Christmas Shipping

During the Christmas season, I try to ship my domestic parcels in the USPS kiosk, and I try to do it late at night when there is no line (they are open 24X7).

I planned to do it on Saturday, but since I didn’t have access to my car, I could no do it, and Vlad came only on Sunday afternoon, and after all the other things I had to address, I when to the post office late at night on Sunday.

Unfortunately, the outcome was expected: by that time, there were so many parcels left in the course of the weekend that the loading door won’t open. I thought that I could at least print the labels, but the kiosk screen was also stuck in the “Please wait” mode!

i did not want to stay in the line on Monday, so I finally learned how to use Click&Ship, and printed all the labels at home, and paid online :). I could even arrange a pickup at home, but I didn’t want to wait for another day, so I drove to the post office to drop them off.

Christmas baking – the second installment
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How Many Things Can Go Wrong In One Day?!

It all happened on Saturday. For a start, I knocked off a cup full of coffee when reaching out for my Karl Fazer Advent calendar. I had to change my jeans and clean the kitchen floor.

Next, I reached out to the plant, which I temporarily moved from the stand to the top of the bookshelf. I move it every Christmas season, each time when I put up a Christmas tree, and move one of the plants stands away. And it was never a problem for the past twenty years. But this Saturday, the pot falls, and the wet soil is everywhere. Let me tell you, it’s not that easy to clean the wet soil from the floor and the walls!

Next, the garage door won’t close and was making all these weird noises. I decided to leave it open, and since Vlad was planning to come the next day, I called him and asked whether he will take a look (he installed this garage opener a while ago).

On my way from the garage to my house, I thought that I should text my neighbor because she will worry when she sees my garage door opened. But it turned out that they returned thirty seconds after I left the parking lot, and they saw my door opened and thought I forgot to close it and tried to close… after which, the door got stuck in the middle, so I could not get the car out!
And that was not it! Next, when I was baking my last batch of sugar cookies, I left the last portion in the oven, which was turned off, but still hot, and the cookies were completely burned. Ok, just ten, but still!

And the very last thing: I need to bake another portion of kolacki, and I accidentally set the oven temperature to 400F instead of 350F! They were not completely ruined, but still got some tan 🙂

Can you imagine that it all happened in one day?!

An Extremely Challenging Weekend

As I am trying to do a half of my Christmas cookies (without any help this year!), whatever is due with the book, house decoration, presents shopping and Christmas cards – and each of these activities is enough to take to whole weekend!

Since it’s me solo, I am doing smaller batches, so do not expect my usual cookie table 🙂

Things Which Made Me Feel Good

My yoga teacher started free meditation sessions on Wednesdays, and this week I tried it for the first time. It felt great; we did a lot of breathing exercises and a long meditation at the end. She also reduced her rate for all the group classes, so that everybody could take as many classes as they can. 

Another good thing was that I’ve experimented with some baking, and things turned to be better than I could even imagine. 

I can hardly call it baking; I used the cinnamon bread for that recipe, and fresh berries and yogurt for toppings (only one of the tiny cakes was topped with the tart cherry jam). But I could not even imagine how good it will taste!

I’ve also experimented with the flake dough; the first one was not so great, but the second one was much better! I am going to repeat over the weekend, and then hopefully will take some pictures. 

Also, it was great to see these signs of spring!

Christmas Eve in Helsinki

One of the craziest things I ever did – the flights both way with two connections, more time in the air than in Helsinki. But if I am supposed to be not just a godmother for Sonia, but a Fairy Godmother for the whole family, I have to measure to these standards!

Flying there:

O’Hare Airport
O’Hare Airport: the best things for Christmas!
I had to explain this Santa that I am going were the REAL Santa lives!
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Outrageous Double Chocolate Cookies

This is an official name of this recipe from Betty Crocker, and the recipe is indeed mind-blowing in terms of how much chocolate you need! Each time when I am preparing to make a double, I am surprised yet another time :).

Since we live in Grandfather Google times and can always ask him, I will spare you from yet another copy of the same recipe. Instead, I will post a couple of pictures my friend Lena made in process of the cookies creation.

The best thing about melted chocolate is that you can lick the pot 🙂
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My Christmas Baking Days

I did very little blogging in the past week because my life took over my virtual reality, and I am trying to catch up now!
The most significant part of my Christmas is baking, and I had a Big Baking Weekend! My friend Lena from Ann Arbor came to visit me, and we spent the weekend like in old times. We did it for so many years before Lena moved away from Palatine, we know each other’s recipes, Lena knows where the things are in my kitchen and how to organize an assembly line.

Here are some more pictures in addition to the last week’s photos.

From left to right: sugar cookies, tea cakes, white chocolate- macadamia, thumbprints.
Second row: chocolate chips, double chocolate,kolacki
Gingerbread and sugar cookies
I can’t make gingerbread cookies, so if Lena is not here, I have none.
But this year she is here!
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