Tag Archives: traditions

Celebrating Christmas Just for Me Takeaways

With the struggles I had celebrating Thanksgiving, I was discouraged with how far I have to go to figure out how to celebrating Christmas in a way that brings me joy, instead of focusing on making them special for my children. Celebrating Christmas lights

I still watched Christmas movies, to the point that where I questioned my decision to get rid of cable. Truth be told, I broke down and subscribed to a couple of channels on Roku to get my Christmas movie fix. I listened to Christmas music on Pandora sometimes when I was home, but I just mixed it in with the other songs on my iPod. It didn’t encompass me like it has in other years. I love looking at Christmas lights, but walking around the neighborhood by myself isn’t nearly as fun.

Celebrating Christmas CardsWorking made it harder to find the time to make my own Christmas cards, so I bought some really nice ones at the thrift store this year. The only crafting I did was with my grandsons; their cute little hand prints are still sitting on my counter waiting to be painted. Buying the perfect gift for anyone was elusive. I struggled to enjoy the season and not miss the Christmases like when the kids were little.

I’m so grateful when it all came together on Christmas Eve eve when my son was excitedly making a thoughtful gift, and my girls were wrapping caramels, while I made Christmas breakfast. As we laughed and talked, a feeling of Christmas wrapped around me and I felt at peace. The feeling continued the next morning when the kiddos were happy with their gifts (even the ones I started second guessing myself) and graciously received the “practical” gifts with gratitude and appreciation.

Those moments help clarify what I want. Now to learn how to achieve those moments more consistently, even when I’m on my own. What are your secrets to feeling the spirit of Christmas?

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Caramel Apples

One of my f2014-10-18 21.02.13avorite fall activities when I lived in California was a trip to Apple Hill to enjoy a caramel apple. Actually I enjoyed more than just caramel apples. I also enjoyed apple pies, apple fritters, apple cider and an occasional applesauce doughnut.

Since it’s a rather long drive to Apple Hill from Arizona, I had decided to make my own caramel apples this year. I had heard a few different tips, so I decided to search Pinterest for the perfect caramel apple. Alas I couldn’t find the perfect recipe, but I found several different recipes with a lot of good suggestions.

I couldn’t decide which one of the recipes would be best, instead I took parts from several of the recipes and came up with my own version of the best caramel apples.

Caramel Apples

Ingredients

  • 5 medium apples
  • Popsicle sticks (optional)
  • 1 bag of caramels
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • Extras: mini chocolate chips, mini M&M’s, chopped nuts

Directions

  1. Boil water with 1 teaspoon of vinegar
  2. Insert Popsicle sticks into apples, I used a fork instead to make it easier to cut my caramel apple into wedges
  3. Dip apples into boiling water and swirl to remove waxy residue from apples
  4. Towel dry
  5. Set apples on cookie sheet in the fridge to chill
  6. Melt caramels with milk
  7. Let melted caramels stand for one minute
  8. Dip apple and let excess caramel drip off
  9. Immediately roll apple in extras, if desired
  10. Place on wax paper covered cookie sheet and let cool.

Not only did I think they were super yummy, my kiddos agreed. We may live too far away to continue our Apple Hill tradition, but I think we came up with a good caramel apple substitute.

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Friday Favorites: March 9

Here in the Valley of the Sun, spring has sprung!  We get a taste of the nice weather for a few days before a storm moves in and cools us off.  I’m OK with that because the warm weather will quickly fade to hot weather all too soon.  I’ll share this week’s favorites, and then I’m going back outside!

  • Cub Scout Day Camp!  I love seeing that many Cub Scouts in one place, wearing their uniform and excited to have fun learning and doing what they do best.
  • Speaking of Cub Scouts, we had a very productive Committee Meeting planning our Pinewood Derby.
  • Our Relief Society celebrated its birthday with a dinner, a game and a craft.

Here’s my favorites from around the web.

  • Monzanita is starting a new family tradition.
  • My Insanity shares a cute way to decorate cans for your organization needs.
  • What Friday Favorites would be complete without a recipe – like Bakers Royale Snickers Cake.
  • Or if you want to ditch the sweets, Your Homebased Mom has some yummy bread sticks.

I’d like to do something fun for St. Patrick’s Day, but I don’t even have my decorations up.  I’m not sure it’s even worth putting them up for a week, but we don’t have very many so we’ll see.  If you have any simple ideas for older kids – please share!  Feel free to share any other favorites too.

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