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There is nothing that I love to splurge on like little girl`s pajamas… they make me feel like the world is the way it should be.

I went on a girl`s trip this last weekend and that was one of the things I brought home for Elle.

New jammies. She didn`t care, they were more like a gift for her mother.

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Can you not love a child in the soft sweetness they bring?

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But I would love her anyways…

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Even when she bites sweet little babies at church and makes her mother cry in public.

I still adore her.

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See, it`s the spell of those pajamas.

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Laila loves her “face time”. She smiles for anyone who will get in her face.

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Milky.

It`s still a sleepy time delight… along with “bant-det” (blanket) and “one book” she always pleeds, as she holds up a finger.

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Emotions run wild in a family of girls.

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She`s the apple of her daddy`s eye, oh yes.

She`s lucky.

Right now if I would have one wish– I`d wish for girly pajamas, and the complete adoration of her father, for every little girl in the world

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This is to go along with my last post, were I was feeling uninspired. I am posting a CASSEROLE recipe. Can you believe it? BUT, I bet I have here, just what you need to make for supper tonight.

No, it`s not a recipe for Herbes de Provence Vinaigrette or Ricotta Souffles with Blackberry Compote.

It`s nothing gourmet. It`s real simple, down-home and hearty. Or “nourishing”, as Galen called it.

And btw, I TOTALLY know what those French inspired recipes are, AND how to spell them correctly.

(THANK YOU, thank you, Google search engine for making me look so smart and well traveled)

This recipe`s base is a can of cream of chicken soup. Bet you can`t order THAT at some awesome, little Frenchy Bistro… with it`s mustached waiter…and tall menus with scrolling font… 

And I am betting that you have the time and all the ingredients to make it. So THAT`s why I took the time to share it. This goes out from me, to all you fellow frazzled housewives out there. You`re welcome…

…and I thought it was VERY delicious as well.

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Chicken Pasta Bake
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1 cup cooked peas
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups shredded or cubed chicken.
2 cups hot cooked medium egg noodles (I used whole wheat ones– they were good)

Mix all these ingredients in a baking dish. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
Then…
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2 tbsp. dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Mix these 2 ingredients together at the end. Sprinkle on the top. Bake for 5 more minutes.

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The peas are a cookin`. I LOVE peas and always sneak a few.

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Pasta. Cooked and ready to be used in whatever way the master chef saw fit. (That is me). 

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Lush and juicy.

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A close up of the casserole. Now that had to be the most boring picture ever taken.

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Here we are, melting the butter for the bread crumbs. Oh, the exciting things we do over here at out house!!

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Looks FAB-ulous! Loves to be served with a SUPER SIMPLE side of applesauce from your freezer (or local grocery).

Hey. For a casserole— it looks fabulous!!

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As I look out my window on this dreary, gray, soggy day– I am just DREAMING, dreaming of a day when I can feel creative again.

I kind of am in the mood to post– but all I have on file, is more pictures of my girls. Although they are sweet, I realize, they are probably sweeter to me than to ya`ll.

I`m in the mood to refinish an old piece of furniture I found by the side of the road, visit a farmer`s market on a hot day, walk to the park with the girls in the stroller and breath fresh air, go antiquing with my sisters, or paint a room of my house. I just want to feel like ME again– to feel like I made something look pretty that was ugly before… I miss playing with my camera and my sewing machine…

Sigh.

JUST FEELING RATHER DRY FOR POST CONTENT.

But instead, I hear Elle telling her daddy in the background,

“You`re mean”.

Because he told her she can`t watch any more Clifford The Big Red Dog youtube videos… Now I feel guilty that I am even on here, because I know she feels bored and probably hungry too.

So, off I go, to supply more milk, obsess about all the weight I need to lose yet– oh, and, “try” to be good at imagining and entertaining to Elle, with her Noah`s Ark animals. SO not my thing.

I love my life, but hopefully in the future it will be full of a lot more (real) sunshine and vibrant things.

Until then!

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“I want my mom!”
“I want your mom too!”

Classic. 

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Laila at 6 weeks. She smiles and coos now. She also gets a bad case of gas every night at oh, about bed time. We power through it by crying.

Her, not me.

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Elle is having a “quiet moment” here.

Honestly? This isn`t really a very true picture of her. She needs me to entertain her at all times at this point. 

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How I sprouted a blue eyed child, I`ll never know. It feels weird.

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Everyone is clean and dressed to go out. Feels like a real accomplishment.

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This is probably when I got some stuff done.

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A photo of the bottle of baby wash we use.

Oh, there appears to be a baby in the background. What the…?

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I`m a sucker for those BIG, BRIGHT BLUES!!

