Chocolate Chip Cookies Extraordinaire!

M-m-m-m-m  Who doesn’t like chocolate chip cookies?

I’ve tried lots and lots of chocolate chip cookie recipes, but this one is my all time favorite! The recipe makes a ton of cookies, too (60+). It has a light crunch on the outside with a soft chewy inside! If that is how you like your chocolate chip cookies, this recipe is for you.

I’ll let you in on what I think is the best method for keeping them just perfect!

Chocolate Chip Cookies Extraordinaire!

Best recipe and method I have found!




2 eggs

1  1/4 c. white sugar

1  1/4 brown sugar

2 sticks butter

1/2   cup Crisco

1 Tbsp. vanilla

4 cups flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 bag chocolate chips



Cream together butter, Crisco, and sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients. Mix in chocolate chips by hand. 

Drop spoonfuls on a greased or non-stick baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 13 minutes (this is what the recipe says).


Here is what I recommend as my method…… Bake at 350 degrees for 11 minutes. (at this point, cookies will be very lightly browned and puffy)

Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes. Cookies will continue cooking, but stay light brown. 

Chocolate Chip Cookies Extraordinaire  #cookie #recipe #chocolate-chip

Let sit for 2-3 minutes!

After 2-3 minutes, remove from pan and cool completely on a rack.

(I can never wait until they are completely cooled to have one!)



Chocolate Chip Cookies Extraordinaire


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Phyllis (Oma)

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The Best Easy Dice Games for Young Children!

Best Dice Games for Young Children

I’ve had times when there’s been a long wait! Ugh! When you’re waiting, time seems to crawl and it is so- o-o-o boring! Have you noticed that time goes faster when you’re having fun? Well, keep dice handy for those long wait times especially when you have young children with you!  It doesn’t take much room to always have a few dice in your purse or pocket just ready for appointments, airport, airplane, bus or car rides. The time seems shorter by having a little fun! I’ll share a few that I have used.

There are loads of  dice game variations, but keep it simple and to their level.

Dice games are great for number recognition, patterns, and many other math skills, too!

1. Simple Dice Game:

(you can use any number of dice for this game)

Choose a number and roll the dice. You score a point every time you roll that number. When you roll that number, you get another turn. When that number is not rolled, the turn is over. Mark the tally for each time you roll the number.  First one to a certain score of 10 points wins! (Set the point total low for young children and higher for older ages.)

2. Bugs

 Requires only 1 die or you can speed it up by using two. With two, the player gets to choose which number they want to use for the drawing.

In this game, each number on the die represents one part of the bug.

#1 = Body, #2 =Head, #3 =Leg, #4=eye, #5= antenna, #6=tail

Each player needs to roll a #1 to start and then can add each detail to that part. For instance, you cannot add each eye until you have rolled a #2 for the head, but you can add each leg that goes on the main body (need to roll a “3” for each one) . The first player to finish their bug, wins.

You can vary this with a bunny, cat, snowman, face, mouse etc. Just decide what number stands for each part to go on the picture.

3. Pig

 Requires one die

In this game each player rolls the die.  If you roll anything except a “1” you can add that score or take a chance and roll again. You can keep rolling and add that number to your score until you roll a “1”.   If you roll a “1 “, you lose all the amount you scored on that turn. It is the player’s option to quit at anytime and take the score up to that point.  The first player to 100 wins.

4. Beat That  

Each player rolls two dice and writes the highest value number that you can make with the two numbers on the dice. For instance, if a player rolls a 6 and a 1, they would write “61”. The next player rolls the dice and tries to beat that number. The player with the highest number on a round, scores a point. First player to 10 points wins.  Vary this for multiplication. Multiply the two dice numbers rolled and the highest value on the round scores a point. Add a third die and then roll all three. Add the lowest two and then multiply it by the highest number.  Again, the highest number of the round scores a point.

5. Going to Town

This game uses addition. Play with 3 dice. Roll and keep the highest die. Roll the remaining two and keep the highest. Roll the last die and add the three numbers for your total score.  Play several rounds and the highest total wins.

6. Ladder

On a piece of paper, draw a ladder and number 1-6 on both sides of the rungs from bottom to top. This game requires two dice. Each number 1-6 is crossed off on one side before they can come back down the ladder on the other side. For instance, if a player rolls a 1 and a 2, they can cross off both the 1 and 2 or they can add them and cross off the 3.  For older players, you can go to 10 on the rungs; younger players go to 6. When all the numbers are eliminated, that player wins.

