Countdown to Christmas
Saturday, December 01, 2018
Another month is here and since I’m usually rather fixated on starting things on the first day of the month (or Sunday...or on an easily marked time stamp...etc.) I’m ready to “try again” to get my act together and try to recreate the astounding successes I achieved at the beginning of the year.
Despite the less than successful attempts at making healthier choices last month, I only gained one more pound. I admit I’m kinda surprised by this...not that I’m complaining!
Contrary to my usual habits, I’ve been craving sweet lately. So, I try to ration my lollipops (I have a bit of a weakness for Dum-Dums) and drink water with Berry Pomegranate Water Enhancer (with the occasional Coke Zero added in...though a small bottle usually lasts for the week and is mostly flat by the time I finish it). I’m not really fond of food and drink containing aspartame, but as long as I stear clear of ascufame-potassium I can avoid the nasty headaches (again, as long as I don’t get carried away and start increasing my consumption).
And this flows neatly into yet another dilemma that I’m facing...
We’re counting down the days ‘til Christmas and within those days is Christmas Baking.
Today I attempted to recreate a Family Favourite that my mom used to make every Christmas for as long as I can remember right up to a couple years before her death. I’ll admit that I didn’t particularly care for them when I was a kid, but pretty much everyone else in our family LOVES Mom’s Butter Tarts. I’m hoping that the six years since we last had them will somewhat dull people’s memories of how Mom’s tarts tasted so that mine aren’t too big of a disappointment. Hubby says they taste fine...but during the baking process I discovered what my new smoke detector sounds like (it beeps then a woman’s voice says “Fire! Fume!” repeatedly...yes, my smoke detector is bilingual) so I’ll have to redo the first few batches (but at least now I have a pretty good idea as to the length of time...which really ISN’T 15 minutes at 450F!).
I also had my last couple dental appointments for the year last week. I start up again in January. During my last appointment I kinda accidentally bit the dentist. Oops. In my defense I’d only intended to stretch my jaw a little after he removed the bite block...I didn’t expect him to stick his fingers in again so quickly. Anyhoo...I think we’re finally done with the right side, so next year we can finish up with the left and move on with life (and hopefully not need more dental work again for a while!).
My next focus will be my eyes and maybe getting new glasses. I can get by for a while longer as long as I don’t need to do what I call “fussy work” that requires fine details. Since I have no intention of starting an embroidery project any time soon (my hoops are packed away right now), I think I’m fairly safe.
I didn’t bother going shopping with hubby for groceries today and from what he told me I’m glad I chose to stay home. It’s like the calendar flipped over and people are losing their minds trying to get ready for Christmas! Oh my gosh! There’s only 25 more days! Aarrgghh! (If you detected a fair amount of sarcasm, it was intentional.) My mom used to start her Christmas Shopping in January. By May she had everyone’s main gifts purchased and wrapped and put away until Christmas. The rest of the year she’d get little things for “Stocking Stuffers”. (My mom had a notebook that she kept with the gift tags where she would write down what she got for everyone...I still have that notebook which lists the gifts dating back to the 1980s.)
My favourite part of the season...besides being with all of my family from uncles and aunts to cousins and their families...had always been finding the “perfect” presents for everyone (even if it was something as simple as a special candy that my brother wouldn’t normally buy for himself but he absolutely adored or a bag of Blue Whales candies for my sister-in-law). Growing up, I was more interested in watching everyone else opening their presents than opening my own. I loved seeing their eyes widen and that smile of delight to spread across their faces. It was the best feeling ever.
Nowadays, most of the family can’t be bothered to show up. For the most part, hubby and I spend Christmas Eve with my brother and his wife (occasionally their daughter might show up and even more rare my great-niece will be there). Christmas Day is spent with hubby’s mom and brother. And that’s it. Aunts and uncles, cousins and their families...my sister and her family (all grown up with children of their own)...they’re all too busy with their extended families to bother coming here. (And only one uncle bothers to send a Christmas card.) It’s a little sad, actually. But I suppose it’s to be expected. Family Traditions aren’t as popular as they used to be (unfortunately when the younger generations in my family are old enough to maybe show interest there will be nobody left to teach them). On the other hand, it’s a prime opportunity to create our own “traditions”, which could be just as fun.
This year I think I’ll be skipping the usual frantic baking spree that’s usual at this time of year. I’ll make some more Butter Tarts and hubby might make some Rosettes, but I think that’ll be it for this year. The baking supplies are super expensive. Hubby brought me three pounds of butter...and it cost $10! And they were on sale! Wow! (He said regular price was $4.98/lb.) Unbelievable. I ended up joking that maybe we should buy a dairy cow and invest in a butter churn.
A question that has been floating around in my head all day...how much butter, exactly, is “about the size of an egg”? I guessed and measured it as approximately 1/4 Cup. It’s about as good as my grandma’s directions of holding out her cupped hand and saying “about this much” when asked how much sugar to add to Beet Pickles.