Easy Homemade Chocolate Syrup for Mochas

I want to share with you this super easy homemade syrup that I use in my mochas.

It’s simple. 1 cup cocoa, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, a little salt, and vanilla
Add cocoa.

We use this baking cocoa purchased from either SAMS or Costco.
Heat to boiling and then let boil (still stirring).
The finished product: oh so good!
Store in a glass jar.
Drizzle on top of your mocha too!

Chocolate Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup water
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (or a little more)


Turn burner on medium heat, and combine cocoa and sugar in saucepan. Immediately add water and whisk. Add salt. Stir occasionally until mixture boils. Keep stirring as it boils, and allow it to boil for at least 1 minute. This will help the sauce to thicken. Remove from heat, and add vanilla. This rich chocolate syrup is perfect for homemade mochas or any type of hot (or cold!) drink. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator.

How much should you add to your mocha? It depends if this is the only sugar and how sweet you like it. I, for one, like my drinks sweet!


“My meditation of him shall be sweet:
I will be glad in the Lord.”
Psalm 104:34

Preparing for the Implausible, The Importance of a Fire Safety Plan Part 1

We feel this blog reader’s story is critical for others to hear and take to heart. A fire safety plan is so imperative to have and practice!

“It will never happen to us. I’ve seen house fires on the news
before, but they’re so rare. The probability of having one is so low
that it’s basically implausible!”

This is what I used to think, and partially, I was right. If one crunches the numbers, it’s unlikely one would ever experience such an event. Nevertheless, if it did happen, what could be the consequences?

This story not only emphasizes the importance of having a fire safety plan but also the importance of recognizing God’s working in our lives. Our own plan helped us through that terrible morning, but it was the Lord that saved us.

When I was younger, I was so good with fire that I was named the official fire starter in my Boy Scout troop. I’d been living in wood heated homes for most of my life. Cutting and splitting wood in the freshly fallen snow was a favorite family tradition. The highlight of winter was starting our wood stove in our dining room and watching the flames through the glass door. I’ve never smelled anything better than the aroma of hot black cherry coming from the chimney on my walk to the barn on a frigid winter day. Now, I have anxiety just smelling smoke.

I’d like to think that my wife and I were so smart that we came up with our annual safety plan all on our own. We lived in an old, two-story farm house, heated with wood, and had all six of our kids sleeping upstairs, so such a plan would seem wise. But, more than that, we were convicted in the Spirit. It was the Lord’s providence that set a plan in our hearts. We never thought that we’d actually need one. He had a plan, and we listened.

The fire plan was as simple as possible, since under the conditions one might get confused, and time would probably be critical. If the smoke alarms went off, they would yell “fire!” and wake all of their siblings. They were not to leave anyone behind. They were to take nothing … no blankies, no stuffed animals, no pets, no toys. Making sure everybody was awake and together, they’d make their way to the safest exit … down the stairs, out the landing window above the porch into the bushes, or via the window escape ladder they had in their own room. We hadn’t actually practiced the latter option, since it was quite terrifying!

Once they were out, they were to all meet in front of the barn and stay there until an adult came. They were not to go anywhere! If, after a time, it seemed that an adult was not coming, they were to run to the neighbors for help. We’d rehearse this every year in the fall before I’d start a fire. I’d quiz them intermittently on what they were going to do if they heard the smoke alarm. I had about 10 smoke alarms in the house. That seemed excessive at the time, but now one per room is the minimum. I made sure that they were all working. Are those square batteries expensive? I used to think so.

I had worked that Saturday, and my wife had returned home late from her extremely postponed family Christmas dinner. Presents filled the living room, and everyone was exhausted. The kids were asleep, and we made our way to bed. Everything was exactly how it was every other night; the stove being no exception. At about 1am, my wife wakes me to talk.

Only a few days before the event.

She said she’d had too much caffeine from the party and couldn’t sleep. Typically, this would be completely inadvisable, given my nighttime and morning demeanor! But, that night I was conversational. Shortly after, my three-year-old daughter comes strolling in to sleep in our queen sized bed with the two dogs and our one-year-old, who had already awoken to nurse.

I made my way to the couch and had just laid down when I heard a very peculiar noise. I got up and checked the dining room for a cat that was not supposed to be in the house. I looked around the dining room, found no cat, and laid back down. Then, there was a very loud “crash” from the attack. Intruder! Robber! Thief! Someone was in the house. They’d been hiding in our walk-in attic and tripped over all the junk trying to sneak around. I grabbed my weapon of choice and ran up the stairs. My heart was pounding, not knowing what I was going to see when I turned the corner to the landing. The light was already on, instantly revealing the enemy. Smoke was rolling in around the attic door. The house was on fire.


Look for Part 2 next week, you won’t want to miss this ending.

Cody, his wife, and their sweet children!

“He shall cover thee with his feathers,
and under his wings shalt thou trust:
his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night;
nor for the arrow that flieth by day.”
Psalm 91:4-5

A Day in the Life of Sarah Maxwell

The day starts out at 6 am as the alarm goes off. I take Ellie outside and prepare for Bible time at 6:15.

I recently completed a Bible read through, so I decided to work through some random places. Isaiah is so good! I like to journal my favorite verse, something I learned from Sweet Journey.

I’m done with Bible and prayer at 7, and next up is exercise! Anna plans a great workout complete with dips, pushups, pullups, squat jumps, and other exercises.

This sweet, energetic dog is really cute to stay in that little corner while we workout.

Any morning it’s possible, I try to take Ellie on a walk. This particular morning, the temps are amazing. Like autumn. Think pumpkin, sweaters, and maple syrup candles. Mmmmm.

