Thursday, December 22, 2011
As of tomorrow, I’m officially on vacation. I’m quite excited about that. It’s nice to have time away from the office.
This week leading up to my vacation hasn’t been quite as festive as I’d have liked due to the impairment of my tastebuds and ability to smell the gingerbread/pepperminty scents of the season. However, I’m recovering my senses slowly and defeating this pesky cold.
On the plus side, I still have been able to get all my festive activities completed. I did finally build the gingerbread house, believe it or not. It actually wasn’t nearly as hard as I remember though actually a lot messier. It turns out that it’s all to do with the consistency of the icing. All these years, I’ve been making it too runny. You’d have think I’d have figured it out before this but, finally, I realized if I make the icing very thick, it sticks better and dries faster. Granted, this epiphany occurred after almost drowning in a cloud of powdered sugar. Note to readers: If you’re going to use a bowl that’s too small for all of the powdered sugar, don’t accidentally put the hand mixer on high when you first start mixing the sugar with the water. This induces a rather large cloud that is hazardous to ones breathing apparatus.
Once I got my house standing, it was a piece of cake to decorate it (pun intended). My only disappointment was that the kit only had three types of candy to decorate the house and the picture on the box showed a lot more. I tried to get creative but at some point, I had to concede, when you stick candy on a prefabricated gingerbread house, it still sort of looks like you stuck candy on the gingerbread house. In my mind, I always envision one of those beautiful, immaculate Hansel and Gretel type houses with the perfectly placed icicles, candy cane pathways and everything else you see in catalogues and magazines. In reality, it’s a slightly splotchy, drippy gingerbread house with gumdrops stuck on it. I did manage to pipe a design on the roof but it dripped a little and instead of having a perfectly symmetrical artistically swirled roof that matched on both sides, I had a bit of a Jackson Pollock thing going on.
Nevertheless, the gingerbread house stands. I was triumphant. Next year, I shall try not to suffer from Gingerbread House Amnesia and will not invest in kit. We’ll see if I remember that when I’m feeling the need to dive into Christmas.
I also got all my gifts wrapped. I managed to bake cookies although next year, I’m using a cookie press. I wanted to make these German cookies that my grandmother used to make. They’re hazelnut cookies that are piped onto baking sheets and baked. I managed to get the recipe right but the piping was not quite so successful. The dough was rather stiff and my disposable decorating bags didn’t hold up very well. I managed to get them done but I used up quite a few decorating bags as well as having to resort to cutting the corner off a Ziploc bag and using that. Next year, I think it’ll be worth using a cookie press instead.
Tomorrow, I head to my parents for a while where I’ll spend Christmas and New Years. I’m hoping it all goes smoothly. My dad has a new puppy who is rather adorable. Unfortunately, my own pups aren’t very fond of her. Sookie, especially, does not like the new puppy to come near me. I didn’t realize quite how possessive of me she was until last weekend when she got rather upset every time the new pup came near me. I’m clearly HER person. I’m hoping that since the puppy won’t be quite so new and unfamiliar that my girls will be a little more accepting this weekend. Unfortunately, you can’t lecture dogs on the spirit of Christmas because they just look up at you like you’re demented. Yes, I have tried and yes, I have firsthand knowledge of that look.
We’ll see how it all goes. Regardless, I’m ready to submit fully to the season. Since this will be the last blog until after Christmas, I’d like to wish every one of you a safe and happy Christmas.