Tag Archives: holidays

#DreadedDecember: Full Car

23 Dec

After pushing through to the end of the semester, it is always nice to take a breather and enjoy the peace. This usually only lasts a few days before I am thrown into panic mode, trying to gather all my things to go home for the holidays. This year has been the most hectic year of all because not only do I have to clean and pack my things, I have to prepare my lovely guinea pigs and our new dog for the journey.

I love our animals, but getting them ready for travel is exhausting. I have to clean the guinea pigs cage and bathe them-which is even more difficult than bathing the dog. Then their food needs to be package properly, no one wants guinea pig food pooled at bottom of their suitcase, their toys and snacks need to be packed, and their blankets need to be washed, folded and packed as well. This process takes about 2 hours to complete by myself. Thankfully, I have a cage already set up back home for them, so I don’t have to deconstruct the one they use now. Traveling with the guinea pigs is usually easy. They don’t really fuss and they sleep most of the way, the dog is a whole different story.

This is the first year I will be taking the dog home with me. Her name is Kittie and she is a big dog, and big dogs need lots of supplies. Kittie needs to be bathed, fed, and walked right before travelling. Feeding her and walking her takes about 1.5 hours, which means that it needs to be done right before we leave-making things extra stressful.  Kittie has a lot of needs, which means that I have to haul her 30 pound bag of dog food, treats, toys, dog bed, booties, and teddie along for the ride. Packing all of her stuff (while she follows me around the house) will probably take another hour by itself. Kittie has traveled from Tucson to Phoenix before and she doesn’t get car sick, which is nice. My only concern is that she won’t want to get in the car next to the guinea pigs because they scare her.

As for myself, I have tons of laundry and cleaning to do before I can even pack. I am the only person in our apartment right now willing to clean, which means that it is up to me to make the place look decent before my mom arrives to get us. This is frustrating and unfair, but the cleaning needs to be done. I am so grateful that my mom is coming to get us, because I can just sleep on the way home. I have a lot to do before I leave, and it looks like I should really get started….like now.

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Erika

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Holiday Gifts in a Jar

18 Dec

Finals are over! Now it is time to get to those pesky holiday gifts you’ve been putting off. Mason jar gifts are fun, easy, inexpensive, and really trendy right now. Go ahead and give these sweet holiday gift recipes a try.

Hot Chocolate Mix

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Hot Chocolate is the perfect treat for cold weather. Aside from the ingredients, all that is required are a pint wide-mouth mason jar, some ribbon and an instructions card-which can easily be hand written or printed.
Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons powdered creamer
  • 6 tablespoons powdered milk
  • 6 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons milk chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons candy canes, chopped into small pieces
  • ½ cup mini marshmallows
Instructions

Pour in the powdered creamer, then powdered milk, followed by the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Feel free to pack down the ingredients with a spoon or other tool. Then add the toppings. The picture shows chocolate chips, candy canes and mini marshmallows filling the additional space in the jar.  Lastly, just add the lid and a recipe tag.

Here are the instructions for brewing the hot chocolate: Remove the marshmallows from the top of the jar and mix the remaining ingredients together. Add ½ cup of the mix to 1 cup of boiling water in a mug and stir until completely combined. Top with marshmallows and enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Homemade cookies are the best, and way more impressive, but they can also be draining for people who are always on the go. Give your friends and family the gift of delicious, fast, and easy homemade cookies.

Ingredients for a one-quart jar:

  • 1 and 3/4 cups of flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cups of white sugar
  • 3/4 cups of (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of chocolate chips

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and pour into your mason jar. Pack down with a spoon or fingers. Repeat with the white sugar, followed by the brown sugar-packing down each layer. Lastly, add the chocolate chips, seal the jar, and add a tag.

Instructions for the tag:

Preheat oven to 375. Remove the chocolate chips and set them aside. Beat 3/4 cup of softened butter, 1 large egg, and 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Add the cookie mix and mix until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips and drop rounded dough onto pan. Cook for 9-11 minutes. Let cool before serving.

