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This is the one who didn't get the gene for spelling.

1. relly x 100,000 big box or bag of twix
*2. everything circled in big A.G.D.(american girl doll) mag. (mag. comes with list) [list was paperclipped to the catalog]
3. red corduroy super skinny pants (strechy!)
4. salon date with mom! :)
5. chocolate orange
6. own set of bathroom towles
7. cute stuff for forever house room (style = tooter [Tudor] colores = black white blue/gray furniture = black + bunk beds)
8. girl-friend for Morese [Maurice is a stuffed monkey puppet] (he's getting lonly)
9. ipod mini!

[added after we visited the zoo]
Zoo Gift Shop
10. manity [manatee] stuffed animal
11. purple owl watch
12. glass animals (at least 3)

*last year you did not relly get me any A.G.D. stuff :(. Could you get me some this year! :)
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Yesterday we did errands and grocery and bought a Christmas tree and put it up and I made a batch of gingersnaps and baked half, and baked the rest of last weekend's speculaas and made pizza, and at that point we agreed we were too tired to go downtown and watch Santa rappell off of Macy's and set off a fireworks display.

Casper came down and got in our bed, and I went up and slept in hers. First I was awakened by mr. flea, coming to sleep in Casper's bed because he felt crowded in our bed (and assumed I was in it, on the other side of Casper, and was very startled to find me in her bed!). Then Dillo had to pee (he still has to be taken.) I was still awake and congratulating myself on getting him to the potty (because as annoying as taking a 5 year old down a flight of stairs to pee it still beats changing a bed) when there were shouts from downstairs and a pause, then mr. flea called up, "It's your responsibility." (He's poop; I'm vomit.)

Casper went from asleep to throwing up almost instantaneously, and got herself and almost everything on the bed (our bed, remember), and it was an unpleasant one even as these things go. mr. flea lumbered back up to her bed and I got her changed and set up in a nest on the living room floor and stripped the bed and started the laundry, and she couldn't sleep so I started a Nature about hummingbirds (which was beautiful and fascinating - their shoulders rotate, and their wings go in a figure 8 - oh the joys of slomo cameras!). She threw up 5-6 more times over the next 3 hours, although there was pretty much nothing to throw up. She is such a big girl; all apologetic and stoic.

When Dillo got up late for a weekend at 7:30 we were still exhausted, so mr. flea took him out to breakfast, and we watched a movie, and then they came back, and we watched a movie, and then the boys went out again to get different flea meds for the cats (have I mentioned we have been battling fleas pretty hard for 2 weeks now - through one dose of Frontline on both cats, and flea-bombing Casper's bedroom last weekend, neither of which seems to have taken. Casper is terribly flea-bitten, though the rest of us are not.) Casper and I napped, then we watched another movie. (I also did 8 loads of laundry, the dishes, baked the rest of the gingersnaps, which are for the student workers I am managing, and made lasagna.

Casper seems fine and ate lasagna for dinner; she's pale and tired but not sick. Now that I am working again, I hate to lose a weekend to such things. Christmas? What Christmas?
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Kids fighting. I sent mr. flea out with Dillo to get cat food, figuring he could use the exercise (Dillo, that is.)

I calmed the freaking-out Casper and fed her lunch and talked her into going to Joseph-Beth booksellers with me. We totted up her allowance owed and talked about buying a gift for Dillo.

We walked in and found mr. flea and Dillo, of course. But we all agreed to pretend we didn't see each other.

A peaceful half hour ensued. But each kid only wanted things for him/herself. Casper was better than Dillo, and saw several things that would be reasonable gifts for him.

Finally Dillo pitched a fit that we were obviously not going be be buying him a Playmobil castle, and mr. flea took him home. I found Casper counting up her change and planning to buy herself a little (adorable) stuffed dog. I reminded her that we were shopping for others, and also noted that Dillo would plotz if I let her buy a gift for herself when I'd just sent him home for wanting gifts for himself. She stormed off and we stormed home together and she's in her room.

Ah, the spirit of giving. It takes practice.

(In other news, their car bickering has gotten so sad we literally can't take them anywhere.)
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I go back to work tomorrow; the kids start school Wednesday.

