Thursday, December 21, 2017

cottage cheese roll-up cookie recipe

This recipe isn't really a Christmas cookie recipe, but it's the cookie my sister and I always beg our mom to make for Christmas. I can do without any other dessert as long as I have a cottage cheese roll-up cookie. I asked my mom for the recipe so I can take them to a cookie swap tomorrow and since they are so delicious I figured I'd share the recipe here!

The cookie itself is similar to a pie crust - not sweet - and the filling is sugar overload so it makes the perfect balance.

For the Cookie
1/2 pound butter (2 sticks)
1 c. small curd cottage cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour

For the Filling
1 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
food coloring (if desired)

Blend all cookie ingredients using a stand mixer (or heavy duty food processor) to make a pie dough. Divide into 8 equally sized balls and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350F. After the dough has been adequately chilled, roll out each dough ball one at a time until very thin. Lay a plate upside down on the dough and cut around it to remove the excess. This will give the cookies a better shape. Using a pizza cutter, cut the flattened dough into 8 even pie-shaped wedges. Take a foil-lined clothespin and wrap the dough around it, longest side first. Place the wrapped clothespins end point down on a cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven. Once you are able to handle them, remove the clothespins. Do not let the cookies cool completely before this step or they will tear. To make the filling, mix all ingredients at high speed until it is light and fluffy. Use a pastry bag to fill the cookies. 

Jon and I were both surprised at how easy this recipe was. I have high hopes to make a vegan version, but I just haven't had time to try it yet.

five on friday

{1} I am d-o-n-e with work for 2017! Every year my entire company shuts down (paid) from the last work day before Christmas Eve through the first of the year. And let me tell you... it's been a week. I needed this break. This month has been particularly insane because my coworker who has the same responsibilities I do took the entirety of December off with his accumulated PTO. That means I've had double the work. It's been nuts.

{2} Santa came to visit Elden's preschool this week. He asked for "Grosseries," which confused the ever-loving eff out of Santa. I'm pretty sure Santa thought we were short on food.

{3} Speaking of Elden, I found this drawing in his room after quiet time this week. I asked him why Jon and I were crossed out. Without skipping a beat, he responds, "because I'm better than you." We must have done something to anger him.

{4} This girl - so much spunk and pizzazz. She must have a necklace on at all times. She often wears only socks, underpants and a necklace. I love her so.

{5} This one keeps us on our toes. She is always getting into something, always demanding our attention, always making us laugh. Her favorite game right now is to take my phone when the kids are Facetiming someone and run off with it so you chase her. The person we are Facetiming with is treated to a Blair Witch-style experience with the soundtrack of unadulterated giggles. Honestly? It's the best.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

what's up wednesday

Linking up with MelSheaffer, and Shay!

What we're eating this week:

Gardein Tenders with celery.

Potatoes and broccoli.

Whatever Jon cooks.

What I'm reminiscing about:

I really needed this reminder. Last year I went to bake cookies and Edith begged to help. I usually avoid getting the kids' help because it takes three times longer. I let her help that day and Jon snapped this photo. It's so easy to forget how fleeting these times are. Times when you're the entire world to your kids and they love everything about you. I'm trying to focus on that in the midst of the hectic holiday season.

What I'm loving:

The other day during quiet time we discovered that Elden had crawled into his pillow case (he had elected to do quiet time in the nude) and fallen asleep on the floor.

What we've been up to:

Family mall dates for Mitchell's ice cream. Jon said their vegan chocolate mint was the best vegan ice cream he's ever had. Etta wholeheartedly agrees.

All things Christmas-related.

What I'm dreading:

Winter in Cleveland is charming until Christmas is over. Then it's just dreary and depressing.

What I'm working on:

I mentioned that I was giving Swagbucks another shot. I'm about a week in and I already have $100 in Swagbucks! I am so glad I decided to try again. This will help pay for our eventual Disney trip in no time.

What I'm excited about:

Never one to pass on a deal, I've been playing sweeps for free on Shop Your Way Rewards. I average $10-$15 in rewards every 2 or so weeks. I got this fleece for Elden and black dance tights for Edith for free!

What I'm watching:

Modern Family, The Goldbergs.

What I'm listening to:

Christmas songs (obviously).

What I'm wearing:

Nice clothes for date night!

What I'm doing:

I've definitely made working out into a habit. We finally found a rhythm that works for our family and I usually head out once the kids are all in bed. It's a nice way to end my day and it really helps wear my mind out so I'm not so restless at night.

What I'm looking forward to next month:

We will start remodeling our master bathroom. We have almost everything picked out now. We are using this photo as inspiration for the shower!

