Hope is Close

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My name is Anahi Garza, I am a Peer Support Specialist at Lutheran Community Services Northwest (LCSNW). Peer Support Counseling is based on lived experience, the journey, and perseverance through challenging situations. It is based on self-advocacy, self-care, and resilience. My lived experience includes overcoming homelessness, navigating grief and strengthening relationships, and my favorite, being the Mom of my 14-year old son living with an intellectual disability.

 

My son was born at 24 weeks gestation; he was the twin that survived ventilator induced injury. It all happened so fast that day. I had struggled with fertility for 5 years losing 5 babies, but we finally had our fragile one-pound miracle baby boy. The doctors painted a picture of what our son's prognosis would be. It was scary and we decided that we would take it one day at a time. I felt very alone during this time, falling into a state of depression and anxiety.

Anahi and her 15-year old son, Lamoni

We spent 5 months in the NICU. It was so hard, but I met other families with NICU babies and we found comfort and support in sharing our challenges with each other. I realized that listening to other parent's in need of hope gave me hope. I wasn't alone, and in fact I gleaned a new found inspiration and awareness of how others may struggle with mental health and how sharing your story provides hope.

The challenges for my son continued long after we left the NICU. Academics proved to be difficult for my son. I sat in one IEP after another hearing of my son's low-test scores and inability to focus or stay engaged. I did not know how to advocate for him. My husband and I began to feel like his development reflected our parenting skills. We didn't know how to parent him because we were uncertain of his level of understanding. But one thing I knew for sure, I never wanted him to feel like there were limits to his potential. It was a challenge to find that balance.

It was not until his 4th grade IEP review, when I met with his teacher who once again reported that he was severely below grade level. I was not able to hold back the tears of frustration and disappointment, continuing to feel like I was failing at parenthood. She could see the disappointment and began to praise us for raising a son who was respectful and who had a pure heart. She talked about how he shared his Sunday school lessons with the class and regularly made good choices. She told me that I should feel proud, and that academics were not everything in life.

I went home that day feeling instilled with a new hope. She had helped me realize that I was hyper-focused on a single aspect of my son, and that his grades did not define him as a person. I began to praise him more for his work. I stopped crying at his IEP meetings and started asking questions, which led to brainstorming solutions together as a team. I worked with my son to understand that he could speak out and not feel intimidated to ask questions. I told his teachers to share his accomplishments with me, even if they were below grade average and to stop telling me what he wasn't doing. I celebrated him in every way I could!

My experiences in the NICU, finding comfort in sharing stories and caring for one another, as well as navigating education and learning to care for my son led me to pursue a career in social work and in advocating for others.

I love the work I do in peer support. I get to share with other parents how to focus on the strengths of their children. I get to reach out to families who do not speak English and reframe ingrained stigmas about mental health. I get to encourage the ways they can be proud of their child's accomplishments and embrace them for who they are and whatever challenges they are facing.  I get to encourage parents to take care of themselves and their own mental health. Whether it's a walk, meditation or their own therapy to process challenges, we care for others better when we care for ourselves.

I want people to know that they aren't alone in their struggles, that there are others with similar experiences who can help them navigate parenting a child with challenging behaviors or special needs. It can be overwhelming when we face hard things alone, but I believe that we all have someone out there who is willing to support us; family, friends, or mental health and health care professionals. No matter how big or small the challenge may be, It's never too late to reach out for help.

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Finding Mental and Behavioral Health Resources - One Mom's Story

Erika Lopez2My name is Erika and I am a therapist at Lutheran Community Services NW. At my job, I work with youth who are struggling with mental health challenges, but I'm also a mom of three children, ages 5, 2, and 1.  For me, mental health isn't just a job, it is a complete shift in culture from how I was raised.

I am Mexican and in my culture mental health isn't something we "believe in".  When we experience challenges, we don't seek help from social workers, therapists or psychologists, we "deal with it."  When my oldest son was about 2.5 years old  I worked as a preschool teacher and assisted in other daycares classrooms. Daycare and preschool had been a huge challenge for my son.  Other children didn't understand what he was saying, most of the time his teachers didn't understand him either.  He was sent home with incident reports, day after day.  I would buckle him into his car seat and as I was driving, tears would run down my cheeks, because all I wanted was for my son to feel loved and accepted. I felt like I was failing him as a mom.