The ugly, red mark on her face is a “love scratch”, we`ll call it, from big sister… not cool.

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I love my husband. He`s funny, he`s smart and he models the sweater so nice.

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First *4 family members* picture. The mom looks whipped and tired behind that smile.

HAVE A BLESSED “HOLY WEEK”!
Jenny

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Pretty, Pretty Girls.

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Yes, this is the TRUE DEFINITION of the word “pretty” if you were to ask Elle.

“Perdy, perdy”, she likes to say, when I comb her hair in the morning.

Get out all the hairbows we own, and deck yourself out to the max with frills, bows and lace of every color in the world.

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I hope when she is 16 she still thinks this is the way to look hot. That way all the cheesy boys her age will stay far, far away.

I like the lipgloss smears she has there. She loves my perfume too. She gets lots of squirts from that one bottle, that I secretly hate the smell of.

I hope my girls always know that God made them so lovely. And that God made every girl they know— lovely. Some just look different then others. And some are nice inside too. The best kind.

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Is it a hat?

It is a cultural headdress?

Nooo….

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Gracie. A real trendsetter for our day. Two year olds everywhere are watching, waiting to see,

WHAT WILL SHE WEAR NEXT?

And no, that is NOT a garter around her head.

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And a few shots of Laila.

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Because I love her so much!

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Raising girls is “my kinda fun”. It`s what I have. It`s all I know.  

I love their innocence, their love for things feminine and creative.

If you had been here yesterday though, I would have burst into tears and choked out something like,

I HAVE NO CLUE WHAT I`M DOING HERE!”

Thank God for one day at a time.

 

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This post will be a quick slapping up of pictures and a few captions. I have this need to post them, but not a whole lot of time.

It is Saturday morning. I so wish “weekend” still meant an automatic sleep in morning. The 2 girls and I are up. Elle is drinking a milk bottle and eating Honeycomb out of a baggie that she is carrying around with her. Laila is fed and loving her swing and the red lights mommy has hanging from the ceiling in the livingroom. These are the things we do to give mommy some “me time”.

Judge me if you must.

And hey– my husband is still in bed.

You know you got up too early if Ranger Bill is on the radio when you turn it on on Saturday morning. It`s the first kid`s show of the morning and comes on at 7:30. Come on! How can you not know this? I tell ya– when I was growing up, we didn`t have a “television set” to watch cartoons on Saturday mornings like most kids did. But we were happy– we had the CHILDREN`S RADIO FUN HOUSE WITH MR. Z.

And we had our… IMAGINATIONS.  Glory be.

Here is a little known trivia about me. One time when our radio at home kicked the bucket over a weekend, me and my siblings all trooped out to the garage, still in our pajamas, and revved up the ol` Dodge minivan RADIO to hear stories that morning. Desperados, I know.

Also. I may or may not have been the ripe old age of 15.

But that was free.

Two warm bodies are now snuggled up against me, so I better press on.

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Galen`s parents with VERY new little Laila.

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And here they are the night before the scheduled c-section at our house. They had Elle at our house for two nights and here they are getting her to warm up to them. They are such wise, kind people and Elle adores them. I really could not think of a negative word about my in-laws. I feel very, very blessed.

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My sweet little family was there before I even called them. My dad was there too– not sure why he`s not on the picture.

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Don`t you think that pretty, azure gown just brings out my complexion so nice?

I do.

And this is my FAVORITE picture of Laila…

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Dear Erika… I think she`s happy for me.

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Shelly reflects more on the seriousness of the future, of raising a child.

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Stephanie came and brought her southern charm.

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Little Lauren– what a honey.

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My sister Joy. Mainly she looked too good that day. I was green.

PUN INTENDED! PUN INTENDED!


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Dear Julana, she is such a good mom. I want to love my children like she does.

She came and cleaned my entire house. I`ll be grateful for a long, long time…

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Little Isaac– he stole the show. For anyone who knows little Zebbie, I think Isaac looks like him on this picture…

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My baby sister, Jacinta. Elle loves her– she has come to my rescue many times…

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EVERYTIME I have a baby, I have this deap, renewed appreciation for mothers and what they are willing to suffer through to give birth. It always makes me feel especially thankful to my own mom for taking the energy to let ME enter the world…

She has been such a help and support to me and the babies this past week since I have been home…

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My Dr. Russell– she`s really cool. She is having a baby soon herself. I often wonder what it would be like to perform a c-section and know that in a month or two, YOU will be letting someone give you one!

