Okay so this week, like Mandy, we had a pretty perfect day. There are a few things that I think I’ll talk about pertaining to this “perfect day” so I think this post will end up being all over the place. It’s going to be a post about quality family time, the importance of taking a break from the world, Family Home Evening (part II), and a yummy chocolate chip cookie recipe. All with tons of pictures of it all!
Mondays are Alex’s day off. Monday= Saturday for us. We started off the day right by sleeping in. We then proceeded to laze (yes I know that’s not a real word) around for the next few hours. We had planned to go shooting because I got a new gun (well, new to us) that Alex had traded someone for (a Shield for a Walther CCP) for me to possibly carry concealed when the time comes. I wanted to try it out and see if it was a comfortable fit in my hand, if the recoil wasn’t too bad, if I liked the trigger pull, etc. So after Sophie’s nap we headed out. It was fun and I got more comfortable with my new gun and worked on my accuracy.
After we had had enough shooting we went home and did dinner. I came up with a last-minute plan for Family Home Evening that I’m pretty proud of, considering how last minute it was. I also baked these delicious chocolate chip cookies that I’ve been obsessed with lately. I’ll share them both with you.
Family Home Evening Lesson: The Tower of Babel
We’ve been using the Children’s Old Testament Stories videos for a basis for Family Home Evenings lately. They are so easy and my kids love watching videos so it works out well for us. To get to it, download the Gospel Library App (the one with the icon symbol of angel moroni playing the trumpet, like on the LDS temples). Open it and go to ‘Children’ and then ‘Old Testament Stories’ and select a chapter. At the bottom of the screen there is a little triangle (‘Play’) button and if you press it you will see different options like ‘listen,’ ‘watch,’ ‘download media,’ etc. I just choose ‘watch’ and it brings it up in video form.
For music we use the LDS Music App (the icon symbol is hymn-book-green with a music note on it) because it allows you to play the songs, which the Gospel Library App no longer allows you to do.
The song we sang was “Search, Ponder, and Pray” (Children’s Songbook 109). I was in a hurry and couldn’t think of a better one. I figured this is always a good one whenever talking about a story from the scriptures since the song is about searching the scriptures. After thinking about it later I think any song about obedience or choosing the right would work for this lesson too.
We then watched the video, which was ‘Ch. 7: The Tower of Babel’ and talked about it. Afterward I got the kids’ blocks out and we each built our own towers, making them as tall as we could before knocking them over (because you can’t get to heaven by building a tower, duh). The kids loved this activity.
By the end of all this the cookies were cooled off but still warm so we said a closing prayer, each grabbed a warm gooey cookie, and went outside to our little “front lawn” area to just hang out and eat them. The kids also loved this idea. Alex grabbed a couple of small balls and we threw them around, playing catch with the kids, and let them run around and “race” each other. They also both attempted to climb the fence. I was actually quite impressed with Eli’s natural climbing abilities. He knew just where to place his feet and hands to advance upward. I need to get him involved in rock climbing!
Afterward the kids got a nice warm bath and were put to bed.
We had such a nice, relaxing, fun day. The best part is that we spent the entire day together. We often use Monday as a day to run errands and get things done so it was so nice to just ignore the world and all our responsibilities for the day and just be together as a family, enjoying one another’s company. I imagine that is exactly what heaven is like, just families enjoying one another’s company. There were chores to do, things to prepare for the rest of the week, and other responsibilities on our plate but we chose to ignore it all and just enjoy each other. It was wonderful. I think we all need to check-out from the world from time to time to focus on ourselves and our families for a day.
And now, without further ado, here is that yummy chocolate chip cookie recipe I mentioned. The perfect chocolate chip cookie is different for different people, as we all have different tastes and preferences for what makes a cookie perfection. I have been through many recipes in my search for the perfect one and there are some that I really love and do from time to time as I crave those specific ones. For instance, the recipe Stephie posted a while back is one of my favorites! I love it, but it asks for such specific ingredients that I don’t always have on hand, plus they flatten and harden more here in the high elevation of Idaho and I don’t like to try to change up that recipe because it is so specific. I do make them sometimes though because they still are delicious and I get a craving for them. They use dark chocolate so it is a more specific craving when I want those. Other recipes I have to adjust so they won’t flatten or on their own they don’t flatten but do dry out by the next day and end up tasting as hard and dry as a Chips Ahoy cookie (decent cookies, but not what I’m going for when I’m making cookies from scratch). For me, the perfect cookie is thick, soft, moist (even the next day), and plenty of chocolate in each bite. Mmmmmmm! One of my favorite chocolate chip cookies are Chick Fil A’s. They have some serious cookie game going on. They always warm them up so you get it warm, melty, and lots of chocolate in each bite, plus they add oatmeal to give it more texture, but they are also still very soft! Oh I could go on about it. I looooooove their cookies. They are perfection! Someday I will figure out how to make those, but for now… these cookies are pretty dang amazing. Here’s the link to the orignial recipe.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened (use cream cheese in a block or spreadable, don’t use fat-free, light or whipped)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste - I did 1/2 teaspoon of salt as I felt it needed a bit more flavor after the 1st time
2 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks (I used 1 cup chips and 1 1/4 cups chunks)
- Combine the butter, cream cheese (measure it by smooshing it into a 1/4-cup measure), sugars, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until well-creamed, light and fluffy, about 5 minutes (or use an electric hand mixer and beat for at least 7 minutes).
- Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, optional salt, and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.
- Add chocolate chips and chunks, and beat momentarily to incorporate, or fold in by hand.
- Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Non-Stick Baking Mat or spray with cooking spray and place mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 8 cookies per sheet). Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just beginning to set, even if slightly undercooked, pale and glossy in the center. Do not bake longer than 10 minutes as cookies will firm up as they cool (The cookies shown in the photos were baked with dough that had been chilled overnight, allowed to come to room temp for 15 minutes, and were baked for 8 minutes, with trays rotated at the 4-minute mark. They have chewy edges with soft, pillowy centers). Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling.
- Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.