Laresa Watkins

Halloween Candy Cookies

Nov 5, 2015

The people of Bonlee went all out in the Halloween candy department this year.  Not a lot of Dum-Dums and Smarties for us.  Instead, the kids’ bags are full of Snickers, Twix, Heath Bars, and Kit Kats.

It is pretty serious in the Watkins’ house, to say the least. The temptation is getting the best of me, and I keep sneaking the trick-or-treat bags off the top of the refrigerator for a quick sugary pick-me-up.

I’ve got to get that candy out of here, ya’ll.

Today I needed to make some cookies at the last minute.  I didn’t want to go to the store, so I figured that I must be able to use all of the candy for something.  I googled “chocolate chip cookie recipe” and called my mom to bring me some flour (just one plus of having a mom who lives next door:)), and here’s the final product:

Halloween Candy Cookies

All I did was follow a basic cookie recipe (my favorite is the good old Nestle Toll House recipe HERE) but instead of adding chocolate chips, I pressed candy into the top of the cookies.  I cut up Kit-Kats and Hershey bars and Snickers, and even put Whoppers on a few cookies.  Of course we (well, the kids:)) got plenty of M&M’s and they are delicious in a cookie.

Be sure you don’t try to actually cook the candy in the cookies (just trust me on this one).  Wait until the cookies are done, then pull the pan out and press the candy into the tops of the cookies, then put the pan back in the oven for just about 30 seconds.  This melts the candy into the cookies just enough to make it stick.

These cookies taste great and will help get rid of some of that nagging candy!  But just make sure you have somewhere to actually take the cookies.  Right away.


Monkey Bread

Oct 8, 2015

The other day I was searching through my unorganized stack of recipes for my apple butter recipe. (Basically, the cabinet above my microwave is full of clippings and copies and print-outs of recipes that I have used, want to use, or will never use but like to imagine myself using.) I stumbled upon some old recipes that I haven’t used in awhile and decided to make them this week.

One of those recipes was for monkey bread, and we had such a great time making it today that I thought I would share it with you.

You basically cut up canned biscuits, shake them in a bag with sugar and cinnamon, cover them with butter and brown sugar, and cook them.  Can it get any easier? Or better? I think I gained a pound just typing that out.

The kids had so much fun shaking the bags to get the biscuit pieces covered in sugar.  Charlie loved playing with a few pieces of raw biscuit dough, and has decided that we will now just buy cans of biscuits instead of play-doh.


And doesn’t this look good?


You can pull all of the individual pieces off of the “cake.” It is so, so good.  And the house smells so, so good while it is baking.  It really made me look forward to all of the Thanksgiving and Christmas cooking and baking we have coming up.

Here’s the recipe:

4 cans of refrigerated biscuits (about 40 biscuits total)

1 cup white sugar

1 1/2 tbs cinnamon

1/2 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

optional: 1/2 cup pecans, coconut, and/or raisins

Cut up the biscuits into 4 pieces.  Mix the white sugar and cinnamon in a large ziploc bag, then drop the biscuit pieces (several at a time) into the bag and shake it to coat each piece.

Melt the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Let sit for 10 minutes.

Layer the biscuits in a buttered bundt or tube pan.  Add the optional ingredients in between each layer.  Pour the butter mixture over the top of the biscuits.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.  Let cool 15 minutes before removing from the pan.


When I gave Charlie a bite of monkey bread, he just squealed, “Mama, that is fantastic!  Yuummmmm! That is good!” It made me feel so good.

Of course, if you don’t like this something is wrong with you.  Now, I must get it out of the house quickly before I eat it all!

This post is part of my series for #Write31Days.  If you would like to read the rest of my entires, just click the button below.  

Just Write 31 Days theme pic

Hot Chocolate Spoons

Dec 8, 2014

The kids and I have been working on our advent calendar this week.  I’ve been trying to include more than just candy in it, even thought they do love the candy!  At least once a week I try to include a little project for us to do or a random act of kindness for us to complete.

One day, the kids found two chocolate chips in the drawer they pulled out.  Of course they ate them, but we used the remainder of the bag to make these hot chocolate spoons for them to give as gifts to their friends.

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When we saw some hot chocolate spoons (and their outrageous price tag) last week while out shopping, I knew that we could easily make them.  All you need are some plastic spoons, chocolate chips, and marshmallows.

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Melt the chocolate chips, dip the spoons in the melted chocolate, then place a few marshmallows on each spoon.

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Put them on some wax paper to harden.

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The kids had a great time making these, and they love the hot chocolate that they can make with these hot chocolate spoons!  All you do is heat up some milk, then stir the spoon around in it to melt the chocolate milk and marshmallows.  They had a great time drinking hot chocolate while they were watching The Polar Express last night.

I think their friends will love this gift, too!



5 Things to Make Mama’s Life Easier

Aug 18, 2014

You ever have one of those days when you work ALL day, you seriously don’t sit down, but you actually get nothing accomplished?  Nothing finished? I know you have, mama-friends!