I started asking myself "why isn't my son talking as much as the other children or doing all the same things they are doing?"  It was a challenge for me to accept that my son needed to be evaluated.  Many members of my family would say,  "Oh, he'll learn on his own time, he's just lazier than the other children."  I felt unsupported and judged by my family, like if I was letting them down.  I wasn't sure what to do.  Do we just hope things change on their own or do I follow my gut feeling as a mom.  My husband and I talked about it over and over, until we finally decided to ask his Pediatrician for a referral.

My son was evaluated and diagnosed at an agency for speech delays and he was also evaluated at his current preschool for developmental delays; his results showed that he was delayed in three developmental areas: cognitive, communication, and social.  Currently, my son is 5 but is developmental at the age of a 2 year old.  After he was evaluated, I realized that it wasn't his fault or my fault as a mother, he just wasn't in the right environment.  When my son was accepted into a special education program, EVERYTHING CHANGED! He started to learn.  He speaks more.  He has friends.  He learned to socialize.  His anxiety is gone.  His teacher and the school have been the best thing to ever happen to him.  He learned to love school and the bus rides are his favorite!  It was the best decision we made as parents!  As a mom, I cry now with joy when I drive away from his school, because I know I'm not a failure and because of all the great things his teachers say about him!  It fills my heart with happiness.

This is exactly what I love to do when I am at work as a mental health therapist.  I want to empower my youth and their families and to be their cheerleader. I want to walk alongside them as they find solutions to their barriers and help build their skills to navigate through their challenges.

As a mom, it wasn't just about the skills my son learned, but also about the skills I needed to learn, as well as the skills our family needed to learn to support our oldest son.  Together we have helped our son be successful and my son has helped me grow as a mom and a therapist. He has inspired me to help others who are facing similar culture and resource barriers. Many families don't know what help is out there for us and now, everyday, I am motivated to help families find what they need to overcome whatever battles they are fighting.

Parents sometimes aren't aware of the resources available to them or of their rights and their children's rights.  504 plans are implemented at schools to help students with disabilities be successful by providing accommodations.  IEPs are a legal document that allow students with disabilities to receive specialized instructions, accommodations, and other services.  To receive more information about these plans and to request an evaluation, send your child's school a letter requesting why you'd like the evaluation.

If you are seeking mental and behavioral health support for a youth or child, please reach out to Lutheran Community Services NW and ask to speak to one of our Referral Specialists. Call (509) 783-2085 or find us online at LCSNW.org

 

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Designing a nursery

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Designing a nursery can be overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. We love these tips for creating a nurturing space that will grow with your child and leave your wallet and sanity intact.

 

2: The basics

Nurseries only need to support the baby's basic activities in order to thrive. So, what do babies do?  New babies eat, sleep and play. Does your baby need a mommy daybed adorned with pillows, a long chaise lounge and a television? No. Buckets of love, a crib or bassinet, a chair for nursing and a comfortable surface for play are all your baby needs for a good growing start.

2: Safety

Safety has to be the first priority when designing a space for your baby. For example, choose cordless window treatments, a new or properly retrofitted used crib, no/low VOC paint and forego crib bumpers at certain ages or altogether. If it is not safe, don't let yourself love it and put it in the room.

3: That special chair

A chair is used for nursing, bonding, rocking, relaxing, singing, reading and, sometimes, sleeping. So many precious moments will take place in this chair, so find a good one, new or used! Traditional gliders are often resold after mom and baby outgrow them, while an upholstered chair with rocking feet can be used in another room in the house.

4: Changing station

It's entirely possible, and some argue safer, to change diapers with just a pad on the floor. If considering a table or dresser, new or used, choose a pad that can be securely attached for safety. Dressers, rather than changing tables, allow for easy access to diapers, supplies and baby clothes and can also be used during toddlerhood and beyond.

