Sunday afternoon I packed up a big tin of biscotti for my mother-in-law. At that point I had made eight batches of biscotti. We were to hand it off to my brother-in-law who would drop it off to his mother's house that night. We packed up a small tin of biscotti for him as we suspected he'd be tempted to eat it.
Well come to find out he and his family ate both tins, all of them, on Sunday, and my mother-in-law got none. While I didn't receive a compliment directly, their eating all of them says something, and they asked for the recipes, so I'll have to settle for that as the compliment.
Monday morning I had a bad dream (actually quite a funny dream but it had disturbing emotions and there is probably some meaning in it but I am not in the mood to analyze the dream now). The dream woke me up earlier than the kids. I got up and started baking. You see, I needed more biscotti for my mother-in-law! Also the batch of anginettes I made on Saturday was completely eaten by my husband, kids, and their friends who were here for a playdate.
So Monday morning I made one batch of biscotti, two batches of anginettes and a batch of a new cookie with almonds and chocolate.
As I went to use my much loved "Sweet Maria's Italian Cookie Tray" cookbook (paperback) the binding broke. My cookbook has food stains on it and notes in the margins about who liked it and who didn't, which was my (now deceased) paternal grandmother's favorite and so on.
The kids and I delivered biscotti and two kinds of cookies to my mother-in-law. I helped her with her Christmas cards as she had not yet sent them out.
Later I had to go pick up the photo Christmas cards at Costco and it was a zoo. This was 11:30am on a Monday! The traffic was backed up a half mile up the road just trying to get in to the parking lot. There were no parking places in the entire lot (including in the back of the building). I got what I needed and got the heck out of there.
Oh the good news about Costco was that I discovered that Maria Bruscino Sanchez who wrote "Sweet Maria's Italian Cookie Tray" cookbook apparently also published three others, one on Italian desserts, one on cakes, and one on other coookies. The four cookbooks (formerly out in paperback only) have been bundled up into a hardcover cookbook called "Sweet Maria's Big Baking Bible: 300 classic cookies, cakes, and desserts from an Italian-American bakery". The full retail is $27.95 and Costo was selling it for $16.99. I picked up a copy for me and a copy for my friend who wanted one. I didn't know this cookbook existed. I hope to review it one day in the future when I'm done reading it and using more of the recipes.
The nearby mall's parking lot was full and there was a double line of bumper to bumper traffic trying to get into the parking lot.
Later in another town I tried going to a strip mall. I picked up something quickly at Toys R Us (not a Christmas gift) to use up a coupon I had that was going to expire. The woman in front of me had $380 in toys overflowing out of her cart. Three credit cards were declined then her debit card was declined. She had paid $300 in cash and was just trying to put that last $80 on a card. Finally she wrote a check. I wonder if it will bounce?
It took me ten minutes to get out of the parking lot due to gridlock.
Bad drivers were on the road and not following traffic laws. It was insane.
Then as we approached the Trumbull mall exit the traffic on the highway came to a stop. We were stopped due to the gridlocked traffic at the mall exit which was backed up down the off ramp onto the parkway and clogging up the right lane. We in the left lane who were just trying to get past it were also at a dead stop. It was ridiculous.
I needed a few things at the grocery store that I had just run out of and would have liked to have on hand if we needed it before Christmas. However I was disgusted with the too busy stores, too busy parkway, too busy streets and too busy parking lots. I skipped going to the grocery store.
I have said it before and will say it again. There appears to be no recession in Fairfield County and New Haven county. Relatives who live in New Haven County seem to be spending more this year than ever before, so it is not just a Fairfield County thing. I swear you would not know a recession was happening here.
Oh, and gas was $1.60 a gallon! Hooray!
Last night we prepared the Christmas cards, me and the kids.
I'm feeling very calm this Christmas. Maybe I am forgetting something?
We scaled back gift giving this year and it was not out of financial necessity, it was just out of a disgust for excess and feeling quite content with what we already have. I increased gift giving to people not close to us, gifts of home baked goods, out of a genuine desire and gratitude.
Today I was sound asleep until the phone woke me up at 7:15am. I was very groggy. It was the biscotti-eating brother-in-law. He wanted to know where my husband was. I said, "Driving to work!" He said, "What, are you sleeping?" I said "YES!". Then, get this, he said, "Aren't you all up there for the kids to go to school?" (Note the language "go to school", we homeschool.) I said, "We are sleeping!" He said, "What, do you think you get to make up your own school schedule or something!?" I said, "YES!". (Are you kidding me with that comment, this is December 23rd and some private schools have been out of class for two weeks already! Do you think I have my kids up at seven in the morning two days before Christmas doing lesson? Oh boy.
Today's activities are:
The kids will finish decorating their gingerbread houses. (done)
I will wrap up the last few gifts that have been trickling in (Amazon deliveries etc.). (done)
Clear the dining room table of baked goods and Christmas wrapping paper and get it ready to be set for Christmas dinner. (half done)
Kids forgot to put up their little artificial trees and they said they want to do that today. (kids changed their minds)
Kids to do a laundry marathon as it seems it has built up again. (half done, still in progress)
I will clean the public areas of the house, and all the bathrooms. (half done)
Put the Christmas cards in the mailbox (we are usually not this late with them but we had a problem with the photograph). (done)
Added: bake two batches of gingerbread cookies from scratch and decorate them with icing from scratch (done)
Added: Package up homebaked cookies and homemade candy for the postal carrier (done)
Added: Package up two tins of homebaked cookies for the guitar teacher (done)
Added: Photocopy letters kids wrote to Santa then kids prep to mail and then mail (done)
I'm feeling quite calm and together right now and have zero holiday stress. Let's hope this stays with me and that I didn't forget something major.
(Post updated 7:30pm 12/23/08)