There are a lot of things (especially sweets) that Chris will eat and enjoy, but one thing that tops them all is toffee. Especially around the holidays. Not so much because it is the holidays, but more because you tend to find more options with different stores (Trader Joes for example) that bring out these specialties around November and December. I am also always on the lookout for good toffee recipes.
My mom used to make toffee, caramels, hard candy, divinity, and many other types of candies during the holidays. Often they were as gifts to friends, teachers, especially since we could not afford to purchase gifts, this was her way to share with others. I, however, do not have her toffee recipe, and well Chris is picky. So this one looked easy enough, and these days I need easy (I am 39 weeks preggers today)!
I will say it is super sweet – if you make it, add more pretzels for a better salty/sweet mixture!
Salty Sweet White and Dark Chocolate Toffee Bark
14 ounces dark chocolate
¾ cup broken pretzel pieces
¾ cup Heath toffee pieces
8 ounces white chocolate
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave and stir until smooth. Stir in ½ cup of the pretzel pieces and ½ cup of the toffee pieces saving the rest for later. Spread the mixture on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes.
3. Melt the white chocolate and stir until smooth (just like the dark chocolate). Remove the baking sheet from the refrigerator and spread the white chocolate on top of the hardened dark chocolate layer. Sprinkle the remaining pretzel and toffee bits and press them gently into the white chocolate. Return the pan to the refrigerator for an hour.
4. Cut or break the bark into pieces and eat up (or share if you’re nice).
If you were an adult in my world when I was a kid, you probably would have thought that I would have gone into sales. Now the thought of it kind of grosses me out. Why sales? I was a Girl Scout which means I sold Girl Scout cookies. I think the only reason I even stayed in the troop for the many years that I did was because of the competition (with myself and others) of selling Girl Scout cookies. I am not going to go into details, as I have other blog posts about that.
My elementary school also raised money by selling nuts and candy every year. I cannot even remember the prize — maybe it was just knowing I sold near if not at the top of my class. At the same time I also had my own paper route. I delivered the “The Star Press” which meant it was the evening/afternoon newspaper. (Thank goodness, as I am so not a morning person). Every few months our manager would ask us to go “canvassing” where basically he would take us to strange and sketchy neighborhoods, often at night and ask us to go door-to-door to see if we could get folks to sign up for the newspaper. That was the least glamorous of all the gigs even with the random prizes and money he would throw in each night to see who would be encouraged to try harder and come out on top. Mind you — I was nine at the time.
And, yet, I am not in sales and I do not even dream of ever being in sales as a career. (My dad would have been so bummed). I often wonder what propelled me to want to excel and do so well selling things door-to-door. I was not a crazy outgoing kid, but somehow going door-to-door, selling on college campuses, and the competition of it all was an adrenaline rush for me.
Fast forward to 2015 and I come across “Tyler’s Lemonade Stand Fundraiser.” Tyler lives in Grafton, NY and decided to raise money for a police sergeant that was battling cancer and could not work. See this video of the long line of police cars that come to pay Tyler a visit and show their support. So far Tyler has raised $1500. Amazing. Now that is sales and talent put to good use. You rock, Tyler.
How did you learn about money? Did you learn in college when a credit card company sold you on all the benefits, and then you maxed it out not really knowing the repercussions? Did your parents teach you? Did you learn in school?
We can only truly take ownership of our money when it truly belongs to us. I remember when I was nine years old I had a paper route. I would usually keep some of my earnings and would give some to my parents to put into my savings account. My tips usually were my “candy fund” where I would ride my bike on a path that had been worn by the neighborhood kids to the Village Pantry. There I would select something or many things depending on how much money was in my pocket. There was rarely candy in our house, and occasionally we had some at my grandma’s house. So for me, candy was a treat. It was something special.
I truly believed the money I made on my paper route was my money. I worked hard for it. It was my choice to buy the candy. It was not my choice to never receive my money that I was told was put into savings. I have no idea now how much money I never saw. I trusted my parents to put it in my account, never knowing that was not happening. Which is why I loved reading the book: “The First National Bank of Dad: The Best Way to Teach Kids About Money” by David Owen. He talks about how he teaches his children about money. He sets up his own bank and a version of the stock market from his house. One idea he shared was about how kids have to know that the money belongs to them. If they know that, they will make different choices about money.