5: Lights out

Even the tiniest sliver of light can wake some babies, especially if you have a summer-born, light-sleeping baby. A dark room will add to your baby's sleeping success rate. There are many cordless blackout shade options in various lengths that can be cut to size. Or simply buy blackout material and "hook and loop" tape it to the surrounding millwork.

 

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Check out these tips for creating a room with personality without breaking the bank. They just make sense (cents)!

A non-themed room transitions more affordably, and can be accomplished gradually avoiding future expenses when interests change or your baby grows an opinion.

When buying more expensive or custom items choose colors and patterns that transition over time. For example, gender-neutral colors and age-transitional patterns: geometrics and stripes over baby-specific scenes; greens over pinks; multi-color fabrics; furniture in white or wood tone over bright painted colors.

Bring in color with smaller, budget-friendly items: storage baskets, sheets, throws, wall art and other decorative top notes. Books and toys are the most practical ways to style kid's rooms; select your favorites and put them front and center!

Decorate with affordable art. Search "printable nursery art" online then repurpose old thrift store frames and buy a custom colored mat at your local framte shop.

Select paint last. If you want to get the color right, wait until you know the design direction of the room. You can create any color in the world after you have a reference point such as a color pulled from fabric or a rug.

Kari Delavenne is a mother of two and Interior Designer. For more of Kari's design ideas visit www.delavennedesign.com

Article adapted from A room to grow, MOM Magazine April/May 2016


Buckle up! Car seat guidelines

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Buckle up!

Car seat guidelines and laws are confusing. Vehicle and car seat technology can be even more so.

Here is a quick summary of some of the most important-yet not always well-understood-recommendations on child passenger safety:

Oregon law states that kids need to be rear-facing until age two. The American Academy of Pediatrics, however,  recommends keeping children rear-facing as long as possible, so long as they fit in the weight and height requirements of the seats. Most convertible car seats-seats that can rear or forward-face-will accommodate kids rear-facing until they weigh 40 pounds.

The next big-and often confusing-step is transitioning kids from a five-point harness, forward-facing car seat into a booster seat. This can happen after age four as long as they are over 40 pounds. I always advocate that parents keep their kids in a car seat as long as they fit, because a five-point harness is much safer than a three-point seatbelt in a belt-positioning booster seat.

The final step in the car seat transition is moving from a booster seat to a seat belt only. This may happen when a child is anywhere between eight and 12 years of age; they should be about 4' 9" before this transition occurs. They should be able to pass several tests before they use the seat without the booster:

The child needs to be able to sit up straight with knees hanging comfortably over the edge of the seat, feet on the ground, and with the seat belt in the correct position with the shoulder belt over the middle of the chest-not near the neck.

The lap belt should be over the upper thighs and hips, not the abdomen.

If your child is not ready, stay with the  booster. Passing these tests can keep your child  much safer in the event of a collision. Finally, kids should stay in the back seat until they are 13.

Motor vehicle collisions are the No. 1 cause of death and significant injury in kids under the age of 19. There's a lot we can do to protect our kids so they are safe while riding in a car. Following car seat and seat belt laws and guidelines really does save lives!

Angela Zallen, MD is a pediatric hospitalist and a certified child passenger safety technician. She's also the co-chair of SafeKids West Oregon. She lives in Eugene with her husband, a pediatric surgeon, and their two children, two dogs and 10 chickens.

Birthday cakes to remember

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Fun with fondant

The sky's the limit when it comes to creating your next birthday masterpiece. Fondant is such a versatile cake-decorating tool. It can be used to cover cakes or make great little cake toppers. I personally call fondant grown-up Play-Doh because it can be so much fun to create different decorations that fit your theme. Cookie cutters and molds can be used to cut out a base for your fondant or gumpaste decorations. Wish.com, amazon.com and your local craft store are great resources for decorating supplies.

 

If you're not the most confident baker, that's okay! Here are some helpful tips to help you succeed:

Before you get started, be sure to read the recipe thoroughly. Baking is a science, so be sure to understand the directions.

Room temperature is best for your ingredients. Let your items such as eggs, butter and milk sit out on your counter for a couple of hours prior to baking.

Correct measurements are very
important! My advice? Before you start mixing, make sure you have all your ingredients pre-measured and ready to go. I use this practice in all of my baking.

