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Family Looking Up

Dec 5, 2017

Christmas should be a time of happiness, joy, generosity, and excitement, but often it is associated with of anxiety, stress, and sometimes depression.  Some people worry about money, family, the commercialization of the holiday, and the need for the “perfect Christmas.”

Today we discussed some ways to make your Christmas a little less stressful and some new traditions you may want to add to your families holiday season.  

We talked about the importance of traditions with Niki Olsen on episode one and Christmas is a great time to start those.  We want you to remember that circumstances change and we have to be flexible with our traditions.  We also have to make sure that the traditions are manageable.  Don’t do so many traditions that you don’t enjoy the holidays.   

Some traditions that Camille does and loves are “Christmas Adam” which is celebrated on December 23rd.  She also loves to get her family a puzzle to work on together, and they always watch While you were Sleeping, A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful, and A Christmas Story.  Me and Andrea also added National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (not appropriate for young children) and Elf.  

Andrea loves to go on hayrides and sing Christmas carols, doing the 12 Days of Christmas, and making homemade eggnog (recipe below).   

Beth loves doing secret Santa for a family in need.  We also do a Christmas Eve breakfast where we invite people over who don’t have family in town.  All three of us enjoy acting out the Nativity on Christmas Eve and getting the kids Christmas Eve pajamas.  

Although Christmas is fun and full of traditions we have some hacks that may help it feel a little less stressful.  Some helpful hacks are to plan ahead; write everything down so you know what you need and want to do.  An app that Andrea uses to track gifts is called the Christmas List.  You can find it at the app store.  She also plans all of the things that Elf of the Shelf will do for the whole month.  Camille suggested being intentional about your traditions that you bring into your family.  She also started giving her kids only one gift and then they do a big family gift.  There are a ton of printables on Pinterest that you can print for free.  A major theme was that the more you make it about others, the better the holiday is.    

I’d Marry that: Food Edition

Egg nog ice cream, peppermint cool whip, oreo truffles, chex party mix, giant ginger cookies

Giant Ginger Cookies

4 ½ c flour

4 t. Ground ginger

2 t.  Baking soda

1 ½ t. Cinnamon

1 t.  Ground cloves

¼ t. Salt

1 ½ c. shortening

2 c. sugar

2 eggs

½ c. molasses

¾ c. sugar (for rolling dough in)


Combine all dry ingredients.  In a stand mixer put shortening and 2 cups of sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs and molasses.  Add flour mixture.

Shape dough into large balls.  Roll the dough in sugar.  Place 12 cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet.  

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 11-13 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned and tops are puffed.  Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes.  Transfer to wire rack and let cool.

Oreo Truffles

  • 1 package (15.25 oz.) Oreos (any flavor, double stuffed or regular both work)
  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 12 oz. white melting chocolate (*Not chocolate chips, but high quality melting chocolate- I used Baker’s bars)
  • 6 oz. semi sweet melting chocolate for topping (Or sprinkles, or Oreo crumbles)

Place the Oreos (filling & all) in a food processor (in batches if necessary) and process until fine crumbs are formed and large chunks are gone.

Mix in the softened cream cheese until very well combined and the dough becomes sticky.

Roll about 1- 1 ½ tablespoons of dough into a ball and set aside on a plate or in a container that you can fit in the freezer. Freeze the balls for at least 30 minutes.

Baker’s chocolate bars melt really well in the microwave and are ideal for dipping. (Chocolate chips, not so much.) Place the white chocolate in a small microwave safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until melted.

Andrea's AUSTRIAN Eggnog (not Danish)

1 gallon milk

5 small cartons whipping cream (whipped)

16 egg yolks

5 cups powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla

Beat powdered sugar and egg yolks together.  Set aside.  In a large pot (if you have a large double boiler, use it!  I make mine in a large electric roaster with an inch of water under the cooking pan.) Heat milk until almost boiling.  Then add egg and sugar mixture. Cook until eggs are cooked (I have no idea how hot this is-- this is a FAMILY RECIPE PEOPLE!) Cool.  Add vanilla and whipped whipping cream. Mix all together.   DRINK AND ENJOY!