That is the number of people that came to my house last week for our weekly moms group. It was larger than normal because it was our last big hoorah before school started up again.

Forty six of those present were children. Roughly we had 7 teenagers (13-16 years old),  16 middle kids (those between the ages of 6 through 12), and 22 littles (those ages 5 and under).

I live in a community that loves children. I go to one of the very few churches in our area that is family integrated...meaning we encourage fathers and mothers to keep their children with them during our service so that the family is worshipping together.

I live in a world where children matter. Where children are loved and considered a blessing.

But that world exists within a larger world where children aren't considered a blessing...where they aren't loved...where they don't matter because they are inconvenient and a burden or a mistake. Statistically, it's a world where one in three women will have an abortion by the time they are 45 years old.

I realize if you read my blog on any kind of regular basis that more then likely any information I share about the horror of abortion is like preaching to the choir.  So, why am I bringing it up? I'm glad you asked!

I want your money.

Actually I want you to give your money to the Pregnancy Resource Center of Milton. The PRC opened it's doors in 1995 and since then have provided thousands of women with free pregnancy testing, prenatal and parenting classes, Biblical counseling, as well as meeting countless tangible material needs. They provide post abortion counseling for women that desperately need healing emotionally and spiritually and they currently reach over 2000 Santa Rosa county public school students with their Plan A abstinence program. I've watched this happen in person and I've seen how the staff and volunteers at PRC invest themselves wholeheartedly in the woman and men that come through their doors. They become friends and mentors and vital support for those who feel like they have no where else to turn.

But they need help. There is more they can do and do better if they have more resources. Do you know that it is estimated that 78% of women who are opting for an abortion will change their mind when they see an ultrasound of their baby? Imagine what that could mean for Santa Rosa county if PRC were able to have one with medical personnel on staff to give that option to their clients? And that's not the only way more funds could be used.

Walk For Life is a family friendly event designed to raise funds for and awareness of the work PRC does in our community. Here's how it works. Our kids are signed up to join other participants in walking two miles on Saturday, September 27th at the Santa Rosa Soccer Complex. We're looking for people willing to sponsor them either in by making a pledge (PRC will follow up with getting the money from you after the walk) or you can go here and make an online donation to team Hadding Five. Online donations are great because that means you don't have to be local to help us! We're also happy to accept donations in person. 100% of your donation will go directly to PRC. Our family has a very modest goal of $250 and I'd love to see that number go higher :-)

If you are local I strongly encourage you to sign up and become a walker and gather your own sponsors. The process is super easy. Sign up as a family or parents sign up your kids or create a team with friends. We all have grandparents, aunts & uncles, and friends that we can ask to give...even if it's just a few dollars. The good news is that you don't have to raise all the money. But when the money you do raise is added to the money we raise and it's added to the money that someone else has raised it becomes something bigger. Plus, the day of the walk is going to be lots of fun with bouncy houses, face painting and snacks.

I mentioned earlier earlier that I live in a community where children are considered a blessing. It's easy sometimes to think that while we do the hard labor of raising godly offspring that will declare His kingship over all the earth that we're doing enough. But if we really believe that children, all children, are a blessing from God, and if we really believe that children, all children, matter then we must realize that there is more we can do. This is the something more. This is a way to put feet to our faith.

While most kids have already been back in school for a week or so now we just went back yesterday.

For orientation and that only lasts for three hours. 

And now we have a long weekend and don't go back until Tuesday.

Have I mentioned how much I love our school?

It was fun to see all of our friends that we've missed over summer break and meet new teachers and catch up with the ones that are more like extended family than anything else.

I took the annual first day of school picture but I won't share it with you because Sam is...well, almost a blur he was so excited.

So excited that he was up at 4:15. He managed to stay in his bed until 5:30 when I let him go ahead and take a shower. 

And loud! The boy is so loud. And for some reason right now he is constantly doing his version of the seagull singing in The Little Mermaid. Loudly.

