Thursday, July 28, 2016
J returned from girls camp recently. We've spent time catching up and I've heard much about how great the experience had. She deepened friendships, felt the blessings of service, enjoyed good food and grew in appreciation for her ward family.
For many years I carried a bit of shame about my own girls camp experiences.
I hated it. Straight up hated it. I knew I was supposed to love it. My sisters loved it. It seemed like everyone loved it...except me.
I didn't mind hot weather...but I did mind it in super thick oversized hand me down jeans.
I never felt creative or the need to sit around a picnic table and make a craft. I would have preferred to run around- play a game- go canoeing. But those weren't always options. Skits...camp songs...tents...biffys (portable pottys)....A strong "no thank you" to them all.
When I was 13 our church group travelled over 250 miles to girls camp. I was assigned to a small "4 man" tent with three other girls I didn't know. I'm not sure wether they knew each other beforehand or made quick friends with each other, but they were everything I wasn't:
Crafty, content to wear jeans, friendly, out going, and above all- happy at camp. The first day we were told a long list of rules... Probably for safety...haha😉. We were also given a stern warning that non-compliance to these rules would result in us being sent home immediately.
I saw the light. I hated camp. I wanted to go home. All I had to do was break the rules and I would be set free. And so I did...
Unfortunately camp was over 250 miles from home and my leader wasn't going to make the long drive. So I was assigned to spend my long hot days in a tent by myself- I guess I was in what can be called "girls camp time-out". It was miserable. At the end of the week, my leader drove me home in much silence. Upon dropping me off at the meeting place with my parents, she turned to me and asked me never to return. I felt completely relieved- I had been officially and forever kicked out of girls camp.
My own daughter's story is everything mine isn't!
God brought balance to the universe when He blessed me with a girls camp loving daughter!!
Speaking of balance- a light dinner calls for an indulgent dessert. This one is a family favorite!
It's simply a chocolate chip cookie in a personal sized baking dish then turned into a hot fudge sundae of sorts. Many restaurants call the Pizookies because it's a pizza type cookie?...Served hot with toppings...haha or something like it. It's fun to say, so why not name it a Pizookie!
Chocolate Chip Pizookies
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup butter flavored Crisco
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 2/3-3/4 (2 7/8 for high elevation) cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 3/4- 3 cups chocolate chips.
Cream butter, Crisco, and sugars. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated. Do not over mix. Stir in chocolate chips. To increase flavor and a smoother texture, meld cookie dough in refrigerator or freezer. I like to form cookie balls immediately and then place them in freezer strength ziploc bags in the freezer until I'm ready to bake them.
For the Pizookie, bake cookie dough in individual size or larger size for a sundae for two- or more!!
Bake at 375 degrees for 12-16 minutes. While hot, serve up a generous helping of ice cream, hot fudge sauce, other sundae toppings and whipped cream if desired.
This is the perfect treat to enjoy as you hear about faith walks, new friends, and testimonies shared!!
Posted by jae little at 6:53 PM
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
A little over a week ago I was blessed to have some time with Mom all to myself. We had a great chat and as she left my home, I had a flood of gratitude for the feeling that she's always there for me and can understand my concerns and my joys better than most.
When I was a young girl, Mom arranged all of the music for our church congregation's Sunday worship service. My sisters all loved to sing, some even took voice lessons and had notable musical talent. After one particular Sunday's number included my two youngest sisters who were quite young, I asked Mom when it would be my turn to sing in church. She was surprised by my question and my desire. She asked me what song I wanted to sing.
"Teach Me To Walk in the Light" was my favorite primary song and I told Mom it's what I wanted to sing.
As I reflected on this experience in my adulthood- I understand I must not have stood in the long line in heaven to acquire musical talents. 😉 Simply stated- I can't carry a tune. The concepts and importance of harmony, pitch, key, and pretty much all other choir like skills eluded me. Although Mom must've been a tiny bit relieved that the song is a duet between parent and child, the first verse is a solo by the child. Mom suggested that it's often beautiful when the piano plays the music and the soloist speaks the words of the hymn in poetic form. (She was clearly trying to save the congregation from hearing me sing...) I didn't understand her suggestion was to preserve the quality of music and thus I insisted on singing my favorite song with all the energy and zest that I felt the words in my heart to mean.
