Thursday, March 26, 2015

Chocolate Covered Caramel Stuffed Pretzels

This post was originally shared on Or So She Says.  These Chocolate Covered Caramel Stuffed Pretzels are a game changer!  Simple to put together and highly addicting...the perfect treat!

Chocolate Covered Caramel Stuffed Pretzels

I have a slight obsession with coating things in chocolate, so it only made sense to come up with today's treat...Chocolate Covered Caramel Stuffed Pretzels! The combination of sweet and salty and crunchy and chewy is my new favorite thing. These are dangerously addicting and hard to put down! They're also easy peasy to put together and can be made ahead of time. So basically, this is perfection. I hope you love them as much as we do!

Chocolate Covered Caramel Stuffed Pretzels
You only need four simple ingredients to make these treats! I always have pretzels, chocolate chips and peanut butter in my pantry, and I have Rolos most of the time (I buy them whenever they go on sale for holidays).

Chocolate Covered Caramel Stuffed Pretzels
Chocolate Covered Caramel Stuffed Pretzels Collage 3
These are so simple to put together. Put half of your pretzels on a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet, put a Rolo on top of each pretzel and put in the oven for a minute or two. When the Rolos are soft and melted, place another pretzel on top of it and press down on the pretzel to sandwich the Rolo in between. When the Rolo has hardened, spread some peanut butter on top and dip in chocolate. Be sure to gently tap the fork against the side of bowl or measuring cup to remove excess chocolate and air bubbles.

Chocolate Covered Caramel Stuffed Pretzels


Just put the chocolatey pretzels back on your parchment or silicone mat, decorate (or leave plain), and let harden. You can put them in the fridge to harden them more quickly, but the chocolate *may* bloom a little (that's the white stuff that you sometimes see on chocolate, which essentially means the fat or sugar has come out of emulsion). It's totally safe to eat, but if it's not the look you're going for, you'll be sad to see it on your beautiful treats. This doesn't always happen, but it can, so just be aware.

Chocolate Covered Caramel Stuffed Pretzels

Chocolate Covered {Caramel Stuffed) Pretzels
Ingredients:
  • 48 pretzels
  • 24 Rolos, unwrapped
  • about 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, melted
Optional:
  • 1 oz white chocolate for drizzling
  • sprinkles
  • small candies
  • crushed pretzels
  • sea salt
Directions: 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place 24 pretzels on a baking sheet.  Place an unwrapped Rolo on each pretzel, and put in the oven for 1.5-2 minutes (or until chocolate is glossy and soft).  
  2. Place a pretzel on top of each Rolo, and push down until chocolate is evenly spread between pretzels.  Let chocolate harden, place in the fridge for 15 minutes if necessary.
  3. Spread a small amount of peanut butter on top of each pretzel sandwich.
  4. Melt chocolate chips over a double boiler or in the microwave*. 
  5. Dip each pretzel sandwich in the melted chocolate, and place on parchment or a silicone mat to cool.  If decorating with sprinkles, add them before the chocolate hardens.  If drizzling with white chocolate, let harden first.
  6. Enjoy!
*To melt chocolate in the microwave, place the chips in a glass bowl or measuring cup. Heat for 1 minute, then stir. Heat in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until chips are mostly melted. Stir to finish melting any remaining lumps. Be careful not to overheat.


For some of my other favorite thing to dip in chocolate, check out these recipes:
Thin Mints/Twix Cookies

Monday, March 16, 2015

Houseplant Care

I started contributing to the blog Or So She Says back in January, and I have loved working with the talented people over there!  I even got to meet a couple of ladies on the team last month at a blogging conference, and it was like getting together with old friends.  We went to lunch and talked for nearly four hours!  Such a blast.  Below is the first post I wrote for OSSS, but instead of a recipe, it's all about houseplant care!  It may seem random, but since I also write for Western Gardens, this seemed like the perfect way to celebrate Houseplant Appreciation Day.  With Spring gearing up here in Utah, we can all use some pointers on taking care of plants! 

