My Life of Travels and Adventures: December 2013

10 Reasons why being a Traveling Working Mom is Good

27 December 2013




Written December 10th - 
I am writing this post from an airplane headed to Denver, CO for a business trip.  My last business trip.  

It is a bitter sweet trip.  I enjoyed traveling for work. I got to travel to around 30 different states and 3 different countries.  I traveled for 5 years before Reid was born and loved every second of it. 

Now that there is a little one at home… I have not been looking forward to traveling.  I want to be there to put him to bed each night.  I want to be there when he wakes and calls for Mommy in the morning.  I don’t want to miss anything.  

I have been a traveling working mom while working both full-time and part-time.  I have been a traveling working mom while Reid was in daycare and stayed with family.  I have done it.

Yeah, it sucks to leave your child sometimes.  But if you have to you might as well relax and enjoy it.  Trust me.   You might come home to a whiny toddler, a stack of dishes, laundry baskets overflowing with dirty clothing and toys everywhere… Then you will wish you had another night away.  Trust me on that too. 

So as I fly head off for a couple nights alone I thought I would share 10 good things about being a Traveling Working Mom. 


10 reasons being a Traveling Working Mom is good:
  1. You get a break from your child.  A legitimate break.  Not closing the door to the bathroom and spending a few minutes alone.  You are away.  There will be no pitter patter of little feet outside the door and you will not hear Mommy 10,000 times.  You are away.  Alone. 
  2. You can get into a vehicle without buckling, adjusting and double checking car seat straps. You can walk right up to the car and get in!
  3. You get to sleep.  Alone.  All night.  AND You get to wake up at your desired wake-up time.  You get the entire bed to yourself.  No snoring husband, no whining dogs, no purring cats, no toddler feet kicking you all night… Alone.  Upon entering my Marriott room, I always lay on the made bed... Alone and enjoy it. 
  4. You can eat a hot meal.  All at once.  As soon as it arrives.  You don’t have to share with little sticky fingers.  You don’t have to move your drink to the far end of the table.  You don’t need to request extra napkins and crayons.
  5. You can watch your TV shows.  Anything you want.  Its like Sprout, Nick Jr and Disney Jr don’t even exist in hotel rooms.  
  6. You don’t need to carry toys and snacks in your purse.  You can fill it with adult things like money, chapstick and gum. 
  7. Your phone can be used as a phone.  To make phone calls.  You don’t need to share it with your child.  You can ignore all those toddler apps on it and stick with facebook and instagram.  For you. 
  8. You can read a book.  Without pictures.  That doesn’t rhyme.  
  9. You can relax.  Some.  
  10. You get to enjoy a new city.  New restaurants, new people, new sights...  Sure, I will go to Las Vegas for a training, San Diego for a conference sounds fun. 
When I traveled I always tried to see at least one sight/attraction in each city.  The beaches in Florida, the Strip in Las Vegas, The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the whales in San Diego. 

Thanks to conveniently located Marriott's I was always close to the sights.  Marriott International is a leading hospitality company with over 3,800 properties in over 74 countries and territories around the world.

Marriott now offers these handy infographics for various different cities.  I had no idea that it can take a newborn whale 30 minutes to learn how to swim... Always learning!


San Diego Whale Watching in America's Finest City - An infographic by the team at Marriott San Diego Hotels
I was selected for this opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, however all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

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Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies

14 December 2013



One final cookie recipe to share with you this week... Chocolate Chip Cookies.  
Okay so there is really nothing special about these except that they have red and green Chocolate Chips.  Thats it. 
If you missed a Christmas Cookie recipe from this week, here is a recap. Peppermint Crunch CookiesOatmeal Raisin Cookies with Cinnamon ChipsGinger Cookies Chocolate Mint CookiesSnickerdoodles and Andes Mint Cookies.


Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
2 ¼ C flour
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Salt
1 C butter, softened
¾ C Sugar
¾ Brown Sugar, packed
1 Tsp Vanilla
2 Eggs
2 Bags (10 oz each) Holiday Chocolate Chips

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Beat butter, brown sugar, sugar and vanilla until creamy. 
  3. Add egges, baking soda and flour and mix well.
  4. Stir in the Holiday Chocolate Chips. 
  5. Using about 2 Tbsp of dough, form a ball and drop onto cookie sheets. 
  6. Bake for 13-15 minutes. 
  7. Cool for 2-3 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack. 
Makes 24 - 3” cookies.



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Andes Mint Cookies

13 December 2013


It is finally Friday!  Woohoo.  Hopefully everyone is off to enjoy the weekend.
And bake lots of holiday cookies.   If you are looking for inspiration... Check out these Christmas Cookie Recipes form earlier in the week.  Peppermint Crunch CookiesOatmeal Raisin Cookies with Cinnamon ChipsGinger Cookies Chocolate Mint Cookies and Snickerdoodles.
Today's recipe is a must bake.  And a must eat.  These cookies are so good.  Soft. But a little crisp around the edges. And Minty. Oh so minty

Okay, I need to admit that I love Andes Mints.  Love love love.  So when I saw Andes Mint Baking Chips.... I snatched them right up. 