That is one aspect of motherhood that continues to bug me: the fact that nothing ever gets really finished, because as soon as you do get one little thing finished, one little corner of the house cleaned or most of your to-do list marked off, a child or a husband or an animal comes along to destroy it. Just the other morning, Jason walked across my freshly cleaned floors in his work boots to tell me that PeeWee had peed on those same boots the night before.  Really, Honey?

Over the past few days, I have been trying to think of simple things that will just make life easier for us mama’s.  I have been cleaning out and organizing, because I know that is the first step (plus I just really love to clean out and get rid of stuff we’re not using-Jason says I have a problem, like the opposite of a hoarder).  I’ve been looking at my Organizing Board on Pinterest and testing out ideas, and I’ve also done (or re-done) some things I have been thinking of doing for awhile.

So after a few weeks of working and testing things out, I have this list of 5 Things to Make Mama’s life easier.  These are things that are quick and easy and I just like.

I hope they are a help to you, too!

1-I wasn’t really intending to include recipes in this post, but when I made these with the kids the other day, I knew I had to include the recipe.  These peanut butter cookies are SO easy to make, and have only a few ingredients that you are sure to have around the house.

All you do is mix together:

1 cup white sugar

1 cup peanut butter

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

The mixture will be really crumbly.  Roll the dough into balls, then smash them down with a fork.  Cook on 350 for 10 minutes.  They will seem like they’re not done, but when you take them out they will harden and be really crispy and kind of melt in your mouth.  This recipe makes about 18 cookies, depending on the size you make them.  It could be easily doubled or tripled, though, if you needed more. So good, I mean it!

These would be a snap to make if you have last-minute guests coming over, or if your kid tells you the night before a party or fund-raiser at school, or if you just need something to do to help pass a boring afternoon.  Or, if you just feel the urge for some cookies and milk one night!

Peanut Butter Cookies

If you needed to make them extra-fancy, you could put some frosting in the middle of 2 of these cookies and make a really impressive cookie-sandwich.

Peanut butter cookie with frosting


2.  We have been dealing with a lot of sickness in my home lately, and frankly, I am just sick of it (pun intended).  I have been on the kids (and Jason) about washing their hands, and this soap really helped me with the kids:



It’s Sesame Street Hand Soap, and it smells like cookies!  The kids love it, and they love washing their hands with it.  Someone gave this to us, but I have seen it at Wal-Mart since then.

3.  This is an idea that I read somewhere years ago, and it has really contained our shoe-mess!


I put a basket in our laundry room, and shoes go right in there on our way in the house.  Keeps us from wearing dirty shoes all over the place (except for my wonderful husband who enjoys trekking all over the place with pee-soaked boots) and also contains the shoe-pile nicely.

4.  Mama bought us this tabletop paper roll holder at Ikea last year, and it is so handy.  Any time the kids want to draw or color, or I need something to cover the counter so we won’t make a mess, I just pull it out and pull off some paper.


It stays on the fridge for easy access.

5.  This is for any mama with a boy in the house (well, we could count our husbands :)).


These are a new discovery of mine, and they are awesome!  They are toilet targets, to give the boys in the house a little something to aim for, and maybe cut down on the smell of urine coming from your bathrooms.  Aren’t they cute, too?  They are from Good Golly Graphics, and you could win a set of your own toilet targets by entering in the giveaway below!

I would love to hear of any ideas that you have to make any mama’s life a little easier!


Enter to win a set of toilet targets by clicking here:  a Rafflecopter giveaway

The drawing will be held on August 26th at midnight.  Good luck!

Mini Chocolate Cheesecake Puffs

Jun 24, 2014

Hi everyone!

I feel like I haven’t blogged in forever, but I’ve just had…..more important things to do.  You know… summer stuff!  We have been busy going swimming and working outside and taking vacations to the beach and visiting museums.

Plus, I just haven’t had anything I felt like writing about.

But, I am so proud because I just made up a recipe.  Totally made it up, on my own, with nothing to base it on. I consider myself a pretty decent cook, but I always have a recipe to follow, so when I just made this up and they turned out GREAT, I decided I had to share the recipe with you.

I am part of a summer Bible study at my church, and am bringing some refreshments for tonight.  I knew I wanted to make something chocolate, but I am tired of making my old standby, symphony brownies.  Everyone loves them, but I have made them so many times that I kind of feel sick to my stomach when I think about making another batch.

I was in the grocery store, and saw the their phyllo shells were on clearance, so I bought up all they had left (because they are so good filled with so many things).  And that was the beginning of my masterpiece!


Mini Choc cheesecakes


Aren’t they cute?  And they were really easy to make.

You will need:

3 packages of phyllo cups (there are 15 in each pack)

2 blocks of cream cheese (softened)

1 1/2 cup of powdered sugar

Magic Shell Chocolate Sauce

Cook the phyllo cups according to the package directions (You don’t have to do this, but I like them extra-crispy).  Mix together the cream cheese and powdered sugar until well-combined.  Pipe the cream cheese mixture into the cooled phyllo cups, then top with the magic shell.  Pop them in the fridge for a few minutes to harden the shell.

The kids loved these, and they could be really versatile.  You could add fruit, jam, pecans, caramel, or any number of toppings to change them up a bit.

I can’t wait to share these at Bible Study tonight.  Enjoy!


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