Sweet Hot Chocolate – A Recipe

I’m so happy to welcome Jessie to The Domestic Fringe.  She blogs over at Dream and Differ where she talks about food, homeschooling, and decorating.  Be sure to check out her What I Wore Wednesday posts, because she always looks adorable.

In October she ran a series called 31 Days of Comfort Food.  That’s when I officially fell in love with her recipes.  This girl is a good cook!

Make sure you follow the link and go visit her blog.  I would hate for you to miss out.

There are few things that sweeten up a bitter-cold day like hot chocolate.
Creamy, smooth, rich hot chocolate; it can satisfy a troop of cold kiddos, or it can turn up the heat for your Valentine.
I am no stranger to the convenience of Swiss Miss, but for a special treat nothing beats the Real-Deal Hot Chocolate. This recipe makes enough syrup for a party sized batch of of hot chocolate. It would be perfect for a sledding party- just keep it warm in a crock pot. The syrup can be stored in the fridge for up to 10 days, which I love. The kids can easily mix themselves up a mug when they come in from playing in the snow. This recipe is adapted from Jan Karon’s “Mitford Cookbook.”
To make the syrup, you’ll need:
1 {11.5 oz.} bag of Nestle semisweet chocolate chunks
1-2 Tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 {15 oz.} can of sweetened condensed milk
1 cup boiling water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Combine all ingredients {chocolate chunks, cocoa, condensed milk, boiling water, and sugar} and melt in a medium saucepan over low heat.
  Stir till well combined.
 When everything is melted, remove from the heat and let the syrup cool.
Do not, in your greed, lick the still-hot spoon. You will burn your tongue… not that I would know anything about that.
 To make the hot cocoa, pour 2-4 tablespoons of the chocolate syrup into a mug. Pour piping-hot milk over the syrup and stir to combine. You can add more syrup according to your taste. Top the cocoa with marshmallows, whip cream, chocolate shavings… whatever your {sweet}heart desires!
Store the leftover syrup in an airtight container in the fridge. Or, put it in a pretty jar and share with a friend; it makes a great gift.

Hope you enjoy this sweet recipe!



Valentine’s Day Candle Holders – DIY

DIY Valentine Day Candle Mason Jar

The other day I mentioned that FringeKid and I went a little crazy with the glue gun.  Today I’m going to show you what we made.

DIY Valentine's Day Candle Holder

We spent zero dollars on making these jars.  We gathered up scraps of this and pieces of that from all around the house and then we set to work.

I generally wash and save spaghetti sauce jars and salsa jars.  Every now and then they come in handy.

So we raided my stash of jars and set to work.  Most of the ideas were FringeKid’s, because I honestly didn’t have my craft on.  Martha Stewart would have clucked her tongue in disapproval.

Valentine's Day DIY

We used heart shaped cookie cutters to trace hearts on a sheet of scrapbook paper and a book page.  Then we cut them out and modge-podged  them to the jar.  Nothing could be easier.

ribbon stripes on a candle holder DIY

If you’re not crafty, but want to make something with your kids for Valentine’s Day, I would definitely suggest getting yourself a pair of scissors, some glue, and a jar, because this is the craft for you.

I even think one of these jars filled with candy would make a cute teacher gift.  You could always paint the lid red and seal the jar back up.

vintage Valentine's Day print

You can get your free downloadable kissing booth print HERE.

Valentine decorations

Are you making any Valentine Day decorations or gifts?

I’d love to hear all about them.

Risking Hypothermia for You

I haven’t been warm since August and that seems like a really long time ago.  It’s been frigidly cold here on the fringe, so cold cars don’t like to start and people’s pipes burst. Twelve below zero is not for the faint of heart.

And today was our big warm up – thirty-six degrees and rain. Great.  Just great.

But you didn’t come here for a weather report, you came here to see what I’ve been wearing all week.  If I were completely honest, I would have taken a picture in my big, fluffy pink robe, because whether I am dressed for bed or for my day, the bathrobe goes on like a full body mitten.  There’s nothing like wearing head-to-toe fleece in January.  The fashion experts would never recommend it, but I would.

women's leather boots and boot socks

I wear these boots every single day.  I love them to bits, but I wish they were fur lined.  I am seriously considering buying a pair of furry boots for the really cold days.  I run a few degrees cooler than average and my feet are the first to freeze.

Any recommendations on really warm boots?

sweater and jeans winter outfitI think this outfit breaks a lot of fashion rules, and honestly I’m not wild about the sweater; however, it is extremely warm.  The sweater is wool, so I don’t mind if it makes me look bigger than normal.  I should have worn a necklace, but oh, well.

