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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Hot Chocolate Recipe + Such

Just the other day I was talking with my mother-in-law and she confessed that she is having a hard time with her taste buds.  As in she doesn't taste the richness of food or the depth of flavor of some foods anymore.  Weak, watery hot chocolate was one of her chief complaints.

So... I set out on a quest to come up with a rich, creamy, full-bodied hot chocolate recipe just for her.  After a few attempts I came up with something that largely resembles my hot fudge sauce recipe that is usually reserved for ice cream and brownies.

Here's the recipe - I think you'll love it!


1 bag {11.5 oz..} chocolate chips
1-2 T. cocoa powder
1 can {15 oz.} sweetened condensed milk
1 C. boiling water
3/4 C. granulated sugar
1/4 t. ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat. 
Stir until combined and all chips are melted.  Remove from heat and let cool.

{Do not, in your greed, lick the hot spoon.  You will burn your tongue - not that I would know or anything.}

To make: 
Put 2-4 T. of syrup in a mug.
Pour piping hot milk to fill. Adjust to taste if necessary.
Top with marshmallows, whipped cream, chocolate shavings or all  of the above.

Store leftover syrup in an airtight container in the fridge.

There you have it! the only thing that could make this any more decadent would be the addition of homemade marshmallows - which I also gifted my mother-in-law with.

I just happened to have a box of toffee on hand when I made these so I chopped it up and added it to the mix. Boy, am I glad I did!  They taste great and if I get the time to put the how-to and recipe up here, I will!

Have a great day!


Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Tomorrow she officially becomes a teenager.
I'm coming to realize I love this age.
She is still fresh and innocent and sweet.
Yet she is dipping her toes in all things big girl.

Let me tell you a few things about my girl...

She always wakes on the right side of the bed.  Always.

She is one of the most cheerful and enthusiastic people I know.
She won an award in kindergarten to show for it :)

She is also one of the hardest workers you will ever find and her GPA proves it.

There is nothing she loves more than to spend
an evening watching a movie while polishing her nails.

She loves to curl her hair and put on make up
and is just as happy to bump around in daddy's truck wearing mucky boots.

She can laugh like Minnie Mouse and often does.

She chooses the high road every time. 
 Even when her heart's been broken.

She's willing to try anything once - food, activities, you name it.

She is the typical middle child - always the peacemaker,
often setting aside her own preferences for the sake of peace and harmony.

She is an athletic stud...
basketball, volleyball, soccer or gymnastics,
She loves them all.

She adores artichokes.

She loves Boone.  A whole lot.

She will do laundry and empty the dishwasher without being asked. 
{ Love that!}

She is obedient, kind, and always thinks of others first.

She sings in the shower at the top of her lungs.

She is a happy child.

Happy, happy 13th birthday, Gracie!

I love you so!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Oh, I Have a Blog??

Hello?  Hello... is this thing working??

Well.  Did you think I was gone forever?  Me too!!

 A great big thanks to all of you who have sent notes of inquiry or encouragement.  I never set out to take this long of a break, but life, being what it is, has a way of consuming all my time!  Rest assured I thought of you all often and have missed blogging terribly.  I am doing my best to keep all my plates spinning... fortunately Mother Nature helped me out today by providing a snow storm that allowed a day of unexpected free time.  God bless the snow day!!

Since so much time has passed since I last posted, I'll just let you know that Christmas was lovely, Valentine's was sweet, and Spring Break was a very welcome... break.  With that being said, I will just show you our Easter celebration in an {egg} shell...

Believe it or not we had to wake our kids up at 8:30 on Ester morning.  I guess that is the reality of having older kids - some of the enthusiasm wears off when the 'magic' is gone.  Even though our older two play along for Daniel's sake, something changes. :0(

It was our year to spend the holiday with Todd's family, so after baskets were found and eggs hunted here, we headed to my in-laws.

A great day was had by all.  My in-laws know how to do a holiday up!  There was an all family egg dyeing party Friday night where more than 60 eggs were dyed and tons of pizza was consumed.  On Easter Sunday there were baskets for everyone and a traditional meal fit for a king.

