After much discussion and debate, Shrike and I decided that, at least for this year, the best compromise between our two ideas of the “right” way to schedule gift opening was for Peeper to open her gifts from us this afternoon (minus a couple that we think are still hiding under the tree), and we will wait on ours until tomorrow.
Gifts still under the tree for everyone but Peeper, plus her already-opened gifts (plus a booty-load of hand-me-down Polly Pockets that her cousin gave her this evening).
(And our sad, sad, dried-out tree.)
MOMS Club when caroling at a local retirement community today, but I didn’t think Peeper and I ought to go because we’ve been sick, so I switched out her advent note to a re-run of “Read Christmas Books” because that sounded low-impact.
Oh no. She was not okay with that at all. She freaked out about not being able to go caroling. Actually, she’s feeling better, and slept normally last night, which means that she’s not coughing or particularly congested, so I suppose she’s probably not so contagious, after all.
I, on the other hand, feel awful. I am congested as hell, have sinus pain all the way down to my teeth and my ears are starting to stop up. Thankfully, Shrike was wonderful enough to offer to go caroling with Peeper instead, which worked out great.
Peeper got to go, Shrike really enjoyed it (it’s the first time she’s gone), and I got to chill out and take a nap. Wonderful!
Our advent drawer said we were going to hand out candy canes today, and by golly, we were going to do it, even if Peeper and I both felt like crap, and we were all cranky as hell.
Shrike had some shopping left to do, so she headed out to do that, while Peeper and I did the cane thing.
Peeper was wearing her “Snow Much Fun” shirt, tinsel hairbands and a Santa hat, and was absolutely adorable, but for some reason, I didn’t get any photos of her. Sorry.
Because I am an idiot, we decided to go to the mall instead of Target, and we handed out a few, then Peeper wanted to see Santa, which involved standing in line for about thirty minutes. We did cane everyone in the line, but mostly, we were standing, and by the time we got to see him, I was beyond done.
We went over to the little pizza place down the hall, and just as I was filling up our drink, who showed up – Mommy!
We ate, and then poked around the kitchen store a bit, where I said, “I want that, and that, and that . . . ” and then we came home.
And that was way more than any of us should have attempted today.
We were supposed to go Christmas caroling at a retirement community tomorrow with MOMS Club, but I’ve already cancelled. Peeper will be disappointed, and so am I, but besides just not being up to it, I’d hate to expose the residents to whatever we’ve got.
Today was the Winter Program at Peeper’s school, which is put on by the Toddler and Children’s House classes. So, of course, it was adorable.
I had planned for Peeper to wear her Pretty Fancy Christmas Dress, but she told me that she didn’t want to, because “it’s too hard to get on and off,” which she later confirmed meant, “It’s too hard to go pee-pee in.”
She’s been having enough trouble with that, as it is, so I agreed to let her wear something else. Besides, she told me, “It’s not a Christmas program, it’s a snow program.” So, she wore her snow shirt.
Peeper and I went to see the Nutcracker this afternoon. We enjoyed it, but there were some odd directorial choices. Primarily the fact that the Nutcracker never transformed into a human prince, which I kind of thought was a major plot point.
Seriously, have you ever seen a performance of Nutcracker in which he stays in Nutcracker form (actual dancing man, but with the giant head Nutcracker mask) for the entire show?
Furthermore, it occurs to me that after Clara whacked the Mouse King (Oh, wait, no, the Rat Queen. WTF?) the Nutcracker stayed down, so it’s not even clear that she’s saved his life. Even his wooden Nutcracker life.
I was waiting to see how they were going to sneak the mask off his head and off stage (I was expecting Drosselmeyer and his cape to be involved, that’s how he got life-sized) then the lights went down and he (the dancer, out of character) hopped up and left the stage.
But Peeper still enjoyed it, which is really all that matters.
I was not thrilled about how far away we had to park, but she didn’t seem to mind. Notice that she’s wearing ballet flats and tights, which are now covered in snow.
