Nutella lovers will go crazy for these Nutella Caramel Bars! They are gooey, chocolatey, buttery, and delicious!

Nutella Caramel Bars Photo 1

Lucy has recently started acting like a crazy person when I leave her with a babysitter.

Up until now, she’s always been pretty great about going with people. We have two regular sitters, one who comes to the house every Thursday morning and stays until afternoon so I can sit in my office and work, and one who comes on Tuesday evenings so I can go to Bible study group with my husband. I mean, I’d love to pretend that I’m one of those women who runs everything swimmingly with no help, but that’s just not happening.

Also, sometimes instead of working on Thursday, I go get a manicure and have lunch somewhere and eat with two hands. Then I leave feeling light because I’m free of that embarrassment you feel when you leave a restaurant and there are 48 saltines smashed into the carpet under your table. So, that’s fun.

Nutella Caramel Bars Photo 2

Since Lucy has always been so great, and I read somewhere that usually attachment issues pop up at around 18 months or under ( she’s almost 2), I figured I was in the clear.

Then about a month or so ago, she started getting pretty upset when I left. I honestly don’t have a ton of experience with this because my son is 10 and you get amnesia after a certain number of years. It’s like  you try to remember what you did when your other kid was little and your mind is literally blank. I know he was tiny at one time, but I only believe this because I have photographic evidence. I know that people like to throw the phrase, “Riding a bike” around, but I assure you that raising kids is decidedly NOT like riding a bike. You completely start over — a blank, confused slate every time.

So me, being the blank, confused slate that I am, decided that the best way to handle this situation would be to sneak out quietly so Lucy didn’t get upset. I did read somewhere that experts recommend against this method, but I figured that they haven’t seen my Goose when she gets her feelings hurt, and if they HAD, they’d reverse their opinions. This method worked out for quite some time — me slipping away quietly and Lucy being happy and peaceful with her sitter.

But then a few weeks ago I started noticing that Lucy wouldn’t let me out of her sight. She was flipping out every time I walked into the kitchen or bathroom, insisting on following me and clinging to me like an adorable bow-headed baboon. At first I blamed it on teething, which is what I blame everything on. If she’s acting up at the store and strangers are staring, I just look at them and mouth, “teething” and they say “Ohhhh…” and instead of staring at me in horror and judgement, they give me a look of sympathy and move on. Like I said, I’m practically a parenting genius.

Nutella Caramel Bars

Then one day the UPS guy came, and when he rang the doorbell Lucy screamed bloody murder, ran to me, and flung herself in my arms, wrapping her chubby little legs around my waist and clinging for dear life.

At first I thought maybe she shared my fear of answering the door when a package is delivered (I always stand by the window and wait for him to drive off. Seriously, I am such a creepo). But then I realized that she thought he was a babysitter ringing the bell. THEN I realized that she won’t let me out of her sight because she’s always worried that I’m going to sneak off.

Then I basically wanted to ground myself from being a mom because good grief, what a mess.

So we are currently in the process of trying to undo the epic mess that I’ve made. Every time I head to the restroom I am walking backwards yelling, “SEE ME??  MOMMY HAS TO PEE. MOMMY IS COMING RIIIIIIGHHHT BACK!!!” like a complete weirdo. Then when the sitter comes I peel her out of my arms and hand her over, kissing her tears and telling her goodbye and I love her.

Then I leave and pick up all the zillion broken pieces of my heart and think about going back in the house and rescuing her. Except for by then, she’s stopped crying because apparently, she’s mostly not upset, just an excellent manipulator. Seriously, how is being a mom not a job that you get paid for?

If you’re like me, down in the parenting dumps and eating your feelings to compensate for your failures, you need these Nutella Caramel Bars in your life. Buttery brown sugar oats sandwich a gooey layer of caramel and Nutella. They are total comfort food and completely fabulous!

Nutella Caramel Bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 34 minutes

Yield: 12-15 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1½ cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 sticks (1½ cups) butter, melted
  • 13.4 oz can dulce de leche
  • 1 1/2 cups Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325?F. Spray a 9×13-inch glass pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add melted butter and stir with a wooden spoon until well mixed. Press half the mixture into your prepared pan and bake for 17 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from oven. Spoon dulce de leche evenly over the top of the hot bars. Let sit for a minute, until caramel begins to soften, then carefully spread to cover the surface. Spoon Nutella evenly over the top of the caramel mixture. Let soften for a minute, then spread that over the surface. Crumble the rest of the oat mixture over the chocolate and caramel and bake for 17 more minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and cool for several hours before cutting into squares and serving.

