These treats are easy to make if you have some time. You will need:
Semi- sweet or dark chocolate chips
1 Tbsp coconut oil
Caramels cut in halves
Jimmies( sprinkles) if desired
First heat oven to 325 F. Lay out a single layer of pretzels on baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent a sticky messy pan. Place half a caramel on each pretzel. Bake in oven about five minutes more or less. While they are in the oven, melt the chocolate chips with coconut oil on the stovetop. Stir constantly so it won’t burn.
Once the pretzels are out dip each pretzel in chocolate. Top with jimmies if desired. Store in an airtight container.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you all! It doesn’t matter if you are married or have a significant other. If not have your best friend, your pet, your kind neighbor, co- worker or grandchild be your Valentine! Smile at everyone you meet. Spread love everywhere you go!
Lately I have been caught up in everyday life, so immersed in it that I’ve neglected my blog. It’s been over three years that I’ve written it and shared my life with you all and I’m truly thankful for the friends I’ve made through it. I go through times of not knowing what I should share and what should remain silent. Also I’ve been battling a health issue that hopefully will be resolved soon. For the first time in weeks, last night beautiful ideas blessed me and so I will share.
I’ve had a few little moments that have touched my heart, making my week special when I needed it. The other day a little first grader who I work with shared with me that he had never tried a gingerbread man. Can you believe that…six years old and he has never held the little arms and legs of a gingery spicy treat adorned with sweet icing and raisins for buttons!
It brought me back to my younger days when I was a little girl. My mom used to bake big gingerbread men and poked a hole in the top. That way we could lace ribbon through the hole and hang them on the bristly branches of our Christmas tree. I would sample a cookie here and there, savoring the spice on my tongue.
I went home the same day and promised to myself that I would fulfill that little boy’s wish and bring little gingerbread men in for my reading groups. I think I’ll bring icing and candies for the kids to decorate. Maybe he will love them as I did or if not , at least he can say that Mrs. Blowey baked gingerbread men for school and that he didn’t care for them.
Another lil’ moment was when another first grade boy chose to write about me in his circle journal. Every Friday the class has a journal with a little circle and in are pieces labeled of different activities they did or learned in school. The teacher modeled several sentences they could write about and one was of the music teacher and how she is kind in class. This little boy announced that he would write about me because I am fun. It was a sweet thing to say, something I’m proud of, because not only am I teaching growing minds but I’m spreading kindness and joy in my groups as well.
Ever since I’ve lost a colleague to cancer a few years ago, my true intention is to make a difference. Her spirit reminds me to play with the kids, to laugh deep belly laughs and to make school a fun place to be for them. I cherish her memory as well as her teaching ideas and have taken her kindness and joy and made it my every day mantra.
Yesterday my son Dylan came for his after work ritual. He stops by every day, either just before his night summer job or for hunting. He was gathering his hunting clothes while I sat quietly in the window watching snowflakes magically scatter outside. It was serene and beautiful, a lovely way to unwind after a busy day at school. Suddenly Dylan ran to me and gave me the biggest hug! He does hug me, for I’m his mother, but this one was different. It not only spoke of love but friendship and appreciation. I value these small moments of connections with my son, as they don’t happen all the time. Life is busy and even though we talk mostly every day, sentiments and hugs are not always included. Now I ask myself, why not? For I love this young man I gave birth to many years ago and he loves me.
Lastly my youngest son, Branden sent me a Facebook message saying, “ I love you so much.” He doesn’t always convey his feelings either! What a special day of love from my guys! I’m not sure what stars were aligned in the universe or if God gifted me these lil’ moments to carry me though my trials. He always has my back, even when I’m sick. I believe He has the best intentions and deepest love for me. That carries me through anything. I’m blessed beyond measure and I trust He will walk beside me all the way.
As I wrap this up, I challenge you to notice the little things, for they are truly the big most important things. Your child’s little hug or smile, a friend’s message, a colleague’s act of kindness….whatever it is, relish in it. Accept the love and then pay it forward.
All My Best,
I’m thankful I get up every day with open eyes and a loving heart.
One thing that I’ve learned in this crazy life and hold dear to my heart is to do what you love. I’ve learned by trial and error how to follow my passion and steamroll forward without any worry about anything or what others think. It’s my journey and mine alone and others may not understand it…for it’s not theirs to own.
