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How Many Grateful Dead Are in YOUR Family Tree?

2016 July 12
by Emily Hill

The third annual Worldwide Indexing Event will bring over 72,000 people together from around the world during a 72-hour event to save the world’s records.

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2016 Worldwide Indexing Event - The third annual Worldwide Indexing Event will bring over 72,000 people together from around the world during a 72-hour event to save the world's records.


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Disclosure: Though this is a sponsored post on behalf of FamilySearch, I’ve done the indexing thing and love it.

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No, not world records like those you’ll see being set during the 2016 Summer Olympics. While they’re all kinds of amazing, I’m talking the world’s records—records of vital (pun intended) importance…precious historic records like birth, marriage and death certificates, military and property records, ship passenger lists and census records.

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2016 Worldwide Indexing Event
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While technology has come a long way (Google Earth, virtual reality, Pokémon Go), computers don’t have mad skills when it comes to reading that old-fashion cursive or old-school typed pages. But people do, and it’s people like you and me who need to help re-write those vital records so computers can make sense of them. Once the world’s records have been indexed, they become searchable. That means fewer lost ancestors, a happier Great Aunt Betty (the family genealogist) and some pretty grateful dead.

I seriously crack myself up sometimes.

From July 15th to 17th, FamilySearch International will sponsor the third annual Worldwide Indexing Event. The third annual Worldwide Indexing Event will bring over 72,000 people together from around the world during a 72-hour event to save the world’s records. During the 72-hour indexing period, volunteers participate by downloading the FamilySearch software and completing as many names as they would like. Anyone, kids and grownups alike, with a computer and internet connection can join.

That means YOU.

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Worldwide Indexing Event 2016
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Volunteers have made over one billion historic records searchable online since FamilySearch introduced online indexing in 2008.

ONE BILLION.

The demand for indexed records continues to grow as millions of historical records worldwide are added every year. To join 72,000 teammates in saving the World’s records, visit https://familysearch.org/worldsrecords. Last time I was there, the team count was over 150,000. Pretty sure this is going to be the best Worldwide Indexing Event to date!

About FamilySearch
FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. It is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through nearly 5,000 family history centers in 129 countries.

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Looking for some yummy treats to snack on while indexing? Try browsing my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board. I guarantee you’ll find quite a few!

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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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An Easy Way to Avoid the Lost & Found + a $150 Minted Giveaway!

2016 July 10
by Emily Hill

Avoid the lost and found with adorable custom labels that are perfect for personalizing everything from clothing to water bottles.

Avoid the Lost and Found with Custom Labels for Kids -- perfect for personalizing everything from clothing to water bottles.


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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Minted and may include affiliate links to help support my Diet Coke habit.

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During the final days of school, the office staff piled the collection of lost and found items on a table as a last call to come claim that hoodie, lunch box, water bottle or beanie misplaced months earlier. The pile was HUGE and filled with some pretty nice things.

I’m not gonna lie—I was tempted to snag a Quiksilver hoodie for George.

The lost and found collection at our rec center is almost as impressive and we’re only halfway through summer. With all the swimming and day camps and tennis lessons, I imagine it will be a mountain before mid August. I’ve decided no matter the time of year, it’s a given your child will forget that water bottle you lovingly filled with ice water or the lunch box packed with their favorite snack or the jacket you’d hoped they’d wear. (Why is it they never do?)

Lucky for you I’ve discovered an easy, affordable and adorable solution: custom name labels from Minted.

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Minted Custom Name Labels

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Minted’s colorful stick-on name labels are waterproof, dishwasher safe, made from non-toxic materials and perfect for pretty much any item leaving your home. They’re also super affordable at only $16 for a sheet of 72 labels.

Just think of the possibilities! You can label things like:

  • Bottles and sippy cups
  • Lunch boxes and other food containers
  • Notebooks and journals
  • Pencil boxes
  • Sports equipment
  • Tech gadgets
  • Clothing and shoe tags

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Imagine all the uses—day camp, scout camp, school, tennis lessons, play dates at the park, play dates in the neighborhood, after-school sports, daycare, pool parties, field trips, church… Heck, I may even get some for my oldest so she can label her food while at college. It sure would have helped when I had roommates!

Here are a few of my favorite designs:

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Minted Custom Name Labels - favorites

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Isn’t the cactus adorable? And notice how one one of them you can add a photo. Minted offers quite a few label designs you can customize with a photo of your child.

Want to know what else I loved? THESE.

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Minted Custom Labels - allergies

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Wouldn’t it be great if you could place one of these allergy-specific labels front and center on everything?

