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No bake Chocolate Refrigerator Brownies (Microwave Recipe)

This recipe is enjoyed by my friends and family and are often referred to as “Julaine’s Chocolate Brownies”.  They are, however, a traditional South African recipe dating back to the 1950’s, for which I can make no claim to fame.

chocolate brownies no bake

Ingredients:

250g butter

500g icing sugar

7 Tbsp cocoa

2 eggs

2 packets of Marie Biscuits

Break the Marie Biscuits up into bits (about 6 to 8 pieces per biscuit).  Set aside.

Microwave the butter in a microwave dish of about 2-3 litres, on 100% power for about 2 minutes.

Sift together the dry ingredients and stir them into the butter.

Beat the eggs and stir them in too.

Microwave the mixture, uncovered on 100% power for 2-3 minutes.  Remove from the microwave and give it a good stir.

Mix the biscuit fragments into the chocolate mixture.

Spoon the mixture into a 20cmx20cm dish and allow to cool.  Refrigerate to set, once set, remove from the refrigerator and cut into 3x3cm squares.  (I usually leave them in the refrigerator over night).

Makes about 36 squares, which can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days.

P.S. You can cut the squares smaller or larger, depending on the size you require.

P.P.S. I sometimes halve the mixture if I only need to make a few.

When God whispers

When God whispersMotherhood … a sweet desire in a little girl’s heart, a dream, a picture of love and a desire for perfection – to be the perfect mother and have perfect children…

Before my eldest son was born, we attended antenatal classes and also course run by our church on parenting.

The antenatal classes were well-balanced and gave us the insight and information we needed for practical parenting of a newborn and also what to expect during the pregnancy and birth.

The parenting course told us how to parent our children from newborn and through the toddler years. Sadly, this was a very unbalanced course, which was based on the personality type of the author who was almost militaristic in his approach.

Need I say, that our child was not the perfect model for these parenting skills and neither were we the model parents for it. We tried our best to get our 6 week old to sleep without being held and to fall asleep on his own, but to no avail. Eighteen months later, when our daughter arrived, I was still needing to put my son to sleep by being up close, talking and singing to him, while our daughter, who was the perfect model for the course, slept easily, happy to be put in her cot to sleep.

I also attempted to breast feed according to a schedule; 3 ½ – 4 hourly, but my son would have none of that, he wanted to be fed 2 ½ hourly. “Sleep when the baby sleeps,” were the words of advice we received, nice advice for those who have help in the house and don’t have to worry about other household duties, but not practical.
By the time my son was two weeks old, the honey moon phase was over. He struggled with winds, because I was so tense, he would cry if I put him down and I was exhausted.

One day I sat in our small sitting room, looking out the window, crying, partly from exhaustion and mostly from intense guilt that I was not spending enough time with God.   As I cried, with my son in my arms, the Lord whispered quietly to my heart:
“I know where you are at in your life. You are not the first and you are definitely not the last mother to feel this way. It is okay that you don’t spend time with me as you used to, I am with you and I will speak the words you need to hear.”

What a freeing moment that was in my life!
God whispered to my soul and gave me peace.

My eldest son is almost a teenager now. We have four beautiful children each of them unique in their own special ways. I still have days when I cannot sit and finish what I consider my time with God, but He understands, after all He is a Father.

There are sometimes weeks where all He does is whisper the same message to my heart over and over again. Why? Because that is His word personally to me and He wants that word to become a part of the tapestry of my life. His whisper to my heart is gentle, encouraging and spot on for me. Not a single preacher nor motivational speaker can speak to my heart as my Father speaks to me.

As a young woman, I used to spend my life going from one church meeting to another, hoping to hear a word from God that would change my life, point me in a specific direction or put me on a new level with God.

Parenting has taught me, that there are no levels with God. It is about doing what He has given me to do, listening for His whispered directions and raising my children to be certain of who He is, and certain of who they are, in order that they may go out and be world changers in their own unique and special way.
This is the highest calling for me and it is called MOTHERHOOD.

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Home made face mask for dealing with blackheads

This is a recipe I discovered and have started using as a peel-off face mask and is effective in removing blackheads too.

