ATTITUDE IS A LITTLE THING THAT MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE. ~
Winston Churchill




Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Teddy, a Boy's Best Friend

Winston would love to have a little brother.  Unfortunately that's not going to happen, so he's come up with an alternative - his teddy bear.  If you ask him, "Do you have a little brother?", he'll tell you, "Yes, his name is Teddy." 

Teddy's become the little brother Winston wishes for.  They do lots of things together - read books, watch TV, build towers with blocks to name a few.  I think this is adorable and wanted to catch a few pics of them hanging out. 

A few weeks ago when we finally had some nice weather, they sat on our front porch watching the neighbors.

Winston decided to show Teddy some ants in the flower bed.

Here's that big smile I love so much.  I'm glad Winston and Teddy "found" each other.  They make a great team.  :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Blond Brownies a la Mode


This is another super yummy family favorite recipe I discovered in an old Taste of Home magazine - it's also located on their website.

These brownies are soooo delicious!  They have a rich almost butterscotchie flavor and stay moist for several days.  They're fabulous without out the topping and are out of this world with it.  The topping's also great by itself on ice cream.  Here's the recipe so you can enjoy them to.
Blond Brownies a la Mode
Ingredients:
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups packed brown sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups chopped pecans

Maple Cream Sauce:
1 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup evaporated milk
Vanilla ice cream and chopped pecans

Directions:
  • In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in pecans.
  • Spread into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. ( I usually have to bake these for 38 minutes.  You don't want to under-bake these or they turn out gooey.)  Cool on a wire rack.
  • For the sauce, combine syrup and butter in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in milk. Cut brownies into squares; cut in half if desired.
  • Place on dessert plates with a scoop of ice cream. Top with sauce; sprinkle with pecans. Yield: 20 servings.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Creamy Black Bean & Corn Salsa

I received this recipe from one of my co-workers a few years ago - it's become a family favorite or ours.  She'd brought this salsa in for a pot luck office party and we all loved it. She was happy to share the recipe with us and I'm happy to now share it with you.  Brad and I both love this stuff and another plus - it's easy to prepare.

Creamy Black Bean & Corn Salsa
Ingredients:
2 cans Mexicorn (drain one)
2 cans Black Beans  - drained and rinsed
1 container grape tomatoes or 1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped Cilantro
1 cup Ranch Dressing - I like Hidden Valley
1 - 2 Tbsp Hot Sauce - start with one tablespoon and if you like it a little spicy add more
2 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper or to taste

Mix all ingredients together and stir well.  Chill for a few hours and serve.  The longer you chill this, the more the flavors will blend.  Serve with corn chips and enjoy!  I've even made this without the tomatoes before (didn't have any on hand) and it still tastes great without them.  You can also serve this as a side dish salad.  It's just a great, versatile dish.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Thinking Back


I was going through some old pictures taken when Winston was still little.  Back then, I didn't have the time to do any blogging so I thought now would be a good time to post some of his cute baby pics.

In these, I'd washed a batch of towels and had brought them in by the TV to fold.  I left the room for a minute and when I came back, Zack had put Winston in the basket with the towels.  Winston thought it was so funny and sat there all smiles and giggles.  Of course I grabbed the camera and snapped a few pics.  He was 11 months old in these and such a cutie.  That smile still melts my heart!  :)




Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Caramel-Pecan Brownies


Have you seen these cute, bite size bits of caramel by Kraft?  I absolutely love Caramel Bits.  They're little balls of caramel ready to use for all your baking ideas and best of all, no wrappers!  They're perfect for one of my favorite recipes - Blizzard Party Mix  You can find the recipe here.

I also noticed a recipe for Caramel-Pecan Brownies on the back of the package - oh yeah!  I love brownies and I love caramel.  When they're mixed together, it's pure bliss for my taste-buds.  I just had to try these -  and Wow!  They're so delicious - all caremely and fudgie, Mmmm!!

