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Posts Tagged ‘Holidays’

Holi…daze.

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Create Calm.

Daze. Do you ever find yourself in a daze during December days? I call in the Holi…daze. I have found myself, dazing out the window…worrying. At times, I have found myself paralyzed.

Dependent on how you celebrate December and what you choose to put on your ‘to do list’, chaos may be created. I am challenging myself and all of you to choose to create calm. My 2017 mantra is “Create Calm”. I strive for this daily and don’t always succeed-but, I will continue to try and try again, like the “Little Engine that Could” because it finally did, right?

Create Calm. Calm may help our creativity, our circle of trust, our clarity. We are all balancing chaos during December: the holiday gatherings, school activities, shopping, working on year end deadlines, but…we don’t have to make lunches for kids for 2 weeks? That’s cause for decking the halls! I plan for December Days every year and it still hits me hard. So, I’m leaving you with some “how-to’s”. Here are a few tips that I try and follow during this month (hoping they are helpful):

1 . Lists Santa isn’t the only one who needs a list this time of year. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, it’s all good (said in the Pete the Cat-like voice). This is a time of year for fellowship, spending time with family and friends. Every night, I re-write my list of what I WILL do (include breaks, workouts, what you will eat, etc…every detail). In moments of chaotic craziness, this will act as your guide book when the “December Daze” decks you.

  1. Keep it Real. Will you really be able to accomplish all you have listed?

  2. Forgive and Forget. Forgive yourself or having the move a few things to the next day or 2 on your list and the hard part, FORGET ABOUT IT.

  3. Have fun. Focus on Friends & Family. Phones forgotten. The holidays equal fun. The definition of holidays is not to be in your ‘holidaze’. We’ve all witnessed or felt “dashing. dashing”-not through the snow, but through December. By creating calm, let us tattoo the traditions and thoughtfulness from the top of our head to our toes. Traveling through and really practicing playfulness, peace, and presence.

How will you create calm during December? Can you do it? I think you can…

 

This article was written by Rachana V.S. Garg from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

4 Shortcuts to the Most Impressive Holiday Cookies I’ve Ever Made—And They’re No-Bake

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How does she do it? Cheating of course. My secrets for deceptively fancy holiday cookies.

My Nutella Cones with Hazelnut Praline are the type of easy-to-make, destined-to-impress shortcut cookie recipe this (and every) holiday season needs. They’re inspired by the Nutty Buddy, an ice cream filled, chocolate dipped, peanut sprinkled number. But seeing as it’s December, an ice cream filling isn’t appropriate. So, I swapped the frozen stuff for Nutella, threw in a few other pre-made shortcuts, and came up with the fanciest, easiest cookies I’ve ever made. And they’re no-bake to boot.

Instead of making every part from scratch, I put together a cookie shortcut dream team. The result? A stunning and stunningly simple cookie guaranteed to make you the countess of the cookie swap.

Don’t tell anybody, but these are my secret shortcuts:

The Cone

A simple sugar cone offers the same slightly sweet, cracker-like experience of my first favorite snack, Barnum’s Animal Crackers. They’re just the right texture and not-too-sweet base for what becomes a decadent finished product. I ordered these mini cones from amazon.com (actually, looks like I got the last box!) but you can use a serrated knife to trim the tops off of regular-sized sugar cones. Use the leftover cone bits in place of graham crackers for a delicious press-in crust. (Try it in this sweet potato pie.)

The Creamy Center

Nutella behaves a little like a homemade ganache—a spreadable mixture of chocolate and cream often used to fill truffles or no-bake pies. It holds its shape but stays pliable at room temperature making it the perfect shortcut filling for my (alternate name) Winter BuddiesTM. For extra texture, I folded in a handful of toasted hazelnuts but you could use toasted almonds or salted peanuts if you want. The nutty filberts help balance the sweetness of the Nutella but if you’re a No Nuts Person you can leave them out.

The Crispy Shell

To create the crispy outer shell, I made a homemade version of “Magic Shell”—an easy-to-make combo of chopped chocolate and coconut oil—but you could definitely use the pre-made stuff.

The shell does two things: first, it lines the cones with a water-tight chocolate seal. Without this coating, the cones get soggy as they soak up moisture from the Nutella filling. You can skip it, but the cones will lose their crunch after about 8 hours. Once your cones are filled with the nutty Nutella mixture, you’ll dip the finished bites in more magic shell to contain the gooey interior.

