Chatting Over Chocolate

Friday, February 16, 2018

Five Loves on Friday

Happy Friday, friends!  I hope you all enjoyed a lovely Valentine's week!  I'm looking forward to sharing a handful of loves from mine.  Let's get right to it!

{Today's Loves are listed chronologically.}

One  //  Celebrating Family

My Aunt Ednah hosted a party in honor of my mom and another aunt who also turned 60 recently. We enjoyed a sweet evening in together over a buffet of comfort food she’d prepared, followed by the highlight of any party for me, chocolate cake!  I don’t see this side of my family all that often so it was nice to catch up and share a few laughs!

Two  //  I’m grateful that my dad is safe after his vehicle caught on fire. 
To make a long story short, which as many of you know, is not one of my strengths ;) ... 

As my dad was driving home from work this week his vehicle was running really hot, and began smoking.  He pulled over, put the hood up, & found that it was on fire!  While waiting on the fire department's arrival he used snow to slow it from spreading.  A roadside assistance truck just happened to be traveling down the interstate in the opposite direction, saw the smoke, and came to my dad’s aid.  He was able to use the equipment on his truck to extinguish the fire quickly.  I am so grateful he received almost immediate assistance and that it didn’t become a much more serious situation!  This daddy’s girl is praising God that my dad walked away (or rode away in our car while his vehicle was being towed, rather) safely! 

Three  //  Olympic Fun

We have really enjoyed watching the Olympics this week!  The highlight for me was seeing Shaun White cry in his mama's arms after his gold medal earning final run!

If you follow along on Instagram, you heard what sport I'm currently training for...


...a girl can dream, right? ;)

Four  //  Valentine's Day 2018

Valentine's Day got off to a sweet start with my favorite breakfast, chocolate iced donuts!

I still play with my food ... Hidden Mickey!

The girls and I were invited to my mom's daycare Valentine's Day party.  We enjoyed pizza and goodies, crafts, and plenty of cuteness while swapping valentines with the little ones there!

We returned home for an afternoon of Hallmark movies and sweet treats!

Jason + Brenda + Chocolate = Happiness!

It's hard to believe this was the 20th Valentine's Day Jason and I celebrated together!  He is still fighting illness, so we enjoyed a cozy night in comfy clothes, savoring our favorite Thai takeout by the glow of the television.  I've come to realize even less than ideal holidays are an absolute gift!  I'm so thankful to have had 20 happy heart days with my Forever Valentine, in sickness and in health!  

Not the best pic, but trust me, it was scrumptious! 

I surprised him with something reminiscent of gifts I often gave him in our early days of dating and marriage.  It didn't cost a dime, but this "book of love" came straight from the heart.  Here's a peek at the cover page:
Inside the "book" I gushed over my man and talked about things we do each day to show each other love.  While perhaps sometimes overlooked, these are the traditions that are ours alone and make us "us".  I loved creating every last page, and thoroughly enjoyed the smiles that spread wide across my Love's face as he read it!

Five  //  The Steadfast Love of God

There is a lot going on, both in the world and perhaps in our own personal lives too, that can stir up feelings of hopelessness and despair.  If you are dealing with devastation, whether on a small scale or a completely overwhelming one, I urge you to look to the One whose likeness you were created in.  The Bible says you were knit together in your mother’s womb, and God knows how many hairs are upon your head.  He is the giver of life, and the only One who can grant you complete peace in the the midst of ever changing circumstances we face in life.  He is faithful, unchangeable, and bids all who are heavy laden to come to Him and He will give you rest.  To learn more visit:  I, for one, am grateful that in the midst of uncertain health situations, unexpected emergencies (like my dad’s vehicle catching fire in what was expected to be a typical drive home), and with all the chaos seen any given night on the news, that one thing remains steadfast, the eternal hope I have in Christ alone.

Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to visit my lit'l nook of the web!  I'd love to hear from you while you're here!  
Don't be shy.  Please say, "Hi!"

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Friday, February 9, 2018

Five Loves on Friday // Highlight: We Appeared in an Official Disney Video!

Happy Friday, friends!  I hope you all have enjoyed a wonderful week!  Ours has included some sickness and car issues, but while it's been far from perfect, there's always something to be thankful for!  Today I'm excited to highlight a handful of things that made my week! 