He has also fully entered the logic stage of the trivium and how that looks with an autistic teenage boy is hilarious and gross.

How ridiculous is it that I will not show you a blurry picture but will post one of our dirty white board? I clearly have issues. But in my defense, it wasn't a full day of actual class so technically their real first day is on Tuesday. That's my story and I am sticking to it!

It was weird getting the kids ready without Sarah but she slept in. Or tried to with a pillow over her head to block out the horrible but spot on imitation of Buddy Hackett that Sam was performing in his room. He will have an interesting year of Greek mythology and some Shakespeare, Homer, Lewis and Bunyan to name a few.

The girls all had a wonderful day and are all set to enjoy the upcoming year. Claire (2nd grade) will be reading, among other things, Little House on the Prairie and that means having fun on Prairie Day. Abby (6th grade) will be studying American History from 1815 to present day. She'll go on a cotton picking field trip and rustle up a heehawwing good time on Cowboy Day.  Emily (9th grade) will be reading Shelley's Frankenstein and  Rousseau's Social Contract along with work by Austen, Twain, and Hawthorne.

I will miss the kids a bunch but I am looking forward to a little more structure and routine. I think we all do better with that in our lives, don't you?

Can you believe this lovely child wears a ladies size nine and a half sneaker? I couldn't either except that we just bought new school shoes and sure enough that's the size we had to buy.
It happens at the end of every summer. Even though I am with them day in and day out, watching them and feeding them, I am still surprised by how much they've grown in these barefootin', sunscreening, beach going, pool swimming summer days. It catches me off guard every single time.
And it reminds me that I only have them for a little while. That the goal and purpose is to raise strong and steady warriors, arrows that we launch into the world to go further and do more damage to the enemy in the name of Christ than we have.
Sometimes the responsibility feels too heavy. But I've learned to accept that's good. It reminds me that I cannot do this apart from His grace. And in His graciousness He lets Claire announces that we're out of toilet powder (Comet cleanser) when she's cleaning the bathroom or Abby gives me that sweet precious smile and both of those things make the weight somehow a little easier to bear...a little lighter.
He is indeed gracious and kind and considers our frame.

Seriously, this could not be any easier to do but when my friend first shared this little secret treat I was amazed. Since then I've not shared it with anyone who wasn't also impressed with the quickie treat. It's the little things and attention to detail that make things stand out and this stands out.

fresh, fruit, raspberries, chocolate chips

What you'll need:
chocolate chips

What you'll do:
Stuff a chocolate chip inside the raspberry.

chocolate chip, fresh fruit, raspberry


Ridiculously simple but takes the yummy factor up a notch or two and looks a little more fancy than just a regular bowl of raspberries. You can use either white or regular chocolate chips too.

chocolate chip, fresh fruit, raspberry, raspberries

Titus 2 Tuesday   Tuesday's Table

Let's play a game!

It's called the "What's In Your Purse?" game. (Bonus points if you read that question in a Samuel Jackson what's-in-you-wallet voice.)

Here's how you play. Find a table suitable for the size purse you carry and dump everything out of your purse onto said table top. I had to use the dining room table, y'all.

stuff in my purse, trash, receipts

Seriously, it was ridiculous the things I had in there.

I had noticed my purse gradually getting heavier and heavier but I just didn't stop long enough to tend the gathering mass of stuff.  So I ended up with four old grocery lists (all on 4x6 note cards...I love using index cards for lists!), a thank you card a friend gave me after shooting some maternity pictures for her ~ ahem, back in April, a postcard from a field trip I took with Abby and one from The Art of Brick exhibit that I saw with Sam ~ both in May. And store receipts! My goodness, I must have had a dozens. Not to mention my regular wallet, change purse and various other odds and ends you can see here.

Six water bottle lids. Six! I like drinking bottled water and any time I get in the van I usually take one with
me. And when I open them I usually just toss the lid into the change holder thingie. Where they were bound to fall out and end up on the floor of the van. Something which my love's soul doth hate. So I got in the habit of not actually throwing them away but periodically putting them in my purse so that he wouldn't find them and be bothered by them.