They have written 3 thank-you notes with little fuss.  Casper's are somewhat routine but still decent, and Dillo writes his name and the name of the gift-giver (which I spell).  Dillo's writing is adorable - his es are backwards - and he has developed in figural drawing, too, with round eyes and smiles and bodies and limbs.  He still prefers drawing rockets to people.

We are almost finished with The Hobbit - read two chapters this noon in the sun on the porch, with the kids swinging in the hammock.  I'd like to finish tonight.  Dillo only partly follows, but likes to pretend he is little Bilbo with his sword Sting.

I didn't get much accomplished, and was stressed out by unstructured days in cold weather with the kids, but it was okay.
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Or rather, my last day home alone with the kids - mr. flea is off tomorrow and Jan. 3 with me.

Due to various punishments, Casper is on no TV, and Dillo gets no treats, no scooter, and no iPod touch.  God damn, what am I supposed to do with them all day??  Kids, please a) be less sassy and b) cooperate with the damned toothbrushing!  So far we have used the melon baller on a cantaloupe with great glee, and I think we are going to make biscuits, and test the virtues of the TWO egg slicers I received for Christmas.  (At least it's not like the Christmas of the Silicone Pastry Brush - I got 3 of those.)
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Tonight I'm making lasagna. I make a damn fine lasagna, if I say so myself.

Christmas we're going to do a turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, since we didn't have Thanksgiving at home.  Need to discuss a dessert, but I think apple pie.  Breakfast will be Trader Joe's chocolate croissants and bacon, and clementines and pomegranates from the stockings.

It's Christmas Eve we haven't decided on.  Traditionally, I gather, one has fish, but we live inland and my kids are not big fish eaters.  I have a mess of kale, but pasta with white beans and kale is not really unusual enough for Christmas Eve (it's one of our staple dinners.)  Maybe I'll make kale chips from the kale and we can have an "appetizer dinner" - we have crackers and boursin cheese and some pate, and I can get Michael to pick up some hummus and maybe some other yummy appetizers if he goes to Trader Joe's tomorrow. (I am working tomorrow, and while we are in theory let go at 1pm or so, I don't like to count on such things.)

Other ideas? We did scallops and rice pilaf the last time we cooked on Christmas Eve, which was nice although the kids did not eat the scallops of course.
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Through one of those mysterious events where computers heal themselves when you repeat action X for the 4th time, and it finally takes, I am now recognized as a US resident at Amazon.  I have downloaded Moby Dick to my Kindle, and ogled non-free romance novels, but not yet purchased any.

The wifi in my office is still not strong enough to support the Kindle, but I can plug it into my computer and move files that way.  I'm working on my support page, and have gotten a lot done, though it's not ready to be made public yet.

I have mailed my last box and bought my last gift (aside from some food items for stockings from the grocery - my kids LOVE pomegranates) and only have a little wrapping to do.  I think things will be pretty modest, which is fine by me.  Tomorrow we will make more gingersnaps and make gingerbread houses (I drafted a small-scale pattern over the weekend, so they can each decorate their own, which I think will save me much grief).  I'll make lasagna and try to clean some things, and wash the tablecloth (which has green candle wax, orange juice, AND ink stains on it, so a multi-step cleaning process.)  Friday I am at work again, though we are generally released in the early afternoon.
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I don't do Yuletide; Actual Christmas has got enough bears for me.  Yesterday we managed to take a picture, send it to CVS, and pick up the resulting cards (viva les internets), and I addressed them all.  Now I must write thoughtful notes to the people I only talk to once a year at Christmas and mail them (including acquiring stamps).  I am waiting on a package to arrive, then need to turn around and mail a package out, I hope tomorrow morning early.  I pushed and got mr. flea to deal with his family's gifts on Saturday, so that is done.  We attended the neighborhood Christmas party and exchanged small gifts with our neighbors.  No more excess gifts cluttering up my kitchen counters.

The major issue is The Big Present for the kids.  We have not acquired it/them, nor decided what it/they is/are going to be.  And the "last day to buy!" emails I am getting this morning from all the big catalog/online shopping emporiums are not helping my stress levels.  And mr. flea took Dillo to Target Sunday to pick out a present for Casper and everything was so picked over they couldn't find what they wanted.  So I think we're going to run out to Toys R Us on our lunch hour today, and try to be done.  But I'm terrified we won't find anything.  The backup is Amazon with rush shipping this evening, if the toy store (and possibly Dick's sporting goods) don't work out.  Curse you, evil craigslist piano seller!  The down feeling of that is still hindering me in the picking of some other present.

