Author

Danielle Cosgrove

Cookies-52

A few years ago, my sister gave me the most darling Christmas gift ever, Winnie the Pooh’s Cookie Book! Not only do I love Winnie the Pooh (no shame), but I have such a love for baking, so to this day, it’s still one of my most favorite gifts. This book is full of so many unique and tasty cookie recipes, but the one that my husband and I have loved the most, is the Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies. Need I say more?!  For real, ya’ll, these cookies could not be any more delicious. Complete chocolate galore! The recipe bakes 4 dozen, so there’s plenty to enjoy, share with your friends (bless you) and to freeze for later (which we have yet to do with these, because they are so easy to completely devour)!

My husband and I are OBSESSED  with all things dark chocolate and I am always incorporating it into the desserts that I make, whenever possible! This recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate, which is already wonderful, but I substituted bittersweet for extra dark, and let me tell you, IT. IS. SO. GOOD. What I love most about dark chocolate is the balance that it brings to desserts. I am very picky when it comes to sweetness and whenever dark chocolate is involved, it just never lets me down. Jay and I are also big oatmeal fans, as well, so that is another ingredient that I really like to use whenever I am baking cookies. But I’ll stop yacking away and actually give you all the recipe now!

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Ingredients

  • 2 sticks of softened butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of flour
  • ¾ cup of sifted cocoa
  • 1 ½ cups of blended oatmeal
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • ⅔ cup of coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate

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Step 1

Beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar together until fluffy.

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Step 2

Add eggs and vanilla extract, and mix well.

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Step 3

In a separate bowl, sift flour, cocoa, blended oatmeal, baking powder, and salt together, and stir into butter mixture. Add chocolate and mix.

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Step 4

Drop batter by rounded tablespoons onto cookie sheets and bake at 325 ͒ F for 8 to 10 minutes.

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Step 5

Remove baked cookies from the oven, transfer them over to cooling racks and allow them to cool for about 2-3 minutes.

Did I say YUM?! These cookies are a regular in our house and I hope you all love and enjoy the rich, chocolaty goodness, as much as we do. Thanks for reading!

 

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Alright guys, it’s official. I am, without a doubt,  married to the most incredible man on the planet. It never ceases to amaze me, how selfless, loving, hardworking and crazy talented my husband is. We live on a pretty tight budget, so when it comes to decorating our home, or needing/replacing a piece of furniture, we always try to save money and do anything we can ourselves, rather than dishing out hundreds of dollars for store bought items. Basically, every piece of furniture that we have in our home, Jay has built and every piece has turned out so beautifully.  

The one thing that we’ve really been in need of, is a kitchen table. We absolutely love hosting people, so it’s been interesting having friends over for dinner and not being able to sit together at a table. I knew that I wanted some sort of farmhouse table, with a unique, modern flare and we finally got around to sketching out ideas for it. Once we decided on what we wanted, Jay picked up all of the supplies and got to work. Within no time at all, he built me the most gorgeous and perfect table that I’ve ever seen! For real, ya’ll, this table is absolutely stunning, I still can’t get over it.  I liked the idea and style of industrial, metal dining chairs to accompany to table, but they can be so expensive and I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to find some within our price range. So my brilliant husband came up with an idea that was a huge game changer! He suggested  that we could purchase two of the chairs I was wanting, for one side of the table (which we got an AMAZING deal on, I might add! Glory to God in the highest!) and that he could  build a bench that matched the table, on the other side. Not only did we save tons of money by doing this, but I ended up loving his idea far more than what I had originally wanted! Even though we aren’t in our own house yet, we have been designing and decorating with the future in mind. When we were going over the plans for our table, I could picture it in the home that I know we’ll have some day, making me all giddy inside. There is something so special and intimate about being able to fill your space with things that you have created. I could not be more proud of Jay and the end result of this amazing piece!

Today on the blog, Jay and I wanted to share a step by step guide with you all, for this gorgeous and inexpensive (under $100, people!!!) farmhouse table, in case any of you are interested in building something similar to it for your home. It blows my mind how much money you can save on DIY projects. Hopefully, we can help you save some money, as well! 

Materials:

  • 2 – 2x10x10 (Jay used pine for everything) 
  • 4 – 2x3x8 
  • 2 – 2x4x8
  •  1 – 2x8x8
  • 1 qt – All American Minwax Stain
  • 1 qt – Minwax Satin Polyurethane
  • 3 Cans – Rust-Oleum Metallic Spray Paint
  • 1 Pack – Form Staining Pads
  • 13ft – 3/8 Steel Cable
  • 8 – 3/8 Cable Clamps
  • 8 – 1 1/4 Eye Screws
  • 1 Box (50 count) – 2 1/2 Kreg Jig Screws
  • 4 – 1 1/2 Angle brackets

Tools:

  • Screw Gun
  • Circle Hand Saw and/or Miter Saw
  • Electric Hand Sander
  • Clamps
  • Kreg Jig

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STEP #1: Sketch It Out & Cut The Lumber

Jay starts every one of his projects, by drawing a rough diagram of how he’s wanting it to look. Then he measures the area where the piece of furniture is going to be, in order to determine the dimensions. Occasionally, as he gets further into a project, he’ll run into a roadblock and decide the item needs to be built differently, either to add strength or style.

