• 88°
Hartselle Enquirer

Plan to avoid holiday over-scheduling

By Staff
Michelle Blaylock, Mom's Corner
OK, so what do you get if you mix six kids, two parakeets, four dogs, one husband, one sister, one brother-in-law, one niece, one nephew, two grandparents and me? Well, if you're lucky you get through Christmas with everyone still speaking to one another!
Admittedly, family gatherings can sometimes be a little stressful. I believe in part that comes from each family having their own rules. We have a standing rule that in our family that you can't override a sibling's rule for their own children. We also don't try to change each other's minds about how we raise our kids. So our basic rule is mind your own business. It makes for a happier visit.
Next, I usually try to have a general plan for the visit. For example, on Friday we'll make some simple ornaments and on Saturday we'll make some candy or a gingerbread house, etc. It's easy to try and over-schedule and cram too much in. If I plan a shopping day, then that will be all I plan for that day.
I don't try to plan on shopping then come home to make ornaments and candy, too. Everyone will be way too tired and crabby.
Here are some ideas for simple crafts for the holidays. String garland using crochet thread and beads, or cranberries and dental floss. Pinecones are in abundance right now, so cover them with glue and roll in glitter or cover in peanut butter and birdseed for our bird friends.
Print Christmas pictures off the internet–color, paint, glitter, etc. then cut out for decorations. These can also make great name cards at the dinner table.
As for simple candies there are many to choose from. Here are a couple of my favorites.
Maple Sponge Candy
1 cup maple flavor syrup (I use pancake syrup)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp baking soda
9 x 9 well buttered pan
Mix first three ingredients in a heavy 2 quart sauce pan and cook over medium heat stirring constantly until boiling. Continue boiling stirring occasionally until cooked to temperature of 300 degrees on candy thermometer or until it reaches "hard boil stage."
Remove from heat add baking soda and pour into butter pan. Be prepared candy will foam up when the baking soda is added! Kids love to watch it!
Chocolate Coconut Balls
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 bag coconut
Chocolate almond bark
While Chocolate almond bark
Mix coconut and milk and freeze for about 1/2 hour. Take out of freezer and roll into bite size balls, place on wax paper or parchment paper and refreeze for about 1 hour.
Melt chocolates according to package directions. (I like to melt them in large coffee mugs.) Then take a few coconut balls out at a time and dip them into chocolate. I like to keep mine in the freezer so the chocolate stays crunchy. I take them out right before serving.
I also plan simple meals for the days before the main holiday. This year I'm planning on making a big Crock Pot of stew and one of chili. I'll add fresh rolls, chips and dip, veggies and dip and a dessert for variety.
A family gathering can be a lot a fun. It does take planning and patience, but it can be fun. We also try to plan one night of family fun for the adults to play card games, board games and reminisce.
Someday I'll have to tell you about the time my brother tried to sneak into the house through a second story window wearing cowboy boots. It was funny. . . well, for some of us anyway.
Merry Christmas!

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Annual Hartselle Camp Meeting begins Sunday

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Salute: Hartselle High alumnus graduates from Naval Academy 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Annual Hartselle Camp Meeting begins Sunday

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Goodbye to a good boy: Beloved family pet, Ace, battles cancer  

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

College Street Players to present Newsies: The Broadway Musical 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle adds two police officers 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle bomb threat deemed hoax

Editor's picks

At 90, Carl Winton keeps on trucking

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle man with rare genetic condition headed to Grand Ole Opry

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Morgan delegation discusses recent legislative session 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

College Street Players to present Newsies: The Broadway Musical

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

HU adjusts rates for water, sewer and natural gas services

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Town Council helps Priceville Elementary furnish school 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle City Schools hires three math coaches for 2024-25 school year 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Crestline students rock Alabama Stock Market Games, poster contest

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

New EMA director worries and plans for a living

Falkville

Jonna’s journey: Local woman battles Glioblastoma with unyielding faith 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Sheriff’s Office opens applications for 2024 youth academy

Brewer

MCS Technology Park to host STEAM summer camp for middle school students 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Bridging the gap: Hartselle Historical Society launches guided walk downtown bringing history to life

Falkville

Storm shelter companies see increase in calls for installation

Falkville

Morgan County rabies clinic to be held June 1

Eva

Community class reunion celebrates Morgan schools

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hats off: Class of 2024 graduates from Hartselle High School

x