Friday, November 6, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Every year I think "Oh, this is going to be the best holiday season EVER!!", and I end up in a heap on the couch crying because it didn't turn out like I expected. My first thought on December 26th is always "but it's not the most wonderful time of the year anymore!!". Sob, sob, sniff, sniff. Do you know what I'm sayin'? Am I the only one who does that?

Every year is going to be more magical, more romantic, more delicious, more beautiful, more dazzling than the year before. Last year I had a 3 month old at Christmas and barely got the tree up. In the simplicity of it all, I was really able to enjoy it more. I didn't spend hours laboring over wrapping, table top decor, baking, blah, blah, blah. It was nice. This year I DO want to do those things, but I'm going to do them with a different spirit. There will be no rushing, no stressing, no fretting. This year I'm just saying no to ending up in a heap on the couch on December 26th.

The other day at MOPS we were presented with the idea of making a list of "will's" and "won'ts" for the holiday season. This isn't a new idea I have here, but I found it helpful to put pen to paper, or fingers to laptop, and write them all out.

Let's start with the "will's"...
1. I WILL make Christ the primary focus of our holiday season together. It's not about the gifts or the cookies...for us, it's about the King becoming a babe in a manger in order to save us from eternal separation from him.

2. I WILL teach my child to be selfless in giving and that it's better to give than receive. How will I do this? By example.

3. I WILL enjoy baking and making treats for friends and family but they won't be so crazy that it stresses me out! Am I the only one who stresses out about making the PERFECT sugar cookies in the Martha Stewart Christmas cookie magazine?? After all, she describes them as "perfect"...I should as least TRY to make them so, right? Not this year.

4. I WILL spend time with my family enjoying each other, sipping hot chocolate, watching Christmas movies, singing Christmas carols, looking at Christmas lights and doing whatever other Christmas stuff we can! But I won't stress when we can't seem to fit it all in.

The "won'ts"
1. I WON'T buy a single shred of wrapping paper. My grandmother has enough in her attic to paper the great state of Texas. Everyone on my list will be getting their gifts wrapped in paper from the seventies...I'm calling it a "retro chic" Christmas. AND I won't stress over making a perfect, custom bow for each gift. I may even incorporate the "Dad bow" as seen in this photo.

2. I WON"T go over my budget on anything!! For those of you who know how I love to buy things for people, bake things, decorate things, you know that's a toughy.

3. I WON'T send Christmas cards, and I won't feel guilty. OK, maybe a little, but the postage alone will blow my budget! E-card, anyone?

4. I WON'T put such high expectations on myself and others that I forget what the real meaning of Christmas is for us. I also won't forget to put the reindeer ears on my dogs this year and take a picture. That alone makes for some pretty good fun.

What are some of your "wills" and "won'ts" for this holiday season?? Do tell.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Caramel dipped apples

I decided it was time to dip some apples so here they are and how I did it...

1. Wash the apples and dry well.
2. Coat a piece of wax paper or a plate with butter.
3. Use pre-made caramels and follow the directions on the bag for melting. I made my own caramel last wasn't any better and a WHOLE lot more work. Plus, the kids can open all the candies for you!
4. Dip the apples in the caramel and allow the excess to drip off. It will puddle some, so take it off the wax paper and cut the excess off. Redip them if you like it thicker.
5. Roll them in nuts if you want.
6. Melt chocolate chips in a saucepan. Place the melted chocolate in a ziploc baggie. Cut a tiny tip off one corner of the you have an icing bag.
7. Swirl the chocolate around the apple in a line. It's easier to just go back and forth rather than try to spin the apple around.
8. Place back on wax paper and set in the fridge for about an hour. Cut the apples in slices when you are ready to enjoy.

You can use all kinds of different nuts and other types of chocolate. My next batch will be white chocolate...yum!!

Have fun and get the kids's super easy! It only took me 30 minutes to make these!