I believe I have received the highest compliment of my entire baking career.

From my daughter.

After she tasted a new recipe I made (comprised of butter, brown sugar, milk chocolate and almonds – what’s not to like?!?).

“Wow, Mom!  This is really good!!  It tastes just like store-bought.  Not homemade at all!!!”

Which leaves me to wonder what kind of crappy crap I’ve been making over the years?  Or at least this most recent holiday season??!

The morning after the first holiday party of the season

Did I mention I’m new to my neighborhood?  Well – I am.  And I’ve now learned that there’s an annual tradition in the ‘hood wherein the ladies get together for a holiday bash.  Based on last name, you’re supposed to bring an appetizer, a bottle of wine or dessert.  Lots of desserts and wine…but the apps were of the slim-to-none-and-slim-left-town variety.

So the email exchange this a.m. with some of my ‘hood peeps recapping the party went a little something like this:

ME:  Holy S*^#!  My wagon is draggin’ today!!  I think someone slipped me a mickey last night.  It may have been the werewolf boy who showed up at the end.  Did anyone else see him?!?  Ugh.  I can’t even imagine how you poor saps-who-work are dealing.  Unless of course you’re feeling fine because you didn’t drink too much wine and/or had more than a fancy snowflake sugar cookie and some cashews to eat!!!

REPLY FROM 1ST NEIGHBOR:  I overdosed on the pistachio brittle and malbec

REPLY FROM 2ND NEIGHBOR:  OMG!!! I am dying, trying to figure out my early exit strategy from work. Not good!!

REPLY FROM 3RD NEIGHBOR:  Thank goodness my boss is gone today…and hopefully he doesn’t have a nanny cam hidden in the office! The one saving grace is that when I got home I had a bowl of mashed potatoes. I WILL be leaving early today.

REPLY FROM 4TH NEIGHBOR:  oh girls…you should have left when 5TH Neighbor and I did!  I had a tidge of a headache when I woke up (and went and worked out at a 6:30 boot camp) but took 3 Advil and am fine.  It would have been helpful to have SOME FOOD!!!  I didn’t even see any appetizers…were they there and I didn’t see them????  did you girls go out afterwards???

And yes, after dropping me off at my house at 11 p.m. some morons went out afterwards.  They are the ones currently planning their early-exit strategy from work.

At some point don’t you get too old for this foolishness?!  Next year A-W should bring appetizers and leave the wine and desserts to X, Y and Z!!!

A Visit from St. Nicholas

This is the “Preparing for St. Nicholas’ Visit” play that’s going on in my kitchen right now….

(FYI – for those who don’t know, St. Nicholas Day Eve is like the poor man’s version of Santa Claus wherein you leave out your shoe the night of December 5th and St. Nicholas comes and fills it with candy & treats.)

Sonny – Guys!  It’s time to put out our shoes!!

Husband – (from the bowels of the house somewhere) No!  That’s not our tradition.  St. Nicholas isn’t gonna come and put candy in your shoes.

Sonny – I’m gonna give it a try and I’m gonna use Daddy’s shoe.

Sissy – Wait!  I’m gonna use Daddy’s shoe too.

Sonny – No, I already called Daddy’s shoe.  You can use Mommy’s shoe.

Sissy – No!  It’s big, but not as big as Daddy’s.  That’s not fair if you get more candy in your shoe than I get in mine.

Husband – (from the bowels of the house somewhere) Guys!  We don’t celebrate St. Nicholas day!!!  It’s not our tradition!!  He’s not gonna come!!!!

Wife (me!) – ok, well it’s worth a try I suppose.  But don’t say you weren’t warned.  And you’ll use your own shoes.

-End Scene-

And shhhhh…St. Nicholas will be coming tonight.  My son’s been going on and on about this whole thing for a week or more so St. Nicholas is prepared to bring his A Game tonight.  But he won’t be putting anything in Daddy’s shoe.  Doubters aren’t welcome here.  Plus it’s too big and it would use up all the candy St. Nick has.

Christmas Pet Peeve

Pet peeve of the season?

Annoying “My Christmas Valentine” type songs complete with jazz flute and snare drum accompaniment.

I can’t stress enough that these songs are NOT classics.  Never will be classics.  No one actually knows the words and these songs only serve to annoy.

Song by Rose Bonanza?  No.  Absolutely not.  Knock it off already.

And “Santa Claus Got Stuck In My Chimney”?!  At least it’s sung by Ella Fitzgerald, but the humming, doo-doo’ing men in the background make the whole thing sound vaguely (inappropriately) sexual.  [Daddy made a brand new chimney; Please come back this year.  UGH!]

So stop.  Just stop.

Cleaning House

Whaaaa happened?!

Why haven’t I posted since last Wednesday??

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat….and I’ve got a TON of stuff to do.  Turns out it’s more stressful to make gifts than it is to buy them.

It’s also more stressful to clean your own house than it is to pay someone to do it for you.  I’m not two women (wearing khakis and polos) whose life work it is to clean houses.  So I CAN’T clean the whole house in a little over two hours – and I’m done trying.

I’m just one woman with a master’s degree whose job was taken and who hasn’t cleaned her own house in 10 years.   But I’m smart enough to know when I’ve been beat.  By my own system.  The get ‘er done in a day method isn’t working.

So I’m now gonna try my friend’s do-one-housecleaning-chore-a-day.  In fact, when I posted a previous blog about the two methods of cleaning house (1. my way or 2. the highway), my friend L.C. called me to complain.  She swears by her tried-and-true housecleaning method of doing one thing a day (but not on Sundays!  Score!!).  And she was incensed (is incensed too strong a word to use here?  Nah!) that I would lobby for the get-‘er-done-like-two-cleaning-ladies-in-two-hours methodology.

During said conversation, I explained that I do “interim cleaning” (it’s not like I let the house fall into complete ruin in between the every-two-week-visits the cleaning ladies would make) [side note: I was gonna refer to the visits as “bi-weekly” but all of a sudden I couldn’t remember if that meant twice a week or every other week.  Oy.  Where’s your English Major mom when you need her?!].  Regardless, L.C. lobbied strongly for her methodology.

So I’m gonna give it a try.  But I did invite her to come and stay with me for a week so I could apprentice to her to see how this whole thing should flow.  I haven’t heard back so I’m flying solo here.

Housecleaning Sensei – where are you when I need you?!?