Here’s the big fashion no-no.  I am wearing boots and boot socks with jeans that aren’t skinny.  I know it’s against the rules, but when I find a pair of skinny jeans in husky, I’ll buy them.

I made another pair of boot socks by cutting the arms off an old sweater.  Such an easy and thrifty idea.

Sweater:  ? I forgot.  Shirt: Hand-me-down, Jeans: Kohl’s, Boots: Dr. Martens

colored jeans and chambray shirt

I felt as cold as I look.

Pants: Kohl’s, Shirts (both): Hand-me-Down, Necklace: a gift from my husband (years ago – purchased at a consignment shop)

colored jeans and statement necklace

Pants: Kohl’s, Sweater: Hand-me-Down, Jacket: Thrifted, Necklace: Francesca’s

I was watching ice fall from trees, thus explaining the dumb look on my face.

I like colored pants.  It may seem like you can’t wear them with a lot of things, but you can.  As far as I can figure, they go with everything.

And I had my statement necklace long before they were popular.  Just saying.  I think the fancy girls are copying me.

Ma Nouvelle Mode is hosting a special day all about how to wear colored jeans.  I’m not sure my pants are technically jeans, because they are corduroy, but I figure it’s close enough.

Here are a few ways I wear color on the bottom.  I generally dress very casually, because I live in a place where people wear pajamas to the grocery store.  Just sporting day wear makes you look all fain-cy.

colored denim 4 ways to wear jeans

Have you hopped on the fancy pants bandwagon?

What’s your favorite way to wear your colored jeans??

denim jacket and statemtn necklace2

That’s this week’s What I Wore Wednesday.  Join The Pleated Poppy and Ma Nouvelle Mode for lots of fashion inspiration.  They’ll help you shed the yoga pants and fluffy robes.

Well, maybe.

3 Things For A 13th Birthday

JC at Five Guys

Today my son is thirteen.  When I held him in my arms for the first time, I couldn’t really see ahead to this day, not even in my imagination.  Goodness, I couldn’t see ahead to solid foods.  I was afraid to give him his first bath and I didn’t know how to burp him correctly.

I loved him fiercely and I cried my eyes out over him.  All I really wanted him to do was to go to sleep, just for one night.  I always thought babies slept a lot.

JC in swing 001

I drank coffee until my nerves were frazzled and listened to others say that I just wasn’t acting like myself.  No sleep and wacked out hormones have a way of messing with me.  I was still the same person deep inside, but the outside was disguised by straggly hair and extra weight.  I wore the same denim skirt to church for one solid year.  Nothing else fit.

child on first day of preschool Scooby Doo backpack

Now, thirteen years layer, I’m back to me, the real me who sleeps through night and snoozes her alarm clock. My son?  He still doesn’t sleep through the night, but I stopped worrying about it long ago.  I quit reading books on how to get my baby to sleep and just waited for him to grow up.  Eventually they all do you know.


Now, today, he is a teenager.  I am the mother of a teenager.

That sobers me.

boy with a blue mustache

He grew up in his first six months of life.  He wasn’t a normal toddler; he was more like an old man in Bob The Builder sandals. I talked to him like a little person and he out-witted me at every turn. He really is the only person in my life who can wear me down to the point of giving up.  He is tenacious.

When he gets an idea, he follows through no matter what.  I cannot wait to see where that determination gets him, because he will do great things.  I know it.

My thirteen year-old loves in a way that cuddles and hugs and wants to be near.  He hates not being in the middle of all of us.  He just wants to sit by me.  I am smart enough to cherish these moments, because they won’t last, they can’t.  The days are fleeting.  By the next presidential election, he will be a driver, almost a voter.

The time it takes to grow from sleeplessness to voting is short.  I never really knew that until now.

Every morning I am greeted with a hug and his hugs don’t stop.  If I had to squish him into a box and choose a love language for him, it would time and affection.

My thirteen year old is a creator.  He has to be doing something, making something.  His mind is always working.  Sure he wants to build unrealistic things like robots that serve us drinks and follow him around, but I believe he could do it.  I believe he could do anything he sets his little mind to do.

The Help movie quote

He is a worrier, always thinking and wondering “what if”.  This is both good and bad.  It’s smart to be cautious, but there’s a time to throw caution to the wind and do greater things than he ever thought possible.  The world is much too big to need our worry.

It’s silly for me to think that thirteen won’t change things.  It has to.  It is a beginning and and an end, a step into a world unknown, sometimes so exciting every day seems to move mountains, and other days it is scary enough to want to curl back up into your two year-old self.

That’s the way it’s suppose to be; growing pains hurt.

