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The Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies EVER

2015 August 20
by Emily Hill

This post may include affiliate links to help support my Diet Coke habit.

I’m not kidding. These truly are the best oatmeal raisin cookies ever. If you don’t believe me, you can ask anyone who’s been lucky enough to try one.

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Amazing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies - the best oatmeal raisin cookies you will ever bake!

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I don’t know how I managed to bake such amazing oatmeal raisin cookies but I’m oh-so-glad I did.

The ratio of raisins to oatmeal is perfect and the hint of cinnamon divine.

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Amazing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies - the best oatmeal raisin cookies you will ever bake!

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These babies are slightly crispy on the outside with just the right amount of chewiness on the inside. I chalk it up to a fantastic recipe and a trusty cookie dough scoop. It is one of the kitchen gadgets I can’t live without.

I also can’t live without my silicone baking mat. For reals.

I wanted to show you just how amazing these cookies taste but the photo doesn’t do them justice.

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Amazing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies - the best oatmeal raisin cookies you will ever bake!

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You’ll have to bake a batch for yourself. Immediately.

Oh, and these oatmeal raisin cookies freeze wonderfully well. Trust me.

Printable recipe for the best oatmeal raisin cookies EVER below. Enjoy!
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The Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies EVER
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
These truly are the most amazing oatmeal raisin cookies you'll ever bake...and eat! Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1¾ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup raisins
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Cream together butter and sugars in a large bowl until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Add to creamed mixture and beat until combined.
  4. Mix in the oats. Fold in the raisins.
  5. Drop dough by heaping tablespoonful onto ungreased cookie sheets or silicone baking mat.
  6. Bake for 11 to 12 minutes or until center is set and edges are a very light golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool completely.

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If you’re looking for more yummy cookies, you should browse my desserts {cookies} Pinterest board.

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Follow Emily Hill’s board desserts {cookies} on Pinterest.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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10 Fun & (Slightly) Filthy End-of-Summer Activities

2015 August 18
by Emily Hill

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Maytag. All opinions are 100% mine.

Okay, so maybe it is kind of over, but we still have weekends and the Labor Day holiday to finish checking things off our summer bucket lists. I don’t know about your kids, but mine think the dirtier, messier, outdoors-ier activity, the better. Some of our most favorite activities this summer were the ones that required taking long, hot showers and doing lots of laundry.

Pioneer Trek: We pulled handcarts 23 miles over the course of three days without a shower in sight.

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Pioneer Trek

Pioneer Trek
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California: Hours at Huntington and Corona del Mar beaches digging holes and playing in waves meant sand in all the crevices.

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Huntington Beach
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Cub Scout Camp: George’s favorite activities were the obstacle course and go-cart track. Super dusty and dirty.

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Cub Scout Camp
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Here’s a list of fun and filthy end-of-summer activities you can do before it’s time to stock up on Halloween candy.

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10 Fun End of Summer Activities

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  • Plan a hike. Find a family-friendly hike. Pack snacks and water and leave early to beat the crowds. To make it extra fun, hike where there’s a stream, river or waterfall. Don’t forget a pair of dry socks!
  • Participate in a “colorful” run. The Color Run, Color Me Rad and other chalk-filled races are super fun for the entire family. Make sure to wear sunglasses and hold your breath when getting chalked!
  • Play in the rain. Summer storms are the best, especially if you can hold a mud pie making contest once the rain stops.
  • Bury someone in the sand. Just make sure they’re okay with it first. And don’t forget to let them out.
  • Roll down a large, grassy hill. The larger the hill, the better the grass stains. If you tend to suffer from motion sickness, take some Dramamine first.
  • Hold a mini American Ninja Warrior at the playground. Who needs a salmon ladder when you’ve got monkey bars?
  • Go camping. Yes, there’s still plenty of time and plenty of mosquitoes.
  • Host a s’mores party. No, you won’t come away muddy but you will come away smelling like a campfire.
  • Visit the local amusement park. Crowds get smaller as the season winds down and I guarantee you’ll want to put everyone’s clothes in the wash. Nothing says “wash me” like a super wet water ride followed by sitting in who-knows-what on the new Cannibal roller coaster.
  • Help an elderly neighbor with yard work. Not only will you get dirty but you’ll also get lots of warm fuzzies.

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Of course, all that filthiness is great as long as you can wash it out. I’ve had my Maytag washer and dryer pair since 2000 and aside from one little tune-up, they’re still going strong. Paired with a solid detergent and spot-remover, they’ve washed out all kinds of crud—mud, ink, blood, vomit, grass, fruit punch and yes, even Pokemon cards.

