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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Planning....or not...

Are you a planner??? Do you make lists and have timelines...stick to schedules?? Know when, where, who etc. at all times?? I am...I mean, I have to be. I have a restaurant and gift shop to run. I am not a big fan of surprises...(not even the good kind) I need to have complete control and know what is expected of me at all times. Today was a huge challenge!!! It started off just like any other day...lots to do and a, relatively, short amount of time to do it. We were booked for today...we are going to be closed tomorrow and Saturday, and then open again for Sunday. Lots of larger groups and people still trying to get together for the Holidays. I had a lot of bakery orders to get done, too. But, not too far into our "normal" morning we became aware of some strange stuff...like barricades and crime scene tape....hovering helicopters and police presence...Before long we realized that people were having difficulty getting into town. This was due to the police barricades....they were searching for the third bank robbery suspect. I am sure that this is a very stressful situation for all of the law enforcement people involved...however, I think part of their job, in situations such as this, should be to keep citizens, who find themselves caught in the middle of a situation beyond their control, informed about what is happening!! The fact that they had streets blocked and were not allowing cars through did not deter OUR customers!!! They parked way up the street and walked down to us!!! This says a tremendous amount about how wonderful our customers are...how dedicated they are...not rain nor sleet (well...maybe sleet...) will keep them away...for this I say "Thank you"...you guys are awesome!!! But the fact of the matter is I should have known what was going on so that I could do everything in my power to keep these fantastic people safe!!! Everything we knew about what was going on we learned by ourselves...Not very professional!!! I am, still, very upset about how all of this was handled!!! I did learn something today, though...some things you JUST CAN'T plan for...I mean, who in their right mind would have ever thought I would HAVE to plan for this??? Oh...good old small town life!?!?!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Resolutions....just say "no"....

The new year is right around the corner...what is your view on resolutions?? I don't like them. I am a very positive, optimistic person...and I think that new years resolutions are very negative. You are supposed to vow to change all the things you hate about yourself...what a way to start off the new year!!! I think it would be better to take a more positive approach. What can you do to make yourself happy?? Have you always wanted to learn how to quilt?? Take a class. Find a new hobby...gardening or feeding the birds. Are there a bunch of old movies you have always wanted to see?? Rent them!! Is there a list of books you have always wanted to read?? Go to the library or bookstore. Pick a room and paint it a bold new color...one that makes you happy!!! I think vowing to find the things in life that make you happy is a much more productive use of your time!!! Think about all of the good things, the things that you are thankful for, instead of the things you would change!! Life is too short to sweat the small stuff!!! Needless to say...I don't have any resolutions! I will tell you how grateful I am to have all of the friends, family and wonderful customers we have in our lives. 2010 has been another great year...I hope it has been for you, too!! Now...go give some thought to your "anti-resolution"....what should you do with all of that POSITIVE energy???

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"After Christmas".....

So...Christmas is behind us. This can be a very depressing time of year. All the excitement leading up to the big day...and then it's over. Just like that. No more music...no more lights...no more decorations.How do you deal with that "after Christmas" feeling?? A few years ago, I decided to "extend the magic" by decorating with my snowmen. Up to that point I had always included my snowman collection with my Christmas decorations. I mixed Frosty in with Santa and made snowy scenes for Christmas. Then, one year, as I was taking everything down and packing it all away, I thought "this is stupid...it is so depressing to have the house empty after all of the Christmas stuff is put away...I am going to separate my collections and put the snowmen out after Christmas!!" So...that's what I do...and I have almost as much in that collection as I do in my Christmas collection. I, actually, look forward to decorating with them and that makes putting the Christmas things away easier to do!!! The transformation is on my agenda for this Monday.~~~ We went to look for the finishing touches to re-do the front porch at the shop. It looks so pretty all lit up at Christmas time...I hate to take everything down and leave it all...dark!!! We have a plan to make it winter-y/Valentine-y. The lights we got were not what I had planned...but I think it's going to work very nicely!! But...talk about depressing! Go and dig through the "after Christmas" piles of leftovers!!! Fight the other people who are looking for cheap stuff for next year!!! If that doesn't depress you...I don't know what will!!! We weren't looking for cheap...we just needed lights!!! But, now, I am looking forward to getting that job done and seeing what it looks like....as long as there is something to look forward to, the depression doesn't have a chance!! I spent most of the day, today, trying to get things organized in the gift shop. There is still some work to do, but I got quite a bit done. I have some great new merchandise on it's way, but I didn't want it too early...I need some time to make room and get everything the way I want it first...so that's what I'm doing right now. Oh....that "after Christmas" feeling....give me a couple of days and all will be right with the world again!!!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

What a great Christmas!!!....

