Sunday, November 21, 2010

All Aboard!

Lately, I feel like I am on a fast moving holiday train. A bullet, that is rushing toward the new year. So much to do as the days fly rapidly outside my window. I have been buzzing around my kitchen, nonstop since Halloween. The picture above says it all. It is not even Thanksgiving yet and I am already prepping for Hanukkah and Christmas. My daughter's school has had two bake sales in the past month. The first of which, I cooked SEVEN different items for. The school set a record in sales, earning over $800. There was another one this weekend and I decided to only make two items. (Slacker, I know.)

My house has turned into a round the clock bakery. I asked my Dad what my Step Mother wants for her birthday and he said, "Oh, just make her one of your chocolate goodies." Then the school asked for volunteers to make goodies for the all school Thanksgiving feast. I am a sucker, I volunteered. Naturally, my mom is also depending on me to help her prepare my family's Thanksgiving dinner. We have a large family and my Mom's house is the center of our universe on what has become my very favorite holiday. So I grab some comfortable shoes, a Cafe Mexicano from my favorite cafe and a good bottle of wine as I roll my sleeves up and get busy.

It is not all baking, too. My daughter attends a Jewish school and they are putting on their annual Hanukkah pageant. An e-mail went out asking for parents to help making costumes and decorating the sets. So naturally, I volunteered. (One day, very soon my husband will surely have me committed.)

Oh, and did I mention our holiday party, my daughter's performance in "Where the Wild Thing's Are", and the biggest of all celebrations... Christmas? This is the point where I should ask Calgon to take me away.

This all brings me endless amounts of joy and yes, there may be dark puffy bags under my eyes but gosh darn it... it is worth it. The funny thing is that I know that there are so many other people out there, just like me. Trying to do all that they can to make their holidays spectacular. To me, it means so much when people give their time and make things themselves. It is what the holidays are all about. And I feel quite blessed to have a home over my head, healthy children and an abundance of love in my life. Lots to celebrate!

This is the time of year that I find myself thinking a lot about my Grandmother, Mary. She was an absolute inspiration. She literally prepared for Christmas, year round. She made doll ornaments from clothespins and crocheted snowflakes, as she sat in her chair each night. (This, after raising four kids, maintaining a spotless household and making some of the best food anyone has ever tasted). When Christmas arrived I was thrilled to run into their warm home in the mountains where stacks of delicious goodies awaited me. It was a child's dream come true. Everything was perfect, scrumptious and seemingly effortless. It all came from her heart. If there is anything that I wish to give to my family, it is that. Lord, how I miss that beautiful woman.

I also miss my strong, warm Grandfather who was the ultimate host. He lived for these types of celebrations. If we had ham, he'd make sure that there were at least 4 different types of mustards. It was also his job to make sure everyone had a drink in hand, at all times. He always had a great story to tell; I hung on his every word.


I am the epitome of a holiday softy. A total sap. But something tells me that by the time New Year's rolls around this year, I will be ready for it.

Oh, and I almost forgot... I just got called back to work. I start prepping the sets for Hell's Kitchen AND MasterChef in a week. Better drink more of that coffee!

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