Good things: We figured out how to video chat with mr. flea's sister, and the kids got to do that with their cousins, and it's easy (they are on macs as are we) and we can do it any time.  I also tested gmail video chat with my sister, although her bandwidth or processor on the netbook can't really hack it.  But we achieved proof of concept so Grandma can chat with the kids on Christmas.

We built amazing train bridges in the kitchen/dining room Sunday morning, and there was cooperation and creativity and fun.

I told the kids a version of the story in The Hobbit at bedtime Friday night, and we started reading it Saturday, and Casper ADORES it and begs for another chapter at odd moments.  We're five chapters in, and finished Riddles in the Dark last night (Dillo listens some but does not fully have the attention span or sophistication necessary; he fell asleep during a very tense scene!).  Casper was full of really probing and intelligent questions about Gollum and his background and history, and I explained some of the stuff we learn in LOTR, that's not covered in Hobbit.  You can keep your Harry Potter - The Hobbit beats it all hollow as far as being a good read imo.

This morning the kids are at the YMCA for the first of three "dynamic days."  This is Dillo's first time at the Y and he was not at all happy about the idea.  He was scared and was able to tell me he was scared.  His main concern seemed to be that he would have to be with the Chiefs and separated from his sister, but the dynamic days are small enough that they keep the ages all together.  So after a lot of crying I got him dressed and we arrived, and lovely Miss Jacquie who used to work at his school was greeting everyone, and she was wonderful, and they're going bowling today, and after only about 5 minutes he went off with Casper who was teaching him how to dribble a basketball.  So now my only big worry about the day is the possibility of him pooping in his pants, which is unfortunately quite likely, given that he did it several times yesterday.  He has a packed change of clothes, so whatever happens, happens.  Hopefully not in the swimming pool.

waiting

Dec. 18th, 2010 01:38 pm
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It's very hard to be a four year old boy waiting a whole week until Christmas.
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An 8:45 am phone call from the dentist, telling you your daughter has missed an appointment you didn't even know she had because your husband didn't put it on the calendar. Followed by: Girl Scouts work.

I am applying cee-lo green in an attempt to get the grump out of my system.

Do I have a plan for Christmas presents for my own children? I do NOT.

Wish Lists

Dec. 12th, 2010 02:51 pm
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Casper drew pictures instead of writing the words:
scooter
roller skates
mouse (in cage)
American Girl doll
"choklit" santa
big screen TV ("can it be in my bedroom?")

Mishmash

Dec. 9th, 2010 11:56 am
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  • Yesterday I worked 8am-10pm (many thanks to my sister for keeping me from dying of boredom after I ran out of internets at 8:30pm; we discussed smallpox, syphillis, and pernicious anemia, as one does).  Then I woke up about every half hour all night - every time to heat came on - because the air vents made some noise that kept triggering my "a child is crying downstairs" reflex. Yawn.
  • It's cold in Georgia.  Even the NYTimes noticed! http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/09/us/09georgia.html  There's a mall in the ATL that makes snow outside every hour from 6-9pm on weekends, and I think we are going to try to go on Saturday.  My kids are in love with the idea of snow.  Simple frost on the windshield of the car had them shouting with excitement this morning.  It's ridiculous, but very cute.
  • My Girl Scout rant issues continue.  I faxed in an RSVP on Friday 12/3, the stated deadline, for my troop to attend an event on Saturday 12/11, and was supposed to receive an email confirming the time (they are scheduling the troops).  On Monday I emailed the contact just to check if the fax had been received.  She was out of the office but said she would check with them.  On Tuesday, not having heard from her, I emailed back.  She said she hadn't been able to reach anyone ion the office, but I should give her my troop's info directly and she could register us.  I did.  On Wednesday, not having heard from her, I emailed again, just to say, "are we registered?"  On Thursday morning I called the office, where they told me a) she was the only person who could register troops for this event in their system, b) she was out of the office all week but working from home some and c) the office was "crazy" this week and closed early yesterday and today.  The event is now in less than 48 hours and I was supposed to - an email just came in.  We are confirmed.  Good grief, though.  I mean, honestly?  Who sets a deadline of Friday the week before an event (in 6 locations across Georgia, all RSVPing through one office) and then takes the next week off?  When she's the only one who can register people?
  • We are going to buy a digital piano as the big family Christmas gift this year.  We went in to a local independent store and looked at them, but then I looked on Craigslist and there is a used one for sale in Atlanta for half what they want in the store for a used one, same model.  I feel guilty about not patronizing my local store - worse, patronizing and then not buying from them - but saving $250 is not to be sneezed at.  We're getting a Yamaha P-60 (replaced now by the P-95), which is an 88-key, weighted machine, with good sound (8 sounds total), and a midi export line so we can buy a $100 cable and hook it up to Garage Band if we want to.  I am looking at piano lessons for me, maybe.
  • I am sort half done Christmas shopping.  I hope to accomplish a lot this weekend in the city, at the Fernbank Natural History Museum gift shop, and the big mall where it snows. mr. flea is under strict orders to make some headway in dealing with his family (i.e. acquiring suggestions, which is their practice) by Saturday.
  • I am so tired.
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I am hosting one. On Sunday. Less than 48 hours from now. My level of preparedness: low.

