Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Best Hot Chocolate Ever!

Hot chocolate almost seems romantic in your mind - sitting by a fire, drinking your delicious beverage with cute marshmallows and socks peeking out.  But usually it never tastes as good as you hope in your mind.  I tried MANY Crock Pot hot chocolate recipes because I love hosting gatherings around the holidays, and once I tasted this one I said, "that's it!" What I have been searching for my whole life! :)

I posted the recipe on Instagram, but here it is for those that missed!

Creamy Crock Pot Hot Chocolate (from wishesndishes)
1.5 cups heavy whipping cream
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
6 cups milk (we use whole)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups milk chocolate chips

Cook on low for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Top with whipped cream, sprinkles and any favorite toppings!

I like to make a little hot chocolate bar with lots of options for toppings.  Here was one I did for work!

 And here was one hosted at our home.

So save this for next Christmas, or keep making it like I am!  There is always a reason - Super Bowl party, Valentine's Day, a random Tuesday...any time! :)  Enjoy!

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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Christmas 2015

We had a great Christmas!  Many of these were already on Instagram, but here is more. :) Our family of three (or I should say five, but we didn't get the little girls anything) celebrated on the 22nd.  Bradley chose to wear no pants. :)

One of the gifts Nate got me is this amazing Brussels Griffon mug!  If Sprinkles drank coffee she would look just like this. :)

Then the next day we flew to Chicago!  Parents - I am sure you already know but it is NOT safe to fly without your kids in car seats.  We had a pretty bumpy (and scary to me since I get anxious on planes) flight on our way to Chicago and I cannot even imagine trying to hold onto your baby during turbulence!  How awful!    Bradley slept right through it all in his seat!  I follow the page Car Seats for the Littles on Facebook where you can find out TONS of information  (like what to print and bring in case a flight attendant doesn't understand seats on planes and that it is not only ok but BEST to aft face, etc).  So join that group if you want to learn more!  But enough about that. :)

We now have 10 in our family!  My mom knit most of these (with help from talented Aunts of course).

It was so fun meeting our newest nephew!  I am too afraid to hold babies so I held him for about 45 seconds.  I get so nervous!

We went to the Santa Experience!  It was at Oak Brook Mall that had the most amazing lighted reindeer. 

It was super cute and was a tour through a house led by Shrek!  Then you meet Santa at the end.  Bradley still hates Santa.  

Shannon (the SIL) and I had to get the mini boots of cider!  Love!

Bradley LOVED playing with his cousins.

He thought they were too cool!

He even liked wrestling with them!

Papa is also fun to wrestle!

The SIL got these adorable mini donuts!  So festive!

The three musketeers getting snacks from Grandma in matching jammies!  

Blakey was Santa in the chimney!

So was Connor! :)

Blurry pic but Bradley was too funny running around on Christmas Eve with his cousins!

The neighborhood they live in gets luminaries on Christmas Eve.  We walked around with hot chocolate looking at the lights, and of course I had Pentatonix Christmas CD playing on my phone!

Family pic in Christmas jammies!

Cookies and milk for Santa!  I had to copy this set after seeing theirs...too cute!

Christmas morning fun!  Papa always comes with good surprises.

Bradley loved checking out his cousins toys.

And snacking with Grandma.

The SIL tracked down this mug for me!  I didn't purchase in Disney because I thought it was too pricey, then of course regretted it ever since.  SIL to the rescue!!


My parents got us all "ugly sweater" slippers of our favorite teams! :)

More matching jammies!

New Year's Eve we stayed in and hung out with some of our best friends, then watched Jessica Jones while drinking hot chocolate.  We were asleep by 10:30!  My kind of NYE! :)

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!

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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Christmas House Tour 2015

Better late than never, right?  Now that Christmas is over, all I want is to look at decorations!  It does feel great to have it all put away and organized, but also sad and less colorful.  I posted a few details here, and cupcake tree here, but now here is the tour!

We will start with the front door!  I used almost the same stuff as last year, but I updated the ribbon on the wreath.  I still love it!

Full of whimsy!  Just how I like it!

I did remember to switch out the mat this year!

Just inside the door is the sideboard!  This was more difficult to decorate because Bradley thinks he is supposed to grab everything from here and throw it on the floor.  So it almost never looked like this.  Ha!

Silly little guy! :)

There he goes with the reindeer!

One of my favorite decorations is still our tree topper!  I just think there couldn't be a more perfect topper for a whimsical tree.  Bradley agrees. :)

Check out my Santa nails! :)

I put a tiny touch of Christmas in our dining room with a runner my Grandma made and a couple trees.

The built ins have the usual suspects, but also lots of baby toys and a massive gate blocking!

Clearly the gate isn't working...

It is so nice to have a place to display all of our Christmas crap! :)

The ornament garland blog post was on fire on Pinterest!  I hope everyone scooped up some post-Christmas balls to make one! 

The kitchen has a few touches here and there.

Nate got me the cutest marshmallow mugs that I have been eyeing for years for Christmas!!  I was so excited!  We had them out for our ladies night cookie exchange.

With a hot chocolate bar of course!

One of my friends helped me out with our chalkboard - I am never wiping this away!

I put the cute mugs on display. :)

My mom got me these amazing elf legs (Nate calls them witch legs - jerk) a few years ago.

We didn't put a small tree in Bradley's room this year but we did add a cute Christmas pillow and read him Christmas books every night, so don't worry, he felt the Christmas spirit! :)

So the decor is all put away now and I do really love the feeling of no clutter, but am already planning getting everything back out in 11 months! :)

Who am I kidding - I have a kid so there is still a lot of clutter. :)  Phew!

Do you still have your decor up?  Why can't we just leave it up year round? :)

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