In between overdoing it

Posts tagged ‘baking’

Mom’s Christmas List

Moms Christmas ListEach year the hectic pace of the season, the barrage of holiday advertisements and the flurry of holiday related activities, can cause us to loose our enthusiasm for the season. As Mom’s often feel it is our reasonability to ensure that everyone has the best Holiday ever. However often we do this at the sacrifice of our own joy of the season.

We are always so concerned with making sure we get everyone the perfect, meaningful gift that expresses our love for them. We struggle to make everyone’s Christmas as special and memorable as it can be. Mom’s help with the PTA Christmas parties, plan the office festivities and the charitable donations to help someone in need.

Mom is the person who plans out, shops for, and slaves away in the kitchen making the perfect Christmas dinner, while everyone else plays, or sits on the couch. Mom is also the one who creates the Christmas memories each and every year. She bakes the cookie, initiates the decorating, and mails out all the Christmas cards.

All of this she does at a break neck pace. Mom handles weekends filled with frantic shopping, party attending and gift wrapping. By the end of it all us mom’s are exhausted and lets face it, the joy of the season has been sucked right out of us.

It is tough to have joy when you know the day after Christmas you must return to work, a mountain full of Christmas dinner dishes and a depleted savings since you spent your Christmas bonus. It becomes easy to start to dread the season when it seems we are the only ones giving.

And as much as we love our handmade ornaments, and waffle irons. Sometimes we just wish someone would acknowledge all that we do. Sometimes we wish we could celebrate without all of the work, hassle and fun-sucking holiday reasonability. Like most times of the year, mom’s we have brought this on ourselves. Have we ever told our significant others to take on some of the holiday tasks for us? Did we ever let go of the never ending list of Christmas responsibilities we thrust upon ourselves? Have we ever really asked for what we want for Christmas?

Well, mom’s this year (and hopefully for years to come,) we can take back our Christmas and celebrate instead of slaving away. Here is at least the start of a list of Christmas wishes a mom should ask for. Adjust it for your situation and family. What is more important is to put things on this list that make YOU happy, content and bring YOUR joy back to the holidays.

A Mom’s Christmas List

  1. To not having to shop for everyone by ourself

    Please Dad’s it would be a great to have a little help here. Plus, seeing as in most case mom is the one with the kids, this responsibility robs us of any “me” time we might have (or desperately need) during the season.

  2. To have a maid during the holiday’s

    It is near impossible to get all of the Christmas shopping, baking and decorating done while family members leave constant messes in their wake for mom to clean.

  3. To have someone else do the laundry during the holiday’s

    With the constant events, activities and parties the amount of laundry seems to have doubled. With less time to get it all done it sits in a wrinkled pile on the laundry room floor. This is the newest in holiday décor.

  4. To not put on 10 lbs by the end of Christmas

    Yes, I know this comes in the form of will power. It is not really a gift anyone else can give us, but is something we need to give ourselves. By taking some of the holiday pressures off we would be less likely to stress eat and over indulge. Eat some of the things you enjoy that are special but doesn’t loose all care about yourself and your health this holiday. Gift yourself good health.

  5. To have dinner made for YOU

    Boy, wouldn’t it be nice to come home from a long day during the holiday’s to find a dinner cooked for you? Instead you are greeted with  “Mom’s, what’s for dinner?” At which you look in the pantry and realize you have to work some Christmas magic on a can of corn, a bag of fish sticks and a jar of tomato sauce since you never got to the grocery store.

  6. For someone to get you the Christmas gift YOU have always wanted

    And no this is not some home appliance or gadget. It would be something like… oh I don’t know… a day of pampering, a day long shopping spree or really just a day of to do nothing.

  7. To have some help in the kitchen

    I am not sure why the responsibility to create all of the baked goods for Christmas always falls on mom. I mean Dad’s can cook to right? Plus, this could really create a happy holiday scene of time shared in the kitchen. Instead of the holiday horror film of a mom covered in flour, baking like a maniac and screaming at everyone to let here get this done. No, when mom is in this state do not ask if she can get you some juice or if she knows where you cell phone charger is. If you are not offering her help, then leave her alone.

  8.  A really comfy pair of PJ’s and a chance to stay in them all day

    No explanations needed

  9. To not have to try and see both sides of the family on Christmas Day

    The effort it takes to try and please everyone not only leaves you exhausted and annoyed but never really pleases anyone. The kids can’t get time to play with their new toys so they are unhappy. Plus, each side of the family feels like you showed up too late or left too early. In most cases they feel slighted no matter how much you rush.

  10. To remember this is about giving not getting

    That mean you mom. It is ok to give to yourself. You deserve to create for yourself a memorable special holiday filled with love for family and love for the many gifts god has given you this year. Take some time for quiet reflection, go to church, go for a walk but give yourself a break from the hectic pace of the holiday’s to get in touch with what brings you joy.