Most of this stuff had already served it's purpose and I didn't need it anymore. But there I was lugging it around and while on their own none of it was really heavy or bulky, it all hindered me from easily finding the things I really needed and I was surprised by how much lighter my purse was when I cleaned it out.

Cleaning out all the junk and clutter and I couldn't help but wonder at the junk and clutter we carry around in our hearts and minds. How many lists do you have in your head? The list of things you regret or wish you'd done? Possibly a list of all the things you have to do because you delight in letting everyone know how very busy you are. Or maybe a list of offenses, things you are keeping filed away against someone.

Maybe you have a couple of postcards of happy things in your life...not so bad unless you are living in the past, constantly comparing the now to the then and reminding yourself of all that you used to have. Maybe the thank you cards are your way of boosting your ego and you are forever pulling them out to prove to yourself that you are important and needed.

Do you have any receipts tucked up in that heart of yours? A running tally perhaps for your husband and children of  all the ways they owe you? Is there one for your co workers and friends that is always at your finger tips, ready to be pulled out and gone over so they know just exactly how much you've done for them?

Do you have a bunch of bottle lids rolling around in your heart and mind? Little things that annoy and bother others that you just won't really stop doing but try to limit how much they annoy and bother someone. Your little sins that you try and cover up with the dried up container of mascara that doesn't really work anymore.

Our hearts and minds can get cluttered up pretty quickly and that can keep us from serving others as quickly and fully as we possibly could.

So what are you carrying around? Maybe it's time to dump it all out and get rid of somethings you've been thinking and dwelling on.

You'll be amazed at how much better you'll feel.

One of the hardest things for a photographer who wants to share their work is choosing which images to post. Especially when there are so many good ones to choose from which is certainly the case with Tim and Chrisann's engagement pictures. They are both photogenic but it really is the way their happiness and delight with each other just shines through every image that makes narrowing them down difficult. 

Except this one. This one is easy to share so that we can collectively enjoy the awesomeness that is Chrisann's hair. Gorgeousness. 

Pensacola photography, engagement pictures Pensacola Beach

We started our time together in Gulf Breeze on a giant sand cliff and then moved on to Ft. Pickens. I ended up with way more images than I normally deliver and if the light had lasted longer probably would have ended up with even more. Here are a few of my favorites in no particular order.

couple photography, engagement pictures, Pensacola Beach portraits

couple photography, engagement pictures, Pensacola Beach portraits

couple photography, engagement pictures, Pensacola Beach portraits

couple photography, engagement pictures, Pensacola Beach portraits

couple photography, engagement pictures, Pensacola Beach portraits

couple photography, engagement pictures, Pensacola Beach portraits

couple photography, engagement pictures, Pensacola Beach portraits

couple photography, engagement pictures, Pensacola Beach portraits

couple photography, engagement pictures, Pensacola Beach portraits

My goodness I just love this one.

couple photography, engagement pictures, Pensacola Beach portraits

couple photography, engagement pictures, Pensacola Beach portraits
Tim and Chrisann, may the Lord continue to pour out His generous blessing upon the two of you as your love for each other declares His goodness and faithfulness. May He bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you.

Right now is the beginning of my favorite time of year. Like the very first threads of light dawning across the sky herald a new day, the kids getting ready to go back to school announce the coming of Autumn. 

I start to feel a sense of anticipation and I can almost feel a crispness in the air. I day dream about opening my windows and seeing the leaves start changing colors. I love the feel of fall...the smells and colors. Just love it.

Of course this also means that we are smack in the middle of getting ready to start school. I love the school my kids attend but I sure will miss having them home with me. It's still a little new to me not having kids home during the day. When Sam started last year after being homeschooled the longest it was the first time in eighteen years I didn't a child with me.  With my sudden childless state last year I found myself being a little indiscriminate with my time, and coupled with Sarah being a senior, found myself a little over extended. This year I am committed to being more productive and purposeful with my time. I'd rather do less and do it well than do a lot and feel utterly frazzled so that it all suffers.

