Christmas Mayhem

What is it about this time of year? Why does it seem as though life becomes a whirlwind and our brains leave us temporarily? Please tell me I am not the only one who experiences this phenomenon. It seems as though as soon as daylight savings time hits, the days aren’t really 24 hours anymore, but only 15 or so. It feels as though instead of giving my kids sunlight at the bus stop in the morning, daylight savings time really just takes away some hours of my day.
Just the other day I was leaving class at 5:00 and I walked out and said (out loud unfortunately), “Oh, wow, it’s dark already.” When I went to school earlier that afternoon it was a bright sunny day. When I walked out just a few hours later it was dark. I felt as if seven hours had passed instead of only two!

So the days are shorter, the nights longer, but it seems like it is 8:00pm when it is only 6:00pm. Thank goodness Solstice is right around the corner so the days can start becoming longer again!!

Just to make matters worse, not only does it feel as though I have lost hours to my day where I could be being productive, driving anywhere during the holiday season takes twice as long! And if your business takes you anywhere near a shopping center you better just forget it buddy! You will be in long lines at lights forever. And while I am on this subject of driving, does anyone else feel as though people drive worse during the holidays? It is as if something takes over, and they forget ALL of the common sense or even common courtesy rules of driving. I am a defensive driver anyway, but boy howdy, during the holidays I feel as though I should be wearing a helmet and protective clothing inside my car! I have never figured that out. It is as if they are afraid if they don’t run the red light and get to the mall 30 seconds faster the good parking spot will be gone, or the item they are shopping for will suddenly disappear off the shelf.

For the past 4 years, I have sent my boys to their dad’s house for Christmas every year. I take them out of school the day school vacation starts and we travel to their dad’s during working hours. Their father lives three hours from us, so we meet halfway. We usually meet for the “trade off” around lunchtime so neither of us has to deal with rush hour traffic in the morning or evening. Since they visit their dad a few days before Christmas and stay until a couple of days after, I can just stay in and not drive much immediately preceding Christmas when all of the last minute shoppers are making a mad dash or the revelers are going to or coming from a party. I feel safer that way. Plus, since I don’t have to buy their presents until after Christmas, I get candy ½ price, and believe it or not the prices of many things go down the day after Christmas.

Our house does NOT look like this

But not this year.  NOOOO.  This year my boys want to go to their Dad’s house for New Year’s instead.  So I have to have all of my Christmas shopping done by Christmas Eve.  Candy, presents, the whole shebang.  AND I have to have everything wrapped Christmas Eve!  I am just not up for these early deadlines.  That is an entire week early for me.  I told the boys since they messed with my normal holiday flow, they only get ½ the amount of candy since I have to pay full price.

Hey don’t judge!  I have to have some standards.  To be honest, my boys always have a nice Christmas.  Bluebell and I do our best to get them some nice things without going overboard.  We have some traditions such as Cinnamon Rolls for breakfast, and ham and homemade yeast rolls for dinner.  Other than that we just hang out and enjoy time with family!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars (Diabetic friendly)

For those of you who don’t know me, I am a bit pudgy.  It has been a problem for me for most of my life, and I have fought with my weight even more since I had my two children.  I had so many friends having success on Weight Watchers that I decided to try it also. I was doing well, and had lost a few pounds, and then October happened.  October was rough.

Well, I am back on Weight watchers, as of December 01.  Bluebell is doing Weight Watchers also, and that will be so helpful to me. However, another thing I love to do besides Blogging, and playing World of Warcraft (yes I AM that girl), is baking.  Baking is not always what you should be doing when you are counting your points, so I am always on the lookout for amazing low sugar, low fat foods.  I recently posted my recipe for Diabetic Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake, which was a big hit.  So last night I was looking for something to bake and found a low sugar pumpkin bar recipe.  I found this recipe on a Group Recipe website.  It was easy to make, and the bars were really delicious.  They ended up being 4 WW points which is about 200 calories each.  If I substitute unsweetened applesauce for the oil, it will take them down to 3 points! I will do that next time.

Diabetic Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars

YUM!

1 Cup flour

1 Cup White whole wheat flour

3/4 cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 15 oz can pumpkin

4 eggs slightly beaten

1/2 cup canola oil (You may substitute 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce)

1/4 cup 1% milk

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Lightly coat 13 x 9 x 1 baking pan with cooking spray.  In large bowl combine both flours, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.  In a medium bowl combine the pumpkin, eggs, oil and milk.  Add the flour mixture and  1/3 cup of the chocolate chips to the pumpkin mixture and mix until just combined.  Spread it evenly in the prepared pan.  Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips over the top. Bake at 350 for 23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.  Cut into 18 bars.

Ingredients

Mix the dry ingredients into a bowl:

Mix Pumpkin, eggs, oil and milk:

Combine pumpkin mixture, dry ingredients and 1/3 cup of the chocolate chips:

Spread into prepared pan:

Bake, put on a plate and enjoy!!

YUM!

 

NaBloPoMo comes to a close

Today is November 30th.  The day that NaBloPoMo comes to a close.  This is my third year participating in NaBloPoMo or National Blog Posting Month.  I also did the most posting this year. I will admit that I have never posted EVERY day in any of the three years I have participated.  However, this year I did the best, only missing three days.

So I am ready to move on to December.  Lots to do.  High school swim meets, Hanukkah lights to light, Christmas trees to trim, egg nog to drink, cookies to bake, and presents to wrap! One of my favorite times of the year!

It is a bittersweet month for me as it is also the 2nd anniversary of my fathers death.  He had a stroke on Christmas day 2010, and died in the early hours of the morning on December 26th.

So we leave November behind and roll into December, and I promise I will continue to try to post often.  🙂