If I could look my thirteen year-old boy in the eyes and tell him anything, it would be this.

birthday advice for a teenager

Be thankful because your life is a gift given to you by the creator of this universe.  You were loved long before you were named.  Each day you live is a blessing, for you and for those around you.  You make a difference by being in this world.  There is a plan and a purpose for your life that is so big, one day you’ll look back on it in awe and thanksgiving.  Be thankful for the good and the bad, because all those little things are what refine you, making you into the man God can work in and through.  Every moment is a time for thanksgiving.

Be prayerful, because every day you wake up, choices abound.  You won’t always make the right choice.  That’s part of life, of living and growing.  It will allow you to know sweet forgiveness and grace abounding.  Be in a state of prayer that is not just for you, but remember those around you.  They need your prayers as much as they need you.  Prayer isn’t empty or ritualistic; prayer is your lifeline, communication with your creator and savior. Prayer really does change things.

Be free son.  Jesus came to give you life and give it to you abundantly.  Don’t be tangled up in other people’s thoughts or desires for you.  Live each day free – free to follow God and chase your dreams – free to learn and make mistakes – free to love and to be loved.  Guard your freedom, because without it, life is small and shallow.

I don’t feel quite ready to be the mom of a thirteen year-old, but I couldn’t be happier or more thankful than I am to be called mom.

boy in Hawaiian shirt

Happy Birthday Fringeboy.

Devil’s Surprise

Hello Confetti

My mother is on a mission to get even with me for some contrived childhood offenses, at least that is the only reasonable explanation for filling my son’s birthday card with a pound and a half of confetti.

birthday balloon confetti

At first I thought these little balloons were cute, but two days later, they are the devil’s surprise.

The balloons migrated into every corner of the house.  I stepped into the shower and balloons   were there.  I walked into the laundry room and balloons were there.  I sat on the couch and balloons were there.  I served dinner in the dining room and balloons were there.  You get the point – balloons are everywhere!

FringeMan came home the other night and plopped into his “man chair” (he doesn’t have a whole cave) and said, “Everywhere I look I see sparkles.”

Birthday confetti

The other thing you see is wood chips.  Please, don’t even get me started on those.  They may be worse than confetti.

Hello Girl’s Day

FringeKid and I had most of Saturday to ourselves, so we declared it a Girl’s Day and decided to get our craft on.

I told you about my big ideas for celebrating the holidays and making more of decorating (yadda, yadda, yadda), but my budget didn’t line up with my plans, so we scrounged the house for supplies that could be contrived as worthy of a holiday that is hearts and flower and candy.

kitchen table turned craft table

Turns out our imaginations may be more suited to spring, but I figure we can reuse the decorations for Easter if we must.

You’ll have to wait to see our creations.  Sorry about that.

Hello Chocolate Dipped Pretzels

Winter has its’ hazards.  Creative snacking is one of them.  FringeKid found a box of melting chocolate and well, the rest is history.

chocolate dipped pretzels in a pan

There’s something about salty and sweet that creates the perfect mix of pleasure food.

Sunday I listened to a sermon that left me with this thought.

Heaven is going to be a grand calorie-free buffet. 

I’m not sure if that’s Bible or an older preacher longing for a better dinner, but it’s a nice thought just the same.

Hello Singing and Dancing

FringeKid cranked up the music and grabbed a microphone.  We had a regular party going on.

singing in broom microphone

And if white men can’t jump, white chicks can’t dance, at least this white chick, but we gave quite the performance anyway.  Life is too short not to let your crazy out and have a little fun.  You can quote me on that.

Hello Redneck Gourmet

He was back for a repeat performance, only I like this dish a whole lot better than the canned sausages.

vanilla cake with chocolate icing

My kids say I over-instruct when they are cooking, so I did not even set one little toe into the kitchen.  They managed to bake a wonderfully moist cake.  I suspect it was all the olive they used.  In the words of my mother, “That’s one expensive cake.”

And now it’s your turn.  What are you saying Hello to today?

I’m joining Lisa Leonard and many others in saying Hello to Monday.


Sunday’s Favorites {around the web} #1

This week I read some amazing blogs from all around the world.

I thought I would share my favorites.

must reads

Culture or Bible? by CBC Portugal Missions

31 Days to a Heart of Hospitality by Edie from Life in Grace {Loved her 31 series on hospitality.  It was my favorite series.  Now she’s offering an eBook, so don’t miss out!}

One thrifted dress worn 7 ways (and all of them beautiful) by Lisa Leonard

Warm Your Heart Mantel by Dream & Differ

One Thing We’re Waiting for and Why it’s Time to Stop by Emily Freeman

Can you Imagine?  By Jamie The Very Worst Missionary

Arm Knitting by Broken Poet


Here’s what happened on The Fringe.

I told a personal story about When Going Means Walking in The Rain.