My angel mother encouraged me to do just that...
Bless her perfect mother heart...
If you're feeling s'more gratitude for your angel mother or someone else in your life-
Make these amazing S'mores Brookies. And don't be afraid to sing out with all the energy and zest of your heart!!
Make a brownie mix or two - depending on your size of pan- as directed.
I used two mixes in a 15.5 x 10.5 Airbake baking pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 34-38 minutes or until done.
Spread 14 oz. of marshmallow fluff onto hot brownie. Place enough Hershey milk chocolate candy bars on top of marshmallow to cover it (I used 10 1.55 oz. bars).
Pat together pieces of Graham Cookie Dough to cover chocolate bars.
Return to oven and bake an additional 14-18 minutes.
Graham Cookie Dough
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
Cream sugars and butter. Stir in egg and vanilla. Add flour, graham crumbs, salt and baking soda. Stir together until well mixed.
These will take several hours to "set up" as marshmallow and chocolate layers will be very soft. When set, cut and share with anyone you want to express s'more love or gratitude for. My mom didn't just allow me to sing out that day in church, she sang the second and third verses with the same love in which she taught us kids the very message of the lyrics.
Teach Me To Walk In The Light
- 1. (Child) Teach me to walk in the light of his love;
Teach me to pray to my Father above;
Teach me to know of the things that are right;
Teach me, teach me to walk in the light.
- 2. (Parent) Come, little child, and together we'll
Of his commandments, that we may return
Home to his presence, to live in his sight
Always, always to walk in the light.
- 3. (Both) Father in Heaven, we thank thee this day
For loving guidance to show us the way.
Grateful, we praise thee with songs of delight!
Gladly, gladly we'll walk in the light.
- Words and music: Clara W. McMaster, 1904-1997. (c) 1958
Obbligato by Darwin Wolford, b. 1936. (c) 1989 IRI
Posted by jae little at 7:35 PM
Sunday, November 2, 2014
The other night I settled in to watch a little college football. J had just finished homework and was jammin’ to some Colbie Caillat in her room. Between a couple of offensive snaps, I jetted out to the garage to grab a soda.
There was a glitch in the door lock and I found myself locked out. I ran to the front door- locked!
I banged on the door, rang the doorbell over and over, but by this time, J was in the shower and my pleas for help went unheard. I ran around back and tried both the back doors- Locked! And locked!
I quickly ran back to the front really wishing I had paused the game before retrieving my soda.
Unfortunately, the fortress was secured and I was literally on the outside looking in. With no other obvious choice, I cracked open my soda and commenced watching the game from outside on the front porch, looking in through the window.
J surfaced awhile later and the look on her face when she saw me peering through the window with a tipped up soda being slurped was priceless!
This apple dip goes together almost quick enough to whip some up in between snaps!
Caramel Apple Dip
4 oz. softened cream cheese (I use fat free if I intend to eat it all... Which I do...)
1/2 cup caramel dip or ice cream topping (I like Smuckers Salted Caramel)
8 oz. Cool Whip
Blend together softened cream cheese and caramel sauce until smooth. Stir in Cool Whip.
Drizzle with more caramel sauce.
Chill and serve!
This is a quick way to serve up some crisp fall apples! But if you have to retrieve your apples from the garage fridge- pause the game! ...just in case!!
Posted by jae little at 3:33 PM
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Back to school! It’s time - and I've spent my fair share of efforts “liking” pictures on social media of friends near and far as they post the pics to indicate this change in the seasons of life.
The best advice I ever received when my kids were young was to “Be in the season you are.” I translated that to mean do a thousand “under ducks” at the park, one-on-one hoops and endless games of horse in the driveway, and blow bubbles until they no longer chase them. Many days this took a disciplined effort, and some days, I unfortunately chose laundry (with Oprah) as a rationalized replacement.
