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“She did not need much, wanted very little. A kind word, sincerity, fresh air, clean water, a garden, kisses, books to read, sheltering arms, a cozy bed, and to love and be loved in return.’

-Starra Neely Blade


I came across this quote in one of my favorite Instagram feeds last week. A sigh left my body and mind, with only the word, ‘yes’ coming to mind. Simplicity. Basic needs met with love and peace. Fresh air, a garden and books. It’s all there in those brilliant words.

Somewhere, within the realm of those basic needs, also falls my morning routine. My alarm chimes at the slightly crazed time of 4:50am, to run, to move, to break a sweat.  The ensuing exchange begins in my head, as it does every morning.

“You can do this. The first five minutes are the worst. Get up.”
“This bed is so warm.”
“Every morning you feel this way. After five minutes you’ll be fine. GET UP!”


The drill sergeant in my head wins. It’s always better after the first five minutes, this I’ve come to know. Giving in to the warm covers, rarely means rest. The morning just doesn’t seem to go as smoothly, my mind missing that hour of peace and endorphins before the sprint of wrangling three boys and the day.

Post workout means a cup of hot chai tea and a couple slices of my favorite blender bread with a generous smear of maple almond butter. I catch up on the visual feast of my Instagram feed while the stirring of my sleepy faced children fills the previously quiet kitchen.

I savor the last sip of spicy, warm tea, a bite of toast, and begin to engage the day.


At the first sign of leaves changing, my youngest son breaks out the hot cocoa recipe. For this recipe, I combined our two loves; my chai tea, and his beloved hot cocoa.  The result is a mug of gently spicy cocoa, sure to warm you on the coolest of fall days.

Chai Spiced Hot Cocoa


  • 3 tea bags Vanilla Rooibos Chai Tea, or favorite chai tea
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 cups whole milk or half & half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Boil 1 cup of water.
  2. Steep tea bags in hot water for 5-10 minutes, to create concentrate.
  3. In a large pot, pour tea concentrate, cocoa powder and sugar.
  4. Stirring gently, over medium high heat, bring tea/cocoa combination to a boil until sugar is dissolved.
  5. Add vanilla extract and milk.
  6. Warm cocoa through to preferred temperature, stirring occasionally.
  7. Serve hot.
  8. Any remaining servings store in an air tight container, in the refrigerator.

This post was sponsored by Equal Exchange.  While they provided the product for this recipe, my words, opinions, love a good chai and morning routine are my own. Enjoy!

Hooray for Friday…and…two posts in one week!  Let me tell you, those two things alone feel like good reasons to celebrate. Not only that, it’s also Valentine’s Day!  While I know there are a few that think this holiday is a bit silly, I happen to be one that loves it, especially since my boys came along. It’s a day for fun, mushy, silliness and for boys in particular I think that is a very good thing.  I know I dropped the ball on sharing a fun treat for this day of love, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been making them.

Vanilla Rooibos Latte

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Well, we are almost there.  December 23rd.  As of last Friday, we are on Winter Break for two whole weeks.  The boys have excitedly declared today, ‘pajama day’.  Somehow, I have a feeling that today won’t be the only time a declaration of this sort is made.  While I don’t quite have everything crossed off my ‘to-do’ list for the next couple of days, I’m ready for this break as well.  My own plans include a holiday boot camp with a friend, lots of family time, getting in a few good runs, some delicious food and a chance to recharge my batteries.  That last one feeling the most needed, and the rest just the combination to make it happen.

So, I’m stepping away from technology a bit, to make these good things happen, but first, I want to share a few pictures from our 3rd Annual Hot Cocoa Stand.  A couple of weeks ago, we warmed our hearts and bodies, sharing a cup of homemade cocoa with our good friends and neighbors.  We served just around 40 this year, making it a tradition that all of us have come to enjoy.

Hot Cocoa Stand

Hot Cocoa Stand

Hot Cocoa Stand

Hot Cocoa Stand

Hot Cocoa Stand

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday, good food, family time and a few ‘pajama days’ of your own.  Merry Christmas!


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