I have made 3 batches of cookie dough. I should start baking tonight; there are lots of cookies to be baked. I need to run by the YMCA to pick up a form to register the kids for the out-of-school days coming up (they take PreK students, Halleluia!). I was going to make latkes for dinner but I think we have no onions. I could make latkes without onions, right? It's not like my (nonexistent) Jewish grandmother would be ashamed of me.

Tomorrow we need to rake some leaves, pick up the tree, set it up, hang some lights, generally prep the house, and grocery shop like mad, at both the Kroger and Trader Joe's. And bake cookies.

Sunday I am going to make lasagna in the morning, for lunch, on the grounds that that will reduce cookie-eating. (Not that lasagna is notably better for you than cookies in the saturated fat department, but I think it wins on sugar.) I need to bake cookies. I need to make frosting.

Aside from cookies, I am not sure what I will be serving. The party is tree trimming and cookie frosting; most of the cookies will be our spice roll-out cookie recipe, with butter-and-powdered sugar frosting. About half of the planned 30 or so guests are children. I also want to have popcorn and whole fresh cranberries available for making garlands. I will have a batch of seriously addictive gingersnaps (the cookies I bring to parties and everyone asks for the recipe).

For drinks, I was thinking good apple cider in the crockpot, cocoa on the stove. Unfortunately I only have one ladle. I think we have about 12 little mugs from Michael's grandmother's dishes (plus our everyday ones) so we don't need to buy paper ones. I was going to put out some Kahlua if an adult wants to add some; I was not going to get wine or beer, I think. It's a Sunday afternoon. Is that chintzy?

I have hummus, so I was going to put out hummus and carrot sticks and pita chips. (Side note: Stacy's pita chips are a seriously addictive food for me.) What other food? I was going to throw myself on the mercy of Trader Joe's. I am not sure what and how much to get.

I have 2 Christmas CDs and we can alternate them in the dining room, where the cookies will be happening, and watch Prep and Landing and The Grinch on the TV in the living room, where the decorating will happen. I have a nice smelling candle (I don't think anyone coming has big scent issues.)

What important thing am I forgetting? Oh, we have to put the table back together - half of it is currently out on the front porch. We can do that tonight, I guess. (My tablecloth will cover for its current lack of finish.)

Okay, I talked myself into a plan.
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Dec. 23rd: Leave home 5pm. Minor rush hour traffic in ATL. Stop at Mickey D's for dinner and Happy Meals have no toys!! (Drive-thru, so we didn't realize.) Bypass Chattanooga, children fall asleep 8pm, drive until 9:30, 20 miles south of Knoxville, hotel room.

Dec. 24th: Leave hotel 8am. Stop so mr. flea can pee, Dillo can pee, mr. flea can get coffee and Dillo can pee. Possibly more stopping for peeing in there. Pee is going to be a theme of the trip, let me warn you now. Stop at Mickey D's for lunch and Happy Meals have toys! Ponder anatomy of Blue Cats from Avatar. Observe road cuts and explain very elementary geology. Bypass Lexington. See some horsies. Go down the hill into Cincinnati and ponder weird blue and white wing-shaped building, which we later determine is on the Covington side. Drive up 71, cut across to Washington Courthouse. Driver becomes loopy, children become bickery. On seeing old remnants of snow in field, Southern-born child exclaims, "Cotton fields!" Arrive at cousins' house. Cousinly joy ensues. Dillo is taught to Wii bowl. Adorableness ensues. Eat not very good homemade pizza with double-inlaws (15 people). Leave for hotel with Dillo at 8pm; mr. flea returns to house to settle Casper on cousin's floor. Later discover they fall asleep at 11:15.

