After many years of being a stay-at-home mom, I’m now back in the work force.  It’s been two years but I still haven’t figured out all of my routines.  Last year, I was so overwhelmed that I didn’t do my usual neighbor Christmas gifts at all!  (Thank goodness we’d moved and my new neighbors didn’t know what they were missing.)  Since I work 50-60 hours at my job and spend most of the other waking hours balancing family and pixels2Pages commitments,

I knew if I was going to do neighbor gifts this year, I had to find speedier ways than I’ve done things in the past.

In past years, I have baked all sorts of delicious goodies – mixed plates of cookies and treats, huge roaster-size pans of homemade cinnamon rolls, homemade cookie-in-a-jar kits with a big batch of cookies to accompany them, large tins of homemade caramel corn, and more. This year, all of that seemed too overwhelming so I made simple sugar cookies, quicker caramel corn, and easy pretzel treats. Instead of including handwritten recipe cards, I used StoryBook and sent them to my local drug store for 1-hour printing.  Instead of typing and printing a separate Christmas letter and including it in my Christmas card mailing, I used StoryBook and wrote my Christmas letter and printed it on the card itself. Finally, I made sure I had help!  Usually, I make and deliver everything myself but this year the children helped.  Now my neighbors know I’m more than just a mini-van that leaves early in the morning and comes home late at night.  I’m someone who wants to brighten their holiday season.

I’d love for you to share some of your tips for making homemade and personalized gifts in a faster way.   I need all the advice I can get!




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10 Responses to The Need for Speed

  1. Kim says:

    Great blog…. I have been wanting to try your pretzel goodie recipe and Cindi’s recipe sounds so good too! I love using StoryBook to create 5×7 recipe cards. They fit perfect in my mini Power Sort Box.

  2. Tameka says:

    Carolyn…. YOU ARE KILLING ME! Nothing about this handout says Weight Watchers…. 🙂 I am just eating this up! PUN intended.

  3. cininden says:

    I’m just reading a sweet little book called The Christmas Kitchen that has lots of ideas for easy Christmas gifts to make.

  4. cindi.miles says:

    I feel your pain… Since I am the only female in my office I always try to do something to get the holiday spirit moving up here. Last year I did ornaments that were specially picked for each of them. And I always make fudge, pretzels, candy and other goodies… this year with 4 busy teenagers, 3 of us in college (me included) and working full time I just didn’t have the energy. So I did my simple tea cake recipe put them in containers that cost me $3 and of course they loved it as always. If they only knew that my secret recipe consist of cake mix any flavor, 1 stick of real butter and an egg, blend and bake at 350 8-10 mins! Don’t over cook them… they become flat and cookie like instead of tea cakes. Glaze with a lemon and sugar glaze optional. Our favorites French Vanilla and Lemon… oooh and chocolate with peanut butter chips.

  5. Anne says:

    Wish you lived next door to me too! These look might tasty and know your neighbors will be thrilled to be on your list from now on. Off to take photos of making Nuts&Bolt. Thanks for the reminder! Anne

  6. Jenny says:

    Carolyn, I soooo need to do this. Tomorrow! for my workmates. Now to find the equivalent of a Hershey’s hug! Geez you could have done your blog a week ago!!…just kidding. This is great. Thank you.

  7. Mooselvr5 says:

    Can SO relate to this!! Love using SBC+ to make quick notes of recipes for neighbors along with a picture.
    Another awesome variation of the pretzel treat is using the square pretzel brand, add a caramel filled hersheys kiss on top, when removing from the oven after a soft melting of chocolate, press a whole pecan on top. Gives it a turtle flavor! Thanks Carolyn for showing us your multi task knowledge!! ~Crystal

  8. Janice says:

    Yummo!!! I especially love the look of the Pretzels! Wishing I was a neighbour right about now!

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