My loves of gardening and writing complete me and are sacred to me during this phase of my life.With that said, my life has been hurried the last month or so and I haven’t been doing what I love continuously. We had Florida and Massachusetts family visit for a few weeks and with that came nice sessions on our new deck and delicious meals made by my mother- in-law and sister- in- law. School started and with it came changes within the staff, forcing me to adjust to a new teacher working with me. It’s been fine, more than fine and I’m happy how things are going now. But somehow I disconnected from this blog and all of you, who I consider good friends. Because of this I’ve been empty a bit and the longer I went not writing this, the harder it’s been to comeback. Does that make sense?
One special thing we did when my mother-in- law Theo was here was going out to eat with Butson’s friends. Years ago we all worked together in the supermarket, some in bakery, deli or produce departments. It was great to catch up and connect and especially to laugh!
I hope to catch up with you, post photos of my garden and what I’ve been doing the last six weeks. I know I’m back now…pursuing what I love and sharing it all with you. I have missed you all and hope your lives have room for what you love!
You can CHOOSE how you react to others and negative situations. I’m learning this and training myself into calmness before I react. Instead of full bore antics I’m slowing down. I can Stop. I can Breathe. I can ask myself, is this action bringing me to a more powerful place? ( I like to think of it as a peaceful place as well) This is from Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers. It’s been a helpful book on self awareness and feeling the fear and then doing something anyway. It focuses on changing your negative mindset and turning it into a positive one.
Enjoy the beauty of this day and don’t let others steal your joy, the joy that you deserve.
Last month Tom and I boarded a Southwest flight to Chicago in exciting anticipation of a new adventure! We would connect to another flight to arrive four hours later in Vegas. I met the nicest Chicagoan who sat in the window seat next to us on the plane. Her name was Alexis, sharing her name with my special daughter-in-law! This coincidence cemented my immediate like for this kind woman.
She told me that she was headed to Las Vegas for a finance convention where she would work all week. We shared a special forty minutes before landing. The sun was setting as we passed by miles and miles of red rock mountains and untouched land. Eventually the bright lights of the city shone with mountains beyond it. After wonderful, friendly conversations and a smooth flight, Alexis and I hugged and bid our goodbyes. I knew that I’d never see her again but I would remember her warm kindness. Once again God introduced me to an angel on a plane ride, something I’m extremely grateful for because of my flying anxiety.
I have been blessed beyond measure with all my recent airplane rides. Each flight I sat by truly kind and personable people. One young lady was a professor going to see her sister in Austin. Another father and son were traveling from Dallas to Boston for a father son weekend, for a special game they were attending. Another older gentleman was visiting his daughter. All these passengers were like you and me, traveling to a destination, sharing moments with me as we took off into the wide blue sky and held on tightly as we landed back on ground. We all put our lives in that pilot’s hands, especially in God’s mercy as we maneuvered our way across the country.
A beautiful part of traveling is connecting with others, other souls who hold a special story. Some may mirror mine and others not so much. Yet all our lives meet in the airplane, meant to be in our lives for a few hours. I’d like to call these passengers potential friends and not strangers. Strangers sounds cold and disconnected. All these people touched my life in a small but sincere way. We all rested, talked, laughed or simply sat on a plane, shared our journey in the sky and then landed to continue our life.
As I look forward to my future trips on planes and conquering my intense fear of them ( loss of control), I can’t wait to see how many more kind folks I cross my path with. I believe God has given me these experiences as gifts to heal my fears and so far it’s working!
On my last trip my mom and I landed in the little airport Love Field. My brother picked us up and the three of us had to walk to the parking garage. Mom and I rejoiced being on solid ground once again. As we strolled through the outer edge of the lot, we watched the Southwest airplanes take off and land. They were just a few hundred feet from us, giving us a front seat view. I was in awe as this monstrous vehicle smoothly sped up the strip and took off with such graceand precision. This experience gave us a brand new respect for airplanes and the pilots who maneuver them.
Lastly I want to share with you what I do when getting off the plane. Every now and then the cockpit will be open after the flight and the pilot and co- pilot will be standing there, both in uniform. This gives me a chance to connect and voice my “thank you!” It is with sincere appreciation that I say this, for that helps me beat the fear of loss of control. I also make sure to heartily thanks the stewardesses and male stewards, as they work hard to make it a comfortable flight.
