20 Best Tips

Peppermint Bark Recipe – a Christmas Favorite!

homemade peppermint bark recipe using essential oils - a yummy holiday treat

One of the things that I most look forward to during the holiday baking and cooking season is Peppermint Bark. Left to my own devices, it is highly probable that I could consume massive quantities of it because let’s face it – chocolate + peppermint = yumminess. This peppermint bark recipe is one that has been tried, tested, and used for years in our house!

The peppermint bark has also been fun to make in large quantities and gift some to friends and family to share the love. The fact that we also have an excuse to lick the chocolate spatulas when we are done has no bearing on the matter.

Although recipes are not a weekly normal around the blog, we are enjoying some time in the kitchen over the next few weeks of December and getting a little more ‘practical’ learning on the table, so to speak. I’m not hearing any complaints from the kids, so I think we’ll keep it going! While we’re cooking, we figured we might as well share the yumminess (and the recipe) with you all as well!

Peppermint Bark Recipe

our favorite homemade peppermint bark recipe - easy and a great gift idea for the holidays

(make 1.5  pounds)

  • 24 oz. semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (2 bags of chocolate chips)
  • 16 oz. white chocolate squares (3 boxes or 1.5 bags chips)
  • 8 candy canes, crushed
  • 4-5 drops of Peppermint Vitality essential oil (we use Young Living oils). You can also use 1 tsp. of peppermint extract, but we’ve found the essential oil does so much better!
  • 1-2 tsp. of coconut oil (optional)
    Note: I prefer using darker chocolate if possible – it’s one of my favorites. While semi-sweet is what we typically use, if I can find a darker chocolate, I use that too!

Making Peppermint Bark

homemade peppermint bark recipe using essential oils-5

You’ll need a jelly roll pan (these are our favorite ones) to make this peppermint bark recipe. You can use a smaller cookie sheet for a thicker style bark (yum) as well.

  1. Line your jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips using a double boiler. It’s harder to get the right consistency melting them in the microwave. The chocolate tends to get clumpy and hard if you overheat or do something wrong.
  3. Stir in 4-5 drops of peppermint essential oil (trust me – so good!).
  4. If needed, add a 1 tsp. of coconut oil to the melted chocolate to get a smoother consistency. You don’t want to add too much more, because it makes the chocolate a little softer, and when it is at room temperature it isn’t the right texture.
  5. Once melted, pour evenly over the bottom of the pan and spread with a  non-stick spatula. Invite a child to lick it clean – they will happily oblige.
  6. Pop the pan into the freezer to cool it down quickly. Wait about 30 minutes.
  7. Crush the candy canes into small pieces. I use a metal strainer to get sift the powder out of the mix (and we use it in hot chocolate). Set aside.
  8. Melt the white chocolate over the double boiler, adding a small amount of coconut oil if needed. As soon as it reaches the right consistency, pull the jelly roll pan out of the freezer and carefully pour it over the dark chocolate and spread it with a different spatula (since your kids obviously have been licking the last one.
  9. Sprinkle the crushed candy canes over top of the white chocolate and gently press it into the white chocolate. Pop it back into the freezer for a bit to harden.
  10. Break the peppermint bark apart into pieces – no size is correct. Enjoy!

Nativity Pocket Chart Calendar Cards – Free Printable

Nativity Pocket Chart Calendar Cards

Hopefully you all are enjoying a little break at some point this upcoming week with Thanksgiving {well, at least those of you in the US!}. December isn’t that far away, so here’s a head start for you to print and laminate before the month of December begins.

A reader emailed and asked if I would be willing to create Nativity Pocket Chart Calendar Cards. While she loved the free December pocket chart calendar cards I shared several years ago, she wanted one featuring Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus – and I absolutely wanted to help her out.


How to Use the Nativity Pocket Chart Calendar Cards

Use the different colored number cards to try different pattern sequences: an ABC pattern, ABAB pattern, AABB pattern and other patterns you can make up together. Here’s an example of different patterns using the cards from September.

pattern example

The set also includes a calendar header for the month of December as well.

Nativity Pocket Chart Calendar Header

Additional Calendar Helps

Here are a few additional printables and helps for you all, including the pocket chart that we use, laminating tips, and additional printables you may like:

Yearly pocket chart calendar numbers from Homeschool Creations copy Pocket chart holiday and special occasion cards


Additional December Pocket Chart Calendar Pieces

Pocket Chart Calendar Cards for the month of December

If you’d prefer a different set of Christmas themed calendar pocket chart calendar pieces, feel free to grab a free set here.

PDF Printing Problems

Having trouble downloading or printing this file? Be sure to check out the post on PDF Download Problems for tips and tricks on getting the files to download properly. The solution is usually something simple and quick!