 

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Why Holiday Traditions Matter

holiday traditionsThe first Christmas after I moved away from my childhood home to attend college I return to find the house with no Christmas decorations, no tree, nothing to show the holiday’s were approaching. By all standards I was considered an adult now and should have been too cool for childish Christmas drawings I made when I was 9.  Being a college student, I was not far to busy for the silliness of tree decorating. Baking cookies, well I was way to important for that. Wasn’t I?

No way.

I wanted the decorations, the tree and all the festivities. It was Christmas after all. Even thought I felt very self important and independent at that time of my life. Returning to my home at Christmas was like remembering who I really was. To see my parents no longer felt the need to decorate made the whole season feel like just another day.

This was around the time my father was starting to have serious health problems and I know they just we’re not in a Christmas-y state of mind then. So I took it upon myself to decorate for them. I went into the garage and brought in all the boxes. Each item I pulled out had memory attached. The handmade ornaments, the arts and crafts decorations and the ancient puzzle-like artificial Christmas tree, we went through each recalling past Christmases.

Nothing fancy just family

One if the things I loved the most about our house at Christmas was that we never had fancy store bought decorations. My parents worked hard but we were far from wealthy. Our decorations were mostly arts and crafts, or repurposed items. My dad had started the tradition of stringing Christmas cards across the ceiling of our house.20151203_085240-1

Each year we would read through these cards and remember people from years past, like the big tipper on my paper route when I was 12, old neighbors that moved, family who had passed away. Their memory was preserved in their own hand-writing through these cards. The Christmas wishes and good sentiment were revisited every year as we placed another card upon the string. This very act of stringing the cards created the feeling of Christmas for me.

Fast forward to Christmas this year

I have children of my own, a new easier to assemble Christmas tree, bright store bought decorations. We have created some new holiday traditions, We stay in our pajamas all day on Christmas Day and play. Also we started collecting year ornaments from each year my and my husband have been together.

But many of my families holiday traditions live on, like handmade decorations and stringing holiday cards. This tradition has become even more special. It is the digital age and each year the amount of handwritten cards dwindles. Instead we receive e-cards or non folded printed picture cards while they are nice, a true hand-written Christmas card is a lot harder to come by.

Thankfully, I have saved cards since before my husband and I were married. Just like me and my parents did, my husband and I recall people we worked with, grandparents that are no longer with us and friends who moved away, as we string these cards.

My dad has since passed away as well but when we string our cards I always explain that this was a traditions my father started. When my mother comes over and see’s the cards I know she is not thinking of spending another Christmas without him. She knows he is here with us through these traditions.

What are your holiday traditions? What feelings do they create in you? Have you started any new traditions for your family?

 

Why I had to break-up with cake decorating

cakeFor any of you that have been following this blog for a while you have heard me talk about, and seen me post my cakes. Last year, I decided to get serious about cake decorating and pursue it as a business. I got business cards, attended conferances and classes, and started taking on a steady stream of orders at a reduced starter price. The last part might have been my down fall.wpid-20150905_131320-1.jpg

I research the heck out of running a cake business and felt I was ready to get started. However, I lacked the confidance in my skills to charge full price, so I offered my services for a deep, deep discount. In January, I was gung-ho, and took on enough orders to carry me thought until April. I was so stoked! But then an odd thing happened. A week before each order was due, I found myself getting nervous, anxious and irritable. I was unable to take care of my house during the week before the order due date. I also found ,as much as I might try to schedule things outside of family time, it was always seeping into those hours.wp-1456191905077.jpg

In addition to the family intrustion, money was becoming a huge factor. Each time I had an order due I would have to do a fairly large outlay of money in supplies. In most cases the supply cost far exceeded the cost I was charging for the cake. So it was almost as if I was paying the customer for the cost of letting me do a cake for them. This started creating additional resentment and anger towards the craft.

I found with each order my resentment grew. I was sacrificing time with my family and it was costing me money in the process. Ok, I was learning but was it worth it? I was starting to feel like it wasn’t. But I was resistant to giving it up, I didn’t want to be a quitter.wp-1454870790682.jpg

By the end of Febuary I started to realize I was not in love with cake decorating like I had been just a fewmonths prior. I wanted to devote more time to my family, and had started wanting to expand the reach of my blog. My interests were changing and I found that I no longer wanted to decorate cakes anymore. After a long conversation with a trusted friend she stressed the idea that I must narrow my focus and pick where I wanted to go. Then I finally made the desion that I would no longer take on any cake orders and let the idea of a cake business fade into the background.

The other twist to this story was once I shared this with my family, they were surprisingly excited about my decision. They felt the resentment, anxity and neglect that was brought on by this venture. They wanted to be supportive of me and said nothing. But in reality they secretly wanted me to stop doing cake decorating. I had no idea this had such a big obvious impact on my family, but there it was clear as day. My kids were only little once and I was exchanging time with them for a business that I didn’t even enjoy anymore.wpid-wp-1445282137010.jpg

I might decide to try and start a cake business one day when I have more time. When my children are older. When I’m not working full-time. But for now I have decided to keep it as an occasional hobby and something to bring me joy. Not stress.wpid-20150822_162657-1.jpg

So what is my reason for telling you this story? To reinforce the idea that it is ok to change your mind. Sometime if it’s for the right reasons, it’s ok to be a quitter.