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But what I wouldn’t give to get my hands on the new Maytag laundry Top Load Washer and Dryer pair. They’re absolutely beautiful and powerful. Designed, engineered and assembled in America, they have the power to clean big-league stains, which is super fitting since they’re the official washer and dryer of MLB.

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Speaking of baseball, Maytag is calling ball players of all ages to upload photos or videos of their sliding, diving or “filthy plays” because, let’s be honest, those plays are the most exciting and entertaining things about baseball.

Well, crazy plays and ballpark hot dogs.

Here are the dirty little details on Filthiest Plays of the Week contest:

  1. Upload a photo or video of your “filthy play” on Twitter or Instagram using “#MyFilthiestPlay.”
  2. Become eligible to win weekly prizes and a grand prize trip to the World Series plus a Maytag Top Load Washer and Dryer pair.

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That’s it!

So what are you going to do to get down and dirty before summer ends?

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Maddie’s New Music Mondays: Vance Joy & Milky Chance

2015 August 17
by Emily Hill

This post is part of a new series written by my daughter Madison. She has the absolute coolest taste in music. Post may include affiliate links to support my Diet Coke habit.

Hello again, readers of my mom’s blog!

I got a lot of positive feedback on my last post so I figure I must be doing something right. Or my taste in music is fantastic…Yeah, it’s definitely that second one.

For this week’s music, I came up with it while I was driving home from work Saturday. Ever since I started doing this post thing, I’m constantly listening to the music that’s on and trying to write a post based around it. My posts shouldn’t be as long as my first one, especially since it was an intro to my new feature.

Anyway.

This week I chose two artists who sound really similar—that and I just couldn’t pick one song.

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Maddies New Music Mondays - Vance Joy and Milky Chance
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The first one is “Mess Is Mine” by Vance Joy. A little bit about him (creds to Wikipedia again) is that his real name is James Keogh. He’s not an independent music writer (he signed with Atlantic Records) but he’s pretty cool regardless. You are probably more familiar with his song “Riptide” which was voted number 1 on the 2013 Triple J Hottest 100.

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Vance Joy: Mess Is Mine

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(Yes I know it’s an audio video. The original music video is inappropriate.)

The second artist is Milky Chance. I love their song “Stolen Dance” which was how I was first introduced to their music. Though that song is great, I picked “Stunner” by them for this week because I love the way their voices sound in this song. Fun fact about them (thanks, Wikipedia), their song “Stolen Dance” released in April 2013 peaked number 1 in Austria, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Poland, Czech Republic, and Hungary. Also, I can play this on the ukulele, so, ya know, no big deal.

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Milky Chance: Stunner

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If you liked those songs, another one I like from Vance Joy is “Snaggletooth” and from Milky Chance, “Flashed Junk Mind.”

Thanks for listening!

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Past New Music Mondays:

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ps post script“like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Quick & Easy Peanut Butter Popcorn

2015 August 17
by Emily Hill

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Pop Secret, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #pop4Fantastic4 http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

If you know our family at all, you know we LOVE movies. Whether it’s date night for Mom and Dad (yippee!) or family bonding while watching the latest and greatest animated film, we’re serious moviegoers. But we’ve found that taking a family of six to the movies, even if it’s a matinee, can put a serious dent in the checkbook. When we go to the movie theater, we like to throw in our favorite treat (scones) and some drink refills. Before we know it, we’re spending over $60! That’s why we love in-home family movie nights complete with treats like this quick and easy peanut butter popcorn. Not only is it far more affordable but you can wear your pajamas and pause the movie for potty breaks!

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Quick and Easy Peanut Butter Popcorn - use microwave popcorn and a handful of ingredients to make a gourmet treat!

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A movie night isn’t complete without popcorn (and Diet Coke…duh), and while we love pretty much every microwave popcorn, I’m not lying when I say Pop-Secret popcorn pops the best. We’ve popped enough microwave popcorn to know you’ll find fewer popcorn kernels left at the bottom of the bag if you go with Pop-Secret. Plus, with nearly 20 Pop-Secret flavors to choose from, you can please every single one of your movie critics.

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Pop Secret Popcorn
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To make this easy peanut butter popcorn, I used Pop-Secret Homestyle popcorn from Walmart. It had just a hint of salt and butter making it the perfect base for peanut butter coating.

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Quick and Easy Peanut Butter Popcorn - use microwave popcorn and a handful of ingredients to make a gourmet treat!

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Yes, you can use microwave popcorn to make a gourmet popcorn recipe. Before this recipe, I had no idea you could do so.

