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Dine In: Hot Chocolate Shots


Hot Chocolate Shots‘Twas the night before Valentine’s Day…and all through the house, I was prepping for a romantic Saturday night meal.

It doesn’t matter if you have a special someone or not, Valentine’s Day is all about the people you love. All of them.

This year, I’ll be spending Valentine’s Day with my sweetie and my first loves – my two boys. We’ll have a special meal, and it will celebrate our love for each other. It will also be kid-friendly.

I did a trial run on these hot chocolate shots (no alcohol involved!) around Christmastime, and they were so popular that I decided to bring them back for Valentine’s Day.

The only problem with them is that you want several! I’m going to dip the chocolate rims of the glasses into red sprinkles before serving to add a Valentine’s flair.

Hot Chocolate Shots

Ingredients:
2 Tbs butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup chocolate ice cream
1 square unsweetened baking chocolate
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp orange extract
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
whipped cream, orange zest and grated chocolate, for garnish

Directions:
In a saucepan, melt together the butter, sugar, ice cream and baking chocolate until smooth. Whisk in the water and orange flavoring. Heat over medium-high heat, just until steaming. Serve with whipped cream, a sprinkling of orange zest and grated chocolate in chocolate-dipped shot glasses.

To chocolate-coat the edges of your shot glasses, microwave 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips in a small, microwave-safe bowl just until melted. (The chocolate should be smooth and melty but not hot. Overheating it will cause the chocolate to mottle as it cools and hardens, so be careful that you only just microwave it until it’s barely melted.) Dip the edges of each shot glass into the melted chocolate. Allow the chocolate to cool and harden before pouring hot cocoa into the glasses.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 194, Calories from Fat: 120, Fat: 13 g (8 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 31 mg, Sodium: 78 mg, Potassium: 146 mg, Carbohydrates: 20 g, Fiber: 1.4 g, Sugar: 17 g, Protein: 2 g

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Walking


Walking

My 12-year-old son had to write his autobiography recently.

He refused any help on the essay, even to verify important facts such as how much he weighed at birth and when he started walking.

He wrote that he started walking at 10 months, which isn’t even remotely true. He was 13 months when he finally tentatively struck out across the kitchen, only to make it two wobbly steps before my shrieks of delight scared him so much that he plopped right down on the floor and began to howl.

While walking at 10 months is on the early side of normal and 13 months is on solidly average, anything in that range is right on target. My mom claims I walked at 9 months, skipping crawling all-together. My pediatrician also told me, at the time, that he doesn’t really worry until a child isn’t walking at 18 months.

So, watch your little one. Don’t panic and enjoy the time before you have to batten down every door and cabinet in your house.



Potty Training


Potty Training

My friend just had twins, which is super awesome, except that she’d hoped to have her two-year-old son potty trained before the babies’ arrival.

It didn’t happen.

Try as she might, Evan would not pee-pee on the potty.

I don’t blame the kid. He wasn’t ready. It’s far easier to play with Thomas the Tank Engine and let ‘er rip in your diaper than it is to stop what you’re doing to have to go to the restroom.

While between two and three years is normal for potty training for a lot of girls, boys often take longer, easily age three, often approaching four.

I’m a firm believer in not pushing it. It will frustrate you more than it’s worth. Make that kid almost beg to go to the potty because he’s so ready to be rid of diapers.

With that said, there are gentle nudges you can provide to nudge him in the right direction. Big boy and girl underpants are huge. My younger son didn’t want to tinkle on Thomas, so that worked for him. Nothing worked for my older son, and he was almost four by the time he potty trained. Nothing I did was effective and I just got upset. I let it go and waited until he asked me. After that, there were no issues.

So, watch your toddler for signs of toilet readiness, but again, don’t force the issue. It’ll happen in due time.



Family Matters: Giant Christmas Tree Cookie


Giant Christmas Tree CookieAre your kiddos crushing on cookies this Christmas? Make a giant treat for your little ones to decorate, a sweet and easy, memory-making activity to share with loved ones during the holidays.

