Surviving Christmas

I was worried about my Christmas weekend on the west side of the mountains.  I had a couple cries about not being home for Christmas but kept reminding myself I was still going to be with family.  It’s just family I haven’t spent as much time with over the last 10+ years so I tend to feel like an outsider.

I know some part of it is my self-doubt.  I have a constant fear of being not interesting enough or of saying something embarrassing.  Even though they’re family because I haven’t spent as much time with them I worry about letting my guard down completely; however, I had fun this weekend.

The clothes I wore were fine.  I went with leggings and an oversized sweater, comfy but looks dressy.  I should’ve taken another pic before I left because I ditched the scarf, put my hair back, and put on some sparkly earrings.

1 Sweater

The food I brought was eaten.  I made green beans with garlic and lemon.  It’s going to sound silly but it looked like a legitimate grown up dish.  I was really proud of myself for actually cooking something instead of just buying something. 1 Green Beans

The present was fine.  It wasn’t the best, wasn’t the worst.  I ended up with this awesome ceramic Starbucks mug in the gift exchange.  IMG_0927.JPGI love it but it’s a little heavy for toting back and forth to work.  The lid is also ceramic and doesn’t close very well so it’s more decorative than functional but I love it and I’ll use it at home.

When I was at my Aunt’s house on Christmas Eve I mentioned not having a tree so she gave me a little tree she wasn’t using.  I loved having my little Charlie Brown Christmas tree.  The smallest things can help improve the festive spirit.  I was feeling a bit down when I came home that night and was alone but setting up the tree with the presents really helped.

Tomorrow I’ll be meeting my cousins to watch the football game at a local bar. I’m a bit nervous but also looking forward to it.  Before it was more challenging because I was on the other side of the mountains and didn’t get over here as often but now I can hopefully start building better relationships with this side of the family.

It fits into one of my goals of being more social but I’ll be going into that in another post 😉

It’s always funny getting older when your exciting presents are sheets and a handheld blender (can’t wait to use it!!!).  Last night I was so excited for my soft flannel sheets I put them on the bed, turned down the bed, and went to brush my teeth.  I came back to this… 🐱

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It wasn’t easy but I finally got him moved so we could both get some sleep last night.

I was flipping through channels and started watching season one of Game of Thrones then couldn’t stop.  It’s not very Christmasy, although it is about winter coming XD

I decided to end with a meme andthis wasted at least half an hour.  If you’re a fan, google “Game of Thrones meme”  This was my favorite tonight.

ef2205c9ecccef6fb26e57fef98accb3Okay and a second favorite…64af61a123ca4f9547a8e3bb3a8db8f6Now I’m really done. Have a good night!  And Merry Christmas!!

 

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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.

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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?