Recipe: Malted Milk Ball Cookies
Got any candy that looks like this? Then, do I have a recipe for you!
I don't even know where my Grandma got this recipe, but once I had it, it became one of my favorites. And that's saying something, because I don't even like Malted Milk Balls. But in a cookie, they're so good.
This is a perfect idea for all that after-Easter candy you picked up on sale on Monday, too. You did do that, right? Grabbed those half-price bags of Robin's eggs? Totally worth it.
Malted Milk Ball Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons instant chocolate drink mix (or see a recipe to make your own here)
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups malted milk balls, crushed
In mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, drink mix, soda and salt; Gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in malted milk balls. Shape into 1 1/2 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until set. Cool for 1 minute before removing from pans to wire racks.
Yield: About 3 dozen
Repeat After Me
This isn't a picture of my son, but I love it so much because it reminds me of the look my two-year-old gets when we finish singing about "Little Boy David." Every time the giant "comes tumbling down," my son bursts into giggles. He doesn't really grasp all the nuances of the story told through the simple melody, acted out with our hands. He just knows it's great fun to sing it and make his arm fall down until his other one to make a loud clap at the end.
Each evening, as we gather to do Family Bible time, we ask each child to pick a song to sing that evening. When my daughter was about one and a half, she went through a phase where she only wanted to sing "Deep and Wide." She'd sung it in Vacation Bible School that summer, and it stuck. We sang that song almost every night for what felt like months. Right now, my son is constantly wanting to sing "Little Boy David" or "Fruits of the Spirit." My husband doesn't groan out loud (most nights), but I can see on his face that he'd like to sing almost anything but those songs AGAIN. And I know how he feels.
We sing them anyway, though. Even though it's frustrating to not have more variety, it's also good for our kids, and we know this deep down inside. I heard somewhere that you have to repeat something thirty times to truly learn it, be it a habit or a fact you're trying to memorize. If you can repeat it in ways that use more than one sense, even better. So, singing these words over and over and over again with our children each evening might be frustrating, but it's also helping them learn. They may not fully understand what all the words mean, but when you've sung something so many times early on, later in life, when you need that knowledge, it's there.
How do you help your children learn Bible stories and concepts? Have your kids ever gotten to where they only want to do one thing over and over and over again?
Real Life Romance: Dig It
See this man? He claims he doesn't know a thing about gardening. Let me tell you right now that he knows more than he lets on, especially after being married to me for almost fifteen years. This year, we decided to expand our gardens, partly because I wanted to plant more, and partly to give him less to mow. We went from having the vegetable garden you can see in the front of the picture below to having two. We also added some around the back porch and between the sidewalk and front of the house. They're still works in progress, but we're getting there.
How is this romantic? Well, for one, he gave up two or three days of his spring break to make sure all those plots got dug up ... not an easy task. The grass in our yard has deep roots and isn't that easy to move out of the way. Both of us felt like we'd done a year's worth of work outs by the end of it. That tiller wasn't friendly, either, and didn't really live up to our expectations when we rented it. And quite a bit of tax refund money went into the supplies, too. Money that could have been spent on other things he might have enjoyed more. Instead, he gave up his time, his energy, and agreed to spend the money on these vegetable and flower beds simply because he knew they'd make me happy. That sounds romantic to me.
Has your guy ever given up things so that he could enable you to have something that would make you happy? I hope so! I'd love to hear about it.
Recipe: Orange Carrot Cookies
It's Easter time. I love Easter. The new dress, probably a hat, white sandals with painted toenails peeping through. The joy of my children when they discover what the bunny left and hunt for eggs. And the promise that comes with remembering the real reason for celebrating this time of year -- Jesus is risen!
Of course, there's also the food. I used to think of ham for Easter, but the last few years, my husband has talked me into having lamb roast. Throw in some cheesy potatoes and peas. And something citrus-y for dessert. Mmmm. So, today, I'm sharing a cookie that just seems to fit this time of year better than any other (although I'd eat it any time you wanted to make it for me).
Orange-glazed carrot cookies. They may not sound that good, but let me tell you ... they're hard to resist. And since they're made with carrots, well, we can at least pretend they're not as bad for us as a normal cookie, right? The cookie itself is light and fluffy and soft, and not overly sweet. The glaze has that kick of orange that makes a mouth happy. I don't even know where this recipe originally came from, but it's a staple in our family. Are you intrigued? I'm sharing the recipe below (with our family tips), and I hope you love them as much as my kids and I do.
Orange Carrot Cookies
2 cups sifted flour & 2 1/2 tsp baking powder sifted together.
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup shortening and 1 cup sugar creamed together
Gradually add 1 tsp vanilla and 1 cup cooked mashed carrots to shortening mixture. Add dry ingredients and 1/2 cup nuts, if desired. Beat well. Drop by tsp on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees about 15 minutes. Ice while warm.
Icing: 3 cups powdered sugar
3 tsp melted butter
4 tbsp orange juice
Grated zest of one orange
The original recipe did not include the nuts. If you use frozen orange juice (undiluted), you can leave out the orange zest.
I usually ice mine on the cooling rack with a cutting mat underneath to catch the drips. This icing is so good, you don't want to waste any!
I hope you love these as much as I do.
Childlike Faith: Fearless
They didn't have playground things like this when I was a kid. We had to try and kill ourselves on things like merry-go-rounds and seesaws. This only shows you a small part of what my daughter was climbing on a few weeks ago. I called it the Gladiator training thing. It's a really technical term, right? Basically, the kids climbed up and then had to make their way across to the other side by going from red part to red part. The red steps were suspended on the yellow bars, but could swing back and forth as far as those chains on the bottom allowed them to. My daughter's friend decided to try it out, but then couldn't figure out how to move from one step to the next without my helping her hold the piece still. I looked back, expecting to see my own child needing as much assistance. Instead, she had climbed across over halfway by herself, and was monkeying the rest of the way with confidence.
On other parts of the playscape, she saw various ways of climbing up to the top, studied them for a moment, and then scrambled up. My heart about stopped as I watched her have to almost leap from the top of some of the ladders to the actual "floor." She didn't even notice. Just threw herself down a slide and picked another way to go back up.
So, where do we as humans go from being completely fearless to having heart-stopping fear watching someone else do something? I know some day my daughter will pause and rethink whether or not she should make that jump. But for now, she's more focused on learning to do monkey-bars before she's five (in November). I used to hang upside down from the monkey bars myself when I was younger.
I'm not saying I should just throw myself around and risk getting hurt. But I am saying that in the bigger things, sometimes I hesitate instead of doing what I know I can do. And that's just it. My daughter knows that if she steps across that gap, no matter how high in the air, her legs are long enough to reach and she can safely get where she's going. And deep down inside, I know that I have the knowledge and skills I need to show other people God through my life, my actions, my words. But I still hesitate. I need to quit letting that fear control me. Fear isn't from God. It's from the devil.
And I need to be more like my daughter: fearless.
Do you hesitate before you leap? What's holding you back from doing what, deep down inside, you know you can?
This is a place for me to share thoughts and ideas not just related to writing. Thoughts about what's going on in my life, about an idea I got that I thought shareworthy, or just a funny anecdote.