Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Misbehavin' Bakin'

I cut it really close this year.

Christmas baking almost didn't get done.

GASP.

I kinda, sorta started to run out of time.

Energy abandoned me a LOOONG time ago.  I started December running on fumes instead of fuel. 

Note to self for future Christmas seasons - don't start December running on fumes instead of fuel.

So, yeah, I worked really hard at getting shopping done during the right pay period, and crafted a few minor things with a few mishaps and wrangled hubby into wrapping away the afternoon hours for a few days.  And the baking kept getting bumped from the priority list to the point that I began to think I just wouldn't this year.

That option didn't seem all that bad, really!

....until the oldest boy started making the odd comment about seriously missing having Christmas baking in the house...

What's a mama to do when faced with big brown 13 year old eyes, blinking pathetically, begging for cookies?

She bakes cookies, of course!

However, given time and energy constraints, cutbacks were in order this year. 

My list of baking (this information is likely completely dull to you, but will be my baking record for 2012) included:

1.  Chocolate chip cookies made with red, white and green chips.
2.  Haystacks - made for the young one, who is rarely interested in any baking outside of puffed wheat cake and haystacks
3.  Reindeer chow - a Chex/Cheerios/Pretzels/Peanuts/Smarties covered in white chocolate confection inspired by Pinterest.  Note to self:  this was ridiculously expensive.  Ridiculously.  DO.  NOT.  MAKE.  AGAIN.
4.  Magic bars made with graham crumbs, pretzels, caramels, chocolate chips, coconut and sweetened condensed milk.  Note to self:  spray the daylights out of the pan and underbake, for heaven's sake.  Sheesh.  She don't wanna come out of the pan.  And watch your fillings.  You've been warned.
5.  Cookies that did not want to be - a lovely pretty little cookie in the ilk of a pinwheel cookie that is marbled instead of jelly-rolled that was supposed to be rolled in non-pariels but they were sold out so crushed candy canes were substituted instead which made the cookies stick to the pan that was supposed to be covered in parchment paper which I did not have and which were made from a recipe that recommends baking according to weighed ingredients instead of measurements and called for cake flour instead of all purpose flour which I also did not have and also called for a cup of butter which I tried softening in the microwave and ended up completely melting by accident and then the dough ended up too dry so I put the dough in the fridge to chill hoping that a miracle would happen but of course the miracle did not happen in the fridge (my hopes were too high) so I ended up adding more butter and remixing them and then chilling them again and in the end they turned out pretty close to the picture but I'm too bothered by the whole mishap to photograph them for the sake of a blog.  ...insert feeble grin here.....
6.  Buns that nearly choked - blah blah blah, something happened to the baker's brain whereby she forgot to add the majority of the liquids to the flour sponge and then she added all of the flour without thinking, wondering why the dough was beyond dry and then when she added the liquids after the fact the dough got really wet and a bunch more flour was required so just maybe the buns might end up on the dry side?

Yup!  Finished my baking!  Sounds .....   like I finished my baking.  Misbehavin' bakin' had a mind of its' own.

Ahem.

However.

The 13 year old brown eyed one just reported that everything  tastes SO GOOD.

Fait accompli!!!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Christmas Joy

He had some money in his wallet.

One - maybe two - bills lay there, carefully preserved, protected, saved, unspent, waiting for some irresistible spending whim to strike.

I give him credit. He usually spends that hard earned money pretty fast. But he's growing up.  His wish list has become expensive so he spends his money on candy and slush....or sometimes nothing at all.

A casual comment came from him a day or so ago.  "I'm going to buy you a present this year, mom."

"Mm hmm", I replied, absently.

Today was the day that the trip would be made to the mall.  "Let's go buy a gift for your brother, from you" I instructed.  And off we went to the mall, his wallet tucked into his brown coat pocket, his flannel pajama pants haphazardly tucked into his winter boots.  Who wants to abandon comfy pajama pants for a quick trip to the mall?  I smile at his attire.  He's too precious, I will not argue with his logic.  It's cool with me.

Brother's gift safely tucked into a bag, he turns to me and asks "Where do they sell Ferrero Rocher?" 

"For your brother?" I ask.  It seems like the obvious question.

"No, for you", he replies.

We head to the department store at the end of the hallway.  He wants me to stick around to watch him shop.  I refuse.

"I want to be surprised", I say.

This young man-to-be with his wallet tucked safely in his brown coat pocket while his pajama pants are tucked haphazardly inside his winter boots stays back in the candy section while I inconspicuously wander through the cosmetics department.

I glance back a time or two....I see his brown coat headed to the cashier.

"This is a big deal", I think to myself.  He never pays for something on his own, always wanting someone at his side to face the larger-than-life adult at the till.

Before I know it, the transaction is complete and he is tucking his wallet back into his coat pocket, bag in hand, smile on his face, contents well hidden from my view.

We leave the store and his grin is contagious.

"This is SO COOL!!!"  It's SO MUCH FUN buying presents for someone!"

Shortly thereafter, he passes by the bell-ringing gentleman manning the Salvation Army kettle and drops some of his precious coins into the kettle.  "Aw, bless you!" the man remarks, looking over this small hero's head at me, smiling, pleased, touched by his donation.  I smile too.

"I feel SO GOOD today!" my boy says.

Come to think of it, I feel pretty good myself.

The joy of giving, discovered by an 11 year old.  For real. 

Christmas came to us today.  It came to me today through a young child.

Seems to be a bit of a theme at Christmas ... 


"She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.
8-12 There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”
13-14 At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:
Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him."