfully talented Amy Buchanan, we got some great shots! The behind-the-scenes of these pictures actually includes Ryan making funny faces to keep Jillian from screaming (it was bed time), bribing all the girls with M&Ms if they would sit still and smile, and me singing random songs from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse while dancing a stuffed Mickey on top of Amy's head to get them to look at the camera. I can't imagine what family pictures will be like when there are many more kids in the mix. Aye aye aye.
We said adios to Michaela at the airport on Tuesday morning. We ended up talking too long in the lobby, so she had to run through security and to her plane with shoes in hand. She went into the Provo MTC (Missionary Training Center) on Wednesday, where she will be until she gets her visa to go to Peru. It's already so weird that I can't just pick up the phone and call her, or text her something funny I saw on Pinterest or facebook. But I know she will be an amazing missionary that will bring many people to Christ!
Wednesday after everyone left and things had quieted down, we went with my Mom and Grandma to check out the butterfly museum. It was so cool! Jillian loved spotting the butterflies, but didn't like so much when they flew right up to her. (Really? Who is scared of butterflies?!)
We came back happy, stuffed, tired, and sunburned. And I wouldn't have it any other way!
composed by whitney at 8:59 PM
I have a sweets problem. Aka, I want something sweet, like everyday. There should probably be some kind of rehab for people like me.
Today was definitely one of those days. I purposely don't buy things like chocolate chips anymore just to have around to bake cookies whenever, because even if I don't end up making cookies, you betta' believe I'm still eating those chocolate chips.
As I was thinking about my chocolate chip lacking pantry, I remembered seeing a recipe on Pinterest for "healthy breakfast cookies" that only required a few ingredients..healthy?.. cookies? o_0
I found that recipe, but then stumbled across another that had many more ingredients, but definitely seemed more "cookie" than just smashed up bananas. The kicker is that these cookies are still called "healthy breakfast cookies"...someone should probably tell her they are actually just cookies with a lot of stuff in them, and not so much "healthy" or very "breakfast" like. Then again...people eat Poptarts and Toaster Strudels these days and call that breakfast...Some poor sucker is going to eat 5 of these for breakfast and think they're on a great start to their 5th diet attempt this week.
I made several substitutions from the original recipe, to ease up on the butter and also cause I didn't have a few things sitting around, so I will call them the "Happy Accident Cookies". Hit my sweet spot and were really unlike any cookie I've made before. If a monster cookie, macaroon, and oatmeal raisin cookie all had a baby together, a cookie baby, this would be that cookie baby.
- 1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup white sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup of peanut butter, preferably all natural
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 1 cup Craisins (dried cranberries)
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut, toasted
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Toast the coconut and pecans on a cookie sheet for about 5 minutes.
- In a large sized bowl beat together the butter, yogurt, sugar and peanut butter for 2-3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Beat in vanilla.
- In a separate medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and rolled oats. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and beat just until incorporated (the batter will be sticky). Stir in the nuts, cranberries, coconut, and chocolate chips.
- Using a small ice cream scoop, drop the batter onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart. Flatten the cookies slightly.
- Bake the cookies for 8-12 minutes. Let them REST on the baking sheet (preferably baking stone...don't ever use baking sheets, actually) for about 2 minutes before you remove them.
- Let them cool on a wire rack, or just your counter. :-)
My inner fat-kid is happy. And after eating 5 of these actually, inner-fat kid might not be so "inner" tomorrow.
composed by whitney at 11:27 PM
...Not really...but it's always a good idea to quote Nacho Libre.
Easter weekend included shopping for new flowers to plant, Jillian helping water (drown) said flowers with her new Mickey Mouse watering can, homemade carrot cake, and trying to convince Jillian that looking for Easter eggs is both fun and rewarding. Our efforts were mostly in vain.
She didn't really get that she was supposed to "look" for the eggs, so we mostly just tossed them in front of her and she'd put them in her bucket...haha. We also found out she's not one for sugar- jelly beans, peeps, suckers- she spit them all out. She's a big fan of chocolate though (takes after her mama).
I some how made it through the holiday with only buying ONE bag of Cadbury eggs! Truly an Easter miracle.
composed by whitney at 10:33 PM