Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Healthy Bites: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

These are BY FAR the BEST oatmeal raisin cookies on the planet! They are soft, moist, chewy and incredibly delicious! And the bet part is they are healthy! There's only 2 Tbsp. of butter in the entire recipe! I know, right?!

Seriously. These things are the best. They keep for days, assuming they last that long. My kids loved them. Hubs loved them. I loved them. But keep in mind they are only "healthy" if you avoid eating half a dozen in one sitting, which -- believe me -- isn't as easy as it sounds.


Photo from www.davidlebovitz.com

Photo from www.davidlebovitz.com

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

About 36 cookies
Adapted from Nick Malgieri’s book, Perfect Light Desserts: Fabulous Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and More Made with Real Butter, Sugar, Flour, and Eggs (HarperCollins).


1 cup flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups rolled oats (not instant)

1/2 cup dark raisins (or dried cranberries)
2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper, foil, or silicone mats

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and set the rack on the lower and upper thirds of the oven.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and granulated sugar until smooth. Mix in the brown sugar, then the egg, applesauce, and vanilla.
  4. Stir in the dry ingredients, then the oats and raisins.
  5. Drop the batter by rounded teaspoons 2-inches apart on the baking sheets and use a fork to gently flatten the dough.
  6. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they “look dull on the surface but are moist and soft,” according to Nick. Rotate baking sheets during baking for even heating.
(I made mine bigger, so whatever size you make them, just bake them until they look as directed by Nick.)

Storage: Once cool, store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Happy 22 Months!

Happy 22 Months to my handsome Chase!

 You are simply amazing and I love every second with you!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Update on Stuff

  • Chase had a follow-up appointment with ENT yesterday and everything looked great! We go back in 6 months for another follow-up. He's talking a LOT more and it's so exciting! On a side note, my precious heart boy got KICKED OUT OF THE MUSC CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL ATRIUM yesterday! That's right! Apparently it's only for INPATIENT families, which we were never aware of. I can totally see the need to limit exposure to germs for the inpatient kids who are using the Atrium, and not wanting families "off the street" like us to be in there with them. But it was so sad to have to drag Chase out of there while we were killing time before his ENT appointment. Poor kid. But we had fun outside instead. :)
  • LO is loving her K4 class! I'm really excited to see what she learns this year and how prepared she'll be for Kindergarten next Fall.
  • I'm serving as the Room Coordinator for LO's K4 class. This means I'm the one coordinating all the volunteers we need for field trips, special snacks, parties, etc. I wanted to do it so I'd have a chance to meet the other parents and hopefully make some connections so LO can have play dates with her new friends outside of her M-W-F school schedule. I'm hoping I haven't taken on too much, though. We had a meeting for all Room Coordinators last Friday and I got a massive notebook with LOTS of information in it. It was kind of overwhelming! And this Friday, there's a volunteer kickoff for all the parents to attend and I'll be manning our classroom's table, providing information to parents about volunteer opportunities, etc. Hopefully we'll have a great turnout!
  • I'm still serving on the Palmetto Hearts board as the VP of Community Programs. We had a heart family gathering at a local indoor playground/inflatables place on Sunday. I hate I wasn't able to be there, but we had lots of heart families come out and they had a great time! We had all of our families bring items to donate to a local children's shelter, so I look forward to meeting needs in our community on behalf of Palmetto Hearts! The major thing taking up my time here is planning our annual Pediatric Cardiology Reunion, which is less than a month away!!! There are LOTS of little details to take care of (now that the big stuff is all scheduled and in place), and it's slightly overwhelming! I've never attended one of our reunions so it's kind of scary planning an event I've never attended! Haha! I'm sure it'll all come together fabulously, though.
  • I'm in the process of making a bootable OS X 10.7 disc for my software collection. Obviously totally random and useless information (for most of you), but I'm pretty excited about it! Especially after my latest hard drive failure, including the replacement of the cable that connects the hard drive to the logic board.
  • I'm also in the process of clearing out an external 1TB hard drive to use as my Time Machine back-up. I haven't backed up my new hard drive and it's been almost 3 weeks or so since I installed it. ACK! This is one of those must-get-done things that always seems to land at the bottom of my To Do List. Not today! I'm hoping to be all good and ready for an overnight Time Machine backup of this hard drive tonight. Yay! for data backups!!! :)
  • Chase just walked by and really stinks. I guess I ought to take care of that... BeRightBack!
  • Whew! That was nasty!
  • I'm working on the design and management of two different websites in my "spare" time. For free, of course. Haha! Actually, I guess they are both considered "ministry opportunities" since they are for my church. I really enjoy doing that kind of thing, mostly because I can squeeze in the work in between the rest of life. :)
  • Who's in charge of the laundry around here? And why are there dishes piled up in the kitchen? Oh, wait... I guess that's me! I hate being so busy and preoccupied that I can't take care of my house as well as I like to. Hubs is awesome and has been a HUGE help, but it makes me feel so bad when I can't stay on top of the laundry, dishes, bathroom cleaning, floors, etc. Plus it just gives me a headache to look around and see a zillion things that I should have on my To Do List but they aren't on the list at all! Yikes!
  • I guess another thing that has kept me busy is my new part-time job! I started last Friday with 3 days of training and have another 3 days of training this week. I'm really excited about this opportunity and can't wait to get started "officially!" It's nice that we have the flexibility to allow me to work part-time while hubs has his full-time job and we won't require any help with the kids. That was the most important thing to me. It wouldn't be worth it to me to have a part-time job if it meant we had to arrange to have other people take care of my kids for me. No way! Raising my kids is my #1 job and biggest priority! So I'm super stoked that this is working out and can't wait to see where it leads! Yay!
  • Have I mentioned I'm patiently awaiting the arrival of my newest niece? She was due to join us on August 18th but is taking her sweet time. She WILL be here by Friday, though, so I'm super excited!! I can't wait to meet her!
I guess that's about it for now. As you can see, it's been a busy few weeks around here! Blogging has taken a back seat to life, so I apologize to those of you who actually read my blog and keep up with us. I'll try to do better -- I promise!!!

