29 March 2011

Chocolate Mint Brownies

They're here! And they're go-ooo-oood :)

Brendan and I whipped up some Chocolate Mint Brownies for the Mint March recipe.


The recipe takes a few steps but they are not difficult by any means - good recipe for helpers too. B enjoyed retrieving the measuring cups, unwrapping chocolate, and peppermint patties, as well as smelling everything in sight ;)

Here's a few pics of how it looks, just prior to baking and just as we were about to eat a warm yummy sample!

I'm interested most to see how they taste cooled completely v. still warm and gooey.

Can't wait to hear from others participating in the Mint March cook-off!

28 March 2011

March goes out like a lion?!

Vacation to southern MO was gorgeous! We "picked" the best 2 days of that week - mid- to upper-70's and sunshine! We hiked; we slept; we cooked; we read; we hiked; we slept; we cooked; well, you get the idea. Our own UN-scheduled time for 2 days is like a breath of fresh mountain air! It was nearly perfect ...

Hubby finished our 1st 'together book' on vacation; we found that it ("Loving Our Kids on Purpose" by Danny Silk) taught us several parenting keys we believe will work long-term, and have already seen do so.

1. Give them control. Allow them to fail just as much as they succeed. "You can do that if you want, but I wouldn't." Not in a sarcastic, you'll-be-in-trouble kind of way but with great sincerity.

2. Love, love, love them. Encourage them. Discipline them with understanding. Never take away their dignity. Using "I know", "I understand", "I don't know", "Probably so", and "That could be" as standard responses when they're pushing our buttons rather than getting into a power-struggle. Empowering them to make decisions for themselves. A great one when they are fighting/not resolving an issue on their own: "I'd be happy to referee this fight. I charge $10. Go!" (that one's just fun to see their face of shock! - They learn real fast to problem-solve on their own!)

3. "No-fun" situations. Help them think it through. Spend time working through the difficult times. Today, for example: Paul and I had intentions of running at 5p. What time did we go our the door? 530pm. Why? Aubry needed our time as her parents. She needed to realize her choices were making everything "no fun" for all of us. What she needed most? For us to stay and work through it with her. To show her she had the power to make the change to "fun" for all.

I finished our 2nd 'together book' on vacation as well. WOW! Your Time-Starved Marriage by Parrot and Parrot is excellent. I'm going to save the full review for a post of its own. Suffice to say, I understand the main issue Paul and I fight about (time!) in a whole new light. Highly recommended!

On the baking front, I chose my sister's recommended Mint recipe for the month of March: Peppermint Patty Brownies. They're being made tomorrow for Family Game Night - I have a feeling they'll be a big hit. Stay tuned for the next installment of books, board games, and baking :)

I'll leave you with this thought:

“We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” -- Albert Einstein

14 March 2011

It's the Middle of March?!?!?!?!

I know I'm not the only one who gets behind in blogging.
But, dang; I sure dislike when I do. Here's a summary update:

February Food -- I made a delicious Strawberry Cake for Valentines Day! I was supposed to do something 'red' AND 'velvet' for the monthly baking fun with my sister but my mind blanked on the 'velvet' part. Ooops! Oh well: the recipe is super simple and the cake is the ultimate in moistness and fluffiness :) YUMMY! That should make up for it's lack of 'velvet-y-ness', right?!

Here's some pics and the recipe:

Strawberry Cake
1 pkg white cake mix
4 whole eggs
1 10-oz pkg frozen strawberries
1c veg oil
1/2c water
4T flour
1 box strawberry jello mix
1 stick butter
2-3c powdered sugar

Thaw strawberries and mash. Reserve about 5T for icing. Mix cake mix, eggs, strawberries, oil, water, flour, & Jello mix for 2 mins. Bake in greased and floured 9X13" pan (or a large heart-shaped pan like I did!) at 325* for 40-45 mins. Cool. For frosting, simply stir reserved strawberries, soft butter, and powdered sugar together. Ice the cooled cake and enjoy!

Book Update: I finished "Loving Our Kids On Purpose" mid-February. As was the rest of the book, it was also a great finish. My husband is finishing it this month and then I'll post a final review of our together thoughts! We have had a lot of good parenting discussions already :) I'm now reading books along the idea of developing leaders and widening ones circle of influence. "Awakening the Sleeping Giant", "Principle-Centered Leadership", and "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" have been recommended to me thus far so I'm diving in. I'm also reading my husband and I's second "together book": The Time-Starved Marriage by Parrot and Parrot. Next post should have a lot of book updates/reviews!

This week is Spring Break from my Counseling job (not my 2nd job but I'll take what I can get!); Paul and I are heading down to southern MO - Eminence, MO to be exact - for a 2-day retreat. We are staying in an old mill on the Jacks Fork River that has been converted to a cabin. I. Am. Thrilled! There is no better way for me to relax than to be in the middle of nowhere, no cell phone signal, no WiFi - just books, running shoes, and my husband.

I'm the most blessed woman, I just know it ...