Can I have an hour of your time?
Because this is really a 2 or 3 part post that I’ve crammed into one giant long post that may have the most words and pictures in my personal blog history. Accept my apology now. This is an important family document that I needed to write.
I’ve been discussing when this crazy baking tradition can stop.
It keeps getting bigger and bigger and I’m down to one kid’s teachers.
I’ve suggested that Scary Baby can take over next year.
She said I wouldn’t let her use the oven.
I said I would absolutely let her use the oven.
I have to say we outdid ourselves this year and you must remember how NOT crafty I am.
That dang over-achieving crafty friend of mine inspired us to embark on a trip to Goodwill.
If I was trying to keep up with her craftiness, we would have been looking for men’s sweaters at Goodwill so I could whip up a skirt for Scary Baby.
Oh wait, I don’t own a sewing machine and am still stressed about that quilted vest from 8th grade Home Ec we had to wear to school so I’m probably not going to make a sweater skirt for anyone.
I know Scary Baby will thank me for this later.
Instead we chose a different crafty project. Scary Baby watched her video from way back in April. We actually practiced before Thanksgiving on our own plates and candlesticks from the dollar store.
Mostly I just want to brag about the cost of our little craft project because I love, love, love bargains.
We were on a search for candlesticks and some pretty plates.
We scored 5 pretty plates for $3.33. That’s .67¢ per plate for you non-math folk.
A coincidence that Scary Baby needed 5 teacher gifts? I think not.
No candlesticks so we headed to Hobby Lobby where I refused to pay retail for candlesticks but found these unpainted wood ones that I thought we could glue together to make them a bit taller.
6 pieces per bag and they were 50% off. Woo-hoo. $2.49 per bag and .50¢ for the round discs which meant $1.33 for each base. (Edit: math correction 2 bags of six at half off makes each piece .21¢ x 2 plus .50¢ disc = .92¢ per base. I know some math wizard will correct me.)
PhilBillPaul said he thought he should drive a screw through the three pieces for more stability.
Sure. That’s what I was thinking too.
And I totally requested that he countersink those screws before he spray painted them silver.
Bought the magical glue with a warning that the fumes can kill us and glued those suckers to the bottom of the plate.
PhilBillPaul got his part done so he wouldn’t be in my way for the cookies, cake, bread, etc.
Chocolate dipped pretzels that Scary Baby needed 30 bags for the holiday party.
Chocolate and maple fudge. I swear packaging takes longer than the making.
Sugared pecans don’t photograph well. Everyone got about 3 pecans because pecans are expensive. I forget to save some for us.
Note to Granny: please send your 3 pecans back to Georgia when your box arrives in Texas.
Then we got into the serious baking…
One of Scary Baby’s jobs was unwrapping the Hershey’s Kisses.
Her other job was food photographer.
I think she did a great job and this pictorial essay will help her next year when she takes over baking all this.
These are our old-time favorites ~ Illinois Soft Sugar Cookies. Scary Baby loved sprinkling the blue sugar on these for the teacher cake plates.
These are a change from an Andes mint cookie I usually make ~ Candy Cane Kiss Cookies. I coarsely chopped the Candy Cane Kisses and spread them over the top after the first dozen with the Kiss in the middle. Not as pretty but we liked them better this way.
These are our newest favorites once we tried them last year ~ Chocolate Turtle Cookies. I mean they are the favorites for those of us who love nuts which means Wizzy and Scary Baby won’t go near them.
Leftover caramel with a little coarse salt is delightful on the top the chocolate cookie base when you run out of Candy Cane Kisses. Yum!
Poppy Seed Bread is a family favorite.
Let’s not talk about why the batter is smeared all over the pan because I forgot to put the 3 eggs in the batter and had to scrape 6 mini loaf pans back into the bowl and re-mix. Or the second batch when I thought the flour scoop was a 1/3 cup measuring cup and it was actually 1/2 cup. (Recipe calls for 3 cups of flour for math folks who want to figure out how much extra flour I put in one batch.) Ahem.
The third batch was perfect.
Mini Maple Cakes were a cute addition but it’s a shame I can’t frost anything worth a darn. It’s all about the taste, right?!
Let’s also not talk about the first batch of frosting that I burned so badly because PhilBillPaul called me from Kroger about what color sugar sprinkles to buy and I lost track of time. My rubber scrapper turned gray and smelled disgusting and I made him throw it away along with the bowl of molten almost black frosting.
I am a baker, hear me roar.
I can’t forget that I also made 4 batches of Cajun Chex Mix.
Everybody needs a little salty with all the sweet.
I also made these super simple Eggnog Muffins.
No one in this house will come near eggnog. I thought they were good.
Couldn’t get these creative Truffle Hot Chocolate Balls out of my head.
I did save these for our family. I rolled half of them in crushed candy canes. Don’t tell Roger Leroy they are in the freezer.
Scary Baby arranged the first plate with me and headed off to bed.
She loved picking out the colors and fun fonts for the tags. Yes, I must label all food because I am a freak about knowing what I’m eating.
We built a kind of tower of food.
In the end, even with the countersinking of the screws, the plates were wobbly so in the eleventh hour we added a small white plate to stabilize them and prayed they would be dry for transport to school in the morning.
Scary Baby was quite proud of our creations and PhilBillPaul helped her get them delivered to all the teachers.
I changed the blue and silver tags to red and green because I found these cute cardboard trays at Hobby Lobby. Again, total bargain for two trays at 50% off of 2.99 making each tray just .75¢!
I made up trays for some people at work and we mailed off six boxes.
I’m now going to sleep until the New Year.
Right after I get done wrapping Christmas.
I’ll have to show you later what the crazy baking family did this past weekend because we weren’t tired enough from last week’s baking.
Enough about our craziness…are you ready for Christmas? What are your favorite traditions?