Wow, I am a well-loved person on the internets! Actually, my kids are well-loved. Heh. I’m just the addressee on the packaging.
Over the weekend, I received the coolest package from South Africa! Thank you so much, Sleepyjane! I had sent her some CDs of the Dresden Dolls (highly recommend, by the way), and she reciprocated by sending me an entire box of cool stuff. There was an outfit for Mary Ellen, a WALL-E puzzle and activity book for Grace, and a few CDs and some rooibos tea for me. Awesome! I have to admit to being fascinated by the adverstisements she stuck in as padding. I had to look up the rand to dollar conversion to see how much things cost in South Africa. I was so shocked to see CDs going for 149.99, until I realized that was just $14.99.
As if that wasn’t cool enough, today another package arrived addressed to Grace! This one was from everyone’s favorite chocolate lover, who sent the most beautifully festive head gear!
It arrived just in time for her to wear it to her preschool holiday party. She got so many compliments on it too. She wanted to wear it to bed, but I had to put my foot down. To avoid a meltdown, I promised her she can wear it tomorrow — and I am sure she will not take it off her head all day.
Today the sun came out! I was so excited. But damn, was it cold! Brrrrr!! The non-powered door on the minivan froze shut again, twice. Fortunately, I know how to unstick it. It involves me crawling over Grace to Mary Ellen’s side of the van and pushing my ample derriere against the door till it pops open. Not very graceful, but it works! This time I had Kurt’s assistance, so that helped.
The snow had started to melt yesterday since the temps were in the mid 30s. This morning, though sunny, was frigidly cold. It barely got out of the teens! Whatever had started to melt had frozen over again, making for rather dangerous travel where the snow hadn’t been properly cleared. Luckily, we had just a few errands to run that kept us rather close to home. It was the first time I’d left the house since Thursday!
Brrrr! It was COLD!
First on the agenda was the commissary. It’s usually closed on Mondays, but it was open today since they’re closing both Thursday and Friday for the holiday. I guess no one knew it’d be open because it was dead in there. Yay! It’s usually insanely busy this close to a holiday, so we were extremely lucky to miss the rush. Of course, they didn’t have everything I needed, but that was easily fixed with a quick trip to Stop N’ Shop, where I ran into one of my friends. I picked up a fresh turkey breast for Christmas dinner (we’re having a stuffed turkey breast) for a good price, which seriously made me happy. And now I have all the food I need for when my parents come to visit!
I also stopped by the package store to load up on provisions. What’s a holiday without lots of alcohol to get you through enforced closeness with your family? Well, only some of the wine I bought is to drink. The rest is for cooking, of course!
Here’s a little tip for you. What do you cook with when a recipe calls for wine, but you’re not really a wine drinker? You don’t want to spend $10 on a bottle of wine when it’s just going to go bad, right? Don’t even think of buy that “cooking wine” dreck. Seriously. Put it back on the shelf. Step away.
There you go.
Now what do you do? You head over to your local liquor store (or grocery store, if you’re lucky enough to live in a state where alcohol can be purchased in the groceries. I was so confused when we moved here and couldn’t even find beer at the grocery! Washington sells wine and beer, Virginia sells at least beer, and Arizona will sell you a bottle of vodka to go with your chips n’ dip if you so choose. But then again, Arizona also has drive-through liquor stores, which cracks me up) and into the wine department. There you will find mini bottles of wine. A four-pack of these bottles is the same as a normal bottle of wine, and each bottle is about six ounces each (187mL, to be precise). I can buy a four-pack for $6 at the package store, and they’re so handy to have. I can open one for a recipe, and if I don’t use the rest of it right away, I don’t feel nearly as guilty checking the rest of the mini-bottle as I do when I chuck out a $8 bottle of wine out of which I’d only used a half-cup. Your recipes will thank you if you use drinking wine, instead of cooking wine. Seriously.
Stay warm and dry!