Thursday, August 30, 2018

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

*A favorite recipe from the archives. *

Just over a year ago I made these dessert bars. There are only two words for them:

Oh Nellie.

These bars are ooey, gooey and divine. A universal homerun, even for Hubby. He is my most critical of dessert tasters, always needing to know what is inside before he tries something.

My answer to him?

Saturated fats. Now eat it already.

This is the perfect Labor Day weekend treat. Especially if you need dessert for a picnic. I prefer to bake these bars for special occasions because if they are in my kitchen I'll take one every time I pass by the plate. 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars
2 sticks salted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups quick oats
2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350. Blend butter, vanilla and eggs. Turn mixer to low, and blend in sugars.

In separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and baking powder. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture. Stir in oats and chocolate chips until well combined.
Spread in greased 9x13 baking dish. Bake 25-30 minutes. For the ultimate gooey experience, remove from oven just before center is completely done. Let cool.
Makes 24 bars. Eat them. Share if you must.

I hear these are delectable with milk, I prefer with Diet Coke.

Happy holiday weekend!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Fast Forward

Remember VHS tapes? How it looked on the screen when you hit fast forward while tape was playing?

It was a blur of the movie.  It was clear what was happening as the tape sped through the film, but almost every scene could be deciphered if you had fast forward on only one or two arrows.

That's how it feels when you look back on raising kids.  

You can see every moment, but they are all jumbled together and all of a sudden you hit stop and there you are today.  It goes that fast. I look back on my oldest playing trains, my middle two giggling and watching the same movies over and over and my baby waiting at just about every event we dragged her to because the older kids had practice.  Or a game. Or anything. 

I remember not being able to leave the house without buckling kids and snacks in my purse.  Heck I remember that diaper bag. I remember realizing by child #3 diaper bags are just a glorified purse and I was just as good to toss a diaper, wipes and a bottle in my current bag. 

That was the day I became a minimalist. 

When your kids are young, you hear so many parents tell you how fast it goes. Now I know why. My kids aren't even grown up, but I can go to the store whenever I please and I don't have carseats in my van.

It's miraculous when you regain that freedom, but it comes at a price. You do miss those sticky faces and diaper bums. I miss buying toys. I'm blessed to have incredible kids and they still go with me to the store and hang with mom every now and again.

It may cost me a frappe or a pit stop at a drive thru but the company is worth 100 stops.

My house is still a mess, and although every few days I have a mini meltdown about shoes by the door and cups on counters, I know I'll miss that too.  

I'm learning to embrace the mess just like I embraced the chaos a long time ago. We're all a work in progress.

Happy Thursday.  Kiss those sticky faces...even if they're fifteen. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

August Thus Far

Back to school brings mixed feelings in my house. I love fall. The scents, the leaves, football, jeans...but the running around is usually a shock to the system the first few weeks. With four kids and all of them in athletics to say our schedule is full is an understatement. 

A big understatement. 

To ward off any major breakdowns I try and get as much done as possible in the weeks leading up to school starting again. Haircuts, clothes, shoes and of course supplies. Since my flooded basement I have really taken to purging unnecessary garbage I've saved over the years.  This would include just about everything I consider throwing out and then I think "I might need it some day..." 

Fast forward 18 years and I used 25% of it, yet it all lived in my basement. Not any more. Bedrooms have also been cleansed and it is a very freeing experience. I guess rainy days are good for something. 

This weather is making me feel as if summer was stolen, without any hopes of it returning this year. Afternoons by the pool have been replaced with wrangling wet dogs and wiping up muddy footprints. Some of my kids have been stuck indoors for the start of their fall seasons and my oldest is outside catching footballs in the rain. 

Not a fun August so far.

I'm looking forward to sunshine and even the smell of pumpkin spice. Give me anything other than rain. 

Hope the sun is shining where you are...say hello to it for me. 

Monday, August 6, 2018

Rain, Basements and Blessings

It's been quite the month.  Two weeks ago I had an umbilical hernia repaired (that's another post) and last week my basement started to flood from all the rain.

We aren't in a flood zone, and we have a sump pump for ground water.  The trouble starts when the ground is completely saturated because you've gotten 16 inches of rain in two weeks. Unfortunately, our pump failed after working overtime and 12 of those sixteen inches ended up in our basement.

We visited a college (that is also another post) and came home to dirty socks floating across the bottom of our basement steps. Since then it has been a whirlwind of pumping water out only to have it seep back in within hours. When we just about dry out the basement and another inch appears just to drive me nuts.

It's a short drive. 

This morning, after a weekend of chaos and mess, I'm thankful we live in a small town.  Flooding is common around here, and the community comes together to help each other.  Without even asking for a hand, we had several.  Friends that came Friday night and stayed until after midnight, friends that arrived Saturday regardless that they had plans. A neighbor I have never met brought us a pump and offered supplies early Saturday after seeing our hoses pumping water into the front yard.

My teenage son even had friends show up to do the heavy lifting. Those boys were a lifesaver.

With all the assistance, and my mom coming Sunday to organize the mess that was left, I'm feeling like this was a blessing.  It is a reminder to lend a hand, to slow down and enjoy every day.  And I'll finally have a clean basement.  I've dreamed about it for years, but could never really part with a lot of the junk I had down there.  

When it's dripping wet it's much easier to toss into the trailer your friends loaned you for trash removal.

I'm overwhelmed with gratitude. 

Happy Monday.  Remember to be the kind of friend you want to isn't always convenient but it makes all the difference in the world.