*******************************

Hi Or So She Says readers! I'm Becky from Bite of Delight, and I'm so thrilled to be a new contributor here! I'm a Utah girl married to my best friend, and together we have four little buddies. I love to cook and I spend most of my time in the kitchen. We don't eat elaborate meals every night, but we do eat together as a family every night. I love reading and Sunday afternoon naps and a clean house. Things that I miss since having 4 kids, but they're all slowly coming back into my life!
BOD fam_optNormally you'll find me in my kitchen elbow-deep in bread dough or chocolate, but for my first post here, I want to talk to you about houseplant care because...it's Houseplant Appreciation Day! When I found out about this fun day, I talked to the nice folks at Western Gardens and they agreed to help me out with a giveaway just for you! (Giveaway is closed)

houseplants 11 main_opt

Houseplant Care Basics

With a little TLC, your houseplants can stay beautiful and healthy all year long. There are just a few basic things to keep in mind.

Water: Most people water their plants on a schedule (or when they remember!). Your plants have different water needs throughout the year, however, based on temperature and sunlight exposure. So just putting yourself on a watering schedule and sticking to it all year isn't the best way to care for your plants. Your houseplants will usually need more water in the summer and less water in the winter. So how do you figure out how much water to give them? houseplants 5_optA moisture meter is an inexpensive but valuable tool for watering plants. Moisture meters are numbered from 1-10 (1-3 is dry, 4-7 is moist, 8-10 is wet). You want the soil wet (8-10) when you water it, then water again when it's in the moist range (4-5). Never let your soil dry out, and don't keep it wet all the time! Roots will die from too little water, but they will also start to decay if they are too wet. If you don't have a moisture meter and you need to figure out your plant's watering needs, use your finger! Scratch down into the soil at least 2 inches to feel for moisture. It's time to water again if the soil is just barely moist.

Light: Most people don't have as much light as they think they do in their homes, so consider plants that have colorful and large foliage instead of a flower that blooms. houseplants 4_optBlooming plants require more sunlight, and it can be a long time (like 6-12 months) between blooming cycles. Plants will drop leaves in the Winter when there is less light, in order to conserve energy. It doesn't mean your plant is dying! It's just trying to shed unnecessary foliage in order to better utilize the light it's receiving. Different areas of your home will receive different amounts of light (depending on which direction the windows face), so check your particular plants to see what their lighting needs are.

Houseplant Collage_opt

Fertilizer: Try to avoid chemical fertilizers in houseplants. They release their nutrients quickly and don't stay in the soil as long as an organic fertilizer. They also leave a salt residue, and when that salt residue builds up it can change the pH of your soil (not good!). Organic fertilizers are slow-releasing (good!), and they don't leave a salt residue, so your soil will stay healthier longer.

Cleaning: A popular Pinterest method for cleaning houseplants is to put them in the shower. While this is fine, you do have to be careful not to let dirt go down your drain, as it can quickly clog your pipes. A safer method would be to use a spray bottle of water and a clean cloth to gently wipe each leaf. There is also a product called Leaf Shine that will repel dust and keep your plant cleaner longer. Do NOT use household cleaners on your plants. The leaves are porous and will absorb the chemicals, which can harm or kill your plant. Harsh cleaners can also strip the protective layer of oils on the leaves.

**********GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED**********

For our Utah readers, to make your National Houseplant Day a little happier, we are excited to give away a $25 gift certificate to Western Gardens! (This is for local Utah readers because it must be redeemed in-store). Just follow the SUPER easy instructions for 3 quick entries!

Western Gardens Gift Certificate Giveaway

houseplants landscapeI can't wait to see you again soon! Happy Houseplant Day!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Mini Apple Pizzas

These mini apple pizzas are a fun new snack that my kids and I love!  They're yummy, simple to prepare, and easy to customize to any taste!  You can add any toppings that you like, and kids love to help with these.  One of the best tips to getting kids to try new foods is to have them alongside you in the kitchen...they are more likely to eat something they made themselves! 
 This post is sponsored by Whole Foods Market.  All opinions are my own.