Dec. 25th: Get to cousins' house at 7:30; stockings have been opened by kids. Presents, phase 1, ensue. Casper very chuffed with American Girl and Dillo cleans up generally; Uncle Nate has been an especially good gifter. Breakfast, 15 people. Presents, phase OMG is this still going on. Long lassitude of day and unhappiness by me; Nerf gun shooting Wii by cousin. Dinner, with 17 people including evil Uncle Bobby (double-inlaw). Finally escape by 8:30 or so to put Dillo to bed. Casper again sleeps on floor and mr. flea stays up late talking to his parents.

Dec. 26th: Run up to Columbus to COSI in caravan of 3 cars (10 people), meet old college friend and tattoo compatriot E (hi E!), her husband, her mother, and 5 year old C and 10 month old H. COSI awesome, everyone happy. E has to leave ca. 1pm, we eat lunch at COSI, Casper totally melts dpown due to exhaustion and has to be carried to car. We take off for hotel and naps (which don't happen) and baths which do. Return to cousins' at 5, make lasagna, assemble gingerbread house, surviving sugar glue failure. Frost cookies with various family, a success. Eat lasagna, moderate success; eat cookies and gingerbread house, great success. This day definitely more festive than the previous one. Leave ca. 9pm to put Dillo to bed.

Dec. 27th: Final photos and goodbyes with cousins, leave 10am for Cincinnati. Meet old grad school friends for brunch and marvel at the awesomeness of Joseph-Beth bookstore in Rookwood. Go to father's at 2pm, play a little Wii with brother and his wife, kids open more nice presents (books/puzzles/Magic schoolbus and movies). It starts to snow and kids spend several stints outside very excited. mr. flea has nap. Dinner & we leave ca. 7:30 into blowing snow. Stop and get windshield wiper fluid (and for Dillo to pee, natch) and drive until 11:30pm. by which time we are south of snow. Dillo has peed in car seat in sleep. Joy. Hotel room.

Dec. 28th: leave hotel room by 9am, avoid traffic, good weather, much bickering and crankiness especially caused by bored Dillo making fights, under-caffeinated and under-fed me yelling a lot, and GIS unit lying and telling us there was a Starbucks where there was most definitely not (on a residential street in rural KY). Get home at 2pm. Sedate children with television.

The end. Dillo has been so backslidey on the potty that I am seriously considering returning him to diapers for a punishment.
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My elaborate plans for last night (I would be dropped at the bookstore, finish shopping, while mr. flea and the children would go to Target and procure light bulbs and juice boxes) were dashed by the invitation from our neighbors to come roast marshmallows in their chiminea and drink cocoa and peppermint schnapps. How could we say no?

Happily this morning I was WIDE awake at 4:30 am, so finished up most of my wrapping, did dishes, did laundry, made speculaas dough, and fished out Casper's swimsuit for the YMCA.

Today I finish work, leave at 3 and take Dillo to his first ever dentist appointment (THAT should be fun - he is still very shy with strangers), then reassemble with the whole family and get us all H1N1 vaccinated before the clinic closes at 6 (mr. flea missed his work vaccination; he was in the field that day.) Then we need to eat dinner (do I have a plan? nope!). Then maybe we'll do the bookstore-and-Target plan.

Tomorrow:
pack
bake
watch Prep and Landing another 6 times
maybe leave and spend the night in, like Tennessee?
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I am all set for Casper presents. In ten minutes, I'll know if I've gotten her another (ebay in progress).

I got nothin' for Dillo. What does a 3 year old boy want? Part of the problem is we have a lot of good toys handed down from Casper. Blocks, duplo, all covered. He has a big wheel and he's too little for a bike (and he'll get Casper's when he's big enough). He doesn't need clothes, or care about them much. I mean, I'd like to buy him fancy underpants, but he won't give a damn about them. Hot wheels and bakugan are stocking sort of presents, but the Big Gift.