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We missed Elle so much when I was at the hospital, so one night Galen went all the way to Julana`s and brought her in for a little “family night”. Oddly, enough although we were sad and missing her, she seemed to be raring to get back to the “fun house” where she was staying…

She kept saying “sissy” (Gracie) and standing by the door smiling and cheerfully saying “bye, bye!!” to us.

It`s so hard when you`re a parent and you`re just not COOL anymore.

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The first night home. They are loving them some DADDY.

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In those first few days I worked to find a safe place where I could put Laila so Elle couldn`t clobber her. This was good until Elle got the notion to carry this trusty stool around with her to “reach new heights”.

She is still carrying it– to the bathroom, the kitchen, the baby`s room… More height, more trouble, I say.

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A couple pictures I tried to take of them together. This photo shoot, was BY FAR the most stressful half hour we endured since my surgery.

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Love the feet of my girls. They both somehow have not been cursed with the short, stubby toes I bring to the table. They have long, delicate feet and toes. I am so proud.

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Elle smiles, but her heart was not in it.

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Lovey dovey.

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Dry, scaly, skin that lotion does not take care of. Good thing for her, it`s not FLIP FLOP SEASON yet.

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One of her announcements. I know it`s a real killjoy to post this, previous to you getting one fresh in your mailbox…

Oh, well, call me a killjoy.

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Her eyes are blue, little cesspools of love. She looks good here. I think this is about her equivalent of a glamor shot. Right now, she has a bad cold in her eye (read: snot looking stuff oozing from them).

So yeah, it`s a “good” picture of her. One day we will get her back to her former glory.

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Reflecting on better days before they brought home that baby.

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They really do love eachother…

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Life at our house. I love it.

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So fluffy and cuddly.

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Julana, I LOVE the hat. Can`t wait to go out so I can wear it, other then on her to bed.

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And here, I have to pause to brag– over a year ago, I bought this little dress on a clearance rack at Children`s Place for .99!! I kept it around “just in case”.

How can you beat that? .99 is ALMOST cheaper then free– if you think about it long enough…

Alrighty, well let`s say that this post is only now finished because G took Elle along to Wooster to get us some groceries for the week. He looked paniced when he left and said it will take him 2 hours at Walmart because he can never find anything there. My list was small and well detailed. (Exp. “Near the bread isle”, “Box that is long, NOT the short kind” or, “Purple packaging” etc.)

I am most excited because they are eating at Wendy`s and Elle will get her beloved chicken fingers. So- no making lunch for me! (As if I even have, for the last week)

I guess I will live my dreams through them (of getting out of the house one day).

Enjoy your Saturday!







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We got up this morning I I realized I must be either too thrifty or unconventional because both my babies were wearing CHRISTMAS jammies! What ARE tthe odds I ask you?
Hey, no one really ever sees us these days…

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Elle: “Hey baby, meet the world…”
Laila: “Oh, great I`m here already!”

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Pretty smile. Tangled hair.
Baby`s head dangles, unsupported…

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Here`s proof that even Kauffman children wake up looking stinky.

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Laila Jeanette. Laila– just because we thought it was pretty and feminine and Jeanette– named after her mother.
My baby doll. I have fallen completely and totally in love with this little muffin. She could not be easier to care for. Loves to drink milk, sleep and only cries when she isn`t being held or is hungry. But it goes without saying, even if she was cranky– I would love her anyways.
She weighted 6lbs 7 oz at birth and when we left the hospital she was down to 6 lbs. Let`s say I was excited when I took her to her first Dr. appt. yesterday and she was back up at her birth weight!
Today Elle is away at my mom`s and am finally catching up on a few things around here. She is such a complete and total handful right now. And not in the way I thought she would be either. She really loves the baby and doesn`t appear to feel threatened by her. But kisses, smacks, pinches, rocking baby HIGH in the swing, love groans, gentle head rubs, whacks! are all ways she expresses herself to Laila. I have to watch her 24/7. The other thing is just that all that has to do with Elle wears me out– since I had a C-section and can`t (let`s make that “aren`t supposed to”)  lift her. So her baths, diaper changes (NO she`s not potty trained! ) getting her ready, getting her up and own from high chair, etc. leaves me less then perky, let`s say.
But does it say anything for my hormones that I feel like crying today when I think of her because I miss her so much? Nuts, I tell ya.
It`s been a week now since my surgery. I`m feeling much better. I have to say this time around the whole ordeal was SO MUCH BETTER than with Elle. Really I can`t even compare the two experiences in the same web blog. (clever right?) I was at a different hospital this time and I could rave and rave about the awesome staff they had.
Well, except for the one nurse that had some for angst that made her want to ram her hands into my lower gut with not, gentleness, but brute force. I laid there and tried not to hate her. So, now her, I`m not feeling to keen on. I even remember her name.
But the rest of my experience– top notch.
And that was my baby update for the day.
Later! 