Well...we did it!! The cookies were all baked, everybody got their favorites, the gingerbread house was designed, baked, constructed and decorated, the tree is full of years and years of memories (and looks beautiful!!) the stockings were filled, the presents wrapped and it all got done on time!!! We went out for breakfast on Christmas Eve (as is our tradition...) but the kids "significant others" were there, too. Then we headed over to the shop to get everything ready for our big Christmas morning breakfast with the family. It is our Christmas gift to everyone. We serve a big breakfast...everyone spends some time together and then we can carry on with our day having spent some time with one another. There are between 25 and 30 people, usually. We started this tradition as a way to keep our kids at home for Christmas day...but still have them see everyone and show what Santa had given them. Then it became a wonderful family tradition...and everyone who is important to us comes and enjoys themselves...we have to have it at the shop because there are so many of us!!! After all of that food was prepared and the tables all set up and ready to go...it was back to the house for a Christmas marathon!!! Cookies, gingerbread houses, tree decorating....dinner (homemade pizza...) then a trip to the Lights in the Parkway!! It was a wonderful Christmas Eve!! Christmas day we skipped the presents until after breakfast...headed over to the shop early and started to get the food ready. Ham, potato casserole, sausage strata, pancakes, baked oatmeal, homemade sticky buns and plenty of juice and coffee!!! My grandson made a grand entrance in his Santa hat....and surprised everyone with a nice long walk (all by himself...) into the dining room!! Walking before he even hit the 10 month mark!!!! A few hours with family...clean up and back to the house for round one of gifts. A nice, quiet afternoon of preparing dinner and then the evening with my grandson!! His "Santa Bag" was full...and then there were more that couldn't fit!! Of course, at this age, all they really want is the wrapping paper!! We got him a "walk behind" dinosaur toy...he can push it while he walks behind it. Then, when he gets bigger, you can lock the seat in place and he can ride it....he really liked that!! We put his little farm animals on PopPop's train and gave them a ride (he loves the train!!!) listened to all of his new toys sing and make all kinds of sounds...it was a great Christmas!! I hope you all had a great Christmas, too!!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve...

Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house, not a creature was stirring....so it turns out that I can't keep up with my blog AND do everything else that I had to do, too!! I guess the big guy is better at this time management thing after all!!! I just wanted to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas...enjoy your day and make lots of Sweet Memories. I'll try to get back on track soon!!!

~~~~~~Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!!!!!!!!!!!~~~~~~

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Visions of sugar cookies dance in my head....

All of the shopping is done...we just have some wrapping to do. We shopped local, small businesses yesterday. I am very happy with the surprises I found for the kids and I was happy to keep my purchases right here in the "neighborhood"! Today is about the baking. Like many of you...I have to make Christmas cookies, today. I just have to do it in much larger quantities!!! This is going to be short and SWEET (get it??) but I did promise to try to keep up with my blog responsibilities!! I have a list of the cookies that need to get done today and the ones that need to get done tomorrow so that I can stay on schedule for all that I need to do on Thursday...wow, I am tired just thinking about it!! I have visions of...well not sugar plums...but sugar cookies dancing in my head. Santa, stockings, bells and trees....eggnog crescents, candy canes, snowballs...but, can I make a confession?? I, also, have visions of red hearts and raspberry filled cookies and heart shaped spritz...yes, OK...I'll admit it...even while I am baking beloved Christmas cookie recipes (most of which were my grandmother's...) I am thinking about Valentine's Day!!!! It really is no wonder I don't know what month we are in most of the time!!! Happy 4 more days until Christmas....maybe if I say it enough, I will remember which month this is!!! I am off to bake...Christmas, Christmas, Christmas....oh, wouldn't those checkerboard cookies be pretty in red and white?? Maybe a little pink....focus, focus, FOCUS!!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The stockings were hung....

