We are embarking on the first leg of our holiday travels tomorrow. I feel like there are dozens of tasks nipping at my heels but I’m taking a few moments to sit and chill. I might call it tonight and just get up early tomorrow to git ‘er done. Molly has school so I do have a good part of the day to pack, clean out the car and do a few other things. We are driving down to spend Christmas with my family in Georgia. That’s a pretty long drive from here so we’re stopping in New Jersey for a short visit with the inlaws and doing most of the driving on Sunday. It’ll be rough but we can’t stand the thought of boarding Chowder for Christmas and flying with him feels too risky.
I got my holiday cards out this week. I couldn’t believe how many more I had to do this year. I feel very thankful to know so many lovely people. I don’t send as much snail mail out as I would like to and I am going to try to change that next year. It would be a great resolution.
Speaking of which, I’ve been mulling over some potential goals for 2013. One thing that has me more focused on bettering myself is this new app. My friend, Lindsay, has been working on this since I have known her and it launched in the iTunes store last week. Very exciting! You can monitor many different aspects of your life with it. You let it know the things that are important to you and it will ask you a series of questions that you answer each day. The algorithm will mold itself more towards your specific mindset as you enter more data over time. I find that I am much more mindful of certain things if I have to account for them later and so I’ve been trying to nip and tuck undesirable habits in order to be able to record progress. Some of the things I am hoping to improve are the quality of my meals (how often I eat out, etc) and how much time I spend in front of a screen. I figured if I just went ahead and started this stuff now instead of waiting for the new year, it would be easier to keep it up. We shall see!!
The eating out thing isn’t always easy to curb. Sometimes I get into a serious rut. I’ve really done well with cooking more often as of late and, of course, I’ve been feeling much better than I was before. My crockpot has been a lifesaver. The picture is a white bean and tomato dish based on this recipe. I canned some tomato sauce a few months ago and it is coming in handy!
Now that we’re all focused for a moment on health and stuff, let’s change the subject to candy!!!
I cannot think of another time of year where my domesticity is at such peak levels. I didn’t do fruitcakes this year. I procrastinated and they really do need to sit for longer than they would have been able to by the time I got around to focusing on them. I had way too many distractions back in early November. I decided to go with more buckeyes this year. As long as no one is allergic to peanuts, these guys are a guaranteed crowd pleaser. I actually ruined my first batch of dipping chocolate last night. I was using a metal bowl over a pot of boiling water to melt chocolate chips and some of the water got into the bowl. The entire thing seized up and the game was over until I could go out this morning to get more chocolate. They were still worth it.
I also reattempted caramels this year. The December issue of Martha Stewart has a great spread with lots of helpful pictures as to what it should look like during the cooking stages. I decided to spring on a digital thermometer since I my old one was most likely to blame for the disastrous first attempt that I made a few years ago. They turned out pretty firm but they melt in your mouth and don’t stick to your teeth. It was too hard to cut without shattering it so I placed the slab of caramel back in the oven at 170 degrees and let it soften back up a bit so I could cut and wrap them in parchment paper. It took forever so make sure to set aside the time!
I brought in a slew of goodies for my coworkers today. We all had a great time exchanging Secret Santa gifts. I got a Macy’s card and I bought a nifty Barismo t-shirt for my person. We’re both sort of obsessed. The new location just opened up in Arlington this week and I’m so glad! If you’re looking for a last minute gift, their La Loma coffee is exceptionally good.
Remember all of that stuff I said I had to do at the beginning of all of this jibber jabber? Well, I guess I’d better see if I can get some of it taken care of.
From me to you and yours: Have a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year.