A New Kitchen and a Playroom Revamp

So, Cami’s new kitchen came in! Hooray! She absolutely loves it to pieces. It is a wonderful kitchen and was made with such fine craftsmanship. It has also made our house smell wonderful. My hope is that Cami’s grandchildren will admire it someday too. Here is Cami admiring her new kitchen first thing in the morning (we took it out while she was sleeping).

On another note, our garage sale was a great success. It was so successful that I didn’t really have a chance to get a picture of our setup so that I could post it on the blog. The garage salers came in swarms and it was a pretty crazy first day. Here are some pictures of our playroom now. My husbands comment when he came home: “we look poor”. Sigh. He just doesn’t get it. I told him it looks like Toys R Us didn’t throw up in our house anymore. The room is still in progress. We will be purchasing a wooden children’s table from Ikea soon and I’d like to get some frames for some of her artwork and get some maps up on the walls. We’ll also be ditching the Melissa & Doug toys eventually. Someday it’d be nice to have something less Elmoish for her to sit on, LOL. But for now, this is our post China Recall playroom. Mostly everything is wooden.

LOL. I never took any “before” pictures but if you scroll down and look past the cute kiddo’s you can sort of tell how overboard it was. To give you an idea I made over $700 selling off our toys. Yikes. Good thing we never spent that much on them (we are garage sales fanatics). Amazingly enough, we made a profit by selling our toys. The pictures below are mostly from one angle it seems but I found some old photos of different room arrangements that we had and also a shot from one of our old houses that does a good job showing just how many toys we had. It was bad. It makes me feel a little better to mention I used to do childcare, but even so we still had way too many toys. Not only was the playroom always full of toys but we had about 10 rubbermaid tubs filled with toys in the garage. I am now proud to say that the toys you see in the pictures of the playroom (above) are all that we have now (except 2 tubs of barbies I couldn’t bare to part with which are in storage). Below is what we used to have:

Whew, ok. So finding and posting those pictures was quite the experience. It was very humbling and embarrassing at the same time. I think it really opened my eyes to how embedded we had become in the American tendency to consume, consume, consume. You might as well title the series of pictures as “American Greed” because really that is what we are instilling in our children when they have so many toys they couldn’t even begin to tell you what they have. I don’t pretend to have all the answers and I don’t pretend we are at an ideal place right now but I am very happy that we are no longer where we were before. I’ll write more on this later as I have time to digest it but for now I’m glad it’s done.

P.S. There were even more pics but they just got worse…LOL. I think these are enough to give you the general idea.

The Best Oatmeal Cookies Ever

Oh My Stinkin Delicious

Ok, I have to share this because I am dying in oatmeal cookie heaven over here. After many disappointing oatmeal cookie recipes and hours of reading later I have finally found the perfect oatmeal cookie recipe for my family. I looked at a ton of recipes online and combined a few of them for a great combination. The cookies are crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. They keep their shape and best of all they are SOOOOOO Good!The secret is the raisins. You have to soak them. I don’t even like raisins. In fact, I typically really DISLIKE raisins. But I decided to brave it and I can’t believe how good they are! You have to try it with the raisins (even if you normally hate them, you’ll see). I added chocolate chips to ours but they are totally not necessary. We had to omit the nuts because of nut allergies in our house but they would rock with some chopped pecans or walnuts. These cookies make your house smell soooo good.

1 cup butter, room temp
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1 TBSP (yes tablespoon) vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinammon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 cups oatmeal (quick cooking or old fashioned, not instant)
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

To prep: The key is to soak the raisins. This makes all the difference in the world. Beat eggs and vanilla together and then add the raisins, stir. Soak for an hour or two. I just walked by a few times and stirred it while I waited.


Preheat to 350 F

Cream butter and sugars with mixer. In a seperate bowl combine flour, salt, baking soda, cinammon, ginger & nutmeg. Stir the dry ingredients until well blended. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture and mix well. Now add in the egg & raisin mixture (I used my hands). Then add oatmeal and chocolate chips/nuts and combine well. Form into balls on cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet for 2-5 minutes or until firm enough to transfer to wire rack.

Made about 2 1/2 dozen cookies for me and I made them pretty big. You could get 4 dozen if you make them small.


UPDATE: Cooking time will vary depending on your oven. Since we’ve moved to a new house I have needed to up the cooking time to around 12-13 minutes. Just keep an eye on the cookies. Also, there are lots of great suggestions in the comments for great variations so be sure to take a look.