Want a box cake to taste like it came from the bakery? Follow the directions on the box but add an extra egg, use melted butter instead of oil, and replace the water for milk. And don't be afraid to add a little flavoring like a teaspoon of vanilla or a touch of almond extract.

Greasing your pans is an important step! Butter is best, but a 1:1:1 ratio of oil, flour, and shortening (otherwise known as "cake goop") is also great. And if your cake doesn't release entirely from the pan, no worries! Wrap that cake up and freeze for cake pops later.

 

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Checker board technique

There are many different ways to create a fun birthday cake but one of my favorites is the checkerboard technique. And you can do this without having to buy expensive, fancy pan sets. All you need is some circle cutters that you can find at your local craft store. The one I use is by Celebrate Arts sold at Michaels stores.

The largest of these circles start at 5 inches, which is perfect for a cake that is 8 inches. I used 6 inch round cakes that I colored pink and purple, with one layer having some fun sprinkles it.  Start by cutting two circles out of every cake layer. When assembling, place a different color circle in each cake round until they are complete.

What's really cool about this technique is the reveal when you cut into your cake-it will have checkerboard appearance. And because I used three different colors instead of two, it added a little more dimension to the inside of the cake.

Beautiful, isn't it? And it's super fun when creating cakes such as unicorns, mermaids, or lumberjack themes. Give it a try using different flavors and colors. It will be a hit at your next party!

Under Pressure: Instant Pot Favorites

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I'm not an early adopter. In fact, if I finally embrace a new technology, style or fad, it's a sure sign that it's on the way out. So I was certainly not the first mom to jump on the Instant Pot bandwagon. While everyone else claimed the Instant Pot was changing their lives, I was holding firm to my crock pot. We'd had a long and happy relationship and I didn't have room (literally, no cabinet space) for a new appliance in my life...

But when my rice cooker gave out and I learned that I could cook rice in the Instant Pot, I suddenly had the justification I needed: swapping one appliance for another was cabinet-space neutral. A few days later a giant box was at my doorstep. Several days after that, it was still in the box staring me down from the dining room table. I would not be defeated by an appliance but, I must admit, I was a little intimidated-okay, terrified-to get started. It's been a few months now and I am by no means an expert, but I am a convert. I'm still a complete Instant Pot neophyte but, after some experimentation, our family definitely has some Instant Pot favorites.

 

 

Red Beans and Rice

This simple recipe is a huge hit in our house. Technically it's a side dish, but we throw it on a plate with some salad or veggies and call it dinner. Warning: there are never any leftovers.

Ingredients

3 bacon slices, chopped into ¼ inch pieces

1 onion, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 large pinches of cayenne

1 cup long-grain white rice

2 (15 ounce) cans red kidney beans, rinsed
and drained

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

 

Directions

Select Sauté to preheat Instant Pot. Once hot, add bacon and cook until lightly crisp. Remove and set aside. Add onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Add bell pepper and cook for 2 more minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more until onion is translucent. Add cayenne and bacon and stir. Add the rice, beans and broth and stir. Season with salt and pepper and secure lid. Select Manual and cook at high temperature for 5 minutes. Once cooking is complete, use natural release for 10 minutes, then release any remaining pressure.

Source: The Instant Pot® Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook, Laurel Randolph

 

 

Lentil Rice Soup

This is another family favorite that's perfect for chilly winter evenings or thrown into a Thermos en route to a ball game.

 

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, finely chopped

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon herbes de Provence

⅛ teaspoon black pepper

6 cups vegetable broth

1 cup dried lentils, rinsed and sorted

¼ cup uncooked rice, rinsed well

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Sour cream (optional)

 

Directions

Press Sauté; heat oil in Instant Pot®. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic; cook and stir 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Add salt, herbes de Provence and pepper; cook and stir 30 seconds. Stir in broth, lentils and rice; mix well.

Secure lid and move pressure release valve to Seal position. Press Manual; cook at high pressure for 10 minutes.

When cooking is complete, use natural release for 10 minutes, then release the remaining pressure. Stir in parsley. Top with sour cream, if desired.

Source: Instant Pot® Favorite Recipes

 

 

Minestrone Soup

This soup makes an almost weekly appearance at our house. It's easily adapted depending on what's in your pantry. No potatoes? No problem. Substitute frozen
spinach for kale, if needed, or
swap out cannellini beans with
red kidney beans.

 

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 medium carrots, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 cloves, garlic, minced

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

¼ teaspoon black pepper

⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 russet potatoes peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces

4 cups vegetable broth

2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 can diced tomatoes

1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped

Shredded Parmesan cheese, optional

Directions

Press Sauté; heat oil in Instant Pot. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic; cook and stir for 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Add salt, Italian seasoning, black pepper and red pepper flakes; cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in potatoes, broth, beans and tomatoes; mix well.

Secure lid and move pressure valve to Sealing position. Press Manual; cook at high pressure for 3 minutes.

When cooking is complete, press Cancel and use quick release. Stir in kale. Secure lid and move pressure release valve to Sealing position. Press Manual; cook at High pressure for 2 minutes.

When cooking is complete, use natural release for 5 minutes, then release the remaining pressure. Serve with cheese, if desired.

Source: Instant Pot® Favorite Recipes

Celebrating Black History

It's important to celebrate the achievements and contributions of African Americans to U.S. History all year long, but in February-designated as Black History Month-we have an opportunity to recognize this history in a special way. Celebrate with your children by learning about the accomplishments and contributions of African Americans to our collective history.

 

Here's a selection of books you can read with your children. Some highlight historical figures, while others celebrate heart-warming stories of children of color.


book list

 

1 The Quilt By Ann Jonas

Age: 0-3 Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Publishers Weekly called this delightful book a "landmark in children's literature." Made from her old pajamas and curtains, a young girl's new quilt inspires a dream adventure. The squares of the quilt become part of a dreamscape she enters into in order to find her lost stuffed dog. An ALA Notable Children's Book

2 Amazing Grace By Mary Hoffman (author) & Caroline Binch (illustrator)

Age: 3-6 Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Grace loves to act, but one day some kids tell her she can't play the part of Peter Pan because of the way she looks. Grace's grandmother helps this young girl realize that, with effort, anything can be achieved. An inspiring and heartwarming story.

3 Bigmama's By Donald Crews

Age: 3-6 Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Every year the narrator and his family take a trip down to Cottondale, Florida, to visit his grandmother, Bigmama. This autobiographical story recalls the joys of summer and the contrast between the author's life in the city and Bigmama's lush, rural home. While the illustrations suggest it was a period of segregation, this thought never overpowers the carefree summer celebration.

4 Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

​By Doreen Rappaport (author) and Bryan Collier (illustrator)

Age: 6-9 Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Martin Luther King Jr. grew up fascinated by big words. He would later go on to use these words to inspire a nation and call people to action. In this award-winning book, powerful portraits of King show how he used words, not weapons, to fight injustice.

5 Whoever You Are By Mem Fox

Recommended ages: 4 and up

This book offers a preschooler-friendly introduction to the concepts of diversity and equality. Award-winning author, Mem Fox, tells little ones that wherever they are, whatever they look like, and no matter their customs, there are other kids like them all around the globe: "Joys are the same, and love is the same. Pain is the same, and blood is the same."

6 Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom By Carole Boston Weatherford

Recommended ages: 5 and up

Introduce children to Harriet Tubman, the champion of the Underground Railroad who earned the nickname "Moses" for leading hundreds of slaves to freedom. Spirited text and paintings portray how Tubman's compassion, courage, and deep religious faith helped her lead 19 trips from the south to the north in order to help fellow African-Americans.

7 Little Leaders and
Little Legends
By Vashti Harrison

Recommended age: 8 and up

These beautifully-illustrated biographies celebrate exceptional black men and women in history.

8 Teammates By Peter Golenbock

Recommended ages: 6 and up

This book takes us back to 1947, when Jackie Robinson became the first African-American player in Major League Baseball. He was taunted and terrorized by baseball fans, opposing players, and even his own teammates on the Brooklyn Dodgers. Historical photos and watercolor illustrations transport us to the fateful game when Pee Wee Reese, the Dodgers shortstop, embraced Robinson on the field as his teammate in front of a heckling crowd of spectators.

