Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Teaches You That Your Mother May Know a Thing or Two (even when you’re 32).

Well it’s that time of year to send out my Christmas Cards.  I actually never used to do this task until I had kids.  Well I’d get a box of cards and hand a few out to my closest friends but since my daughter’s arrival into the world it’s been a full out event.

I’ve also now crossed over into a stage that I can tell is going to be a monotonous tradition, the cutting of school photos.  I vividly remember sitting and watching my mom do the exact same thing when I was a kid, her spending hours and hours cutting professional school photos along their lines and putting them into her yearly Christmas cards (which she does NOT participate in anymore).  In fact she claims that she is down to sending out one sole card per year now.  It’s not even a person I know.  She mildly laughs at me when I tell her that I’m going to do my cards up and gives me that “I wouldn’t bother if I was you” look.  The cutting up the pictures was a very long process and it was only my daughter’s picture this year.  My son will also be getting pictures next year so I think I’m going to have to recruit help.  I’m hoping the hubby will be around for the next Holiday Season as this is the second in a row I’m on my own doing all the prep. There were so many steps to the Christmas Cards this year it literally took me 8 hours to do!!  Do people even keep the pictures you send?  Do they toss all your hard work and efforts into the garbage after the holidays are over? I know mom, I know.  Why do I even bother? 

I also learned a valuable lesson this year while doing some Christmas baking with my mom.  Never question your mother when she gives you hints and tips on how to perform a task that she has performed numerous times before and you have only done maybe once before in your life.  This particular teaching was in regards to decorating cookies.

I was all excited to start, a hopeful new yearly tradition now that we live close to one another, of getting together with my mom to do all the Christmas baking.  We decided to do one of my childhood favorites, sugar cookies.  I have so many memories stealing beautifully iced sugar cookies out of their Ziploc freezer bags from the deepfreeze in our basement downstairs.  I must’ve eaten my body weight in sugar/butter products in the weeks before Christmas. 

 In anticipation of decorating sugar cookies I thought it would be a good idea to purchase a device that would help me make fancy icing decorations.  I took a special trip to the store and found a tool that the store clerk talked up so much I figured I was going home with the crème de la crème of all icing decorators, I will hence refer to as “The Magic Icing Device” or MID.  I had only once prior actually made my own icing.  My mom had given me her recipe years before when I had done this same project but it was a very long time ago and the memory was pretty blurry (I think there might have been several drinks involved).  At once I realized that this might not be my thing.  I persevered however and figured once I used the MID that it would all go much smoother.  Oh boy was I wrong.  The very first thing my mom said to me after I had mixed the icing to a proper consistency was “I used to just put the icing into a plastic Ziploc bag and cut a tiny hole in the corner and squeeze it out that way, it’s pretty easy.”  Well I was NOT about to use such rudimentary tools when I had the MID.

Well if you can imagine I spent the next 5 hours trying to ice the cookies.  I discovered there are muscles in the thumb I didn’t know I had, it was sore for a couple days after as the MID was really hard to push down on.  Out of the 5 hours I’m pretty sure 2 of them were dedicated to washing out the MID so I could put a different color of icing into it.  I never once used any of the fancy icing ends that came with my MID because after the first icing color like hell I was going to be washing more stuff.  The cookies looked ok but after 5 hours they should have looked as magical as the iced cookies on the box of the MID advertised. 

Flash the time forward now to day two of our baking marathon.  My mom pulls the last of the sugar cookie dough from the fridge and starts to roll them out and cut them into cute little Christmas shapes one by one.  I am dreading each perfectly baked cookie because I am at this point sick to death of icing cookies (I also have a tummy ache from all the sugar and butter consumed the day before, stomach can’t handle that like it once could).  I thankfully had some pre-made icing left over stored in nice little Ziploc bags from the night before.  I thought “what the heck”, I really wasn’t all that enthusiastic about dragging MID back out from its deviously false advertised box to participate in round 2.”  I figured I’d just give my mom’s tip a shot and if I didn’t like the results I could always go back to the way I had been doing it up till this point. From the time I cut the first corner of my Ziploc bag I was done the cookies in 15 minutes!  I think they even looked better than the MID cookies, maybe even better than they appeared on the box.  The clean-up resulted in a quick wrist shot toss into the garbage can, virtually zero mess.

I’d like to take this time to dedicate this last part of today’s post to my mother. She not only gave me just the very briefest of “I told you so’s,” but let me take the credit for some of the work.  I really just more or less monkeyed around for 5 hours while she slaved and sweated away in the kitchen rolling out various cookies and pastries.  As a result, we have a wonderful assortment of Christmas baking products this year.

I’m really hoping we can keep the tradition going, that’s if I even have time after all my Christmas cards are sent out and two kids worth of school photos are cut out properly.  Although next year when my mom gives me a “how-to-hint” I’ll be sure to open my ears wide and remember that the MID is NOT smarter than my mommy (and neither am I)!  Even at 32 there is still lots to be learned from the woman who raised me.


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