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A baby? No thanks. I’m saving my womb for the alien apocalypse.

This weekend my husband Chris and I are going to a family reunion. It’s my family. Puerto Rican. Loud. And all over your business.

My grandparents are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary and while I’m both thrilled and honored to be a part of such a magnanimous event, I’m dreading the question that I know, for sure, will be repeating itself. Over. And Over. Again.

What are you waiting for to have kids? Don’t you want kids? Why don’t you want kids?

That’s more like three questions. But they all sound like one long run-on question. 

“Well,” I want to tell them, “it’s not that I don’t want kids. It’s that I’m saving my womb for the alien apocalypse. You know, like Sigourney Weaver in the movie Aliens.”
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Of Love and Brownies: My Favorite Brownie Recipe

My husband and I recently sold and moved from the house that was our first home as a couple. The last week that we lived in our old home was a stressful time full of boxes and bubble wrap. But it was also a welcomed change, one that we had wanted for a while.

For days, I went back and forth between these two emotions eager to feel something else. Until I did. About halfway through the week the longing began. I felt the ghost of the memories we had shared in that home. Memories of becoming a family, of being loved and accepted, of wholehearted laughter and joy. And memories of our neighbors and their beautiful friendships. I was filled with such deep gratitude for the last four years of our life. We had been incredibly lucky to be surrounded by loving people in every direction of our home. And our lives.

Our lovely neighbors, Jeanine and Shirley
Our lovely neighbors, Jeanine and Shirley

One of our neighbors, Jeanine, shared with me the recipe for the brownies she regularly made for us. Hands down the best brownies I have ever had. I mean, you-can’t-just-eat-one kind of brownies. When I asked her for the recipe she told me about her secret ingredient, cherry extract. But even when I tried to duplicate the recipe, it just wasn’t the same. Her brownies tasted of friendship, kindness and generosity. Of being a grandmother and having lived life long enough to know and appreciate the things that truly matter. That wisdom was her true secret ingredient.

In our neighbors honor, here is Jeanine’s brownie recipe.

Jeanine’s Friendship Brownies 

Begin with a “Betty Crocker” dark chocolate brownie mix and prepare the mix according to directions on the box.

Add 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract to the 1/4 cup water required in the preparation (this always enhances the flavor of chocolate!).

And 1/4 teaspoon of cherry extract (the “secret” ingredient!).

Add 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Spread in a 9 x 13 baking pan (not a dark one).

I line the bottom with no-stick foil, and they come out of the pan so much easier.

Sprinkle with 1 cup of chopped pecans.

After baking, put them on a cooling rack.  Cut when completely cool.  These freeze beautifully too.

Enjoy in the company of family and friends!

Yeay for tomorrow! And for infinity! And The Fault in Our Stars!

Super excited! Tomorrow, Thursday at 9 p.m. I will be joining the legions of nerdfighters watching the opening of The Fault on our Stars. I will laugh and cry, mostly cry, as I watch Hazel and Augustus travel together towards their inevitable oblivion.

In their honor, here are some of my favorite quotes. Thanks to all the very talented artists who took the time to make them pretty.

See ya’ll tomorrow!