I introduced you to my Redneck Gourmet.

I shared The Cure for Dry Skin.

I participated in Five Minute Friday.  Here’s my five minutes on “Again“.

I talked about Some Changes on The Domestic Fringe.

Can I just say that I appreciate every comment and Tweet yesterday?  I needed all those words of encouragement and I am more excited than ever to be sharing each day with you on The Domestic Fringe.  I can’t wait to see what the future holds!  I know God has a plan and purpose and I want to get on board.

Do you have “must reads” to share?  Leave a link in the comments.


Changes on The Domestic Fringe

You may have noticed that this blog went through an identity crisis this week.  It’s because I am gearing up for something big (read on and you’ll find out what) and I’m trying to find my way in this wonky world of blogging.


I think I changed my header four times before settling on this one.  If you hate the little house and bird, please don’t tell me, because I cannot bring myself to create one more lousy design.  I actually like this header and think it’s going to be around for a long time.


Note:  Everything creative is subject to my whims and weather conditions.  The longer it remains below zero, the more time I have to play around, because you know I’m not going outside in this wicked weather.


I know the entire layout is slightly altered and may be a bit difficult to navigate, so let me help you.

  • The comments button is at the top of the post.  I don’t like this any more than you, but I can’t change it.  Sorry.  Please know I appreciate every single comment and I read them all.  I’m attempting to be better at responding to all your comments.  It’s a goal.
  • The pages are at the top, above my header graphic.  I changed up the “About Me” page.  It’s not exactly what I want it to be, but as in everything, I am growing and learning.  I also added a “Begin Here” page for newbies to The Domestic Fringe.  Please let me know if it’s helpful.  You’ll find my love story, “Fringe Love” at the top along with the “Shop” page.
  • Please click on the buttons in the sidebar if you want to follow along on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.


If you follow along with me in a reader, you may have noticed that you can no longer read the full post in your reader.  It provides a few lines and a link over to my blog.  Some of you have emailed me to ask if I can change this.  The answer is yes and no.  Please let me explain.

My word for 2013 is Better.  I’m working towards doing better in so many areas of my life.  One of them is blogging and another is finances.  

As a team, my husband and I need to earn more money.  I know the trend these days is cutting back and living with less, but honestly, we went that route long ago.  I guess in a way, without even knowing it, we were financially trendy a long time ago.  We have worked and reworked our budget and there’s nothing left to cut.  We are responsible for our family, and the ugly truth is that living takes money.  In order to meet our needs, we must earn more.

Grab this button!Copy, paste, and link back to http://www.thedomesticfringe.com

Grab this button!
Copy, paste, and link back to http://www.thedomesticfringe.com

I’ve gone the traditional route and looked for a job.  I seem to be striking out in my local job market; however, I have something fabulous growing and blooming right before me.  It’s something I love.  It’s not work to me, because I enjoy every moment of it.  It’s my blog, The Domestic Fringe.

By the end of February I have plans to transition this blog from a WordPress hosted site to a self-hosted site.  This will allow to monetize my blog.

I know some of you just checked out, but please know, I only want things to change for the better.  I’ll still be writing about the same things – the ordinary, the daily, the humorous, and sometimes the ugly, but I hope to have sponsors and partner with companies and brands I love.  I intend to do everything I can to ensure this transition works for both of us.

I know it’s a risk.  I know only a few make it in blogging.  I know my stats aren’t big enough and my talent isn’t great enough, but I also know God gave me a special gift in this blog.  That gift is you.

I love the community and the opportunity to know you better, to make you laugh or think.  I love when you take the time to send me an email or leave me a comment.  I love when someone says “That just made my day.” 

For me, that’s what blogging is all about.  And if I can earn an income while enjoying this community we’ve built, all the better.

I have to at least give it a try.

So the answer to your question, whether I can show my entire post in your blog reader, is yes.  I can.

However, I have over 700 subscribers who never, ever show up in my stats.  Although my personal success as a blogger doesn’t lie in how many people click on my blog, my financial success does.  Your taking a second to click the link in your reader and land on the post you want to read would double my monthly stats, making me more attractive to the companies and brands I desire to work with.

Is it selfish of me to ask you to follow a link?  Yes. 

I just hope you understand my heart in all this.  There’s a reason I’m being a pain in your butt.

Do you forgive me?

If you’d like to help me and support The Domestic Fringe, please just keep reading and share the posts you love.  I covet a Tweet or a Pin or a Like on facebook.

Thank you for being part of this community.  Thank you to those who read and love and support me each and every day.  I wouldn’t be blogging without you.

If you have any questions or concerns, please leave them in the comments (button at the top of this post) and I will be more than happy to answer them.

Thank you so much for understanding and supporting me.