Does that misty eyed mama above look familiar?  It's yours truly alongside my beautiful oldest daughter taking in a magical moment during Disney Vacation Club's Moonlight Magic Event at Epcot in December!  I can't wait to tell you where I spotted this shot this week...

One // We appeared in an official Disney video!

One of the highlights of our recent Disney World vacation was attending our first Disney Vacation Club event at Epcot, Moonlight Magic!  Just before the evening's party exclusive fireworks show, my family was approached by someone who worked for Disney.  He said they were looking for a family to feature in a video they would be shooting of the fireworks display and that they'd been watching us and really liked our energy.  (We were being really silly and enjoying our family time in the fun party atmosphere, but had no idea anyone was looking!)  He asked if we'd be interested.  Of course we said, "Yes!", to this unique and magical request!  We were brought to a special viewing spot along the lagoon where a crew and cameramen were set up.  Soon multiple people came to talk to us about what to expect.  Each member of my family was asked to fill out paperwork and sign release forms.  After chatting a bit with the nice camera crew the fireworks began.  It was surreal being watched as we watched the incredible fireworks display before us!  We were told that the footage may be used on social media and in various places.  We'd been on the lookout ever since for the footage to pop up somewhere!  This week we finally found it, the excitement of which easily earns itself a spot at the tip top of my loves list!

You'll see my oldest daughter and I smiling up at the fireworks during the #1 portion at the end of the video.

We were so glad that our vacation just happened to line up with one of the two Disney Vacation Club member exclusive events held at Epcot last year!  It was such an unforgettable evening!  I'm overjoyed to have such a fun keepsake to look back at and remember the magical experience!

Two  //  The Sweetest Show of All

My oldest daughter has spent the past year going through a piano program.  She spends hours at the keys and thoroughly enjoys it!  This week she showcased her continually improving skills, putting on an eight song performance for us.  She did an excellent job!  My mama heart couldn't be prouder seeing her continue to grow in something that she's passionate about!  Another highlight of the night was watching my husband as she made her way through her set list.  A musician himself, he was absolutely beaming with pride as he watched his firstborn play! 

Three  //  We secured our reservations at Disney's Hilton Head Island!

{via Disney's HHI Photo Gallery}

A while back I mentioned that our upcoming vacation plans include visiting Hilton Head Island along our road trip from the Midwest to Disney World.  We planned to book a studio at Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort using our Disney Vacation Club points.  Being that it's not our home resort we had to wait until we hit the 7 month mark to book a room there.  When we hit that day this week we were tickled pink to see that there was still availability for the date we wanted!  I'm very much looking forward to our first stay at a Disney Resort that's not on either Walt Disney World or Disneyland property!  

Four  //  My Sweet Shoveling Helper

This week about another four inches of snow fell in our area.  My husband has been under the weather, so Princess headed outside with me to clear it.  She grabbed a shovel, and said, "Okay, let's have some fun!" 

... You find the fun, and snap, the job's a game!

My heart is full thinking about what a great help Princess truly is, and the attitude she tackles things with is nothing short of inspiring!

Five  //  Disney Memories

This week marked an anniversary for both Peter Pan and Pinocchio.  Clearly such an occasion brings back Disney memories and thinking on those is a highlight of any week for me!  Here are a few of my favorite snapshots with each of those beloved characters, followed by a couple Flashback Friday links to posts I shared in celebration of one of Peter Pan's previous anniversaries!

This will forever be one of my favorite character meet and greet snapshots.  It was taken during Little One's first trip to WDW back in 2009!  Look at how little the girls were!  I only wish they could stay forever young just like Peter Pan!

My Peter Pan posts created in honor of the film's 60th Anniversary back in 2013...

Direct Link to Post:
In this post I show how I made each of these themed popcorn bags for a Peter Pan Family Movie Night!

Direct Link to Post:

Thanks for stopping by!  Don't be shy.  Please say, "Hi!"

Earlier this week on Chatting Over Chocolate:

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Sunday, February 4, 2018

TBB Asks // Q & A : All About Love

Hello, friends!  Once again I'm joining the gals at TBB for another round of Q & A!  Let's hop right in!

One  //  Kisses or Hugs?