 

5 yummy ways to use up bananas

bananas-1326987

Seeing as bananas are pretty much the only fruit my son will eat it is something I always have on hand. I almost always have 2 or 3 bananas that have survived the week and reached the over ripe stage. Here are a few interesting recipes that use over ripe bananas.

  1. Banana ice cream – This is something I make pretty regularly and it is my preferred way to use up over ripe bananas. I find I can shove these few bananas in a freezer bag quickly and once they are frozen solid they are all set for ice cream.
  2. Banana Bread -This is a recipe I posted about a year ago. It is amazingly moist and delicious and easy to bring together. Plus it is low calorie and low fat. They only problem is sticking to just one slice!
  3. Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie – I like to use some of my frozen bananas to thicken up a smoothie. I use shakeology but you can use them in really any smoothie recipe to bump up the creamy texture and sweetness.
  4. Banana Muffins – Plan on trying this recipe today since I have some Nutella to use up. Sounds yummy!
  5. Banana Cookies – Did you know you could substituting bananas for eggs! Did not know you could do this with bananas until I found this recipes. I think it is genius. Can’t wait to try it.

Tea and Cake Tuesday

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Lady luck was on my side with this cake.It was quite a challenge to bring all the elements together but the over all look turned out to be a lot of fun. The cake had sweet raspberry filling sandwiched between a layer of moist vanilla cake and decadent chocolate cake. It was iced in a rich chocolate ganache. (Which you might have seen me make on a recent Periscope) Then it was covered in marshmallow fondant. My friend had her house decked out in casino themes décor including oversized dice and playing cards. It looked awesome and the cake fit right in.

If you are at the Blackjack table or home playing bridge, here is a selection of teas from Debbie Bergman from Enjoy Tea With Me , to go with our casino themed cake.

When I think of poker, or casino, I think jazz music and fancy/old time drinks. So I am going to have two teas again,  Jazzy Jasmine and Amaretto

 
Ingredients: Green tea, jasmine blossoms.
 
Ingredients: Rooibos tea, almond pieces, papaya pieces, natural flavors. Contains nuts.
For more information or to purchase these or other teas contact Debbie at My Steeped Tea Party.com/EnjoyTeaWithMe

 

Tea and Cake Tuesday

This is probably the only week this year where drinking hot tea is actually ok in South Florida. Here the temps have dipped into the 50’s. A rarity, but nice weather to enjoy tea and cake in.

wp-1453224234877.jpgMade this cake for my cousins birthday. Did not really have a plan just wanted to try something I had seen in a cake video from  Sharon Zambito. Was pretty happy with how easy and unfussy this one was.

thLOMYQ3GT Also, really enjoying this tea right now. Maybe because Valentine’s day is on the horizon but I love the hint of strawberries and cocoa. Have to try this one as an iced tea. Think it would be wonderful.

 

Stuffed Sweet Potato

 

potato

4-6 sweet potatoes

1-2 tbsp. mesquite seasoning

1 can corn

1-can diced tomatoes

1 tbps  cilantro

1 can drained black beans

2 cups shredded chicken

 

This I a combination of recipes that I have found on Pinterest and other places. I was looking for new, ready to go recipes to bring to work and found this idea on a meal planning sheet.

However, the one I found was stuffed with lots of cheese and other goodies. I was trying to go the healthier route so I simplified it for what I had on hand. I had a can of black beans, a can of corn, a can of diced tomatoes.  I figured I could easily make some shredded chicken in the slow cooker. This tutorial helpful and easy, plus I love her recipes. Whether you are doing the 21 day fix or not Nancylynn’s recipes are awesome!

You can season it to your liking. I like a mesquite grill mix to give it a southwest flavor.Garlic Festival Mesquite Grill Seasoning (Small)

This is the one I use but there are many others available at the supermarket.

So we start off roasting 4-6 medium sweet potatoes in the oven at 375 for 45 minutes. Be sure to poke some holes into the potatoes using a knife or fork.

If you ever wondered what happens if you do not poke holes into your potatoes here is a video to show you. Apparently, if you forget to poke holes in potatoes the steam inside builds up and forces it’ why out via a potato explosion.

wp-1452438451663.jpgOnce the potatos are out let them cool then slice them down the middle. Season to your hearts desire then add the filling. The filling is super easy. Once your chicken is out of the slowcooker and cooled shred it with two forks. Don’t do what I did and try to do it before it is cooled. In case no one has told you yelling hot, hot, hot does nothing to cool your hands from streaming chicken pieces.

Lightly season chicken with salt and pepper after shredding. Place in a bowl and add your mesquite seasoning, 1 can diced tomatoes, 1/2 can corn, 1-1/2 can of drained black beans and cilantro. Stuff into potatos. Enjoy!

21 Day Fix Equivalents : 1 red, 1 yellow, 1 green

 

 

 

 

 

 

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