Cue “A Whole New World”…

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Quick and Easy Peanut Butter Popcorn - use microwave popcorn and a handful of ingredients to make a gourmet treat!

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You seriously won’t believe how easy this peanut butter popcorn is to make, but you will believe how easy it is to eat after you’ve taken your first bite. My family may have polished off the entire bowl in one night. And that’s without watching a double feature!

If you’re super creative, you could probably even sneak a bag of peanut butter popcorn into the movie theater if you’re headed to see
Fantastic Four. You’ll want something to munch on while watching such a fun action flick. And guess what? You can watch it for free using this super awesome Pop-Secret promo:

Buy any 3 Pop-Secret items between 7/31 – 8/31 and get a Free ticket to the Fantastic Four movie (up to $5) while supplies last.

Printable recipe for quick and easy peanut butter popcorn below. Enjoy!
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Quick & Easy Peanut Butter Popcorn
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Popcorn
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Use microwave popcorn and 4 ingredients to make a super easy, gourmet-tasting popcorn!
Ingredients
  • 2 bags Pop-Secret Homestyle popcorn
  • ½ cup salted butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup peanut butter
Instructions
  1. Pop popcorn according to package directions. Empty into a large bowl and remove any unpopped kernels.
  2. Combine butter, sugar and honey in a small saucepan. Bring to a bowl over medium heat and boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter until thoroughly combined.
  3. Pour peanut butter mixture over popcorn and toss to coat. Serve immediately. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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If you’re looking for more yummy popcorn recipes, you should browse my desserts {popcorn} Pinterest board.

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Follow Emily Hill’s board desserts {popcorn} on Pinterest.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Crunchy Triple Berry Yogurt Parfait

2015 August 13
by Emily Hill

Yogurt parfaits are so easy to make and such a crowd-pleaser, I really should make them more often. Wanting to give Silk® Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative a solid test drive, I tried it out in this crunchy triple berry yogurt parfait. You’d have thought I’d told the kids summer would last another four weeks. There was oohing and aahing and all kinds of deliciousness going on.

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Crunchy Triple Berry Yogurt Parfait

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Though most everyone preferred the traditional low-fat vanilla yogurt, I was pleasantly surprised with the Silk® Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative. I was expecting some crazy, overly healthy, funky-textured dairy-free product with a lingering aftertaste but it was smooth, creamy and full of fruit flavor. It paired just as well with the diced strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and crunchy granola in this parfait recipe.

Note: For the crunchy topping, I love the new Grape-Nuts Fit Cranberry Vanilla cereal. It has granola, that deliciously crunchy Grape-Nuts cereal, cranberries, puffed barley and a hint of vanilla flavor.

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Crunchy Triple Berry Yogurt Parfait 3

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Parfaits make a super quick breakfast that’s a much better option than cold cereal. You can even prep them the night before—just place in reusable plastic containers (don’t forget the spoon!) for an easy on-the-go breakfast.

I’m super happy Silk has provided a dairy-free yogurt so everyone can enjoy a yummy crunchy triple berry yogurt parfait. Plus with 6 grams of plant-powered protein per serving and no cholesterol, dairy, lactose, gluten, carrageena or casein, Silk® Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative is quite possible the best yogurt alternative on store shelves. It’s also an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D. Double win!

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Silk Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative

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If you’d like to try Silk® Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative, click here to receive a coupon towards your purchase!

Printable recipe for crunchy triple berry yogurt parfaits below. Enjoy!
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Crunchy Triple Berry Yogurt Parfait
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
Three different berries plus a super crunchy granola topping make for a quick and delicious breakfast or snack.
Ingredients
  • 1 (5.3-oz) container strawberry or vanilla Silk Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative (or 6 oz of your favorite yogurt)
  • ¼ cup raspberries
  • ¼ cup blueberries
  • ¼ cup diced strawberries
  • ¼ cup granola
Instructions
  1. Layer ingredients in the following order: yogurt, raspberries, yogurt, blueberries, yogurt, granola, diced strawberries. Or mix it up and layer them however you'd like!
Notes
For the crunchy topping, I love the new Grape-Nuts Fit Cranberry Vanilla cereal. It has granola, Grape-Nuts cereal, cranberries, puffed barley and a hint of vanilla flavor.

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This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.
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If you’re looking for more yummy breakfast recipes, you should browse my breakfast recipes Pinterest board.

