Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Settling Down for a Long Winter's Nap...

I want to need to take some time off.

........It's the holiday season and I want to thoroughly enjoy it without the added stress of keeping up the blog. I don't want to worry that I am not writing or that my heart is just not in my writing. It's not fair to you, my readers. I want to post the very best content I can, off course...I think that's every blogger's objective.

        ........Buttercup and I are done with homeschool for the year, except for a few odds and ends we are trying to get finish up.

                                                       .........I have lots of baking to do which I am looking forward to.

                 .........I need the rest, the down time, the sit-on-the-couch-and-watch-a-movie time.

                                       .........I want to prepare some homeschool material for January.

..........I have a new learning product that I've been working on and I want to put the finishing touches on it so it's ready to be launched at the beginning of the year.

So here are some incredible Christmas/Holiday ideas I've come across on the web to hold you over for the next couple of weeks. Some of them are my own, but mostly I just love to share what other bloggers are doing because it always humbles me to see the amazing creativity out there. So jealous....

Hi It's Jilly is doing a 31 Days of Christmas Music on her blog. How fun!

I'm sharing the recipe for the Best Chocolate Bark EVER!.........

.......and my Advent Calendar idea!

christmas mantel ideas

Take a look at this elegantly decorated mantle at Home Stories A to Z

Check out this front entrance over at The Passionate Home.

I'm loving this easy to make treat for the holidays from What's Cooking, Love?

I wish you all a wonderful holiday season! And I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being on this journey with me. Thank you for reading my ramblings...... Thank you for commenting......Thank you for sharing!

See you in January!
Adventures of a Homeschool Mom

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The best chocolate bark EVER!

I hate to cook...

But I love to bake... especially during the holidays.

I've been on a baking frenzy over the last few days.

Several years ago at a family gathering I had the best chocolate bark EVER. And I just had to have the recipe. Lucky for me, the person who made the bark happens to be an amazing person and shared her recipe with me. I've been making Mrs. Hammond's chocolate bark ever since. I make it every year about this time and I bring it to parties, work gatherings, my kids bring it to school and give it to friends. Everyone loves it. No joke.

I just finished a batch and I can't stop eating it. Before I share this super easy recipe I want to give a shout out to Mrs. Hammond. She is my cousin's wife's mother (try to figure that one out!). She has the best outlook on life of anyone I have ever met.   Seriously.   It is a total joy to know her because she is so genuine and so giving.

Even though we are not technically related, I feel like we are family. Do you have someone like that in your life? Someone who just makes your day better? I hope you do. It's wonderful.

So here is Mrs. Hammond's chocolate bark recipe. I'm sure she would want you to have it!

The best chocolate bark EVER

  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • Saltine crackers
  • Chocolate chips
  • nuts (I use whatever I have, usually almonds or walnuts)

  • Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray it with PAM.
  • Cover the cookie sheet with a layer of saltine crackers.
  • In a sauce pan, melt the butter, then mix in the sugar.
  • Pour the butter and sugar mixture over the crackers.
  • Put it in the oven at 350 F for about 10 minutes until golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and spread the chocolate chips over the crackers.
  • Turn the oven off and place the cookie sheet back in for about two minutes, just to melt the chocolate.
  • Use a spatula to spread the melted chocolate over all of the crackers.
  • Sprinkle with chopped nuts.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. I usually leave it in the fridge overnight.
  • Remove from the foil and break into pieces.

Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

DIY wood projects

I live in an area that was affected by Hurricane Sandy. We don't live any where near the coast, so we didn't suffer the same kind of damage that the folks living in coastal towns did. What we got was a lot of wind, rain, downed power lines and trees.

We lost two trees in our yard, but luckily neither fell on the house, so no damage done, except for losing the trees.

After the storm, my husband, a very kind neighbor and I went out to assess the damage and decide how to proceed. Armed with work gloves, goggles, and a chain saw, we spent the day cutting down the trees. Branch by branch we worked tirelessly. By the end of the day, we were all exhausted and were left with a huge pile of branches that would hopefully be taken away by the township.

After the dust settled, I started to think about the wood we had sitting in our backyard. What a shame to let all of it go to wasted. What could I do? I'm not much of a DIYer or crafter, but I was excited at the thought of recycling, upcycling, something-cycling...

I went to the place I always go to get inspiration and ideas.....

.........a place that has yet to let me down

                                      ..... a place where people share their ideas, their knowledge, their own stories

....yes, I went to the internet!

And there I found inspiration, ideas, how-to's, much more than I had hoped or expected. I was more excited than ever at the possibilities!

The next part was the tricky part....getting my husband to help! After all, I cannot cut all of that wood by myself. I've used a chainsaw but I'm not very good at it and don't totally feel safe.

I told my husband my ideas and he just chuckled, but went along with it. We headed outside to pick out just what we needed.

My first project was inspired by Kendra, over at Creative Ambitions. I found her on Pinterest and I love her blog. She made a photo ladder using tree branches and I just love the rustic look.

Here is my version of it (definitely NOT as good as hers, but I love it!)

Photo Ladder

I still need to add the bottom picture

Next, I used branches on the windows to hang decorations!!

Shadow box

I had a wooden box and thought I could do something with it. I gave it a shot and I'm pretty happy with the outcome. 
I started with this box
I got some branches

I used a glue gun and this is what I got

On my wall

I still have more branches in my garage waiting for the next idea. If you have any, let me know!

Happy Adventures!!