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Posts tagged ‘baking’

In Search of My HO, HO, HO

The day of reckoning is fast approaching. My days are long and the nights, oh my gosh short. The Charlie Brown tree from the last 5 years was pulled from its falling apart box only to find that most of the lights had not survived the darkness of storage. How does that happen? Every strand I added to it had sections that no longer lite up. It sat for a week glaring at me.

Last years tree. Boughs broke in the box.

Last years tree. Boughs broke in the box.

My sister arrived to do some errands with me in tow. I was her clothing advisor at our local Goodwill store. As I headed to the front for checkout, a sassy, fluffy tree caught my eye. It was decorated with stockings but I asked if the tree was for sale and how much. Yes, and $25 was the reply. With my sister’s approval, we loaded that monster into the back of her pickup. How fortuitous. (see me smiling here)

Angels everywhere

Angels everywhere

We couldn't get it all in one shot.

We couldn’t get it all in one shot.

 

What to do with Charlie Brown. Sis had contemplated a small artificial tree for her new abode. A real one was probably not a good idea there this year, so Charlie was loaded into her truck for the trip home and my son, (tech support) brought in the newer one. It’s really too big for my place but looks quite distinguished. New LED lights were strung, and every ornament I have fit on the tree nicely. I’ve had this collection for oh, SO many years.

 

Fat Friars doing the baking

Fat Friars doing the baking

Heavenly bakery

Heavenly bakery

Each Saturday, my daughter arrived to bake our Christmas cookies. I have a real kitchen, she has an apartment kitchen with a stove as old as the building. She took a tin of cookies to her Christmas party at work and I have enough (I hope) for guests coming by, the mail lady, (Mo) my baskets for neighbors and UPS delivery people. I did a little of the baking too but my daughter makes them like a pro now while I work on other projects. (And supervise)

The outside is lit up courtesy of tech support and all the presents are wrapped. This last Saturday, my daughter spent her visit putting all the ribbons and bows on each one to make them extra festive. It’s her thing and she does it so well. I must say, not a single piece of wrapping paper or ribbon was purchased this year or for the last few years. We use so much recycled stuff that is kept from year to year that I will probably never have to purchase ribbon and bows again.

All the handmade gifts that were finished, went in the mail along with cards. Hopefully they will find their destinations without a problem. I’m still looking for a package that was sent from Australia in late August. (see me not smiling here)

There are many gifts that were on my list to make that had to be set aside for my sanity. Some things just moved to the end of the priority list. I’m learning, slowly, that some things just have to be let go of in order to enjoy the moment. The motto now is: we do what we can, and enjoy what we do.

2 Sandwiched and pinned, one still waiting till after Christmas to be done. Oh well. Sigh.

2 Sandwiched and pinned, one still waiting till after Christmas to be done. Oh well. Sigh.

Hopefully, by the time company arrives, the house will be tidy, the decorations visible and the last of my gifts to be made are checked off the list. If not, have a cookie and don’t look.

How are your holiday preparations going? Are you HO, HO, HO-ing, or Bah Humbugging?

Merry Christmas, Happy Christmas, Happy Solstice, and anything else I missed. Oh, and Happy New Year too. Thank you all for stopping by and visiting with me.

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of the Christmas List

I’ll admit it right now for all to know; I’m a list maker. My family makes fun of me but I have less problem with things being forgotten. I even have a sticky notes app for my computer. There are reminders to check the bank balance, order gift books online, etc.

I have lists in my smart phone. Grocery lists, gift lists, lists of things I need to remember, things I want to make, things I need to get done, and the lists go on and on.

Made this for my daughter to aid in her job as family gift wrapper.

Made this for my daughter to aid in her job as family gift wrapper.

I sat down with my cup of coffee and wrote out my Christmas list. Not the one to Santa asking for things I certainly don’t need, but the one to keep me on track to get everything accomplished for the holiday in a timely manner. I forgot to put mailing cards to Germany and Australia this week on the list. I keep burying my list under all the things I’m doing.

I wanted to finish gifts for a long-time friend who just had a birthday and rushed them to the post office. They actually arrived on time. I have my tree up but I’ve lost my tree top Angel. I’m going to get better organized this year. That’s going on my list when I find it. I’ve started following Organized at Heart for some help with that.