Not only can you customize labels with your child’s name, contact info and photo, you can also personalize the labels by choosing from a variety of unique designs in six different shapes:

  • Circle
  • Clothing tag
  • Curved frame
  • Heart
  • Rounded rectangle
  • Rounded square

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Are you ready to start labeling everything your child owns? Minted is going to help you get started by giving away one (1) $150 Minted credit to one lucky ITRML reader!

To enter the giveaway, CLICK HERE. The giveaway is open to only U.S. entrants and ends 11:59 p.m. MST Sunday, July 17, 2016.

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Looking for more fun ideas? Try browsing my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board. I guarantee you’ll find quite a few!

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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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Kid-Friendly Summer Smoothies + the Secret to Smoothie Making

2016 July 5
by Emily Hill

From piña colada to chocolate peanut butter, these kid-friendly summer smoothies will please even the pickiest palates!

Kid-Friendly Summer Smoothies -- these smoothie recipes will please even the pickiest palates!


Disclosure: Post includes sponsored content for eBay. All thoughts, opinions & love for summer smoothies is mine.

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Like I mentioned in last week’s pepperoni pasta salad post, I recently created 15 more eBay Guides focusing on kids and summer and back-to-school. Today I’m sharing a guide that features kid-friendly summer smoothie recipes and the secret to smoothie making.

You may already know the secret…but then again, you might not!

To get the recipes for my kids’ favorite summer smoothies and see if you know the secret to successful smoothie making, CLICK HERE or on the image below.

I’ve written 55 guides so far and will write another 15 over the next few months. You can check out the full list HERE; it includes quite a few book guides (my favorite) and more tips, tricks and secrets (most involving food of course).

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Kid-Friendly Summer Smoothies -- these smoothie recipes will please even the pickiest palates!

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Looking for more yummy recipes? Try browsing my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board. I guarantee you’ll find quite a few!

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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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Neighbor Gift: Oatmeal M&M Cookie Mix in a Jar

2016 July 1
by Emily Hill

Use this super yummy oatmeal M&M cookie mix in a jar with free printable gift tag to welcome new neighbors to your neighborhood.

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Oatmeal M&M Cookie Mix in a Jar Neighbor Gift Idea -- what better way to welcome a new neighbor than with a super SWEET gift! Free printable gift tag included.

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Today I’m guest posting on Crafting Chicks as part of their Mother Hen’s Summer Survival Guide. Last time I shared super cute butterfly cupcakes with sugar, glittery wings.

Now I want white chocolate-covered pretzels. Dang it.

This week’s theme is “Me on the Map”—ever post has something to do with our community and our world. While there’s so much you could do with the whole world thing, I wanted to focus on community. And with so many people moving in and out of our neighborhood this spring and summer, I thought it would be super fun to create an easy, yummy neighbor gift.

You know me, I’m all about easy AND yummy.

Say hello to oatmeal M&M cookie mix in a jar with the cutest gift tag.

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Oatmeal M&M Cookie Mix in a Jar Neighbor Gift Idea -- what better way to welcome a new neighbor than with a super SWEET gift! Free printable gift tag included.

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Throw on a polka-dot cupcake liner and some raffia ribbon and you’ll be the favorite neighbor for sure.

I like being the favorite.

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Oatmeal M&M Cookie Mix in a Jar Neighbor Gift Idea -- what better way to welcome a new neighbor than with a super SWEET gift! Free printable gift tag included.

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You can get the full tutorial, recipe and free gift card on Crafting Chicks. And now I need to go find me some cookies…

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Oatmeal M&M Cookie Mix in a Jar Neighbor Gift Idea -- what better way to welcome a new neighbor than with a super SWEET gift! Free printable gift tag included.

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Looking for more yummy cookie recipes? Try browsing my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board. I guarantee you’ll find quite a few!

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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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5 Tips for Hosting Kid-Friendly BBQs + Our Favorite Pasta Salad

2016 June 30
by Emily Hill

It wouldn’t be summer without backyard barbecues! These 5 tips for hosting kid-friendly BBQs plus our favorite pepperoni pasta salad will ensure your get-together is a success!

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5 Tips for Hosting Kid-Friendly BBQs and Our Favorite Pepperoni Pasta Salad


Disclosure: Post includes sponsored content for eBay. All thoughts, opinions & love for pepperoni pasta salad are mine.

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I recently finished creating 15 more eBay Guides all about kids and summer and back-to-school. I’ll be sharing some of those guides in my site, but don’t worry, I’ll wait to share the back-to-school ones until August. We don’t want to start panicking just yet!