Two  //  Candy or Flowers?
Ok, I can't answer "both" on everything.  So, while I do love flowers, if I have to chose between the two I'd pick candy!  Chocolate is one of my love languages. ;)  One of my favorite Valentine's Day gifts of all was the "Here's My Heart Chocolate Tower" that Jason got me!  That's right, a chocolate tower!!!  How amazing is my man? *Swoon!*

Three  //  Baking or Cooking?

You can find a link to the recipe here

I enjoy baking more.  Honestly I don't allow myself to do it all that often though.  Once I get on a baking kick I'll make a different sweet treat every day of the week.  In other words, my desire to bake is hazardous to my heath! Ha!  If I were to bake something today, the goodies above and below are what sound great right about now!

My Ooey Gooey MINTerrific Brownies

Four  //  Do you remember your first kiss?


Five  //  Favorite color of roses
My favorite roses are purple, thornless, and rare.  These Sterling Roses earned their spot on my all-time favorites list back in 1998.

Jason and I on my 20th birthday

Shortly after watching the movie Bed of Roses I told my husband (then fiancĂ©) about the unique and beautiful Sterling Roses featured in the flick.  I wasn't hinting that I wanted some, nor would I have imagined that he'd take note and would actually bring me a bouquet of them.  Yet, as is the case throughout our life together, he blew me away with his thoughtfulness, attention to detail, and love.  After I mentioned them he called countless florists, finally tracked them down, and delivered them to me on the morning of my 20th birthday!  It was such a sweet way to begin the decade of my life when we'd marry and have two beautiful children together!  They will forever be my favorites as that memory is an incredibly dear to my heart!  

Six  // Conversation Hearts, Yes or No?
I think conversation hearts are absolutely adorable to look at, but I'm not a big fan of actually eating them.  Here are some examples of things I think they're much more suitable for. ;)

As inspiration for adorable individual cheesecakes ...

{Hungry Happenings' recipe can be found here.}

Inspiration for a super sweet manicure...

{Valentine's Day manicure found here}

In a darling Valentine Bouquet...

Seven  //  Do you leave love notes?
I used to leave love notes everywhere.  These days we send each other digital love notes (aka: sweet loving texts).

Eight  //  Do you decorate for Valentine's Day?
Absolutely, I decorate for everything!  A holiday that consists of pink, red, hearts, and glitter couldn't possibly be the exception!

Nine  // Red or Pink?

I talked about where my love of pink stems from here.

Ten  //  Milk, White, or Dark Chocolate?
I love chocolate in every form, but typically go for milk chocolate.

Eleven  //  Do you believe in love at first sight?
At first sight, no.  I believe that's a different four letter word that begins with "l", lust.

Twelve  //  Do you give humorous or serious Valentine cards?
Usually serious.  I'm a super mushy person in general so the chance to verbally swoon is always my jam.

Thirteen  //  Favorite Chick Flick or Romantic Movie
I simply couldn't narrow it down to just one.  Instead, I'll share some long time favorites followed by more recent additions to my loves list.

The Happiest Millionaire and Enchanted have much in common.  The both involve love, humor, gorgeous gowns, and music.  The plot lines are not at all similar and they were filmed 40 years apart, but I'm pretty sure their commonalities play a big part in why they're both among my all-time favorite movies!

And more recent favorites...

Nowadays all my favorites can be found on the Hallmark Channel.  I continually have a DVR filled with Hallmark movies.  They know how to create the sweetest flicks that are heartwarming as well as family friendly, my favorite kind!  Do you have a favorite Hallmark movie?  If so, please share in the comments section below!  I'd love to know if there are any fun ones I've missed and should keep an eye out for!

Fourteen  //  Stay in or Go out?

For Valentine's Day I say stay in.  For years Jason and I would fight crowds to go out, but honestly all that matters to me is time with him.  On a cold winter's night nothing sounds better to me than enjoying the cozy comfort of home beside my love!  Delicious eats and scrumptious treats are the cherry on top of our sweet celebration together!  Once we turn a few more pages of the calendar my answer will completely flip!  Then a warm scenic stroll hand in hand with my love, sipping sweet drinks while talking about our day and our dreams is as good as it gets!

Thanks so much for stopping by today! I'd love to hear from you in the comments section below!  How would you have answered these questions?  Do we share any favorites?  Wishing you a lovely week!

Join me in the adventures to come!
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