PS. THANK YOU TO ALL for all the LOVELY comments you left for Laila and I! It made everything better to read all the nice, nice things ya`ll had to say.
Having babies works good for things like that.
And isn`t G a great guest blogger? He really needs to open up shop. It`s just not fair that I get to be the only one to enjoy him.

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Isaac, mom, Gracie and Julana. We spent hours at this McDonald`s playland one day. It was awesome, cheap and the 3 little kids loved it!!

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9 months and feeling puffy…

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Isaac: “Could I be sweeter, cuter, more loveable? …Yeah, didn`t think so”.

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Elle: “Well, I`ll BE… there is another kid playing in our play area– of ALL the nerve!”

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Elle: “Here! Your mom said you`re supposed to have this.”

Gracie: “…And as I was saying…”

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Elle: “See, Gracie, I guess I felt like you weren`t letting me play much with Isaac– and that really made me feel sad here inside my heart”.

Gracie: “Well, if you wouldn`t be so huffin` ROUGH with him, I might could let you more…”

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I just love thrift stores, Goodwill and the local junk shop. Not only have I found adorable, hardly used clothes for Elle lately… but today I found the most BEAUTIFUL, delicate, white plates.
I got 6 plates, 1 crock, a serving bowl, a soup bowl and an oval flat plate. They were all 50 cents each! I just fell in love with them. I plan to pack them away and if we ever move to “our place” I want to display them somewhere.
What a lovely history they would share, I`m sure, if they could talk..

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I found it fascinating how much smaller their dinner plates used to be. I`m sure they ate smaller portions than the average American does now!
The strawberries are for the girl`s party we are doing Friday night.

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I had just bought these green apples. We love them, they are perfectly crunchy and sweet.

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Also bought this little chalkboard for 50 cents.

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Pretty sure this is where the little chalkboard will end up.

Anyways, my little bargains kinda made my day– so thought I`d share them with you all.
So what have you found lately that was pretty cool in your eyes?

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I have always had this love affair with monster cookies. But oh, so much bad luck. I could just never ever make them so that they weren`t flat, runny or way too oatmealy.

Back when I worked at Der Dutch, us waitresses used to go over to to the bakery and eat them right out of the oven, still warm. They make the VERY BEST monster cookies there. My mom always makes great ones too. But get ME to try that recipe and it just fell flat.

Here it turns out, even though G was born without his sweet tooth intact– monsters are something he really likes. Imagine that. So, since I couldn`t make them myself, I took up splurging on them at a local bakery to pack in his school lunch.

Like I said, it`s been a real long drawn out affair between us– the monster cookie and I.

Well, awhile back I decided to take a recipe for them out of a cookbook and just make them over and over and just keep altering them until I got it right. I kid you not, I have made batches of them and every time changed a consistency, a temperature or an amount and FINALLY.

Yesterday when I made a batch– I just had to say, in my own humble way, they were PERFECT. And it turns out, they are really a breeze to make. All you have to do is follow the “tried and true” recipe listed below.

Now even a five year old can whip these bad boys up.

And as we used to say in the restaurant business. Enjoy!

(Because there was never really anything else appropriate I could think of to say).  

Monster Cookies.

Cream the only ingredients below. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. It really helps it mix better.

1 1/2 stick real butter, melted

1 C. brown sugar

1 C. white sugar

3/4 of a 18 oz. jar peanut butter (I use creamy, I`m sure either chunky or creamy is fine)

4 eggs

2 1/2 tsp. baking soda

THEN add.

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6 cups oatmeal

4 oz. choc chips

1 bag of M & Ms

Mix well. Roll into little balls and bake for less than 10 minutes. DO NOT OVERBAKE!  

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The beauty of it is, it only takes about 8 minutes of sheer torture before these little guys are ready to rumble.

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What would lil old MILK be with out it`s partner– the cookie?

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They really are evil. They call out to you and they don`t stop. Make at your own risk.

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That`s why I to look condescendingly down at them, laugh a wicked laugh, and pack them away to shiver and eventually freeze to death in my freezer.

Aha! Who wins now?

It`s great for that last minute party, sack lunch or paper plate for a friend. __________________________________________________________________

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And in other news– these are two little girls would like to endorse Honey Nut Cheerios if they could.

General Mills has not yet returned their calls.

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Mmm, good. 

Wouldn`t this shot just look great on the front of their box? I mean, who really wants to see that cartoon bumble bee mascot they have, (wearing a shirt but no pants) every morning anyways?

