Jaded Optimist

Mothering, making, and generally blathering on

Christmas…here and Gone December 29, 2010

Filed under: Baking,Family,Kids,Personal — bonniep @ 9:56 pm

Wow, that was fast. I felt like we were constantly busy and yet after Christmas was over I thought of about a hundred things we didn’t do this season (cards still not made, much less sent; the girls didn’t complete any homemade gifts for relatives; no Garden d’Light; didn’t actually make cookies for Santa; completed just one felt tree of the planned six [worse still, this is a craft holdover that was uncompleted last Christmas!]). Sigh. As G points out, the girls do not seem disappointed. Sadly, of the things we did do/make/etc. I have little photo documentation. Perhaps some more photos will appear one day if I manage to snap the tree before it keels over.

A few things we did but lack photos of include:

1. Visiting Santa. A certain little M wouldn’t sit in his lap, or even approach anywhere near him, crying or not. So I am in the pictures. This has destroyed the photo such that photographer actually included a free photo in our packet of just C with Santa! Trying not to take it too hard. In any case, not sharing photos here!

2. Decorating two trees. “Tree the lesser” as seen in an earlier post was our handmade tree, although enthusiasm for that didn’t hold steady (paper chains take a lot longer to make than expected). G and C purchased a bigger, fuller tree during a rainstorm and that was our “main” tree.

3. One strand of outdoor lights. The neighborhood is a bit light crazy (I suggested we just put up some outdoor mirrors, but G vetoed that suggestion) and this was our token nod. And the main tree was in the front window.

4. Annual Nutcracker attendance. M and I sat this one out. But we did meet up with G, C, and the grandparents for dinner and then Bellevue’s Snowflake Lane.

5. Annual viewing of the Grinch.

6. Friends over for dinner on Christmas Eve. I made chickpea sensation patties with vegan gravy (outstanding), root vegetable au gratin (foiled a bit by some tough celery root), beet and blue cheese salad, baked macaroni and cheese, and decadent chocolate mousse. The latter was so easy and so good. I always try to hit dessert out of the park (and make it first) in case the rest of dinner is terrible. I was surprised to be talking to a friend recently and hear that she doesn’t make new recipes for guests. I almost always do. Dinner can be a bit of a risk at my house I guess. But I will feed you mousse!

7. Went to the pottery studio to paint a mug (C) and plate (me and M) for Santa cookies’ and milk. Although then we ran out of time to make cookies—Santa had mousse and reportedly was quite pleased with the changeup.

I did take some photos though. The grandparents were in town for a week, ending late on 12/22, which meant lots of time with the kids (C was on winter break for some of that time). Sadly, I lack photos of the train that Grandpa and C set up under the main tree, and especially the four or so large cardboard accoutrements they designed and implemented, including a painted mountain with train tunnel. Grandpa and C also steered the decorating of the (purchased from a local bakery) gingerbread house. A good way to use up halloween candy!


I think maybe they lost steam after that first side. You can’t quite make out the awesome lifesaver and toothpick people standing in front, but rest assured they were very cool.

Grandma and Grandpa were also roped into reading lots of books and babysitting so I could run outside and do a two hour new patient dentist visit. No cavities!

I did do one photoshoot of the two generations, but there were few where everyone is looking the same direction with eyes open. This is more typical:


My girls are always good for funny faces (C in the first, M in the second):


And see how they all love Grandpa (let him know, ‘cause he didn’t see it!):


Grandma and Grandpa were witness to a bit of a baking frenzy on my part. I had been warned that everyone in the neighborhood (17 houses) exchanges gifts at the holidays. I, of course, baked. But it turned out that gifts ran the gamut, and a purchased bag of Lindor truffles is also acceptable. That might save me a day (or three) next year. Not likely though, especially if Martha Stewart comes out with another holiday cookie issue. Mmm. I did discover that 16 plates require a lot of cookies though…even double batches of all cookies left them a bit sparse.


Springy, fluffy marshmallows (easy, and folks are always surprised by the idea of homemade marshmallows), Sparkling Ginger Chocolate cookies (a last minute decision, and somewhat of a disappointment—too crunchy with all that sugar), Honey Cardamom snowflakes (awesome tasting, although my decorating was hurried, and the edible glitter stars didn’t work out so great), white and chocolate mice (these were more about looks than taste, that thick of a cookie is somewhat hard to take, but I thought they looked good!), and saffron macarons with chocolate ganache filling (recipe slightly different looking in the magazine as opposed to online. And my almond meal had skins. Hence the speckles. But these were different and tasty).


I will definitely make macarons again.


(Posting before this thing stretches into a thesis length tome.)


One Response to “Christmas…here and Gone”

  1. […] and need to nail down a plan for the annual baking plate to be shared with the neighbors. 2010 is here, 2011 is here, and 2012 wasn’t blogged last year but I still managed to get it out despite being […]

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