Christmas Baking & End of Year Events

Being about as organised as I possibly can be at around this time of year, i.e. completely overwhelmed and incapable of thinking clearly and observing the Christmas cheer of others, the card sharing, the gift giving to teachers and carers and the like, I am somewhat stuck for what and how to acknowledge my love and gratitude of my children’s educators and what to do about Christmas cards.

I’m a little over candy canes stuck to Christmas cards for pre-schoolers and wonder when this became an essential component of “giving a Christmas card to all the kids in my class, even the one’s I don’t think I’ve ever set eyes on during my day and have no idea what their name is”.

Also, what happened to the traditional mint flavoured cane? You can now get a variety of ‘fruit’ flavours – I use the term ‘fruit’ loosely, as I’m fairly sure there is no element of fruit in these lollies, nor even that a piece of fruit accidentally wondered past the factory in which they were made, accidentally letting off a whiff of scent that landed in the machines during the manufacturing process.

(I just had visions of fruit farting then. I think I may officially be losing my mind. But I giggled.)

I think it was the Reindeer Noses I received in Chippie’s pigeon hole that sent me over the Overwhelm and Guilt Edge. I have enough on my plate without trying to complete with that sort of thing. Overachieving parents, please stop! I get you have time on your hands and this overwhelming desire to “do something nice”, I really, really do get it, I just … well, there’s only so much resilience and resistance I have to my child desiring three times his weight in nutrient-deficient, albeit extremely scrumptious ‘foods’.

Except the candy canes in multiple flavours – they’re not scrumptious by any means, although they fit extremely well into the nutrient-deficient basket.

Anyhoo, I did realise a grocery shop was in order and my brain had a bit of a meeting with itself as, for some reason, it had got in it’s head that ‘end of year’ kind of meant a grocery shop was off the list. Only a few more days of school lunches to make and we’re good.

After that realisation, I was overcome with extremely helpful advice that I didn’t ask for, along the lines of ‘oh, you should totally do online shopping’ … erm, yes. Because I totally hadn’t ever considered that. Ever. Also, that I can’t sit at my PC for longer than two seconds without a pre-schooler clambering onto my lap, ramming guns, planes and evil robot monster terminators into my face whilst alternately hitting random keys on my keyboard and/or insisting, usually via tantrum, on hitting a particular key over and over and over, well, the suggestion of online shopping is FUCKING STUPID!

Also, a grocery shop gives me a fun filled activity with my five-year-old, whom has been well trained not to have tantrums in supermarkets and can walk down the lolly aisle without an issue, it gets us out of the house and doing something without me having to think of somewhere we can go and what we can do. Stuff gets done. We go for coffee and milkshake afterwards.

Some, those in the Mumfia, I guess, would also add that it is educational and a good life learning experience.

I just need the shopping done. So we do it. It is mostly uneventful and I even get most of the things on my list. Except Christmas wrapping paper. Oh, and the gift the ten-year-old needs for his class Kris Kringle, but that’s because it totally didn’t make my list and I forgot about it.

Arrive home and set us up to do some Christmas baking, as someone, possibly me in a fit of stupidity, suggested we make gingerbread biscuits and could possibly even give some to the kinder teacher. As a gift.

Chippie was thrilled with this idea and agreed to help. In fact, now I think of it, I’m sure it was his suggestion – which explains a lot.

After attempting to weigh the roughly half block of frozen butter I have located in the fridge on no less than four different sets of scales; three digital and one manual, we still have no accurate reading of how much butter is there.

Thankfully, Grumpy wanders in at this time. He has a better idea of this stuff and we get a rough calculation. Not without him first referring to all four non-working scales to test his theory, completely oblivious to my “I’ve done that, they don’t work”.

Chippie, meanwhile, has got bored and is standing behind us saying “Can I watch a movie?” on repeat.

The sifter for the flour has been missing for over a week and I fear it has accidentally landed in the bin at some point, and gone out with the garbage. We’re just going to have to compromise, which in my world means “Fuck it, just tip it in.”

I wander to our pantry, the Shittest Pantry In The World, to extract measuring cups and spoons. The entire ‘baking shelf’ – the shelf containing all the baking preparation paraphernalia, situated above my head height, unloads itself and I am brained by several silicone cake forms, an steel flan tin, circa 1880 or thereabouts, several measuring jugs and … the sifter. I still have no idea where it was, but it’s here now.

Commence process according to the recipe, Grumpy leaves and Chippie helps by sifting flour all over the bench, my top and the floor. Some goes into the mix and, after a few moments, I discover I have more of a ‘crumble’ than a ‘dough’.

Ring Grumpy for instructions.

Dilemma fixed to some degree and we have a pliable dough. Chippie sets about extracting the appropriate “pressers” (a.k.a biscuit cutters) from the container of biscuit cutters we have. For three days he has only wanted stars.

He extracts several stars, a hippo (not a hippopotamus – “it’s a hippo, mum!”), an elephant, a pig, a moon and an “I” which is, according to him, a ‘worm’.

We make several worms – far too many for my liking – and, given our oven is a) shit, b) missing one rack and c) only comes with a small tray, we have to do the biscuits in several batches. Not all bad – aside from the squillion hours it takes (we also have extremely limited bench space, so can only roll and cut a small amount of dough at a time) – as it affords me the opportunity to determine how thick the dough needs to be

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