The guide I’m sharing today features tips and tricks for making things easier when hosting family and friend summer get-togethers with kids. My favorite idea involves bubbles and my second favorite involves lids and straws.

If you want to get all the good info and the recipe for our most favorite pasta salad, CLICK HERE or on the image below.

I’ve written 55 guides so far and have 20 more coming. You can check out the full list HERE; it includes quite a few book guides if you’re into that whole reading thing.

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5 Tips for Hosting Kid-Friendly BBQs and Our Favorite Pepperoni Pasta Salad

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Looking for more yummy recipes? Try browsing my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board. I guarantee you’ll find quite a few!

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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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Large Batch Cowboy Cookies

2016 June 28
by Emily Hill

This recipe for cowboy cookies makes just over 6 dozen of the yummiest oatmeal + chocolate chip + coconut cookies you’ve ever tasted!

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Large Batch Cowboy Cookies -- One of the best recipes for cowboy cookies I have tasted plus it makes just over 6 dozen cookies! Perfect for summer get-togethers and family parties. They freeze well so you can make them ahead and defrost the day of the party--no one will ever know!


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

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From coconut chocolate chip saucepan bars to coconut monster cookies, I’ve shared many a recipe for cookies featuring the chocolate-coconut combination. I’m not gonna lie, it’s one of my favorite cookie combos.

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Large Batch Cowboy Cookies -- One of the best recipes for cowboy cookies I have tasted plus it makes just over 6 dozen cookies! Perfect for summer get-togethers and family parties. They freeze well so you can make them ahead and defrost the day of the party--no one will ever know!

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Not wanting to dive right into work on a Monday, I flipped through a few recipe books to see what I could easily make and bake…and if lucky, freeze for later indulging. When I found this recipe for cowboy cookies and noticed chocolate chips, coconut and oatmeal in the ingredients list, I was sold.

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Large Batch Cowboy Cookies -- One of the best recipes for cowboy cookies I have tasted plus it makes just over 6 dozen cookies! Perfect for summer get-togethers and family parties. They freeze well so you can make them ahead and defrost the day of the party--no one will ever know!

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Though their official name is simply cowboy cookies, by the time the dough was done it nearly overflowed from my KitchenAid mixer. I realized I had more than a single batch but not quite a double batch; that’s when the name “large batch cowboy cookies” was born.

Not that I’m complaining…more to hide in the freezer!

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Large Batch Cowboy Cookies -- One of the best recipes for cowboy cookies I have tasted plus it makes just over 6 dozen cookies! Perfect for summer get-togethers and family parties. They freeze well so you can make them ahead and defrost the day of the party--no one will ever know!

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These large batch cowboy cookies are perfect for summer get-togethers because the recipe makes just over 6 dozen (using my favorite medium cookie dough scoop) and they’re both kid and grownup friendly. They also freeze really well so you can easily bake a few dozen, freeze and defrost them the day of the party. No one will know the difference!

I didn’t add pecans because we have friends with nut allergies, but if you’re nut allergy free, by all means go for it! I love walnuts and pecans in cookies and brownies!

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Large Batch Cowboy Cookies -- One of the best recipes for cowboy cookies I have tasted plus it makes just over 6 dozen cookies! Perfect for summer get-togethers and family parties. They freeze well so you can make them ahead and defrost the day of the party--no one will ever know!

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Printable recipe for large batch cowboy cookies below. Enjoy!
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Large Batch Cowboy Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This recipe for cowboy cookies makes just over 6 dozen of the yummiest oatmeal + chocolate chip + coconut cookies you've ever tasted!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Cookies
Serves: 36
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1½ cups packed brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups flaked coconut
  • 2 cups chopped pecans (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl; set aside.
  3. Beat butter in large bowl until creamy. Add sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture and stir until combined. Fold in oats, chocolate chips, coconut and pecans.
  5. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto baking sheet approximately 2 inches apart.
  6. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are light golden brown and centers are mostly set. Let cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

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If you like that chocolate and coconut combo, you might want to try these delightful recipes.

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Coconut Chocolate Chip Saucepan Bars -- you make the cookie dough in a saucepan before spreading it into a 9x13 to bake. Some of the best bar cookies I have ever devoured!


Coconut chocolate chip saucepan bars

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Coconut monster cookies -- a tasty variation of the tradition monster cookie. It features peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, M&Ms and coconut. So yummy!


