December 3, 2017

It's the most busiest time of the year...

I swear this is the first time that I've actually sat down today - not that I'm complaining...much.  I DO love Christmas.

But I love it even more once I'm on vacation; or as The Husband calls it, my sabbatical.  As most of you know, I hoard most of my vacation time to take at the end of the year.  It all started when Man-Child was tiny - I hoarded it mainly for random snow days back then.  Now, I squirrel those precious vacation days away and take a huge chunk of December off.

This year, I have been extra miserly with my vacation time, because it appears my last "official" day at the office will be this coming Friday.  And I can't wait.

This weekend has been an extra busy one.  I had two main goals this weekend.  To get a tree and to make a bunch of treats as we are having Holiday Treats at work tomorrow - which if the turn out is as great as last year it will morph into Holiday Treats week.

When making treats, I always make far too much - but this time it's not my fault.  I kept getting requests.  "Oh, can you make that cheese spread again?  I LOVED it." "I would die happy if you could make those Oreo truffles again." "You will be making that peanut butter fudge, won't you?" "Almond bark, please?"

And, I obliged.  And spent all day Saturday making candy.  I refrained from making spritz cookies, only because I had made them the week before when I was testing my new cookie press.  These people I work with are spoiled, spoiled, spoiled.  I hope they appreciate me.

Today found us up and out early.  We headed out to Garden Ridge At Home (whatever, I still maintain that is a stupid name for a store) as we had decided to go with a pre-lit artificial tree this year.  Years ago, we had an artificial tree when an ice storm ruined all the real trees and loved it.  We tossed that tree when we moved into the condo a few years ago because the lights  had quit working and it was looking quite ratty.  Since then, we've gone back to real trees.  Until now.  Artificial trees are just so much easier.  And the older I get, the easier I want my life to be.

The tree  is up - kind of.  It's standing the foyer but it's not fluffed or decorated or even lit.  The chair needs to be moved first so the tree can move into it's proper position and other things took precedence.

Like decorating the front porch.  And driving the majority of those treats to work so I won't have to schlep them all at once tomorrow. And wrapping the gifts I have bought so far.  Which led to this tweet earlier...

And it's true.  As I did last year, the majority of presents will be wrapped in white paper with colorful ribbons.  Except for those that must be shipped.  I usually don't put ribbon on those presents because they just get crushed in shipping.  So for those presents, I use colorful paper.  So I grabbed some paper from my stash and set to wrapping - all the while thinking, "Gee, I remember using this paper when Man-Child was small."  And right about the time I was cutting the paper, I realized.  This was cheap, poorly made paper that ripped without provocation - which explained why this paper had been around so long.  I promptly trashed all of it.  Wasteful? Yes.  But it will save me headaches next year.

All this to say - I've been a tad busy.  In between treat making, tree buying, porch decorating, gift wrapping, paper trashing, treat delivery I've also had to deal with the laundry - because oh my God, laundry never stops.  Speaking of laundry, I bought myself this sign.

When The Husband saw it he laughed.  And then said, "Actually, you have a laundry closet, not a room.  And who's going to see it?"  ME.  I will see it.  And it will make me smile.  And eventually, I'll get around to making it hang straight.

And since it appears, I've never posted either the cheese spread recipe or the almond bark recipe, here you go.  I have absolutely no idea where they originated from - but it certainly wasn't my ideas - I do know they were pre-Internet days though - so apparently, they've stood the test of time.

Almond Bark

6 squares (1 pkg) semi-sweet chocolate
6 squares (1 pkg) white chocolate
1 cup toasted almonds

Microwave chocolates in separate bowls on high for 2 minutes or until almost melted, be sure to check often - you don't want to burn the chocolate!  Be sure to keep checking and stirring until completely melted. Stir half the almonds into the semi-sweet and half into the white.  Alternately spoons melted chocolates onto a wax paper-lined cookie sheet.  Swirl chocolates together with a knife to marbelize.  Refrigerate one hour or until firm.  Break into pieces.  Share.  Everyone will think you are a genius...I promise.

Vermont Chedder Spread

1 (3 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups coarsely grated sharp white cheddar
3 tsbs chopped fresh chives
1/2 tsp dried mustard
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Mix cream cheese and butter till blended.  Add everything else and beat till fluffy.  Refrigerate.  Use to spread on bread, crackers, etc.

The perfect savory treat to counter-act the sweet.  Generally, I will also stuff some Pillsbury french bread rolls into some old Pampered Chef bread tubes to go along with the cheese spread.

So with all that done, and a post posted, I imagine that darn tree will stand in the foyer until next weekend.  Maybe then, I'll have the energy to decorate it.


  1. Oh Yum ... I will have to try some of your recipes! It's funny, I LOVE to cook but do NOT like to bake (too much precision is needed); however, you've inspired me to do some baking.

    Also, I love real trees, but we like to put ours up early and living in the south that just doesn't work ... by Christmas it's a fire hazard! So a few years ago we purchased a beautiful 9-ft tree and haven't looked back.

    And LOVED your PSA ... so true! This year I'm using brown package paper and simple bows.

    Have a great Monday!

  2. Both of these sound scrumptious! And boy have you been busy. I'm sure they appreciate you at work, Gigi. And I think I'll have to try that cheddar spread. All the ingredients sound wonderful. :-)

  3. Great recipes! I am a real tree person myself. Coach has to deal with the hauling of the tree into the house and tying it to the car, etc. He is not a fan and every year he begs me to cave in and get a fake. I can't do it. Hey, I don't ask for much around here. I'm so envious of your lengthy time off. ENJOY! With the house still under construction, I haven't gotten any decorations out - but since the weather has been so warm I asked the kids to put up the lights for Coach. Um, they never plugged them in until after they hung them. The lights over the garage don't work. Bummer.

  4. That cheese spread sounds easy and yummy - I might just try making it. It's got to be better than the Ball O' Vomit Larry brought home from the store one year.

  5. I wish I could convince my husband that we need to go back to artificial trees. The real ones are a huge hassle but I guess as long as the kids and my husband want a live tree, a live tree it is!

    And treats?! They are the only thing I miss about working. :)