Making Monday Fun At Work

Welcome to Monday everyone!  Ok I hear all that groaning and I hear of few of you saying “Yea right, the woman doesn’t have a job to go to.”  Our weather in Michigan is horrible, last night one local news station called it our “weather event.”  Trust me it’s more than an “event.”  Originally our weather people told us to expect a light snow which would turn to rain, the temperatures were expected to drop resulting in icy conditions by rush hour.

Of course some of that report was wrong, most of time our weather people are wrong.  Sometime around 7:30 p.m. last night the snow moved in, it was a heavy snowfall, it fell and accumulated fast we probably had close to or at least 3″ by 10:oo p.m.  I would say that’s a little more than a “light snow.”  Around 11:00 p.m. the snow turned to ice, you could hear it hitting the windows.  What a mess.  This morning they are reporting well over 600 school closures, yes I checked, all my babies have a snow day I can hear them cheering as well as all my teacher friends.

Then there were the power outages throughout the night, including Josh and Kaylee. Happy to say that this morning their power is back on.  I didn’t hear anything from Nikki so I don’t know if they lost power down there or not.  This morning local news is reporting that 12,000 households are still without power.  Thanks to modern technology, wireless cable and lap tops, those without power are able to communicate on-line.

So, OK, I get this is a crummy way to start the week…crappy weather (at least in Michigan) AND it’s Monday the most dreaded day of the week.  On the bright side though today is “Fun At Work Day.”   If you think about it Monday is actually the perfect day for “Fun At Work Day.”  Why you ask?  Well because most people…..

  1. Don’t like Monday’s
  2. Unfortunately just don’t like their job
  3. Have fewer co-workers which has resulted in more responsibilities creating more work stress

Which is why you should try celebrate “Fun At Work Day” today by having a little fun with your co-workers.  Here are just a few quick ideas;

  • Take a board game to work like Trouble, Sorry, Uno, Yahtzee, get a few co-workers to play a game or two at lunch
  • Make a word search sheet with words common to your workplace, have people cross them off or circle them as they hear those words used throughout the day – award dollar store prizes or candy at the end of the day to those who cross off all the words
  • Hold a paper airplane contest (best decorated) or a paper airplane race  – Give out snack size candy as prizes
  • Take in stickers like teacher’s use (you can get them at the Dollar Tree) and pass them out “Good Job!”  “Way To Go!”……
  • Go to the dollar store and pick up plastic music instruments pass them out then hold a little talent show or concert
  • Bring in helium balloons and put them at someone’s work station OR tie at least one to the desk of multiple workstations, maybe even write with marker on them things like, “Office DJ,” “Our Office Dear Abby,” “Office Candy Shop”(for the person who keeps a candy jar on their desk) and so on…….
  • Play office bingo – create a bingo sheet or several with things that are personalized to your office environment call out the items throughout the day and who ever gets a bingo wins a prize from the dollar store (treats, candles, picture frame)
  • Pass out coloring books and crayons ask everyone to color one and add a personal touch of some sort using office items (paper clips, binder clips, glue, tape, etc.) then vote for the best one
  • Have everyone draw a caricature – free hand of course – vote for the best one
  • Create certificates (easy to find on-line) and give one to everyone for things like; “You Rock – Plays The Best Music Award,” “Missing Award – Person Who Is Always Away From Their Desk,” “Candy Bandit – Person Who Is Always In the Candy Jar.”  You can get really creative with these.

Don’t forget the people in the plant, try to include them in the fun above or at least in some way.  I know as an HR Manager in plant environments there always seemed to be that invisible line, always a them and us mentality, erase that line today bring everyone in on the fun.  Ask the Plant Manager or all the Managers go out into the plant and pass out 100 Grand candy bars (you can get small ones at the dollar store) with a small tag attached saying “Thanks A Million For All You Do!”  I worked in one plant with a Production Manager who found an old fashion Good Humor Ice Cream Bicycle that we rented for the day,  he road through the plant ringing the bell and passed out ice cream to all the employees and he did it on all three shifts!!  If your plant environment allows it, spread balloons around the plant or decorate the lunch room with a sign that says “Thanks Team!”  Put small games on the lunch tables that you can get from the dollar store, checkers, chess, cards, maybe a few coloring books and crayons or even word search books (or run them off from on-line searches).

Use your imagination, get that creative streak working and make this an untraditional Monday by celebrating Fun At Work Day.  Have a little fun, bring a smile to someones face today!

WoW…I think I miss working can you tell?  This was so not where I thought today’s post would go so let’s switch gears and travel back to yesterday’s (Sunday’s) fun day which was Chocolate Cake Day and Chocolate Cake was made and eaten!  We actually made our cake on Saturday so it would be already on Sunday.  It was quite a humorous 12 hours from baking to eating.

