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Christmastime Was Here…

December 28, 2008

before-the-carnage

It’s been too long since I’ve updated the blog, but my excuse is this: December is a nutty month in the Doolittle household, and once I crossed over into official “vacation time,” I’ve not had the umption to do much at my computer other than play Word Twist with some friends on Facebook. So, this post will be a somewhat unorganized summary of what has transpired in and around our house for the past couple weeks.

The Little Guy Turns 10

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First of all, December 15th was Aaron’s 10th birthday. I managed at least to post a photo of him blowing out some birthday candles a couple weeks ago, but there was more to the event than just a birthday cake. In fact, a cake was probably the least important part of his festivities. Which is why I have not attempted to make a homemade birthday cake for either boy for a year or two. Because they don’t like cake all that much. And neither do their friends. And there is not much that is more depressing than taking time to make a fabulous from-scratch cake, only to have the kids and their friends leave barely-touched pieces on their plates because “I don’t like icing” or “I don’t like cake” or “I don’t like chocolate” or “where is the pizza?” or “when can we go to XYZ event that you promised?”  So… I bought a cake at Wal Mart. I stuck the candles in myself. Aaron blew them out, and then refused to eat any cake. And so it goes.

The main event of Aaron’s birthday was an excursion with three of his friends to Champs roller skating rink. Some of us who grew up in the 70s may be surprised to see how popular roller skating still is today! Champs is quite the hoppin’ place. Noisy and a little bit dark, and very crowded on a Friday night. Sort of like a bowling alley — only it doesn’t smell nearly as bad and there aren’t a lot of weird old men hanging around.

The boys all had a fabulous time, and begged to stay longer, and swore that all their future birthdays would be held at Champs. Brent immediately started to create a schedule that involves going to Champs every Friday night from now until he moves away from home. (I suppose that as long as we are paying his admission and skate rental fees, his plan will work perfectly.)

Sweet Sixteen

Continuing with the theme of December being the crazy month in our family… just a few days after Aaron’s birthday, Glenn and I celebrated our wedding anniversary. December 19th marked 16 years of marital bliss! Hooray 🙂  Our normal course of action is to start our Christmas vacation on that day… the kids are usually still in school, and Glenn and I will generally spend the day together eating breakfast out, running around doing Christmas shopping all day, and then heading out that evening for a nice dinner at one of our favorite restaurants.  Unfortunately, none of that happened this year. Glenn actually had to work all day, which cut into our fun time. We decided to let the boys spend the evening at Champs again, but in doing so we effectively eliminated any chance of eating dinner out anyplace fancy, because of the timing of when the skate session begins. So we had our anniversary dinner at Chilis with both boys accompanying us, then dropped them at Champs while we did a little shopping. We had fun, and the boys had fun, but I’m still hoping Glenn and I can get out for a nice “fancy” dinner at Malone’s sometime soon.

Tossing My Cookies

The day after our anniversary was Saturday. The first real day of Christmas Break for everyone. I had planned ahead of time to get started making Christmas cookies, and so I spent a chunk of that afternoon mixing cookie dough. I made several batches of dough, four different kinds in all. And I wrapped it up to chill so that I could spend Sunday afternoon just baking the cookies. What fun! A creative and rewarding holiday adventure! Everyone loves cookies!

cookiesBut no… oh, no… this year’s Christmas cookie baking was an adventure in disappointment. The regular sugar cookies turned out OK as far as the cutting and baking went, but the icing that I chose to make this year was not the consistency that I liked. In the end I had nice sugar cookies that were ruined by bad frosting. The boys had some fun decorating them, but they even complained that it was more difficult to get the sprinkles and such to adhere to the lame frosting. Strike one against me. My chances of being voted Cookie Mom of 2008 were rapidly diminishing.

My next attempt to make chocolate peppermint star cookies (highly anticipated after I discovered the recipe last year) were abandoned when they started to break apart coming off the cookie sheets. I had forgotten how delicate they can be, and my stress level was too high to be messing with delicate cookies that day. I ended up with a few chocolate stars intact, many that were broken, and a bunch of dough that never even made it to the baking stage. The peppermint portion of the recipe was never attempted. Strike two. I wonder who the Cookie Mom of 2008 will be? Because it really won’t be me.

Since childhood I have adored a certain cookie that my Mom always made at Christmastime. I believe the official name is “Petite Pocketbooks” but we always just called them Envelope Cookies.  They are a cream cheese dough, cut in squares and then sealed up around a small dollop of apricot preserves. My favorite, favorite, favorites. And I’ve made them at least once or twice in the past with reasonable success. But this year? Years from now I will look back and remember The Great Cookie Failure of 2008. Because I rolled out and cut my first batch of dough, doled out the preserves, and sealed up the little envelopes (tightly, as you must) thinking “well, at least I can make some of my very favorite cookies to make up for the other bad ones…”  then I put the first pan of cookies in the oven, and checked them a few minutes later to see that every single envelope had opened up once they started baking. Not a single envelope remained intact. Apricot preserves were preparing to run with carefree abandon all over the cookie sheet. STRIKE THREE. Congratulations Mrs. Doolittle, you are OUT. Get out of the kitchen now. Go lie down.

So, I turned off the oven. Stifling tears, I announced that I was done making cookies this year. The end.

Later, in a quiet ceremony over the garbage can, I said a final goodbye to my exploded envelope cookies.

I don’t want to talk about cookies anymore.

Christmas!

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Hey, hey!  It’s Christmastime! Christmastime still comes, even if you can’t bake cookies. We had a nice one. Brent tried to get us out of bed way, way too early, but we resisted until a time that we felt was reasonable.

brody-happyBrody got a candy-cane shaped rawhide to work on while we opened presents. He chewed on it happily until we decided to take it away for a while in case he made himself sick. brody-sadAfter that, he tried to occupy himself in other ways that got him into trouble (eating wrapping paper, rooting around in all the gifts, etc), so we had to tie him up for a while. [Click either thumbnail for a better view of the ups and downs of Brody’s Christmas.]

helicopters1The boys got plenty of nice gifts, but probably the favorite of the day were the remote control helicopter toys that we found for them at Toys R Us. These are the kind that are tethered to a focal point, so they can’t fly willy-nilly through the house. They sat and flew their helicopters much of that afternoon. I think we will need new batteries soon!

Now that Christmas is past and New Year’s is almost upon us, I am enjoying the last few days of vacation from work. This week promises to be relaxing.

Perhaps I’ll start practicing my cookie baking skills now. You know, to be prepared for next year. 🙂

Happy New Year!

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4 comments

  1. wouldn’t this be the cookies of 2008?


  2. Ha! You are right… I thought I had caught that when I as proofing this but I didn’t. I have to go change it now 🙂


  3. I’m sorry for your cookie . . uh. . .loss. I actually made some that were awful, too!


  4. But what a beautiful tree! And the boys look as though they’re totally satisfied with their Christmas. As for those envelope cookies, I think that Grandma had a secret method to keep them sealed: mine usually open too. Who needs cookies anyway?



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