1 Tablespoon of Gelatine (unflavoured)

1 1/2 Tablespoons of Milk

Mix together in a microwaveable container (I used a small souffle bowl) and microwave for 10 seconds.

Stir.  Make sure that the mixture is not hot, but just lukewarm is fine.

Dip your finger in the gel and smooth it onto the area you wish to treat.

Leave it for 15 minutes and peel off.  Rinse the face with warm water.

(For a small area, such as the nose or the chin, I use 1 teaspoon of gelatine and 1 1/2 teaspoons of milk.)

Note:  Don’t use regular jelly (Jello), but rather plain gelatine found in the baking section of a store.

Activated Charcoal for Tummy Bugs

Disclaimer: Any medical advice you may need or dosages, should be referred to a qualified medical professional. Charcoal used in fires is not the same as Activated Charcoal, as it contains many added toxins. Do not attempt to use it as medication. Rather purchase your Activated Charcoal from a trusted medical source.

Activated Charcoal

Up until a few months ago, the only time I’d seen information on Activated Charcoal was when reading the treatments for a variety of poisonous substances ingested.

A couple of months ago, I discovered the use of Activated Charcoal for teeth whitening.

A mere two days ago, I was introduced to the wonderful attributes of Activated Charcoal in settling the stomach.

Where I live, it is that time of the year, when the change of season from spring to summer brings on the not so wonderful ‘tummy bugs’ that grab hold of individuals with merciless intensity. My youngest daughter had a week of nausea and discomfort, for which we treated her with over the counter medicines. A week and a half later, my youngest son woke up at midnight and began throwing up, literally every 20 minutes to half an hour. Nothing stayed down, not even the medication.

That afternoon, I visited our local pharmacy and was browsing the shelves of the natural medication section, when a bubbly voice asked me, “Can I help you with anything?” I turned to find a little dynamite of a lady standing just behind my right shoulder. After explaining to her what I was looking for, she said, “You know, I don’t believe in all these medicines that try to stop the symptoms. I like to go straight to the problem and sort it out. The best thing to do is to give him Activated Charcoal. It will adsorb all the toxins and the bacteria and settle his stomach. Just don’t give him any medication for 2 hours before or 2 hours after. But I can guarantee you that it will work without needing to take anything else.”

The long and short of it is, I bought the pills, gave my 7 year-old son 2 pills and he stopped retching. We repeated he dosage the following morning. A day and a half later, and he’s on the mend and we’re I’m now plying him with fluids and electrolytes to rebuild his strength.

Some other benefits of Activated Charcoal are:
1. Whitening Teeth
2. Alleviates Flatulence
3. Mold Cleaning
4. Adsorbs Toxins of Alcohol Poisoning
5. Adsorbs Toxins from Food Poisoning
6. For water filtration

This is by no means a comprehensive list, there are many more benefits to using Activated Charcoal.

For more information on the benefits of Activated Charcoal, you can take a look at these links:


Disclaimer 1: I am not a doctor. Any medical advice you may need or dosages, should be referred to a qualified medical professional. I am merely sharing what I have seen work for my immediate family.

Disclaimer 2: Charcoal used in fires is not the same as Activated Charcoal, as it contains many added toxins. Do not attempt to use it as medication. Rather purchase your Activated Charcoal from a trusted medical source.

Raising World-Changers

earthI want my kids to care about things that really matter, in a way that matters.

I have looked around me and seen signs of a new generation arising; on the one hand, an apathetic group of youngsters who have no vision for the future. On the opposite end of the scale, I see a generation of youngsters who are fighting for their rights, using violent methods to get their message across – violent protest.

I was working through a situation not so long ago, when the words “what is the difference between indifference and ignorance” popped into my mind. I began to study these words. It seems that I’m not the only one asking this question and “googling” the words “indifference vs ignorance” brought quite a list of sites onto my screen and many more quotes by famous people.

Ignorance is simply, to have no knowledge about something or to be uninformed. Another modern meaning is ‘not allowing things to affect you’.

