October 15, 2015
Who doesn’t love a brownie? I mean, it’s chocolate. It’s a baked good. It’s delicious. What’s not to want?
I try to keep a box of brownie mix in the pantry for those times when a spur of the moment sweet treat is needed. Sometimes we need to jazz them up a bit for a special occasion or a change of pace.
I’m including three simple ways to change up your favorite box of brownie mix.
Make ‘em Mocha
Coffee helps get me through mornings and some afternoons. Why not use it to help kick up the flavor of a brownies? When making the mix, dissolve 3 teaspoons of instant coffee granules into the water called for on the package directions. Add more for a stronger flavor.
If you’re feeling really sassy, make a coffee-flavored glaze by stirring a little coffee into 3 tablespoons of confectioner’s sugar. Drizzle over brownies.
Make ‘em Mini
Bake brownie mix in a mini-muffin pan for a bite-sized dessert. Be sure to coat the pan with nonstick cooking spray generously before adding batter. These can also be baked in a regular sized muffin tin. Perfectly portioned for a brownie-based ice cream sundae.
Make ‘em Marvelous
When you want to impress without too much extra effort, try dipping those babies. Cook brownies according to package directions and cool completely.
They have to be completely cool, okay cold, before dipping. So, cut the brownies into squares and pop them into the freezer for at least 15 minutes.
Next, melt almond bark and dip half of each square. Decorate if desired. I typically use white almond bark and drizzle with melted milk chocolate.
Looks fancy but it is easy. The possibilities are endless for other decorations. Think holiday sprinkles, pecans, crushed oreos. Anything to amp up the goodness.
Grab a glass of milk and you’re ready.
October 14, 2015
Oh, laundry. The theme of a mama’s life. A constant companion when others neglect her. It’s there. Lurking. Longing to be washed, dried, and put away.
I cannot begin to guess how many loads of laundry have been washed in this house. Feels like we must have passed the millionth mark by now. The baby years are behind me with the spit-up laced onesies and sweet-potato coated bibs. But the teen years are waiting with open arms to greet me with defiling odors and sports-induced grass stains.
But I’ve learned something through the loads and years. It’s not the washing that’s the difficult part to face. It’s not even the drying. No. Those tasks can be started in minutes and then completed while watching TV or even while sleeping.
No, it’s the putting it all away that’s the thorn in the side of clothes maintenance. The folding, the separating. The journey from the laundry room to the appropriate drawers and closets. That’s the chore.
Because you see, sometimes, we come face to face with the dirt in our lives. We know what has to be done. We confess it. We know we are forgiven and washed clean.
But the putting it away. That’s the challenging task.
Stop letting it pile up in your heart. Put it away.
Stop wallowing in the wrinkles of the old self. Put it away.
Stop returning to the labels attached to the past. Put it away.
Cling fast to His promises of forgiveness and freedom. We don’t have time to stay wadded up in our old ways.
We have laundry to do.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Sometimes the hardest thing to put away is guilt. It's time to realize that forgiveness is for you too. Read here about escaping the stickiness of guilt.
October 12, 2015
This is the current status of my kitchen table.
Plastic tablecloths. Paint. Pallet signs.
My hubby makes custom pallet signs and he’s gearing up for a festival later this week. He does all of the difficult work. The cutting. The sanding. The detailed painting.
I get to do the easy part. The background painting. No perfection required and so I’m basically excelling in that area. I’m also excelling at finding more project ideas for him to make.
He loves me for that.
Funny how the girl who can see the big picture and the guy who has an eye for detail make life work together. Perfection, no. Jagged edges, yes. An artful creation nonetheless.
Something akin to those pallet pieces. Broken, nailed together. Paint from a hodgepodge collection of bottles and cans from home renovations and school projects. Lots of edges to be sanded.
A unique piece of creation. Artwork.
Part of what holds us together in marriage is my husband's ability to hold his tongue. Not my strongsuit. Read more at "A Reply."
October 10, 2015
We kicked off our weekend with a rain-soaked soccer game. All the parents sat huddled under umbrellas and hoods while we watched our kids, seemingly oblivious to the weather, play their game. They played with an energy that ignored the wet fields, slippery cleats, and dripping hair. Of course, the conditions couldn't hold back this mama either when my guy scored two goals.
When was the last time in life that we went after something in life with gusto? Despite the rain. Despite the conditions.
Click here for a reminder to go after the important things with gusto.
Excitement was the last emotion I was feeling earlier in the week when my trusty minivan left me stranded. No worries though.
Click here to see how God had all of the details worked out ahead of the situation.
It did bring me happiness this past week to share a little about a special family friend, Hope.
Click here to read how Hope lives up to her name by helping and encouraging others.
Thanks to those of you who have been an enouragement to me as I write this blog. Your words to me mean so much!
Love, (even when the lid is up)
PS- I've heard some great reviews of the Crockpot Doritos Chicken recipe. Give it a try!
October 9, 2015
It’s not that I longed for the minivan to make noises that sounded like an impending death. It’s not that I wanted to break down on the side of the road. But if it was going to happen, it happened at a good time and good location.
You see, I had already driven across three counties earlier in the day. I was headed to make my way into the fourth when the journey ended.
Thankfully, my hubby had taken the afternoon off work and was less than a five minute drive from my disabled van and his stranded wife. My sister-in-law was a phone call away and willing to get the boys from the bus stop.
Details, details, all worked out.
I absolutely have to believe that God is in the details of our lives.
Yes, He is grand enough to orchestrate creation, but still attentive to the ones He created.
Yes, He is powerful enough to dictate the crash of ocean waves, but still tender to calm our raging hearts.
Yes, He keeps the planets in line, but still guides the steps our lives.
Yes, He is wise enough to know the past, present, and future, but still interested in the bumpy roads each day may bring.
Within all of His majesty and glory is an attention to the details in our lives. So whether we’re setting out to accomplish the grandiose or headed to the bus stop, be encouraged.
The detail work has been done.
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