This is our last day off before Christmas. It is the day for stocking stuffers. Our kids are all grown. They all have their own lives and responsibilities, so we are going to give them the best, and most useful, gift at this stage of life...cash! It isn't fun or exciting...and it certainly isn't a big surprise....but it will be a perfect fit! The whole gift giving point, after all, is to find something to make the person receiving the gift happy...when you are in your 20's...cash fits the bill!! That doesn't mean we can't throw a few surprises in the mix...that is today's purpose!! I don't know what I am looking for...but I'll know it when I see it!! Now...my grandson, on the other hand, HE is getting all kinds of surprises!! We are really looking forward to his first Christmas. This Mom Mom thing is awesome!! I am going to enjoy myself, today, because tomorrow marks the beginning of a very busy week!! This weekend was a "sweet" one....the bakery case is empty!! So, I have a ton of baking to do for the case as well as all of my orders...and the restaurant is booked, booked, booked!!! Christmas parties galore!! Owning your own business is a lot of work...but it is so worth it when you see how many people want to spend special times with you....it makes me happy to know the hard work is appreciated!! I will do my best to keep up with my blog, this week! Hey...if Santa can keep up with everything he has to do...I guess I can do my part too!!! The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...in hopes that I find something cool to put there!!! Have a great Monday!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

The magic of Christmas......

The big day is approaching!! Well...yes, THAT big day is approaching, too...but the delivery day for all of the gifts we have purchased for our "adopted family" is Monday. My Husband and I went shopping last night and finished up the list. The Ladies of the family started this at Toys 'R' Us as a big group when we went shopping for Toys for Tots. Then my Brother-in-law and Sister-in-law took care of the bikes and my niece got some things while she did her own shopping. So we went with our final list of gifts and finished it up last night. This has been a wonderful experience. We have been able to feel exactly what it's like to BE Santa Claus. It has made me realize the important lessons Santa Claus teaches. When your kids are little you tell them all about Santa....(or, at least I hope you do...) We tell them all about the North Pole and the reindeer and the elves. Sometimes, though, I think we may forget what we are really teaching them. The Santa Claus legend is just like every other fairy tale...fantasy based in truth. A great story all wrapped up in a moral....a lesson taught in a not so obvious way. What better lesson could there be? Santa Claus teaches us kindness and generosity~~selflessness and unconditional love. He teaches us to try to do the right thing (or be good for goodness sake...) and to put others first. He shows us that anything is possible (even squeezing down a chimney...) with a lot of hard work and dedication!! And he shows us that giving of yourself is the best gift of all!!! Oh sure...somewhere along the way the "truth" shows itself....but if you've done your job the magic will stay with your kids their whole lives!! Mine were a big part of this project, and all three of them get a whole lot more out of giving gifts than they do receiving them. They are very kind, tolerant, hardworking and generous members of society....I would like to take all of the credit for this...but I'm pretty sure Santa may have had something to do with it too!! Do you believe in Santa Claus and the magic of  Christmas?? I know I do....I'm calling it a night...We are going to be very busy at work, tomorrow, and then there is a sleigh full of presents for "the elves" and I to wrap!!! Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Oh Christmas tree....

Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree...we went and found our tree on Monday (this has been one crazy week....sorry I am so behind in my blogs!!) We headed North, this year. We went to a tree farm up near Blue Mountain. I would love to find a farm that we can call our own and go to every year, but we either can't find the kind of tree we like...or they only have weekend hours, or the trees are not big (tall) enough. My niece told us about this one...I think we will be going back there next year. We always used to get Douglas Firs...but the last few years we have been getting Frasier Firs. It took a little convincing, at first, because the ones I was drawn to were not super full...you could see the trunk between the branches...and they were also very "natural" looking, not "perfectly" shaped...which is what I loved about them. (They remind me of The Waltons Christmas trees) Once we get them in the house, though, everyone comes around. The farm we went to this year does do some pruning, so I was a little concerned that the charm I was looking for would have been cut away...but the one we found was minimally pruned. It is a little fuller than we have had the last few years, but I am happy with it!! We won't decorate it until Christmas Eve...that is our tradition. This tree is covered in memories...many of the ornaments we have are handmade...quite a few by us. Each and every one has a special meaning. We have more than one tree, though, four to be exact! The full sized artificial tree is covered in blown glass...I have a huge collection and add to it all the time! Then the other two trees are only about 4 foot and thin...they are both covered in "edibles"...candy, cake and cookie ornaments (I can't imagine why I collect those????) We have another tree, too. It's in the living room. It's made of wire and each "branch" has a hook on the end to hold an ornament. It is covered with my husband's collection of vintage Christmas balls. He collects the glass balls from the 50's...only the ones with pictures of some kind....we have houses, churches, deer, toys, bells....he remembers these balls from when he was a kid...it's a really cool collection!! The tree is full, though, so I don't know what we are going to do with more....but we keep looking anyway!!! It is really fun to hear all the different traditions that everyone has when it come to our trees....but, no matter what YOUR tradition is, I hope the time you spend around that tree is wonderful!!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Christmas song rant.....

Well...here we are, less than two weeks to go until the big day!! A few weeks ago, if you had asked, I would have told you how much I love Christmas music. I think it's a shame that we only get to hear it for such a short period of time. I would have told you that I love ALL of it...from the more religious carols to the silly songs of Santa!!! I would have told you that, without a doubt, there isn't a Christmas song that I don't like!!!~~~I would have been wrong!! I have come to the conclusion that there are, in fact, a few that I CAN'T STAND!!!!!!!!!! OK...that may be a bit harsh...if the truth is told, it is the "artists" singing the songs that I can't stand!!! I was SO excited when one of our local radio stations started to play all Christmas music...even before Thanksgiving!!! I was in my glory!! A few extra weeks of my beloved Christmas music is a great thing!! However, they play the SAME exact songs over and over and over...(and we listen to it ALL day long!!!) I am going to tell you, right now, I can't stand Mariah Carey!!!! Seriously. I am, also, finding myself turning the station off each and every time I hear the beginnings of any and all Jackson 5, Bruce Springstein and Carrie Underwood. I absolutely hate the Dean Martin version of Rudolph the red nosed reindeer...or as he (drunkenly???) refers to him "Rudy"....I am not a fan of John Lennon...or his wife (eeeish!!!) and that "Band Aid" song should be outlawed!!! "Just thank God it's them instead of you"...really???? Where are the classics??? Give me a little Julie Andrews...I don't think they have played ANY...Andy Williams, Burl Ives, Perry Como, Bing Crosby....THAT is Christmas music! Don't get me wrong, I love some of the "newer" classics, too....I mean does it get any better than the Muppets?? How about those 12 pains of Christmas??? Give me John Denver, Celine Dion, Josh Grobin....how about some of those country CDs....Brad Paisley, Vince Gill, LeAnne Womack....there is SO much amazing music and I have to listen to the same, horrible, songs over and over.....Thank God I have the vast CD collection that I do....I am, currently, looking into starting my own radio station...does anyone know how to go about doing that??? I'll tell you right now....even if you listen to it 10 straight hours, like we do.....you wouldn't have to hear Mariah Carey once. And certainly NOT the every 20 minutes that she is currently played!!!!! All I want for Christmas is you....to GO AWAY!!!!! I feel better!!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Two weeks to go....