Maybe I can get some new pics of the kids up here soon, too... I just love pictures of my kids!

Monday, August 15, 2011

First Day of K4!

Well, my big 4-year-old girl started K4 this morning! I can hardly believe it! She's turning into such a big, beautiful, smart, compassionate young lady! I'm so very proud of her! She was really excited to start her day today and kept pushing me along ("Time to go, Mommy!").

Of course I took her picture before we left. She was so excited to wear her new purple sequin shirt from Target. So beautiful!

1st Day of K4 (2011)!

Compare this one to last year!

1st Day of 3-year-old Preschool (2010)

Here she is in the car on our way to school. We had a great conversation on the way there while sitting through the traffic. She recited the Pledge of Allegiance, the Pledge to the Christian Flag, and spelled her first, middle and last name. Guess she was brushing up on her skills! :)

Here she was in the car last year before we got out of the car to go to her first day of preschool.

On our way to 3-year-old preschool (2010).
This year she was stylin' big time! I wanted to get a pic before she got out of the car and she insisted on putting on her shades first. The sun was shining right in her face, so I don't blame her. She's so stinkin' cute!

She pretty much dragged me through the main mall area towards her classroom. We were able to stop and see her teacher from last year before heading into her class, and she was SUPER excited about that! We got into her class, washed her hands, and she headed straight for the train table (imagine my surprise. not.). I had to convince her to sit down with the rest of her class and play with Play-Doh like she was supposed to be doing. :)

And of course, my favorite picture of her standing outside of her classroom from last year!

I can't wait to hear all about her first day of K4! I know she's gonna have a great time! There were at least 4 boys from her class from last year that are in her K4 class, so I know it'll be nice for her to see some familiar faces. She's gonna do great!