Here’s the cut list for the wood (feel free to change this if your kitchen or dining space needs are different).

Cut List:

Table:

  • 4 – 2x10x55
  • 4 – 2x3x23
  • 4 – 2x3x27
  • 2 – 2x4x44

Bench:

  • 2 – 2x8x38
  • 4 – 2x3x10.5
  • 4 – 2x3x13
  • 2 – 2x4x30

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STEP #2: Screw Everything In Place

Once all of the lumber is cut, you can screw everything together. Jay started with the top of the table. He carefully selected the best sides of each piece to display on the top and which pieces he wanted placed next to each other. When you’re using rough framing/stud lumber, you have to be careful to make sure that the pieces fit together well. This is important  if you don’t have access to a jointer or planer, because the wood can be uneven, or have slight bends/twists, making it difficult for the surface to be completely flat. Once everything is picked out, use the Kreg Jig to screw your boards together (Jay put in 4 screws to each joint). A combination of clamps were used,  to make sure each board was horizontally level with the next board. A longer clamp was used, to make sure that  the joints between the boards were as tight as possible.

This is the same process for the top of the bench. The bench is basically built as a micro version of the table, almost identical in its design, just smaller. The top uses the 2x8x38’s. After choosing the best sides, use your Kreg Jig and clamps to screw it in nice and tight. 

Next, put together the leg structure. The 27” 2×3’s are for the top and bottom of the leg structure. This is done so that the vertical legs are able to rest on them, similar to how a wall is built. This allows the base and top to be completely flat and it also absorbs a lot of the weight/stress, that will be put on it. For the vertical legs, use the 23 1/2″ 2×3’s. Build both leg boxes and connect them with both 2x4x44’s. Jay used Kreg Jig joints for all of these, as he has found them to be some of the strongest.

For the bench, 2x3x10.5’s were used as the base and top of the box and the 2x3x13’s were used as the vertical legs. He connected them to each other with the 2x4x30’s. For the bench frame, a combination of Kreg Jig joints and standard joints were used.

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STEP #3: Sand, Stain & Paint

The next step is to sand, stain, paint and polyurethane the wood. Jay used a hand sander to get the whole structure nice and smooth. Once it has been sanded down, begin staining the table and bench tops. Jay used just one coat of the Minwax stain on both sides of the tops. The stain was applied using a form staining pad – Jay prefers applying stain this way, because it gives you more control of how the stain goes on, almost never leaving a drip or streak. Once the stain is dry, you can apply 1-2 coats of polyurethane. For the leg structure, we applied two coats of metallic spray paint to make the wood look as close to metal as possible.

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STEP #4: Attach The Tops To The Bases

Once all of the wood is how you like it, you can attach the top to the bases. For the table, center the top on the base and then attach it, using angle brackets. We chose to do this, so that the top of the table is easy to detach if needed.  Also, angle brackets give the wood a little bit of leeway, as the wood naturally moves over time.

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STEP #5:  Attach Steel Cable

Now that everything is put together, you can attach the steel cable. To do this, Jay drilled holes for the eye screws, in the corner of each leg. Then, he screwed in the eye screws with pliers. Now that the eye bolts are in, you can run the cable through the loop and tighten down the clamps as necessary. And there you have it, folks! A beautiful and inexpensive farmhouse table!

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Every time I look at our table, I just want to weep. My husband pours so much love and care into every single project and always does such an outstanding job. I am blessed beyond what I deserve to be this man’s wife and thank God everyday for giving me someone that loves me so well and that makes such pretty things for me! We hope that this was helpful to any of you, looking to get your hands dirty and design your own table and that you all loved the finished product. Thanks for reading!

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Alright, ladies! You requested it, so here it is. I have been asked by numerous women about how I curl my hair, which I find hilarious, because I really don’t do anything too special to it.  Regardless, I am more than happy to share some tips with you all and hope that you find them helpful and can apply them to your hair styling routine! I have been loving the stage that my hair is in, because the length is fairly the same all over and it makes it super easy to manage and style. I haven’t been curling my hair this way for too long, but since I started, I’ve become obsessed. A couple of years ago, I chopped a good chunk of my hair off and wasn’t able to do a ton with it, so once it all started to grow back, I began messing around with my curling iron more regularly. My hair, in general, is very easy to work with, but because of how fine it is, I rarely like to wear it straight. This easy, curly hairstyle, provides me with both the volume and body I want.