Indifference, on the other hand has to do with a lack of interest or enthusiasm in things. It also has a modern connotation of ‘I don’t care’. When you feel indifferent, you neither like nor dislike something. For example if I ask my daughter whether she would like chocolate cake or vanilla cake and she doesn’t mind, she is indifferent to the choice, either would be fine.

There’s a popular quote: “The difference between ignorance and indifference is: I don’t know and I don’t care.”

There is a stronger word than indifference, though, it is the word apathy. And this took me further in my study – we often confuse apathy and indifference, however, apathy has a stronger, deeper meaning than mere indifference.

Apathy basically means a lack of interest in or concern for things that others find moving or exciting. The signs of apathy are: an absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement. Some synonyms for apathy, according to various dictionaries, are: emotionlessness, impassiveness, impassivity, indifference, phlegm, stolidity, unemotionality, numbness, spiritlessness. The outward demonstration of apathy is languor, lassitude and listlessness.

In fact, according to psychologists, apathy is a symptom of depression and is considered a symptom of hidden anxiety (fear).

The flip side is Violent Protest: Earlier this year, we watched as university students in our country attempted to burn down, destroy and have statues of prominent people in the history of our country removed. Not long after that, they were protesting about fee increases for next year (and validly so), their protest eventually got the attention of the powers that be and as a result there will be a 0% fee increase for next year.

These students show an incredible amount of resolve and to get the attention of the government, they took drastic measures, in some cases destroying property and threatening people’s lives’. In essence, it became a full blown display of a temper tantrum at an adult level.

As horrifying as it was, we saw a group of people not happy to sit back in a spirit of apathy and say “whatever will be, will be”. Interestingly, the first reaction of our government was to ignore the students’ request. The students were a force to be reckoned with and marched to parliament, breaking through the gates demanding an audience with the Minister of Tertiary Education. At this point the government chose to remain indifferent. However, by bulldog tenacity, refusing to give up, the students’ voices were heard and a decision was finally made regarding the fees.

I am part of the so-called, “white minority group”, in my country and our attitude towards change, in general (and I’m making a very generalised statement here), is to remain apathetic. I think in part this is owing to the fact that our forefathers put their faith in the apartheid government, but had no idea how to fight the idealisms of that era. The mentality seems to be “someone else will fight on our behalf”. Oh, we have many discussions among friends, but very few of us will stand up and protest when it comes down to it.  The radicals who did stand up to our previous government were imprisoned or exiled. The fear of speaking out resulted in the silence of many.

I want my kids to care about things that really matter. I want them to grow up to be world-changers, not in a dramatic sense, but in a way that will affect change around them and in how they will fulfil in their purpose for being on this earth. I want to see them caring about the future of this planet and the people who inhabit it in a way that is kind, compassionate, meaningful and showing strong character. I want to see them grow in character by guiding them and training them while they are young.

Leap of FaithTo get up off the couch of ignorance, indifference and apathy; to choose to take a stand without resorting to violent measures, this requires us to take a step, or in some cases, a leap of faith. This takes character and in the end it is our character that stands out.

Albert Einstein said: “Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.”

So we sit with two extremes: Apathy vs Protest – both of them fuelled by fear.
• Apathy is driven by the anxiety of stepping out and doing something.
• Protest is driven by the fear of being controlled by someone or something.

Where is the middle line? Can one make a difference without fear being the motivating factor? And who can teach our children to be the ones to make the difference?

In the words of Albert Einstein:
“It is not enough to teach a man a specialty. Through it he may become a kind of useful machine but not a harmoniously developed personality. It is essential that the student acquire an understanding of and a lively feeling for values. He must acquire a vivid sense of the beautiful and of the morally good. Otherwise he—with his specialized knowledge—more closely resembles a well-trained dog than a harmoniously developed person. He must learn to understand the motives of human beings, their illusions, and their sufferings in order to acquire a proper relationship to individual fellow-men and to the community. These precious things are conveyed to the younger generation through personal contact with those who teach, not—or at least not in the main—through textbooks. It is this that primarily constitutes and preserves culture. This is what I have in mind when I recommend the “humanities” as important, not just dry specialized knowledge in the fields of history and philosophy.” (“Education for Independent Thought” in The New York Times, 5 October 1952).

