Snow Day Bake-a-palooza

In case you hadn't noticed, we got shellacked by an ice storm this weekend. Friday was bad enough that we aborted a trip to Wal-mart after it took half an hour to go four blocks.

We ventured out on Saturday, as I had a signing and Boy had a job interview. The interview went okay, but the signing was canceled two hours in due to encroaching bad weather. Then church was canceled for Sunday, so we snuggled in for the remainder of the weekend.

That means baking!

Our annual tradition of gingerbread cookies incorporates Man and Boy playing with the cookie cutters. My collection is a mix of my own acquisitions, my mother's donations from three decades ago, and her own grandmother's hand-me-downs that could be a century old by now. One of them always sculpts something unusual - this year, Boy created a snowman, held together by icing.

Boy also demonstrated a natural talent for decoration, and I believe I may retire permanently. I have zero skill with the icing bag, and Jim's creations always look scary.

The current yield includes ginger snaps, cinnamon pecans, the gingerbread cutouts, death by chocolate (mint) cookies, sugared vanilla cookies, and turtles.

The pecans, sadly, were a misfire. I've never done them before, and while I know I followed the recipe to the letter,  I ended up with a lot of extra hardened goop. An extra cup of pecans in the mixture, perhaps, or reducing the various mixture ingredients. Or maybe I just need a new recipe. Pecans are way too expensive to waste! Fortunately, the menfolk will eat anything except tomatoes.

Still pending: many loaves of cranberry nut bread and banana bread, plus something for the SPJ holiday happy hour on Tuesday and some goodies for Jim's night crew on Thursday. I might need to make more turtles and/or sugar cookies. And actually get the tins out in time. Heh.

And now begins the annual picketing: "Why can't we eat the cookies?" I see the gingersnaps have been somewhat reduced when I wasn't looking. I suspect shenanigans.

In the meantime, the holiday movie marathon has begun. So far: Miracle on 34th Street, Scrooged, While You Were Sleeping, A Christmas Carol (George C. Scott), The Family Man, The Muppet Christmas Carol, and A Christmas Story. As I write this, we're on The Bishop's Wife, one of my dad's favorites that was a regular part of our family's traditions each Christmas.

I am not a huge fan of The Family Man; I found it diverting but not really essential, but Boy loves it. Boy protested While You Were Sleeping, but changed his mind once he actually saw it.

Still pending: the holy trinity of Rudolph, Frosty and the Grinch; A Charlie Brown Christmas, the Patrick Stewart Christmas Carol, and my personal favorite, It's a Wonderful Life.

On Facebook, I'm now up to more than 50 votes on the best version of A Christmas Carol. I'd like the thank everyone in advance for giving me my Christmas column...