Here's the recipe from the package so you can give them a try - you'll be glad you did and so will your taste buds!  :)

Caramel-Pecan Brownies
Ingredients:
1 pkg. (19 to 23 az.) brownie mix (13x9-inch pan size)
1 pkg. Kraft Caramel Bits
1/3 cup whipping cream
2 cups Pecan halves, divided

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 13x9-inch baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan.  Generously grease foil.  Prepare brownie batter as directed on package and spread half of hte batter into prepared pan.  Cover remaining batter and set aside.

Bake for 20-22 minutes or until top is firm to touch.  Meanwhile, microwave caramel bits and whipping cream in medium bowl on High for about 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until caramel bits begin to melt.  Stir until completely melted.  Add 1 cup of pecans, mix well.  Spread over partially baked brownies; top with remaining brownie batter.  (Some caramel may peek through batter.)  Sprinkle with remaining pecans.  

Bake an additional 25-28 minutes or until top is firm to the touch. Cool completely.  Use foil to lift from pan.  Cut into squares and serve.  Store in covered container at room temperature.  Makes 32 servings.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Moments That Matter Most


I love this message.  It's good to remember to slow down and enjoy the things that truly do matter most.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Daddy is My Favorite Pal

Happy Father's Day to my amazing husband and my boys most awesomest father.  We all love and appreciate you so much!

Today at church, all the kids sang to the dad's.  Winston was so excited for this.  They've been practicing each Sunday for the last month.  They sang, My Daddy is My Favorite Pal and Winston sang as loud as he could.  We could clearly hear him over everyone else.  He's so proud of his daddy.

Here's a picture of the two of them on our recent trip to Lake Powell.  They really are great Pals.

Thank you Brad for being such a GREAT Daddy!  :D

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Winston's Last Baseball Game

Winston's ball season went by so quickly.  Four of his ten games were rained out - we've had a record breaking rain season this year - but even in spite of the weather, we had a great time watching him play.  He really loves baseball and has had so much fun playing. He was a little disappointed to have the season over.  Since I posted pics from his 1st game I thought it was fitting to post some from his last too.

Playing first base.

Getting ready for his turn at bat.

Look at him field that ball!

A team photo with their coach. His coach brought them candy filled bats for their last game treat and the boys absolutely loved them.  

Here's his last time at bat - watch him slide into first base.  I'm already looking forward to next year.

video

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

White Chip Oatmeal Cookies


I tried another cookie recipe and boy am I glad I did.  These turned out simply delicious and were so easy to make.  Brad is allergic to chocolate so I wanted to find a chip cookie that used vanilla chips instead - this one not only fit the bill but tasted fabulous too.  I found the recipe on the Allrecipes website.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we all did.

White Chip Oatmeal Cookies 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups vanilla chips
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease cookie sheets.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until smooth. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, stir into the creamed mixture. Finally, stir in the rolled oats, white chocolate chips and pecans. Drop by tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from baking sheets to cool on wire racks.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

We All Make A Difference

All babies are special.  At birth, they seem to posses a  hard to define sense of purpose.  Having spent a lot of time in the NICU when Winston was born, I felt this sense of purpose even stronger with the babies being cared for there.   It also seemed that a feeling of quiet strength emanated from these brave little ones - but that could have been my own wish to bless them with the strength they needed. 

Not long ago I heard the following from another parent who'd also had a baby in the NICU and thought it really captures what I was feeling back when Winston was there.  Her NICU nurse told her, "A child who is born with a less than perfect physical body is given a huge spirit and is meant to make a difference in the lives of all those around them."

How true this is!  We all have a purpose and a reason for being here.  Some have a short turn on Earth and some have a long turn but each person makes a difference no matter how long they're here. 

Here's another quote I really liked shared by one of the pediatric surgeons:

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. Life is to be experienced to the fullest with the goal to power slide across the finish line sideways, throttle wide open, tires spinning and kicking up dirt, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!""