Sunday, November 8, 2015

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins!

I've recently been experimenting with essential oils in the kitchen.  My friends and I stumbled across this pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe years and years ago, and we make it ALL FALL LONG.  This year, I have 3 small kids in my house, and I didn't feel comfortable giving them cookies... so instead I made muffins, you know, because that's different ;).  Anyway, last week, we were out of cinnamon and nutmeg.  I'd already mixed the ingredients together, and I had a 2 year old just dying to have some muffins... so I improvised.  I have an ever growing collection of essential oils, and last month I'd ordered cinnamon bark and nutmeg.  So I figured I'd give it a shot... turns out, they were delicious and tasted EXACTLY the same as if we'd used ground spices... or even a bit better because the flavors were a little stronger.  I only used 1 drop of each oil - which, if you're new to oils, I know doesn't seem like enough.  But trust me... they're STRONG.  1 drop is plenty.

I use Young Living Essential oils in my cooking and in my life because I love how they're pure and therapeutic grade.  If you're interested in making this recipe (or any of the others I'll be posting as I continue to experiment with them in the kitchen), contact me here (learningbymrshart@gmail.com), and I can help you get your own!



PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS

1 stick of butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 package chocolate chips
1 drop Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil
1 drop Nutmeg Essential oil

DIRECTIONS
1. Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixer.  Add the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla.
2. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
3. Add the essential oils to the creamed butter and sugar mixture.
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients.
5. Once all mixed together, add in the bag of chocolate chips and allow to mix for another minute or so.
6. Scoop into muffin tins, and bake at 350* for 15 minutes.  I used mini muffin tins (better for little hands!), and I cooked them for 15 minutes.  If you use larger muffin tins, you may need longer... check after 15 minutes to see!



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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Overdue Update

Well my faithful followers (I think there might be 2 of you!) I'm back.  I haven't blogged in a LONG long time.  At first I accidentally took a break from blogging because I was so busy with school, my family and some other things going on.  Then things in my life changed drastically and I intentionally didn't update - I'm no longer teaching (I'll get to that!) and since this is a TEACHING blog, I felt silly writing it.  But I do enjoy blogging, when I have time, so I'm trying to find a way to incorporate it back into my life.  Not so much for my readers but for myself to look back at in the future.  I laugh looking at my old posts on here already, so I think it will be fun to try to keep it up.  So... that being said, let me update you on what's happened since last November, which was my last post.

#1 - I had twin girls.  Of course, I knew I was pregnant when I blogged last, but was still early enough on in my pregnancy that I didn't want to talk about it publicly.  I had a fairly easy pregnancy until the last month when the babies settled on my sciatic nerve and I basically couldn't walk without pain.  I had a very uneventful c-section at 37 weeks, and after one of my girls spent a week in the NICU for some growing and feeding, we all came home!  Almost 8 months later they're crawling, babbling little ladies who are starting to terrorize their older brother... and I'm loving (almost) every second of it.

#2 - We bought and renovated our first home.  As if having twins wasn't enough, during my 6th month of pregnancy, we realized we needed to be closer to our families.  So in a period of 4 weeks, we looked at a few houses, put in an offer on one, and closed on it.  Then we spent the next 6 weeks (until the day I started my maternity leave) renovating it.  We replaced the bathroom and kitchen, redid the floors, painted everything, updated the electrical and plumbing, insulated attics and basements... and then packed and moved everything... if you've read my blog before you know that we had JUST moved the summer before... which we'd done to be closer to work so we'd have more time as a family after school was over.  In a funny twist of fate, 3 weeks after we moved, we found out I was pregnant.  With twins.  After a few weeks of freaking out, we thought we'd figured out a plan on how we'd make it work while staying where we were.  But as I got further along in my pregnancy, we started to realize we were going to need some major help.  We were going to have 3 kids under 3 years old... so by Thanksgiving, we'd make the decision to move!

#3 - I quit teaching. I went out on maternity leave in early February, returned for the last 3 weeks of school in May, and left for good once that was over.  While I may return to teaching one day, the reality of 3 kids in daycare was absurd.  When we really thought about it, the idea of working to pay for day care, and basically nothing else, just didn't make sense.  So we decided I'd stay home with our kids.  While we've definitely had days that have been hard (and I know there will be MANY MANY more to come), I've been really loving it.  As the babies have gotten older, certain things are easier, and certain things are harder.  They're finally *mostly* sleeping through the night, so at least we're starting to get back some sense of rest!  But truly I've loved being able to see them every day - seeing what they're learning and doing and not missing a minute.  I'm very lucky, and very blessed.  I don't take that for granted.

#4 - I've slowed WAY down on my TpT stuff, but have been still creating occasionally.  I'm turning my focus, for now, to guided reading comprehension type questions.  I have lots of them created on my computer from my 10 years of teaching, so I'm just now trying to find the time to post them.  To help my family out at bit, I am still doing some after school tutoring, so I may also be writing some things up for that which I'll post as well... but my focus has certainly changed since November.  I may post some things occasionally (all of which are classroom tested... just backlogged on my computer from years ago!) but my family is my focus these days.

So those are the big things that have happened here in the last year!  While I am no longer teaching, I do hope to go back one day... so I believe I'll be keeping the name of the blog the same.  Eventually I'm going to redesign it to take off the school aspects... because the focus will be different - it'll be more about my family life and how we're surviving over here being together all day every day.  Feel free to follow along and keep up with us!
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