Notes

An equal amount of caramel ice cream topping can be substituted for the dulce de leche, if desired.

If you love Caramelitas, these are even better! They are the perfect bar for Fall. Enjoy!!

Looking for some dinner inspiration? I’m sharing my weekly meal plan!

WeeklyMealPlan922

Happy weekend!

I’m so excited that October is just around the corner. I am SO looking forward to cooler temperatures and cozy crockpot food. With that in mind, I’ve featured a few crockpot meals on the list for this week. Speaking of…did you try the Brown Sugar Balsamic Pork Tenderloin on last week’s list? It was SO good — a new family favorite!

Here’s what I’m making this week. Don’t forget to print out a meal plan and grocery list to write everything down. I love doing all my shopping at once and not having to go back for the rest of the week!

SmotheredChileBurr Monday: Smothered Chili Colorado Burritos

I’ve had these on regular rotation for about a year now — they are a family favorite! They’re also incredibly easy — the meat goes in the crockpot and  you put the burritos together and stick in the oven right before serving.

*photo credit

creamy-chicken-and-wild-rice-soup6+srgb. Tuesday: Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

This soup looks SO yummy and comforting, I’m excited to try it! I think that my picky boys will love it.

*photo credit

freezer meal dijon chicken (1)A Wednesday: Honey Dijon Chicken

Another simple crockpot meal! You can prep several of these in the freezer so all you have to do is stick it in the crockpot and you’ll have dinner later!

*photo credit

CrockpotCheeseburgers Thursday: Crockpot Cheeseburgers

Yes, another crockpot meal. Not sorry. These sound fabulous!

*photo credit

Slow_Cooker_Honey_Sesame_Chicken_Recipe Friday: Slowcooker Honey Sesame Chicken

Sesame Chicken is one of my all-time favorites, so I am really looking forward to trying this!

*photo credit

Enjoy and have a great week!

Happy Friday!

It has been such a busy week around here. Jon David and I got back from New York on Monday evening, and Tuesday I was right back in the swing of things. We were out of a lot of groceries so Lucy and I packed up and went to the store and headed to the clinic for my weekly allergy shot. School conferences were this week too. I’m really looking forward to relaxing this weekend.

Is it just me or is getting back from vacation like the worst thing ever? The suitcases of dirty laundry, the sad, empty fridge, all the real life things that don’t care that you just spent all day in a stinky airport. Ugh. Hate.

nyc

We had so much fun on our trip. My best friend Shelly and her two boys met up with us and we had a busy couple of days! We took the boys to see the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial, the Museum of Natural History, Serendipity and a Broadway show. Jon David and I walked to FAO Schwarz on his birthday, and he had a blast! It’s such a fun toy store to explore. We went for pizza later in the day and passed the Times Square Discovery Center where they had a really awesome Lego Sculpture exhibit called The Art of the Brick, so we HAD to go in. It was SUCH an awesome exhibit!

Then we came home and I collapsed from exhaustion. Then I opened my wallet and dust and moths flew out. Because…New York.

I read a lot at the airport and on the plane, and I’ve got some GREAT books for next month’s Reading List! Make sure you look for my post at the beginning of next month!

I know I mentioned Fabletics in another Friday Fun post, but I recently got my September outfit from them and thought I’d share. Fabletics is company founded by Kate Hudson that sends you a work-out type outfit every month. Even if you don’t work out but love stuff like leggings and yoga pants for running quick errands or days around the house, you’ll love the outfits they have! The prices are extremely reasonable (you get your first outfit for $25!) and the quality is really, really great. Much cheaper than Lululemon and I love it just as much.

image(25) You get to choose your outfit, or skip the month. I chose these cropped sweats, a pink sports bra  and this loose grey shirt. The pants are SO comfortable. I love sweats but often feel like they are too baggy and pajama looking to run errands in. The crop of these makes them feel cuter and a bit more socially acceptable!