One gratitude I hold dear to me right now is my discovery of Maria Shriver’s Sunday paper. Maria posts a positive and uplifting message about thriving in this noisy and chaotic world we live in. Shriver writes with sincerity and clarity, drawing me in and helping me through everyday life’s noise. She also ends her paper with a prayer to God pertaining to her topic, something I read with fervor and end with an amen. If you wish to sign up for her free weekly paper, go to Mariashriver.com for details. Maria also hosts a free podcast called Meaningful Conversations that I enjoy as well. I just listened to a conversation with Jon Bon Jovi and his wife Dorothea discussing Soul Kitchen, their successful project that has not only fed many homeless souls but empowered them with the opportunity of working and giving back to the community.
In this week’s paper Maria discusses rising up from life’s noise and breaking news to staying calm and focused. She suggests that you don’t get wrapped up in every media news story or tweet but limit the noise. Shriver also shares how she lists her positive intentions every morning for the day. This is something that I already practice in the shower while I’m preparing for the day. I also pray for my family and people I know who need it. I think focusing on light rather than darkness ( which Maria discusses as well) is the perfect calm in any storm.
As I write this, I’m planning on journaling most days of my positive intentions. One intention is to spread kindness to all, even people who dislike you or don’t seem worth the time for who are we to judge?We don’t know everyone’s battles so choosing love, acceptance and kindness is the answer. This can be tough at times but everyone deserves the embrace of graciousness.
Another positive intention I’m currently practicing is avoiding watching the dramatic news every morning. First of all, it’s never good. Do you notice that? It heightens my anxiety level and causes me to question our flailing President and government. I choose calmer and peaceful shows to watch in the morning or I connect with my blogging friends. It’s one way I can control what I’m inputing into my heart and brain and limit the clamoring confusion.
I believe focusing on a positive idea and implementing it throughout the day is my personal way of creating peace. It grounds me and keeps me centered heart and soul, as I continue to live and thrive in this life. I challenge you to set a positive intention today. Do you wish to focus on peace, kindness, acceptance or forgiveness? Once you set that daily positive intention, you are on the right track for the day.
This post will be short and sweet but I feel like I should share this. This last weekend my son and daughter-in-law came so Dylan could work on her car to get ready for state inspection. Lexy spent hours at our house, reading her book, chatting with me and went for two walks to keep me company.
It’s lovely having another female in the house with me , unlike many years of being surrounded by boys and a grown man. Don’t get me wrong, I love having the men here and I’ve learned more about raising boys opposed to girls. But it’s special having another female here to talk with, a stark different conversation than with a guy.
I appreciate the great relationship I have my daughter- in- law! She is fun to have around and keep me company. Not only is my son Dylan blessed to have her as his wife, Tom and I are as well! We couldn’t have hand picked any better than this beautiful, bright, caring young woman who has captured our hearts and earned a spot in our family!
This Sunday morning I woke to yet more snow on the ground and chilly temperatures. After loading up the stove with trusty hard wood, I ventured to my kitchen to create a warm wholesome breakfast! My husband was out snow plowing while I happily cooked. One of his favorite breakfast foods is crepes, a thin pancake made with flour, salt, milk, an egg, and oil. ( I use coconut oil and added a few tablespoons of Oat flour to the white.)
I try to use up what I have in the fridge and freezer and since I had a few frozen whole strawberries, I tried my hand at making strawberry sauce. My first time, other than making blueberry sauce! I put the strawberries in a small pot, added honey, cinnamon and water. It took a few minutes to boil and then I turned down the heat to a low simmer. It smelled like homemade jam and tasted so delicious with a bit of New Hampshire maple syrup and crepes!
Below is the Crepe Recipe I took from my aged Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.
1 cup flour ( I added 3 Tbls. Oat flour for a healthy nutty taste)
1 1/2 cup milk ( I used Lactose free Milk)
1 Tbls. Oil ( I used Coconut oil melted)
1/4 tsp. Salt
Combine dry ingredients. Add milk, eggs and oil. Beat until blended. Heat a skillet or electric skillet. I brush it with butter. Spoon about 2- 3 Tbls. batter for crepe. Cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Serve with blueberry or strawberry sauce and top with maple syrup.
I hope you enjoy your Sunday morning breakfast and savor every delicious bite!