The Sparkle

Crushed hazelnut praline adds a sparkly finish to these otherwise brown on brown treats. I made a homemade praline but you can use store-bought candied nuts (or those rectangular sesame candies) for a similar effect. Or, skip the molten sugar part and top the cones with more chopped nuts. Just be sure to add them while that outer coating of magic shell is slightly tacky so they stick.

And if all this still feels too fancy, tie a big ribbon around your favorite box and call it a (holi)day. For more homemade cookie inspiration, check out some of our favorite cookie recipes here.

 

This article was written by Dawn Perry from Real Simple and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

7 Ways to Show Gratitude This Holiday Season

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The holidays are here, and as per usual, they’re busy and hectic and make you want to swap swear words into “Little Drummer Boy.” To make sure you don’t let the season fly by without recognizing how fortunate you really are, try out one of these seven ways to show gratitude. 

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Send Holiday Cards 

No, it doesn’t have to be a whole production with a photo shoot and monogrammed envelopes. The point is to let the people you love know that you’re thinking about them and grateful for all they do. Find a pretty, festive design (we’re obsessed with all of Rifle Paper Co.’s holiday options) and spend a little time sending holiday greetings to your nearest and dearest. 

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Start a Daily Gratitude Journal 

We know what you’re thinking: I don’t have time for this. But before you rule it out, try it for a day or two. Keep a little notebook next to your bed, and when you wake up in the morning, jot down one to three things you’re thankful for. Say, your daily coffee, or your health. 

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Go Wild With Compliments 

You know when a total stranger compliments you and it makes your whole day? Pay it forward and let that gal at the Starbucks know when you love her scarf or lip color (just make sure you’re genuine). It’s a small way to make someone else—and in turn, yourself—feel good. 

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Volunteer 

Raise your hand if you frequently think to yourself, “I should really give back more,” only to let other things take priority. *Raises hand sheepishly* This season, make good on your promise and spend some time helping people who aren’t as fortunate as you are. Check out Volunteer Match, a volunteer engagement network that can help you find opportunities to give back in your area. (A quick scroll in NYC found listings for helping seniors care for their dogs and becoming a reading partner for a local child.)

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Hand-Write Thank You Notes 

Hand-Write Thank-You Notes 

Whether it’s a fancy sweater from your mom or homemade cookies from your desk-mate, take the time to hand-write a thank-you note. It’s so much more personal than a text or email, and takes little to no extra effort. (Especially if you stock up on greeting cards in advance.) 

Thank the People Who Make Your Life Run Smoothly

Think: Trash collectors, mail carriers, dog walkers and even your go-to manicurist. Give them a written or in-person thank you, along with a monetary token of your appreciation: This handy guide can tell you how much to tip.

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Teach Your Kids Gratitude

Now that you’ve got the whole gratitude thing down pat, teach the younger folks in your life that the holidays are about more than just gift-getting. Maybe it’s encouraging them to pick out a toy for a local charity drive. Maybe it’s spending a day with them at a soup kitchen. Either way, set the example that giving and thanking are just as important as receiving. They’re little sponges, after all.

 

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Holiday Helpers

With the holidays fast approaching, consider asking your children to help decorate the table. They will put their imaginations to use and enjoy a boost to their self-esteem. Below are a few crafty ways your children can help decorate your family’s holiday dinner table.

  • Origami Napkins: Find a clever (but easy) way to fold napkins, demonstrate how to fold them first, and then let your little ones try. When they are done, NR-Blog Photothey can put their napkin creations at each place setting.
  • Homemade Napkin Rings: Cut cardboard tubes (paper towel or toilet paper rolls work best) into 1 ½-inch wide sections. Younger children can decorate the rings with paint or crayons, while older children may enjoy gluing on beans or beads to make fun designs.
  • Personalized Place Cards: Help your little ones make place cards for each of your guests. Cut some cardstock down to size and let your tiny Picasso’s decorate each card with a personalized masterpiece. Provide a list of names so they don’t miss anyone and can easily see how to spell each person’s name.
  • Fun Fall Centerpiece: Gather a brown paper lunch bag, paint, leaves your children have collected, a sandwich bag filled with rice, twigs, tape and some twine. Ask your children to decorate the bag with paint and, while the bag is drying, tape the leaves to one end of the twigs (creating long “stems”). When the paint is dry, place the rice-filled sandwich bag in the bottom of the paper bag to help the bag stand on the table, arrange the stems in the bag with the leafy ends on top, gather the top of the bag around the twig “stems” and tie the bag with twine. Voilà!