One thing I want to do this year is be more intentional in showing my appreciation and care for the teachers of our school as a whole, and of course my kid's teachers specifically. To that end I found a nifty little welcome back treat on pinterest to make as they began their teacher training.

welcome back teacher gifts

These little guys weren't hard to make...just labor intensive and a little pricey if you are making a bunch. Thankfully, a friend and I did it together to offset the cost. I used a variety of apples since my grocery store didn't have enough granny smiths.  

I don't have a recipe per se for these but they are pretty self explanatory.  I tried a few different recipes for homemade caramel sauce before I just settled in unwrapping several bags of Kraft's caramels and melted them with some heavy whipping cream. (You can find the recipe here.)

However because I love food photography and the light in my kitchen is fabulous I do have lots of pictures :-)
caramels, candy, homemade caramel sauce

homemade kraft caramel sauce

We used the cute little four ounce canning jars...just the right amount for generous single servings. And may I just say that I think raffia ribbon is a pseudonym for hair of the devil? It sure adds a nice touch but man is it a pain to work with!

They bagged up nice though and I was pleased with how they looked. This would make a great back to school gift your child's teacher or even the whole class.

apples with caramel dipping sauce
Whether or not you make this or something else, I hope you take the time this year to let your child's teacher know how much you appreciate them and the work they do.

I really do. The beach is less than an hour away and it just doesn't get much better than that around here.
I also have some really wonderful friends in my life that I am so grateful for. A couple of months back those two things came together for a lovely afternoon. I shared some of the pictures on facebook but had a few more that I just loved.

The kids just have such a good time.

Sam loves the beach and he will come up with some of the funniest sand creatures.

Pensacola Beach

On the sound side you can see a lovely sunset and then turn around to look over the gulf and see a beautiful moon rise.

See? A truly beautiful place.

Photo Story Friday     1440

Hey, you know what I noticed? It's been a while since I posted a sweet recipe. I think I will take it as an indicator of success in the pursuit of healthier eating. Not that one cannot indulge occasionally but sometimes when one is trying to develop new habits it is best to avoid things that are too tempting, don't ya think?

That being said I do have a yummy, and super rich, peanut butter pie recipe to share.

It starts with one of the best homemade graham cracker crust I've ever eaten. I think it taste so good because it has almost a whole stick of butter and brown sugar in it. And then you sprinkle some chopped up honey roasted peanuts on it ~ a crunchy and delicious platform for the creamy peanut butter filling. The original recipe I pinned mentions being tempted to drizzle chocolate over it and suggests not doing so. I actually disagree and think just a tiny bit of chocolate would make for a pretty and tasty addition.

What you'll need ~ For the crust:
1 1/4 cup crushed graham crackers
3 TBS brown sugar
1/3 cup of butter (5 1/3 TBS), melted
1/2 cup shopped honey roasted peanuts

What you'll do:
Mix the first three ingredients together.
Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch pie plate.
Bake at 325 degree for 5 minutes.
Rotate and bake for 5 more minutes until a light golden brown.
Sprinkle most of the chopped peanuts evenly across the cooled crust, leaving some to garnish the top of the pie.

What you'll need ~ For the filling:
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
6 oz cream cheese, softened
3 TBS heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

What you'll do:
Mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Increase your speed and whip until fluffy.
In a separate bowl, whip the remaining cream until soft peaks form.
Gently fold it into the peanut butter mixture until it is well combined.
Spoon into the pie crust.

What you'll need ~ Whipped cream layer:
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 TBS confectioner's sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

What you'll do:
Whip everything together until foamy. 

Increase your speed and continue to mix until stiff peaks form.
Spread evenly across the pie.
Refrigerate about 2 hours until set.
Garnish with remaining peanuts and enjoy!

Tuesday's Table

 Our call to worship yesterday morning...a call to arms. 

