Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Ending

My niece is here for Christmas*, and we're having a really good time.

On Monday, we went to Magic Mountain, because she decided she was ready to ride the big kid roller coasters.   Not only was she ready to ride the big kid roller coasters, she was ready to ride the no-sane-person-should-ever-subject-themselves-to-this-willingly roller coasters, like this one.

I got off and wanted to check myself into a hospital.  She got off and wanted to go again.

On Tuesday, it was her 8th birthday**. We had Angry Birds Snickerdoodles for her birthday breakfast party.

We went to the Grilled Cheese Truck for lunch.  And we saw (and loved!) the new Muppet Movie at the El Capitan Theater that night***.  Fortunately, we did not go upside down or backwards all day.

On Wednesday, there was roller skating with her dad, Christmas shopping with her cousins, and building legos with her uncle****.

On Thursday, it was my daughter's birthday. There was Monkey Bread birthday breakfast,  Sponge Bob fried rice for dinner, and a new board game to play when we got home.

The game, Wits and Wagers Family, is a riot to play.  Basically, the game gives you a statistic, and everyone tries to guess the right numerical answer.  At one point, the card said:

What percentage of American families speak a language other than English at home?

I said 45.
My sister wrote 50.
My daughter guessed 60.
My son proposed 26.
My niece very authoritatively said,

I don't think we stopped laughing for 10 minutes.

Today, we went to the movies again.  About halfway through, a large bear escaped from the zoo and was being chased by men with huge, menacing, tranquilizer guns. Amanda leaned over and whispered to me:

Her: Is this a Disney movie?
Me:  I don't think so.  Why?
Her: (looking worried) Because if it is a Disney movie, I know it will have a happy ending.

I have to say, spending time with her is like a Disney movie.  Except that it's happy all the way through.

Here's to happiness and family and un-birthday cakes and Christmas time.
And, of course, Megan.

We'll be camping out for Santa tonight.  Hope you have a wonderful Christmas Eve, too!

* My sister and brother-in-law are here, too, but they're not nearly as amusing.  I think she was excited about the trip.  She was packed the day after Thanksgiving, and had the countdown going in her room.  I had my penguin up, too.
** You read that correctly.  She was still seven years old on Monday.  She rode Scream and Goliath, too.
*** There were fart shoes! Plus, at the El Capitan there's a hokey Christmas show before the movie, and they give out free jingle bells.
**** As a follow-up act to the Space Shuttle project, they are building Frank Llyod Wright's Robie House.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Candy

A lot of Christmas candy comes from the mall, beautifully wrapped in cheerful red paper, in handy one pound boxes.
It makes a lovely present.
You can set the box out when company comes.
You pick through it and eat just the ones you like, and leave the ones you don't with tiny bites taken out of them.

Or (my personal favorite), you can re-gift it*.

The other kind of Christmas candy comes from somebody's kitchen, hand-wrapped in wax paper, lovingly bundled and tied with a ribbon or two.

It makes an awesome present.
You can hide it when company comes.
You can eat a piece now and stash the rest for later.
And (my personal mantra), you never, ever, re-gift it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Being less humble

OK, then.
Here's me, being less humble.
The dessert room was phenomenal this year.

Hmm.  It does feel kind of good to prance about it.  Maybe these reindeer and my son are onto something...

All the recipes are in the recipe box, in case you want to create a dessert room, or even a simple dessert countertop or shelf, of your own this holiday season.  Ho ho ho!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Be less humble

We were driving somewhere the other night, and somehow the conversation turned to our always-conflicted family schedule.  In the course of discussing who needed to be where, when, I said something along the lines of "Well, I can skip my thing and take him to his thing and run back and get her from her thing because my thing isn't that important anyway."

My son turned to me and said:

"Mom, you need to be less humble.  You need to be more like me."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My kind of birthday cake

When you are little (or really old), you don't have a choice.  It's a sheet cake with buttercream frosting, swirly decorations, and writing on it.

If you are a fortunate child, the cake comes from somewhere yummy, like The Baker or Hansen's, or even Costco, or if you are especially fortunate, your aunt makes you a Yo Baby Cake* by hand.

If you are an unfortunate child, you might get something like this:

Did I mention that CakeWrecks is potentially the funniest site on the web?


As you get older (like 5), you start to have an opinion about your birthday cake:

"Can it be an ice cream cake?"

"Or cupcakes?"

"Or a coffee cake?"

"How about if we don't have cake at all?"

Well...sure. It is your birthday**!

Then, as you get even older (like 40-something***), you not only have an opinion, you have A Birthday Cake.  The cake that you have every year.  The one that that someone makes for you or buys for you or orders especially for you. Because that's the cake you like, and it wouldn't be your birthday without it.  The "Don't even think about messing around and trying any of that fancy stuff you saw in Bon Appetit magazine, Missy. Not on my birthday you don't!" cake.

For my husband, it's carrot cake.
For my dad, it's lemon cake.
For me, it'd be this cake.

Unfortunately, I'm rarely in charge of my own birthday cake.
Fortunately, there are 364 other days in the year.
Happy Not-Birthday to me!****

What's your Birthday Cake?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Why there's not a good support group for my problem

Me:  Hi. I'm Sharon, and I'm a bake-aholic.
Crowd: Hi, Sharon. Ooh! Did you make the challah*?

Me:  I've started buying flour and sugar in the 10 lb. bags.  The 5 lb size just doesn't do it for me any more, you know? I go through it too fast. There are three bottles of vanilla paste in the pantry.  I'm buying it online now**, and intercepting the packages before my husband gets home.  Don't you see? I'm out of control.  Something is very wrong here!
My Sponsor:  I brought my tupperware.  Is it OK if I take a few of those little pecan things home?

My husband: All she does is make cookies and pies. She doesn't even need, like, a reason.  It's just insane. The other day, she made a tart out of leftover cranberry sauce, for God's sake.  That can't be normal.  Plus, she's dealing now.  To her friends.  I'm not kidding.  They took a holiday baking class*** from her, and then went home with sugar cookie dough.  These women have kids, man!  This is some crazy s*&!#!!  I love her. But I can't stop her. I'm afraid my wife is becoming a menace to herself and others.
The Police:  Can we be adopted and come to your house?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Finish Strong

The message of the week in my class was a simple one:
Finish strong.

Six years ago, my daughter started taking tae kwon do.

A few days ago, she earned her black belt.

I think she got the message.

* Loosely translated, that's martial arts-speak for "you go girl!"