Well the baking chips do not disappoint.  They are so good.  Even when not in a cookie. 
Several of these cookies were eaten right off the cooling racks.  
By me, by Neil, and even by Reid. Who can now say cookie. Geesh. 
Andes Mint Cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 C Butter, softened
3/4 C Brown Sugar
1/2 C Sugar
2 Eggs
2 Tsp Vanilla
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Baking Powder
2 1/2 C Flour
1 Bag (10oz) Andes Mint Baking Chips

Directions:

1. Mix together, the butter, brown sugar and sugar until fluffy (about 4-5 minutes). 
2. Add the eggs, vanilla, baking soda and baking powder and mix. 
3. Slowly add the flour while mixing. 
4. Once dough has formed, add the baking chips and stir until combined. 
5. Chill for 45 mins - 1 hour in the fridge. 
6. Preheat the oven to 350F
7. Form 2 Tbsp of dough into a ball and place on a cookie sheet. 
8. Bake for 15-17 minutes. 
9. Cool on the cookie sheet for about 2 minutes. 
10. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely. 

Makes about 20 cookies. 





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Snickerdoodle Cookies

12 December 2013


Christmas Cookie Week continues....  If you missed the earlier Christmas Cookie Recipes, lets play catch up... Peppermint Crunch CookiesOatmeal Raisin Cookies with Cinnamon ChipsGinger Cookies, and  Chocolate Mint Cookies

So let's talk about Snickerdoodles.  Okay, I guess there is not too much to talk about.  They are your classic holiday cookie. 
Basic recipe.  Rolled in cinnamon sugar. But good.  Real good. 
Snickerdoodle Cookies

Ingredients:
2 ¾ C Flour
3 Tsp Baking Powder
1 C Butted, softened
1 ½ C Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Tsp Vanilla
Topping:
3 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Cinnamon

Directions:
  1. Beat the butter and sugar until creamy. 
  2. Add the eggs, vanilla, and baking powder.  Mix well. 
  3. Slowly add the flour and mix until well combined. 
  4. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes. 
  5. Preheat the oven to 350F. 
  6. Mix the remaining sugar and cinnamon together for the topping. 
  7. Roll 1 ½  inch balls of dough in the cinnamon sugar mixture. 
  8. Place on cookie sheet. 
  9. Bake for 18-20 minutes. 
  10. Let the cookies cool for 2-3 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack.

Makes 27-30 cookies 



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Chocolate Mint Cookies

11 December 2013


We made it to the middle Christmas Cookie week here.  If you missed the earlier Christmas Cookie Recipes, lets play catch up... Peppermint Crunch Cookies, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies with Cinnamon Chips and Ginger Cookies.  
Today's recipe is for Chocolate Mint Cookies.  These cookies are just really good.  Trust me.  
The chocolate cookie is rich, tasty and soft.  Almost like a brownie.  
The mint chips are so good.  I was eating these as I was preparing the cookies.  

Chocolate Mint Cookies

Ingredients:
1 ½ C Flour
⅓ C Cocoa
½ Tsp Baking Soda
½ C Butter, softened
⅓ C Sugar
⅓ C Brown Sugar, packed
½ Tsp Vanilla
2 Eggs
1 (10oz) Package of Dark Chocolate & Mint Chips

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 325F
  2. Beat the butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until creamy. 
  3. Add eggs, cocoa, baking soda and flour and mix well.  
  4. Stir in the chocolate & mint chips.  
  5. Using 2 Tbsp of dough, form a ball and drop onto a cookie sheet. 
  6. Bake for 19-25 minutes. 
  7. Cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Maples about 20 cookies. 


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Ginger Cookies

10 December 2013


Today's Christmas Cookies recipe is a classic.  Ginger Cookies. 
So far this week, our daily holiday cookies recipes have been Peppermint Crunch Cookies and Oatmeal Raisin Cookies with Cinnamon Chips.

Ginger Cookies are a Holiday Cookie... To me at least.  Right?   I think it is the little bit of spice in these have them on the Holiday Cookie List for me. 
So let's talk about these Ginger Cookies.  They are perfect.  Chewy.  Soft.  Just a little spice.  Everything you want in a Ginger Cookie.
Ginger Cookies

Ingredients:
1 C butter, softened
¼ C Brown Sugar
2 Egg Whites
½ Tsp Vanilla
2 ⅔ C Flour
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Ginger
½ Tsp Ground Cloves
¼ C Sugar to coat with

Directions:
  1. Beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. 
  2. Add the maple syrup, egg whites and vanilla and beat until well mixed. 
  3. Add the baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and cloves and mix well.  
  4. Slowly add the flour and mix until well combined.  
  5. Cover the batter and chill for 1 hour. 
  6. Preheat the oven to 350F. 
  7. Roll the dough into 1 to 1 ½ inch balls. 
  8. Roll the dough balls in the remaining white sugar and place on baking sheets. 
  9. Bake for 15-17 minutes. 
  10. Let cool for 2-3 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack. 