Start out with just three basic ingredients, and then add your toppings.  So simple!  I used Pink Lady apples (use your favorite snacking apple), cookie butter (a nut butter would be a healthier choice, but we are loving the cookie butter we picked up at Whole Foods last week!  It's delicious.  And addicting.), and unsweetened shredded coconut as the "cheese."

Slice your apple crosswise into 1/4" thick rounds.  Apples have pretty stars in them when you cut them this way!  Remove the core if needed (the slices near the top may have nothing to remove).

Spread with cookie or nut butter, sprinkle with shredded coconut, and top with your favorite fruit slices or dried fruit!  We also sprinkled on some granola, and even chopped nuts would be delicious.  That's it!  It's so simple, your kids can definitely help with this one.

Mini Apple Pizzas

Ingredients:
  • 1 snacking apple (Pink Lady or Honeycrisp are our faves)
  •  nut butter (almond, cashew, peanut) or cookie butter
  • unsweetened shredded coconut
Toppings:
  • craisins
  • raisins
  • dried fruit pieces
  • banana slices
  • strawberry slices
  • granola
  • chopped nuts
Directions:
  1. Wash apple and slice crosswise into 1/4" thick rounds.  Remove the core where needed. 
  2. Spread with cookie or nut butter.
  3. Sprinkle on the coconut.
  4. Top with your favorite toppings.  The strawberries and bananas were my personal favorites!
  5. Enjoy a great snack with your kids that they can help make!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Honey & Lime Chicken Tostadas

Honey & Lime Chicken Tostadas are a quick and easy dinner that everyone will love!  This recipe first appeared on Somewhat Simple, and since then we make these at least once a week.  They are fresh and delicious, and perfect for a busy weeknight!

Tostadas 1
I was going to make tacos for an easy weeknight dinner, and halfway through the process I realized I was out of flour tortillas. I dug around my fridge a little more and found corn tortillas, so tostadas it was! We loved how these turned out. I'm a sucker for any chicken that has honey and lime, so I added them & threw in a couple of spices and bam! Honey and Lime Chicken Tostadas- an easy, quick dinner.
Tostadas 3
Honey and Lime Chicken Tostadas
Ingredients (for the chicken):
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • juice of 1/2 - 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 heaping cups of cooked and shredded chicken
Additional Ingredients:
  • 6 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 can refried beans, warmed
  • lettuce, shredded
  • cheese, shredded
  • tomatoes, diced
  • red onion, diced
  • bell pepper, diced
  • avocado, sliced
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add all ingredients for chicken in a medium bowl and let marinate while you prep everything else.
  3. Add the chipotle chili powder to the sour cream and thoroughly combine. Set aside.
  4. Place tortillas on a baking sheet and place in oven for 3-5 minutes. You want them crispy...if they are rubbery they will be harder to eat.
  5. Spread tortillas with refried beans (or if you have a few more minutes, definitely make Spicy Refried Beans). If desired, top with some shredded cheese and place under a broiler for about 30 seconds.
  6. Layer each tortilla with chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, bell pepper, cheese, avocado and a dollop of chipotle sour cream.
  7. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Tostadas 2
Here are a few more of my favorite Mexican-inspired recipes!

Mexican Food Collage

Monday, February 23, 2015

Mini Red Velvet Brownies & Ice Cream

This is another Somewhat Simple post I whipped up with only three ingredients!  Well, plus ice cream, but since it goes on top, I guess I don't have to count it.  These were super easy to put together, and they're really fun to serve to kids.  Mine loved them!  They're just the right size for little hands, and they can eat the ice cream before it melts all over them (and every nearby surface).
3 Ingredient Red Velvet Brownies

We are brownie lovers at our house (brownie edges are coveted over here), so I thought it was only fitting that Valentine's Day should include red velvet brownies! These red velvet brownies are super easy and fast to make. Just stir three (that's right, only three!) ingredients together and you're ready to bake!
Red Velvet Brownies Collage

I made an indentation in my mini brownies so they would hold more ice cream. I used the narrow end of my pestle (from my mortar and pestle) but you can use whatever you have...or leave the brownie as is. It will come out of the oven with a slight indentation (as shown in the picture above), so it's up to you how pronounced you want it to be.