The Importance of Father’s Day

Each year, the third Sunday in June is a day dedicated to showing our dads just how important they are. We should twenty20_0ebc9527-d7cb-434a-86e1-6d4a3039c5a8remember to appreciate our fathers for everything they do for us year-round, but Father’s Day is a great opportunity to make sure they know how much we love them. While it is important to spend this day with Dad, however, don’t forget to show Grandpa and your uncle some love, too. This can be done with a phone call or by sending a card or small gift.

If you cannot be with Grandpa or your uncle on Father’s Day, plan a trip to make up for it. Fishing and camping trips are wonderful ways to step away from reality and focus on family bonding. As for Dad, ask him how he would like to spend Father’s Day with the family. Some ideas include mini golfing, a child-friendly construction activity such as building a bird house or simply playing catch in the backyard. And lastly, be sure to tell Dad how much you love and appreciate him and everything he has done for you.

What are some activities your family does to celebrate Father’s Day?

Keeping Your Child on Track through the Holiday Season

Guest Post
by Patricia Lutner

The holiday season is here. The holidays can be fun and joyful for families, but they can also be stressful and unsettling, especially for children. You can take steps to ensure your child has a positive experience and gets through this busy time with less stress. Here are some suggestions that may help.

  1. Provide good nutrition – Eating healthy, nutritious foods can be a challenge with all the treats and special holiday foods. Stock up on fresh fruits, vegetables and lean sources of protein to provide a balanced diet for your family.
  2. Help your child get enough sleep – A tired child is a cranky child. Being consistent with naptimes and bedtimes is especially important during the holiday season. This can be a challenge, but by planning and incorporating these times into your holiday schedule, you can improve your child’s behavior and increase everyone’s enjoyment of an event.
  3. Set expectations and consequences – Letting your children know your expectations for their behavior and the consequences of misbehaving is essential, especially during the holidays. You must be willing to follow through with the consequences, or the rules will have no meaning.
  4. Keep the rules developmentally appropriate – When setting rules and expectations, be aware of what is appropriate for your children’s ages and developmental stages. Often, parents’ expectations do not align with their child’s developmental capabilities.
  5. Stay calm and be flexible – Don’t lose sight of the goal of the holidays, which is to celebrate your family and the traditions important to you. Take a break if you are feeling overwhelmed, even if it is only 10 minutes to breathe and clear your mind. Staying calm will help you and your child enjoy this wonderful time of year.

Nine Ways to Stay Relaxed during the Holiday Season

The holiday season is a lot of fun, but it can also be stressful. Here are nine ways to stay calm during the most wonderful time of the year.

  1. Exercise. Going for a run or brisk walk can make a huge difference in your outlook. Embrace those endorphins and allow them to do their job of taking the edge off.
  2. Try holiday emails instead of greeting cards. Holiday greeting cards are a time-honored tradition, but that doesn’t mean they have to be your tradition. Send out a holiday-themed email instead, which will save you time and money. Or, if you want the best of both worlds, send out a few greeting cards to family and close friends, and send an email to everybody else.
  3. Accept imperfection. Some things may not work out the way you would like. That’s okay. Laugh it off and move on.
  4. Eat healthily. All those yummy holiday treats are great, but don’t forget to eat fruits and veggies. Maintaining a proper diet can help you keep your energy levels up and keep you in a good mood.
  5. Take a few minutes for yourself. Plop down in a favorite chair, read a book, enjoy a warm beverage or simply breathe.
  6. Breathe. A few deep breaths can help you to decompress. If you can, sit quietly and concentrate on breathing for a few minutes. This mini-meditation can help you relax and refocus.
  7. Sleep. The holiday season can be both fun and hectic, so getting enough sleep is important. After all, you need enough energy to enjoy all the holiday fun.
  8. Learn to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” You and your family may be invited to some holiday celebrations. Don’t feel like you need to commit to every one of them, though. It’s okay to say, “Maybe next year.”
  9. Remember what the holidays are all about. It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday excitement. Just remember that the holidays are about spending time with loved ones and being thankful for that time. So smile and enjoy yourself!