Now mommy and Chase are off to enjoy some quality mommy-son time. I see a walk around the neighborhood and some 1st-day-of-school-gift shopping in our future! :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ready, Set, Go!

Chase and I were having fun last night and I couldn't help but nab a video of this. It's PROOF that he actually CAN talk! He never wants to do it on demand, especially for his Speech Therapist. So I figured at least this way I can prove without a doubt that the boy CAN and WILL speak! Yay! He just has to WANT to do it. :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Family Vacay

We had a great time in Hilton Head for our family vacation last weekend! I promised some pics, so here ya go!

These first two were taken before we left for vacation and quite honestly, I have no idea what Chase was eating. But these pics are too cute not to share! :)

Handsome boy!

Now before we could leave for vacation, I had to address Chase's crazy hair. It was getting too long in the back and around the ears, so I bought some hair scissors from Amazon and gave it my best shot. This was my first time ever cutting anybody's hair. I found he would sit still and let me work if I kept juice and cheese puffs nearby and a movie playing for entertainment. Here's the before:

And the after! You can see he made good use of those cheese puffs. I'm not super happy with my first cut, but I'm sure I'll do better with more practice.

Now on to the beach!  I'm pretty sure this was Chase's first attempt at walking in sand. We had him walk from the car, over the boardwalk and through the sand in 100 degree heat and he was quite the little champ! I started to feel bad for him as he waded through the sand so after I put the load of stuff I was carrying down at our spot, I went back and carried him the rest of the way. It was so stinkin' hot and his poor little cheeks were so pink!

Someone nearby found a crab, so we let them use our bucket as his temporary home. The kids were taking a look at it and of course Chase wanted to touch it. Daddy stopped him before the crab could get him!

LO having fun on the beach.

BIG ocean. Little girl.

Daddy and Chase heading to the water.

Our little aqua boy loved the ocean!


LO was happy and content playing in the sand. She wasn't too consumed with playing in the water.

This was about as far out as she'd venture into the water.

Silly little boy!

He had the time of his life!

Time to play in the sand!

Probably watching his sister playing a few yards away.

Cutie pie!

I love my little man in a hat! Such a cutie!

As per usual, LO got lost coming back from the water and didn't know where we were. We watched her look around for a bit before finally catching her eye and waiving her over. :)

Mmmmm! Snack time!

My pretty girl!

Where's Chase? PEEK-A-BOO!

Little stud muffin.

Playing in the sand some more!

The sign near the lagoon off our back porch...

I'm pretty sure this is the ONLY picture I got of the kids TOGETHER during our vacation. And of course like a total loser, I didn't get a SINGLE FAMILY PHOTO of all of us together. Lame.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Good Night -- Literally!

We just got home yesterday from a long weekend in Hilton Head, SC, and I've got lots of fun stories and pictures to share. But for now, I'm going to leave you with the single most useful, productive and peaceful purchase we've ever made: a $25 portable crib mattress.

Chase has NEVER been a fan of sleeping in the pack n' play, and we've always wondered if it's because he typically only sleeps in it the night before a procedure or surgery while we're in Charleston. He's a smart one, huh? But alas, we started troubleshooting and realized the cardboard "mattress" he'd been sleeping on was, we'll say, somewhat less than comfortable. We had tried piling up towels or extra blankets between said cardboard and the sheet, but it was always lumpy and just made for a miserable night's sleep for him (which, obviously, meant a miserable night's sleep for mommy & daddy, too).

So we bought this crib mattress and WHOA! You would NOT believe the difference it's made! We've used it on two trips so far, including our most recent family vacation to Hilton Head, and this child sleeps AMAZINGLY now! We're talking 12 hour nights of uninterrupted sleep, people! Seriously. Who knew such a cheap investment could make such a HUGE difference in our lives?

