Saturday, December 29, 2012

Last Christmas Cookie

... has been eaten and I'm just now getting around to updating the blog with all the Christmas related stuff. Yep, we celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas. What's more, we also celebrate my most favoritest holiday of all, the New Year (so stay tuned for that one). And yes, there are gifts for M for each of these holidays. So we try to keep it very low-key in terms of gifts - 1-2 gifts for each holiday and nothing over the top. More about gifts later.

This year we had the most elaborate run-up to Christmas ever. Last year everything was very low key because, with Chris deployed, I just didn't feel like it. Nor did I have much time for things other than a tree and a gingerbread house. But this year, oh my!

First, we made the gingerbread house with the lovely kit from Trader Joe. This is my favorite gingerbread house to date and I do hope they sell it next year too. It didn't have weird ingredients, was super-easy to put together, looked very nice and cost only about $7.

Once the gingerbread was up, it was time to go get the tree. A couple of years ago, when we had a very snowy winter (yep, we do get those in the Piedmont area once in a while), we went to a nearby tree farm and cut down our own tree. Which was fun. But this year we waited until like three days before Christmas to get the tree and knew that all the good ones at the farm were already claimed. So instead we bought ours at the farmers' market.

Next, it was time to bake Christmas cookies. I had very ambitious plans for baking sugar cookies, gingersnaps, and making chocolate almond bark. Except I also planned on cleaning the house. So in the end I had no energy for the big production. Chris and M did the sugar cookies and I put together gingersnaps. BTW, both were Alton Brown's recipes and turned out delicious!

A couple of days before Christmas we already had gifts for M, but not for each other. Since our car required some expensive repairs just before Christmas, we didn't feel like getting anything pricey. Instead, we all went to my favorite thrift shop. And, much like Alton Brown, this thrift shop never fails. We bought a couple of nice ornaments for our tree, a Rumertopf unglazed clay bread baker for Chris (he said he always wanted one) and a hand-carved wooden chips and dip tray for me. All for like $7.

The day before Christmas we went to our good friends. M had a lot of fun, as usual, playing with the boys. And the adults were able to have an almost uninterrupted conversation punctuated with good wine. Which sounds idyllic except I had to leave the party 'cause of the most horrendous headache ever.

Ah, so what did M get for Christmas? He got three gifts. Two were Lego Education kits - Simple Machines and WeDo robotics. These are not cheap, but we got them free as part of the grant (for M's participation in the JrFLL Lego club earlier this year). And the third gift was the Angry Birds: Star Wars game I finally downloaded to the iPad.

So the Christmas day was spent building with Legos. The first thing M built with Chris's help was a crane. But he got bored with that quickly and insisted we built and programmed an alligator with a light sensor. The gator turned out to be the Rebel gator and bravely fought against several Imperial troops and Lord Vader himself.

P.S. I was also busy putting together a 72-hour emergency food supply as part of my Challenge on M got totally into this (he loves anything that has to do with stockpiling for difficult times ahead) and built this "emergency surprise tower" of food. Notice, he remembered the tea tin (so you can make tea, Mama), fruits (so that we can make fresh juice) and a kitchen timer (so we know what time it is).

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like a lovely Christmas. Your thrift shop sounds lovely, and how nice that you could get these kits for M through a grant program. I am sure he will enjoy them even more when he is a bit older.