Day 20: 30 Days in the StepMom Trenches
As the holidays draw closer, I’m reminded of how precious our time is with our family. Time is always a cherished commodity but when you live in a stepfamily, time with your husband, kids and stepkids is treasured in a special way because often you don’t have all your kids all of the time.
As a custodial stepmom, my two stepdaughters are with us 24/7 but my four children go between our home and their father’s home on a regular basis. This means that spontaneity is often a rarity when it comes to holiday fun. I have to plan out in advance when we will take a family photo, cut down our Christmas tree, go to family and friends, watch Christmas movies and most importantly – bake cookies.
I have always loved to cook with my kids and even before I was remarried I used to bake up a storm for the holidays. As young as two, I would have each child pick out a cookie and bake it with them. To this day, my four kids stand strong in their favorite Christmas cookie. It was a tradition that we brought into our blended family and now the girls will bake a cookie with their dad and/or me.
Because schedules are getting crazier with the kids getting older, I appreciate the simplicity of some of the recipes.. I used to only have to factor in the time my kids were with dad. Now I have to factor in swim, ice skating and basketball practice and cub scout meetings.
I thought I’d share with you a cookie that I love to bake over and over with my kids at the holidays. It’s actually one of my son’s favorite to make with just me but we also have a day when we can all bake them and then slip on our jammies and watch the Polar Express.
Here are our favorite Reindeer Kisses:
1 bag mini pretzels
1 bag Hershey Kisses
red & green M&Ms
Preheat oven to 220. Place pretzels on a cookie sheet. It’s okay if they touch each other. Place one unwrapped Hershey Kiss in the center of each pretzel. Place in the oven for 7 minutes. Take tray out of the oven and gently press an M&M in the center. If it goes in easily, finish the rest. If it’s hard to push the M&M into the center, place back in the oven for another minute or two.
Chill the Reindeer Kisses for twenty minutes. If you live in a cold climate, stick the tray outside for a few minutes to cool down.
One of the reasons this recipe is such a family hit is that all the kids can get involved and help. My two oldest like to line up the pretzels, the boys love to unwrap the Kisses and the two youngest sort the M&Ms even though they don’t need to.
Lesson from the StepMom Trenches: Life can get hectic and the holidays can spin our schedules into overdrive. Take a few moments to plan ahead and do some things in the next few days that might save you some stress a few weeks from now. We can’t always bank on schedules staying the same or kids staying healthy so getting some shopping, baking, Christmas card writing, etc… done ahead of time can save some time and headaches later on.
Challenge: Think back to last year. Was there anything that you wished you had more time for? Make some adjustments and changes now so that you can make sure you have time for it this year. Having some fun and easy recipes on hand can help out. Getting shopping done early also helps.
What’s one of your biggest holiday challenges with your family at the holidays?