December 18, 2006
A Red Letter Day

I spent the best money of the season today. Or maybe it was a very close second to the iPod we got for my father-in-law. Anyway, it was money very well spent. I've been a bit overwhelmed with the holiday preparation and I suggested to Husband that it'd be nice to pay someone to come in and scrub the bathrooms and dust and do the floors so I can get everything else done. Thankfully, I have a rockin' husband and he heartily agreed [though it's possible he agreed because he is 800 miles away and he suckered me into making trays of cookies to take to his former employees].

So, today, thanks to Sandi's reference, three women appeared on my doorstep, rags and brooms in hand and they set to work. I was working along as well, clearing the clutter from my desk and kitchen (which I promptly messed up again after they left and I started round three of the cooking-making marathon). I even tackled most of the laundry room, which looked like a bomb went off since Bookworm decided to step on a shelf in the school cabinet and three shelves of items came tumbling out and scattered on the floor - this was weeks ago).

Anyway, it is great! The house is clean, I even put away all my laundry (yes, Husband, I really did) and all I have now is to wrap everything and finish up some sewing and some other crafts and I'm ready. Except at some point in the next day and half I must go grocery shopping, which means tonight is list night. I am not sure what I should make for Christmas dinner this year (I have only done the meal once and that was three years ago, when noone had dietary restrictions and we had ham and all the trimmings). I looked at a beautiful roast yesterday and nearly choked when I saw the $45 price tag. So, I'm back at square one. We don't really have a traditional meal, other than you know, basically repeating Thanksgiving, which I am not really interested in doing.

I'm also feeding other people for most of a week and would like to serve them culinary delights and am trying to come up with an interesting menu for both lunch and dinner for about 5 days. I'd like as little time in the kitchen as possible, but am willing to put in some major prep work ahead of time. Any ideas?

Above are a few pictures of my kitchen and the explosion of cookie-making supplies on the countertops, with the end result being rather delicious and I think the platters look great. I have made quite an assortment of cookies:

  • Meringues
  • "No-Fuss" bar cookies, one batch made with added butterscotch chips, so they taste like 7 layer bars
  • Almond snowballs
  • Nutmeg Log Cookies
  • Cinnamon Star Cookies
  • Almond Spritz Cookies, which I used only half the recommended almond extract and the other half used vanilla extract
  • Kris Kringle Cookies, but I subbed almonds for the pecans and 12 oz. white chocolate chips instead of the baking squares
  • Fudge Brownies and Dark Chocolate Brownies with crushed peppermint
  • Pretzel Rods dipped in milk chocolate and sprinkles

Okay, now that it's all typed out, I find it all rather excessive. I guess I don't have any excuse for hiring someone to clean after all. I could have just made a pan of brownies and some chocolate chip cookies and called it a day. But don't my platters look so festive and wonderful?

Have a blessed week of last-minute preparations. I'm done! Yippee! I just have to assemble some stuff and wrap everything and get ready for houseguests, but other than that, you know, we're ready. Bring on the presents!

God Bless you.

[I added some photos to the slideshow below - not many, but rather than repeats, you get a few new shots]

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