After the cake was made and frosted on Saturday night, it was placed in our glass covered cake dish and set on the counter, obviously it became a focal point and very tempting to Josh and Walt every time they walked past it.  Both would stop to take a peek, it was really quite funny.  At one point on Saturday I asked Josh if he wanted to have a piece of cake, he said no he would wait because Sunday was Chocolate Cake Day.  A short while later I heard Josh and Papa talking downstairs and I heard Walt say to Josh “Hey Josh, why don’t you go upstairs and ask grandma if we can cut into that cake.” (Bad Papa right??)  Of course Josh told him no, telling Papa the cake was for Sunday and he would have to wait.

As we were getting ready to settle in for the night, a little TV and a game of Sorry before bed, Josh looked at me and said “Grandma tomorrow morning we are gonna wake up, eat breakfast then we were are gonna cut that cake in half.”  And that my dear family and friends is exactly what we did.  Josh actually was the only one to have a piece that early in the morning but he ate every bite and kept telling me how much he loved it.  He made grandma feel pretty good about our cake and when we were getting ready to take Josh home he asked me to cut him a couple of big pieces so he could take some home with him which he did.

These were new recipes for me, both the cake and the frosting, I found them on the Hershey website.  This is the first time in probably 30 years or more that I did not make our family favorite butter cream frosting…I’ve been making our family frosting since I was probably fourteen or fifteen so this was a BIG step for me to try a new frosting recipe especially since the cake batter recipe was new as well.

My mom will attest that at one time, when I was young and full of energy, I was the queen of everything homemade from appetizers to entre’s to cakes and desserts.  It’s only now as I get older that I look for the quick stuff, the short cuts in cooking.  I like shortcuts for many reasons, most of the time it’s my hands, however  Sandra Lee, (Food Network) is also to blame.  I watched one of her shows where she stated that when you entertain you should either make the appetizer buy the dessert or  make the dessert and buy the appetizer.  I think it’s all part of Sandra Lee’s keep is simple, keep it semi-homemade motto.  I’m getting older, sometimes I’m easily influenced much to the dismay of family who all like and prefer it when my stuff is all homemade.

I love baking cakes from scratch, I generally don’t have any problems with scratch cakes at all, I like scratch baking to box mixes.  It’s usually a box cake mix that doesn’t come out well for me, for some reason, no matter how long I let them cool they always seem to split and pull apart.  This scratch cake actually baked up beautifully, my only issue was that it was just a little bit dry and that was probably my fault.  Since this was a new recipe I should have kept a closer eye on the baking times and tested it before the 35 minute timer.

Both of these are keeper recipes with notes for a few modifications in the future:

  • I used 8″ round pans (dark) and baked them for 35 minutes before I checked on the cake.  Of course when I put the tooth pick in it came out clean so I took it out at the 35 minute mark.  We thought the cake was just a tad dry, not too bad but next time I will set the timer for 25 minutes and adjust from there.
  • The frosting is tasty, it was Joshua’s favorite part of the cake (it usually is).  This recipe only makes about two cups of frosting.  I don’t know about anyone else but we are frosting people so next time I am going to increase the frosting recipe by half or maybe even double it so I don’t feel like I am being stingy with the frosting.

If you like chocolate, try both of these recipes, you won’t be disappointed.  I have some great recipes for you this week, M&M Cookies, Sausage Gravy for Biscuits, Slow Cooker Beef Stew and more.  This is going to be a yummy foodinteresting (my new word like Rachel Ray creating EVOO) week!!

HERSHEY’S COLLECTORS COCOA CAKE

Hershy Chocolate Cocoa Cake

What You’ll Need: Ingredients

3/4 cup          Butter or margarine , softened  (1-1/2 sticks) (I used butter)

1-3/4 cups     Sugar

2                      Eggs

1 tsp                Vanilla extract

2 cups            All-purpose flour

3/4 cup          HERSHEY’S Cocoa or HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa

1-1/4 tsp        Baking soda

1/2 tsp           Salt

1-1/3 cups     Water

Buttercream Frosting –  Recipe Below

Directions:

  • Heat oven to 350°F.
  • Grease and flour two 8-or 9-inch round baking pans.
  • Beat butter and sugar in large bowl until fluffy.
  • Add eggs and vanilla; beat 1 minute on medium speed of mixer.
  • Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt;
  • Add the flour/cocoa mixture alternately with water to butter mixture, beating until well blended.
  • Pour batter into prepared pans.
  • Bake 35 to 40 minutes for 8-inch layers OR 30 to 35 minutes for 9-inch layers or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks.
  • Cool completely.
  • Frost

HERSHEY ONE-BOWL BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

What You’ll Need:

6 tblsp               Butter or margarine, softened
2-2/3 cups       Powdered sugar
1/2 cup             HERSHEY’S Cocoa or HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa
1/3 cup             Milk
1 tsp                  Vanilla extract

Directions:

Beat butter in medium bowl.

Add powdered sugar and cocoa alternately with milk; beat to spreading consistency (additional milk may be needed).

Stir in vanilla.

Makes about 2 cups frosting.

Source:  https://www.hersheys.com/recipes/recipe-details.aspx?id=5044&name=Collector’s-Cocoa-Cake

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