Up on the housetop, reindeer paws...out jumps dear old Santa Claus....The countdown has, truly, begun...I know this because today is my husband's birthday!!! His birthday was always a barometer of sorts...only two weeks to go, how ready are we??? What else needs to get done??? This was a much bigger issue when the kids were little. I already told them to expect cash...they seem to be OK with that!! The one we have to get ready for, now, is my grandson. All I have left to do, for him, is the Hess truck (it's a MomMom thing...my MomMom collected the Hess trucks for my son...he got one every year...so we are carrying on the tradition with my grandson. We got him his first one last Christmas and he wasn't even here yet!!) Of course, when you own your own business, you have to rearrange the calendar a bit...so we will be celebrating his birthday on Monday (our day off...) We have all become accustomed to this. Sometimes you get lucky and your birthday FALLS on a Monday (every 7 years, to be exact...) but the rest of the time we just postpone it a bit. We are heading out to get the tree. He wants to put it up and get the lights on it. That way he can put his train underneath it. He loves to run the train and can't wait for my grandson to see it!!! The tree won't, actually, get decorated until Christmas Eve (the kids always thought Santa did it...) but the smell will be enjoyed while it awaits adornment!! We are planning a quiet evening at home...those are his instructions...and that is OK with me!!~~~ Tonight is our family "Ladies Night" Christmas party...this is when we find out who our "secret pals" are! We have it at my sister-in-laws house. I feel badly that we are leaving my husband home alone on his actual birthday...but he will, probably, be happy for the peace and quiet!! If you are planning to come in and see us, today, wish him a "Happy Birthday"....better yet, sing it to him!! We had a special party booked, on his birthday, a couple of years ago. It was a church function...all women. They wanted me to teach a special class ( I taught them how to make a yule log..) and they had their Christmas "meeting" at the same time. They brought a portable keyboard and they were singing Christmas carols while they ate the yule log. They, really, had a great time. The lady in charge of putting it together knew it was my husbands birthday...and, at one point, he came out and was listening to them sing...all of a sudden they broke into "Happy Birthday"...and it took him a few seconds to realize they were singing to him!! It was great...a real Sweet Memory!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I still believe...

I don't have a whole lot of free time, this time of year...who does?? I mean it is Christmas!! I have been "surfing" on here a little bit, though...quickly reading some of the blogs I follow and reading facebook posts. It is really interesting to me how differently we all see this Holiday. I have seen some posts from Grinch, himself...and I have seen some posts that, surely, are from Santa's #1 elf. I have seen things written about how no one wants to bake...how tired everyone is of Christmas songs and movies...how they need to finish shopping or still need to get the decorating done. I have, also, read posts from people who are as excited as kids for this season!! As far as I'm concerned, Christmas is a state of mind...and, for me, it lasts at least the whole month of December...(and, truthfully, half of November!!) All those things that everyone is complaining about IS Christmas, to me! It would be sad if this only lasted one day. Christmas day, itself, is great. We spend time with our family and have all kinds of traditions...but the decorations and the smells, the lights and the music, the magic and the memories ARE Christmas....even the "sappy" movies and cartoon specials are important parts of the puzzle. I have a lot to get done, too....but I really hope and pray that I never get to the point where I feel like I don't want to do it...that it is nothing but a hassle...once that thought gets into your head, the magic is gone! I don't know about you....but I still believe. I believe that we can make a difference, I believe that making other people happy is the best gift you can give yourself and I believe that Christmas is more than just a day on the calendar. The magic is out there...and there is still time to find it! I am going to work and bake cookies...my grandmother's ginger cookies to be exact!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The snowflakes are falling....

