Monthly Archives: March 2012

Cake Mix Cookies: Not Quite From Scratch, But Who Cares?

Cake Mix Cookies:  Not Quite From Scratch, But Who Cares?

Whew! For the moment, my house is germ-free. After several days of self-imposed quarantine, we celebrated our return to normalcy with a kitchen adventure.

I love cake mix recipes.

They’re quick. They’re easy. They’re yummy.

A trifecta of busy-mommy-deliciousness.

Here’s my favorite–a twist on the good ol’ Oatmeal cookie.

So, grab your ingredients, a couple of mess-making assistants, and while you’re at it, put some coffee on–you’ll want some as you enjoy some hot-from-the oven-cookies in a little while!

This recipe card speaks for itself. It makes me laugh. I make these ALOT, if you can’t tell.

A few tips that the recipe card doesn’t give:

  • Roll the dough into 1 inch balls before placing them on a cookie sheet.
  • Flatten the balls with a fork–like you would traditionally do for Oatmeal or Peanut Butter Cookies.
  • These cookies won’t brown. They don’t look done, but they are. Take ’em out!
  • I’ve recently discovered how adding a drizzle of white chocolate adds a flair for gift giving, and an extra “wow” factor for the tastebuds!


Repurposed Yogurt Cups: 10 other handy uses


I love yogurt. I eat it almost daily. It’s good for me and it tastes good. If I pretend really hard, I can imagine it’s icecream. ( I said REALLY hard) In fact, the only bad thing about it that I can come up with is all the plastic cups that are left when I’m done scraping the bottom with my spoon.

I resisted the urge to throw the growing stack of yogurt cups away, opting instead to put them to use.

Now, I’m not a recycling finatic, but I am conscious of enviromental issues. I’m forever finding new uses for things. I guess I come by it honestly–I never knew if the butter tub I pulled out of my Mamaw’s fridge actually contained butter, or last night’s chicken-n-dumplin’s, until I peeked under the lid. I’m not ashamed to admit, I haven’t bought Tupperware in years. My drawer is full of Cool-Whip containers, Country Crock tubs, and sour cream cups–for the small stuff.

My husband shook his head at the stack of at least 20 cups that have been multiplying, kindly pointing out that it was overkill. Thankfully, our town has just opened a great recycling drop-off at the fire station. So, I’ll be adding a few of the well-loved yogurt cups to my stack of things to bring by this week. My cabinet space will appreciate it, and my kids will get to see yet another way we “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!”

Hope you can add a few of these ideas to your daily routine!

  1. Painting Accessory: Memories of my childhood include watercoloring at the kitchen table with a “Dannon Fruit on the Bottom” cup full of water to rinse our brushes. Now-a-days, I use them for the same thing, with the addition of several colors of fingerpaints and lots and LOTS of newspaper underneath.
  2. Sorting Practice: Something my son has learned at Pre-K is to sort and separate objects based on their similarities and differences. It can be objects of the same color, objects that start with the same letter, certain shaped objects or textures, ect. Something concrete, that they can touch and organize goes a long way in wrapping their little minds around a concept. Set a few cups out and let them sort away!
  3. Circle Stencils: OH, the fun we’ve had with this one! We do a LOT of painting at my house, if you haven’t noticed. You can create colorful polka-dots by simply turning the cups upside down and dunking them in paint. At Christmas, I layed paper plates with different colored paints on the driveway, rolled out a roll of butcher paper and let them stamp away! Once it dried, I had my polka-dotted wrapping paper for the holidays! We’ve done plain white or brown lunch sacks too for gift bags. Super cheap, and so much more fun!
  4. Flower Pots: Just add some potting soil, a seed or two and a couple of assistants who don’t mind getting dirty and you have a great Springtime project to watch unfold on your windowsill. Let them tend to it themselves, adding water every few days. They’ll love watching the results. I spray-painted the cups so they’d be more decorative…
  5. Stacking Toys: I wish I was saving these when my kids were smaller! This is an untested idea, as of right now, but I have a baby nephew with some chubby hands who will be ready to start grabbing and stacking things before you know it!
  6. Bathtub Fun: This one is obvious. Warning: Do not encourage this if you can not handle getting soaked yourself.
  7. Sandcastle Tools: I plan on bringing a stack of them to the lake with us in the near future to mold some pretty amazing turrets for a certain Princess’s castle…
  8. Popcicle Mold: Good ol’ Koolaid or yogurt with a popcicle stick taped in place. That’s what Summertime is all about.
  9. Cookie Cutter: I’ve used this for biscuits, cookies, playdough, ect. Easy for the kids to handle, and yet another way to keep the cups out of the trash.
  10. To-go Snacks: This is probably the biggest use for these little freebies. Perfect for dried cereal, grapes, crackers, raisins, cheese cubes, snack mixes, even chicken fries on occasion. Cup-holder friendly, and easy to grab-and-go off the counter.

If you have more ideas on how to repurpose this handy-dandy little do-dad, leave a comment and share!

Thanks for reading,


It’s more than just a table…


I got a phone call from my mom the other day.  She’d found an antique table and chairs at an estate sale, for a steal, that had my breakfast room written all over it.

By the end of the afternoon, it was mine.  By the next day, it was in pieces in my dining room awaiting a new coat of varnish to bring it back to life.

Then came time to get my old table and chairs cleaned up and ready to give away.  You know how you never really notice how grungy and worn out your old tennis shoes are until you get a shiny new pair?  That’s what I thought about my old table.  It’d been through a lot since we pulled it out of the JC Penny’s box almost 9 years ago.  It’s nothing special.

As I started to wipe it down, I realized that it’s more than just a table.      

I flashed back to a little boy, just learning to eat with utensils, pounding his fork on the table, leaving the very indentations I was scrubbing away at.  I stopped to smile–if only he would use his utensils so enthusiastically these days.  It’s like pulling teeth to get him to, “Use your FORK!”

The next challenge was paint.  I know painting projects are messy undertakings, and with two very exuberant assistants, you can imagine the colorful splatters and flecks that decorated the table top, despite the use of drop cloths.  As speckled as the table was, the painters were usually even more-so.  And my little Miss-I-love-to-use-finger-paint-until-I-realize-my-hands-are-dirty will be the first to wipe those sweet digits on any surface in efforts to clean them off.  As of late, I’ve gotten wiser, and have resorted to painting outside for that very reason.

Then came the chairs.  They were filthy!  I scoured the carved detailing until I thought I’d scrape the varnish off–then realized what I was trying to remove was probably petrified baby food.  Holy cow.  It’s been a couple years since a toothless, chubby-cheeked cutie had thrown apple sauce across the room, or reached out with grimy-Gerber hands to grab a chunk of banana off a plate. Ugh…mashed bananas were so sticky!

I hope the next owner will be able to overlook the imperfections in my well-loved table.  We gather around it every night, abuse it every day with piles of books, bags, playdough, Hot Wheels cars, and, even hide underneath it from time to time.  Yes.  It’s been a great table, and the flaws just add to its’ character.  ( I know, that’s something my Momma would say…)

I flashed back to Saturday as we excitedly loaded my new table and chairs into the trailer to bring home.  I noticed the previous owner glancing at the big, empty space it left in the kitchen.  I know now what she was probably thinking.

It’s more than just a table.