Makes about 36 cookies. 


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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies with Cinnamon Chips

09 December 2013

It's Monday and I am back with another Christmas Cookies recipe.  Today's recipe is for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies with Cinnamon Chips.  Yesterday's recipe was for Peppermint Crunch Cookies.

Oatmeal raisin cookies were a pretty standard cookie choice in our house growing up.  My dad still loves them.  This recipe takes a old favorite and adds a new twist... cinnamon chips.  
Surprisingly the cinnamon chips do not overtake the recipe but add to it.  Each bite has a little taste a cinnamon added to it.  

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies with Cinnamon Chips

Ingredients:
1 C Butter, softened
1 C packed Brown Sugar
⅓ C Sugar
2 Eggs
1 ½ Tsp Vanilla
1 ½ C Flour
1 Tsp Baking Soda
2 ½ C Oats
1 (10oz) Package Cinnamon Chips
¾ C Raisins

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Beat the butter, brown sugar, and sugar in a bowl until creamy. 
  3. Add eggs, vanilla, baking soda and flour and mix well. 
  4. Stir in oats, cinnamon chips and raisins. 
  5. Drop 2 Tbsp sized heaps of dough onto a cookie sheet.  
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly brown. 
  7. Cool 2-3 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack. 
So what do you think about spicing up an old recipe? Keep the classic the same?  Or make a yummy change?


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Peppermint Crunch Cookies

08 December 2013

This week I have decided to do a week's worth of Holiday Cookie Recipes.  Be sure to stop back everyday for a new recipe!
First up is these Peppermint Crunch Cookies.  

These are good.  Really good.  
These cookies say and taste like Christmas and the Holiday season.  They have Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips mixed throughout giving them the perfect amount of peppermint and yum.  














Peppermint Crunch Cookies:

Ingredients:
¾ C Butter, softened
¾ C Sugar
¾ C Brown Sugar, firmly packed
1 Box Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix
2 Tsp Vanilla
1 Egg
1 Egg Yolk
2 C Flour
½ Tsp Baking Soda
1 Bag, 10oz, Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips

Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.  
  2. Using an electric beater, mix the butter, sugar, brown sugar and pudding mix until fluffy (about 4-5 minutes)
  3. Add the vanilla, egg, egg yolk and baking soda and mix. 
  4. Slowly add the flour while mixing. 
  5. Once dough has formed add the baking chips and stir until combined. 
  6. Form 2 Tbps of dough into a ball and place on a cookie sheet. 
  7. Bake for 17-20 minutes. 
  8. Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack until cooled completely. 

This recipe makes about 28-30 cookies. 


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M&M Pudding Cookies

06 December 2013

I created this M&M Pudding Cookie recipe as part of a sponsored post for Collective Bias. 
It is no secret that I love baking.  I am always making different baked goods to snack on throughout the week.  However... I love love love baking cookies.  Well I guess I love love love eating cookies.  Same thing right? 
 Yeah, I am a cookie lover.  Well most types of cookies. Especially cookies with chocolate.  Okay... I should really say I like chocolate with a little cookie dough holding it together.  Mmm..
So now that you all know my love for cookies with chocolate.  Let's actually talk about this recipe.  

This M&M Pudding Cookie recipe combines two of my favorite things... vanilla pudding and M&Ms. Chocolate & Vanilla in one easy cookie.  Perfect. 

The pudding adds an unexpected (but good) vanilla flavor to the M&M cookies.  These soft cookies are  everything this cookies lover loves!
Since I am a Plain M&M eater and Neil is a Peanut M&M eater, I used both to make these cookies.  See how there are a little less plain M&Ms on the Walmart shelf in the above picture... I am pretty sure that means I win.  Plain is better.  Right?

M&M Pudding Cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 C Butter, softened
1/2 C Sugar
1/2 C Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1/2 Tsp Vanilla
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Box (2.5oz) Vanilla Pudding Mix
1 1/2C Flour
2 C M&M's (1 Medium Bag)

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350F
2. Mix the butter, sugar and brown sugar until fluffy.  About 4-5 minutes.
3. Mix in the egg, vanilla, baking soda, and pudding mix.
4. Slowly add the flour and mix until blended.
5. Stir in the M&Ms.
6. Form balls out of 2-3 tbsp of dough and place about 2inches apart on a cookie sheet.
7. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
8.  Cool on the cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.



Right now there is an awesome Baking is Better with M Pinterest Sweepstakes going on for M&M's 

Pin for a chance to win one of three $250 Walmart gift cards! It's as easy as submitting your email and pinning an image.  
Simply complete the following steps:

1. Enter your email in the form below and click “Enter”


2. Pin the contest image to any of your own Pinterest boards

3. Visit the Baking with M Pinterest board and Re-Pin your favorites to enter http://www.pinterest.com/cbsocially/baking-with-mms/


Three (3) Winners will be selected at random - One (1) entry per person.
Contest runs 12/06/13 - 12/31/13 





So are you a plain or peanut M&M eater?  

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