“C” is for cookie.. that’s all you need to know.

Yes, you read correctly.

Thank you for trusting me.

Now on to the important stuff.

 

I made these tonight. They were so easy and so yummy.

Soft Mint & Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups chopped Andes Mints, Andes Mints Creme de Menth Baking Chips OR Nestle mint & dark chocolate chips

I actually used only 1/2 cup Andes baking chips (because that’s all I had), and for the rest, I used a bag of Nestle mint & dark chocolate chips (and I added some semi sweet chips too :] )

Preheat oven to 350. In a stand mixer (or whatever you have), using the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars. Add eggs and beat for about 1 minute. Add vanilla.

This part is supposed to say “In a separate bowl”, but if you are a rule breaker like me, I almost always never do. And I’ve never had problems.

So, sorry to you professional bakers out there. I do respect and understand why this is done.

Washing extra bowls is such a huge pain for just flour. And too much work for me.

So, whichever you decide, there is one thing you must do (okay, you caught me… a few things)..  add soda, powder and cocoa to mixer(or a separate bowl for you sticklers), and 1 cup of the flour. Mix until just combined, and then add the rest of the flour. Mix until just combined.

I emphasize the ‘just’, because there is such a thing as over mixing Missy.

Trust me, again.. like before, or earlier.

 

Then for my most favorite part… the chocolate!

Add in your chips, and hand mix. Or, again, like me, The Rule Breaker, avoid using any muscle and turn the mixer back on to low. I actually prefer this because it breaks up the chips and you get more evenly distributed gooey goodness throughout the cookie. It turns into a swirly mess of soft cookie with chocolate in every bite.

Yes, I could probably write for ad companies. Thank you for asking. :]

Plop teaspoons of this swirly mess onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes exactly. I started out at 9 minutes just so I could check and make sure they weren’t already done. But it needed 10 minutes every time.

Let rest on the pan for a few minutes, then remove cookies and put on tin foil to cool.


Yes, it’s the same picture. I’m just giving you a gentle reminder of what you’re missing out on if you don’t make these.

 

Now go try this recipe.

It’s a must if you love mint and chocolate.

 

The Stars at Night, Are Big & Bright..

..*clap clap clap clap* Deep in the heart of Texas!

I thought that was 100% appropriate.

And you can’t say(sing in your head) the first part without saying(singing) the rest of it.

Ask anyone.

:)

 

August 11th was the night!

We sat out, cranked our necks, listened to music, and oo’d and ah’d

I sat out from 11pm until 4:30am. The hubs stayed out until about 5:30-6 like the trooper he is.

It definitely didn’t peak at 3am though, and that was a little bit of a let down.

According to some photos I’ve seen, it really got good closer to 6am.

But, we did get TWO shots. They were small meteors, and the only ones we were lucky enough to capture.

I need a wide angle lens.
Mom?
Santa?
Anyone?

 

Please click the photos to view larger.. you wont be able to see the meteors unless you do. :P


Baby Meteor #1

 


Baby Meteor #2

We sort of had to “get lucky” when snapping photos of the meteors. They were just so random, we had to just aim for the sky and cross our fingers.

I’m less than satisfied, but still glad to have SOMETHING after sitting outside for 6 hours!

Ah well, there’s always next year!
Maybe I’ll have a new wide angle lens by then.

This shot is pretty neat though…


The moon is lined up with Venus and Jupiter! Very cool to see.

::
Well, I hope you all got to see some meteors, or as the child in me likes to refer to them as… shooting stars.

::

Well, I’m off to start my Christmas List!

1. Wide Angle Lens
2. $$ for wide angle lens

Meteor Shower Watch


[please click any photo to view larger]

Last night Pete and I ventured out to scope out a spot to watch the meteor shower that’s taking place tonight. We went to 4 different spots.

This is how it went.

Spot #1 (Signal Hill- furthest away from the house): This is the perfect spot! We’ll come here, and it’s only 5 minutes from the house if we have to run back.

Spot #2 (Down on the San Gabriel River- second furthest from the house): Oh, I like this spot much better. It’s a lot darker than the last, and only 3 minutes from the house!

Spot #3: (Open grassy area in our community): Well this spot isn’t bad either. It’s as dark as the rest of the spots, and just down the street from the house!

Spot #4: (Our backyard): Pete: I’m just gonna check out the backyard quick and see how bad it is. (10 seconds later) Andrea, come out there. It’s not bad! And we don’t have to leave home!

This proves you don’t ever have to leave home. For any reason. Ever.

Ah, well, the night wasn’t wasted. It was still a fun trip.

But, I was really missing the gorgeous night skies of Minnesota last night. With the nearest “big city” being 35 minutes away (from my home town) across a vast flat land, there is virtually no light pollution. In fact, I can recall a bunch of times driving with my dad at night, and the only “light pollution” was the moon. Sometimes it was so bright you could drive without your headlights on. Of course, totally illegal (do not try this at home, and only trust your dad to do the driving), but what happens in the country… really doesn’t matter. We’d be so lucky to watch the shower there!

