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The Final Week

Can I say that I'm very proud of myself? I think I will do just that because for the first time in many years I'm pretty much on track with my Christmas preparations. It feels good. Don't get me wrong, I've still got plenty to do, but any Christmas that I manage to bake is going to be an excellent one.

The day dawned dreary Saturday morning with rain and chilliness. Every day Bruce has a work schedule and Saturday's are no exception. Thus, he cleaned up the yard and washed both cars regardless of the downpour! I, on the other hand, was lazy, staying in my pj's until lunchtime. After we had our lunch, I got down to business, baking for the next six or so hours. I convinced Bruce to take my picture in action:
Baxter is being Mommy's helper standing at the ready to clean the floor as needed. That is definitely one advantage to having a dog!

Although Nancy sent me a sugar cookie recipe, it called for a few ingredients not in my fridge, thus the internet came to my rescue. Nancy and I discussed using parchment paper on the cookie sheets with me telling her that I have had great success with some awesome cookie sheets Ruth and Pat gave me for Christmas some years ago. I did a little experiment making one sheet with, and one without. The cookies come off beautifully with the paper, however without is nearly as good.

Sugar cookies were first, then on to what my mother always called Russian Tea Cakes. This year I rolled them once warm, and again when they had cooled. I just love the crumbly texture and buttery taste.
Following that I made a recipe that I found in my mom's recipe box because I had the ingredients. Although I thought they were macaroons, they are more like little coconut-filled meringues:
If you've a sweet tooth and like coconut these are your cookies!

While I was working on those sweet little bites, the gingerbread dough was chilling in the fridge awaiting the roll out. Can I just tell you how great having granite counter tops is? Sprinkle a bit of flour on the counter and off you go. I could only find a few cutters so I made all little trees for my first batch. By now Bruce is suggesting I get off my feet, which I did soon thereafter. I told him I was warming up for the big Christmas day get together!

So, although the day outside was grim, I barely noticed amidst the flour, sugar, butter and warm spicy smells in our kitchen.

Sunday, on the other hand, was a different story. Answering truthfully when customers arrived, I said I was miserable. And I was. The weather forecast called for gloom turning to mixed gloom, not all day gloom. Plus the temperature was supposed to get into the middle sixties. Neither of those predictions proved to be accurate. Damp, cold, and gloomy all eight hours. Much to my good fortune, my market neighbor Donna loaned me a giant sweat shirt to wear over my shirt and overshirt. When leaving the house I considered bringing another pair of shoes to replace the Uggs when the day warmed up. Didn't happen. Here's Lake Eola as the day began:
Some would remind me that elsewhere it is like this all the time and freezing cold to boot. So what? I live in Florida for a reason! Surprisingly the few people that braved the weather were there for a reason--to buy. I sold more than I've sold in recent weeks that's for sure. Dana wanted to close the market next Sunday which met with some resistance from some of the vendors, however, I believe good sense prevailed and we will have the day off. 

In just a few short hours Matt and Tom are arriving, or let's hope they do. Chicago's weather is what they termed on as uncomfortable. 28 degrees and snowing sounds more than uncomfortable to me! Plane delays would not be welcome. Matt was thrilled that they left London before the major snow storm of this past weekend which left thousands and thousands of people stranded at both Heathrow and Gatwick airports. As they say, timing is everything.
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