Tuesday, June 5, 2012


So last week was a busy week of awards ceremonies. 
Banquets to honor academic achievement.
And ultimately graduation day!

As valedictorian Ben led his class in.
 Gave a good speech to a  crowd of nearly 5,000

The proud family!

I love the way Ellie is looking at Ben.  She is going to miss him when she heads to college.

Maddie is going to miss Ben too!
We all are!
I cannot believe Ben has graduated.
He turns 18 at the end of the week.
It seems like just yesterday he was a little boy who loved to read and play games!
Lots of games.
Over and over again!
I loved it! (most of the time)

Ben has a competitive spirit which played a part in his desire to be number one in his class.
He is also thoughtful, kind and works well with others.

We are very proud of Ben and know you will do great at UC Berkley!
As hard as it is to see your oldest graduate and go away to college we are also excited for him to start this new chapter of his life and we are confident he will do well.
Congratulations Ben!  

Sunday, May 27, 2012

White Chocolate Chip, Pecan and Toasted Coconut Cookies

Do you have a favorite cookie?

I am sure you do!
My favorite cookie used to be the Mrs. Fields White Chocolate Chip Macademia Nut Cookie.
The Mrs. Fields Shop was a stop everytime the kids and I went to the mall.
We would get a 1/2 dozen of those mini cookies mix and match.  
My choice always White Chocolate Chip Macademia Cookies.
Mrs. Fields isn't around are area anymore.

Well that cookie has inspired a new favorite in our house.
White Chocolate, Toasted Coconut and Pecan Cookie.

This recipe is adapted from the basic Nestle Toll House recipe.

Spread the coconut evenly on the cookie sheet.   
And toast in a toaster oven or oven until lightly browned.
 You can toast your chopped nuts with your coconut.
Sometimes I toast the pecans, sometimes I don't.
 Make your cookie dough according to the instructions.
Add in cooled pecans and coconut into your batter with the white chocolate chips.
 My helper always licks the beater.
 Drop cookie dough on cookie sheet.

 Bake your cookies and enjoy.

White Chocolate, Toasted Pecan, Coconut Cookies (adapted from Nestle Toll House Recipe)
(I like to increase the brown sugar by a 1/4 cup, and decrease the white sugar by a 1/4 for a chewier cookie.)

2 sticks butter softened
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
2-1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup toasted coconut
3/4 cup toasted pecans
1 bag white chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs one at a time mix in vanilla, baking soda, and gradually add in flour.

Mix in toasted coconut, pecans and white chocolate chips.

Bake at 375 for 9-11 Minutes.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Update and a new camera!

So for Christmas I got a new camera!  Yay!
I am still learning to use it.
I have to say I haven't put much time into it yet, as I have been very busy with work and life.
So I just keep taking pictures trying different things some of my pictures have turned out good others just ok.

Hiking Torrey Pines
Definitely on my to do list is to really learn to use the camera.

But, I will show you just some of the stuff we have been up to!
Enjoying the new bike!
Ballet and Tap Lessons


Waterpolo Games in the winter followed by swimteam.
Club Volleyball

Girls Trip to San Francisco
on our way to Sacramento for the State Academic Decathlon Competition.

Ben got second in the county.
Fifth in the state of California.
Out of 100's of students.

In addition Ben has been busy applying to colleges, and applying for scholarships.
He finished his last AP test today!
School is essentially done.  Doesn't he look relaxed?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Seven Layer Cookies - A Family Favorite

Do you have a cookie you only make at the holidays?
We do!
It is the Seven Layer Cookie!
Why do we only make it at Christmas?
I don't know because it is so easy and so yummy!
There are similar recipes on the sweetened condensed milk cans.
Carnation calls them Outrageous Bars. Eagle Brand calls them Magic Bars.
We call them 7 layer bars because we have added butterscotch chips!

Here is what you need!

Melt the stick of butter and pour into a 9 x 13 pan.
In the words of Paula Deen "butter makes it better"!

Take one package of graham crackers and get a helper to crush them up!
This is a great kid cookie because they can help with every step and they are quick!
Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over the butter evenly.
Sprinkle a whole bag of chocolate chips!
A whole bag of butterscotch chips!
A cup of pecans! (you can substitute another nut here or leave them out if you have nut allergies in the fam)
A cup to cup and half of coconut!
Drizzle one can of sweetened condensed milk evenly over the whole pan.
And Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. If using a glass pan bake at 325, if using a metal pan 350!
Pull them out when they are lightly browned. If you can wait let them cool before cutting,
they will stay together better.
Maybe these will become your family favorite as well!
Happy Holidays!


1 stick butter
1 package graham crackers crushed
1 12 oz package chocolate chips
1- 12 oz package butterscotch chips
1 cup chopped pecans (or nut of your choice)
1 cup coconut
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

Melt stick of butter. Sprinkle, and spread crushed graham crackers evenly. Layer chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, chopped pecans, and coconut. Drizzle sweetened condensed milk evenly over the whole thing (this acts like a glue that will hold everything together.)

Bake at 350 in a metal pan, 325 if using a glass pan for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly brown on the edges. Let cool before cutting.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Handmade Gift with a Recipe

Maddie made two homemade gifts for her friend.

She made a canvas using the same method she used for boards in her room here.
And she made stuffed mushrooms.
These are always a hit!
I got the recipe from a good friend years ago!
Sofia tried them and loved them last week at the homecoming festivities.
So Maddie made them for Sofia's birthday as well!

Nothing like a hand made gift!
(we did throw in a little starbucks gift card)

Stuffed Mushrooms

12 large mushrooms
1 cube butter (not margarine)
1/2 cup italian breadcrumbs
1 T finely chopped onion
1 T parsley finely chopped (optional)
1 egg slightly beaten

Wipe mushroom cpas clean. Melt 4 tablespoons butter. Dip mushrooms in butter to coat. Mix breadcrumbs, parsley, onion, egg and a little salt and pepper. Fill mushroom caps, melt the remaining butter. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and drizzle with the remaining butter.

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes!

I didn't say it was healthy...Paula Deen would like it because of the stick of butter!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

This is my old red couch!
We bought it about 10-11 years ago...when I loved red.
It is still in great shape because we really don't sit on it much,
but let me tell you it is comfy.
Once I painted the concrete floor I didn't love the red couch with it.
So I decided it was time to try my hand at slipcovering.
Many people I know I have done slipcover projects.
My friend Shannon at Anythingology slipcovered her couches last year.
My friend Wendy at Simply Brookes slipcovered her old couches years ago.
Her sister-in-law Heather is working on hers she gave me the tip on where to buy the fabric.
Nick of Time -- $3.50 a yard for white denim....this is a good deal.
They sent samples. It was $20 to ship from Pennsylvania to California but still worth it.
I pre-washed it. And it did shrink by about 25%.
Here is the finished product. I need to figure out how to tighten up underneath the curvy arm.
Will probably use a little velcro underneath, and attach it right to the couch.
But, all in all I am happy with the final product.
It was alot of work.
I got some tips from this website.
And opted for no piping to make it a little easier to get the fit right.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Latte....the perfect fall coffee.

This is the Pumpkin Latte recipe I found over at Sand and Sisal.
Sand and Sisal

It is super easy.
And much cheaper than Starbucks!

Hope you try it!