Mini Red Velvet Brownies & Ice Cream

Ingredients:
  • 1 red velvet cake mix
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • vanilla ice cream
  • desired toppings (sprinkles, drizzled chocolate, hot fudge, etc)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Combine the cake mix, butter and egg until well combined. Scoop into a mini muffin tin, about 1 tbsp for each brownie (I used my cookie scoop). Batter will be very thick.
  2. Bake for 10-13 minutes. Remove from oven, and using the blunt end of a kitchen utensil or a spoon, make a large indentation in each brownie. This will make more room for ice cream in your brownie. If you would rather have your ice cream sit on top instead of in the brownie, omit this step.
  3. Using your cookie scoop, place 2 or 3 scoops of ice cream on each brownie. Add any desired toppings.
  4. Enjoy!
Red Velvet Brownies slider image
My kids loved having their own little brownie cup to hold their ice cream- little servings are just cuter and more fun for kids!
For two more of my favorite sweets that I like to make for my sweethearts, don't miss:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Orange Dream Fruit Dip

This Orange Dream Fruit Dip is my new favorite thing to serve with fresh fruit!  I found it when I was at a neighborhood book discussion.  I tracked down the person who made it (my amazing cook of a neighbor Patti), and begged for the recipe (and permission to post it here).  Thanks Patti!!  This dip is light and sweet, but not overly sweet.  Perfect for book club or a baby shower!  I actually made this for my sister's baby shower...and I now I have a beautiful little nephew. 

Orange Dream Fruit Dip

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 8 oz marshmallow cream
  • zest of 1 orange
  • up to 3 Tbsp orange juice concentrate
  • 8 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients except for the whipped topping.  Mix thoroughly, adding the orange juice concentrate to taste.  
  2. Fold in whipped topping.  
  3. Refrigerate until ready to serve.  
  4. Serve with an assortment of fruits.  I especially love it with strawberries!
 And please notice how cute my sister Jennifer is, she made rainbow fruit skewers! 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Our Night Out at Station Park and a GIVEAWAY!

 Station Park is Farmington's hidden gem and I am so excited to give you a little sneak peek into some of my favorite things there. Be sure to enter to win the $300+ prize package from Station Park's amazing businesses below! If you need a date night with the hubby (hello couples massage!) or you are looking for something fun to do with the kids (ice skating and yummy cobbler!), Station Park is your place.

We did a little shopping after we stuffed ourselves with cobbler and hot chocolate, and I snagged this jacket at DownEast Basics for 25% off!  I've been looking for a jacket like this for a looong time, so I was pretty stoked.  Clearly, Hubs was too.  

With upscale retail, dining and entertainment, a children's play area (SO awesome when the kids need a break from shopping!), an outdoor winter skating rink, and a world-class show fountain - there is definitely something for everyone. Station Park expertly combines luxe surroundings with family friendly amenities. You will want to stop, stay, and play at this beautiful shopping and entertainment destination right off of I-15 with easy access to Front Runner.

Whether you are checking out the latest in fashion at DownEast Basics, dining at the ParkStone wood-fire grill, grabbing groceries at Harmon's, working out with lululemon on Saturday morning, or having a spa day at Sanctuary Aveda, you are going to want to cap off your fun with fresh-baked cobbler from Station Park's newest dessert restaurant Cobbler Cove! You are going to want to cozy up by their fireplace and enjoy America's favorite dessert.

One lucky reader is going to be spoiled with some of our favorite things from Station Park!

