Friday, January 2, 2009

Crafty Holidays

Compared to many mommies I know, I'm hardly a crafty one, but I really went overboard for the holidays in 2008. I always drive myself crazy with projects at the end of the year and this year, was no exception. Instead I went exceptionally overboard. It's a wonder I made it to 2009 with any brains left at all.

It all started with the chocolates...I've made truffles every year for the past few years. They look really impressive, despite being pretty easy and they make great gifts for the teachers. Some cute little boxes from Michaels and a little menu of all the goodies inside, all tied with a festive bow. I don't know if the product really measures up to its appearance. I try not to eat many out of self preservation. But they sure look nice!Then came the cookies. I always make a whole bunch of cookies and have fun letting the kids decorate them with me. This year, I offered to take cookies to the staff appreciation luncheon at Smunch's school, so that put a little more pressure on. Still, I made far fewer cookies than I've made any other year. I just had too much other stuff going on. Just sugar cookies, gingerbread, white chocolate raspberry bars and something my family calls Graham Sensations.

I found a really fantastic gingerbread recipe this year and it got all kinds of raves. Too bad it was such a pain in the rear to deal with! And I didn't like how the cookies held up, despite having lots of flavor and remaining moist and chewy. Still, they were cute when they were all dressed up.I brought this platter of cookies to the luncheon, leaving precious few for my neighbors, who probably expect cookies from us by now.As happy as I was with my little tray of cookies, I felt really bad when the other mom who brought cookies indicated that she thought hers just looked too ugly next to mine. I bet they were just as tasty and she didn't spend her whole evening decorating. In some ways, her cookies were almost certainly the superior product.

Then came the class gift. In a moment of supreme volunteerism, I signed up to be the head room mom for Smunch's classroom. I like it. I feel like I'm "in the know". But it's a lot of work. I won't be doing it next year, I'm pretty sure, but then I've got another opportunity with an incoming kindergartner in Mam. I really like Smunch's teacher, so this isn't the biggest chore I've ever had. I'm just not super at delegating. Anyway, I digress. As room mom, I'm responsible for the class gift for the holidays and at the end of the year. I made things super easy for myself by sending the teacher a questionnaire at the beginning of the year, asking her about all of her favorite things...stores, restaurants, hobbies, etc. So I collected the money and set out to buy her a few gift cards for her favorite places. Naturally, I couldn't let this get by me in an uncrafty sort of way. I got a cute little rosemary bush at OSH, dark chocolates, gift cards to Macy's, Starbucks, iTunes, Target and her favorite Mediterranean restaurant. I added a bow. It turned out like this:It was a blast putting this together and seeing it turn out pretty well, but as you'd imagine, my head was swimming in "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens..." and I couldn't let that little opportunity pass me by. Seriously. How could I not find a way to put this creation in a brown paper package tied up with string?? Am I the only one who would see this as an imperative?To cap that whole little theme off, it turns out The Sound of Music is actually another one of Smunch's teacher's favorite things...but I didn't know that until after the gift presentation.

Last, but not least, I had this brilliant idea that I could get more moms to volunteer to help out at the annual classroom gingerbread house-making activity if I could make the younger siblings feel welcome. So, I offered to put together a few extra houses for the little kids (including Mam) to decorate. Because, you know, I was already making all the icing for the classroom anyway. What's a few extra houses, right?Turns out, it's really not that hard to make little gingerbread houses when you're not trying to do it with a bunch of first graders. I put together four tidy little extras in no time. But the last minute the teacher also told me she wanted all the candy I'd solicited from other parents to be sorted into one bag per student. Ack! Good thing it wasn't like the holidays were coming or anything!Fortunately, the big kids had a great time decorating the houses they'd made that morning...and the little kids were thrilled to join in. Even the one little sibling who showed up unannounced had his own house to decorate. It was sugary and messy, but such a success!


Queen Bee said...

What beautiful cookies! And gifts! And everything! You're fantastic. "Not as crafty..." Are you kidding? I shall call you Martha. :o)

Judy Stohl said...

I agree you are Martha - so talented. I love reading your blog and keeping in touch that way. We miss you! Carter looked at Gavin in his Scout uniform and gave a little sigh. Gavin is a great friend.

Cammi said...

HOLY COW! You are awesome. Those cookies are amazing! I LOVE THEM! I think I will place an order for those at the next party I have at home. You really should start a business. You could make gazillions off your cakes and other crafty goodness. Love the gift presentation - those kind of things make me feel so happy! My mom thinks I'm a crazy lady about the time/energy I put into finding JUST THE RIGHT RIBBON for something - but it just has to be right, you know? I'm thinking you can relate! Good job on all your room mom things - you are PERFECT for that job! So willing to go the extra mile to make everything special for the kids!