The snowflakes are falling...the frost's in the air...but Christmas is coming so what do we care...kind Santa is knocking, perhaps you can hear...hang up every stocking and be of good cheer!!!~~~~My Mom Mom sang that song every time it snowed...and we had a little flurry activity, yesterday....just enough to be pretty~not enough to be a problem. That's the way I like it!! I ran into a friend of mine, yesterday...she said if it's going to be this cold she wants 3 feet of snow so she doesn't have to go to work. I said I wholeheartedly disagree. That would really mess up a lot of plans for a lot of people. The "party" season is in full swing this week...lots and lots of "big" reservations on the books....we are busy, busy, busy....PLEASE no weather concerns to mess that up for everyone....especially this weekend. We have a birthday party for a 5 year old on Saturday, and our Ladies Night Christmas party is Saturday night, too. They aren't calling for anything...let's just keep it that way until January~ We were on a mission, yesterday, to find a wreath for my front door. That, probably, sounds silly since I sell things like that in my gift shop! However, our front door faces South and we have a full-view glass storm door...it creates a "greenhouse" effect in between the doors that make decorations, such as berries, explode. When I am ordering the wreaths that will be for sale in the shop, I order the prettiest ones I can find...which usually means lots of decorations. You would think I would consider my own needs while I am at it...but I don't!! I have some really pretty things, at the shop right now, that I would love to be able to use...but they would just get ruined. I can't use a fresh one, either, because it would "cook" and all of the needles would fall off!! I, finally, found a plain, rather real, looking one with little pine cones. I added an ice skate filled with snowman faces and I will bring home a snowflake garland that I have at the shop, today. that will finish it off, nicely...and it can stay up for the whole Winter!! Job done. I also planted all of my paper white bulbs...another job done. I am going to work on my "kissing balls" tonight...I bought styrofoam balls at the craft store, but quickly realized that I should have gotten floral foam...it will be too much work just to get them done and have all of the greens fall out...I don't think so!! So...floral foam it is. I will update you on the progress of this project later...for now, have a great day!!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Long Day...and cookie presses...........

This has been one long day....we have done a special "Christmas party" breakfast for a group of Hospice volunteers for the last four years. We open just for them on a Saturday morning and they have their Christmas party. We have had the need (unfortunately...) for Hospice in our family, and the people who work and volunteer there SHOULD have a special party!! It is a very, very hard time for anyone who is using their services...and how they can do what they do, day after day, is amazing. We are all too happy to open early and feed them...we make a slightly pared down Sunday Brunch menu for them...this year there were 31 people at the party!! It was a big group...(the trick is to make all of the food we will need for our "normal" lunch service and all of my bakery orders at the same time!!) I feel like we're giving back, a little...and we will do whatever it takes! ~~~On a different note...I got it into my head to make spritz cookies, yesterday. Once upon a time I had one of those old-fashioned crank type cookie presses. I am not sure where it went...I'm sure it's around here somewhere...but, along the line, I was enticed to leave that old relic behind and replace it with a newer, better, more efficient model. Uuummmm....I bought a Wilton cookie press, first. Piece of junk. Then I replaced that one with a Pampered Chef. Also a piece of junk. Then, last year, I replaced that one with a Cuisinart....ELECTRIC....with a plug....also, a piece of junk!!!! I took it out, yesterday, to make these cookies and could not get it to work~~surprise, surprise~~ my daughter said "don't you have this problem every year??? Is it some kind of joke??" Well...if it is I'm not laughing!! I had my daughter call the kitchen store and ask if they had a cookie press. So...I don't know if you are keeping track....but this is now cookie press #5...yes, I said #5...but guess what?? It's brilliant!!!! It is made in Italy and it is awesome....if you have found yourself in the "cookie press" nightmare, let me know and I will tell you the name of this one..end of nightmare!!! (Needless to say, there are pretty little green Christmas tree spritz cookies in the case!!!Anybody who knows me knows that once it's in my head...it's as good as done...even if that means buying yet another cookie press....I guess FIVE times is the charm!!!) If you don't want to make them at all, you can always call and order them from us...I'll be HAPPY to make them now that I finally have a cookie press that works!!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Need a little Christmas....

