Summer fun

I hope that you all have been enjoying your summer! We have had such a great stretch of amazing weather it would be a crime not to enjoy it. But, that is also one of the reasons I haven’t blogged. So to make up for it I thought I would share the recipe for one of THE BEST desserts I’ve made in a long time.

S’More Cookie Bars

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 king-sized milk chocolate bars (e.g. Hershey’s)
1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme/fluff (not melted marshmallows)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix at a low speed until combined.

4. Divide dough in half and press half of dough into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. Place chocolate bars over dough. 2 king-sized Hershey’s bars should fit perfectly side by side, but break the chocolate (if necessary) to get it to fit in a single layer no more than 1/4 inch thick.

5. Spread chocolate with marshmallow creme or fluff. Place remaining dough in a single layer on top of the fluff (most easily achieved by flattening the dough into small shingles and laying them together).

6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

 I brought these over for a fourth of July party and they went fast! Enjoy and trust me, you will thank me later!

Can simple changes, change your life?

Ok, I admit it. I’m a self improvement junkie.  Not the kind that watches late night public access channels or has a lifetime supply of Tony Robbins swag. (Not that there is anything wrong with that.)  In fact, I do not have that many self-help books.  My love for self improvement does not come from a desire to be perfect. It is more like a cheesy infomercial’s claim of “but wait, there’s more”.  That’s right folks… with these easy steps your life can be better, greater, more awesome-er, …     Believe it or not, things like that frequently float through my mind. But that is another tangent.  The world around us is filled with potential and often I am the one standing in the way.  There are so many things to do, see, experience.  So many people to meet and enjoy. And so many excuses not to do any of it and stay in the routine of my little world.

I got to thinking.  How can I change this.  While I love the idea of sweeping life transformations, they don’t work very well for the stability of my healthy family life.  So, this is the solution that I came up with.

Make two small changes a week.

That’s it.  I am going to commit to making two changes a week and keep those changes up for at least a month (I’m attempting to capitalize on the 30 days makes a habit theory.)  At the end of the month I will evaluate how “life changing” it was or wasn’t.  Each week I will add two more changes – mainly to satisfy the overachiever in me.  That’s it.  No plan to conquer the world – just myself and hopefully make the lives around me better.

Now that we got the preliminaries out of the way, here are my two changes for this week.

Organization  & Random Acts of Kindness

The truth is, I’m organizationally challenged.  I love the concept of organization and I am even able to be quite organized when it really counts. But, apart from that – it’s a crap shoot.  Things get placed in general areas rather than specific locations.  It is quite amazing what gets put in the closet, spare room, or the garage and how long it stays there.  This has to change.  Did you know that beyond the obvious benefits of being organized, like finding your keys and having a cleaner home, it can add 2-4 years to your life!?!  Read about it here.  This is my plan.  I am going to tackle organizing my home 15 minutes a day five days a week. I know, baby steps right.  Here are the results so far:

before/after

Not too shabby!

I am very excited for the Random Acts of Kindness!!!  My goal is to go out of my way and intentionally do something nice for some unsuspecting person or people in my life, every other week.  This will not be limited to friends and family and I do not want or expect anything in return.  I honestly hope that this will be the most life changing and rewarding changes that I am planning on making.  My kids will be helping me on some of the projects, as they can, and I hope that this will be a great example for them on how easy it is to help and show love to others.  We did our first Random Act of Kindness yesterday.  I had the kids help make cheesecake in a jar (recipe here) and I delivered it to our neighbor who has had a very tough year dealing with health issues.  Needless to say, it was awesome!!

I challenge you to join me.

Take that thing that you wish you could be better at or a character trait that you desire to have in your life and work toward that goal. 15 minutes and consistency is all you need to make a difference in your life or in those around you.

Father’s Day

Seriously, I’m torn. It seems like complete over kill to write a blog two days in a row – especially since my first blog was yesterday. However, today is Father’s day and it seem shameful of me not to post something for or about my husband – since now I am an official blogger. Yes, spending two hours setting up and writing my first post makes me official. (Insert sarcasm here.) Obviously, because you are reading this, I decided on writing the post.

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