Sunday, May 22, 2016

When is your family complete?

How do you know when you're done having kids? Do you have a mutually agreed upon number in mind and stop when you hit it? Do you keep popping out babies until you're family "feels" complete? Or maybe you find that you have less control over the number than you thought.

Before we had kids, my husband used to say: "If you have one kid, you may as well have a dozen." His reasoning was that once you cross the line between NO KIDS and KIDS, well then you may as well go for gold. But then we had our first kid. And 18 months later we had our second kid. And we discovered that each kid adds an exponential amount of work (and love, yes of course!) and changes the family dynamic.

After a lot of back and forth, we're very happy with just two kids in our family. Although I do have to admit, as my youngest gets older and older (nearly two and half now - practically driving!), I find myself missing their baby stage!

Then I came across this music video by Nicole Nordeman, making the rounds on my Facebook feed:


Though friends assured me I would cry, my immediate thought was: "Hey, maybe let's have a couple more kids. Yep, we need more kids." And then the boys woke up the next morning and had a ten minute screaming match about which cartoon to watch first, and I had a reality check.

So for now I have a nursery pennant just like this hanging in their bedroom:


To be honest, some days I want it to be true more than others. And I do my best to remember to cherish every stage my kids are at, while they're there. Even on the hard days!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Your New Favorite Brownie Recipe

I stumbled upon this brownie recipe when I was looking to impress some dinner guests. They are decadent and delicious and just perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! Plus they're quite simple to make, considering they're not from a mix.


By the time I thought to take a picture, most of the brownies had been gobbled up. There was just this little corner piece left!

The original recipe is from here (also a more professional picture, haha). Don't let the fact that they're vegan scare you off! In fact, I loved teasing my dinner guests by having them guess the secret ingredient (no one could!) See below:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup pureed or well-mashed avocado
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup cane sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup water (I like to instead use 1/2 cup brewed coffee + 1/4 cup water)
  • 1 1/2 cups vegan dark or semisweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees F). Grease an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the pureed avocado and olive oil until smooth. Add in the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, salt, and water (or coffee + water). Stir until smooth. Fold in 1 cup of the chocolate chips.
Pour into the prepared pan and spread the batter evenly throughout the pan. Sprinkle with an additional 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean (there may be some melted chocolate chips in there).  If you overbake, the brownies will have a cake-like texture.
Remove and let the brownies sit out for at least 20 minutes before serving. Cut and serve, or cover and store for up to 3 days.

Friday, May 6, 2016

End of the Year Survey


I can't believe we are nearing the end of our MOPS year together! I think it's been our best year yet! Would you take a few minutes and fill out this survey? Even if you've only come to one or two meetings, your responses are really valuable to me as I plan for next year.

What's in it for you? A chance to be heard, and a chance to win one of two gift cards! We'll be holding the drawing on our last meeting (May 17th) and you don't even have to be present to win :). Thanks for your feedback, ladies, and thanks for a wonderful year!