Today’s advent activity was to make some non-cookie Christmas treats. And if you know me, you know that means Mrs. Claus’ Nipples!
I went a little nuts in the cane section at Target the other day, so this year, we made four varieties:
Candy Cane Kisses with regular green M&Ms
Regular Hugs with mint (green) and white chocolate peppermint (red) M&Ms
Mint Truffle Kisses with regular red and green M&Ms (that’s a new one)
Caramel Truffle Kisses with honey-roasted peanuts (another new one)
Peeper was actually a really big help this year. She did the majority of the Kiss-peeling, as she called it (four bags, mind you) and some Kiss placing, as well. And quite a bit of Kiss eating, of course.
Shrike helped out, too but I didn’t get any photos of her. By the time she joined us, things were going in the oven, so I was pretty occupied with topping the melted ones while they peeled and placed.
We also tried something new. A while back, I was talking to Peeper about what we’d be making, and maybe I was telling her about the candy cane marshmallow treats that we’ve made the past couple of years, and she started telling me her idea for a treat that we just had to make.
She said we should take a candy cane and dip it in chocolate, then stick on marshmallows. Hmmm. I considered getting some of those tiny marshmallows like the ones that come in cereal, but then I though about marshmallow fluff. I had to convinc Peeper that it would be ok to put the marshmallow on first, but when I explained that it would stick by itself, and didn’t need the chocolate for that, she was okay with it.
When we were shopping, I came across some marshmallow Candy Melts and figured that would have to work better than fluff, and I think it did. For the chocolate, I used melted Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips. I didn’t intend to go that fancy with the chocolate. I would’ve been just fine with Hershey’s but the only other option Target had to offer was Nestle and I won’t buy that, so Ghirardelli it is.
A day or two ago, I came up with the idea of adding sprinkles, and the plan was finalized, other than figuring out how to actually make it all stick together.
Introducing Marshmallow and Chocolate Enrobed Candy Canes.
These were the experimental ones, before I figured out that you have to dip them in marshmallow, then stick them in the freezer for a couple of minutes to solidify before dipping in the chocolate. (Then sprinkle, and back into the freezer.)
These are the final product. I avoided having a flat side where they were laid down by hanging them from a cooking rack placed over the top of a big mixing bowl, while in the freezer. The ends just barely touched the bottom of the bowl.
I was only able to make ten because out of a box of two dozen candy canes, that’s all that weren’t broken! Most had almost invisible cracks right at the hook.
I then took the remaining marshmallow and chocolate, along with the broken candy canes, crushed in the blender, and mixed that all together to make a “bark.” I way over-mixed, so it’s not pretty and swirly with candy canes sitting on top. It’s sort of light brown and gritty with some pieces of candy cane embedded in it. But it’s pretty yummy.
I still have a variety of chips left – milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, peanut butter, maybe something else – and M&Ms and small candy canes, as well as both square and regular pretzels. I think I’ll be dipping (drizzling) some pretzels and will probably make a bark or two, and I’m kind of considering peppermint fudge. We’ll see what I have the oomph to actually accomplish over the next ten days or so.
Today’s advent activity was to read Christmas books, but I totally missed it.
I asked Peeper about it on the way to school (she and Shrike have been opening the drawers before I’m out of bed most mornings) and when she told me what her note said, I told her, “Okay, this afternoon, we can gather up all your Christmas books and read them,” and she said, “I already did.”
Evidently, she’d rounded up the books, including some that were in her room, where I was asleep, and Shrike read them to her, and I slept through the whole thing.
Peeper’s advent activity today was supposed to be “make Christmas ornaments,” but yeah, that didn’t happen.
I worked until two and then she had to be at dance class at 4:30, so there was no ornamenting. I don’t know what I was thinking.
We did sit down and have dinner together (more or less – we were eating different things, but we were in the same place at the same time), so that’s something. Twice, actually, or maybe a late lunch and dinner?
Anyway, no Christmasy activities, no photos, nothing to see here. Please move along.