Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Baking, Wrapping, Stirring the Fudge Pot

Boy, have I been busy since I posted last week. Not only was there a lot of writing business
on my plate, like copy edits for the next Kelly Flynn Knitting Mystery, but I also had to find time to start my holiday baking. Suddenly, there were mailing deadlines popping up in front of my eyes.

First---daughter Serena (South Pole Serena), mentioned she'd "love" to receive some of my chocolate mint fudge and gingersnaps while on the Antarctic meteorite research trip. Oh, and by the way----I had to get everything shipped by last week in order for the package to have a prayer of being delivered to her in the field (ice field, that is) during December. Yikes! That meant I had to spend the first three nights of last week baking & making fudge.

Next, oldest daughter Christine, who lives in Fairfax, VA, in the DC Metro area, told me the family might leave "early" for a holiday trip to my in-laws home in Crown Point, Indiana. Yikes, again! I'd made the fudge & gingersnaps, but I hadn't wrapped any of the presents. Christine, son-in-law Tim and my grandchildren make up the lion's share of my shopping list. That's a lot of presents to wrap. As soon as I finished baking/fudging the first 3 nights, then I started wrapping presents Thursday & Friday nights. Whew! But I got it done. That way, I was one of the first people at the post office that Saturday morning to get the boxes priority mailed so they'd arrive in time.

There was no time for any baking, wrapping, or even licking a fudge spoon this weekend. I drove to Denver on Saturday morning and did two signings at BORDERS Bookstores. On Sunday, I left even earlier and headed for Colorado Springs, where I did another two signings at BORDERS Bookstores. Pikes Peak Writers, a Colorado writing group of which I'm a long-time member, was sponsoring a large author signing in several BORDERS stores. I hadn't had a chance to visit with some of my south Denver & Colorado Springs writer friends in a while, so I grabbed the opportunity. The weather cooperated beautifully. Sunny & mild in the high 40's. But---both events consumed each day. Believe me, by the time I made it home to Fort Collins Saturday and Sunday nights, I had zero energy for food or wrapping presents.
But now, the lion's share of the gifts are in the mail and now it's on to the next stage of holiday baking: Pumpkin Walnut Bread & Cranberry Orange Nut Bread. Oh, yes----and more fudge.

How are you doing on your shopping, wrapping, baking schedule? Are you finished? Haven't started? Halfway through? And what are some of the holiday goodies you'll be making?


Alice said...

Shopping is done, knitting is getting there and I'll be baking a few days before Christmas -- I bake sugar cookies and gingersnaps for every one in the family and put them in holiday tins. I started it two years ago when I was too broke from school to buy gifts, and since then every one asks if I'm baking cookies again for Christmas, so I keep doing it. :)

Linda McDonald said...

Oh how I wish I was in your kitchen. I can be your baked goods taster! All of your baked goodies sound yummy.
We have Borders here in San Diego. I'm sure they would love to have you sign books in them. :)
I have not finished all my shopping, but I did get a bit more done today. Some online and some in store shopping. My Christmas cards have been mailed out. Decorations in the house are all done. I'd like to try to make these Oreo Truffles that my sister made for Thanksgiving. They were so good. You make them with oreo cookies, but the tuffle isn't crunchy like the cookies are....it is all creamy inside and just to die for!
Oh, and lastly, wow...kudos to whoever would deliver to the south pole! I hope she gets her goodies soon.

Dru said...

I'm done. There's not a lot of us, so shopping this year was a snap.

Tonya Kappes said...

We have baked, wrapped and now exhausted! I have a week to rest up before putting on the dinner. Merry Christmas to you!

Sheila Connolly said...

Cue the sound of hysterical laughter. There's a tree sitting in a bucket of water on the back porch, and a naked (undecorated) wreath hanging in front. All boxes of lights, ornaments and wrapping stuff are sitting, stacked four deep, in the front hall.

Oh, somebody wanted presents? I did at least buy books for my older great-nephew, age three--he is much into lions these days.

Booklady said...

I am so behind. It's not even funny. And I ended up sidelined with a bad cold yesterday. I still have a shrug to finish, a few sets of glasses to paint, three scarfs and a two hats to make. Fortunately, the scars take next to no time and I will have several days off after this week to finish everything - though few things may end up being Happy New Year's presents.

Beverly aka Bookwoman
P. S. Loved seeing you in Colorado Springs!

Maggie Sefton said...