But, we do with what we can, and it actually wasn’t too bad last night.

We sat on Signal Hill with our friends, the deer, for a good 2+ hours. Staring into the sky, being stared at by our “friends” while staring into the sky, cramping our necks, arguing over camera settings and having a great time.

Sorry, sarcasm.

After having a “doh” moment, we finally figured out that the image stabilization was turned on on the lens and it was the source of our streaked stars.

We were finally ready to relax.

We set up the lawn chairs, grabbed the cooler, sat back and stared into the abyss.. uh, sky (wishing we would have brought neck pillows).

I never got a shot of the little set up on the hill, but Pete grabbed one before we left.

And it wasn’t complete until we had a NASA bag full of rocks helping to weight down the tripod.

How appropriate.

::

Okay, so getting back to the reason we were sitting on a hill at 2:30 in the morning hanging out with some deer..

The meteors!

The Perseid Meteor shower is going to be at it’s peak tonight at around 3AM. Although you could still see some meteors last night, and probably will be seeing some for a few days following, tonight is the night to watch if you are planning to see anything!

Take it from me. I took 118 photos with 30 second exposure over the period of a few hours, and we saw only about 6 meteors (out of frame, damn).

I read somewhere that we could see up to 100 meteors per hour, or 1-2 per minute tonight. How awesome!

Now, it will probably be a little less than that because of our light pollution. Being about 20 minutes out of Austin still gives us quite a bit of light pollution. :(

But, we’re hoping for the best!

Now, even though I didn’t get a shot of any meteors last night, I did get some good star pictures, and an awesome shot of the red moon rising.

So, tonight is the night. Cross your fingers I get some great meteor shots! I will be posting back here with more pictures.

15 minutes of Fame

Since posting my tutorial for a moroccan wall stencil, it’s become so popular, The Pioneer of Home Improvement picked it up and tweeted it to his twitter account!

Yes, I am talking about none other than, BOB VILA!

I know it’s just a tweet, and if I died tomorrow, Bob Vila wouldn’t know the difference, BUT the fact that he(or the person who runs his twitter) found MY tutorial good enough to tweet about… it’s such an honor. To be recognized that way, and by someone I’ve been a huge fan of for…. forever.. it’s so special!

It blew me away!

My husband is so proud he can’t stop telling everyone in his path.

So if you spot us out and about, do yourself a favor… walk swiftly in the opposite direction.

::

I snapped a few screen shots of the post….


How cool is that!

And you know, we totally had a coversation, we’re bff’s..

He was kinda busy, so he never wrote back. Love you anyways, Bob.

Although the photo that was posted with my tutorial isn’t mine, you can find out who’s it was here!

So there was my little brag worthy post.

I know people interact with celebs everyday because of twitter, but to be sought out and posted about is really awesome!

Thank you for your attention.

You may now resume your day to day lives.

DIY Moroccan Wall Stencil (*squeal!)

I’m so excited to write about this, I’m about ready to explode!

This started with an idea I found on Pinterest(of course). That’s where all ideas come from now, don’t you know?

It also came out of desperation.

I had a pinning fit of wall stencils.

And what I had pinned as inspiration for my house, was also something I ended up not being able to let go of.

I kept thinking and dreaming of stencils and was desperate to find one to paint.

Some bold and dramatic, others subdued and barely there but adding so much visual texture it changes the whole space.

Yes, I do believe I fell in love with stencils. We are very happy together.

These are not your ordinary grandma ivy border stencils. Love you Grandma.

These are blow your skirt up, total wall stencils that, if done right, can look like expensive wallpaper.

Wallpaper is back in btw. I already have 37 styles picked out that I want to put in my 5 houses and cottage by the sea.

And stencils are the new paint.

I’m totally with it. Can you tell?

::

Let me give you an example of a “blow your skirt up” stencil.

Click to go to the inspiration page.

Hello gorgeous.

Seriously, how stunning is that. (<<no question, because there’s no question.)

This was the inspiration room where I fell in love with stencils.

It’s also where I found the free printable for the moroccan shape!
Score!

You can find the download at the end of her post.

::

I also really love this shape.

Click here to print it off.

But, alas, I could only pick one. Maybe next time, pretty stencil.
I know, they’re quite similar, but they look totally different on the wall.

::

I actually ended up doing a mix between the two.
When I printed off my stencil shape, here, I enlarged it significantly. I printed it on 4 pages and taped them together. Reason being, I felt the smaller version may make my space look a little too busy.

I would have traced the shape onto some cardboard like the tutorial, but sadly, all my exacto knife blades were dull/broken, and there was no fandangling a scissors to cut out the curved lines on the cardboard. So, I stuck with regular copy paper, and it worked just fine. I actually got quite fast at tracing!

Total trace time was about 2 hours. And I’m being generous.


You see how my stencils don’t completely line up?
That’s okay! I lined up the stencil as best I could on the left side, and then traced out the right side, and just kept going. I really only used it as a guideline, and blended the lines together when I brushed over it with paint.


