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The Easiest Homemade {Real} Chocolate Syrup Ever

It’s a little bit hard to actually call this a recipe since it’s really so simple, but when you’re a mom trying to find ways to incorporate real food in fun ways into a child’s diet, and you find a simple solution, you just have to share it!

My kids love chocolate milk. Most kids do, right? Those store-bought chocolate milks, though, are full of ingredients that we don’t feed our children, and the chocolate syrups are just as bad. There are quite a few coffee recipes out there that use cocoa (or cacao) and pure maple syrup, so I started experimenting one day, and this is the result — an amazingly simple chocolate syrup recipe with all real ingredients that mixes completely into milk (cow, almond, soy, coconut) and coffee, and it tops desserts beautifully, too!

Just two ingredients: dark cocoa or cacao powder and real maple syrup.Measure 3/4 cup of maple syrup in a sauce pan, add 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder.Heat it over medium heat while whisking until it’s just warm enough for all the powder to dissolve. Set it aside, and let it cool to room temperature.Pour it into a syrup jar or a squeeze bottle and keep it in the refrigerator door. (Our syrup jar came from Target.)When you’re ready for chocolate milk, just pour the amount of syrup that you like into your glass of milk and mix it in. Or, if you have a craving for a coffee house mocha, brew up a cup of coffee and stir in some homemade chocolate syrup with your half and half. Yum!You can do all sorts of things with this syrup: serve it with chocolate chip pancakes, pour it on chocolate sundaes, drizzle it over chocolate cake. That’s a lot of chocolate, isn’t it? Can you ever really have too much?

Around the Block with Patchwork Posse: Block #8

A whole week without blogging! It’s been quite a while since my blog posts were that far apart. I promise that I have been busy behind the scenes … working on PDF pattern updates, readying new patterns for testing, planning for Spring Quilt Market. I did find time for block #8 in the Patchwork Posse Around the Block Round Robin, though! This week’s block is a wonderful traditional one from A Quilting Life: the Churn Dash.

Around the Block with Patchwork Posse: Block #7

Yay! I’m over halfway through the Patchwork Posse Around the Block Round Robin. I think this is the longest that I’ve ever stuck with a quilt-block sew-along … only five more blocks to go!

This week’s block, The Double Diamond, was designed by Ellen of The Long Thread. This one was a bit of a challenge for me, but I made it through, and I adore how it turned out!

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DIY Framed Fabric Bulletin Board

This is a simple and quick project that is as pretty as it is practical! It’s a great way to showcase a favorite piece of fabric, and you can make it any size you like. To see the one above in our newly re-decorated boys’ room, just click right here: All Around the World Boys’ Room.

The supply list:
a frame (We found ours at a thrift store.)
a piece of foam board slightly larger than the frame
a piece of fabric large enough to cover the the foam board and wrap around to the back
duct tape
picture hangers (I used D-ring hangers on ours.)Slide your empty frame over the piece of foam board and shove the foam board tightly into one corner. One top and one side should be firmly up against the frame opening. Use a pencil to trace the other side and the bottom onto the the foam board. You’ll have to slide the pencil tip up under the edge of the frame opening and angle it slightly. You want the foam board to fit tightly into the frame so be sure to trace right up against the opening.Remove the frame and use a craft knife and straight edge to cut the foam board along the lines you traced. Once your foam board is cut, check the fit inside the back of the frame before moving on. The foam board should fit snugly inside the frame.Trim your fabric so that you have at least a few inches to fold up and over on each side of your foam board piece.
Spread your fabric out in front of you with the wrong side up. Center the cut piece of foam board on top of the fabric. Wrap one long edge up over the foam board and duct tape it in place. (I know it seems silly to use duct tape, but it works! And, it allows you to easily switch out the fabric whenever you’d like.) Wrap the other long edge up and tape it, too.Wrap the short ends up just like you would wrap a gift and tape them in place, as well.Make sure that your fabric is taped securely.Press the fabric-wrapped foam board into the back of the frame. Attach hangers. Hang it up on the wall and display your treasures! Do note that if you pin and unpin things on this board often, you may have to replace the foam board since the holes don’t self-heal. These bulletin boards have worked really well in our home, though, and I love how easy they are to switch out whenever the urge strikes!

All Around the World Boys’ Room

We’ve been working on decorating the room that Charlie and Jamie share for months now, and it’s finally done! I think it turned out so well! (I sort of want to just go stand in the doorway and enjoy it’s finished-ness. ¬†Am I the only one who does that?)

My husband, Ray, has this ever-growing collection of vintage globes, and since we’ve run out of room for them elsewhere, we thought they’d make a great jumping-off point for the decor in our boys’ room. We added maps to the theme because there are some amazing kid-friendly ones, and what mom could resist making her child’s room as educational as it is fun? The boys love their new room, and I’m hoping that it can grow with them for a few years!Ray and I worked together on the wood-building in here. He did the majority of the construction work while I did the sanding, painting and staining, and we did the final installation together. Ray’s such a great sport when I start throwing ideas out at him or emailing him Pinterest links.The huge box in the corner between the two beds is just painted MDF. (I think it’s so funny that it’s enormous and takes up a ton of room, but the room is so much more wide open with this layout than it was before when we had the two beds side by side.) The giant letters are simple 1x3s, cut at Lowes, sanded and stained by me, then assembled with metal braces and hung with D-ring picture hangers. (I used a whole lot of D-ring picture hangers in this room!) The caricatures that we had done of the boys at our local education store last year make perfect wall art in this corner. (Except for the frames, they were free!)

Each of the boys got a wall-mounted book rack above the bed, plus hanging stuffed-animal storage. Those are just window-box wire baskets from Lowes. The book racks were made using a modified version of these plans from Ana White: Flat Wall Book Shelves. Ours are obviously a lot simpler, but they work well in this room. The maps mounted over each bed were a bigger project than I originally thought they would be, but so worth the extra work. Lesson learned: doing a bit of research before jumping into a project will save you lots of work and a few dollars later! I’ll have a basic tutorial for how we did the maps for you later this week.On Charlie’s side of the room, we added a row of time zone clocks.Seven-year-old Jamie had this great idea for the clocks. Instead of putting the cities under the clocks, he asked if we could put framed pictures of our loved ones who live in those time zones under them. How cool is that? And, he’s seven! I went a tiny step further and printed the pictures on top of maps of their cities. (This might be my favorite thing in the whole room.)The clocks are simple $5 ones from Target. They’re perfect for little ones who are learning to tell time, though, because they have the numbers printed for the minutes, as well as the hours.

Back on Jamie’s side of the room, is our hanging feature. I like the added interest that you get by hanging something from the ceiling in a room, in kids’ rooms especially. When we were tossing around ideas, we considered disassembling some of the globes we have that are in poorer shape and constructing a mobile of sorts. In the end, though, since this room will be inhabited by little boys who just can’t resist the urge to bat around something hanging from the ceiling, we went with soft and safe inflatable globes instead.I was on the hunt for fabrics for this room for quite some time, so when I ran across the Detour fabric line by Bo Bunny for Riley Blake, I was thrilled! Isn’t it absolutely perfect for this room! Perfect! And, my sweet friends at Riley Blake Designs were so kind to send us enough for curtains, pillows and a great little framed bulletin board. I love how adding a few simple handmade items in coordinating fabrics pulls a room together. I knew if I was going to get this room done before my boys went away to college, I need to forego making the quilts myself, so I purchased the quilts from Overstock.com and threw in some accent pillows instead.On the opposite side of the room are the boys’ dressers. They’re simple, unfinished Tarva chests from IKEA that I may decide to stain or paint at some point, but for now natural works.The artwork over Charlie’s dresser is a set of framed printables from Willow Lane Prints.And, over Jamie’s dresser is the framed fabric bulletin board that I mentioned earlier. I’ll have a tutorial for it right here tomorrow! It’s a super quick and really simple project that adds a great little splash of fun to a room — a great practical way to feature a favorite fabric.Here’s one last peek at our Around the World Boys’ Room on the way out the door!What do you think? Have you decorated a child’s room with a specific theme? Our teenage son’s room is up next here, and he’s asked for us to use steam punk inspired decor!

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