I don't even have a big special book for him - I've already gotten all my favorite books appropriate for a 3 year old. (I have The Secret Garden for Casper.)

Second kid is hard! Halp!

scheduling

Dec. 7th, 2009 09:27 am
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So I don't forget! I've been making mad plans for our Xmas visit to OH.

12/24: drive to Chillicothe.
12/25: Xmas in Chillicothe.
12/26 AM: run up to Columbus, meet college friend at COSI. Back to Chillicothe.
12/27: drive to Cincinnati, lunch with friends, go to father's house midafternoon. Night in Cinti (hotel?)
12/28: drive home.

Well, we're unlikely to be bored! Except on the 10-hour-drive portions of the trip.

Following a recent NYT article, I am again thinking about Christmas 2011 in St. John's, USVI, at the National Park. Dillo would be 5. There are direct flights from ATL (currently looking like about $370) and accommodations (being basically tents) are pretty cheap...
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[Casper]'s wish list

-Bunny [They went to the pet store to buy cat food while I grocery shopped.]
-Doll hous mansion.
-My baby first steps. [This is apparently a Wii game.]
-A flat Screen TV.

Yeah, not so much. Though I am starting to fantasize about a second TV, so I can veg and watch football while they veg and watch Spongebob. But that way lies cable and a TV in every room.

Casper is actually getting American Girl Doll Julie (1974, with looong blonde hair and brown eyes.)

I am off to work shortly and GLAD. The kids have been bickering like mad all weekend (including hitting each other), Casper cries when yelled at (for doing things like grabbing things out of her brother's hand) and Dillo seems to have been on a mission to poop or pee in every single pair of underpants he owns.
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Waiting worriedly for a package.

Meat is browned for the boeuf; mr. flea ran out for beef stock (oops) and camehome with Cherry Lambic (yay!) (in addition to beef stock.)

Have achieved Gingerbread House; it needed Grandma's artistic hand, but oh well. Amusing photo sequence of the tears of childhood starts here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/casperflea/3133307711/

Dillo is watching Totoro for the 3rd time in as many days; he loves it. "Huuuuuuuuuge mouse!"

Dillo after watching the last episode of Avatar: "Avatar loves Katara."

Casper last night, after realizing I knew she'd been stealing candy canes off the tree, keeping them under her bed, and eating them: "Let me tell you how I did it! I pretend to go to the bathroom, then sneak under the table, then go in the living room, and take one off the tree, and put it in my shirt, like this, and come back to my room and out it under my bed!" Such innocence & joy at her sneakiness!
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12/23
quesadillas (what? I worked today; they are quick and easy)
make dough for gingerbread house (note to self: call mr. flea and ask him to get 2 sticks of butter out of the freezer)
finish baking ginger snaps (estimate 4-6 dozen left)
finish frosting speculaas

12/24
make gingerbread house (3 steps: cutting and baking of pieces, assembly with melted sugar, decoration)
prep boeuf Bourguignon (lardons, brown meat, bouquet garni, wine) (note: procure celery)
dinner: salad, rice pilaf, scallops? (note: procure scallops, procure a pomegranate for the salad and delectation of the children)

12/25
breakfast: poppin' fresh dough cinnamon rolls, bacon, mimosas (note: procure champagne, preferably those tiny bottles that come in 3-packs).
finish cooking boeuf bourguignon (pearl onions, mushrooms)
feast: boeuf bourguignon, salad, egg noddles, ?apple pie with whipped cream and/or vanilla ice cream, ?chocolate cake, gingerbread house (note: procure apples for pie, make pie crust, procure chocolate cake, depending on choice)

12/26
make spitzbuben
latke feast (plain and sweet potato)

Things needed:
champagne
celery
scallops or other suitable replacement
pomegranate
apples for pie?
chocolate cake? (Big City Bread)
bread (if at Big City anyway)
kahlua or Baileys or somesuch (if hitting package store)

Non-food items that should be procured before Xmas:
stocking stuffers for me, Dillo, 1 thing for mr. flea (maybe cut out of work early today and hit downtown?)

Oh, and get this: I currently am receiving 1 present. Which I wrapped for myself last night (it is from my inlaws.) (A package that may come today presumably has a second). Neither my mother nor my husband has got me a Christmas present (yet).

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