Hot Chocolate

Affogato-1
Have you ever tasted something that made you want to cry a little? I’m not sure why I have this reaction to food sometimes, it’s a little confusing.This surprising reaction came after tasting hot chocolate. I like hot chocolate, it’s ok, but it’s usually not that tasty, so I have a few sips and then I’m done. I think I’ve only had packets of hot chocolate that are usually mixed with water, so it basically tastes like chocolate water. ewww. Well, now that I have tasted what real hot chocolate is supposed to taste like, I’m going to be a little bit snobbish about my cocoa.
Today I went to my daughter’s class room for a pizza party, and her (amazingly cool) teacher made the class hot chocolate in a crock pot! I had seen this recipe on Pinterest a few times, so I was aware that it existed, and maybe even thought about making it, but it wasn’t at the top of the list. She asked me if I would like to try it, so I said “sure”…I was curious to see what this crock pot hot chocolate was all about. Well, the first sip was such a shock, I really couldn’t believe how flippin’ good it was. That is when I instantly felt like I wanted to cry. This stuff was a mix between a warm hug and a snuggle, going down into my belly.

 

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Crock Pot Hot Chocolate:
1   1/2 cups heavy cream
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups chocolate chips
6 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*Heat until the chocolate chips are melted and everything is warm.
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The photo above is from A Couple Cooks. It is a Peppermint Ice Cream and Hot Cocoa Affogato. Affogato is an Italian word meaning “drowned.” I am thinking this will be fun to serve on Christmas Eve…maybe even save a little extra for Santa! wink

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Holiday Gift Tags

I am a sucker for great packaging. My husband will often ask “did you buy that because it has a cute label?” and my response is usually, “maybe.” I think if he picked up a piece of mulch out of our yard and put it in a cute box with some sort of cute label, I would love it! So, here are some cute, free printables for you to make your Christmas packages all cute and stuff.

 

Chalkboard-Style Printable gift tags from, Poppytalk:

Poppytalk Gift Tags

 

Holiday Printables from Paper Crave.

 

free-printable-holiday-gift-tags

 

Gift tags from Jill Means for One Charming Party. Brightsideprints.com.

 

gifttag1

Inspired

 

 

The park that I run in holds a very special place in my heart. It is a place I ran when my girls were babies, I would pop them in the double jogger and go. I have been running there for about 9 years, and now that I just registered for my first marathon, there will be a well worn path there when the training is over. The running trail is made of crushed gravel, it has rolling hills and it is lined with trees…it is perfect for me, and I can walk out my front door, cross the street and I am there…bonus! I also love that it is a loop and I see a lot of the same people a few times before I am finished running.
There is one gentleman in particular that always makes me smile. He is an older Asian man, and I have seen him at the park for years. Each and every time I see him on the trail, he greets me with an open mouth smile and a wave…he truly shines like a sunbeam. I might see him 3,4,5 times during a run and he waves and smiles every time I pass by. It is a simple gesture, but he makes me so happy.
While I was on a run over the weekend, I saw my smiley friend, but it looked as if he may have suffered a stroke recently. He had his wife with him and she slowly and gently helped him walk around the park. I will admit that I didn’t recognize him at first because I was used to seeing him perky and lively, this time he was a little bent over and walking cautiously. As I got closer to him, he raised his head and that beautiful smile came across his face along with his trademark wave. I finished the rest of my run with a giant lump in my throat. What touched me most is that this man, who doesn’t even know my name, has made such and impression on me. It is his simple kindness and genuine love of life that is so touching…even while his health is failing him, he just can’t help himself…he just has to smile.
When I saw this print on Pinterest, it made me think of my darling, happy friend on the trail. The next time I see him I just want to give him a smooch on the cheek…although he will probably wonder why some sweaty, stinky girl is coming at him, but I don’t think he will mind.
Keep smiling!
Print by Kensie Kate

First Day of School


This day is always bitter-sweet for me. In one way, we just got into our groove; we were used to being around each other A LOT, but we found a way to have our own space. In another way, the girls are ready to see their friends and get back into a routine. I’m still shocked that I have a 3rd and 4th grader. It is scary how fast it is going…it makes me sad, but I am proud of the way they are growing up.
Happy First Day of School!

 

Holiday

We just returned home from a super duper fun family vacation in Hilton Head Island, SC. We stayed in Sea Pines, which is a magical area where the  streets are lined with Live Oaks and covered in Spanish Moss. There are bike trails everywhere…we biked and biked and ate ice cream and then biked some more…it was pretty much perfection!!

I found these fun summery prints  by Charlotte Love and thought they summed up our summer trip very well…Born To Ride and Born To Eat Ice Cream!!!

Before we left for our vacation, I was lucky enough to learn about an app: 8mm. It ranks up there with Instagram for me. 8mm gives your video that vintage feel, with scratches and frame jitters, and it even comes with the an optional film reel sound effect! I am having fun trying out the different filters and lenses. I had enough footage from our trip to put together my very first iMovie. yay! I found out about this app from one of my favorite blogs, Dear Lizzy. She used it  to make a little film of her family. She also used the sweetest song, Holiday, by Sarah Sample. I liked it so much, I used it myself. So…yah, I pretty much just copied what she did; but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Now that I have another fun little app on my phone, I have no excuse not to capture more videos of my family!!
I hope you enjoy my very first video!