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Follow Emily Hill’s board breakfast recipes on Pinterest.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Orange Creamsicle Cookies

2015 August 11
by Emily Hill

Every once in a very great while I bake cookies that haven’t an ounce of chocolate in them. (White chocolate doesn’t count because it’s not really chocolate.) Utah’s recent Pioneer Day was one of those whiles and you’re going to be oh-so-glad I baked these orange creamsicle cookies.

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Orange Creamsicle Cookies - these cookies melt in your mouth and the optional white chocolate chips take them over the top!

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Who knew a baked good seriously lacking in chocolate could be so yummy. These orange creamsicle cookies melt in your mouth and have just the right amount of bright, cheerful orange flavor to make your taste buds super happy.

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Orange Creamsicle Cookies - these cookies melt in your mouth and the optional white chocolate chips take them over the top!

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If you really want to take ’em over the top, throw in some white chocolate chips. Believe it or not, the addition of white chocolate chips were a bit much for me, but Nathan loved the combo.

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Orange Creamsicle Cookies - these cookies melt in your mouth and the optional white chocolate chips take them over the top!

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Printable recipe for orange creamsicle cookies below. Enjoy!
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5.0 from 1 reviews
Orange Creamsicle Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
You'll find lots of melt-in-your-mouth orange goodness with these orange creamsicle cookies. Throw in white chocolate chips for even more decadence! Makes approx. 2 dozen cookies.
Ingredients
  • 8 T unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 oz light cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 (15.25-oz_ box Pillsbury Orangesicle cake mix
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips (optional)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
Instructions
  1. Combine butter, egg, vanilla and cream cheese in a large bowl and beat until thoroughly combined.
  2. Add caked mix gradually and stir just until combined.
  3. Fold in white chocolate chips (optional). and refrigerate dough for at least an hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  5. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Place on cookie sheet and use a glass to flatten dough.
  6. Bake for 9 minutes. Don't let the cookies brown!
  7. Let cool 2 to 3 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely. Dusting with powdered sugar before serving.

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If you’re looking for more yummy cookies, you should browse my desserts {cookies} Pinterest board.

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Follow Emily Hill’s board desserts {cookies} on Pinterest.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Maddie’s New Music Mondays: Twenty One Pilots

2015 August 10
by Emily Hill

This post is part of a new series written by my daughter Madison. She has the absolute coolest taste in music. Post may include affiliate links to support my Diet Coke habit.

Hello, readers of my mother’s blog.

Some of you have read posts by me already; sometimes Mom asks me to write for her (let’s be honest, who wouldn’t? I’m freaking hilarious). I like to write and she loves my taste in music; welcome to “Maddie’s New Music Mondays.”

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Maddies New Music Mondays - Twenty One Pilots

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Music is way important to me. Any time I’m in the car I plug my phone in. Writing an essay in a super boring English class? Plug that thing in. Getting ready in the morning? On comes Pandora. Playing a videogame? Who cares about the background music, in goes some Passion Pit or Two Door Cinema Club. I like music so much I’ve learned how to play the cello and self-taught myself piano and ukulele.

I take pride in my music choices. It’s taken me a long time to come up with the taste in music I have now. I guess I have this kid named Kyle to thank for that. I had a major crush on him and wanted us to have more in common, so I started listening to all the music he liked. He was way into indie music*—artists like Arcade Fire, Grizzly Bear, and Local Natives.

I tried to listen to that stuff and I got into some of it, but some was a little too slow or mellow for me. He introduced me to bands like Passion Pit and The Strokes. From there, I sorta formed my own brand of independent-alternative, and depending on my mood, it can have influences from folk music, rock, or electric. Kinda just depends!

Now that I’ve gotten the background of my music past out of the way, time for the real reason I’m doing this: to share my excellent taste in music with the world! Or at least, the readers of this blog.

Today the band I’m sharing is Twenty One Pilots. Some background about them (creds to Wikipedia) is that they’re a duo made up of Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun. They started out independently producing their music but then signed with Fueled by Ramen. Just recently I’ve fallen in love with the sound of their songs. Two of the songs I like best are “The Judge” and “Ride.”

Yes, they look a little intimidating but ignore the looks and listen to the music. Duh—I shouldn’t have to say that. It’s music. You don’t focus on looks, you focus on sound.

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Twenty One Pilots: The Judge

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Twenty One Pilots: Ride

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Yes, I understand changing your music preference can be scary but change is good. If you like these two songs, you’ll also enjoy “Run and Go,” “Tear in my Heart,” and “Polarize.” You can find them on their latest album, Blurryface.

* “Indie” is short for “independent,” i.e., produced away from major commercial record labels (sorta the D.I.Y. of the music industry), not music from India as I originally thought.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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