Friday, December 17, 2010

Dear Mama Pea . . .

I write notes to myself. (And it's a good thing, too, because otherwise I would forget a lot of stuff.)

Each year I write on a 4" x 6" index card the specific Christmas cookies and candies I made for that year. I also note how many boxes/plates of goodies I gave away that year. When I pulled out the card from last year, down on the bottom below the list of cookies and candies I made last holiday season was a notation written in bright green ink. It said:

NOTE: NEVER AGAIN! I think I baked for two whole weeks --- and did NOT enjoy it. Need new plan for next year.

Here I am, one week before Christmas, and I have not baked one single goodie for the holiday season. (I think I done burned myself out last year.)

Instead of my usual cookie/candy assortment, this year I'm giving jars of strawberry jam I made this summer. (Heaven knows, I had enough strawberries to produce some extra jam!)

I got some of them ready this morning. The jars might not look as spectacular as a colorful assortment of goodies, but I hope people will appreciate and savor the homemade jam while spreading some of it on a slice of toast some cold, snowy morning.

I'm also going to make big bunches of Caramel Corn to fill these tins to give with the jam. A bit of work, yes, but not nearly as much as making thirty-six (I'm kidding) different kinds of cookies.

Note to Myself: Good job, Mama Pea. It feels better already!


27 comments:

The Apple Pie Gal said...

I think they look wonderful! And ya think?? Hello, you had enough strawberries for the next 20 Christmases! I am sure all your friends will more than appreciate the yummies!

Don't feel bad either! I have not made one -not one- single cookie or candy yet! And don't think I'm gonna either!

Mama Pea said...

APG - YAYYY! Non-bakers unite!!

P.S. Hope your day is better now. Sometimes it just takes time.

Erin said...

I'm laughing so hard because as soon as I started to read about your "card" I knew! I STILL remember all that baking you did last year - thanks to you I was pretty inspired and baked a zillion things too, I felt like I was covered in flour and butter for 3 weeks straight! It helped that I actually had a huge Christmas party for all the military left here over the holidays, it all got eaten!

Jane said...

I would personally much rather have the popcorn or jelly. Everyone bakes cookie and no one ever gets through the Holiday saying "boy I didn't eat enough cookies this year".

Sparkless said...

Stawberry jam is an awesome gift! Anyone getting some will love it.

Glad to hear you took last years advise this year and didn't bake too much.

We only make a few things and then share them with family who in turn make a few and share them. We get lots of variety without all the work.

Mama Pea said...

Erin - I send sincere apologies for being in any way responsible for your three weeks of baking last year.

It's not that I have any trouble getting rid of all I bake, but I've just come to the point of why in the world am I doing it if I don't enjoy it?? Duh.

Jane - Isn't that the truth? There are so many sweets floating around that you start to revolt at the thought of any more.

I baked bread one year and gave that instead of cookies/candies. It may have been just a weird happenstance but I don't feel it was very well received. That surprised me.

Sparkless - Having family around to share with as you do sounds great. Lovely. I sure have not baked too much. Haven't done a thing yet.

Erin said...

yes, I forgot to mention that, I am GLAD I'm not hosting/baking this year! Although... I will be making your cranberry almond cake for mom!

Alla said...

Strawberry jam and carmel corn really does sound better than cookies. One year I gave stawberry jam and a package of home made biscut mix. That seemed to be received well, too.

Mama Pea said...

Erin - Gosh, so glad that you're enjoying the cranberry cake recipe. Hope your folks do, too!

Alla - Of course! What a great combo to give. I'll have to remember that possibility for next year. (I was thinking today of making biscuits for breakfast tomorrow morning!)

ThyHandHathProvided said...

Way to go. I'm finding simpler is better, too:-).

Lorie said...

That is such a good idea, leaving a note to self for next year. I too, will be giving strawberry preserves this year thanks to a fantastic strawberry crop last June. You are so right, so much easier than all those cookies.

Jennifer Jo said...

Simplicity rocks.

And so does strawberry jam and caramel corn.

You know, both those things ship well....

Jenyfer Matthews said...

Honestly, as good as your cookies may be, I think that people may get a tad overloaded with cookies / sweets at Christmas and would welcome a change of pace with some strawberry jam or some popcorn. And yes - be nice to yourself. You need to enjoy your holidays as well!