See, it wasn’t perfect. And that’s okay! Once I got going, I realized it didn’t have to be perfect. I would be painting over it later, and smoothing out the lines.

Although, don’t drink too much coffee while attempting to trace and paint a stencil. You’ll at least need a semi-steady hand.

Even those who are less artistically inclined, you can do it! It’s stupid easy.

Just remember, back off the coffee, Becky. Fer real.

::

Let’s paint!

I bought regular old craft paint, white, and metallic gold, which was on sale for .29 cents at Michael’s!


My wall color is a light, sandy, cream color, and I felt stark white was going to be a bit harsh. So I mixed in a few drops of metallic gold to tone it down. You can’t even see the gold in it, but it probably adds some dimention. I say “probably”, because I like to think the few drops actually make a difference. Who knows. It does soften the white a little though by giving it just a tad bit of a cream tone.

I also picked up a cheap, $3.99, 1/2 inch flat shader brush.
Pretty sure the hardest part of this whole process was picking the size of the brush! Every tutorial I found just said to use a “small” brush.

To me, the brush is one of the most important parts!

I recommend a 1/2 inch wide, folks.

The one I have is 1/2 wide and has about 3/4 length bristles. The shorter the better. It gives you more control. But don’t get it so short that you have no play. You want some flexibility. And, when the bristles are longer, there is too much flexibility so when you go to brush on the wall, the brush spreads out too much and you get a thicker line.

When I pressed the brush on the wall, with about as much force as I would need to apply paint..

..Barely any fanning!

Poifect!

Okay, one more of the brush, and I swear I’ll move on.


I promise my walls aren’t bright turquoise.

Okay, so of course once I started tracing the stencil, I couldnt get very far before I had to try out painting and see what it’d be like.

Piece of cake! It was really fun.

I’m going to need to find another stencil to paint somewhere else (like my bedroom!) because it was so much fun.


Paint inside the lines (as much as you can).

Sometimes when I was correcting some lines, the paint was more over the center of the line than inside. But once again, it doesn’t matter! It will all look symetrical once finished. Just make sure you start out level, and it’ll all fall into place.

I just eyeballed it until it was too late to go back and check if it was level (oops!), and mine turned out really good!

The less you try to make it perfect, the better it will look. So take that pressure off yourself, take a deep breath, relax, and I’d say have a cup of coffee… well.. you know.

But, if you want that jagged look, then by all means, drink up ya coffeholic.

Take it from me.
By day 3 of no coffee to kick start my day, I was about ready for a cup, and was probably shaking anyways.
So, I had a cup. A big cup. It was iced, and strong, and delicious, and by 7pm when I decided to paint some, I was still feeling the coffee.
I had to concentrate really hard.
There was wet paper towels on hand to fix the “whoops”, and they were used.
It was worth it. But it definitely didn’t speed up the process.


I had some company.


Here’s a better picture of the tracing.

Okay, so to clarify more on which lines to paint inside of.. check out this picture..

Hope this helps.

Sorry for the sloppy depiction..

The green shaded area is where you want to paint inside the lines.
The red area is where you would “skip” painting inside the lines and just move on to the next “line” or “row” of the pattern.
Can you see the difference between the two?
You couldn’t actually paint inside all the lines without it turning out weird, but I just wanted to try clarify how it works.


The hubs really liked it. I actually debated on stopping at just the one wall, but I’m so glad I didn’t!

Now, who’s ready for some drastic before & afters?!

::

Here’s a photo of my dining room from our first year we were in this house.

It’s actually a different color than the rest of the living room… well, no it’s not, it just has a metallic coat over the top. And I thought that would be enough of a difference to visually separate the spaces.

After a year or so of that, I was sick of it. I wanted to paint all the way down the hallway and carry it through the dining room because it felt so cut off where the blue metallic paint stopped. It needed to be lightened up and have some more definition.

Here’s the space after I painted the hallway through the dining room.

Sort of blah. I loved how it lightened up the space so much (sorry this photo was taken at night), and helped you know where the dining room started and ended. Also ignore the placement of the table, I had already moved it over to start tracing.

But, just the paint alone wasn’t doing it for me. It felt too sterile. Too beige. (I want to get a new dining set, don’t tell Pete)

NOW, the big reveal.

I’m in love. It makes me want to sit there all day.


Ruby… always a blur in any photo. Her whole body shakes when you say her name.


Chloe loved that her table was back in it’s place so she could take a nap.

Let’s recap…
Before

After

Maybe we’ll actually use it more now!

Now I know I’m sort of late for the Pinterest Challenge everyone has been doing, but I still consider this mine!

Since Pinterest came along, I’ve never cooked more new recipes, done more crafts and changed up my decor more! I don’t think I’m one of those that pin it and forget it. I’m pretty crafty, and love doing artsy fartsy stuff. :)

Speaking of… I should probably blog about my Christmas wreath I made last year… not that it’s late or anything.

Now if I can only find some fabric to recover that pink chair…..