Little Updates and Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix


Much, much business is happening around here lately, as I have no doubt is happening at your house as well!

First a quick homeschooling update. When we started this journey a little over eight months ago, I was really excited to do it but I honestly wasn’t sure how it was going to work out. I had the best intentions and the best books, but that alone will only take you so far, right? Well, I am very happy to report that since we have started working with a local independent study program and doing a fairly even mix of Canadian and American curriculum, the kids are doing even better than expected! Wee One #2 started 2nd grade this year, but at the rate she has been going, she is fast tracking through it and will end this school year finishing 3rd grade. Next fall, she will likely be challenged enough by the 4th grade work to keep working at a steady pace through it and not fast track again. Our 7th grader is progressing ahead of schedule but instead of fast tracing through to 8th grade, he is spending his extra time exploring some of his lessons more in depth than the textbooks go. It’s been a really amazing to see how they learn at home and with each other.

I have been asked about our littlest one, and what she gets up to while the others are working. Truthfully, I have folders and folders of neat activities I have been saving to post about. We make play doh every other day, we conduct a lot of mini science experiments and she is learning her letters and numbers by sight. She is learning something that is normally an epic problem in households with a busy toddler – she is learning patience! Since I spend so much time working and crafting and reading and just being with her, she knows that if I need to step away for 5 minutes and help one of the other kids, that I really will be right back. She used to be on the verge of a fit every time I had to walk away from her and now? She just continues on with whatever it is we were doing until I get back (not that I’m ever really more than across the room during school time anyway), but it’s nice to see.

Thanksgiving in Vegas was such a blast we have all decided it’s our new go-to for a random family weekend getaway. If we can’t hop in the car and visit our family, we may as well hop in and have a super fun weekend (& visiting our friend Nichole and all her kids is a serious plus too)!

This year we were lucky enough to be sent an Elf on a Shelf from Santa himself!! The girls have been so excited each morning when they get up to see what she has been up to! I will devote a blog post this week to our first week or so with her. This of course has meant a lot of silly late night insanity with my husband preparing for our little elf’s arrival! Hilarious.

There’s also been more holiday baking going on between Thanksgiving and today than ever before in previous years – I even started on my crazy complicated cookies. You know how much I love to bust out the ruler and egg wash, right?! Usually, I have my girlfriends around to sample new cookies and plenty of family members on both sides and even kids and teachers at school to pawn the sweets off on. Here though, there is considerably less and I am eating waaaay more than I should. However, I have joined a local mommy group and they have been the happy recipients of some treats already so it’s looking up. 😉

Years ago, I came across a recipe for homemade hot chocolate mix and then last year my girl Sammie made homemade instant cake mix and I’ve been searching for just the right recipe this season. Mason jars filled with hot chocolate mix and tied with a cute ribbon are a simple but still sweet gift to give to people you might not know well but see ALL. THE. TIME. Like the FedEx guy (even though he’s always kinda surly) or the UPS guys (who is always super nice). This recipe is crazy rich – which is perfect for the holidays, right?!

This recipe filled 6 15oz mason jars, we saved one for home and we are keeping the other 5 around for gifting.

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix – via Just a Pinch

7 cups non-fat powdered milk
1lb confectioner’s sugar
2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups powdered non-dairy creamer*
2 cups mini marshmallows
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cups mini white chocolate chips
*you can choose a flavored version but it might compete with the chocolate unless it’s hazelnut

Sift together the powdered milk, confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder, and non dairy creamer.
Now add the mini marshmallows and chocolate chips! See? So easy! Now just fill your jars and voila! Prepare a cup the same as you would any other cup of instant hot chocolate, by warming up a cup of water or milk and adding more or less scoops to taste.
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