Station Park Valentines Giveaway




$30 gift card to Cobbler Cove


Cooking Class from Harmon's




A $25 Gift Certificate from ParkStone Restaurant


A Couples Massage with Stress Fix Soak from Sanctuary Aveda


A $50 Gift Card from DownEast Basics


Six ice skating passes from The Salt Project


Enter on the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Thank you to these amazing businesses for donating our prizes!


Shop at Station Park

Monday, February 2, 2015

Peanut Butter Mousse in Chocolate Cups

I posted this one on Somewhat Simple, and I decided that it's one of my favorite things to look at.  They're just...pretty.  And the older I get, the more I like pretty things.    Not only that, but it's fluffy peanut butter sitting in a cup made of chocolate.  Does it get any better?!

I think about food a lot, and one night when I was drifting off to sleep, and I had an epiphany. I startled my poor husband awake when I whisper-yelled (you know, so I didn't wake the kids up...just him. Ha! Sorry Honey), "Peanut Butter Mousse!" It took me a long time to fall asleep, but my husband, who is used to random food-idea outbursts from me, went right back to sleep. peanut butter mousse cups 3peanut butter mousse cups opt

 I had visions of chocolate cups, and I pondered different ways to make them (and how cute they would be filled with fluffy peanut butter mousse!). Odd beginnings, but it resulted in some cute & tasty dessert! I spent an entire afternoon in my kitchen experimenting with chocolate and peanut butter so I could bring you these beauties. I hope you love them too!

peanut butter mousse cups collage
I tried a couple of different ways to make the chocolate cups, and this was the winner. {The whole toothpick in ice dipped in chocolate idea just didn't work.}

Peanut Butter Mousse in Chocolate Cups
Ingredients:

Chocolate Cups
  • 2 cups chocolate (milk, semi-sweet, or dark), chips work fine*
Peanut Butter Mousse
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 4 Tbsp milk (I used whole, but any should be fine)
  • 3 Tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • {-optional-} 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (fun for Fall!)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • chocolate bar
Directions:
  1. For the cups, melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave (in 30 second increments). Using a teaspoon, scoop a spoonful of chocolate into a silicone mini muffin liner (paper should work too, but I used silicone, so I know it peels away easily from the chocolate). Leave the muffin liners in the muffin pan. Using the teaspoon or a clean finger, spread the chocolate to cover the entire liner. If the chocolate is rough-looking and uneven, tap the muffin pan against the counter a few times. If your chocolate becomes stiff or hard to work with, warm it for 15 more seconds in the microwave, or over the double boiler. Repeat until chocolate is gone, about 24 cups. Place in freezer for 15 minutes to harden.
  2. Make 24 chocolate curls from the chocolate bar (using a vegetable peeler). Set aside.
  3. Add the peanut butter, cream cheese, milk, sugar, salt and pumpkin pie spice (if using) to mixer bowl. Thoroughly combine, and set aside.
  4. Whip the cream** and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture (do half at a time so it's more manageable).
  5. Using a large star tip, round tip, or zip-top bag with a corner cut off, pipe the peanut butter mixture into the chocolate cups. Top with a chocolate curl.
  6. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
*I find that when melting chocolate chips, milk chocolate tends to melt easily, but my semi-sweet chips don't. To make the chocolate chips melt more easily, I add 1-2 teaspoons of coconut oil. Then my chocolate is the perfect consistency!

**I usually add some powdered sugar when I'm whipping cream, but since I added sugar to the peanut butter mixture, I didn't add any here.  Put sugar in both if it makes you happy!
peanut butter mousse cups main V 2For more chocolatey goodness, try these easy & beautiful
Oreo Truffles or quick 5 Minute Fudge!
truffles fudge

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Broiled Grapefruit

Today's recipe for Broiled Grapefruit is a new favorite for a quick breakfast or easy snack.


This post is sponsored, written by me on behalf of Whole Foods.  All opinions are my own.

