Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas craziness

It's been a bit crazy around here this week and I am so very glad that today is Friday...and the last day of school before Christmas break. The assignments and tests are coming in fast and furious, so I have lots of marking to do and haven't had a moment's peace at work. It's been the same at home.


Our tree is up and decorated, but there are very few presents underneath since I just haven't had a chance to wrap them.



See that yellow and black box next to the tree? Funny story about that...it's a tool box, a gift for Mr. P. I went out shopping Tuesday after work to look for this. I found exactly what I wanted for a good price, wrestled it into the shopping cart and took it to the till. The cashier asked me if I wanted some help loading it and, after a bit of humming and hawing, I agreed. Well...I drive a car. A small car. The Home Depot employee and I tried every which way to get this box into my car - Trunk? Too small. Back seat? Front seat would go far enough ahead. Front seat? Sure, but I drive a standard and the gear shift was blocked by the box.

In the end, I had to phone Mr. P and get him to rescue me (and his present) with the truck. So much for Christmas surprises! He's promised not to look at the picture on the box until Christmas day haha.

Here's a new addition to our Christmas ornament collection, bought while the OnlyChild and I were in San Antonio last summer:


I picked up a little treat for myself a few weeks ago - a Rupert the Bear advent calendar! It reminds me of Christmases past, when I was a little girl in England. I've enjoyed opening up the little doors to find the sticker each day.


Today, I'm having a little party for my students. My group wanted to do a Secret Santa gift exchange so I said I'd bring the treats. I made sugar cookies with glossy, blue icing:


And some fancy cupcakes:


Oh, that "cracked ice" on top was such a headache. It's easy when you know how, I guess, but it took me FOUR batches to get it right.


The first two batches wouldn't set because I didn't cook it long enough. What do I know? I've never made it before. The recipe is from Martha Stewart Living magazine and can be found here; it's actually a Halloween recipe, but I thought the "broken glass" would work as ice too. The instructions were so vague that I was pretty near ripping out my hair. When I went to bed at 11:15 last night, I had two pans of the sugar/water mixture sitting on the counter and I just knew neither was going to harden.


I couldn't stop thinking about it and I woke up at 2:15 this morning still thinking about it and wondering if I should google the recipe to see what others had to say.
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By 3:30, I still wasn't asleep so I got up and did just that. I found out that this stuff has to cook like caramel - so for 20-30 minutes. I tried batch #3 but cooked it too long and it turned yellow.

With the last cup of sugar in the house (including that pilfered from the sugar bowl), I embarked on my last chance...and finally, it worked!


Cracked ice!


I hope my students appreciate this!
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I am going to be one tired, sorry little creature by the end of the day. I will bring home my humongous bag of marking, take it straight upstairs, and bury it somewhere out of sight. It will not be uncovered until after the OnlyChild and I return from Paris. I have decided to actually enjoy the holidays and not worry about work! Yes, I'm giving myself permission to power down and cut back on the craziness.
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Well, I mean after I make Thimbleanna's Cranberry Christmas Pudding tonight.

5 comments:

PunkiePie (Jen) said...

Your cookies and cupcakes look great! Your students BETTER appreciate the effort! Merry Christmas to you and your family and have a fantastic time in Paris!

GARAGE SALE GAL ~ Deb's Earthly Delights said...

MERRY CHRISTMAS, Rachel!!!
Thank you for the Christmas card :)
Have a WONDERFUL time in Paris!!!I'll be looking forward to seeing it thru YOU!
The cookies and cupcakes are making me hungry!
Warmly,
deb

Pat said...

The cupcakes look great BUT you've taught enough years to know that if you are lucky, maybe 5% of the students will notice and/or comment on the cracked ice!!! When do you leave for Paris? Funny story about the toolbox, too!

Lynne said...

The edible goodies look fantastic! You are very persistent, aren't you?
Have a wonderful Christmas and a great time in Paris and you're right, forget about work!

andsewon said...

Wishing you and your little family a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year!Lovely baked goods! I know you are so excited for Paris! Have fun for me too!!
Hugs,
Lola