When I get home, I enter Titus2.com orders in for Mary to pack. This involves putting each customer’s order into QuickBooks and then printing labels. I try to do this right away each morning so they’re ready for her, as she likes to pack them while she’s drinking her breakfast smoothie.

Now, I’m finally ready for the day, and I have a great, homemade mocha to enjoy too.

I do bookkeeping for 4 different companies, and today, I am focusing on one in particular. I work on invoicing and a credit card reconcile.

I love opportunities to enjoy the wonderful weather, and I go outside to say hi to the kiddos Mom is playing with during her scheduled time. They love Ellie!

Ellie is a great work buddy, staying with me most of the time, unless it’s her once-a-day special milk bone treat from Dad. In that case, she hangs around in his office until she gets it.

You never know who might be or not be at lunch. Today’s group is small (Jesse is taking the picture).

We have a new friend. We’ll have to share about him later, but he’s really taken to our family.

More invoicing! Yes, I actually use a ball as a chair. I’ve done so for several years and much prefer it over a regular office chair. It’s very comfortable and easy on one’s back. I really should be writing the Mom’s Corner newsletter to be sent soon, but I don’t get that in.


I aim to post at least three blog posts each week. This means that every other day, I’m working on a post. Today, I’m finishing out Colorado. Here’s how I produce a post. I use Adobe Lightroom to organize and work on my pictures. In this instance, I already had the pictures imported and flagged. But in a normal instance, I sort through the pictures, flagging pictures I Iike or rejecting photos I don’t. Next, I apply a filter in Lightroom to only show flagged pictures. I toggle through each one, deciding if I like them all still. Sometimes I have WAY too many photos, so I might ask Anna or Mary to help me narrow them down. After that, I will retouch photos. Generally, I apply a bit of brightness, darken the blacks, and add a little clarity and vibrance.

A peek into my Lightroom setup

Finally, I export the images to a quality that is good for the blog. Then, I upload the pictures. I do the best writing a post in WordPress (our blog interface) itself. Sometimes if I don’t have a good Internet connection, such as in Colorado, I’ll write the post first in Pages. But to be honest, that’s hard. I just don’t think so well unless I’m in my blog interface.

Working on a blog post

Next, I insert pictures where I want them in my post. I’ll preview the post also to check and see how the formatting looks or if I’ve missed something. The featured image (on the header) can be tricky to pick out as it has to be landscape and narrow, but it adds interest to the post.

I finish out the day with family dinner on the back deck, Bible time, a walk, and more blog work!

I hope you enjoyed taking a peek into a day in my life.


“Commit thy way unto the LORD;
trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”
Psalm 37:5

Labor Day Family Activities

Labor Day afforded some great family times.

How sweet is this? Grandpa and Drew mowing together!

Monday afternoons are normally aunties’ playtime, and the girls decided to go ahead with it. They have a craft project going on here.

Often on holidays, we’ll have a special meal at our house. The extended family is invited, but not always is everyone able to come.

Labor Day, we did a barbecue.

This was super cute. Tina helped Drew get all buckled into his highchair, and I loved Drew’s grin.

Ruthie loves to wear other’s flip flops around when given the opportunity.

Christopher’s kids have become very close to Ellie since they’ve watched her for me recently.

Anna and Benji
Bible time

I love seeing the kids as they learn to read the Bible. Joshua, who is only 5, is doing amazing! I think that might be a great future blog post, tips on what has made Bible reading easier for the little ones.


“Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out
your heart before him:
God is a refuge for us. Selah.”
Psalm 62:8

Jones Mountain and Saturday

It’s time I wrap up our Colorado trip. I enjoyed reading y’alls comments on Missouri Mountain.

While the five of us hiked Missouri, Dad and Mom hiked Jones Mountain, which is only 134 feet short of a 14er! Jones is a favorite for us. We accidentally found it one year while hiking to Ptarmigan Lake. We’ve since learned it’s shorter to hike from the other side, but it’s still a tough, hard climb. Especially at the end. It feels straight up since there is no trail! Their hike took about 4 hours. They didn’t stay long on the top because as you can see in the photos there were some clouds building.



Ptarmigan Lake in the valley.

Saturday was our final day.  We enjoyed lots of family time, coffee, eating great food, packing up, singing, a family picture (you’ll probably see that at Thanksgiving), and then we girls finished out the evening with some games.

I loved sharing about our time with y’all! Thank you for your enthusiasm!


“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,
whose mind is stayed on thee:
because he trusteth in thee.”
Isaiah 26:3

Gather Your Supplies

I like to be productive, but I can also be a procrastinator. For me, in addition to scheduling, there are two keys to avoid procrastination. First is putting the need on a to-do list—and gathering the supplies to complete the task.

Here is a case in point. Several weeks ago, I discovered a button on the floor that had come off my sweater. I put the button on a shelf where it wouldn’t get lost. Four weeks later, I still hadn’t sewed the button on the sweater. Then I wrote “mending sweater” on my to-do list. Still, I didn’t do the project because I didn’t have the necessary supplies gathered—needle, thread, scissors, button, and sweater to make it a quick, simple project.

One day I simply collected the supplies with no plans to actually do it. Within 24 hours, however, because I had everything to sew the button on, I completed my project. I like that level of time management much better than that nagging feeling accompanying procrastination.

Is there anything you are procrastinating concerning? Have you put it on your to-do list? Have you collected the supplies to do it? Do you have a time slot in your schedule to accomplish the things on your to-do list?

Trusting in Jesus,

“The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of
the diligent shall be made fat” (Proverbs 13:4).