Things that start with “C”

That could have been last night’s theme, I think. Cookies and Cleaning. And folding fabric, but that counts as cleaning I think.  When I got home from work, I preheated the oven and started cleaning the spare bedroom. I multi-tasked and had the room halfway clean and the first batch of cookies (the Super Sized Ginger Chewies that everyone loves, recipe in the sidebar) baked by dinnertime ( made dinner).

After dinner, I worked on the second batch of cookies (Lemon Ginger Sandwich Cookies), and was quite frustrated. Not only could I not find the right shapes/sizes of cookie cutters (my good stash is somewhere in storage, and I haven’t seen them in probably 2 years, and if it could be done in less than half an hour, I’d attempt to find them in storage, but no luck), but I had great difficulty with the dough. It kept falling apart while I was rolling it out, and the tips of the stars kept breaking off. The dough itself is quite delicious, and I think that my problem was not grinding the toasted almonds fine enough. The frosting, however, I’m not a huge fan of – it’s too lemony for my tastes, but oh well. We’ll see how ‘s family likes them.

And while I already had the counter top floured and messy from making roll-and-cut cookies, I figured it wouldn’t be that much extra work to roll out the sugar cookie dough that I’d thawed in the fridge, and make snowmen. Yesterday it popped into my head (perhaps the internet had something to do with it, but I can’t remember what specifically) that I could make snowmen cookies and decorate them with royal icing and that I have glitter that looks like snow. Well, that proved to be too hard to resist. Unfortunately, I ran out of powdered sugar, so the undressed cookies are in a bag, waiting for decorations. Maybe Thursday night? It depends on how long everyone stays at our house, and how much clean up there is, and how much my back hurts.

Then I retreated to the spare bedroom and folded fabric for a billion hours, until I was so sore that I had to stop (sitting on the floor with bent knees, bending over to fold fabric is not a position that is comfortable unless you’re 7 years old). Then I finished cleaning up the room. I even put the cover on my sewing machine, since I’m pretty sure we’ll have company over before I get to use it again (unless we get home really early from Christmas Eve dinner tonight, which I find unlikely). I also wrapped ‘s gifts while he was out buying the last Christmas present we needed (for his brother).

Today I drove into work, since there is limited bus service and I have to leave at 1 (which even if the buses were running on a normal schedule, I couldn’t do), and the commute was fabulous. I’d drive to work every day if it only took 20 minutes and I didn’t have to pay $6 to park for half a day (no such luck on that latter part today). I’ve been remarkably productive so far, and Friday should be the same way.

Christmas Eve dinner is at 3, which is, coincidentally, the same time we’re planning on eating on Christmas day. I think we have everything taken care of for Christmas dinner and the accompanying family. The only detail I can think of that needs to be worked out is that the ants have come back – not in our kitchen, thankfully, but they like to hang out by the sliding glass door underneath the potted plants, which is, coincidentally right where our dining table will be when it’s expanded to seat 5. I killed a whole bunch this morning, but I’m not sure how long that will last. They seem to come back quickly, especially when it’s cold out.

There are two crafts I didn’t even come close to finishing (didn’t even start, with the exception of purchasing some fabric that would work) this year that I wish I had – I wanted a table runner, and a Christmas apron. Oh well, there’s always next year, right?

is at home today, boiling eggs (he’s making deviled eggs for tomorrow’s appetizer assortment) and wrapping my gifts. He’s under strict instructions not to go snooping around in the spare bedroom, because last night I filled his stocking and stashed it in plain sight in there. I was tired of all that little stuff  making my t-shirt drawer messy.

I totally floored my co-worker by giving him a gift this year – we don’t do gifts as a general rule. We did do a small $5 Secret Santa exchange with about 6 of us, and some people do cards. gives each of her staff these amazing gift baskets each year – this year it was fruit, which has enjoyed a lot. Support staff occasionally get quite a few cards and gifts (though not this year, Scrooginess abounds apparently), so I “give back” by making cookies for the office. I didn’t do that this year (yet), though I may get around to doing chocolate-dipped pretzels and bringing those in (bought all the stuff, just haven’t had the time). Anyway, my co-worker is always complaining about how he never cooks at home, even though he used to, because his kitchen isn’t set up well (he rents) and because he doesn’t like having to buy large quantities of foods that he’ll never finish. I knew exactly what he needed – the Starving Student’s Cookbook. It’s way more basic than he needs, since he professes he can cook, but what I like about it (I have the vegetarian edition, which is excellent) is that all of the recipes serve 1-2 and use small quantities of food that can be readily purchased in that size (a lot of canned stuff, really). So, I bought it for him and would have given it to him whenever, but Christmas gave me a good opportunity. He was quite thankful, and shocked. Also, he complained to another co-worker that I was being mean to him (by giving him an unexpected gift), and she said, “I don’t believe you.” Yes, in the PR battle, I have won, and everyone thinks I’m nice. Ha. It’s quite amusing.

I’ll leave you with this Christmasy photo that I took when we were in Grand Rapids in October at the Frederik Meijer Gardens.

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Frederik Meijer Gardens