Coconut monster cookies

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Butterscotch Coconut Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies


Butterscotch coconut chocolate chip pudding cookies

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Healthy Orange Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies -- whole wheat flour, unsweetened coconut, orange zest and semisweet chocolate. A dense, chewy cookie packed with flavor!


Healthy orange oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

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Chocolate chip coconut cookies


Chocolate chip coconut cookies (posted a while ago but still so yummy!)

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Looking for more yummy cookie recipes? Try browsing my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board. I guarantee you’ll find quite a few!

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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.
.

4th of July Cake Mix Cookies

2016 June 24
by Emily Hill

These festive 4th of July cake mix cookies feature blue velvet cake mix, cream cheese frosting & red sprinkles and easily double as Dr. Seuss cookies!

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4th of July Cake Mix Cookies or Dr Seuss Cookies -- these cake mix cookies require only a handful of ingredients and come together quickly. They are perfect for a 4th of July part OR your next Dr Seuss celebration!

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

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Though I prefer making cookies from scratch, sometimes hot summer days (and last-minute parties) call for cake mix cookies. When I first saw blue velvet cake mix on the store shelf, I was like, “What the what?” But then I realized it would be super fun for kids and make for the perfect festive 4th of July cake mix cookies.

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4th of July Cake Mix Cookies or Dr Seuss Cookies -- these cake mix cookies require only a handful of ingredients and come together quickly. They are perfect for a 4th of July part OR your next Dr Seuss celebration!

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After baking up a batch of blue velvet cake mix cookies, frosting them with cream cheese frosting (homemade if you have time, from a can if you don’t) and dusting them with red sugar sprinkles, I realized the colors would be perfect for a Dr. Seuss celebration too!

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4th of July Cake Mix Cookies or Dr Seuss Cookies -- these cake mix cookies require only a handful of ingredients and come together quickly. They are perfect for a 4th of July part OR your next Dr Seuss celebration!

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I used what I thought was a foolproof recipe for cake mix cookies but realized too late my cake mix was 16 ounces rather than 18 ounces. I should have used only 1/3 cup oil instead of 1/2, but that didn’t stop us from eating them.

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4th of July Cake Mix Cookies or Dr Seuss Cookies -- these cake mix cookies require only a handful of ingredients and come together quickly. They are perfect for a 4th of July part OR your next Dr Seuss celebration!

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Whether you’re celebrating Independence Day or Cat in the Hat Day, these blue velvet cake mix cookies need to be part of your party table.

Printable recipe for 4th of July cake mix cookies below. Enjoy!
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4th of July Cake Mix Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These festive 4th of July cake mix cookies feature blue velvet cake mix, cream cheese frosting & red sprinkles and easily double as Dr. Seuss cookies! Makes 2 to 3 dozen depending on size.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Cookies
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 (16.5-oz) Duncan Hines Blue Velvet Cake Mix
  • ⅓ cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 can cream cheese frosting (or homemade frosting; see notes)
  • Red sugar sprinkles
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix cake mix, oil and eggs in a large bowl until thoroughly combined.
  3. Place a heaping teaspoon of dough (or tablespoon for larger cookies) 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until center is set. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
  5. Frost with cream cheese frosting and dust with sprinkles. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Notes
My favorite homemade cream cheese frosting is from these carrot cake sandwich cookies. It's the best!

http://www.isthisreallymylife.com/2016/03/carrot-cake-sandwich-cookies/

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Here are a few more yummy cookie recipes…

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Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies -- quick and easy, soft and chewy. Whether you eat them frosted or plain these cream cheese sugar cookies are so yummy!


Purple polka-dotted cream cheese sugar cookies

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Coconut monster cookies -- a tasty variation of the tradition monster cookie. It features peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, M&Ms and coconut. So yummy!


Coconut monster cookies

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Healthy Orange Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies -- whole wheat flour, unsweetened coconut, orange zest and semisweet chocolate. A dense, chewy cookie packed with flavor!


Healthy orange oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

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Caramel Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies -- THE BEST peanut butter blossom cookies you will ever eat, hands down. Gooey caramel and chocolate combined with a soft, chewy peanut butter cookie. Enough said.


Caramel peanut butter kiss cookies

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Butterfinger cookies -- looks can be deceiving. These Butterfinger cookies are unbelievably delicious. If you love Butterfinger candy bars, make these ASAP!


Butterfinger cookies

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Brownie Cookies - decadent, chocolaty and super chewy. To die for!


Brownie cookies

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Looking for more yummy cookie recipes? Try browsing my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board. I guarantee you’ll find quite a few!

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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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