Giant Christmas Tree Cookie

Ingredients:
1 egg
1 pouch Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix
1/3 cup Brookshire’s Butter, softened
green gel food coloring
1 (12 oz) Betty Crocker Whipped Fluffy White Frosting
1 (12 oz) Betty Crocker Whipped Chocolate Frosting
decorations or candy, as desired for decorating

Directions:
Heat oven to 375º F. In a medium bowl, stir cookie mix, butter and egg until soft dough forms.

Line a 15 x 10 x 1-inch pan with foil. With moistened fingers, press dough in bottom of pan. Bake 10 to 14 minutes or until light golden-brown; cool completely, about 30 minutes.

With the help of mom or dad, cut tree shape from baked cookie. If you need help, create a tree template. Place the template on the baked cookie and cut around it using a sharp knife.

Stir food coloring into frosting as desired. Decorate cookie tree with frosting and candies.

View this recipe to print or add items to My Shopping List.



Family Matters: Italian Soda


Italian SodaBring your family back to the table for dinner, Italian style. September 22 is National Family Day, focusing on bringing families together, especially around the dinner table. This month, we are celebrating Italian style with Italian meals. Even if you just make a big pot of spaghetti and garlic bread, your kids will love helping you make these sweet cream sodas to top off your meal together. 

Mealtime is family time in Italy so let your child take part in the family’s Italian feast with this easy recipe for Chocolate Italian Cream Soda. Rich and creamy, this quick and simple soda serves as a refreshing drink or dessert that’s great with your family’s Italian favorites. Fill a glass three-quarters full of ice. Pour a half cup of club soda into the glass, followed by three tablespoons of chocolate syrup and two tablespoons of half-and-half; stir. Top with whipped cream and enjoy!

Buon Appetito!



Family Matters: Back to School


Back to SchoolIt’s inevitable that summer vacation draws to an end and a new school year begins. It’s also inevitable that I spend the last week of summer vacation wistfully thinking about the passage of time and what we accomplished – or didn’t – over summer break.

In the “win” column for this summer is the 100-Mile Challenge. We have a 1.2 mile loop in our neighborhood that I’d deemed safe enough for the boys to ride their bikes, or walk or jog around. They had to complete approximately 83 revolutions to finish 100 miles this summer. They did it!

Another win is the Summer Story book. In May, I wrote a paragraph in a spiral-bound notebook and handed it to my older son. He added a paragraph, continuing the story I’d started, and he passed it to the younger son who contributed his part. It came back to me and we continued that all summer, ending up with a hilarious short story penned in our own handwriting.

The Mystery Bag was another fun summer game. Every Wednesday, I left a project of sorts in a large gift bag on the kitchen table for the boys to find when they woke up. One week, it was an experiment on what happens when you put Ivory soap in the microwave. Another week, it was materials for each boy to construct their own board game. They loved to see what Wednesdays were going to hold.

Now in the “fail” category: I logged onto the middle school website two weeks before school began to print out the school supply list. Looking for the school supply list, I found a PDF file called “Summer Reading List.” Uh, we hadn’t DONE any summer reading, nor did I even know about it until right that minute. When I told my son he had to read two books – and summarize each chapter – before school began, the meltdown that ensued was of epic proportions. I’d like to report he finished two books. He didn’t. He didn’t even make it through the first one, although he read and journaled diligently every day. It just didn’t work out. Next year, I’ll know to look early.

All in all, it was a great summer and we’re all ready for the new school year. 



Family Matters: Never Too Old for Story Time


ReadingMom, will you read me a bedtime story? Cherish these words spoken from your child because they will not say them forever. My daughter Grace is now twelve and we are long past the bedtime stories.

The other day I was reading an article (nothing I haven’t really read before) about the more you read to your children, the more they will enjoy reading and the better readers they will be. I thought about Grace and how reading and spelling are not her favorite subjects in school and thought for a moment, maybe I should go back to reading her bedtime stories. I finished reading the article and didn’t think too much about this anymore.

Later that same night, I tucked Grace in bed like I usually do, kissed her on the forehead and said good night. As I was walking out of her bedroom, I heard those familiar words once again. Mom, will you read me a bedtime story? Did she just say what I think she said? My 12-year-old just asked me to read her a bedtime story! I am a woman of faith, so I believe the Lord was looking down at me with a wink in his eye and saying here is your opportunity. What are you going to do with it?