Friday, December 15, 2017

day of kindness 2017 (link-up)

Today was the Day of Kindness!

Some highlights from the day included:

 -leaving a snack and water in the mailbox for our mail carrier

 -handing out $5 Target gift cards to some kids who were in the toy aisles

 -buying food for our local food bank; we'll deliver it this week when they're open

-handing out candy canes before dance class

We also donated toys to families in need this week and gave to a few different charities. Edith really enjoyed today. Elden struggled quite a bit because he is so introverted. He asked that we take the firemen food so I'm going to try to make that happen sometime this week also. I'm so glad we decided to do this - Edith definitely picked up on how happy her acts of kindness made others. This is our newest family tradition and I'm so excited about it.

What did you do to be kind today?

five on friday

{1} TOMORROW! The Day of Kindness! Come back tomorrow night through Tuesday night to share what kind things you did with my link-up.

{2} Part of Jon's Christmas present arrived yesterday. I got it from Etsy and I am in love with the packaging! I will share the details after Christmas.

{3} It has been cold. Elden also had his first snow day of the school year yesterday and naturally all the kids want to do right now is play in it. Since I didn't want to go outside in the teen-digit temps, I brought the outside in. Nothing some snow in a bowl, a towel and gloves can't fix. Win/win.

{4} Well, this little lady had an ER visit on Wednesday night. Jon was getting his haircut (because of course this stuff happens when the prone-to-panic parent is flying solo) when Etta fell with a pen in her mouth. All I could tell was the back of her throat was bleeding so I called the after hours line. The nurse spoke with a doctor who instructed us to head in because there are soft spots in the back of the throat that could be easily damaged. Thankfully (and shockingly) the ER waiting room was entirely empty when we arrived and most importantly it was just a scrape! It took longer to wait on the paperwork for discharge than we waited for the doctor. 

{5} Swagbucks. I had a hate/hate relationship with Swagbucks previously, but we are starting to get serious about saving for our first (and likely only) Disney trip in a few years. I'm part of a Disney  group on Facebook and the ladies there encouraged me to try again to earn extra money for the trip. I've been reading up on tips and tricks for getting the most out of Swagbucks with the least amount of time, and I am currently at $26 earned in just three days. Granted, most of those earnings are a result of a charitable donation I made, but the organization I donated to (Mercy Ships) is one that I really love. I figure I can average at least 100 points per day without offers such as the donation one, which doesn't seem like much--but after three years would come out to around $1000! That would be a huge help for Disney!

Linking up with KatieAprilAndreaNarci and Erika!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

what we've been up to (and a link-up reminder!)

Has time gotten away from anyone else lately, or is it just me?

I feel like every day is spent running - I go from bed to work to home to dinner to errands to bedtimes to cleaning to the gym to bed. We haven't even had made a fire in our fireplace this month! It's just too much effort and we don't really have time to sit and enjoy it.

I digress.

This week the kids got letters from Santa from the actual North Pole:
 They were really excited and Elden has asked me to read his letter 5 times already.


Elden and Edith have been sleeping in the bunk beds in Edith's room for weeks now. It began because Elden said he was too scared to sleep in his room by himself. We were able to temporarily stop that by leaving his door open, but when that lost its efficacy we let them sleep in the same room. Now sleeping in the same room isn't sufficient for him so we've evolved into DIY tent making. 2/3 of the tent poles are actually brand new wrapping paper tubes and the third is a broom handle. Fitted sheets work wonders in this case because they hold onto the posts, no restraints required.
Because building them bunk bed tents wasn't crazy enough, they are constantly fighting over who gets to sleep on the "down" as Edith says because the cats will occasionally come in at night and join the bottom resident in their bed. As such, every night they switch. This means that every. single. night. we are moving pillows and blankets and stuffed animals between the beds.


Edith had a tea party with Jon in her "castle" while Elden was at school and Etta was napping.


This is my last full week of work for the year. My company shuts down for the holidays every year, in this case from next Friday to early January - which is one of the biggest perks of working here. On Friday night the kids are sleeping over our parents' houses. We also have a Christmas party, the Christmas program at church and the kids' last dance class of 2017 this week.

Don't forget that this Saturday is the Day of Kindness! I will be putting a link-up on my blog beginning Saturday night at midnight and it will be open through Tuesday night so if you can't get around to blogging about what you did this weekend you can do it early next week!

*Affiliate links used

Monday, December 11, 2017

weekend recap

I feel like we haven't had much downtime since October. We aren't just running around on the weekend, but also on weeknights. That coupled with me going to the gym 3-4 nights a week and I'm pretty ragged. This weekend was lower key and I am so glad.

