Those were actually two separate things, the kids baking and I losing sleep. Unrelated.
Last week I mentioned that we were getting a guest. A cousin came up for a conference and then spent a few days with us. She is not much older than me really, but when you're kids, the age difference feels huge. I think she finished her first degree while I was still in junior high. That meant that even though we spent a lot of time together as families, I was playing barbies while she talked to the adults. Now there is a geographic distance between us, but the age difference has shrunk considerably. Spending any time at all worrying about what we'd talk about or do was time wasted.
What we didn't do much was sleep. We talked until the wee hours of the morning and it was great.
And I did get some of the prep work done, but not all of it and it didn't matter one bit. The hot water tank was installed just hours before she came, meaning that all cleaning with water was done in a rush after that, or put off entirely. The recycling was taken away by the city, the garbage didn't quite make it. Laundry was washed, but there wasn't time for line drying in the basement so I had to use the dryer.
I'm hoping that her memories of the trip are not that there was dust on the mantle, but that we had a good time getting to know each other. (If you're reading this, thanks for coming and staying with us. Make sure you do it again before too much time passes.)
Now that I've put cleaning back on the back burner where it belongs, I've been baking up a storm with help from the girls. It started with a desire to thank our neighbours for shoveling our walks and being great company over the fence. Now I've got four recipes done and enough to fill a few cookie tins.
Want a good sugar cookie recipe? This is from Julie van Rosendaal again. I'm referring to her blog and her cookbook a lot lately. I've tried a few other recipes and sometimes they taste like dry flour and need the icing to make them edible, and often the ones that taste good don't roll out easily. These are tasty and good for rolling. Skip the nuts if you're giving to unknowns or people with allergies.
On a similar topic, the kids have actually been helping in the kitchen more. They do the dishes after supper most nights and they like helping with baking. With a challenge on the Aussie forum to return to the practical useage of aprons, I made this for Beth a couple of months ago already.
It's unlike me to get a jump on Christmas in October, but a challenge is a challenge. I noticed the challenge a bit late and only had a week to think about it and make this.
The interesting thing about blog deadlines is that they aren't real deadlines. No one is marking us. Nothing else depends on us for meeting the deadline. You can be late and no one will yell at you or look at you with disapproval.
Yet I took it on as if it mattered. These unknown, far away women were depending on me for final results. It was a great way to force me to get something done and out of the way.
I didn't have a pattern and just used some pretty fabric that had been given to me last year. There was enough to make a girl's dress, but Beth and Laura are getting too old and "cool" to wear something so frou-frou out of the house now. A kitchen is a lovely place to wear it and I hope she does.