DIY Chocolate Syrup

As part of my effort to make much of what we eat and use myself and as part of our healthier eating habits (you can read my latest update on that here), I have been making chocolate syrup from scratch.

It's actually quite easy. I purchased a clear squeeze bottle for cheap at Walmart so I could see how much syrup is left but you could use any container you would like to store your syrup. I often only do half a recipe.

{photo credit: shutterbean via photopin cc}

DIY Chocolate Syrup
(recipe by 52 Kitchen Adventures)


1¼ cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup water
¼ tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract


1. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and cocoa powder and whisk briefly to break up any clumps.  
2. Stir in the water and salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.  Once the mixture reaches a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. 
3. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla.  
4. Store in the refrigerator.

Stockpiling: Choose One

If you are like me, you might be a tad bit obsessed with watching the TV show, Extreme Couponing. While a good portion of the show is staged and it has caused some stricter coupon rules, it is still fun to see some of the stockpiles. Some are way over the top and selfish. Some are a little more normal and generous. But since the show isn't called "Average Couponing," you have expect that you are going to see some over the top shopping and people on there.

The one thing that is accurate is that most deal hunters and coupons have a stockpile of some kind. Most of us know that most items go on sale every 6-8 weeks so really, our stockpiles only have to have enough in them to last until the next sale.

However, not everyone can or wants to start a stockpile of most the items they use. For those people, the best tip is to choose one.

Choose one item that you want to have stockpiled or choose one item that you always purchase when you can get it cheap, even if it is more than a 6-8 week supply.

For me, that is toilet paper. My goal is to never pay more than 42 cents for a double roll of 2-ply. Or no more than $5 for a 12-pack of 2-ply double rolls. My husband likes to pick on my for toilet paper hoard but for me, I don't want to pay a lot for something that gets used a lot but can only be used once. So when I can get it cheap with coupon, sale, or both, I buy it.

I obviously stockpile other things, but toilet paper is the one thing I am always on the hunt for.

There are actually a couple of good toilet paper coupons right now!

(Note: These link is my referral link. Read more here.)

Do you have one item that you are always looking to stock up on?

Stockpile Storage in a Small House

I live in a small house. I constantly feel cramped. It doesn't help that is also a fixer-upper split level ranch. So much of our house is living space not storage space, it makes the house feel smaller. The fixer-upper part just makes any house feel smaller.

However, I have managed to have a decent stockpile in the space I have. Not anything like you would see on that extreme couponing show, but decent for what we need.

First, I have the tops of my kitchen cabinets. It isn't ideal as I don't like the cluttered nature of it. But, it is space I have and use. I don't have much right now but I often have 6-8 bottles of juice, more cereal, etc. (Ignore my half painted cabinets. I'm making progress but it is sllllooooow.)

Second, I have the bottom of my pantry. One of the things I loved about this house when we were house shopping was the pantry cabinet next to the fridge. The bottom of it is deep and fairly tall. It's perfect for home canned items, extra condiments, pasta, etc.

{I also store personal care items like shampoo and toothpaste in the linen closet in the bathroom in a over-the-door shoe holder (not pictured).}

Lastly, I have a big room in the basement. It was originally a one car garage but someone years ago closed it in and turned it into a bedroom. It's quite the large room. We have a guest bed down there then a bunch of storage stuff thrown in.

Right now I store larger things like toilet paper down there. But eventually, we are turning it into two rooms. I drew where the wall is going on this picture as well as some lines to represent shelves. I'll probably put a row of shelves in the middle of the room as well. There are some shelves next to the closet that are not pictured. Once I have my storage room, I'll have more space for a stockpile....and stuff will be organized in there instead of just piled on the floor as it is now.

It will still leave us plenty of room in the half where the bed is to make an actual bedroom that will eventually be Abby's. You will have to walk in to Abby's room to get to the storage room as there is no good way to change that. That change may come later on. The wall will hopefully go up this winter!

There are other tips like using under the bed storage that I haven't found necessary...yet. As our family size increases and the need to have a bigger stockpile increases, that may change.

How do you store your stockpile? Do you have a lot of storage or make use of a little space?

Moments Like These

This morning I had every intention of sitting down to blog when we got home from grocery shopping.

But...plans changed.

You see, it was a gorgeous day outside and I had a little girl who was very excited about the fact that we finally had sand to put in her sandbox. Picture: Hyper active chihuahua

So instead of sitting inside and writing some post about stockpile storage or best coupons this week or an update on my word to live this year, I was outside, watching my daughter's pure joy at getting to scoop up her very own sand.

This is what I love about being a stay/work at home mom. Moments like these.

My Weekend

I know, I know. It's Wednesday. Why am I talking about my weekend? Mainly because I'm finally 100% functioning again. lol

Thursday had us driving down to a reherseal for a wedding. Abby was a flower girl in her uncle's wedding. But the wedding was no where near us so it involved traveling and staying out of town.

Friday was the wedding. Abby did a pretty good job walking down the aisle. She and the other flower girl did forget to drop their petals but oh well. At least they walked down the aisle without crying. :) Abby loved dancing until the music was so loud, it made her cry. I did ask the DJ to turn it down but he gave me attitude and refused. I still can't believe that.

Isn't she adorable!

Saturday we visited with some of Matt's out of state family then went down to Toys R Us. It was Abby's first visit. She loved it! We left only $35 lighter. She got a new seek and find book on clearance, a Thomas and Friends train track kit, and a new Magna-Doodle. She uses it in the car and competitions but her's broke. I couldn't find a new one locally. She also did a really good job visiting her grand-grandmother. It helped that we visited in the lawn, not inside the nursing home.

Sunday was church and then some swimming. Abby loves to swim!! I think the days of no or short naps due to the timing of the wedding, etc. caught up with her though. She laid down on the sofa to watch some Curious George after we got back from swimming and fell fast asleep.

Now we are just doing normal home things and lots of de-cluttering. It's amazing how clean freak and super organized me can let the house get cluttered. Matt's family will be over for dinner tomorrow night so it is a good "kick in the pants" to get some things done I keep putting off.

I am so glad we have a weekend off before 5 weekends in a row of lumberjack competitions.