I tried to tell my mother-in-law that she didn't need to go to all that work. The adults don't need baskets, we can bring more for the meal, etc.  She wouldn't hear of it. Not a bit.  Both my in-laws insist that the memories that all the kids are making right now are priceless and will be the ties that bind them long after they have grown and are living their own lives.  And I have to say, I think they are right.

I am amazed that all 13 cousins, from age 17 to 18 months get along fabulously.  There is never a fight or a fuss - ever!  The older ones are always helping the younger ones - whether it is hunting eggs, playing soccer or washing hands for dinner.  I've never seen anything like it!!

We are blessed and I am so thankful!!

Easter morning 2013

Her favorite egg - a Minion

Why yes, we get really creative with our eggs!

Getting SO tall!  Almost 6'2"!!

He found our basket

Enjoying time to sit in the sun

Cousin Lexi

Even Uncle Kenny even got in on the soccer game!

Gracie and cousin Emily made cupcakes for the big egg dyeing party
Daniel's Sea Monkeys hatched right before Easter - he declared it a miracle!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Few of My Favorite things

I am reposting this from last year
 as none of these have really changed!!  

I am trying
to incorporate a few of these
 into my Christmas this year...
I'll let you know how successful I am.

Until then,

Click here to see my faves!

I am reposting this from last Christmas as nothing has changed!!  I still love each of these things and am trying hard to incorporate them into my Christmas this year.  Enjoy!!

We're sharing some of our favorite things there today, and because it is the beginning of December, my mind is drawn to all things Christmas.

 OK- here we go...

 To say that I love all things mercury glass is an understatement.  And a big one at that.  I just love the vintage feel and all the festiveness that it is.  And to top it all off, you can find it anywhere now - Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, Ballard Designs, Target...

I just adore these vintage scarves from Eddie Bauer {they are on my list for Santa!}  Aren't they so cozy looking?  And on a day like today, when the snow is flying and HIGHS are in the 20's, they look even better!


Would you look at all that fun!!  I have a post in the queue dedicated to wrapping packages - it is my all time favorite thing to do and these little goodies from Paper Jacks just put me over the moon!  They are on my wrapping table as we speak, just waiting for me to get my shopping act together.

 Oh, look... another of my favorites... ribbon!!  And *BONUS*, they are from Sundance, my favorite catalog - EVER.  These lovely spools look like they would take a package from pretty to spectacular in  heartbeat.

Apothecary jars are some of my favorite tools to decorate with.  After the holidays are all packed up and put back in storage, I intend to make the most amazing hot chocolate bar for anyone needing a little warm up after school or dinner, and these should hold some marshmallows and chocolate nicely, don't you think?  You can find these all over as well - from Hobby Lobby to Target to Etsy.

Do you have one of these?  It is a recordable book from Hallmark, but I've seen them in several places, even just at the grocery store down the way.  Our kids received one from Todd's dad a few years ago and it is, hands down, the first book pulled out of the bin and the one I find all over the house, because someone {even the biggest kiddo} has been listening to it.  Papa Bear took the time to not only record the story but pre-wrote it in a silly manner, mixing up all the beginning sounds and the kids get such a kick out of it!  What a timeless gift.  Might be the perfect gift for anyone serving over seas to hear a little bit of home when they can't yet be there.  Or maybe for those grandparents who live waaaay over the river and through the woods.  I just love this idea -  I'm a huge fan!

Have you tried these?  It's William Sonoma's Winter Forest soap and hand creme.  MMMMMMM... they smell great and are a treat around this house.  They contain essential oils and smell like the real deal.  They are a bit pricey {$30ish}, but worth every penny.  The bonus to having such good smelling soap around it that all the kids are anxious to wash up... in the middle of cold and flu season.  Score!!

{Sorry for the wonky spacing.  I think my computer is tired.  And stubborn - it is refusing to let me place that blurry picture in the center of the page!}

And last but not least, are these little gems.  They remind me of my dad.  They are his favorites.  I can find these chocolate orange sticks at the grocery store for just a couple of dollars and they make great stocking stuffers.  I highly recommend them!  I usually have to hide them because we all love them.  They tend to be like Oreos {?}.  You can't have just one.  These particular ones came from sweetcandy.com 

Well, there you have a few of my favorites - hope they give you a few ideas or help you out in some way!