Cranberry Playdough, Candy Cane Play Gel, and Nutcracker Activities – Preschool and Kindergarten Community

Homeschool Preschool: Preschool and Kindergarten Community linkup at Homeschool Creations

Encouragement and learning ideas are two of my passions and I LOVE that you all are sharing both during the Preschool and Kindergarten Community linkup times each week. While being inspired is important for teaching, encouragement is needed so very much for each of us. Be sure to look through the links today too – stop by, read a few links, and encourage each other with comments! Have a great week!

Christmas Scented Playdough


Bring the yummy smells of Christmas into your home with these cranberry and cinnamon playdough recipes from Learning 2 Walk. I may just make a batch of the cranberry playdough for myself – yum!

Montessori-Inspired Nutcracker Activities

greater than less than nutcracker

Deb from Montessori Now has some cute ideas for a Nutcracker theme. I love this greater than/less than activity using a nutcracker – how great is the above picture?

Candy Cane Play Gel

Candy Cane Play Gel

Have some squishy sensory fun with the candy cane play gel tutorial from The Science Kiddo. She tells you how to make your own using an unused diaper and some food coloring – kids will love this!

Penguin Craft Fun (and a Free Download offer)

Penguin Crafts for Kids

Grab links to these cute penguin crafts and find out how you can get a free penguin printable pack during the month of December. ‘’

Love Giveaways?


Head over to the All About Learning Press blog and enter to win a penguin prize pack valued at $75. It includes some fun books, a learning game, a DVD, and a penguin puppet.

Follow the PreK and Kindergarten Community Pinterest Board

Preschool Pinterest Board

Each week I am  pinning many of your links onto the Preschool and Kindergarten Community Pinterest Board. I’m a visual person, so having pictures to help me remember posts is super helpful. Be sure to jump over and follow the board – and find some fun ideas at the same time!


Were You Featured in the Preschool & Kindergarten Community?

If you were featured in one of the weekly posts, feel free to grab the button coding below and display it on your site!

Homeschool Preschool


Link Up with the Preschool and Kindergarten Community!

Share what you are doing with your kids! Please link your exact blog post to the Mr. Linky below and link back here too! Grab a button for your post and be sure to take a minute to visit the person who linked up before you.

Everyday Emmanuel

Everyday EmmauelDecember is just a few days away and the Advent season is quickly approaching! If you are looking for a fun and uncomplicated way to celebrate with your family, be sure to check out Everyday Emmanuel, one of the latest resources from What’s in the Bible?

I love that the lessons walk you through step-by-step, even if you aren’t sure what to say or do {it’s all in there!}.  Everyday Emmanuel also includes online video clips to go along with the lessons {an added little fun for you!}. We’ll be using the 68 page pdf on our iPad, but printing off a few of the pages to use during our family time.

The Everyday Emmanuel book includes:

Everyday Emmanuel preview~ Countdown to Christmas Calendar

~ Weekly Advent Devotionals & Ornament Activity

~ Weekly Big Questions About Christmas & Discussion Guide

~ Family Activity Ideas

~ Seven “print and use” activities

  • ~ Online access to videos & additional resources
  • ~ Helpful tips to save you time & money

Wondering what ‘Emmanuel’ means? In the video clip from Why Do We Call it Christmas?, Clive and Ian share a bit about the meaning…

Our kids are really looking forward to this study during the month of December. We’ll be using it for our Bible time each day and know that it will be much fun ~ and a great learning time for all of us as we focus on the true meaning of the Christmas season.

Everyday Emmanuel is currently on sale for $9.99. We also recommend the dvd Why Do We Call it Christmas? ~  a great go-along for the whole family. Use the coupon code CHRISTMAS50 and get BOTH of them for $14.99 {that’s a 50% off savings!!}. Just add the code on the last page of checkout and the discount will be applied if you have both items in your cart.

Enjoy them with your family this Christmas season – I know we will be!

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree Printable Pack

Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree

These printables were created to use with the book Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry. A reader emailed me a few weeks ago and said it was her husband’s favorite book growing up. I’d never heard of it, but ordered it and fell in love. It will be one book that will stay in our Christmas book basket for years to come!

Mr Willowby's collage

The printables for Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree include fun activities to tie in with the book ~ vocabulary words, word tracer cards, puzzles, tree size sequencing cards, a story sight word chart, recycling items, counting activities and more! Be sure to download BOTH sets of the printables since they go together and build on the skills your child will use.

Don’t Miss These Either!



Holiday Village by Cupcake Cutiees and Woodland Creatures by Lily Bimble purchased from My Graphico.

Christmas Ornament Show & Tell 2011


Last year I hosted a Christmas Ornament Show & Tell on our family blog, No Ordinary Moments, and it was MUCH fun having others link up and share pictures of some of their favorite ornaments along with the stories behind them.

The linky for the the Christmas Ornament Show & Tell for 2011 went live this morning and I would love it if you all would come and share your stories!!

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