Friday, September 10

On giving and receiving advice

I have a lot to do today.

Tomorrow the members of my son's Robotics team will be gathering at my house to kick off the activities of the new school year. I asked my son what he'd like for me to do for the group. His answer? "Bake cookies."

19 high school students coming here, and what they want is cookies? You bet I'll bake cookies.

some of our team at the Robotics World Championship last spring

Several years ago, when my kids were just pre-teens, an older woman gave me a piece of advice. She told me that, when her kids were teenagers, she and her husband sought to make their house the place where the kids would congregate. She said to me, "We spent a lot of money on Cokes and pizzas, but that was a small price to pay for knowing that our kids were safe at home."

Her words have resonated with me over the years. I'm happy to buy food or bake cookies or rent movies or whatever else might be needed if that means that my boys and their friends will be here, hanging out and goofing off and having fun. They can be as noisy and rambunctious as they want. They might make a mess, but even the biggest messes can be cleaned up.

I loved getting that piece of advice, and I've found it to be good, so I'm passing it along to you. But I have a question for you. Do you like getting advice? Or do you find it annoying? I'd love to know.

Meanwhile, I'll share a recipe for some of the yummiest but easiest cookies ever, guaranteed to be gobbled up by hungry teenagers.

Wonder Bars, aka "Hello Dollies"

1 stick butter

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 to 2 cups chocolate chips

1 1/3 cups coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place butter in 13"x9" pan; place pan in oven to melt butter. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs evenly over melted butter. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumbs. Sprinkle chocolate chips over sweetened condensed milk, then coconut over all. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool and cut into bars.

**Add 1 cup chopped nuts if you like.

I'm off to bake cookies. Have a great weekend!


  1. Most of the time I really do love getting advice, as long as the person giving it isn't pushy. When I was a young mother I went to a ladies Bible study at church. Now there was a place to get good advice. I always appreciated the seasoned moms making me feel better as I learned how to be a mom.

    ITA about keeping your home open to kids. We've always done that also. I grew up in a home that was not stable and I always knew my home would never be that way. Our door is always open - sometimes it can be exhausting or expensive but yes, that's a small price to pay. Just today as I was making my grocery list I was figuring in what I'd need extra to feed daughter's boyfriend since he lives out of town and stays in our guestroom most weekends.Thank goodness (like most young men)he will eat anything, love it, and then finish any leftovers.

  2. Just like Marla I like advice but to an extent. I can't stand pushiness. :)

    But I agree with you about being the hangout when my kids are older. I'd much rather them here where I can keep an eye on what's going on than saying they're somewhere when they aren't. Good thing I have years before I have to deal with that! :)


  3. I love getting sage advice from those have been there, done that. I also agree about being the home where the kids come to. I have cooked many a supper and made many a treat to entice my kids and their friends into congragating at my home. It is a hassle, but I love the piece of mind it gives me and my husband.

  4. that has always been our thought process with our children...I would much rather have a group of kids at my home and know where my kids are and that they are safe...GREAT post and yummy recipe

  5. I love getting advice, and I think the advice you were given is spot on!!! I want to be that mom too. I'd much rather know where my girls are and what they are doing.

  6. Richella,
    I do appreciate advice from godly women who have travelled a similar path before me. It is comforting to know that this season will pass.

    We do enjoy having my son's friends over to our home, too. They can get rambunctious at times, but it's all in fun. Yes! plenty of pizzas, popcorn and movies here.

    My brother and his lovely wife built their present home with hospitality in mind. Their home is always full of families, friends and loved ones. It is a wonderful place to visit.

    Thanks for the cookie recipe, too.


  7. My son is one of the kids who will be at your house tomorrow-- and through him and others on the robotics team, I have heard that you have quite a reputation. "Everyone" says that Mrs. Parham bakes THE BEST cookies. I witnessed this first hand at the Robotics World Championships in Atlanta when several students practically knocked each other over to get to your cookies!

  8. Richella~those sound so good right now and I love that advice. It's something my husband and I want to seems so worth the extra "investment." You don't know how badly I want to drive down on Oct 2 and go to Nesters yard sale with you..but it's a crazy weekend and I don't think it's going to happen. "Honey, I'm going to a yard sale in No. back tonight!" lol
    Are you going?
    Love ya~

  9. That is good advice. Having your teens safe is worth some food expenses! We are lucky. Are kids love to be around home and so far they have been great kids. Thanks for stopping by.

  10. I love advice especially when it comes from reliable, Godly sources (like you!)

    Those cookies sound divine!

  11. That's really good advice. I'm going to have to remember that when my two little boys are a bit older. I think it might be worth it to bite the bullet and spend a little extra on snacks to know where the guys are and what they are up to.

    I love advice -- any and all is welcome by me!

    Pass the cookies please -- I am hungry!

  12. I appreciate godly advice!!! I do want my kids to hang out here with their friends. And, at the same time, I think the idea scared me a little. Then we agreed to host part of our youth group's progressive dinner last month. I had 20 about-to-be-9th graders in my home and was admittedly nervous about it. But then they all piled in, and made themselves comfortable in my {small} family room, and my husband even invited some up to jam on his electric guitar in the kids' {extremely messy} playroom upstairs. Overall, it was a wonderful, fun experience. Now, I have no qualms about hosting teenagers!! Blessings!

  13. I love this advice and this recipe! We are planning to finish our basement this winter since our kids are getting older - we want a fun safe place for them to hang as they grow older :)

  14. Oh friend...that recipe...HEAVEN!!! Love it!

  15. i'd take advice from you any day! and i love this bit of wisdom. it is reall great. and that cookie recipe! yum!

  16. Not only do I like getting advice, I NEED it!

    My son would think he had died and gone to heaven if he was able to spend time with your robot-creating son. : )

    Hello Dollies are sooooooooooo yummy! I had a friend from college make these every Christmas. Eagle Brand has a box mix of the same the same thing. NOT EVEN CLOSE to homemeade!

  17. I LOVE getting advice, especially when it's from someone who's already been where I'm at. There's something to be said about being 'older and wiser'!

  18. Hi Richella! Just found your blog and LOVE it! This one really works with me. I totally agree and always think the more the merrier! SO agree.
    Holley Broughton


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