Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It's Beginning to Look (and FEEL) a Lot Like Christmas!

After a couple of days of sheer panic last week, I feel a bit more put together. The tree is purchased and decorated, the cookie baking has begun, I've done a bit of Christmas shopping and though my week is still very busy (with watching a friend's children thrown in the mix) I feel like I'll actually finish. If all goes well, I should be down to a few last minute, fairly quick to make items and Sunday will be a day of rest.....well as much of a rest as one gets with spending the morning at church, the afternoon making and cleaning up dinner for 8 and the evening at rehearsal for Christmas eve! Without having to squeeze in Christmas prep, though, that doesn't sound too bad to me!

These cookies are called Chocolate Mint Creams. The "frosting" is a mint kiss that is put on the cookie when it's almost fully baked and popped back in the oven for a couple of minutes to soften it, then when they come out it's spread like icing. Delicious! This is the second year I've bought these throwaway pans to store all my cookies. I don't have the space to store a large amount of containers through the year and these even have the pop on plastic lids, making storing (and retrieving) the cookies quite easy. I wipe out the pans and keep them for messy things like lasagna, giving me easy cleanup for a few meals post-holiday.

This next cookie is called "Cappucino Flats." They are flavored with chocolate, cinnamon and coffee and dipped in melted semi-sweet chocolate after baking. They have a shortbread consistency that is wonderful with a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.

This is a picture of Ruthie's hair after being in braids all week. A combination of a french braid and french braided pigtails gave her this adorable fuzzy ponytail.

Last Saturday morning we got our Christmas tree. I prefer to get it about 3 weeks before Christmas, we usually settle for two, but this year the busy-ness of my husband and older children pushed it back another week. Some years we go cut one, others we hit a local store that is selling them and just pick one out of a lot. With time constraints and a 3 year old who doesn't like to step in (or touch or even see up close) snow, we opted to go to Home Depot and go the quick route. We were glad we did! The price was good, we easily found one we liked and they even cut off the bottom so all we had to do was pop it in the stand and decorate.

I had to run to the post office and came home to the lights already on and the ornaments in progress. Ruthie got the hang of it right away and had a nice little pile all on one branch...which I think all of our kids did around here age. She particularly liked this little elf ornament.

They all had fun decorating the tree and it was done in no time. I often look at my children in amazement. They are so kind to one another (well, most of the time!) and have had such a good time shopping for one another this year. Our four older kids all have jobs and went all out buying gifts for one another. They can hardly wait for Christmas morning to see the reaction of their siblings to the gifts they bought. I think they are far more excited about that than what they themselves get. It warms a Mother's heart!

Today is one of those days that I really need to get a lot done, but some of what needs to be done can't be done quite yet.

I have one kind of cookie in progress, step one is finished and cooling. I have another kind of dough made and chilling, it would be ideal to be able to bake both of these today. The problem is I'm going to give a sewing class to a friend's Girl Scout Troop at 3:45, will be home in enough time to quickly make dinner, then I have a quilting bee tonight. I thought about skipping it as I didn't have any Christmas related sewing to do, but now that I've decided on the sewing machine mat for a friend, I will go so I can work on that uninterrupted...with any luck I should come home with it finished...or nearly so.

My husband will be home soon and taking some laundry to the laundromat (we are still washer-less.) I'm thankful for him going but he will come home with 5 or 6 loads of laundry to be dried and then folded and put away.

I have my rehearsal CD on, so Christmas music is blaring, my cookies are ready for the next step and I'm hoping to get a bit of sewing done before tonight so there isn't quite so much to do and once I hit mid afternoon I'll have to pack it all up. Last time I forgot my power cord AND my pattern. Let's hope I'm more organized than that tonight!

Happy Christmas prep!

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