Peppermint Brownies 

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Who doesn’t love brownies? Check out this holiday inspired peppermint brownie mix below.

Ingredients

  • 1 and 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 and 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup Andes peppermint baking chips
  • Additional ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Layer granulated sugar, cocoa powder (wipe the inside of the jar after the cocoa layer), then flour mixture. Add baking ships and chocolate chips on top.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 and grease 13×9-inch pan. Mix brownie mix with wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Spread into prepared baking pan. Bake for 18-25 minutes.

Hopefully these recipes have inspired you to get on the ball and try some fun and easy gifts. Happy Holidays.

When Halloween is Just Another Day

24 Oct

With all the buzz about Halloween coming up, sometimes people forget that not everyone actually celebrates this holiday. This could be for religious, personal, or other reasons. The worst thing about not celebrating a popular holiday is that while YOU may not celebrate it, chances are a good portion of your friends do. This leaves you in a bit of a predicament. Have no fear, I have some great ideas of what you can do this upcoming Halloween that doesn’t involve getting dressed up, or even leaving the house.

1) Stay in and binge watch Netflix. What could be better than watching all 9 seasons of Supernatural in one day? Watching all 9 seasons of Supernatural AND all 9 seasons of Criminal Minds!!!

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2) Catch up on your house work. Sometimes throughout the week you let things slide that you normally wouldn’t. Those dishes that have been piling up in the corner? Yeah, it’s time to take care of those…like now.

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3) Get ahead (or catch up) in your classes. You know how you have to read 300 pages by Tuesday? Why don’t you get started on that this weekend? By breaking the assignment up into smaller chunks, it will seem less daunting and you might actually enjoy it!

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4) Get ready for Registration! Go to UAccess and add classes into your shopping cart. Registration is just around the corner, and since you have some free time, why not spend it getting ready for next semester?

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I know that you do these things everyday, but that is the point! This is just another day that someone finds a little bit more important than you do. There is no reason that you should treat this day any differently than the rest.

-Christine

Home: Not for the Faint of Heart. Preparing for the Visit Home

17 Nov

The weather is getting cooler and our attire more conservative, but there is something more SPECIAL to this time of year.

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As a college student you may have adjusted to individuality and freedom already or maybe you haven’t. Maybe you still call home four times a day, including a goodnight call to mom every night before bed. That was me freshman year, honestly, the goodnight call girl.

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Point of story is not my personal calling habits, but the fact that whatever type of bond we have with our families, we can’t escape the inescapable: holidays.

If you foresee a trip home in your near future, let me walk you through my process of preparing (mentally, physically, and emotionally) for such an undertaking of numerous proportions! This, my friends, can be more challenging than any chemistry exam you’ll ever encounter or as uneventful as watching paint dry.

1. Deciding to go home.

For some of us, the decision to visit home is no longer a decision. It is an EXPECTATION of us! If you’re one of the ones who still has the decision in your hands, let’s ponder about going home.

First, is the trip attainable at this point in time? Some of you may be from out of state and the travel home may be an adventure in itself. Remember to factor in details such as cost, time, and willingness to consume that time and money. If you have the resources, and are willing to expend them, you are one step closer to begin the prep to go home. Personally, seeing my family is something that I would do anything for, especially during the holidays.

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Another factor to take into consideration is, can you handle it? Some families can be pretty extreme in terms of interactions. The adorable granny who pinches your cheeks until they turn red does not care that you’re an ADULT now.

Or, how about the little brother who loves to disturb your peace just to get a kick out of it? Whatever your test of patience is back home, make sure you’re at a point in life where you can handle it! There’s nothing worse than going home when the stress of the world is on you, and you know more stress is to come to you in one form or another, usually unintentionally. However, for some, going home when stress is present is the best medicine.