A thread catcher for my quilting friend.

A thread catcher for my quilting friend.

She can't find things with her name on them. I washed & pressed before sending

She can’t find things with her name on them. I washed & pressed before sending

I have my box of old left-over Christmas cards out that will be used this year. My card list is getting shorter and shorter so there is no need to purchase new. What I’m wondering about right now is how to display some of my favorites in a display that could actually stay up all year-long. I have so many different Angel cards that are too beautiful to put away. Checked Pinterest for ideas and I’m sure someone has come up with it, I just haven’t found it. I love the artwork on some cards so much that I buy extra.

This was one of my favorites but I always worry about offending.

This was one of my favorites but I always worry about offending.

My daughter was over yesterday for another day of heating the apartment with the oven. She made two batches of oatmeal/coconut cookies for the holiday. One more scratched off the list. Four more to go but on cold days, it makes sense to bake.

Would like to include one in each card. My friend got hers early.

Would like to include one in each card. My friend got hers early.

I have gifts to mail and almost forgot to put that on my list. It pops up now and then for me to add and subtract from. There it is, under the stack of blankets I have to keep me warm while I sit with my laptop. Maybe I can tie a bell to it. My daughter laughed at me when she noticed I had four notebooks sitting on my couch. Each has a different job.

Why do lists keep getting longer instead of shorter as we get things done? Funny thing though, even with the list getting longer, I’m more relaxed than ever over holiday preparations. I want to enjoy every moment of this wonderful holiday season.

Do you keep lists of things or can you remember everything without one.

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Signs of the Season

Like so many folks that I have heard from this year, I’m having a bit of trouble getting my holiday grove on. Something feels very off this year and I can’t put my finger on it. I’m blaming the unusual alignment of the planets this year. People look at me funny when I tell them that’s why nothing is getting done but they don’t question it. You can come up with your own reasons.

Since I’m not out shopping to get in the mood, music on my laptop has to get me cheery. I’ve watched as many holiday movies as the Hallmark channel will provide. Those kept me company while I wrote out Christmas cards but the baking required the music. There has been a lot of baking but not as much as usual.

cookie tubs 1

M&M's don't last long when my son arrives

M&M’s don’t last long when my son arrives

My daughter and I bake to make gifts for friends and neighbors. I give a loaf of banana or pumpkin bread to each delivery person that graces my door. The mailman gets one too. The recipes are family secrets. My first mother-in-law shared the banana bread recipe with me along with her lessons on how to love a child. I bake it in her honor. The M&M™ cookies are from the original recipe I found in a magazine in 1963. I’ve made them almost every year since except for 1968 when we lived in Taiwan with no stove or oven. I also make my Rice Krispie™ treats from their original recipe that called for more marshmallows and less krispies. I cut the butter in half and it works just fine. The coconut macaroons are from my mothers German recipe book that we converted the measurements though I still have German measuring cups.

There is more in the freezer and the fridge. OMG! Come help us eat this.

There is more in the freezer and the fridge. OMG! Come help us eat this.

I’ll take cookies and bread to the complex office since they have been so kind and helpful. We will take some down to my niece and her girls. She doesn’t have a lot of time to bake. There will be some left for us to enjoy. My son is the official cookie tester. Everyone has to have a job no matter how difficult.

I spent a lot of time looking down at the ground to find this stuff.

I spent a lot of time looking down at the ground to find this stuff.

My wreath is on the door even though it’s looking a bit weary after 2 years in storage. I’ve made several of them as gifts from stuff off the ground. I’ll repair it before putting it back. A portion of my decorations are still in storage though I sold or donated quite a bit two years ago when they were last out.

My daughter is the official wrapper for our family. We even make her finish her own wrapping after we put her gift in the box. She embellishes everything. She even started making her own bows and sewed a Christmas button on that I had in my stash. We always hate to open the packages. I think next year I’ll let her wrap empty boxes to keep under the tree. That’s what they had her doing at work this week.

To pretty to open

To pretty ot open

Button and handmade bow

Button and handmade bow

I’m as ready as I’m going to get this year. The signs of the season are all in place. At least I think they are. What is the sign that signals the holiday has arrived for you?

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
~ Charles Dickens

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself