Happy 4th of July and my Smores Dip Recipe

red white blue flag and flowers

Happy 4th of July … hope you have some super fun plans to celebrate this great holiday weekend.

We are enjoying fireworks tonight in our neighborhood and a block party tomorrow night on our street. Our french foreign exchange student is looking forward to taking part in the activities.

Tonight we will enjoy an All American Dinner of Fried Chicken and Homemade Mac n Cheese (recipe to follow). Tomorrow night it is hot dogs and we will be bringing a side dish to share at the street party. One of our new favorite recipes for summer is Smores Dip! It is so super simple and it saves us from being eaten alive outside at night during the summer while roasting marshmallows.

All you need is two ingredients (semi-sweet chocolate chips and mini marshmallows), some graham crackers for dipping and you are set.

Smores Dip

Smores Dip

– Preheat your oven to 450 Degrees.

– Butter a large non-stick frying pan or cast iron skillet.

– Place a bag of chocolate chips in the bottom.

– Cover the chocolate chips with mini-marshmallows.

– Bake at 450 degrees for 8 minutes.

– Pull the pan out once the marshmallows are toasted to a perfect shade of brown.

Smores Dip CloseUpRemember, before scooping out a huge helping, to let it cool for a few minutes.

Have a safe 4th of July!

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30 Days Until Christmas – a plan for the holiday season

30 Days Until Christmas I know many of my friends probably laugh when I start counting down the days and planning for Christmas 100 days out but, for me it makes the Christmas season so much easier. It allows our family to really focus on the true meaning of the season when all the busy work (ordering Christmas cards, gathering gift ideas, shopping) has been done!

I have used the 100 Days to Christmas eBook for several years … I love all the planning lists. One of my biggest problems in the past with doing things in September or October was forgetting what I had finished or what still needed attention. One year I bought several gifts in September from American Girl for my daughter, during a great sale. I hid them as soon as the boxes came in … unfortunately, I hid them too well. Two days before Christmas I was still searching closets and attic spaces trying to figure out where I had stuffed them. And, those were big boxes … don’t even get me started on stocking stuffers I pick up for the months leading up the Christmas. Having a binder with all my “to do’s” has been a life saver. I even have a place on my “Gifts” checklist that I write where I placed the item – no more digging through closets trying to find my awesome hiding spots!

30 Days to Christmas

So, I have great news … for those of you who like to wait until around Thanksgiving to even think about Christmas there is a great new resource from the same people who made 100 Days to Christmas and recently I had the opportunity to preview a copy of 30 Days to Christmas – the Procrastinator’s Guide. Just like the 100 Days to Christmas eBook, this book is full of checklists and ideas to make your Christmas season stress free!

Just click on the book above and take a look! Look forward to counting down those 30 days to Christmas! What’s a tip you have for Christmas planning?

100 Days to Christmas {one of my favorite holiday resources ever}

One way I have found to stay completely sane during the holidays … taking those 100 days leading up to Christmas to craft, shop, and make plans for the holiday season. It really makes for a more relaxing, less stressful, holiday time.

I know there are tasks that you can not complete until December and, there are always parties to attend and a last minute gift or two to purchase but, to have the bulk of the planning and purchasing done before December 1st is the best feeling in the world. It allows for a true Advent season where the focus is on Jesus.

So, today I am sharing with you a resource I started using five years ago … what a blessing it has been!! I love all the lists and those daily email reminders. 🙂 Join me this season and have the most relaxed holiday season ever!

Look at what all is included, for just $8:

This eBook is a journey that begins on September 16, and leads you day-by-day toward a peaceful and meaningful holiday season. This manual is 145 pages of holiday tips and ideas, reminders, and activity suggestions. Also included are calendars and a companion workbook of 31 lists from ListPlanIt.com for

  • holiday planning (including Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas)
  • gift planning,
  • budgeting for the holidays,
  • holiday meal planning and preparation,
  • holiday party and event planning,
  • holiday details, such as cards, travel, gift wrap, stockings, and
  • more!

It is all you need to make this your best holiday season yet!

Valentine’s Day Crafting

Here are just a few of our Valentine’s Day crafting projects … I found some cute stamp sets at Papertrey Ink and I stamped the two cards featured here. The one above was just a test run for a card for my niece and nephew in Florida. All during Thanksgiving, my adorable 2 year old nephew would call Lexi “Foxy”. I think it had to do with the fact that she kept singing the song “What Does the Fox Say” – over and over to my 1 year old niece. 

Pictured below is the card I stamped for my husband. With all the winter weather we have had plenty of time to work on crafting! And, I have really enjoyed stamping again.

Pictured below is the Valentine’s Day “card” for Lexi’s classmates at CC. Owls are so in right now and we found this adorable idea on Pinterest. It is just a cardboard toilet paper tube – covered in scrapbook paper and dressed up to look like an owl. We stuffed them with treats and sealed them up at the bottom with Washi tape. Unfortunately, school was called off due to inclement weather … so we will look forward to distributing these next week at school.

Thanksgiving {2013}

This year we had what we could only call the Hallmark Thanksgiving … my parent’s invited us to join them in Asheville for Thanksgiving at their new home on top of a mountain. It was just the time away our family needed after a very rough few months.


We enjoyed spending time with family {6 out of 9 siblings were at Thanksgiving Dinner} and the kids loved playing with their cousins from Florida. My sister’s little ones are just 1 and 2 years old and absolutely adorable.


Even Maggie, our golden retriever, came along for our family holiday … she enjoyed countless hours outside being walking by many members of my family. She is now depressed after coming home to what she now must realize is a boring life.


And, what a blessing to be able to enjoy snow … which arrived the day before Thanksgiving. {Pictured above, the kids with my mom and dad and below, my parent’s new home}.

Easter {2013)


Easter 2013 will go down in the record books as the one where we were either recovering from or down with the stomach flu! After three years of virtually no illness other than a few sniffles here and there we succumb to this horrid norovirus strand going around. I was the last to end up with it on Easter Sunday – I thought I might actually get out without becoming infected but, alas that was not in the cards.


Thankfully, from Good Friday through Saturday we were all well enough to enjoy some of our Easter traditions. On Good Friday the kids made a cross and we added some of our sins to the cross – a symbol of what Jesus died for on the cross. On Saturday, we opened up the Easter Story eggs and the kids all did a great job helping to tell what each item stood for.


We colored Easter eggs using our very favorite method … crayola crayons on very hot eggs. The colors melt so beautifully and give you a lot more decorating options.


I love the fact that there is no messy dye to deal with or the smelly vinegar!


Lexi made a beautiful egg for a sweet child who we love and miss so much!


And, no Easter would be complete without resurrection rolls … which I don’t know if I will be able to stomach seeing ever again. Maybe a year from now …


Hope you had a wonderful Easter celebration – celebrating Jesus’ glorious resurrection!

Valentine’s Day {2013}

Valentine’s Day 2013 … my husband surprised our daughters and I with a dozen roses each on our seats in our car after church on Wednesday night. I put them all together in one big bouquet and we have enjoyed looking at them and they made for a nice centerpiece during our party.
Homemade cupcakes for our homeschool Valentine’s Day party.
Goodie bags and a group shot … 22 kids and 6 moms for a fun get together on Valentine’s Day {Pizza, Valentine Card exchange, and lots of games of tag}.