Iced Brownies

Let’s face it…we all have those days when there’s just not enough time to whip up a fancy dessert for our guests, bible study group, baby shower, etc.  Solution? Iced brownies!  These never fail to please!

Ingredients:

1 box of brownie mix

2 c. confectioner’s sugar

1/4 c. cocoa

1 stick of butter

1/4 c. milk

Directions:

Prepare brownies according to package.  Melt butter in microwave safe bowl.  Mix in sugar, cocoa and milk until icing is smooth and a little runny.  Pour over brownies, spread and let cool.

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Belle

 

I love dogs.  Before Kevin and I started dating, when I finally had my own income, I bought an adorable chocolate lab puppy and named her Annie.  Two years into our marriage, when I was quite ready to have a baby and Kevin wasn’t yet, we bought another adorable yellow lab puppy and named her Belle (pronounced Bella).  While the value of our dogs certainly isn’t esteemed to the level of human life (as in those who treat their dogs just like humans), we do love them very much and they are very much a part of our family.

Last week, after weeks of discussion, we decided it was time to find a new home for Belle.  I had noticed for some time now that Belle seemed sad…in my heart, I knew it was partly due to the lack of time I had been able to spend with her.  Belle is quite the sweet-spirited dog and has a high need for human affection and play.  With me constantly involved with MK and knowing that my time will be further stretched once the boys are home, we decided to see if we could find a home that better fit Belle and her personality.  Within a few hours of posting her information, a family from Indiana looking for a playmate for their five-year old golden retriever contacted us and seemed like a great fit.  I left Thursday afternoon for a home school conference and that night, the family came to meet Belle and take her home for a trial run.  While away, I decided that if it worked out, it would be best if I didn’t have to say good-bye.  My heart is so tender toward her.  While I know I’m doing the best thing for her and for our family, I miss her terribly.  Our house is so quiet now without her bounding up and down the stairs, tail swinging into every wall and feet clicking  as she ran across the wood floors.  At every turn, something inevitably reminds me of her and tears rush to my eyes.  And I remember that its just going to take time. 

Belle at 6 weeks old
Belle at 6 weeks old
Her playful side at 7 weeks old
Her playful side at 7 weeks old
She loved for us to rub her paws!
She loved for us to rub her paws!
Annie and Belle
Annie and Belle
Sweet friends
Sweet friends
Nobody likes the gates!
Nobody likes the gates!

Belle

Toddler Adoption – Book Review

toddler-adoption

When I started this book, I expected to be prepared for M’s arrival.  But as I began reading, I realized the information would be most helpful in transitioning W to our home.  For the purposes of the book, the word toddler repeatedly refers to children between 12 and 36 months….W will be at least 13 months when he comes home.  At any rate, it might be the most resourceful book regarding adoption and attachment that I’ve read so far.  Mary-Hopkins Best, an adoptive parent herself, does a great job of being tremendously thorough, giving multiple examples and tons of practical tips.  She helps prepare you for the really difficult and tough situations while reminding you that good will eventually come if you are committed.  Reading this book also helped increase my compassion (which surprised me!) for what my children have and will continue to go through in making this transition.  How scary it will be for sweet W, who can’t communicate yet, to be taken from everything he’s ever known and thrust into a family of five in America.  I know I can’t even begin to comprehend the fears and grief my children are yet to experience, but I thank God that Kevin and I have been given the honor to love and hold them through it.  Even this morning I thanked God for allowing us to be the ones who will be a tangible representation to our boys that God is faithful and He will never forsake them.   I’m so thankful that several women recommended this book to me and would venture to say it is a must-read for anyone adopting a child in the above-mentioned age range.

Twas the night before Easter…

This has been a hectic week.  Not a bad week, just busy.  After being out of town for over a week, I had a ton to catch up on.  Throw in three days of watching my neighbor’s daughter, home group at our house, a Good Friday Service and a huge Easter lunch and egg hunt hosted by yours truly (that I am quite excited about!)…yes, it was a hectic week.  And about Wednesday, it dawned on me that I hadn’t really focused much of my energies on what I should be thinking about this week…the crucifixion and resurrection of my Lord Jesus Christ.

Thankfully, in God’s grace, I was able to switch gears and think of ways to help myself and MK think more about Christ and the point of Easter.  Instead of reading through Proverbs in the morning (my current book of study), I decided to read through the various Gospel accounts of the events leading up to and those of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  How difficult and sweet it is for me to take time to think about what our Lord suffered and the love He displayed in His sacrifice.  I was humbled and convicted that I don’t dwell more often on the horrors of the cross and the power of the resurrection.  Certainly, I would be more grateful for my salvation and more dependent on God’s power if I only stopped more consistently to think on such things.

As far as Molly Kate, well, its hard to get far with a 20 month old.  But, as I want to be in the practice of always pointing my children toward Christ, we took the past three days to read about 1) the Last Supper, 2) the Crucifixion and 3) the Resurrection.  I used various childrens’ Bibles and found some on-line coloring pages that corresponded with the three events.  She honestly has no clue what I’m talking about, but I pray that one day God waters and causes to grow all these little seeds that I’ve been planting and that she will be able to celebrate Easter with the joy that I do.

So, I sit here, the night before Easter, with much gratitude, joy and humility.  The house is clean and ready for our guests tomorrow.  The eggs have been dyed.  The clothes are ironed and the coffee is ready.  But, by God’s grace, my heart is somewhere else.  Tears spring to my eyes as I rejoice that my Savior did indeed rise, that He lives and that He ever intercedes for me.    How greatly I do not deserve to be His and yet how happy I am that I can say He is mine.

I don’t have a long list of Easter memories from my childhood.  But I do remember one hymn that we sang every Easter and I cannot help but begin singing it my head right before Easter Sunday.  Here is the mighty refrain that sings over and over in my mind…

Up from the grave he arose;
with a mighty triumph o’er his foes;
he arose a victor from the dark domain,
and he lives forever, with his saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!

A lovely little girl…

I know I’ve gone into post-mania today as I’ve been catching up from being out of town.  But I had to showcase this picture of our sweet daughter…it encapsulates her personality so well and the little girl she is fast becoming.  My sister did a great job capturing the moment…thanks Aunt Amy (or Mamie as Molly Kate calls her)!

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Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Eggs

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I found this recipe in Paula Dean’s magazine, and made them yesterday for our home group last night….yummy!!  I did double part of the recipe because I only ended up with 14 eggs and added a tip on drizzling the melted candy.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. butter

1 1/2 c. powdered sugar

1 c. creamy peanut butter

3/4 c. finely chopped honey-roasted peanuts

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 (6 oz) packages of bittersweet baking chocolate, chopped

2 Tbsp butter-flavored shortening

Assorted candy melts (I used Wilton and purchased them at Michael’s craft store)

Directions:

In bowl, microwave brown sugar and butter on high in 30-second intervals, stirring between each until brown sugar is melted.  Stir in powdered sugar, peanut butter, peanuts and vanilla.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Shape mixture by tablespoonfuls into egg shapes.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In small saucepan, melt chocolate and shortening over low heat, whisking until smooth.  Cool slightly.  Using tines of forks (I ended up just using my hands), roll egg in chocolate to coat.  Place eggs on wax paper to dry.

Once chocolate has cooled, melt assorted candies in bowls.  The best way to drizzle the colors over the eggs is to dip a butter knife in the color and then sling the candy over the eggs by flicking your wrist back and forth.  I know it sounds crazy, but all other utensils failed and knife was a thin enough drizzle to look pretty instead of clumpy!