Tomato-Tomahto

This is the first summer that I am attempting to grow a mini garden…I am starting small because I am super bad at keeping plants alive.

I am highly envious of people who have the gardening gene…I so badly want to be a grower of pretty things, but in all honesty, I’m just really bad at it. I feel sad for the plants I buy at the store. I whisper my apologies to them as I put them in the shopping cart of death…poor little plants never stand a chance. Well, this year I am turning over a new leaf. I have thriving plants that are producing fruit! Yay! A strawberry actually made it into my little girls mouth, and I have about 8 tomatoes that are looking promising! I am looking forward to bringing produce into my house that does not have a sticker on it.
I found a few recipes that will hopefully showcase my homegrown tomatoes and basil nicely. Enjoy
Balsamic Grilled Summer Vegetables with Basil Quinoa Salad by Veggie belly
Tomato, Ricotta and Grilled Bread from Alexandra’s Kitchen
Caprese Baked Egg Cups by How Sweet It Is

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you beautiful women who give  your hearts, souls and figures to your amazing little creatures who make our lives so full…full of kisses, hugs, sippy cups, band-aids, middle of the night wake-up-calls, prayers over our children while they are sick,  helpful advice over a heartbreak, last-minute runs to the store to pick up a poster board for a project they forgot to tell you about that is due tomorrow….and all of the millions of little things that you do everyday that probably go unnoticed. Just know that even though they may not notice or remember the little things, it’s all of the little things that make them feel loved…and isn’t that what it’s all about?!

Moms appreciate the little things, too!! Make your packages extra cute with these cute labels from Kiki Creations.

These darling wall prints from Inessa & Maddie are so charming and would make a lovely Mother’s Day gift! For those of you who actually forgot it was Mother’s Day THIS weekend, just print, frame and you are golden…you will be the favorite for sure!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Flowers by BHG

Moments

It’s not always so easy to enjoy the not-so-good moments, or the super embarrassing moments, or the time when your child says something that hurts someone’s feelings, or when people ask you if you’re pregnant but you’re not, or when you are talking to someone for 2 hours and then someone else tells you “you have something black in your teeth” and you think,”what??? I have been talking to this person and she never told me!” …..  2 whole hours …. Or the time you forgot to return someone’s call and they call you out on it and you feel like a total “you know what” (rhymes with grass)…

What made me stop and take notice of this print is the idea of actually enjoying not-so-good moments…cuz sometimes those are the moments that make us humble, and real and relatable. The moments when we can commiserate with our friends about and we feel like we aren’t the only ones who make silly mistakes and we’re not alone in this crazy world! So go ahead and enjoy the good, the bad and the ugly!

Print by Mothers letters

I don’t necessarily take photos of the not-so-great moments, but I am getting better about capturing some of the good stuff!

This is one of the super good moments to enjoy! Flowers from my husband “just because!” This is my favorite!!! Don’t get me wrong, it’s always nice to get flowers, but when they are out of the blue, they are extra special! Thanks, honey, you made my day!

Other great moments this week…watching my girls laugh and giggle together, having lunch at school with Ellie and enjoying Daley’s creativity! I really savor this time and enjoy these moments…they go way too fast!

Pop of Pink

Hurray for Spring…pollen and all!

Fresh baby green leaves on the trees, Cherry trees in full bloom, dogwood trees, honeysuckle, jasmine…yep, I adore Spring! With all the lovely pops of color in nature, it’s time to add a few pops of color in my home, food and maybe even my hair! I can’t stop looking at her pink pieces…I want some!!  When we were in Vegas and Austin I was seeing color everywhere, hidden little pieces that would pop out when their hair moved just right. I was in love; and as soon as I can get an appointment with my stylist (who just so happens to be my sister) I am doing it!!

photo via Creature Comforts

Cupcakes are way better than just cake in my opinion…it’s the frosting to cake ratio that does it for me. More frosting, more yummy! My husband totally disagrees with me on this issue, and that is why we make a good match!! Right, honey?

Call Me Cupcake made these beauties.!

hello-naomi  makes these cookies look so simple, but something tells me that they are a little trickier to make than it seems. Just look at how pretty and smooth her icing is…my icing loves to fall over the edge, and when I bake my dough it gets puffy and misshapen leaving people to wonder, “is that an X or a butterfly?” Maybe one day I will get the hang of it, but for now I will just look and admire!

Fresh guacamole, fresh salsa, crisp chips and a Pink Grapefruit margarita and I am a happy gal!

 pink chalkboard door

I want to kiss the person who created chalkboard paint…now you can find it in colors?!?! What??  How much fun would it be to have a pink door, or any color, really?? Even if you don’t have a door hanging in your home that you could paint a color, it might be fun to find an old door to paint and hang on a wall somewhere…headboard, playroom wall, anywhere!

Top off the day with a strawberry milkshake !

Happy Spring!