Alice---You've hit on a winning strategy. Homemade goodies are way special. I had always made holiday homemade goodies for the family, but years ago when I was "re-starting" my life, money was really, really tight. There wasn't any for presents, so I gave lots & lots of my holidays specialties instead. Everyone loved them. And no one missed presents from a store. :)

Thanks, Linda. I'm hoping they get to Serena out there on the blue ice in a week or two. And yes, I'd love to sign out there in sunny San Diego, but there's never been a conference there. Maybe in the future. And those Oreo truffles sound yummy.

Maggie Sefton said...

Dru---Good for you! You're a inspiration for us all. :)

Tonya----Yay! Rest up. I know what those big dinners are like. Our family always did a BIG Open House mid-December. Wall-to-wall homemade goodies. Wonderful, but a huge amount of work. As soon as my girls got old enough, they helped me. Good memories.

Maggie Sefton said...

Sheila---LOL, girl. Don't worry. It'll all get done. Take a deep breath, have another cup or tea/coffee/whatever and do just a few things at a time. Oh, and get help with that tree. Since I live alone, I pay a neighborhood boy to bring it in off top of car & put it up in the tree stand in front of living room windows. This year, I'm spending Christmas Back East with family & friends. So, no tree here. Wreath & carols, though.

CindyD said...

I'm on schedule - decorations up, most shopping up, not baking till next week. But usually I go to the mall "just looking" and taking some time for myself and I haven't done that yet. Maybe tomorrow!

Maggie Sefton said...

OMG, Beverly----You're doing a lot of knitting for the holidays. Wow. Whenever I've knitted something for someone's holiday gift, I was always feeling pushed for time. And yes. . .some of them became New Years presents. :)

So great to meet you in person, Beverly.

Debra said...

Stupid RA kept me in bed yesterday, but with the help of all those internets, I finished most of my shopping. Not much baking here. I will make a recipe I have from an obituary. Juniors Cheesecake is famous here in NYCity.
Here is the page with the recipe.
I dump blueberry pie filling on top or maybe lemon this year. I still have to buy a gift for hubby. I knit a hat and glittens (glove/mittens) for my sis and a hat and mitten set with pocket for my Mom.

signlady217 said...

Most of you already know (if you've been reading these comments for the last few weeks) that I was finished with everything by Thanksgiving. I know I'm the exception, not the rule, but I hate being rushed and like having things marked off the list early!

One thing that helps is that I pretty much shop for Christmas all year round, so when I find something really cool I grab it, so I don't have to worry about it being gone later. Baking (to go in freezer) gets done the first/second week of November, and cards are done in 3 groups starting the weekend before Thanksgiving: early mailing with party invitations, Dec. 1st mailing, and just handed out at church. The decorations are done depending on where we are for Thanksgiving: if out of town like this year, done before we leave, and if at home then done starting Thanksgiving night and finished within the week; our Christmas party is always the first Saturday in December, so the decorating has to be done for that!

So now I'm just kicking back and enjoying looking at my beautiful lights, etc., each evening and not stressing about anything! :)

Aurian said...

Wow, I am so glad nothing of the things you mention are done here in Holland. Baking and cooking for presents, shipping presents, nope. I just have to buy a present for myself, and my boyfriend, and that is it. First day is christmas dinner at my parents house, and second day I am out to dinner with my best friend to a fancy restaurant. My boyfriend has to work then.

Maggie Sefton said...

CindyD----You are definitely orgaized. Congratulations!

Debra---What would we do without internet shopping? I did some more today. Thanks for the suggestion of the cheesecake. I'll check that out. All the knitted presents sound wonderful. Enjoy.

Maggie Sefton said...

Boy, Signlady---Your schedule sounds like mine several years ago, when I was still married and we were entertaining a LOT. I always put up the lights right after Thanksgiving then we'd buy the tree and put that up too. Since all the girls were ususally home, we also decorated the tree, too. Christmas carols going in the background. :)

And of course. . .our wonderful Holiday Open House. That would give me the opportunity to make all of our favorite goodies----mostly appetizers and desserts. Lots of work but I loved it We really loved entertaining a houseful of guests & making them happy. :)

Maggie Sefton said...

Aurian---That sounds like a very relaxing holiday, indeed. Enjoy!

Miki Willa said...

I am getting closer. I have the stockings stuffed and ready to hang. I still have one quilt to quilt, six small paintings to finish, and a doll to make for my granddaughter, but I am getting there. I just have to stay focused.

Maggie Sefton said...

Miki Willis---Wow, you're inredible, girl! I am so impressed.