9 I Am Rosa Parks
By Rosa Parks and James Haskins (authors) and Wil Clay (illustrator)

Age: 6-9 Reading Level:
Independent Reader

The famous civil rights activist, Rosa Parks, has simplified her autobiography for young readers in this Puffin Easy-to-Read book. She describes how she was arrested for not giving up her bus seat and shows that her personal role was part of a wider political struggle.

10 Through My Eyes
By Ruby Bridges

Age: 9-12 Reading Level: Independent Reader

Six-year-old Ruby Bridges became the first African American to integrate an elementary school. Her memories of that year, when so much hatred was directed at her, makes for a powerful memoir. A 1999 Parents' Choice Gold Award Winner.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are countless titles to explore with your family. So visit your local library to expand your knowledge of Black History.

Book summaries adapted from pbs.org, familyeducation.com and amazon.com


How to thrive during a power outage

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Treat yourself. Have water, drinks and pantry snacks on hand so you can feed your crew without opening your fridge. Make it fun. This is not the time to stick rigidly to your "healthy snacks only" mantra. If you have reason to believe the power will be out for an extended amount of time, go ahead and break into that gallon of ice cream in  the freezer-it's probably going to melt anyway.

Let it glow. Deck everyone out with glow sticks, then turn off all the flashlights for a glow party.

Blow it up. Always have balloons on hand. They're inexpensive and surprisingly entertaining. Try balloon volleyball or tennis, waddle races, pass the balloon or
the classic rub the balloon against your hair to create static energy.

Camp out. Kids will likely want to sleep with you, or at least with each other, while the lights are out. Be ready with extra blankets or sleeping bags to create a common sleeping area in your bedroom or living room. Go for the full camping effect by pitching a small tent.

Make it flash. Put those flashlights to good use by making shadow puppets or playing flashlight tag or freeze dance.

Take a break. Your family will likely come to treasure this time off the grid together, but that doesn't mean that mom doesn't need her breaks. Try to stick to nap or rest schedules and carve out some time for you-sneak away with a miner's lamp and a good book, or lie down while the kids build a fort around you (it's dark, they won't see that your eyes are closed).


Cowboy Christmas Treats

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Walla Walla author Shanna Hatfield's latest book, A Cowboy Christmas, is filled with traditions, decor and recipes for a fantastic holiday-cowboy style! Cowboy or not, everyone will love making and eating these simple, sweet treats.

 

Chocolate Chex Trees

These yummy and adorable trees are so simple to make and a great project if you have kids at home who need something to do. Set them on a disposable plate, foil-wrapped piece of cardboard, or a large sugar cookie wrapped in cellophane for gift-giving!

 

Ingredients: Makes 6 trees

3 cups Chocolate Chex™ cereal

6 pretzel sticks (the thick kind,
made for dipping)

½ cup peanut butter

¼ cup Nutella

3 tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

Mix the peanut butter, Nutella, butter and powdered sugar in a bowl.

On whatever you plan to use for a base, mold the peanut butter mixture around the pretzel stick until it stands upright and forms a slight cone shape.

Hold it steady by using the tip of the pretzel as a handle and begin inserting pieces of cereal into the peanut butter mixture in a symmetrical pattern around the stick. You can tip the cereal pieces up or down, depending on your personal preference. Add more cereal pieces, staggering them as you move upward, until you get near the top.

For the top of the tree, use broken pieces or cut them in half to get the smaller scale of branches near the top.

Use two pieces of cereal back to back to form the top.

Dust with powdered sugar.

 

Elf snack mix

Ingredients: Serves 8

10 cups popped popcorn

1 package white chocolate candy melt

1 bag red and green M&M's

1 cup cocktail peanuts

2 cups pretzels

¼ cup Christmas sprinkles (optional)

Directions:

Mix popcorn with peanuts, pretzels and M&Ms. Set aside.

Melt white chocolate according to package directions and pour over popcorn mixture.
Stir well to coat. Top with Christmas sprinkles, if desired. Store in an airtight container to keep fresh.

 

book-lover's buyers guide

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