Happy Holidays

Christmas day is just around the corner and I’ve been busy making preparations to celebrate with family and friends. I like to send e-cards and created this one from a photograph I took of an angel on a pillar in the chapel of the Tile Museum in Lisbon, Portugal.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays and all the very best for the coming year. Marion

To see more of my images, please visit my website http://marionmccristall.com

© Copyright Marion McCristall, all rights reserved

Crunchy Peanut Brittle

Looking for a quick gift idea that you can make in your own kitchen?

crunchy, yummy, peanut brittle ~ a great little gift for someone special

a little gift made with love

Every Christmas I make a batch of peanut brittle to take as a host/hostess gift, tuck in a stocking, or add to gift baskets.  This recipe is really easy to make…only 4 ingredients…and once it’s cool you can just pop it into clear cellophane bags or airtight tins and tie with a ribbon.

Marion’s Peanut Brittle

Prepare a cookie sheet lined with foil and lightly buttered or sprayed with a little Pam

Assemble 2 c. sugar, 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 1 tbsp. butter, and 1 1/4 c. salted peanuts.

Stirring constantly, (I prefer a wooden spoon,) melt the sugar, 1/2 c. at a time in a large heavy frying pan over medium high heat.  When all the the sugar is melted and golden in colour, remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and butter…it will foam a little.  Place back on the heat and stir in the peanuts until coated.  Pour carefully and quickly on to the cookie sheet and spread with the back of the spoon. Break into pieces when it is completely cool and store in an airtight container.

pieces just right for snacking

this little tin looks pretty lined with cellophane

attach a little decoration just for funadd a small decoration just for fun

It’s nice to attach the recipe.  I made this one to print on 4×6 glossy photo paper.

Chase Away the Holiday Blues

Be Kind to Yourself

Are you feeling like you’re balancing on one foot and trying to manage everything with your hands tied behind your back?

this is NOT easy!

Or that you want to run away?

Do you feel like pulling your hair out?

HANG IN THERE

Even though it’s that time of year when we rush about making holiday plans we can find simple ways to ease the pressure and be kind to ourselves. Find ways to refresh yourself every day….it doesn’t have to take more than a few minutes and your body will thank you for it.

Expectations and tensions often run high as we create hopes and dreams of a special time with family and friends. It can be very stressful as we think about all of the things we have to do to get ready for gift-giving, entertaining, cleaning and decorating, and meeting friends and relatives we haven’t seen in a while. Christmas can also be depressing if it brings apprehension over being with people we would rather not see, memories of losses or sad times, loneliness, and strains on the budget.

Some tips to help you chase away the holiday blues

Make a plan for how you will handle the emotional aspects of the holidays so that you will feel more in control and be able to enjoy yourself. Sometimes the demands of children make it seem as if there is not enough time in the day to take a break. Perhaps you could share child minding with a friend or get the kids occupied with a game or craft….just enough to squeeze out some time where you can sit back and breathe.  If you are feeling lonely, take time to volunteer or reach out to others. Treat yourself to some of the simple pleasures in life like a brisk walk, warm, candle lit bubble bath, steamy cup of herbal tea, a quick nap, or curl up with a good book.

close your eyes and relax

Turn off your cell, blackberry, and computer….even for half an hour…. and take a mini break from being constantly wired and connected to work, friends….and the world. Move away from your computer and do some stretching or go for a walk….or find someone to massage your neck and shoulders.

ahhhhh....that feels better!

Manage your stress instead of it managing you

  • Get plenty of fresh air and exercise.
  • Develop a realistic, practical approach to handling what you can and cannot do.
  • Rein in the shopping so that it matches your budget and try to shop at the least busy times.
  • Prioritize tasks, pace yourself, ask others for help, and avoid setting yourself up for disappointment.
  • There are so many temptations for snacking…holiday get-togethers seem to invite us to overindulge. Remember to eat a healthy, balanced diet…a few treats are fine…and limit the amount of caffeine and alcohol consumed.
  • Try some well known stress reducing practices such as listening to calming music, meditation or yoga. Find the humour in difficult situations and lighten up.
  • Where possible, limit the amount of time spent with negative people so that you don’t feel drained by constant bickering.

keep your cool

Build in gratitude and optimism, take it one day at a time, and spend pleasant moments with those you find supportive and caring.

ask friends for support

These will all help you to feel better about yourself and you will be managing your stress rather than it managing you.

Be kind to yourself and make a little time to catch your breath, regroup, and relax.

Remember that YOU deserve it!