Think of the people in this world who have made a difference in a positive way – they were all faced with the with same choice:  To let things be or to go out and make a difference.

The next generation is waiting for us to give them the tools that will enable them to be
World-Changers.Street Performer: Grafton Street, Dublin

Lessons in parenting

parenting quote

Nothing at All

NothingAtAll

Saying “No!” to Perfectionism

Why is it that so many women struggle with the need to be perfect? Our western culture requires of us to fit into a stereotype mould and do it well. In the 1950’s women were expected to become the perfect home-maker. Today, we are expected to work, play, raise a family, run a tight ship at home and dress to impress. Even in the homeschooling community, there is a struggle to obtain perfection in trying to model our lives after the perfect ideal of a homeschooling mother.

My eldest daughter is very intuitive and as I have been grappling with this very concept of perfectionism, she wrapped her arms around me, and at the tender age of 10 and told me, “Mommy, I just want you to know that you are the perfect Mom for me in all the world and I love you just the way you are.” She has no clue that she had hit the nail on the head, without my verbalising anything.

Here I was feeling that I am not good enough and in her loving, compassionate way, my very own child, like an angel sent from God tells me that she loves me just as I am – imperfect, flawed and very human.
For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with the need to attain perfection. I have been running on this treadmill for long enough and it is time for me to

Get off the treadmill of perfection.

I have tried to be the perfect Christian, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, sister-in-law, teacher, dancer, pianist, cook, citizen, student, etc. and failed, sometimes miserably.

I have spent so many sleepless nights and countless hours, worrying or replaying scenarios over and over in my mind as to why things went wrong or didn’t work out as expected. So much pressure to perform, all placed on me by my idea of the expectations of others. And of course, I’d take the blame for what went wrong, because somewhere, I must have failed in that situation. However, over the past two years, something has started to change in my thinking….
I have had grace for the mistakes of others, but not for my own mistakes. Why?

At the root of my perfectionism was the fear of rejection. This striving for perfectionism is ultimately about self-protection. Trying to protect myself from recurrences of not being good enough and the fear that something might recur in my life or make me unacceptable if I am not perfect.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “perfectionism” as:
• a : the doctrine that the perfection of moral character constitutes a person’s highest good
b: the theological doctrine that a state of freedom from sin is attainable on earth
• a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable

Cambridge Dictionary Online defines it as:
the wish for everything to be correct or perfect.

Oxford Dictionaries define it as:
• Refusal to accept any standard short of perfection.
• Philosophy A doctrine holding that perfection is attainable, especially the theory that human moral or spiritual perfection should be or has been attained.

Striving is a word that pops to mind in all of this, what are we striving for? Why do we spend so much of our energy on things that might not even be noticed by others? Why are we so tired? Why are we trying to be so perfect?

In her book “You’re Loved No Matter What”, Holley Gerth says this “Perfection is the stuff of divinity, not humanity. It’s weight is far too much for us.”

Wow! I am human. I don’t have to be perfect. I just have to be the best me I can be! Yes, I will make mistakes and at times I may fail miserably, but that is okay! Say you’re sorry if you need to, but move on, sister!

I have a friend and everytime we speak, somewhere in the conversation, she will say these words “Be Free, just be free”. This is what life is about FREEDOM!!
• You have freedom to make mistakes.
• You have freedom to say “No”.
• You have freedom to be who you are.
• You have freedom to carry less in life (you don’t have to do everything!).
• You have freedom to ignore the “Pharisees” (those who expect you to be perfect and attempt to model perfection in their own lives).
• You have freedom to take risks.

You don’t have to be tired anymore. You don’t have to live with a heart that’s afraid. You don’t have to feel as though you’re never enough, never quite measuring up.

You are enough and you are perfect, if you are being true to yourself and passionately pursuing your own purpose in life.

People love you for who you are, not for whom you try to emulate.

Get off the treadmill of perfection and embrace who you are. Start a new trend in your life and let it bubble over into the lives of those around you.

People accept us when we accept ourselves.

Perfection