2. Let the preparation begin.

If you don’t know where to start, maybe a list will help!

Outreach Facilitator Lauren creates lists as a reminder about which things to pack:

“I put a sticky note with a list of to-do things before going home in my pocket and carry it until I have finished the list. When I reach in my pocket, I’ll always be reminded I have something to complete!”

 Clothing: If you know the amount of time you will spend there, this can be the most beneficial. Make sure to pack clothing accordingly. Have enough undies to last you the time you’re there or until you decide to do laundry.

Also, remember, out of state students: Tucson is one of those weird locations where winter barely starts catching up at the beginning of December. Even then, our winter is a subtle comparison to other parts of the country, so don’t forget to pack accordingly.

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Do as one of your Outreach Facilitators, Veronica, does: “Start packing days before!”

Academics: If possible, make sure to take care of all your academic responsibilities before going home. This will help minimize stress when at home and gives you time to interact with your loved ones. It might not be possible to totally forget about your academics, so if that is the case, take the necessary materials to complete those assignments.

If you have the opportunity, however, do as Outreach Facilitator Jocelin does and “completely discard all academic thoughts from your mind” so as to really enjoy being home!

Other important details to keep in mind: Make sure, if you are heading home, to take care of everything logistical here first. If possible, pay off all of your bills ahead of time so you don’t forget and end up with late fees upon returning to Tucson. Clean your living space so as to avoid coming back to a cluttered area and stressing out about it later!

Also, keep in mind the schedule of your loved ones. It might happen that when you head home they might be occupied with their own lives. It happens when you’re a living human being! Make sure to plan, and be understanding of the possibility that your time and their time might not be compatible 100% of the time. Plan to keep yourself entertained.

Lastly, your family’s opinions and points of view on things might not meet eye to eye with yours. Being in college has the power to shape you, and you may not hold the same views you once did. Make sure to accommodate for that when you converse with your family members. Tolerance and patience are key to a successful interaction.

Now that the basics are covered, let me share my prep routine with you. Some steps might sound very familiar.

 1. For starters, I make sure I can get my booty to my destination.

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This usually involves arranging a car ride home with friends, or my parents. With no car, it can get a bit tricky.

2. I plan out and pack the outfits I will need and want. Even if just going home, looking good is still important. Don’t let your parents see that you have become a total bum while in college. They might worry!

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3. Dirty laundry! Going home is a great opportunity for free laundry. Enough said.

4. Will I need to take books and the whole academic weaponry? If possible, I will complete assignments before going home, just so I can really have that downtime to relax and reconnect with my family. If it’s not possible, another luggage bag must be packed with my books and homework items. I’ll be honest, though, sometimes those items just go for the ride.

5. If my visit is during the holidays, like Thanksgiving for example, I take two actions: first, I will avoid consuming massive amounts of food a couple of days prior to visiting. I do this to assure that my appetite while home will be up to par with my mother’s massive home-cooked meals. Yes, sounds greedy and unhealthy, but let’s keep it real. Holidays bring the best meals of the year! Secondly, if you are all about those home-cooked meals and wish to bring that piece of home back… tupperware is a must! Pack it in its own luggage bag if necessary. Free food is free food, and what best free food than food from home!

6. Now in terms of mentally preparing, I must prepare myself into the idea of going home. No, it’s not that I don’t love my family… it’s just sometimes they can be a bit overboard and I can be bit impatient with them.

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For example, I can expect the multitude of questions from my mother about my life or the tiny arguments between my brother and I. Whatever it might be, I prepare by looking at the important aspect: going home and spending time with them even if they can get on my nerves. Keep reminding yourself: love can be expressed in different ways.

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Of course, many more factors go into prepping for going home, but these are the basics. Whether you are going home far or near, preparing is the best way to make sure that you set yourself up for a successful home visit!

Wishing you all the best in your visits home this holiday!

 

– Lucero Pesqueira