There is SO much preparation involved in each and every Holiday and season, when you are in retail, that it seems to go on for months...but, then, there comes a moment when you realize that it is, actually, here. It can be very surreal...and, kinda mess with your head a little!! That realization hit me yesterday. The "real" countdown has begun...not just the "retailers" countdown, but the "real"...everyone is on the same page at the same time...countdown!!! So...are you ready?? I have a friend who is frantically searching for the little red hot cinnamon candies for her gingerbread men and another friend who decided to have her "work" Christmas party earlier this year...and is now regretting it. There just aren't enough hours in a day to do it all...get it all done...and yet, come December 25th...all over the world...we are all, somehow, ready. The tree is up and decorated, the gifts are wrapped and under it, the cookies are baked and the dinner is in the oven. I say we start a new tradition this year and stop stressing...I say, let's enjoy the season!!~~~ What does that mean for you??? What is your favorite Christmas activity?? What is your favorite Christmas movie/special...favorite song...favorite kind of Christmas cookie??? Do you drive around and look at the lights...go caroling...travel to see family?? Do you love to wrap or decorate or bake?? Take a moment to think about this, today, and try to get all of those activities in your schedule...after all, Christmas comes but once a year...and we all need a little Christmas...now!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gingerbread House Class #3....

Last night we hosted gingerbread house class #3...it was the biggest and most attended ever!! A lot of little ones...and a lot of helpers (and picture/video takers!!) I made all kinds of food...a "pizza" Christmas tree, cheese dip with little soft pretzels, little crab appetizers, glazed meatballs, ranch deviled eggs...all kinds of desserts and a punch...they wiped me out~~ate everything!!! Which makes me happy, on one hand, but concerned that there wasn't enough food on the other hand!! No one complained...so I guess they had enough to eat!! We had a last minute cancellation because someone was sick, so the plan is to decorate that house and have it available for sale. We do this every year anyway...it will just get done sooner!! We had a little group come, but half of them had another engagement an hour into the class....THAT has never happened before!! The little girl couldn't finish the house....(no matter how good you are an hour for eating AND finishing a house is NOT going to cut it!!!) so the rest of the party took a stash of candy and one of my bags full of icing home with them so that they could finish...unfortunately, the bag is disposable...but it had one of MY pastry tips in it!! We, also, have quite a few "artists" who have been doing these houses for years...so they have developed an eye for spotting unusual candy...some of them "collect" it during the year to use on these houses!! But it does belong to them...they are, usually, generous and have no problem sharing...but, sometimes, they have a plan and need all of it....there was some "helping yourself" going on, last night. We will need to address some little glitches in the future...but, all in all, it was a great night and they all did a great job!!! With the Christmas music playing in the backround, the lights on outside, the tree and fireplace all decked out and so many excited little "artists"...it was, really, beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Still playing Santa....

So...I am playing Santa...again!!! I had this great idea, yesterday. We have a mailbox for letters to Santa! The kids can put their letters in the box....but we will hold on to them so that you can have them as a keepsake!! I was watching a movie on the Hallmark channel, and the main character found a letter that she had written when she was a little girl...I thought "I wish I had the ones that the kids had written..." but, of course, we sent them. This way you can send them...AND keep them, too!! I was telling my husband this idea and he was trying to figure out what this meant for him (most of my ideas involve some sort of extra projects for his "honey-do" list...) but all I needed him to do was pick up a nice new mailbox at the Home Depot when he went to RETURN some of the candy cane lights ( a new record???? These not only didn't last the normal ONE season...they didn't even make the two WEEK mark!!!!) which he did yesterday. So...the mailbox is open for business!! We have so many great "little customers"...I can't wait to see them use this mailbox!!! I am so excited...~~~ On to other news...tonight is gingerbread house class #3. There are a lot in attendance, this evening, so we have a gingerbread city awaiting them, this week...not the usual village!! I spent about half of my "day off" ( I am beginning to use that term very loosely..) making the dough and baking off pieces. It was worth it!! We only had to stay an extra hour, last night, to get the rest of the pieces baked and the houses put together....all ready to go!! Now, I wish it would stop raining!!! Yuck!! Not at all what you picture the first day of December to be like...at least not in Pennsylvania!! Oh well, Happy December anyway!!!!!