Hi Steve and welcome to our world.
my hubby has the 600D and it's a lovely camera (i've just upgraded to a 7D and in love with it.)
My advice is 'don't give up and just use auto'.
I think the first think you need is to just start playing, reading and taking photos. It probably took me a good 12 months to really understand the relationship between aperture/ speed and ISO.
I'm not sure if I'm allowed to plug any particular product here, but if you PM me I can let you know what I used to help in the way of DVD's etc.
Have you thought about joining a local camera club or doing a beginners course (either on line/ via CD or a local community setting)?
There are lots of good resourses around to get you started, but don't give up, when you grasp the basics the world of photography really does open up for you.
Don't worry I started the same way, reading magazines and practicing a lot. Just make sure to keep shooting and using your camera this is the best way to learn. And don't decline challenges they'll make you better photographer