One of the main questions that I have been asked, is what I use to curl my hair. Well folks, prepare to be amazed, because I simply use a Revlon Perfect Heat 1-¼” Iron, that I’ve had for several years (can’t even remember how long)  and it’s been the trooper of all curling irons! Seriously, I am amazed that this thing is still kicking after all this time and would highly recommend it, if you’re looking to get a new styling tool. It’s perfect for creating those full bodied curls you want! Now, let’s get started.

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STEP 1: BRUSH & PART

Give your hair a good brushing over and part it how you want. Since my bangs have grown out and because of the shape of my face, I like to part my hair slightly off to the side. After this, I divide my hair into two large chunks and put one side up in a hair tie, to make the curling process easier and more precise.

 

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STEP 2: CURL  AWAY

Growing up, whenever I used a curling iron, I would always curl my hair inward for some reason and it never turned out the way I wanted. I know this isn’t rocket science and there’s only so many ways you can use a curling iron, but I started curling my hair away from my face and it worked wonders! I’m not sure what your method is and it’s kind of difficult to explain this on a blog, but just be sure that when you’re curling your hair, you clasp it from the top, make your way towards the middle and begin curling outward, working your way all the way to the end of the strand and hold the curl for several seconds. Loosely unwind the iron from the curl. Repeat this step until you’ve got a head full of luscious curls.

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STEP 3: FLIP & FLUFF

Once I have curled my entire head, I lightly run my fingers through some of the front curls, to loosen them up a bit. I always, always, always, do a head flip before spraying my hair. This helps to loosen up the the overall style and gives my hair more volume and body. After I do the ole’ flipparoo, I fluff up my hair a bit and get it back in place.

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STEP 4: SPRAY ER’ DOWN

I don’t know about you guys, but my hair has a pretty hard time holding curl for lengthy periods, so I always go for a heavy duty hairspray, that will help me maintain it as long as I can. Whatever hair product you like best, spray it generously, lightly fluffing your head of curls from underneath. And presto!

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Well, I hope that this was somehow helpful or useful to you all! I am always shocked and flattered, whenever I receive a compliment on my hair, so it was even more flattering when I was asked to share some of my tips and tricks on my blog. Thanks for reading and good luck with your lovely locks!

 

So, yesterday was Mother’s Day and folks, let me tell you, there was a whole lot of celebrating going on over here!  I have been truly blessed with the most amazing, gorgeous, hilarious, kind, hard working, strong and brave momma, in the entire world. Not only that, but God has given me the absolute best grandmothers and mother-in-law that a girl could ask for. These women have all had such a tremendous impact on my life and I could not  be more thankful that we are family. Their lives are such beautiful examples of what godly, virtuous women should be and I hope to be more like them, as I get older.

This year, Mother’s Day was extra, extra special, because my sister is pregnant with her first child! Ya’ll don’t even know how giddy I am to be the auntie of my future niece or nephew (*squeeling and dancing obnoxiously*)!  Unfortunately, I was unable to spend yesterday with any of my family, which was a huge bummer. It’s always hard being miles upon miles apart from each other, but it’s around special times like this, that it becomes even more difficult for me. Since we couldn’t be together and I was missing them all terribly, I decided that I wanted to do something special for everyone, I just wasn’t 100 percent sure what that would be.  

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Ages ago, I was picking up some craft supplies at good ole’ Hobby Lobby and came across a box of blank Strathmore Watercolor Cards. I’m pretty obsessed with watercolor in general, so when I laid eyes on these babies, I fell in love.  I knew that I would want to use them for something in the near future, so I went ahead and snagged them. A couple weeks prior to Mother’s Day, when I was feeling all homesick and sad, I remembered that I had these cards and immediately came up with the idea, to design some Mother’s Day cards. Handmade, custom cards, that expressed to these women, what they mean to me and how grateful I am for them. So, I set aside some time, a couple of nights after work and designed them, crossing my fingers that I could get them finished, sent out and delivered, just in time. Thank Jehovah, I was able to get them all  done (without too many mess ups, or do overs, I might add) and they were delivered safe and sound. This DIY project is simple, inexpensive and is perfect for any occasion. Why spend $5 on one card, when you can buy a box of blank cards for just a couple bucks more and create something unique and personal yourself?! This box came with 10 cards and envelopes, so I still have some leftover and will be able to use them for something else later! Another great thing about these cards, is that you are able to design a text-free cover, so that whoever you give them to, is able to frame it as a little piece of art for their home. I enjoyed doing these so much! There really is something so therapeutic to me about picking up a paintbrush, with nothing particular in mind and just going at it. I still have so much to learn when it comes to art, but I enjoy it so very much and loved being able to incorporate it into these little gifts.

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To my mom and to all of the other beautiful mothers out there,  thank you for everything that you do. Thank you for the source of encouragement that you are, the strength that you possess and the love that you give. You are appreciated so much more than you know!

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