"If  you’ve been keeping up with the news, you know that terrible, unspeakable things are being done to Christians in northern Iraq. Horrifying images are invading our social media, and calls for action are loud and many.

We want those who are perpetrating these things to be crushed. And it is right for us to want this. They are clearly enemies of God, and they must be stopped.

We want to take some action to facilitate their destruction, or at least to stop the blood letting.

But let us remember that persecution is a matter of course for Christians. We have been told to expect it and to rejoice in the face of it. It seems like foolishness at least, and madness at most to even suggest it, I know. But these are the words of our Lord: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

This does not require us to be silent. Neither does it call us to inaction. But let us not lose sight of the weaponry we have most certainly been given to fight such evil.

We have been given baptism and bread and wine. We have been given Psalms. We have been given the Word of truth. We have been given prayer. We have been given, in short, worship. When we worship we are doing battle with the forces of evil in every sphere – in heaven and on earth. 

And so let us worship this morning like it actually matters. Let us wage war with the powers of darkness in this present world. Let us raise YHWH’s banner high, and declare his lordship over all. And let us come to the table, which he prepares before us in the presence of our enemies."

May we continue to wage war, declaring the truth that Christ is King.  

I had to have an MRI done on my knee this week.

Not fun, y'all. Not fun at all.

First of all they take you into a room with a huge door that looks like it belongs on some kind of fall out shelter. Then they hand you a "panic ball" and tell you that you should squeeze it if you need anything since they won't be able to hear you over the noise the machine makes.

The noise you ask? Loud horrible sounds. And I watch television...nothing good ever happens when things start making those kinds of sounds. Remember the sounds in an episode of season six of Lost when they try to blow up the island and end up with some crazy electromagnetic black hole that sucked everything and Juliet into it? Didn't work out so well for her and I was pretty sure it wasn't going to end well for me.

Their solution? Hand you some big retro style headphones and ask you what kind of music you like. Which turns out to not be helpful at all when you realize that all this time when you thought you might be slightly disturbed by small confined spaces you are actually indeed super full blown bet your sweet bippy bothered by small confined spaces. Like panic-and-try-to-rip-the-ear-phones-off-your-own-ears-because-you-are-having-trouble-breathing claustrophobic. Only you're worried about just exactly how loud the noise must be if they couldn't hear panicked cries for help so you feel your heart rate speeding up even faster as you wonder whether or not you are going to go completely into the itty bitty tunnel space.

I squeezed the heck out of that panic ball and I am not ashamed. A little sheepish maybe, but not ashamed. I just needed to hear that I would not be going completely into the tunnel of doom. Even then I had to work really hard to stay calm. Forget waterboarding, people. Put me in a tiny space and I will spill any secrets I possibly know. I'll probably even make stuff up just to get out.

The good news is that I do not have a torn meniscus and do not need surgery. I have some wear and tear behind my knee cap and a cortisone shot and physical therapy should fix me right up.

In other news, we are smack in the middle of buying the house we live in. We've been here three years and the opportunity came up for us to buy it. Which really just means a bunch of paperwork and details for Rob to deal with while I have been busy pinning all kinds of things that I want to do once it's ours. None of which thrills my beloved's soul but he's just putting his head down and pushing through it. The other day he was finishing up some work he was doing on the pool and I mentioned one little thing I thought would be fun to do outside and I got the look. The one he gives me that says I haven't picked my time wisely. I just laughed and told him he should just imagine all the things I wasn't saying! Yet.

In the midst of all that we're also winding our summer down. The kids and I are getting school supplies organized and pulling together school uniforms. There is always a certain amount of excitement and sadness at this time of year. Looking forward to the new school year and all it's possibilities and knowing I'll miss the kiddos and what Sam calls the infernal racket that they make.

Speaking of Sam, here's his take on teenage angst, monster style:

I just love his Igor. But, man do I need to clean the white board!

Have a happy weekend y'all.

I love my church. We've been here for almost ten years and I honestly cannot imagine being anywhere else.