“My children’s accounts belonged to them alone. When they saved, they reaped the benefit; when they wanted to spend, they didn’t need permission. If my son decided to withdraw twenty dollars, I didn’t ask him why he needed the money—just as my bank doesn’t ask me. What he did with the cash was his business, as long as his balance was sufficient to cover his withdrawal. Why do kids need to control money of their own? Because if the money they spend money of their own? Because if the money they spend isn’t truly theirs, they have no compelling reason to pay attention to how they spend it.” Page 41
An interesting idea. I do remember having a savings account ledger and looking at it from time to time. I was more of a saver. I liked watching it grow and knowing I was working hard as the money accumulated. With the exception of my Village Pantry runs, I really did not spend that much of my money. Although I will never know how much never made it to The First National Bank of Tami. Alas. Live and learn. I will be teaching my kid(s) to take ownership of their money, and to know how to track what they take out and what they are earning. And, no, I will not steal a penny from them. If you have kids, I definitely recommend reading Owen’s book.
If you celebrate Christmas, do you have a tradition of hanging a stocking? Chris and I have not done it at all during our marriage, but growing up it was part of our tradition. We did not have a fireplace, or mantle to hang our stockings, but instead my dad hammered nails into this makeshift bookcase. It was about my height at the time, so maybe four feet high, and we each had our own stocking. Even our dog, who always received dog bones of different varieties — from rawhide to Milkbone, and if our dog was lucky maybe a new toy. Probably to distract them from all the sounds, lights, and interesting happenings in the house.
Everyone’s stocking was different. My grandma knit my sister’s, brother’s, and mine. I have no idea how she did it, but she knit our names into the stocking so we always knew if it was ours. She was an impressive knitter, and I still have my childhood stocking today. While we never received much at Christmas, for some reason my stocking always intrigued me. What did my stocking usually contain? At the bottom (and I think to weigh it down) there was usually an apple or orange. Followed by a pair of socks, a handful of candy, and maybe a tiny toy. Every once in a while there was a coloring book or some sort of object that did not fit into the stocking itself. Any items that did not fit were laid on the floor just below the stocking.
The tradition was that we were not allowed to leave our rooms on Christmas morning until we were given the approval from our parents. We would scurry out to the living room to scope out the Christmas tree and whether Santa had made it to our house that year. Were the milk and cookies gone? Then we were allowed to go to our stockings and dump out the contents. We could do whatever we wanted, play with anything included, and even have our own candy. We were not allowed to touch any gifts. Then we had breakfast together (my mom’s coffee cake). Once everyone finished their breakfast (my parents made us stay at the table for what felt like forever) we would make it back to the living room and our Christmas tree to open the presents that were under the tree.
I have not had a traditional Christmas since I was twelve, and so that was probably the last time I had a stocking too. These days I am such a minimalist. I do not want “stuff” just to give/get. Thus, we have not continued the tradition. Maybe someday I will knit a new stocking for a little one and start our version of stocking traditions on Christmas morning.
I am so, so sad. I really do not know what I am going to do. It is the end of an era. “Daily Candy” an online email newsletter is closing down as of April 4. Subscribers (I being one of them) were notified last Friday via email. They had a dedicated and loyal fan base.
Daily Candy is an online newsletter that started 14 years ago (2000) by Dany Levy. It started in New York, as an email newsletter about fashion and the insider scoop. I, myself, signed up for Daily Candy because I lived in Boston at the time and wanted to keep up with what was happening in New York. Gradually more cities were added. While Portland never made it on the Daily Candy map, I still kept up with their Daily Candy Seattle, and Daily Candy Everywhere newsletters.
Daily Candy was profitable in their first year. Almost unheard for an email newsletter at that time of the Internet. In 2008, Daily Candy was sold to Comcast for $125 million. Over the years, I learned about new movies, TV shows, books, beauty products, recipes, fitness ideas, you name it, from my Daily Candy emails. It makes me wonder if Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks have made some online email newsletters a blast from the past? Are we so used to having content so immediate that when we see email newsletters in our inbox we no longer pay attention?
It is hard to say. Or maybe for a company the size of Comcast, they were not making enough money to be considered part of their portfolio. Local, creative, insider content would cater to a specific group of users. Of course advertising is what keeps companies such as Daily Candy afloat. If users saturated with online advertising begin to tune out banner ads, will that be the end of such companies in the future? Will our purchasing power dictate who can deliver us such customized news?