One-on-one time

Having two kiddos gives me a new appreciation of time: how precious it is, and the neverending tug in many different directions to give everyone the quality of attention they deserve.

Which is why I appreciate the opportunities for one-on-one time with our youngest. Given all the more gladly knowing the oldest is getting his own one-on-one time that he also craves.

It is a blessing to be surrounded by so many who are so eager to lavish adoration and attention on these little beings.

Perfect weather

Not too hot, and not too humid…the perfect weather to be outside for everything we could — dinner, play, gardening, exploring — before bedtimes intervened.

We could not have asked for a better start to our Summer. Something (especially in this part of the country) to feel grateful for.

Facets of a life

Today reminded me of how many facets there are to a life.

Sometimes they all sparkle at once, lending a brilliance to your spirit.

Sometimes one facet is dulled or needs a good cleaning. Not that it’s less important, or more trouble than it’s worth.

They are all equally deserving of the time and attention to make them shine.

Even when it takes a lot of work.

Having the space to recognize that is a gift, indeed.

School’s Out for Summer! – or – Ode to Pretzel Crack

It all started innocently enough. I’m big on thanking people who rock their jobs, so when it comes to the teachers and specialists my son interacts with at school, there was no question: they needed a little something to start their summers off on the right foot.

  After collecting some summer sipping cups that had chalkboard labels and loading up gift cards at a book store, it was time to add a homemade touch to each little care package. Which is how I stumbled upon this recipe.

I knew we were in big trouble when my husband asked me — after the first batch was prepped, packaged, and added to the gifts — if there were any leftovers. And when he learned there weren’t, offered to run to the store and pick up more ingredients.

Then came the email and handwritten note from my son’s teacher, thanking me for the gifts and specifically asking for the recipe.

Then my husband asked for another batch for home, since there weren’t any leftovers.

Then he signed up to bring some “Pretzel Crack” to a pot luck party at work. And asked if I could double the batch, to be sure there was enough for everyone to sample…because he knew what he could do with any leftovers.

We may have a problem here, readers. And as I believe none of us should suffer alone, I think it’s past time to share the recipe with the rest of you. So we can suffer together with our mouths full of Pretzel Crack.

 

Get off of that plate and into mah belly!

 
Salted Chocolate Pretzel Toffee, aka Pretzel Crack

  • 1 bag Pretzels (can be regular or mini, the recipe’s not terribly picky)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 12-ounce bag chocolate chips — milk chocolate or semi-sweet, according to your preference
  • Sea salt for sprinkling

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Break your pretzels into smaller pieces and scatter around the pan. You may not use the entire bag of pretzels, but make sure you’ve got a nice layer for that toffee to grab onto and never let go.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together over medium heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a rolling boil, and let boil without stirring for 3 minutes. Pour over the pretzels in the pan; don’t worry if it doesn’t cover every square inch of the pan, as it will “melt out” a bit more in the oven.

Place the mixture in the oven and bake for 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven, and sprinkle chocolate chips over the top. Give the chips a few minutes to melt before spreading the now-molten chips around to make the topping. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Now, the hard part: allow the pan and contents to cool and set completely. This is the hardest, especially as the grown-ups in the house would occasionally pass through the kitchen and “test” the batch to see if the corners were set up yet or not.

Serves 24. If you mean one piece per person. If you’re particularly hormonal, then one batch serves 1.

Never give up…never apologize!

(okay, one apology to the script writers of Galaxy Quest for taking literary license with their words to make that title.)

I’m grateful today that I never shuttered this. That I gave myself a vacation from the “shoulds” that some bloggers feel from time to time.

I’m grateful that I’m not sorry about it, either. Because nothing makes me clench my keyboard tighter than a blogger who apologizes for a prolonged absence.

Onward, then. And if you’re reading this: I’m grateful for you, too.

Embracing summer

The warmth of the sun, heat radiating off your skin while ice cream melts and runs little rivulets down your arm. Babies napping in nothing but diapers. All more than worth it when the letter informing us about our son’s first grade teacher assignment arrived in the mail – and summer suddenly seemed even more precious of a commodity.