Milky Way Pretzel Christmas Brownies

I’ve been cooking often lately and I decided I’d make something holiday themed. These are fudge brownies baked with pieces of Milky Way candy bars and mini pretzel twists inside, frosted and topped with M&Ms. Basically diabetes in a pan, but they taste amazing and are a nice treat for special occasions!

I used:

8×8″ baking pan

Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie Mix: prepare as directed, make sure to use 2 eggs as that makes them denser (they also have 3 eggs as an option which makes them more cake-like, for this I’d go with 2)

Betty Crocker Vanilla Frosting: I used half a can

Mini Milky Way candy bars: 1 cup chopped. What I did is slice pieces off, I’m sure it’d work any other way.

Mini pretzel twists: 1 cup, chopped

M&Ms: 1/2 cup sprinkled on top, I also used a handful in the batter as well

Any brands can be used and there are tons of variations that can be done with mix ins, and frosting, etc. So experiment and have fun!

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Another Update – Winter Break

Today was the last day of classes for the fall semester!  I just have to go in and take my final exam for Intro to Social Work next week.  It’s been a difficult semester, not academically speaking, but from having a lot of mental health issues interfering in my life.  I guess I got used to not having bad symptoms for well over a year, it just was really unexpected and threw me way off.  It snowed today, so happy about that.  Not enough in my opinion, I love snow, the more the better!  But at least it’s something.  It’s pretty strange that we’ve hardly have had any snow so far, normally we start getting it by mid October.

I’ve been drawing more lately, when I get my graded sketchbook back from my art class next week I’ll post some pics.  There’s some stuff in there I’m pretty proud of.

Looking forward to Christmas.  Can’t wait till midnight mass.  The service is always amazingly beautiful.

Started going to the gym again.  It feels great!  🙂

Allowing Others to Help

So… things have been rocky but are looking up.  I think part of my problem is that I really dislike needing and asking for help.  I called and scheduled an earlier appointment with my therapist, we had one scheduled for a few weeks from now, but I realized I need some support during this time.  I’ve never done that before in over 3 years of seeing her.  She was completely fine with it of course.  I started having re occurrence of symptoms several months ago, but let it go because I thought it wasn’t that big of a deal or important enough to mention.  I thought I could deal with it myself, and I did try.  I tried very hard, to “fix” the symptoms without informing my doctor or therapist about them, until finally realizing that I need to ask for help, I can’t do everything completely on my own.  I can use my coping skills of course, to make things more manageable, but when voices and whatnot are so bad that I’m wanting to escape from life, there’s only so much I can do. Somehow I’ve maintained getting As in the classes I’m taking, and completing huge papers on time.  Not exactly sure how, the past couple weeks were kind of a blur.  I’m really hard on myself especially with college.  I love learning and want the degree I’m working towards more than anything, so when this started affecting my education again I got worried. It’s definitely a good thing the semester ends in two weeks.  I will be off till the end of January.

Another issue related to this is that I felt like a complete failure for hearing voices again.  I had a year with virtually no symptoms, not even mood problems. It was amazing, the most peaceful time in my life.  When I started dealing with this stuff again I felt like I screwed up or did something wrong somehow.  I just viewed myself as a failure, like there’s some sort of flaw with me as a person.  I’m starting to realize that those beliefs are not true.  I’m not a bad person or failure for having symptoms come back.  A year with none was great but considering I spent a large part of my life with them it’s unlikely that they would go away 100% forever.  I mean, it’s possible, who knows, maybe someday.  I’m going to keep moving forward and managing things the best I can, while allowing others to help me as well when necessary.

 

 

Down

I haven’t posted in awhile because I’ve really been struggling with some things. Specifically a bad depressive episode, the eating disorder, and the recurrence of voices.

I felt really low for a month, I didn’t even realize it till like 3 weeks in though.  I wasn’t taking care of responsibilities, laying around, sad for no reason, exhausted all the time and sleeping too much, and some other things.  I just would kind of lay there and stare into space for an hour or so. My mind just seemed blank, I wasn’t having negative thoughts or anything, I just felt kind of flat if that makes sense.  I hadn’t been depressed in over a year and a half. I can’t remember a single major holiday like Thanksgiving and Christmas that I haven’t gotten extremely excited over till now.  I go crazy the whole holiday season usually with excitement and happiness, plans, etc. This time I didn’t feel anything at all, all the sudden it was Thanksgiving and I couldn’t feel that excitement at all.  There’s nothing I was sad or upset about, holidays are a great time for me so I was really surprised and frustrated.  I tried to force myself into the holiday spirit but it wasn’t working.  I miss that excitement, it’s almost magical.  My mood does seem to be improving though, thankfully.  I’ve been making myself get out of the house, and do some things I enjoy. This has been an unusual couple months, I was doing fantastic for over a year with everything and little to no symptoms.

The fall semester is almost over.  It ends in mid-December, then I get a month off till the spring semester.  I’m enjoying the cold weather, I love winter!

Going to see the new Fantastic Beasts movie (Crimes of Grindewald) with a friend next week.  Can’t wait!

 

Pokémon hats revealed for your actual cats in real life — Pokémon Blog

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Pokémon fans will soon be able to dress their real cats with a set of Pokémon-themed hats. Courtesy of Japanese manufacturer Kitan Club, these hats are based on the designs of six original Pokémon – Pikachu, Eevee, Meowth, Vulpix, Jigglypuff and Snorlax. They will be released sometime in January 2019 in Japan, with no current […]

via Pokémon hats revealed for your actual cats in real life — Pokémon Blog

 

 

Well it looks like Annie and Kitten will be getting some late Christmas gifts, they’re gonna kill me haha 🙂

Update

Hey everyone, thought I’d post an update.

I was struggling with depression and voices for a couple weeks.  I’m doing much better right now, though I’m having some reoccurring issues with my eating disorder, I’m so frustrated with it.  If anyone’s reading this do you have any tips for overcoming bulimia, coping with urges to binge?  I’ve gotten control over the purging aspect for the most part right now.

I’ve had a hard time with making myself go to bed due to anxiety over sleeping but I’ve been forcing myself to because I know it’s important.  Trying to deal with anxiety by using different coping techniques such as listening to music, mindfulness, watching funny videos, praying, taking walks, doing word puzzles, etc.  It’s helping very much.

College is going well, picked out classes for the spring semester.  Was getting behind because I wasn’t very motivated when I was depressed but I’m caught up now.

Loving the colder weather, can’t wait for snow!

 

The Biology of Stress.

Thriving Under Pressure

The Amygdala Hijack

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⊕ From Stress to Success ⊕

In this video clip of my keynote speech at the “You Can Do College Event” I share the biological origins of stress and anxiety with 300 high school students from Ontario, Canada.

In this segment, I also demonstrate simple strategies for dealing with high stress situations. Including deep breathing exercises, mindful awareness, and personal responsibility.

To learn more about the role of positive psychology in stress management & resilience, check out my TEDx Talk “Thriving Under Pressure” on the TED TALKS site.

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