Stress

This feels like the norm for me lately, feeling stressed but trying to hide the fact that I’m stressed.  Suppressing my stress is making me feel discombobulated (I love that word) and a bit “off my game”  It’s this strange feeling like something is amiss with the universe but I don’t know exactly what it is so my theory right now is stress.

I’m worried about so many things but I’m trying to keep myself calm and in the process I think I’m losing my mind…okay, not really but I am making myself a little crazy.

loco1

The job….

I’m still new so I constantly worry about my performance even though I’ve been reassured multiple times I’m doing a great job and if I wasn’t I would be hearing about it.

The holidays…

I’m not going home this year and it’s rough but I know it’s the best decision.  As of this morning the pass was once again closed both ways because of avalanche danger and heavy snow fall.  Below is a snapshot from their traffic cam……

090vc04680

They say it will possibly be reopened at daybreak but there’s also power outages everywhere.  Over the weekend I almost decided to just brave it but this confirms staying here is the best option.

I didn’t book a flight early enough so it was too expensive, basically a variety of mostly travel-related factors combined to make getting home extra challenging.

I’ve been telling coworkers and friends I won’t be all alone in my apartment eating candy canes with James the Cat and crying (Although you might see a picture of that because I keep talking about it) because I have family over here.  Christmas Eve will be their big get-together so that will be fun.  It’s been years since I’ve spent Christmas with this side of the family so it’ll be good.

I was stressing over what side dish to bring but decided on simple green beans with olive oil and garlic.

I was stressing over what to wear but have some ideas from my own closet and will also make one quick last minute trip to Target.

I was stressing over bringing a gift for the gift exchange but picked up some hot chocolate, cookies, and a mug to make a little gift bag.

Okay, I did spend about an hour wandering around Target trying to find something clever and original but it’s tough to find a gift for the age range teenagers to grandparents.  I was going to do like a movie gift bag with popcorn and a cute Christmas movie but couldn’t decide on a movie then couldn’t decide Blu-Ray or DVD then decided no one watched movies on disks anymore so after overthinking that choice I went back to the hot chocolate.

I’ve been writing this post over the week and it’s time to wrap it up.

I’ve been working late all week and I’m going in a little early this morning so I can leave early this afternoon.  I planned the leaving early when I was going to be driving home and was going to just work regular hours when my plans changed but it was already on the calendar.  Plus it’ll be good so I have time to change and make the side dish and maybe even relax for a minute before I head out into Christmas Eve traffic 😮

Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!  Happy Holidays!

kevin-home-alone-merry-christmas-gif

 

Santa’s Photographer

Written December 9th, 2015

Can you tell I love the movie Elf?  It’s strange because I didn’t immediately fall in love with it for some reason.  It took a few viewings but it’s now climbed the ranks of my favorite Christmas movies.

As you guys know I struggle with finding the balance between social butterfly and total hermit.   Last night was a holiday get-together we do for clients and their families.  We do one in the winter and one in the summer so this was the first one I’ve attended.  It’s weeks of preparations for a 3 hour event with tons of food, presents, and cookies….Did I mention the cookie room?  That’s right…cookie room 😀  I should have taken a picture

I volunteered to take the Santa pictures because I like to take pictures and the camera they were going to use is….not so good.  I also opened my mouth about helping to pick out a printer to use for the event and for future events….This is where my anxiety really set in.

I like to be in control of everything but don’t always to have full responsibility.  I know it’s just my way of keeping myself out of trouble if something goes wrong but I realize it also shows the doubt I have in my own abilities.  I know it’s not a good thing and I’m working on it.

I picked out a printer and got it going without incident.  It’s easy to use so everyone will be able to use it for future events plus the photo quality is excellent.

In the morning before the event I was thinking, “Why did I volunteer to do this?  I don’t take people pictures.”  Again, more doubt seeping into my mind.

Thankfully the event was a success and the Santa pictures came out great!  The population we work with doesn’t always have the opportunity or money for a family photo so to be able to take their pictures, and print them right away was really nice.

Presents can also be a challenge when money is tight.  All the children that attend received a handmade quilt, a scarf and hat, plus one other present.  It’s also an opportunity for everyone to get a hot, homemade meal.

On a slightly selfish note it’s also good, especially as a new employee, to participate in these types of events.  I was introduced to people from different offices, and had the opportunity to once again meet my boss’s boss’s boss’s boss.  I even took her picture with Santa and that picture should be featured on the company website.

This event is another reason why I love my new job.  I missed out on the opportunity to give back as often as I would have liked at my old job.  I loved participating in this event and look forward to continuing to participate in the future.

I’m skipping Meal Plan Monday this week but I’ll be posting some other topics and I’ll be back with my meal plans next week 🙂

 

 

 

 

Peppermint Bark

I posted a pic of my peppermint bark the other night and it was a huge hit at work, so much so that I’m putting together one more batch this weekend.  I brought some to my office, the office across the walkway, the field office where my friend works, and to some people at another building where I work.

It’s easy to make and I think it’s a nice way to let people know you appreciate them or even a way to simply brighten up what might be a pretty dreary day.  I know if I’m having a bad day and someone brings me cookies, it helps to drastically improve my mood.

There’s tons of different ways to make it and I might have posted it last year but instead of searching the archives I’ll risk posting it twice.

I love making bark because it looks fancy but it’s literally melting chocolate and pouring it onto a sheet pan.  It also doesn’t take much time to make so it’s great to take along to a last minute holiday party.

I’ll precede this by saying I’m not a chef and this is definitely not an original recipe but it’s fun and easy to make so I thought I would share.

These are your ingredients.  You can also use candy canes instead of peppermint candies.  I actually recommend using the candy canes because they’re easier to crush up.  IMG_0882.JPG

First melt the milk chocolate.  Most of these bricks of chocolate are microwaveable so that makes it extra easy, just watch the times and be patient.  I do not have a microwave (Haven’t had one for over a year now, read about it here) so I used a pot to melt the chocolate.

Keys for this are patience, low heat, stirring almost constantly but not too much, and paying attention.  Too much heat, too much stirring, and not paying attention can result in burnt chocolate (I speak from experience, lol).IMG_0863Once the chocolate is melted you’ll pour it onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and spread it out.  This first batch wasn’t spread as thin as it should’ve been so it was a bit more challenging to break apart but you can make it as thick or thin as you like.  IMG_0861.JPG

Once I have the milk chocolate done I usually place it in the fridge to set a little while I melt the white chocolate.  When the white chocolate is almost completely melted add in 1-2 teaspoons of mint extract and continue stirring.

Keep in mind you don’t want the milk chocolate to set completely so the two chocolates can join together but you don’t want it too melty because otherwise you will end up with a swirled chocolate.  The swirled chocolate is not bad (again speaking from experience 😉 ) but it’s not peppermint bark.

Once the white chocolate is done, pour it onto the milk chocolate using a spoon or spatula to spread it then sprinkle on the pieces of peppermint.  I usually use the spoon or spatula to tap the peppermint into the chocolate then sprinkle a little more over the top.

IMG_0862.JPG

It sets quickly at room temperature but if you’re in a hurry put it in the fridge and it’ll be set even faster, usually less than 30 minutes.

Voila!  Break it apart, put it in cute treat boxes, and watch the compliments roll in as you impress people with this tasty holiday treat.

I forgot to get pics but Walmart has little holiday treat boxes that look like takeout boxes for only .97 cents that work perfectly.  FullSizeRender (57).jpgHope you enjoy!  I’ve been making bark for a few years now so it’s definitely become a holiday tradition of mine.

What’s your favorite holiday treat to make and share?