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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Summer Wrap Up {2014}

This is it … the last days of summer for our family! It always goes by so fast and yet, other days I yearn for the school year and structure it brings to our day and week.

So here is a recap of our summer and the fun we had …

The summer began with lots of swimming and fun with friends!

Summer Post 2We had a special lunch with a very dear friend who has been Lexi’s tutor for the last four years. It was a sad good-bye as Julia and her husband move to Florida. Though we promised to visit their ocean cottage someday soon! Until we meet again our dear friend … we will always see you as our miracle worker!

Then it was off to Asheville, NC to our family’s mountain home. We spent a fun 4th of July with lots of my siblings. And, the girls brought along one of their best buds. We saw lots of bear!! And, enjoyed seeing what fireworks look like from the top of a mountain looking down into the towns.

We returned from Asheville and the very next day we were off to the airport to meet our French foreign exchange student, Nicolas, who we were hosting for three weeks. Our time with Nic was so much fun! I tutored him in English and he taught us all about life in a small village in France. He even taught the girls the proper way of pronouncing so many of the ballet terms they have been hearing and saying wrong for years. Devin and Nic had a blast playing video games and hanging out – while the girls were off dancing every day. Nicolas is a great soccer player and we enjoyed watching the World Cup Games with him – more new experiences for our family as we are not “big” into as almost everyone in the world else calls it “futbol”. We also had a fun outing to the World of Coca Cola and The Varsity. It seemed all too soon we were heading back to the airport and saying “good-bye” to Nic. Thanks Nic for being a great student and for your invitation to visit your family next summer!

The month of July was also consumed with dancing … dancing … and more dancing. Both Ava Mae and Lexi spent over 100 hours in a summer dance intensive. They learned so much, made great friends, and are looking forward to going back next year. It was fun carpooling with two other families! The craziness that went on every day in the car was epic. Big decisions were made too during July – Lexi and Ava Mae were both accepted into a ballet company and we made the hard decision to move out of our current ballet program and on to a new path.

And, as if our summer wasn’t jam packed with fun … we added sheep to the mix. That’s right for five days we were sheep “farmers” or at least that is how our 9 year old daughter saw it. We were actually renting the sheep to clear our our backyard of all the ivy and random plants that had sprung up. We loved having the sheep (well except for that one morning when a couple of them escaped and one ended up on my deck eating my flowers but, that is just all part of the experience, right). These sheep are just one of several flocks that visit homes and properties all over the Atlanta area clearing out overgrowth – they eat everything except Azaleas. Just watching the sheep herding dogs in action when they dropped off and picked up the flock was amazing! We also go daily visits by one of the shepherds and his sweet herding dog – who is still learning the ropes!

We began August with celebrating 24 years of marriage … can’t believe it is the big “25” next year!

We also celebrated Devin turning “13” years old … we are officially parents of a teenager. So thankful, for the young man he is growing into. His sense of humor and creativeness are just so refreshing! He is a great big brother to two sometimes crazy sisters! And, he takes it all in stride.  Just can’t believe we are here already … I say it all the time but, truly, where does the time go? Happy 13th, Devin!! Love you so much!!

And, just because I have a hundred pictures of the sheep … I have to include one last parting shot. Hoping you had a great summer!!

5 Fun Beach Activities

 It’s that time of year when so many of us will hit the beach for some sun and fun but, what happens when your kids have had enough swimming or sand castle building for the day or when the sunny skies turn to grey! Just a little bit of planning when you pack for the beach can make your life so much more peaceful. I know the last thing I want to hear on vacation is, “Mom I’m bored”.

Here are five fun ideas, with minimal supplies …

  • Memory Jar crafted from beach sand, shells, and other found objects. {Supplies to pack: small mason jars or jars you may have saved up – 1 for each child}
  • Stepping Stone crafted from beach sand, shells, rocks, even a magnet from the local souvenir shop. {Supplies to pack: aluminum take out containers, Plaster of Paris (don’t bring the whole bag just enough for your craft), Mod Podge}
  • Seashell Necklace this craft is fun or boys and girls, you can easily use a shell, shark tooth, or unique rock you have found on the beach {Supplies to pack: 22 gauge colored wire, colored leather cord, needle nose pliers}
  • Seashell Mobile easily crafted from just a few supplies – seashells and driftwood – what a unique lasting memory of your beach vacation {Supplies to pack: string, and an optional cordless drill with a small bit – in case you want to drill holes in the driftwood}
  • Beach Themed Square Frame a fun way to preserve that special picture from the beach is in a beach themed frame {Supplies to pack: square wooden frame, light blue paint and paintbrushes, hot glue gun, 22 gauge silver wire}

Hope these ideas help you to have a fun beach vacation! For more crafty fun at the beach, follow me over on Pinterest!