We have been reading together every night for the past two weeks. This is a special time that we both look forward to and one that I am going to cherish. Don’t miss out on opportunities to seize the moment with your family. Count your blessings and give thanks for those special moments.

 



Healthy Living: Back to School


When I was younger, I would start getting excited about the back-to-school season around the end of July. I loved going to the store with my parents to pick out the coolest school supplies, the most fashionable clothes and the most delicious snacks for my lunch box. 

I remember once school started my dad would get up early every morning to make my lunch. Some days I would get a turkey and cheese sandwich, and other days I would get my favorite, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. My favorite part of my dad making my lunch was that each day my sandwich would be cut into a different shape. I loved opening my lunch box to see what kind of design was cut into my sandwich.  

If your kids love PB&J sandwiches, I highly suggest trying this recipe: PB&J sushi rolls. It’s easy to make and it brings variety to your kid’s lunch.

PB&J sushi rolls

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:
4 slices whole wheat bread, crust removed
1/4 cup jam
1/4 cup peanut butter

Directions
Press down on bread to flatten. Spread about 1 tablespoon of jam and peanut butter on each slice of bread. Starting at one edge, slowly roll the bread tightly. Slice into rolls about 2 inches wide, cleaning the knife between each cut to separate rolls neatly.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 220, Fat: 9 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 213 mg, Carbohydrates: 29 g, Fiber: 3 g, Protein: 8 g



Family Matters: Hand-Me-Downs


I don’t know about your family, but our kids love to get “hand-me-downs.” It is getting new things without the hassle of shopping and it costs nothing…what could be better! When we get a bag of hand-me-downs from a friend, our girls put it in the middle of our living room and tear through the bag to see what fits and what looks good on them, and then they claim it as their own. Of course in a house where three of the girls wear the same size clothes, nothing is really ever your own, but it feels good at the moment to think it is all yours!

Our family takes all of our hand-me-downs to a local clothes closet that benefits less fortunate families.  We can take clothes, shoes, toys or anything that is still in good shape and donate it to be used for the good of others. We have a saying at our house: “Your hand-me-downs can raise someone else up.” This means that something we can no longer use or wear can be given to someone who is in need, and it will bring them comfort and a sense of joy. What is more rewarding than knowing you are helping others by just giving — something that cost you nothing? 

Don’t throw good, used clothing away for there is always someone who can benefit from items that your kids have outgrown. If you can’t find a local charity that takes used clothing, I promise there is some friend with kids that would love to have them, just ask. Rule of thumb: don’t donate items that have holes in them or stains (things that your kids would not wear).  When you want to raise someone else up, make your hand-me-downs something they will be proud to wear. A great time to do this is right before your kids go back to school. If they are like mine, they grow out of everything by the next school year. Clothes and shoes are expensive so this is a great way to teach your kids how to give to others.

Count your blessings daily, and give thanks to the Lord for the time you have to share with your family and the opportunities you have to raise others up!



Family Matters: Chocolate Dipped Cherries


What’s better than chocolate and cherries? How about cherries dipped in chocolate! Don’t let the season come and go without dipping some beautiful ripe cherries in chocolate. There is really no skill required to make these fun, kid-friendly treats.

My daughter and I look forward to cherries being in season. I buy them weekly for us to snack on or to make a fresh tart cherry pie! This week when I buy cherries, I’m going to let my daughter make these adorable and delicious chocolate dipped cherries. She will love making them, and this will allow us some quality mom and daughter time in the kitchen.

Chocolate Dipped Cherries

Finely chop one pound milk, white or dark chocolate. Combine three-quarters of the chocolate and two teaspoons shortening in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring, until chocolate is melted; stir in the remaining chocolate until smooth. Dip fresh cherries by the stems into the chocolate, add festive sprinkles and set on parchment or wax paper. Let harden at room temperature.

Enjoy and have fun in the kitchen with your pint-sized little one!



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The products mentioned in “Share, the Brookshire’s Blog” are sold by Brookshire Grocery Company, DBA Brookshire’s . Some products may be mentioned as part of a relationship between its manufacturer and Brookshire’s.

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