We’re heading to Mexico today, and we’ll be spending a week in El Paso visiting our friends there, and then a week in Acapulco, tanking up with sun and delicious food. In all we’ll be taking 8 flights, with 2 children, 2 children’s car seats, 2 huge suitcases (for all the shopping and all), and 2 backpacks. Yeah, wish us luck.
Posted by sol in prattle
Merry Christmas everyone!
Look what I got in the mail yesterday! Alexis sent me this wonderful package from NY! I’m loving the magazines, although a teething miserable baby is preventing me from devouring them. Thank you very much A. you made my day!
It all started off quite well. Pizza and beer. Lots of candy and icing, too.
On your marks….
The whole task proved a bit overwhelming, especially for my perfectionist tendencies.
The competition was clearly in the lead…
The gingerbread men got nervous… and it all went downhill from there. Gunshots were involved.
Some succumbed to desperation, and were lucky to find kitchen twine at hand.
pretty much like last year’s, but oh well.
UPDATE: (CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FINISHED HOUSE! TOO COOL!!!!)
UPDATE 2: (CLICK HERE TO SEE A WHOLE GINGERBREAD TOWN!!!!)
I went with caramel, eyeballed caramel: around one cup of sugar, the juice of half a lemon, a little bit of water I’d say less than 1/4 cup. It worked great, but it was a bit messy. The good part is that it becomes rock solid almost instantly, so you don’t need any sort of scaffolding to keep the thing up.
Nice, albeit a bit crooked.
there! Just 10 minutes, start to finish, and very few minor burns….
The ones on the left are for Santiago, the rest are for Damiano.
Santiago is getting a plush donkey with music box, a tractor which is a gift from my mom, and a Muji puzzle. The chocolate santa and coins will be in his stocking but he will not be seeing any of it.
Damiano is getting: two books, one of which has puzzles in it and will be crucial in the 10 flights we’ll be taking to go to Mexico, El Paso and Acapulco. A bouncy thingy, a fire engine, a lego mat, a police car, and the sponge capsule thingies.
Santa will bring a Lego train and extra tracks. I can’t wait
Today I finally baked the gingerbread house!
Long are the days when I could tackle a project peacefully, taking my time. I prepared the dough in the morning while Santiago napped and Damiano was in preschool, baked it when Damiano napped and Michele could play with Santiago.
The project will come in three posts: the baking, i.e. this one, the assembling, and the decorating match, when Katie and Gerti will come over with their own building and basically the couple who manages not to gorge on m&m’s will win.
The recipe for the dough is this one:though I made 3/4 of it and still used two eggs. Also, I didn’t have any spices. Or rather, I couldn’t be bothered to grate 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, powder the cloves, etc. So I used a pot of chai masala mix that I had lying there, and also a packet of powdered cinnamon.
Our house isn’t going to be eaten, and its sole purpose is to give our flat a lovely christmassy scent, besides being pretty and all. That’s why I overloaded it with spices. Ah because I hate the taste of gingerbread, it makes awesome soap.
I’ve never seen shortening in Europe, thank god, or rather, I’d never looked. I used Margarine Schmalz, I figured it was the same thing, and it is indeed. It’s absolutely disgusting. But I must admit, it gave the cookie a very nice crunch. But again, I’d rather eat rusty nails.
I used Martha Stewart’s Swedish Gingerbread house template. Very pretty. i messed up and opened the door on the side, instead of the front. Victorian house nazis, forgive me.
I truly enjoyed cutting out windows and adding details. Here:
Textured bricks over door and windows.
The door is a tad overcooked. Oh well…
Lattice on the roof.
I love these little windows.
A couple of squatters, some trees, and the chimney.
My two sons have graced me with the two most dissimilar motherhood experiences. (I loved this essay from Cristin, because it echoes my own feelings towards D. and S. and her writing is excellent.)
The most evident difference between my boys is of course, their size. And with that, their attitude towards eating.
Damiano made me eat humble pie after I used to mock parents who fretted over their kids eating too little. Now I know it is horrible. It’s not the thought of your child starving himself to death. Not only that. It’s the dread of them not having enough vitamins to see well, calcium to grow well, fat to build their brains. It is the fear of them living on milk bottles till they’re 20, the fear of them being mocked at school: the midget kid. All of that and more that I refuse to think of now. The kid now eats without fussing much as long as we keep him entertained or distracted.
Santiago, well. See for yourselves. He turned 7 months today, and he celebrated by making love to a steak.
Today was a fine day. After 6 weeks of stay with us, our au-pair Alejandra left us and we said goodbye with a Pantagruelian lunch of fondue bourguignonne, amazing roast potatoes*, a myriad of sauces and salads. We also had tarte tatin for dessert, and then I had to drive Alejandra to the train station. It was nice having her over, it did us a world of good as a family even if it was hard at times, and it’s great to have our house back for ourselves.
*How to make perfect roast potatoes: cut into big cubes, plunk them in pot of boiling water, let boil for 2 minutes, drain them, put them back in the pot, shake the pot with violence so that they bruise a bit, season with coarse salt and spices, transfer to a baking dish and place in hot oven (210°C) and set it to auto-roast. amen.