Thursday, December 15, 2011

learning to give

It's a busy time for our almost 6 year old. There are parties and concerts and cookies and visits to a jolly elf. Today was a chock a block day for our boy. We had notices home yesterday about all the goings on and what would be required so we sent our lad off today with money in hand, dressed in pajamas, clutching a carry bag and his hot chocolate mug. For today was Santa's workshop at his school. I didn't really understand the concept until today - a few weeks ago we were asked to donate things that could be used as gifts, with the proviso that you wouldn't mind getting it back yourself as a gift. And if you had extra, please to donate wrapping paper, tape, ribbon, etc. It is a fundraiser for the school's sister school, for books and teachers, etc. The children go to Santa's workshop, where items are laid out in tables - gifts for Mom, gifts for Dad and gifts for brothers and sisters, old and young. The children each buy an item for mom and dad and any siblings for the price of $2 per item. The process starts with the K classes and they are helped with the wrapping of the gifts by their school buddies (Grade 6/7 students who are with them all year for concerts and special events). Afterwards they got to exchange handmade cards with their buddies and have hot chocolate and treats with them (hence the need for the mug). The pajamas were just as it was deemed to be Pajama Day at school.

After swimming, we picked up our boy and his presents for us, all wrapped.

My man's was a huge bag and barely 15 seconds after our boy was with his Dad he told him, "I got you a pirate ship". Getting into the car, holding a birdhouse shaped package, our boy told me "I got you a house for small animals, Mummy." Once we arrived home, our boy wanted us to open our gifts. We tried to talk him out of it, to save them for Christmas but it was fruitless. So my husband went first. Based on the size of the bag and the "pirate ship" description we both thought it was going to be some kind of toy pirate ship. But it wasn't. It was a model of the HMS Endeavour, complete with stand, rigging, anchor, etc. Wow.

My present, not surprisingly, is a birdhouse. Rustic but perfect for our garden.

He did well, our boy. And he loved choosing gifts for us and having us open them. Now, if we can just get him to wait until Christmas.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

a bit sticky

Have you seen the cover of the December issue of Bon Appetit? I have that cookie fest issue and after having baked a few dozen of our favourite cookies the other day, I was left with 4 medium egg whites. And a requirement to bake gluten-free (preferably) cookies for a Kindergarden Christmas party. So I thought I would whip up some of these peppermint meringues.

The mixing was easy. It was the piping that was my downfall. I even bought a piping bag and tip so it would be easier. I should have stayed with the Ziploc bag method. But I did learn a few things in this experiment. I learned that I need a BIG piping bag, not the tiny one I was trying to work with. And meringue in its uncooked state is sticky.

the first ones worked well

the second sheet was a bit messy and I had bits all over the place
I could say I was distracted by the construction of a warship and helicopter nearby but that isn't really the case.

But all is not for naught. I did end up with 3 trays of blobbish pink meringue dots. The early ones (when the piping bag thing was going well) are stripey.

The end ones are uniformly pink and may have to be drizzled with chocolate to tone down the Barbie effect.

It remains to be seen how well Kindergardeners like them. And how well meringue washes out of wool sweaters. (note - Kindergardeners loved these cookies. )

Sunday, December 4, 2011

'tis the season

The boy bounced out of bed this morning and wanted immediately to put up his "transformer" tree. So once I had opened my eyes and become vertical, I made my way to the (very cold) garage and rummaged around on the top shelf until I found said tree. Into the house it came and the boy did a Tigger bouncing impression until I untied the string and shook out the branches. So far, it is devoid of decorations except for a large, red, felt star atop it as I haven't found the rest of the tree decorations. I did find wreaths and stockings and door hangers - all of which are now dotted around the house. And the two advent calenders are up and the new one is a big hit, containing as it does, small pockets for daily treats.

At 10 AM, the boy bounced again, this time to announce it was time to go and see Santa. So we got dressed and organized and off we went to my work Kid's Christmas party. As our boy's been going since he was a baby, he knows the drill. His shoes were off almost before he made it into the party room and he was inside the bouncy castle. Once he'd bounced around there for a bit, it was time to zoom off to decorate his gingerbread man. I managed to get him in the face painting line where he was adorned with a truck and a tree prior to his eating his gingerbread. And then it was back to the bouncy castle. Occasionally he would run back to me and have a sip of apple juice or a nibble but then would race off again. Then it was time for Santa - the kids all lined up and sang Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and in came Santa. Our boy was terribly excited and waited fairly patiently for his turn with his list and Santa's gift in hand. He told me a couple of days ago that he wanted to bring Santa a present and he decided that Santa's present was 4 chocolate chip cookies ( bar cookies I made the other night from here). Santa received the cookies with delight - saying chocolate chip are his favorite - and our boy and Santa had a chat about listening to mummy and daddy and having a good Christmas and then it was present time. Our boy was the lucky recipient of a Bumblebee transformer and he and a new pal spent quite a bit of time playing with both the car versions and the robot versions before it was time to come home.

So I guess it is time for me to kick start myself into the season. Cookie baking, present wrapping, cards and parties. I do love it all, I just have to pace myself. And on that note, to all a good night!