The top is super cute. Nothing too special from the front, but the back is cut out, adding a bit of interest. I’ve worn this shirt over a tank top (so my back isn’t hanging out all over town) and jeans and it’s cute for everyday wear.

fabletics This sports bra is what I loved the MOST, though. I do like to wear sports bras around the house — with a 10 year old, I don’t want to run around without a bra, but they get uncomfortable and I don’t like wearing them in the evening with my PJs. Most sports bras are so restricting and I basically have to PEEL myself out of them. Sometimes origami, advanced gymnastics, or praising to Lord Jesus are also involved in removal/application of said sports bra. NOT THIS ONE. It’s SO comfortable and goes right on and right off. I’ve never seen a sports bra that was so easy to take off. So, what I’m saying is – it’s life changing.

Sorry for talking about my bra so much, but you’ll thank me if you ever get this one.

Of course, other stuff happened this week besides my bra (awkward).

German Chocolate Bundt

I shared this life changing cake! You need it, trust me on this.

Harriet Chevron Print Detail Dress

My September Stitch Fix happened! Then I made my son take photos of me with my phone and he kept asking “Is this is last one?” and I kept saying, “Retake that last photo, you made me look fat.”

Junior Mint Cupcakes Junior Mint Cupcakes — they are basically a no-brainer.

Glazed Pumpkin Donuts

Glazed Pumpkin Donuts — they bake up in under 10 minutes. Perfect weekend breakfast!

Enjoy, friends! Have a wonderful weekend!

Junior Mint fans will go crazy for these Junior Mint Cupcakes! Mint Chocolate cupcakes coated in creamy mint frosting with a soft chocolate shell — what’s not to love?

Junior Mint Cupcakes

I’m going to let you in on a little secret, friends. A mom secret.

It’s impossible to treat your kids exactly the same.

Do I LOVE them both equally? Of course I do. One thousand percent.

Of course, the scales do tip slightly depending on which way the wind blows. Maybe Lucy is throwing a tantrum and Jon David is being particularly helpful. Or maybe Jon David has a case of the smarty mouth and Lucy is giving me big, fat, adorable kisses. In those instances, I *might* temporarily feel more loving towards one than another. I realize that if you don’t have kids, I may have just blown your mind, but all moms know this to be true. We just keep it a secret so you don’t feel bad about yourselves.

But TREATING them exactly the same? Can’t happen. Impossible. Because they’re so different!

Junior Mint Cupcakes Image

The problem with a toddler girl is that they manipulate your brain like a Jedi. Lucy is so loving towards stuffed animals, so enthusiastic about hair bows and purses, so kissey faced and gentle, it makes it almost impossible to deny her anything. When Jon David was that age, I was completely smitten by him, of course I was. But it was a lot easier to deny his requests than it is with Lucy. There’s just something about a tiny girl wearing a purse and toting around a pink teddy bear, sweetly requesting M&Ms (“PEEEEEEESE Meemee!!  PEEEEESE!!) that is like Kryptonite. What do you do?

You let her have the dang M&Ms. Always.

It doesn’t help that my son has no memory of being a toddler, and fully aids and abets Lucy is her quest for chocolate and stuffed animal world domination. There’s this giant Elmo doll at Target that Lucy desperately wants but it’s $50. One day Jon David literally told me that he feared Lucy may die if I did not agree to purchase it for her. Ummmm…excuse me? The only thing cuter than a sweet bow-headed, animal loving baby girl is her older brother pleading her case.

Kill me. I can’t even handle it. Where is all my money? Gone.

Junior Mint Cupcakes Picture

Lucy is particularly fond of Junior Mints. I know there are some of you whose toddlers have not even had a taste of chocolate yet, sadly that is not the case around here. At almost 2, Lucy is well schooled in Hershey bars, mini M&Ms, and Junior Mints. How else do you bribe your kid, that’s what I want to ask those of you who don’t give your kid chocolate. With broccoli? Um, no.

I made these gorgeous cupcakes with my Goose in mind. She calls them “kipcakes” which slays me, obviously. Kipcakes is SO much better than cupcakes, don’t you agree?

Dark chocolate mint cupcakes, creamy mint frosting and a soft chocolate shell. Do it, friends. You won’t regret it!

If you love Junior Mints, these cupcakes are truly perfect. Enjoy!