Chocolate Chip M&M Cookies

Wednesday, March 30, 2016
You know the cookie shops in the mall? Well I love their m&m cookies. As much as I have tried to duplicate those cookies at home, I haven't been able to crack the recipe. And then yesterday morning it happened, and the cookie heavens opened up and shown down on me. Okay, so that's a little dramatic. But, y'all it's a great day when you figure out a recipe that delivers a delicious cookie!

  • What You'll Need
    • 1stick unsalted butter
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 TSP vanilla
    • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3 heaping TBSP instant vanilla pudding powder
    • 1/2 TSP kosher salt
    • 1/2 TSP baking soda
    • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 1 cup mini M&Ms (not the baking version)

  • What You'll Do
    • Cream the softened butter and sugars together. Then add the egg and vanilla. Stir until well combined.
    • Next add the flour, vanilla pudding powder, baking soda, and kosher salt. Mix well.
    • Last, add the mini chocolate chips and M&M's. I used my hands to mix these into the dough because of the dough's texture.
    • Using a tablespoon, scoop out dough (you'll need to compact it into the tablespoon and then scoop out with a finger) and place an inch apart on a parchment paper-line baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes at 350°.
    • Let them cool just a bit and settle into a flat, crinkled-top cookie. Enjoy!

These cookies are incredible, with the perfect crunchy outside and chewy inside! You're going to be making these on repeat! Go grab a glass of milk and polish off some amazing cookies!! xo

DIY Baby Activity Gym

Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Husband and I are always up for a DIY, (him especially if there is woodworking involved). With Greer at the age where touch is a big part of her development, and playtime is now a thing, we have been on the lookout for an activity gym. But, y'all, have you seen the price of an activity gym these days?! If it was going to be used for a long period of time I might be able to justify the cost. But Greer will grow out of it faster than I can bat an eye. We quickly gave up the search and decided to make something of our own. With some inspiration from my friend, Emily, we put together a super simple activity gym that you can make for your own babe. The benefit, you can customize it to your liking, and you decide how much money to put into it!

(Greer is wearing this baby romper)

So head to Home Depot and grab the following:

Husband did the following to assemble the Activity Gym:
  • Cut the wooden dowels (4 @ 2 feet long for the legs; 1 @ 2.5 feet long for the cross bar)
  • Spray painted the cut dowels aqua (we thought this was a great gender neutral color to use for all of our babies)
  • Spray painted the elbows and adapters a matte gold
  • After everything dried he assembled the pieces using super glue to hold all pieces in place.
    • The adapters go into the elbows to support the cross bar.
  • For the legs, they rest on the bottom part of the elbow inserts to give the angle we desired.
  • Lastly, put the toys you have on the cross bar. Do not put an excessive amount of weight.

Last but not least, grab a couple of soft and plush blankets to stack on the floor as a soft place for baby to lay while she plays. Greer loves her new activity gym and I can see us getting plenty of use out of it until our (quick-growing) girl moves on to bigger and more advanced toys!

Greer's First Easter!

Monday, March 28, 2016
Our Easter weekend started on Good Friday with a tradition that is three years running. We meet up with the other burg Hills and head to a local restaurant for dinner before making our way to the Good Friday service at church. This year was no different, well except for our new, tiniest addition! It was even more special with Greer along for the fun, and I think she enjoyed it thoroughly considering how much she insisted on not napping and getting to stay up past her bedtime. She made her presence known during communion when tummy troubles hit during complete silence. Can you guess what happened? Let's just say that after a diaper and outfit change, our girl was a happy camper! For husband and I, we were just thankful it wasn't too much of a disturbance or a mess ;) 

Saturday we woke to a slow morning and chocolate chip pancakes. We prayed for a good morning nap for our girl since her night had been a little rough (throw Greer off of her bedtime routine and time and you've got a problem), and we were happy to say that a wonderful morning cat nap was followed by an even longer later morning nap. Hallelujah! The fun didn't stop there. We took a little adventure to Mountain Lake to visit the Easter Bunny and walk around. I'm not sure Greer noticed the large bunny, but it was fun nonetheless and I love starting these traditions with her now.  

My mom and sister joined us for the holiday fun atop the mountain. Because who can resist a baby, especially in bunny ears....

Back home Saturday evening, we spent time cuddling and getting more naps in. I think some of the sweetest moments these days are between Greer and her daddy. She falls asleep so peacefully in his arms while he sings to her. Lately, she'll try to sing along with him, cooing in the most precious way as if she is trying to match her daddy's tune. After their sing-along, she'll drift off. On this particular day she found herself wrapped up in her mama's blanket from babyhood/childhood.

Our Saturday ended a bit more dramatically than we would have hoped for. After getting home from the grocery store and prepping Greerzly for bed, I noticed she was feeling very hot. So I took her temperature which confirmed a fever. This being the first time our girl has run a fever, husband I began making phone calls to her pediatrician's office, which runs an on-call center for after hours. We were the 10th callers, leaving us on hold for what felt like too long.

So we packed up and made our way to the ER. Just as we were pulling in we got a hold of the nurse and shared baby girl's symptoms. The nurse told us there was no need to go into the ER (thank goodness) and that it sounded like our girl had a virus. She told us what to do and look for, so back home we went. A baby with a fever makes for a sad mama heart, and a worried one too. After such an ordeal, Greer gladly fell asleep in her crib once fed getting her share of being held. 

By Easter morning her fever had broken, although her temperature remained higher than normal. So we stayed in, skipping church and crowds. While we hated to miss her first Easter church service, you could tell she needed the quiet and downtime. Greer ended up sleeping a lot of Easter Sunday, but we were able to enjoy basket time and some afternoon cuddles and fun with her Sidda and Aunt Rynnie. 

While our girl got in her early morning cat nap, husband and I made breakfast. Growing up we always had cream of wheat and hardboiled eggs. Thus year we added blueberry muffins to the mix. And see that bowl of liquid in the photo below? It's apple cider vinegar. My Grandmom got me hooked on dipping my hardboiled eggs in it.

About noon my mom and sister showed up, and the cooking began. We had your traditional Easter dishes, paired with fried chicken and gravy (because yum!).

We hope you had a very Happy Easter weekend!! 
xo, the Hills

p.s. check out how I make my iced coffee HERE