It's where we've been raising our family, and what He has used to grow and stretch our hearts and minds to know Him more. I've been pushed gently and not so gently out of my comfort zone.

It's not a perfect place and it's full of imperfect people who love God wholeheartedly but sometimes screw it up. There are lots of reasons that I love this place and these people and a single post would be waaaay to long so I'll probably share some things in a series of posts. I hope it will get you to thinking about your church and what you love about it.

One of the top things for me that I love about our church is our liturgy. Every church has a liturgy (an order of service) whether it is formalized or not. Our liturgy happens to be what most would consider "formal."  It's actually known as a covenant renewal service. The layout and progression of the service is designed to reflect the Gospel.

We begin with a call to worship. A call to leave our earthly concerns and thoughts behind and turn our hearts and minds to the One who is worthy. This generally includes a hymn, a short word of exhortation, a call and response greeting between pastor and congregation, and a Scripture reading that calls us to worship. It concludes with a brief prayer that God would cleanse the thoughts of His people so that we're prepared to worship Him rightly.

Of course our sin prohibits true worship so secondly, we are called to confess our sin. There is a tremendous blessing in corporate confession that is missed in a typical "alter call" at the end of a service. Another aspect that is shared during this time, is the minister declaring God's forgiveness. Not that he is granting the forgiveness, but he is declaring the faithfulness of God in fulfilling His promise to forgive those who have confessed their sin.

The third element of our liturgy is considered a time of consecration. Together, as one body we typically confess either the Nicene or Apostles creed. There is something so very unifying about declaring what we all believe without hesitation and with assurance. It connects us to the Saints that have gone before us and anchors us. During a certain time of the church calendar we actually sing one of them and it is one of my most favorite things in the world.  Because we believe that the Bible is one story with Old and New Testament connected, we have a Scripture passage read from both which relates to the theme of the sermon. The pastor also reads a passage from the Gospels. The first two readings are done from the pulpit but as the Gospel is read my husband moves among the congregation...a beautiful symbol of the way Christ, the Gospel in flesh, moved among us. After the preaching we have a pastoral prayer during which our prayers and petitions as a church are brought before God. This is also a time during which we pray for a specific congregation in our community. Again, I love this because I've never been in a church that was willing to pray on a regular basis for other area churches, including ones of a different denomination. We are also given a few moments to pray in silence before standing together and singing the Lord's Prayer. Then, in response to God's faithfulness, we offer our tithes and offerings.

Because we have been called to worship, and because we have confessed our sin and He has changed us through the reading and teaching of His Word, we are invited to come and eat at His table. Every. Single. Week. Oddly enough, this fourth component of our service causes people the most angst. Generally argued against as being too catholic as if that somehow explains something. But just about every church I know of sings every week, prays every week, and takes an offering every week. We don't reject those based on possible bad teaching and misunderstanding...why would we reject Christ's table?

Because our service has already led us to a place of confession we do not look at this as a time of morbid introspection. We are already prepared and ready so it's a time when we remember His death and celebrate the life we now have together in Him. Not only do we enjoy this meal together each week, but we talk during it. Speaking freely with one another, as well as participating in the passing of the peace.  As we pass the bread we say to each other, "The Lord be with you" and upon receiving the bread we respond with, "The Lord bless you." With the passing of the wine/juice we say, "The peace of Christ be with you" and upon receipt we say, "And also with you". I'll be honest, this part of our service was very awkward at first. But it quickly became something that added depth add richness to our communion with each other. It takes a very hard and bitter heart to hold aught against husband or wife, child or sibling or friend and at the same time bless them in the Lord and declare that the peace of Christ be with them.

Singing is a major part of our service and is threaded through the whole day. (There will be a separate blog post about singing and music.) At this point in our service we stand, and hands raised sing the doxology, praising God who is the source of all blessings. We recite a prayer of thanksgiving together and sing a hymn of response for the renewal of God's covenant with His people.

