Learning For Life, November 2018

Tips for Managing Holiday Stress

Tips for Managing Holiday Stress

The holidays are supposed to be a time of rest and relaxation, a time to reconnect with family and friends, a time to recharge spiritually and emotionally. But so often, we lose sight of the true meaning of the season because we are overwhelmed by it all.

Traveling, cooking, shopping, decorating … these things are impossible to enjoy if they are causing us stress and anxiety. Here are some tips to help you focus on what’s important and catch a little bit of that elusive holiday spirit instead of that holiday letdown.

Don’t over-commit:From family get-togethers to school parties to neighborhood celebrations, you probably have more social obligations that usual. Don’t offer to bake cookies for 40 if you really don’t have time. Do what you can (within your comfort zone) to help others, but it’s also okay to nicely say “no.”

Set a budget and stick to it:Shopping can be extremely exhausting, especially when you’re adding teachers and co-workers to the list. And there’s nothing worse than thinking you’re finished only to keep adding more names to the list. You know your budget. Don’t break the bank just to make everyone happy. Beyond family and close friends, consider simple gifts that aren’t too expensive: a Christmas ornament, home-baked goodies or a special framed photograph.

Practice healthy eating habits:Try not to overindulge on food or alcohol. Treat yourself, of course, but be choosy about what you eat at parties and social events.

Exercise:If you have a fitness plan, it will probably be hard to stick to it during the holidays, but at the very least, take a walk around the block each day to clear your head and get a little fresh air and exercise.

Don’t isolate yourself:For those who have lost loved ones, the holidays often bring up painful memories. Don’t turn down invitations from family and friends — it’s better to be with people when you’re having a difficult time getting through the holidays. And if you don’t have family or friends nearby, volunteer with a church or charitable organization to do something good for others.

Cooking for LIFE, October 2018

Cooking for Life, Thumbprint Cookies

Thumb Print Cookies

Diego Aloy is from Miami, Florida. “I love cooking,” he says. “It’s my favorite thing to do in the whole world (besides video games and spending time with my family). I hope to one day become the best chef in the entire world.”


1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

3 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup of sugar

1 egg yolk

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

Your choice of jelly or fruit preserves


In a large mixing bowl, add the cream cheese, butter, and sugar. Use an electric mixer to mix the ingredients together. Add the vanilla, egg, and flour into the bowl and mix together.

Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and let it chill in the freezer for 30 to 60 minutes. Put some parchment paper over your baking trays and preheat your oven to 350°F 5 minutes before your cookies are finished chilling. With the dough, make small 1-inch dough balls and place onto the trays. (You should put 4 dough balls on each row, 3 if they comes out too big.)

Take a cup of water and either dip your thumb or the back of a knife in it to make small dents in the center of the dough balls. After making the dents, you can use jelly or fruit preserves to fill up the dents. (Use a teaspoon to scoop the jelly/fruit preserves.) Bake for 10 minutes or until set and then let it cool for 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Makes about 24 to 28 cookies.