Often I found that this meant if dinner wasn't planned and preparations begun early in the day, I was scrambling (usually literally with eggs….) to put something on the table. Here is a great supplement to those scrambled eggs that are quick and packed with nutrition, allowing you to “be” in your season.
The recipe was mastered by and therefore I named it after my sister.
Deb’s Oatmeal Pancakes
2/3 cup oats (steel cut, old fashioned or quick)
1 cup white or wheat flour- or some of both
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 T oil
1 cup buttermilk
2-3 T water
Combine dry ingredients together and stir. Add egg, oil, and milk and water. Stir until combined, without over mixing. Spoon batter onto hot griddle sprayed with Pam and cook until browned. Flip and cook on the other side. Makes 8 6-inch pancakes.
Top with your family’s favorite pancake syrup, peanut butter, or really enjoy your season by topping with cinnamon apples glazed with salted caramel “syrup”.
For the cinnamon apples, I peel, core and cube them. Then I sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and simmer them in a few tablespoons of water. I thinned the "secret" recipe pictured below with a little milk for the syrup.
“Be in the season you are.”
Because before you know it, it'll be more than a decade later.
Posted by jae little at 2:28 PM
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
"Be still and know that I am God."
I literally need to take this message to the core of my being. And this scripture means to me-
Hie to the kitchen, make these cookies, eat them, share them, and count your blessings!!
Triple Chocolate Cookies
1/2 cup butter flavored Crisco
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup cocoa. (I mix Hershey's Special Dark with regular)
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
4 oz. grated dark chocolate
2+ cups chocolate chips
Cream Crisco, butter and sugars. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and grated chocolate and stir until well incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop onto cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes or until done.
Ok. Maybe that's not exactly what the scripture means to me. But it's my interpretation for today :)
Posted by jae little at 2:38 PM
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
J went for a run yesterday. I can’t keep up, but I walked in the same direction. I passed a large park where there were two different young kids’ teams practicing football. I saw parents coaching, watching, and waiting in cars. I used to have that role. And I was reminded of my limitations of that role as a mom.
It was B’s senior season. He had suffered what eventually became a season ending injury the previous week. I recall the next Friday night was rivalry week. There was some hype: the pep band led a parade of the team followed by the mass of students into the stadium. I looked for B. He was easy to spot- only two kids were injured and thus just wearing their jersey with street clothes. He was the one with a high and tight haircut and black sweats. He stood next to the coaches during the warm up sprints, and then was very busy on the sidelines managing the defensive play clip board, and always holding a football with his other hand.
I sat in the stands watching him walk out to take his usual spot next to his quarterback lined up for the Nation Anthem. As my eyes fixated in the lights by the flag, my thoughts turned to an experience I had when I was 5 years old. It was just a few weeks before Kindergarten when my dad told us the empty house next had sold and we would be getting new neighbors. To my sheer delight he told us that they had 2 daughters, one of which was my age. My new neighbor quickly became my best friend. Her dad was the new principal at the high school which was adjacent to the elementary school we would soon attend. As my friend and I readied for Kindergarten our mothers wanted us to have no doubts in the course we were to walk to and from school. They walked it with us many times, making sure we knew the way. Several weeks into Kindergarten, the library was introduced to us. I quickly found a book to borrow and take home. The librarian reminded us to take special care of these books and return them next week in exchange for another. We agreed. The next week, my friend and I met out in front of our homes on the sidewalk. She was so excited to tell me that her dad told her of another way we could go to school. I tucked my book beneath one arm and clasped my hand in my friend’s as we skipped down the sidewalk on our NEW way to school. At one point conflict arose as the sidewalk’s concrete was broken. It was marked off and we could not pass. We noted our options and justified that since no cars were coming and it would be a short walk into the street, it was okay. As I stepped off the curb, I tripped. Immediate fear overtook me. My fall caused me to drop my library book which fell into the water run-off grate beneath the street. I cried. I cried for my disobedience in going the wrong way to school, walking in the street, and failing to take good care of my library book. My friend insisted we should continue on to school and that her dad would take care of everything. I didn't listen. Instead, I broke another rule. I turned around the other direction and ran home as fast as I could sobbing the entire way. Unexpectedly my dad was still home. I poured my regretful heart out to him. I recounted the tragedy as it had unfolded. My dad made a phone call, then took my small hand securely within his. I did not understand what we were going to do, but I knew I could trust him and did so by following him. A man from the city met us there. He removed the large bolts and the grate. My dad borrowed his ladder and retrieved my library book. Then without a word but of gratitude to the city worker, he walked with me to school.