There are so many variations of these games that I could go on and on. These are just a few that are handy to keep in mind when you need something to fill some time. Of course, there is Farkel and Yahtzee, but these take some strategy and are for older kids. I’m concentrating on age 4 through early elementary.

Hope these suggestions help! What are your favorite dice games? I’d love to hear your ideas.

Forgot the dice? Need a quick link to dice games online? Go to playonlinedicegames.

Playing online eliminates the interaction between parent and child along with teaching the math skills, but in a pinch it will do!

Keep those dice handy!

Have fun!

Phyllis (Oma)


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DIY 4th of July – Memorial Day Centerpieces

No Vase?

No Problem!


Looking for easy, inexpensive, yet impressive DIY centerpieces

for the 4th of July or Memorial Day?

Well, check out these ideas!

These centerpieces won’t blow away with the summer breezes. They will stay right where placed because of the weighted “vases”.

Not only are these centerpieces great for Memorial Day or the 4th of July, but by adjusting the colors to your liking, they make lovely centerpieces at any casual outdoor wedding or party.



4th of July Easy Tutorial

Plan early! Pin this for the future. Great tutorial for when you don’t have vases!

I got this centerpiece construction hint from a friend that worked as a floral designer.

It sure cuts down on the cost of multiple centerpieces.




Brown Lunch Bag with flat bottom (If you want taller centerpieces, use a tall, flat-bottomed, brown paper bag from a liquor store. Another option is to use white bags from a bakery)


Cat Litter or Sand


Paper Towel or Newspaper


Choice of Silk Flowers


Red, white & blue ribbon, twisty garland or raffia  

(I bought red, white & blue curling ribbon at the Dollar Tree)

No Vase? No Problem! 4th of July

Materials Needed for 4th of July or Memorial Day centerpieces. (Not pictured: cat litter or sand)


Open bag and scoop cat litter or sand and fill almost half way.

4th of July materials

4th of July fpm

Take some paper towel, wad it up, and place on top of the sand or cat litter.

This gives your centerpiece so much weight that it will  stay on the table even when windy!

Add the flowers and tie tightly with a twisty patriotic garland, patriotic curling ribbon or just plain raffia.

w4th of July Centerpiece

Tied with red, white, and blue curling ribbon.

Patriotic Centerpiece

Centerpiece tied with a piece of twisty red, white & blue garland.



Red, white and blue napkin rings from paper towel or toilet paper rolls add to the theme.  Complete directions are found here.

Another option for a decorative napkin ring is using a piece of twisty garland.

4th of July Napkin Rings

This centerpiece uses the taller liquor store bag.

DIY Centerpieces #centerpiece #paper-bag #flowers

Another easy and quick centerpiece idea is from

Outdoor Centerpiece

Use a ball jar wrapped with fringed burlap and tied with a ribbon. For 4th of July or Memorial Day, use a patriotic ribbon! After the party, reuse the jars for jam!

If you’re on a budget, but want that extra special touch, these ideas are a super way to go! When I look at some of the table settings for the 4th of July on Pinterest and in magazines, I wonder, “Who sets such a formal table for the 4th of July?”. To me, 4th of July is casual, no mess paper plates and napkins! These decorations fit right in with “casual” and “outdoors”.

Besides that, as I said, they are so inexpensive, quick and easy!!!

(My kind of qualifications for a project!)


I hope these ideas are helpful and fun for you to use!

Yea! Red, White and Blue!

Celebrate the freedoms that we enjoy!


Are you the formal or informal type

for 4th of July / Memorial Day



Phyllis (Oma)


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Crock Pot Southwestern Chicken

This is one of my favorite recipes because it is so easy and looks so colorful and delicious! I always have the ingredients on hand for Southwestern Chicken when I want an easy dinner. My daughter-in-law shared this recipe with me. I’ve altered it a bit because I like more sauce. There are 3 ingredients plus chicken and simple, super easy directions.



Crock Pot Southwestern Chicken


2 – 15 1/4 oz.  cans corn ( I usually use one)

1- jar chunky salsa (24 oz)  (Recipe called for 16 oz. )  Your choice on mild, medium or hot!

1 -15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1 cup low-fat or regular shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)




Combine corn, beans, and 2/3 cup salsa in slow cooker.

