We had a lovely local Thanksgiving, then the following weekend we were both out of town (me in San Antonio for the marathon, husband in Pittsburgh visiting the 'rentals), and then there was this past weekend -- essentially the only "holiday prep" weekend available. Next weekend we'll be in Milwaukee and there will be time to wrap the things I shipped up there and do shopping for a couple more items, and then we'll drive up north on Monday for the rest of the week.
But only one weekend in town to do all of my "big four" holiday tasks -- baking, cards, shopping and wrapping.
Most the shopping was done online already, so it's pretty easy to check that item off the list -- although of course the few things that remain to be bought really need to be done ASAP.
I did manage to wrap the only gifts that really needed to be wrapped (my husband's, the others will be given after we come back to Texas and therefore can be wrapped later, or will be going on the plane and don't necessarily need to be wrapped now).
As for cards, I managed to address envelopes to everyone who sent us a card last year and a few others. I'd still like to do cards to everyone else we usually send them to -- but that entails buying more cards. I still need to write out all the cards (I've always been one to write some kind of note, I honestly don't like getting the "envelope stuffed" ones that much), and put on return labels and stamps, plus I need to make labels for the backs of our photos that we enclose in most cards. Yow. But really, I could mail cards from Milwaukee and it wouldn't be the end of the world.
Baking is done. The one thing that absolutely couldn't wait, didn't. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to divide up the cookies and put them on plates/platters for distribution, but that will have to happen tonight (since I want to give the 4 work plates of cookies while they're fresh, plus there's 1 running friend on the calendar tomorrow, and another holiday party tomorrow night to which we bring a plate).
8 kinds of cookies. This morning at boot camp, Megan asked me how many of those I ate -- I concluded 10, but I might have been slightly underestimating. But they all met my stamp of approval.
The sad part of baking was that this year, it was largely a solo endeavor. My husband helped with the three that really needed it -- the kind that needed decorating, the kind that needed "urgent" work (quickly shoving marshmallows on top while they're partially baked), and the kind that are best done by fingers with very low heat sensitivity (arranging the wreaths, made from corn flakes, marshmallows and butter). But for the other 5, I was 100% on my own. Usually my next door neighbor comes over and we bake as a team, but she's in Italy all month! Next year...
Below: salted caramel cookies, oatmeal/white choc/cranberry, and brandy/white choc/cranberry:
Below, same but with the mint swirls and the decorated shortbreads (already in a bag):
Below are the no-bake wreaths:
And with the addition below of the hot chocolate cookies:
And a poorly lit picture of this year's experiment, peppermint meringues: