Wednesday, September 26, 2012

peanut butter crispy squares

I remember overhearing at the playground, a young mother complaining that her child had the right to eat peanut butter at school.  Her school was peanut free.

She went on about how allergies in school have gotten out of there is a ban on all nuts, fish, and eggs because there were too many children with those allergies.  And what about her own child's rights.

As she continued to complain, I noticed that her child was running around the playground, pushing and hitting all the children around him.

Of course I shook my head and told her that every child has a right to go to school and live without an analyphalitic death.  That there are other options besides peanut butter, fish and eggs to send to with their child for lunch and they can have their "right to eat peanut butter" at home.  Then I also pointed out that every child has the right to go to a playground and not be terrorized by a bully (she turned to see who I was referring to, and got embarassingly upset with her child).

I'm not sure how someone who wants these certain "rights" for themselves so selfishly disregard the rights of others.  All I know is kids love peanut butter.  So, I let them have the right to eat peanut home.  With these amazing easy and delicious peanut butter crispy squares.

Peanut Butter Crispy Squares
Adapted from the book: 150 Delicious Squares

  • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup smooth organic peanut butter
  • 4 cups rice krispies cereal
Chocolate Topping
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp. smooth peanut butter
  • Combine first 4 ingreidnets in large saucepan
  • Heat and stir on low until melted and thick.
  • Remove from heat
  • Add cereal and stir until coated.
  • Press firmly into a 8x8 inch pan
  • Let stand unti set.
  • Heat chocolate chips and peanut butter in small bowl and microwave, stopping and stirring intermittently every 20 seconds.  Continue until chocolate is almost melted.
  • Remove from microwave and stir until smooth.
  • Spread evenly over cereal layer.
  • Let sit overnight or in the refrigerator.

Cuts into 24-36 squares. home.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

file it under "done"

Young adults or children generally mark "significant" birthdays with an accomplishment.  (On a 16th birthday, you get your driver's license.  On a 21st birthday, you mark the birthday doing more "adult" activities...etc.)

Once you reach *ahem* bigger milestones (30's, 40's, 50's etc.), you take on larger activities, like a huge party or travel to bring in the new age.  But in between those milestone birthdays, similar to what most normal people do at New Year's Eve, I make new resolutions after my birthday.

Last year, my resolution was to ensure I create memories.  Leading up to this was the creation of this blog, which for the most part, documented those special moments.

This year, my resolution is to be more disciplined.

To keep my energy focused on being more efficient and...just get things done.  No procrastination or excuses that keep me in my comfort zone.  In fact, now I do what makes me uncomfortable, having the  discipline to do, no matter how tired I am or difficult the task might be.

So, this past week, I pulled out my "get dirty" clothes, dusted off my paint brushes, and finished a few projects that I've made excuses not to finish.  And while my projects are still in progress,  I've completed quite a few in such a short time....and now I can say, "file it under DONE".

Refurbishing a Metal Filing Cabinet

Now that school has started, it means more paper comes into the house.  Unable to find a "pretty" filing cabinet (is there such a thing?), I took our old filing cabinet, and gave it a facelift.  Here's how it went.

1)  Empty file cabinet, and use painters tape to cover handles.
2)  Using Rustoleum's "Flat White" Exterior spray paint, spray even (and very light) coats of paint, making sure you let it dry in between layers. (I used about three layers).
3)  Using a stencil, tape your design to the front of the drawers.
4)  Using craft paint, using gentle dabs (not strokes!), apply your colour.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

bittersweet beauty

It's hard not to look at a clear blue September sky and not think of a similar beautiful clear day, eleven years ago.  As much as I love the beauty of the, that beauty is bittersweet.

One of my post popular posts was about my trip to New York last fall, which included a visit to the 9/11 Memorial site.  To honour those who lost their lives eleven years ago, here's that post again today.

(originally published October 5, 2011)

After a whirlwind weekend of indulgent window shopping, seeing the bright and dazzling Times Square, admiring the million dollar architecture and enjoying the scrumptious culinary delights in NYC a few weeks ago…we felt we needed to end our weekend trip by visiting a special place to bring us back to reality and reflect how fortunate we really all are.

{Above photo, courtesy of CNN}

You see, ten years ago, we had planned to be right here in New York.  Before going to a London/Paris excursion on Sept. 12th, we were planning on stopping by as a post birthday celebration, before heading to London.  But circumstances led to us to stay home instead. Now, not a September goes by when I don’t think about what could have been. It’s amazing how many stories you hear, of someone missing their flight, and someone else taking their place.  How one person was saved because of someone else’s sacrifice. 

Ten years later, looking at the void where the towers were, the enormity of it, the place where monumental heartache took place…I realized that for every hole that is created, somewhere else, another hole is filled.

And even though life seems unfair on the surface, we are guided to fulfill a destiny, a purpose.  And for some reason, all our lives are intertwined in some form or another, with meaningful adjacencies.  (to read a beautiful article about how meaningful adjacencies relate to this memorial, please read Paula Grant Berry's CNN article)

I hope I fulfill my purpose in life…to help create a simple world of love, kindness, and appreciation for our beautiful world.  And especially, during this upcoming Thanksgiving remember to be grateful, and thankful for all we have.

To simply…fill the holes.

Heart Shaped Jam Filled cookies 
(makes approx. 30-40 cookies)

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar plus 4 tbsp extra for dusting.
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Beat butter and sugar together in a large bowl.
  • Add the egg and vanilla.  
  • Add the vanilla and 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • Slowly mix the flour into the mixture until dough consistency.
  • Refrigerate for approximately 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350degrees
  • Roll out the dough into desired shapes, creating enough for a solid bottom and one with a cut-out on the top.
  • Bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until the edges are golden.
  • Top one solid cookie with your favourite jam, and sandwich with a cookie with a cut out.
  • Dust the cookies with powdered sugar.

Enjoy...with all your heart.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

stone wash

Stone skipping is a ritual that every child (and adult) in our household has done at least once in the summer.  It usually involves the meticulous search for the perfect rock.  Flat and thin.  Smooth as possible.  Then aiming it just right so you can see it glide along the horizon.  With every bounce I could see a smile, as if with each bounce, they were one skip closer to breaking the world record.  (Which by the way, was 51 skips...the world record set in 2007) {Source: Wikipedia}

As I watched by the shore, I noticed all the beautiful colours of the stones along the water.  Every stone unique and beautiful in its own way.  Multitudes of colours, sizes, shapes and age coexisting beautifully on the sand as the waves of the lake crashed over them.

At first it would seem that the waves are aggressively trying to pull the stones deeper into the depths of the water.  Some of the bigger stones stayed put, as if they had the weight of experience to position themselves so they wouldn't get dragged in.  The smaller stones would move with the waves...some protected by the bigger stones, but many freely rolling deeper and deeper into the water with the pull of every increasingly stronger current.  But no matter how hard the waves pulled...the little stones still never ventured into dangerously deep waters as if they knew when to find their way back nestled between larger rocks, protecting them.

Collectively most of the stones stayed put, and with each passing wave, the water just made them if tears had washed the sand away, making them see more clearly.  Almost like diamonds in the rough that have transformed by the harsh waters, the stones are now like gems shining and glistening from the sun.

After I dropped off the kids on their first day back at school,  I thought back to that day at that beach watching those if it was nature's reminder of life.  With each passing year as the kids venture into new experiences, whether it's in a classroom, playground, friend's house or at the beach...that no matter where the current takes them, I know they'll grow to become polished gems...shining and glistening in the sunlight.