December 18, 2004

Shopping is fun again!

With an echo up the stairs of "Anyone home?" I gave the affirmative.

"Do you want to go shopping?" my mom yelled up the stairs.

"Okay, anything to get out of this house." I said.

After just one day of my planner freedom, filled with cleaning and other constructive tasks (I can't seem to just rest anywhere), it was time to get out.

With that, we were off in my car to Gabes. While I do think that I gave her some mild heart attack when I merged into traffic, we made it to the store in record time. hehe

Now to get down to business...

I have compiled a Christmas list, which I hate to do. I look like an ungrateful wench succumbing to the commercialization of the holiday season, but I have to get some things like pencils and binders, and maybe a new hat-- The shopping scene is inevitable, well unless you are Amish, which doesn't really sound bad. I like gifts that are made especially for you, anyway.

We shop a little differently than most families, or at least I think so. A few Christmases ago, we learned that each person in the family, to really have a merry Christmas, should pick out their gifts on their own. This realization occurred with a pack of playing cards being a major gift. Kudos to the Dollar Store for their playing card prowess, but this just didn't work for me.

The gift faux pas has turned into the running joke at my house. My mom just didn't know what to get me... But now we have incentive into the Christmas spirit and shop, shop, shop. Beware the jumbo pack of playing cards!!

So, now in an effort to get the good gifts of Christmas that we will all enjoy, we shop on our own, and the real giving is in wrapping the gifts. Our one rule is that no one can wrap their own gifts.

The best part of Christmas now is wondering what gift is encased in what wrapping. Like, "Can my dad fit a pea coat into a shoe box?" Or, "How how many layers of tissue do we have to go to get to that ring?" Unwrapping is the best. This year we will be unwrapping Christmas Eve because my mom has to work Christmas morning.

Christmas Eve is the biggest night though. We do everything fun then, anyway. I am making dinner this yeah. Anyone know any good spices I could include for my speghetti and meatballs? Or should I try alfredo? Hmm. Or should I get really festive and try a turkey? GRANDMA HELP!

Anyway, back to Mom and me on a Friday night. After Gabes we headed to the mall. Unfortunately she had some cappuchino, and her shopping frenzy was heightened by caffeine. Her eyes kept darting from store to store, item to item. I've seen the same look on a deer I almost hit. Fear of not fulfilling destiny: crossing the road, making everyone's Christmas dreams come true.

I give her credit, though. Christmas is wonderful at our house. After the hectic months preceeding Christmas, all I really want is some hot cocoa, mountains of marshmellows, some Burl Ives records, and my family reading the manger scene from the Bible. I have not been let down yet.

Togetherness is rather illusive with my family. With four cars constantly on the road, eating at different times, and coming in at all hours of the night, our home is hotel-like, complete with a peppermint patty on your pillow. No, just in the candy jar in the kitchen. ;-) This is the time for us to come back together for real, and we do. Though we do have name brand products decorating the dinner table, that is about as far as commercialization goes that night. We also watch The Grinch and Charlie Brown when we can. Oh, yeah, and laugh at Alfie in A Christmas Story.

Last night, walking with my mom into the mall, while I did feel a pang of envy at the couples, I realized that there is a time for everything, and this night was for my mom and I to spread a little Christmas cheer, albeit a little frenzied.

But it was worth it. After a lengthy conversation about the girth of women's calves, she bought a pair of black boots. While I am a firm believer in not making large purchases with someone along, we did the little gifts this trip.

Next week we tackle the big stuff...

Posted by Amanda Cochran at December 18, 2004 10:41 AM

I have an awesome recipe for spinach alfredo lasagne if you need to feed like 8 people :-) And I like your approach to Christmas shopping... I would have a blast in Linens 'N Things.

Posted by: Donna at December 18, 2004 11:30 PM

I can't wait until Christmas!!!!! he he he! I was just shopping today at a mall and this evening at my local shops!!! It's so fun! I have a BUNCH of easy good recipes... Just let me know what you want...

-The "BEST (and easiest) ROAST IN THE WORLD" cooked in a crock pot.

-EASY chicken pot pie.

-Mexican Christmas Eve?? That's VERY EASY and Chi Chi's sells thier corn mix that is OUT OF THIS WORLD... That would also tie in your family's recent trip to Mexico... ;-)

Well you get the point... I am learning and excited to share all that I know!

I guess I will see you at Christmas!! Have a great week and enjoy your time off!!!

Posted by: Amy at December 18, 2004 11:38 PM

Amanda--Please be careful what you are feeding my baby boy.

I really do not think you should start with turkey, Wwhen I was first married I had chicken fixed for company. Well when we cut into it the blood ran out of it I guess I thought 15 minutes was a long time. That was before microwaves. Now I know what all can be done with the trusty microwave.

Posted by: grammy at December 20, 2004 8:05 PM

Um, Velveeta shells and cheese is always good if you ask me...

But for the more domestic creatures out there, perhaps a good meat-and-potatoes dinner would do the trick. Mashed potatoes are the BEST (in my humble opinion) and many, many meats can be matched with gravies for delicious dinners. I can give you my grandma's recipe for what we call "carrot gravy" in my family if you're interested. Or I suggest ham. Ham is so good, and it's always fabulous for Christmas.

I'm learning more about cooking. I'm just not so wonderful at it yet. (We're only 19--we have time!)

Posted by: Karissa at December 21, 2004 5:35 PM

I am making chicken parmesan and cream puffs. Thank you Mount Pleasant Library staff for your assistance, and the cookbooks. :-)

Posted by: Amanda at December 21, 2004 6:39 PM

You know what I am in the mood for? (Ha ha, keep the jokes to yourself)... no seriously, that homemade candy, which is hard, comes in different flavors from fruity to spicey, and has powdered sugar on it? MMM, MMM, GOOD!

Posted by: Firefighter Chica at December 22, 2004 10:43 AM

Well that sounds good! :-) I can't wait to see you and for us to open presents!!! :-) HE HE HE! Good luck!

Posted by: Amy at December 22, 2004 2:13 PM

Thanks, Amy. I did a batch today with Grandma U. officiating the event. My mom and sis ate them without snickering so I guess I can cook and bake!

I guess I am not permanently scarred from my first Easy-Bake oven experience. :-)

Posted by: Amanda at December 22, 2004 4:38 PM

You had an Easy-Bake Oven? I never did. I just went straight for the big-time... maybe that's where I went wrong in this culinary world.

If the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, thank God the taste buds don't enter into that cliche... Even though, technically, you have to put 'em in there for any of that to make sense, so I'm toast. :-0

Posted by: Karissa at December 25, 2004 10:50 AM
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