Eating Healthier.  One of the top resolutions for most us of every January.  Did you start out strong, but fizzle out?  Did you go from green smoothies to donuts in a matter of days?  If you did, you are not alone!  We all want to be kind to our bodies, and along with regular exercise, we should be fueling our bodies in a way that will help us feel better and perform better.  There are countless diets and eating plans out there, and it can be tricky finding what works best for you and your lifestyle.  You don't have to adopt a strict diet to start getting healthy.  Consider these 5 easy changes suggested by Whole Foods that you can make today!
  1. Add nutrient-rich food.  If you haven't pinpointed exactly how you want to shape your eating plan, the best place to start is by adding to it.  Don't focus on what you can't eat, focus on what you can eat, and then add more of that to what you're already doing!  Try adding more fruits and veggies to your meals, and you'll feel the difference.
  2. Eat closer to nature.  Does it look like it did when it was growing?  There's your sign that you're on the right track. 
  3. If you're eating white bread or pasta, go for whole wheat instead.  If you can, try adding brown rice, quinoa, or barley to the menu.
  4. Be oil smart.  Switch to healthier oils like avocado or coconut, and try substituting applesauce for oil in muffins or banana bread.
  5. Reorganize your plate.  Try to think of veggies and whole grains as the main dish and your meat and fish as flavor boosters, at about 3 oz per serving (around the size of a deck of playing cards).
If you're looking to incorporate more produce into your diet, try to think seasonally.  It will not only be less expensive, but the flavor and nutritional content will be at their peak.

On to grapefruit and a fun, new recipe to try...it's great with breakfast or as a snack!  

When I was a kid someone told me that grapefruit with salt sprinkled on it was one of their favorite things to eat.  I was skeptical but naive open-minded enough to try it.  Well, I had never eaten anything so horrible in my short 12 years of life!  It was bitter and sour and so salty!  I'm not big on a lot of salt anyway, but to put it on something so tart was absolutely horrible and scarred me for nearly two decades. {Please don't be offended if you like salt on your grapefruit.  We can still be friends!}

A few years ago my friend Lisa told me how much loved grapefruit with SUGAR sprinkled on it.  Well, my friends, that was a turning point in my relationship with grapefruit.  I tried it again and loved it.  And my son saw me eating it and said he wanted to try some.  I just knew he would hate it (since all my kids really kind of hate eating are pretty resistant to trying anything new).  Well, one bite lead to several, which lead to an entire grapefruit!  I even started buying it just for him after that.  I'd heard talk of broiling grapefruit, so I thought I'd give it a try.

So.  Cooked citrus.  Sounds a little crazy, but it's actually something every grapefruit fan should try!  Especially since it takes 2 ingredients and less than 5 minutes.  It makes it warm and soft and turns it into comfort food.  And who doesn't love comfort food!
Just a few easy cuts will make it much easier to eat your grapefruit once it comes out of the oven.
Sprinkle with some sugar, broil for a few minutes, and you have an easy, delicious snack!

Broiled Grapefruit

Ingredients:
  • 2 grapefruit (your favorite variety)
  • 4 Tbsp sugar (white or brown)
Directions:
  1. Cut grapefruit in half.  If necessary, slice about 1/4 inch (or less) off the end that will sit on the baking sheet (to keep it more stable and upright).
  2. Slice in between wedges and around the inside of the peel to make it easier to remove with a spoon. 
  3. Sprinkle each half with 1 tablespoon of sugar.  Place on a foil-lined baking sheet, and broil for 3-5 minutes, or until sugar is bubbly.
  4. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
VARIATIONS:
  • Add a dot of butter (about 1/2 tsp) along with the sugar.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon
  • Sprinkle with Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Top with a dollop of yogurt
  • Add an extra sprinkle of organic sugar for a little crunch

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Fortify Your Family

It may not have calories, but I'm so thrilled to be participating in Nicole's blog tour for her new book 52 Weeks to Fortify Your Family.  I was excited to get this book because I've been looking for a doable way to add a level of spirituality and scripture study to our home.  We've tried several ways to get into a good routine, but it's been tricky finding something that works for all of our kids.  Two can read, one can read simple books, and one is three, so sitting down and reading for ten or fifteen minutes wasn't capturing all of their interest or attention.  We started using this book the day we got it, and that first day we had a great discussion about kindness!  You can make it 5 minutes, or you can make it longer!

