Wednesday, October 30, 2013

mint cocoa

mint cocoa This mint hot cocoa is SUPER easy and VERY rich. It’s like drinking a melted candy bar. I found this recipe next to a display for Nestle Toll House’s “Winter” Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsels (like this Dark Chocolate & Mint No-Bake Cheesecake I posted a few weeks ago). I tweaked it just a little bit. If you don’t want the mint flavor, you could just use regular milk chocolate or semi-sweet morsels instead.

1 (12 fl. oz) can evaporated milk
5 ounces (about one cup) Nestle Toll House Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsels
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Heat evaporated milk, morsels, and water in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until hot (do not boil). Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla extract.

Pour into five 4-ounce demitasse cups or two mugs. Optional: top with whipped cream. 

land o lakes cocoa
And if you’re looking just to buy some really good hot chocolate, I have been drinking this Land O Lakes Chocolate Supreme cocoa every night for weeks. It really is amazing. ($3.98 at Walmart.)

Monday, October 28, 2013

halloween mantel

As of a few weeks ago, I didn’t have any Halloween decor. But with the space that we have now in this house, and a pretty little fireplace, I got the itch to create a display. I purchased a few pumpkins and made a couple crafts, and I love how it turned out!

I made this wreath last week—it’s a foam circle, spray-painted black, with strips of black burlap tied to it. I used two 50% off coupons at JoAnn’s—so the 16 inch green foam was $4.50 and a yard of burlap was $2.

I printed this free “Fall is Fabulous!” design. And I framed our little Braveheart baby from Halloween last year. :)

I sewed some bunting out of pieces of Halloween fabric—and gray chevron left over from our kitchen curtains.
And an extra photo to throw in—I bought a pumpkin cookie cutter, and helped my mom decorate some cute little pumpkins for a dinner party she had on Saturday. :)

Happy Halloween week! Now I just have to figure out a costume for N…

Did you catch my Audrey Bunny giveaway yesterday?

Friday, October 25, 2013

baby bump: 26 weeks

how far along? 26 weeks, due January 28th.

size of baby: size of a head of lettuce, about 13 inches (head to toe) and 2 pounds

heartbeat: 139 bpm (3 weeks ago)

total weight gain/loss: + 16 lbs 

maternity clothes:  I’m wearing mostly maternity now because they’re more comfortable. I inherited some gently used pieces this week that I’m excited about!

stretch marks: nope

belly button: same

sleep: could always use more!

movement: feeling his tiny kicks and punches all day long :)

food cravings:  I am always starving. I eat lunch, and an hour later, I could eat a second lunch. I’ve been baking a lot of chocolate chip cookies and pumpkin sweets.

symptoms I have: My legs were getting too sore and veiny, so I have been wearing compression stockings every day. Also, acid reflux bothers me about every other night.

doctor’s appointment: I have an appointment next week—and the glucose test to check for gestational diabetes.

what I’m looking forward to: Settling 100% on a name (we are close!) Spending the cozy holidays with Stephen and Nolan. Working on house projects before the baby comes. Steve has been so busy that we haven’t made any progress on Nolan’s room or the baby’s room. I’m uncertain if we should get a second crib and let Nolan stay sleeping in his crib, or if we should get Nolan a big boy bed. I am scared that we will open up a can of worms by switching him (that he’ll never take a nap again, that he won’t sleep as well at night, that he’ll fall down the stairs in the middle of the night, etc.) Any advice?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

an afternoon at the pumpkin patch

On Saturday, I couldn’t wait to take Nolan to a pumpkin patch for the first time. Living in a small town, I am always looking for events we can do and places we can go with a 2-year-old—since there aren’t always a lot of options. I have great memories of going to the pumpkin patch as a kid. My sister and I were a part of AWANA at church, and every year, we would take a bus from Chicago up to a farm in Wisconsin to see adorable farm animals and choose the biggest and best pumpkins. I wanted Nolan to experience this sweet and simple fall tradition.

As soon as Nolan saw all the pumpkins, “punks” as he calls them, he started loading them into a wagon. It was endearing to watch the gears in his mind turning, as he did this totally unprompted.
Look at that strong guy!
Steve and I had never done a corn maze before—not really worth $4, but cool nonetheless.
They had little pools and sandboxes full of dry corn for kids to play with. Nolan found himself a spot, and he would have been content to stay there the whole day. With cold little hands, he used a shovel to scoop and pour the corn over and over again, as if it was his gold treasure.

This little boy is so beautiful. I’m looking forward to discovering and rediscovering more traditions with him. :)

Monday, October 21, 2013

life lately

Daddy’s little copycat :)

Nolan and I had Saturday morning breakfast with ladies from church at a restaurant. He loves to feed Mini Ivy whatever he’s having :)

After breakfast, Grandma, Nolan, and I went to the local coffee shop because they were letting kids decorate Halloween cookies.

Our last little sunflower.


Satisfying a craving for chocolate chip cookies. :)

He’s always willing to share food (well, except for those chocolate chip cookies above).

I was so impressed one night when Steve decided to make all the letters of the alphabet out of Duplos. These are just about all of the Duplos Nolan has, so he ran out of viable options for a Q.

Nolan is crazy about letters!


Mini Ivy and her symphony of colors.
Nolan loves to hide Mini places, and then he comes to get me to show me the silly spots that she is in. She’ll be in a basket, under a blanket, sitting on the garbage can lid, hiding in Nolan’s tent, lounging on the windowsill, etc. This week, he’s even more creative—I find Mini on top of the dog’s bone, sleeping on my pillow, sitting next to a pile of goldfish crackers on the floor, or looking over an assortment of paint colors. Do you think he’d enjoy an “Elf on the Shelf” this year??

Playing at the park.

Steve’s parents got a new pool table, and Nolan gets very upset that he’s not allowed to play with the big boys. Major meltdown every time. So Grandma found this tiny pool table in the basement—and he loved it!

Contemplating his next move…

We went to a surprise 30th birthday party for our friend Alex yesterday! We also celebrated that Dr. Alex just successfully defended his dissertation :) Nolan liked the sparkler candles that kept relighting themselves.

With Alyssa, our sweet hostess. :)

Alex gave Nolan the tiniest (real) pumpkins that I’ve ever seen!

I’ll leave you with some views of the fall colors in the countryside.
Wow, right?

life lately


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