So while I will be sure to post some pics n' stuff from our vacation soon, I couldn't let another second go by without all of you parents of little ones out there knowing about this amazing little invention: a 3" thick portable crib mattress for $25 bucks. Seriously. It will change your life!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Catch Up

Well hello, blogland! I've been a tad MIA lately and honestly, I have no good excuse for it. I guess I can pull the ol' "it's summer and we're busy enjoying our family time together" excuse, and I'm sure that's true, at least somewhat. In all honesty, I just haven't had an interest in blogging lately. I have no idea where my time goes each day, but I'm fairly certain it isn't spent doing anything overly constructive. Instead, it's filled with stuff like laundry, cooking, cleaning, running errands and the like. You know, typical mom stuff.

So for no other reason than pure laziness, here's a list of stuff to share with my loyal blog readers (I'm sure there's one or two of ya still out there):

• Beach vacay!!! We'll be enjoying a long weekend in Hilton Head, SC for our summer family vacation. The best part? We're planning to meet up with a super sweet family, the DiCarlos! They left their west coast home to get their vacay on over here on the east coast, and I couldn't be more ecstatic to get to see them!! Yay!

• My MacBook hard drive died. Again. I just replaced it 2 months ago when Chase dropped my MacBook onto the floor and killed the last one. For some reason, I must've got a bad drive because it failed after only 2 months. Sucky!! So I got a new one and installed it, along with a RAM upgrade, but my computer wouldn't recognize the hard drive. What the heck?! So I took it to the Apple Store. They said 5-7 days and about $300 for the repair. I got a second opinion at another authorized Apple retailer and was told they'd have it ready the next day, for $60. Imagine which option I chose. I haven't had a chance to check it out yet since I just got it back about an hour ago, but I know it works and I'm so happy to have it back! Yay!!

• Chase is doing AWESOME. He is finally starting to pick up on his speech a bit. I've been working hard on using signs with him and I do think it's helped his speech. He can sign please, thank you, more, milk, cookie and bye. I'm so proud of him!!! But it's important to note that he will only speak or sign IF/WHEN HE FEELS LIKE IT. This boy is STUBBORN!!! It's so frustrating dealing with his temper just by asking him to say "please" before giving him his paci or milk or whatever. I can't express how very angry/upset/frustrated this kid gets when asking him to communicate with us. Someone once told me his speech is like the only thing he really has any control over, and that's why he's so crazy about it. I'd be curious to hear if other heart kiddos have a crazy-mean temper, or if we're the only lucky ones... ;)

• I've applied for a part-time job! I'm kind of excited about the opportunity but haven't heard anything concrete yet. I love the idea of working with people and helping people... especially ADULT people who don't whine or complain as often as my kids. Haha! I'll keep y'all posted as I find out more! :)

• LO is four. FOUR, people. I can't believe it. I watched some videos of her last night from about a year or so ago, and it's ridiculous how much she's changed! I miss my baby girl! But she's turning into quite a smart little preschooler. She's started reading over the past few months and has really taken off! I'm so proud of her!

• Chase will be TWO in just over 2 months. What an amazing blessing and miracle he is!! Not a day (or hour!) goes by that I don't stop to think how blessed we are and to think of those families whose heart heroes have gone home to Heaven. This is such a difficult journey but I am still so blessed and thankful that God chose US to be Chase's parents. What an unbelievable honor!!!

• I am NOT doing well with my weight loss efforts. Case in point? A statement from my daughter this morning: "Mommy, your tummy's getting BIG! Like Aunt D's tummy." Please note her Aunt D is currently 8 months pregnant. Thanks, LO. Guess I need to step up my weight loss regimen...

• I haven't been a very good blog reader/commenter lately. So sorry about that! I promise I've at least been doing some serious lurking so I can stay updated on everyone. So sorry! I'll try to do better!

• I love Big Brother. Anyone else!? Dumbest move ever? Brenden taking Rachel off the block with the POV last night. Duh!!

Posted from my beloved iPhone