My dad was my hero that day. He made all the fear and sadness go away.
As the team took the field, I felt sad for B, that he couldn't be out there with them- that he couldn't finally get to play a position he had worked so hard to be good at. I felt bad that I couldn't be his hero and make all the hard parts about this go away. Then I thought about how this trial is one more part of the refiner’s fire that my son has the opportunity to work through. I thought about how much stronger he could be if he chose to remain faithful during this adversity.
I was okay with not being able to rescue him. After all, he is no longer five. I prayed that the Lord would be generous in compensating him, and that we can all be patient with the Lord’s time schedule and His perfect wisdom.
That was years ago. My role of hero definitely continues to have its limits. But these healthy waffles will allow you to at least bask in momentary hero status :)
½ cup steel cut oats blended in food processor (or a full cup omitting flour)
½ cup flour (I use whole wheat)
3 egg whites
1 cup of cottage cheese (I use fat free)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
Blend all ingredients together in a food processor until smooth. Scoop out about 1 cup of batter and cook in a waffle maker. Top with fresh fruit, maple syrup, peanut butter, or whatever is your family’s favorite topper.
These waffles are packed with protein and lean carbs delivering the right kind of energy to keep your family playing football, recovering lost library books, or fighting through adversity.
Posted by jae little at 8:34 AM
Thursday, August 7, 2014
My morning walk took me past a large park where I saw a young girls' soccer team practicing. All three of my kids played soccer growing up and all three eventually traded it in for a sport they loved a little more. I recall the season that would be J’s last. The league was a rec league that only went through age 11. She wasn't interested in competing on the travel team because of the Sunday conflict so she opted for the only opportunity to play another year- a co-ed rec team. One game was especially rough. She was matched up against a very fast, very aggressive, developmentally advanced BOY. We encouraged her to get in there and not hold back and battle. She did fine, but was physically out matched. Towards the end of the game, I could see her tiring. Her overzealous cheering section of parents, brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins cheered a little louder for her as she dribbled the ball down the field. Then it was snatched away and booted in the opposite direction. As she and the BOY jogged down the field, trailing all other teammates and the refs, I kept my eyes on her worried she might burst into tears as the pressure was great. Instead, what I witnessed seemed nothing short of a mental toughness miracle. She ran a bit closer to that BOY and elbowed him- hard! Without even thinking about it or the level of appropriateness or the fact that I was an influential adult in her life I threw my hands into the air as I leapt from my seat and screamed at the top of my lungs, “J- You are awesome!!!!!” I lingered in my proud mama bear moment well past the appropriate amount of time and only quieted at the stern urging of my husband. Right or wrong-that day became my favorite soccer mom moment ever.
So, as we head back to school and back to sports fields, courts, studios and whatever lessons or activities those we love are engaged in this fall, let’s cheer them on s’more with these delightful bar cookies.
S’mores Bar Cookies
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup soft butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups graham crumbs
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
Cream butter and sugars. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients at once and stir until well mixed. Flatten 1/2 of mixture into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Layer with Giant size milk chocolate Hershey Bars. Spoon a 13 oz. jar of Marshmallow fluff on top. Gently spread with knife or back of a spoon. Flatten pieces of remaining dough and place on top of fluff. Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 30 minutes.
You can stop here- or. Make 'em posh by sprinkling the top with mini marshmallows. Put them in oven on broil for just a minute or two. Watch them close so they don't ignite :) (That’s happened in my kitchen before :/ )
Remove from the oven and drizzle the top with a 1.55 oz Hershey bar melted in a freezer strength quart size Ziploc. (Cut small hole in the corner of the Ziploc.)
Now you are ready to share s'more cheers with someone you love!
Posted by jae little at 9:30 PM