On Friday night I don't remember what we did - I think nothing? It's so crazy how the days and nights all blur together lately!

Saturday morning was cold. Elden asked to use our window markers and I happily obliged.
 Later that morning, I found this gem - not sure what this boy is trying to say!
Elden and Edith had dance class and following dance class we had a quick lunch at home and skipped nap/quiet time for Myles' birthday. The kids had SO much fun and have told me no less than seven times since that they miss Myles' birthday party.
Since Edith skipped her nap, she slept hard that night.
 On Sunday morning Jon worked sound for church, so I flew solo getting the kids out the door. We had a Dunkin' Donuts gift card so we headed there for breakfast. I also used one of my Starbucks free drinks after we left DD. Following church/lunch, I headed to the gym to work off the Big Mac I ate. Have I mentioned how much I love my Zune? I got this my freshmen year of college and it is a tank. The battery life is still amazing! I wish Microsoft still made them.
Between solo parenting in the morning, going to the gym, and chasing the kids around all day, I got a stupid amount of steps in and was totally wiped by Sunday night.
I concluded the weekend by wrapping Christmas gifts and taking inventory of what I still need to buy. Luckily I am mostly done shopping, especially thanks to some late-night online purchases!

Friday, December 8, 2017

five on friday

{1} Well, we need to gut and renovate our master bathroom thanks to a leaky shower. We have tile in there now and while I love the look I hate the fact that you have to re-grout every so often. Jon and I picked out this surround so that instead of having to grout we could just replace the caulk in a few spots when required.

{2} Four words: Magformers are half off! This set is $38 (normally $79.99) and there are a few others sets at deep discounts here (today only).

{3} Starbucks for Life! I love when Starbucks does this contest because I can enter daily without making a purchase. So far I've won 145 star points - which is one free drink (and thanks to existing star points I had accumulated, it put me over the edge to get a second free drink!).

{4} VTech Magical Unicorn. This is what Jon's parent's got Etta for Christmas and I know she's going to love it. She always wants us to make Elden's toy robot go with the remote, but with this unicorn she can press the large heart button on its chest to make it walk and flap its wings herself. I had no idea this toy even existed but ti will be perfect for her--plus it's on sale for $19.99 right now!

{5} Frozen Jewelry Box. So we are totally tardy to this party, but the kids just watched Frozen for the first time a little over a week ago. We've heard the Do You Want to Build a Snowman song so many times since. Edith got a jewelry box for her birthday but I am so tempted to get both her and Elden this one because it's on sale today for $12.00 and if you buy two you get the third Disney Frozen toy for free on Amazon today... talk me out of it...

Linking up with KatieAprilAndreaNarci and Erika!

*Affiliate links used

Thursday, December 7, 2017

vegan and gluten-free chocolate peanut butter crispies

I was in need of a vegan sweets recipe that was super easy and quick to make. This one totally fit the bill!

2 c. crispy rice cereal
1 c. confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 c. peanut butter
2 tbsp. vegan butter
1 c. vegan chocolate chips (we use the Kirkland chocolate chips from Costco)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a large bowl, combine the cereal and sugar. In a small sauce pan, melt remaining ingredients over low heat, stirring constantly. Once fully melted, combine with the cereal mixture. Once well mixed, place in a well greased pan.

This is crumblier than a rice crispy treat but not as crumbly as puppy chow. You could add more cereal to firm it up or you could add more sugar to make it crumblier. It's versatile and takes less than 10 minutes to make!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

favorite children's books lately

Today I had 3 alarms fail me:
-technically my fault and not my alarm's, but I forgot to set my cell phone alarm
-my Fitbit alarm was apparently not enough to wake me
-my children alarm, typically the most reliable of all the alarms in the land, decided to sleep in today

As such, I am a bit frazzled. So here are some of our favorite children's books lately.

Another Anna Dewdney book we love is Roly Poly Pangolin.

*Affiliate links used

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


In anticipation of December, we setup our DIY advent calendar the evening of the 30th. Since I did a crummy job planning ahead, I just used the kids' trick-or-treat candy to fill it up. Not gonna lie - this is going to be my new approach.
 Jon sent me this picture of our apple enthusiasts on Friday:
It has been a rough go of it lately in our house. Lots of fighting over my lap at all times. Big sister was far less amused than little sister.
 Sally and Sharm posted the photos from their wedding on Facebook and I stole them:
 Etta has 6 teeth and her little grin cracks us up now:
Finally, I saved a lot of money by using a really easy approach that I shared on the Busy Mom Bargains Facebook page: