polar express hot chocolate 1

Have you watched the Polar Express yet this year? It’s one of our absolute favorites.

Since it’s been so ridiculously cold {and snowy} these past few mornings, I thought it’d be fun for the kids to wake up to a hot, steaming cup of cocoa as they pad around in their jammies getting ready for school.


It was unreal. UNREAL how good it was! Rich, creamy, and ridiculously good.

insanely decadent

{I’m sure there were about a million calories in each cup, but so completely worth it!!}

snowflake marshmallows

I added snowflake marshmallows from William Sonoma and let them melt a little {I see they’re sold out online. these also would be fantastic}, though I sure would love to try making some homemade ones soon.

Anyone have a good marshmallow recipe?? Do share!

polar express hot chocolate

Calories per serving: ummmm....probably about a million. But oh-so-worth

polar express hot chocolate


  • 1.5 cups of heavy cream
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)
  • 2 cups of bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 6 cups of milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. In a large pot over low heat, combine all of the above ingredients.
  2. Stir regularly for 30-40 minutes until chocolate is fully melted and incorporated with other ingredients.
  3. If you’re making this for a party, you could add all of the above ingredients to a crockpot a few hours before guests arrive {just provide a ladle and mugs and let them serve themselves!}.


I initially tried this in the crockpot and had it cook overnight. Did NOT work. Could have been our high altitude here in Denver, I'm not sure {the boiling point is a lot lower here. so perhaps even low was too hot for that many hours?}.

Anyway, if you do use your crockpot for this recipe, only do it a few hours prior as recipe suggests!

{originally found on honeyandfitz.com}

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take joy-signature-new-pink

Today is a big day for us.

Three years ago today, we got a phone call from our adoption agency, letting us know that the US Embassy was ready to meet with us so we could bring Imani home!!

{she was oh-so-sick and malnourished}

Our meeting was to be on Monday so we needed to fly out Saturday morning to make it in time {and that meant buying last-minute tickets to Africa on the busiest traveling weekend of the year. awesome}.

My sweet friend Brandi, who’s a Major in the Air Force sent out an email to all her commercial pilot friends {and anyone she could think of to help us get a flight so last minute that didn’t cost about a years salary. not really. but the fares were ridiculous!}.

God was looking out for us and provided Buddy Passes, but because of poor weather, engine issues, and flight cancellations, we were taken all over the US before finally flying to Dubai and on to Ethiopia.

I may have even raced, elbows out, off the plane blocking another gentleman who was also trying to run to the counter first, knowing there were only two seats on the one and only flight left to Chicago, which was the only one that would be able to get us to Dubai in time to catch our Ethiopia Air flight. Not my finest moment.

But I won.

Ben & I HAD to make that flight!!!

We barely made it in time for our appointment with the Embassy. {{phew!}} Talk about nerve wracking!!!

And she was ours to bring home.

{imani’s gotcha video}

What an emotional week that was. God is so good.


Imani, we love you. You are amazing and goofy and sweet and spicy. We are so blessed to be your mommy & daddy!

You are our sweet angel.


{or according to you, our “princes ballerina angel”}

We love you.


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christmas cards

I was online the other day looking around at Christmas cards. Oh goodness, where to start…there are so many cute ones!

I ended up on Etsy, thinking perhaps I just wanted to print some myself when I came across this card:

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Oh be still my heart, this girl has turned Africa into Joy. And there’s a heart over Ethiopia.

I need to know her. {and I need this card customized!!}

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As I scrolled through all the different cards in her shop, I fell deeper and deeper in love, knowing not only are these cards gorgeous, but Ashley has designed them specifically in hopes to use the money in helping bring their 2nd child home from Ethiopia.


{I love all the African influence}


Have you decided on you’re Christmas cards yet? These are just my favorites, Ashley has so many more options in her shop.


The cards are completely customizable, whether it’s color, text or something else you’re seeing in your mind’s eye.

After she sends you the approved proof, you can have it printed at Costco, Shutterfly, or even your own home. Crazy easy.


And truly, wouldn’t you love to know that you’ve helped a family bring this little boy, Solomon “N” into their home?! Just because you ordered a card through her?

{and maybe even spread the word about their fundraiser??}

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My heart aches knowing how hard the wait is! Such a precious family.

{excited to now know you, Ashley!!}

Rippke family

And can you believe their daughter is also named Elsa? So fun.


Ashley also makes lots of other beautiful designs including name graphics and adoption or birth announcements.


Would you like to know more about their story?

Check out their blog, Lifted From the Water {such an incredible name. taken from Exodus 2:10 – “The child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. And she named him Moses, and said, “Because I drew him out of the water.” }.

And definitely head over to her Etsy shop, by the same name: Lifted From the Water.

. . . . . . . .

Would you scroll down ’till you see the little Facebook icon?

Lets Share this link and get the word out about this sweet family & their adoption fundraiser! Lets help get Solomon home!!

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crockpot chicken noodle soup

Our weather here in Denver has finally {fiiiiiiinally} gotten cold.

In fact, it’s gotten REALLY cold.

chicken noodle soup

So yesterday morning when I saw it was only 13 degrees outside {and snowy}, I decided it was the perfect day for a bowl of chicken noodle soup…in the crockpot {aka the best invention ever}.

chicken noodle soup 7

I was going off a photo I’d saved from awhile back. Not sure where it was from, but there was no recipe. Bummer.

chicken noodle soup 6

So I improvised, crossed my fingers, and made my own.

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Thankfully, it ended up incredible. I think Abreham had 3 big bowls.

Simple. Quick prep. Delicious.


crockpot chicken noodle soup

crockpot chicken noodle soup


  • 5 chicken breasts {I used frozen and tossed 'em in after I made breakfast in the morning}
  • 3 containers of chicken stock {more or less depending on your crockpot size}
  • 1 package of fresh thyme, rosemary, & sage
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 2 cups sliced celery
  • 1 package noodles {I used egg noodles}
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Cut carrots, celery, and onion and place into crockpot along with the rest of the ingredients, minus the noodles.
  2. Cook on Low for 6-8 hours.
  3. Approximately 1 hour before serving, shred chicken and add noodles.
  4. Remove the big branches of herbs, serve and enjoy!
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scrolly - rose

…perfect for a cold day.

chicken noodle soup 1

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