AUTHOR: Carolyn Savage | POSTED: December 11, 2012 | COMMENTS: 4 Comments
Wednesday, on the River with Mary Beth and Rick, I’ll be sharing some stories about holiday moments foild by the antics of small children, giving a few tips on how to avoid such meltdowns, and sharing my favorite recipe for Peppermint Bark. Don’t miss this!
I just reviewed our schedule for the upcoming weekend and it appears that Saturday is a tad overbooked. As much as I love being busy, especially when my time is packed picking off Christmas traditions with my kids, I do realize that there is a limit as to how much a four year old can handle in a twelve hour period. Right now, Saturday looks like it is in the high risk category for an epic meltdown.
So, what do I do?
Well, since all of the events are “musts”, I need to plan carefully. This isn’t my first time at the rodeos so I know the pitfalls of a crazy busy day. I’ll do my best to avoid them.
First Tip: Plan Ahead for Wardrobe Changes
We are starting with Breakfast with Santa, followed by a birthday party, than the Nutcracker, and then we are ending the day at a hockey game. I’ll set out all Mary Kate’s clothes ahead of time. There’ll be no early morning ransacking of her dresser for the tights that match her dress for Breakfast with Santa at Levis Commons. (There are still tickets available for the 8:30 am seating!)
Second Tip: Pack Snacks
I’ve been around the parenting block enough to know that I should never leave home without snacks. Never. Not even if we are going to an event that promises to feed my children. I’ve been to too many parties where the fare was delish, but not kid appropriate which translated into whiny, hungry and very unhappy little ones. So, I’ll feed her at home, bring along a great assortment of our regular snacks, and we’ll have sippy cups to spare.
Third Tip: Expect a Spill
Murphy’s Law always seems to enact itself when I have my children dressed up for a party. It doesn’t matter how careful I am, or they are, spillage happens. So, I carry a change of clothes for everyone under the age of five, and I don’t get too emotionally attached to one of my children’s picture perfect outfits.
Fourth Tip: Pack My Gear
Because it’s going to be a long day, I’ll throw an extra stroller in the car to wheel MK around at the hockey game. By then she’ll be exhausted and God only knows how far we’ll have to walk after we park, so stroller it is. In addition, I’ll call ahead to the birthday party and see if I need to drag along my portable high chairs for the babies. It’s at someone’s home and I can’t expect them to be equipped to have seating for two one year olds!
Fifth Tip: Lower My “Norman Rockwellish” Expectations
Of course, all of these activities are scheduled by us, for fun. I want my children to have wonderful memories of their childhood. Breakfasts with Santa, nights out on the town with family and friends, birthday parties with classmates and a magical Christmas ballet performance all sound wonderful, but realistically, not all will go according to plan. I need to dial my expectations of perfection down a few notches, and remember to savor the memory of every moment with my kids….even the ones that get a little ugly.
Last Tip: Peppermint Bark…for me
Nothing sustains me more during the Christmas craziness than chocolate. Honestly, I’ve already inhaled three bags of Ghiradelli Peppermint Bark. I wrap a few gifts…peppermint bark. I address a few cards…peppermint bark. I finish my shopping…peppermint bark.
So, as much as I’m sure Ghiradelli appreciates my patronage, I’ve found that making my own tastes even better.
Enjoy the recipe.
12 oz. high quality dark chocolate (or semi sweet chocolate) chips
12 oz. white chocolate chips
10 candy canes (unwrapped…duh)
1. Line a 9×9 inch pan with foil or wax paper. Make sure you press out as many of the wrinkles on the bottom as you can!
2. Coarsely crush candy canes. You don’t want to crush them too much or you’ll end up with powder. Just into discernable candy cane bits.
3. Melt dark chocolate chips in glass bowl in microwave. I do this in one minute increments and stir between each minute. Usually only takes me two to three minutes (but differs according to the strenght of your microwave.)
4. Pour melted chocolate into lined pan. Then sprinkle 1/3 of the crushed candy canes on top of the dark chocolate. Place in refridgerator to set. Only allow to set for 5-8 minutes.
5. While dark chocolate is setting, melt white chocolate in glass bowl in microwave at 50% power following same directions as in step #2.
6. Once white chocolate is melted, remove dark chocolate from fridge. Pour the white chocolate over dark chocolate in pan. Be careful when spreading the white chocolate. You don’t want to swirl them together. You want the white chocolate on top of the dark chocolate. Also, the white chocolate doesn’t have to perfectly cover the dark chocolate.
7. Sprinkle the rest of the candy canes on top of the white chocolate layer.
8. Allow bark to set in fridge for 2+ hours.
9. Once set, remove from fridge and flip pan over allowing bark to fall from pan. Peel foil or wax paper from bottom of bark. Break into desired size pieces.
10. Store in fridge. Yum.