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A few of you have asked me to show you how to make the blankets that I have made. And by a few of you, I`m talking maybe 3 or 4…

But anywho– since I just made one for Elle I kind of used that as an excuse to do a post on it. Worked good all around for me, is what I`m saying.

If you are looking for a fun winter project or a special baby gift– this might just be for you. This one I just did was larger than some, probably a little bigger than “throw” size. It took me a week of working off and on on it. Just to give you an idea of how long it might take. Although, let me say– if you had a whole day of uninterrupted bliss, and would work on it most of the day, you could probably call it a “day project”.

As if that ever happens to any of us.

I usually use old vintage sheets, but for this one, I bought new fabric.  I got 2 yds. of both of the fabrics at 45 inches wide. The batting is the most basic kind. I think it`s $8.99 or so for a bundle of it. You can get all kind of upgrades on the stuff– up to $24.99 for wool batting etc. As if anyone needs to go that high class, eh. Always remember to sign up for the 50% off coupons to Joanns or Micheals. I always wait until a have a coupon to buy each product listed above that I need, to make one of these blankets. Then, when I finally have everything, I start. They aren`t really that cheap to make, otherwise. I figured I have maybe, close to $50 worth into this one but with using all the half off coupons– I figure $25 isn`t too bad for a homemade heirloom.

Anyways. So above, are the products it will take to make 1 blanket.

Does any of this make sense? I am not Martha Stewart.

Or maybe I should say, someone who works for her. Like she really does all those projects herself. Pha!

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Someone asked what blanket binding is. You can get it at Walmart or any kind of “Joanns type”s tore. It`s often sold near the thread. It isn`t really cheap, maybe $6.99 a pack (before coupon).

You will need 2 of them. Trust me– one is just never enough. They usually have a more casual kind of binding too, that I like to use for say, a comfort knot blanket. When I do a more “dressy” style like this one, I usually use this kind of glossy, silkier looking binding.

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I used a cotton backing with a light stripe running through it on one side, and a light felt-feeling fabric.

It happened by accident, but I really liked the combo, because one side is more for snuggling when it`s cold, and the other is lighter– works good for a summer day.

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Lay it out on your ugly carpeting like I did. Sandwich the batting in the middle. Both “good” sides of fabric facing OUT.

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Here is me TRYING to take a picture to illustrate this.

REMEMBER, I never ever promised Martha-like quality– photos as well.

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Now, pin along the one edge. THIS is where you will start sewing along with your sewing machine to start the row of million lines you will be making.

Trust me, it gives me a little “homemaker`s high”; but gets old REALLY fast.

I kid you not.

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There are the pins. All neatly in a row.

Now you`re ready to sew!

And away you go!

To off your blanket show!

Ok, rhymes aren`t cute?

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Yup, there is the first row you will sew– of the next million you will do.

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Making “stripes” as neatly as you can. TIP: You really have to rub along under the fabric as you sew, so as not to get funny creases on the other side that you can`t see until later.

And don`t feel bad if they aren`t prefect straight. Mine never, ever, ever all are! It adds character to your blanket, I say.

Plus, if someone slaves over a blanket for hours for you, then you just better not EVER complain about any ridiculous things like creases or uneven stripes. That`s what I say.

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More of the same. Sewing in a line all day long…

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As you sew, you can trim off the batting from around the edges.

THEN. The LAST step (and I was sure I had pictures in here somewhere of it), is to sew on the blanket binding. That is my ABSOLUTE favorite part of this whole blanket making process. I think because that`s when it actually starts to look awesome– and yeah, that makes it more worthwhile.

For the binding, I sew it on with the machine on one side and then flip it over and do it all over again– so as not to get ribbon spots that didn`t get attached right on the other side.  

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FINISHED! I cannot say how happy I was to finish this puppy and pack up and put away all my sewing gear…

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The best way to get good texture is to wash and dry the blanket first thing before you give/use it. I always think, they aren`t REALLY pretty until they get all the fabulous creases all over them.

That humble worn-in look.

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The blanket binding won`t look perfect either. Corners can be kinda tricky. Just do your best.

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Just a last shot to try and show you how big this blanket will be. Elle was very touched when I gave it to her and loves it lots!

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(She is so humbled by my expression of love)

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“Show me the money, mom”.

BUT ANYWAYS.

That flowered fabric in photo, above, looks prettier in real. I just had to share that. I was pretty happy with the pretty/girly look it came out as.

And by the way, if you happen to make one of these (or any other creative project), PLEASE, PLEASE share your story and photo with all of “us”!

I love to see posts like this that other people do…

Leave your link in the comments.

Have a good day, everybody!! Jenny 

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