Numbers 6:24-26 blessing benediction
The final characteristic of our service is the reading of the Great Commission as a charge for us to go out and be faithful in carrying out its command to declare Christ's authority over all the earth. A closing prayer is shared and we once again lift our hands, this time to receive the benediction "...the Lord bless you and keep you..."

Now we turn our hands outward, and with voices lifted we sing,

Glory be to the Father, 
And to the Son, 
And to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end.

Rob will then offers one last word of benediction as we conclude, "Go in peace, the Lord be with you" and as one the congregation responds, "And also with you."

In our area this type of service is not common, especially in a Baptist church. But true worship should reflect the gospel interaction between God and His people, not a specific denomination. Each aspect should highlight the relationship between the believer with God and each other.

Not every church service must look and sound like this. But the components...the call to worship, the call to confess our sin, the consecration of God's people though His Word, the communion with Christ at His table and with each other, and the commissioning of His people to go and declare His authority as LORD and King to all the earth...these are the foundations of worship that is rightly focused.

May you look for, and find them, in your church as you worship.

I really enjoy little foods like appetizers and finger foods. Sweet or savory, it doesn't matter, I just like popping bite size chunks of goodness. And, while dips are slightly different than other kinds of hors d'oeuvre, they still fall into that delicious category for me.

Because dips are usually easy to whip up, I like having plenty of options so I am going to share a couple of different recipes with you. One of  the most popular recipes I've shared is the simple but oh, so good feta dip. It is seriously at the top of my go to list when I need this kind of appetizer. But another savory dip that is almost as popular is this chili cheese dip. Only 3 ingredients and served hot; it is full of flavor and a quick fix. (And so good it was almost gone before I grabbed a picture!)

What you'll need:
1 8oz cream cheese, softened
1 15 oz can of chili (the original pin called for bean less...I've discovered it makes no difference.)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Tortilla chips

What you'll do:
Spread the cream cheese evenly into an ungreased pie plate.
Pour the chili over the cream cheese.
Cover with shredded cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until the chili begins to bubble and the cheese is melted. (We don't have a microwave but obviously you could nuke it for a couple of minutes.)
Serve with tortilla chips.

Variation: Instead of chili use black beans. This recipe is also easily adaptable to a gluten free diet.

Although I have blogged this peanut butter toffee dip and it  is delicious, I think I have only made it twice. The favorite sweet dip in my house, hands down no question about it, is the chocolate cookie dough dip. It starts with melted butter and brown sugar so is anybody surprised? I think not.

What you'll need:
1/2 cup of butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 8oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
graham crackers

What you'll do:
Melt butter and whisk in brown sugar, stirring well until the sugar is dissolved.
Remove from heat and add vanilla. 
While mixture is cooling, beat cream cheese and confectioners sugar together until smooth. 
Add in the nectar of the gods brown sugar and butter combo and blend until combined.
Stir in the mini chocolate chips. 
(I tried regular chips once and it totally changed the texture and not in a good way either.)
Sprinkle a few chips on top for garnish and serve with graham crackers. 

Try one of these the next time you have a gathering and you probably won't come home with any leftovers.

A sure sign of a successful recipe! You can visit Tuesday's Table for some other sure to be a hit recipes.

I know, I know. You're probably thinking, "What are left over brownies?"

It doesn't often happen in our house either but it does occasionally some about that we have some brownies still in the pan. I had seen a pin with pretty little brownie bites with a dollop of Redi Whip with a raspberry on top all held together by a toothpick. I saw our brownie pan and thought, "Hmmm, I have nothing but the brownies as far as the ingredients go...I'm going to try it!"

Thankfully, I had strawberries on hand and I have recently become a huge fan of homemade whipped topping. I heart it in a big way. But I knew I wouldn't be able to make that pretty dollop with out a bit more hassle than I had time for so I topped my less than perfectly cut brownie bites with half a strawberry and placed a small bowl of whipped topping in the center of the serving plate.

It looked pretty and it tasted good. Everybody was happy.

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