Hi! I’m Nicole Carpenter and I’m so excited to join Bite of Delight today! I’m the founder of MOMentity.com, a blog and online community for mothers. I help overwhelmed moms find their identity and embrace their dreams while they still nurture their family. I advocate for families and believe in strengthening mothers so they can strengthen their families.

Even though I'm not great in the kitchen, Becky asked me to guest post today as part of the blog tour of my book that was just released, 52 Weeks to Fortify Your Family. And I’m super excited because it’s already an Amazon #1 Bestseller! The book includes an entire year of theme-based daily devotionals all planned and ready to go -- perfect for any Latter-day Saint family. They are quick and simple yet very powerful.

52 Weeks offers an assortment of topics from honesty to kindness and repentance and prayer. The coolest part, I want this book to work for your family. You don’t have to follow along week-by-week. In fact, I encourage you to pick a topic best for your family and let the daily scripture, thoughtful questions and quotes guide your family through an insightful conversation all week -- whether your kids are toddlers or in college.





I thought it would be helpful today to share with you three tips to help you strengthen your family.

  1. Encourage your children to think for themselves.

Socrates said “to find yourself, think for yourself.” I think as parents we can help our children find themselves by creating an environment of purposeful questions. I love watching my children learn and grow as we work to figure answers to their questions.

One of my favorite ways to approach the daily devotionals in 52 Weeks is to read the daily scripture provided as a family and then and ask my kids what they think it means. The most value comes when they can apply it to their own life.

2. Make family time a priority.

Time together as a family can be hard to come by. Even if you are just trying to find five minutes to gather together each day. Decide what time in your day is non-negotiable family time and rally your family to participate. Commit to this time just as you would a doctor’s appointment.

3. Frequently tell them (or show them) you love them.

Tell your children you love them every day. Tell them how important they are - no matter their age. Do all you can to make them feel important. In my home, we’ve even had fun creating an I-love-you code. While holding my child’s hand, I’ll often squeeze it three times and we both know the three squeezes mean “I love you.” The other person then squeezes back four times for “I love you too.”

Families are so important. But I know I don’t have to tell you that. Let’s work together to help each other fortify our own family. I’m so excited that 52 Weeks is already a #1 bestseller! If you want your own copy you can grab one online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or in person at Deseret Book or Seagull Book. Or - if you’re feeling lucky - maybe you’ll be the winner of the autographed copy we’re giving away!

 
WIN THIS BOOK!
Becky here again, and I'm so happy to give you a chance to win your own copy of this great book! You can enter two different ways. 1) Leave a comment here on this blog post, or 2) if you follow me on Instagram, see the post about this giveaway...entering is super easy! You can enter BOTH ways for more chances to win!

NICOLE CARPENTER is an advocate for strong families. She believes in focusing first on strengthening mothers so they can fortify their children. Nicole is a mom mentor, speaker and founder of MOMentity.com, a blog and online community for mothers, reaching out to moms in over seven different countries. She is the creator of the Define Your Time™ time-management e-course and the Mothers of Magnitude Academy. Nicole’s parenting column publishes regularly on KSL.com and has been syndicated in several other online news sources. 52 Weeks to Fortify Your Family: 5-minute Messages is her first book.

Nicole graduated with a B.A. degree in Public Relations from Weber State University, where she also met her husband, Marty. They reside in Syracuse, Utah and are raising four incredible children, including a set of identical twins. And to make it all happen, she may or may not rely on Diet Dr Pepper and chocolate-covered toffee hidden in the fridge.

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