Top with chicken.

Crock Pot Southwestern Chicken


Pour remaining salsa over chicken.

Crock Pot Southwestern Chicken  #chicken #crockpot

Cover and cook on High 3 hrs. or Low 7 hrs.

Serve over rice. With slotted spoon, ladle the corn and black beans over the chicken. Top with cheese. Serve extra sauce on the side along with sour cream.

Crock pot southwestern chicken

Top with cheese and serve with sour cream #recipe #chicken #crock pot




Phyllis (Oma)




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DIY Cards,Posters & more….



Cards, Posters, Awards,


Certificates, Calendars & More…. Free!



Graduations!  Birthdays! Anniversaries!

New Baby!

Achievement Certificates!


Sports Awards!

Holiday Events!



Whatever the event, you can create a free card, poster, etc… all at no cost to you with the easy templates on this site! I am so excited to find this and I thought I would share it with everyone. Each project is easily printed on your own home printer. The quality is not like ordering from a picture website, but for quick everyday uses, it is fantastic!

What kid or adult doesn’t love a special poster or card created just for them. Graduations are just around the corner and personalized posters make great decorations, too. Just print them out right at home!

In the past, I have made my own cards and invitations on my computer using Publisher and other programs, but this is so much easier! Anyone can do this! It is much quicker with the templates ready to go. You have an option to change any text to your own liking.

Here is a picture sample of a couple things I’ve made….



Make Your Own Cards, Certificates #cards #certificates #awards

Lots of templates for cards, posters, certificates, awards, etc.

If you’re a coach, children’s ministry leader, youth leader, Brownie or Girl Scout leader, Cub Scout leader, mom, grandmother, S.S. teacher, or school teacher (just to name a few), you’ll want to be sure to check this out. I receive no money from this recommendation, but just wanted to share it with you! I find it so easy and quick to do!

I love it and will be using it often!

Have fun creating!

The link is here.

Phyllis (Oma)


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Watermelon Centerpieces


Watermelon Centerpieces
Elegant creations from watermelons and cantaloupe! Tutorial link included. #watermelon #centerpieces

Summer is coming and soon we’ll see bins of watermelon in the grocery stores! Instead of just serving watermelon wedges, think about creating a centerpiece out of it. If you happen to get a tasteless one, this might be a way to salvage it for another purpose.

 While this is not like my usual posts, I just had to share these ideas. Perhaps they’ll inspire you to try something different. Some of these ideas are easy and some more difficult.

Watermelon Flower  #watermelon #fruit creations #centerpieces
Imagine this bursting forth on your table! Truly a show-stopper!  #fruit  #centerpiece #watermelon flower



 Are you brave enough to try this?

Beautiful Watermelon Creation! Perfect for a fruit  and salad table!  #watermelon #watermelon creation #centerpiece
Flower centerpiece made from a watermelon. #fruit#centerpiece #fruit-centerpiece


Now, the next one is way beyond my ability!  Don’t think I’ll be trying this, but if you are artistic, go for it! The headdress is from radishes and greenery.

Watermelon Sculpture
Watermelon Sculpture!
#watermelon #fruit sculpture #watermelon creations


Made with leaves carved out of the watermelon rind, this next creation uses long carrot curls for the petals, and black raspberries for the center! Soak the long carrot shavings in ice water to make them curl. Then, place them to look like the flower petals. Use toothpicks or skewers to hold everything in place.

Fruit flower creation!
Beautiful Flower made with watermelon rind carved leaves, long carrot curls and black raspberries!


Another melon creation made from cantaloupe!

Another beautiful flower made from fruit.
Made from canteloupe!

The best video for directions on how to do the roses is on YouTube at this site…

Watermelon rose
Watermelon made to resemble a rose.
Watermelon Centerpiece
Watermelon Centerpiece Carving

This bird is easier than it looks. Hold everything together with skewers and then cut off with pliers at the entrance point to hide it. 

See my  Fruit & Vegetable Creations post for pictures of the construction.


 Now if you are brave and you feel inspired, it is your turn to try these watermelon creations for your centerpiece! Beautiful, aren’t they? Thanks to the chefs on Royal Caribbean for the inspiration and for instructions on YouTube!


I’m starting on the Watermelon Rind and Carrot Curls Flower!

What have you got to lose?

If it doesn’t turn out, just eat it!

Phyllis (Oma)

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