(Admission: I have not baked ONE thing this season and probably won't bother at this point!)

Jenyfer Matthews said...

PS - I just read the comments: if there is anyone on your list of recipients who does not seem to fully appreciate your efforts - whatever you choose to gift them - then you have my permission to cross them off your list for the following year!!!

Sue said...

What an excellent idea--making that note to yourself! Time heals all wounds, and otherwise you might have done it again this year.
I still haven't started yet....and one of the neighbors already dropped off 2 HUGE tins of stuff. Honestly, I'm TIRED of the whole exchange thing, but can I really plead not enough time????? It's more about not liking to make a variety of stuff. I wish I could just bake a nice pie and be done with it, ya know?

Mama Pea said...

ThyHand - You have been my inspiration!

Lorie - Yay for jars of jam! Should we make this a tradition??

JJ - I usually don't get subtlety . . . but was that a hint??

Jen - I HAVE pared down my list since that year I made the homemade breads! (Goes to show ya that you have to be nice to Mama Pea or Santa brings you a lump of coal!)

Sue - So why CAN'T you give a pie? I actually thought of that this year but had the jam ready. I think next year I may do pies! And you don't need an excuse (such as not having time). Come on, let's give ourselves permission (for once!) to do what makes US feel good during the season!

MamaTea said...

WAHOO! I think everything looks divine. You done good!

Mama Pea said...

Mama Tea - Don't give me my Gold Star yet . . . I still have to make the Caramel Corn! :o)

Rainsong said...

Wow, I made cookies (not as many as last year, but I'm an urban farmer, there are no stay at home moms and they still like cookies that don't come in a factory fitted tray. Even so, I spent summer days sweating and risking life and limb to make little jars of wild black berry (the little northwest kind) jam to give for christmas to a select few. I like the ribbon and bell idea, think I'll help myself to that idea; Thanks!

Kaytee said...

Good thinking! I'm sure everyone will love it anyway. It's the thought that counts!

Karen L. said...

This appears to be the "year of changes" for you and I am loving it!!! First Thanksgiving and now Christmas. You go girl ... as "they" say. You are definitely inspiring me. I also have not made any cookies yet but I probably will have to make pizzelles, cookie press cookies, and shortbread cookies in order to make both my husband and myself happy. That might just do it! All that being said, how do I get on your gift list for that strawberry jam? My Mom used to make that and beach plum jelly which I loved. Sure do miss all of that now that I am the "Mom" and not doing it. So, what will you change about New Years this year?

Kelly said...

Jam & caramel corn is wonderful gift, I am not doing cookies either (if I can help it). We are replacing leaky windows and the cost and chaos is putting a damper on my Christmas style.

Mama Pea said...

Rainsong - Wild Blackberry Jam! That sounds wonderful! You're very welcome to use my idea for a raffia and jingle bell tie on your jars. I thought a sprig of evergreen would be nice also.

Kaytee - Hope so! I'm kind of waiting to get some responses. I figure everyone likes Strawberry Jam, right?

Karen L. - Change for New Year's Eve this year? Hubby and I have made a habit of staying in, safe and warm by the fire these past several years. But this year, friends from out of state will be in the area and we may be spending it with them which we're looking forward to.

Kelly - You have my sympathies on the window replacement. We just had to replace the bottom half of one of our double hung windows. $111 for the insulated pane of glass and wood frame which isn't even 2' square!

Leigh said...

I know the recipients of those jars will be delighted!

I used to burn myself out in a cookie baking marathon each December. Now I start baking one batch a week in November, and then freeze whatever I want to save and have a few to sample. They freeze really well and I enjoy the whole thing a whole lot more. On Christmas Eve we have a wonderful assortment of cookies with much less stress!

Mama Pea said...

Leigh - Yours is a good cookie baking plan also. I usually try to make the Christmas cookie doughs up in November and freeze them. Seems like less work to "just" have to cut, roll, shape and bake them. So far this year . . . nary a cookie yet.

Stephanie said...

What a wonderful gift idea! I didn't do any baking this year, maybe next.

Merry Christmas!

Mama Pea said...

Stephanie - Although the caramel corn was easier/faster to make than an assortment of cookies, it still took a lot of time and effort! Guess nothing worthwhile comes without a little effort, huh?

Merry Christmas!