He just doesn’t know his own strength

The past few days have seen me unusually irritated and agitated about things that would not normally irritate or agitate me. I’ve been having feelings of being completely overwhelmed, and no amount of list-making has assuaged those feelings. Is it this time of year? Have I over-extended myself? Am I having a breakdown? All of those questions and more were answered when my phone buzzed with a notification that it is Almost That Time Of The Month Again! Oh! Well. I’m glad my phone knows what’s what.

Honestly, I feel like everything would be at a normal level of busyness, but for all the little things that keep popping up. Call vet to refill Barkley’s eye drops. Figure out when I can get the boys in for their dental checkups at the new, non-pediatric-but-still-convenient dentist. Take Barkley to the groomer. Reschedule last week’s wax appointment. Make an appointment with our (very hot, I’m serious, this guy is a looker) plumber to come and look at our thermostat, since the furnace is coming on but not always to the right temperature.

This last one almost broke me. Who wants to find a free afternoon to wait at home for someone to come and look at the thermostat? Well, as I said, at least he’s nice to look at, and besides, I can get a start on my gingerbread men.

My email just popped up with an article entitled Why You’re Eating The Wrong Cinnamon and I am NOT clicking on that.

Even without the furnace/ dog/ dental scheduling, the last week has been a whirlwind of activity and treat-making and teaching and just generally scurrying around. I’ve been packaging up treats for my students and playing tetris with my downstairs fridge:

Me: it will be fine once I roast the cauliflower, there will be room in the fridge.


I spent much of Sunday making gingersnaps:

More decorative tins!

I had left the candy canes for my younger son to crush, in order for me to make peppermint bark. I wanted to have the candy cane crushing completed by Monday, so I could package them up in little bags for a different group of students. My son got out the rubber mallet and the cutting board, and asked me just how crushed I wanted them to be. Chunks? Little pieces? Decimate them! I said to him in my Fun Mom voice.

One thing you should know about my younger son is that he Follows Directions. Remember in Game of Thrones when Sam cures Jorah of greyscale, and when asked about it he said that he read the instructions in some ancient manuscript and then followed those instructions? If only more people could be like that. It is my regret that Sam was not Ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, because with that attitude, he should have been. Anyway, that is my son to a tee. He is the king of step-by-step directions, and you never have to tell him something twice. I probably should have kept this in mind when I told him I wanted the candy canes decimated.

He presented me with three bags of candy cane POWDER. Quite honestly that works really well in bark, as there are fewer tooth-chipping hunks of peppermint candy. There are a few small chunks in there too, as I had also said “a few small pieces would be nice.” As you can see:

But mostly, it’s powder.

In addition to decimating the candy canes, he also decimated my cutting board. It cracked into thirds. I can’t be mad about it, though, because he was just following directions. He is much less remorseful about the loss of my cutting board than he is impressed with his own sheer brute strength. Well, he does work out a lot, and YET I feel that perhaps a little less vigor would have yielded similar, but non-cutting-board-destroying results. I agreed with him that, Hulk-like, he just doesn’t know his own strength, while duct-taping together the cutting board for use next year. No sense breaking another cutting board next Christmas.

I went to Canadian Tire to buy a new one, and for those of you who are not Canadian, CT is one of our big national brands. Not only does it sell tires and other automobile-related things, but it also has a garden centre, household items, paint, kitchenware, and sporting goods, as well as all things Christmas-related. It is one of those stores that I love – because it frequently has incredibly good sales – and also hate, because the store itself is often a disorganized jumble. I ended up with a cutting board that was on sale for half-price, which I didn’t know until I went to pay, and if I HAD known, I probably would have bought two. Not that I’m complaining.

Before my CT trip, I put gas in the car and, due to my inability to see out the back window, washed it. There was no snow in the forecast, I swear, I checked my weather app twice, but not 30 minutes after washing the car, the snow started to fall and continued for the entire day. Did I curse the city? Possibly. The entire day, I kept looking at my weather app, which said “cloudy” but at no time did it call for snow, even when the snow was coming down. My Monday afternoon students, after I related this story, thought that perhaps the rest of the city was completely dry and that a snow cloud was just following me around, like a character in Winnie the Pooh. The long and short of it is that I had a clean car for about 30 minutes, and now I can’t see out the back window again.

Well, it’s only two weeks until Christmas, but my dear, dear, dear friend and neighbour (HI TARYN) surprised me with this beautiful gift:

Isn’t it gorgeous? I love it so much.

I hope you are all having a wonderful week; it can be stressful this time of year (THE FURNACE) but hopefully you are experiencing some joys and beauty of the season. xo


  1. Well if you – the Queen of Christma- are feeling frazzled, then I feel better. I have not allowed myself to get worked up or lose sleep (staying up late to get it all done is one of my regular mistakes) over my lack of preparedness for Christmas.

    I pulled out the spode Christmas dishes after returning from the dancing weekend. In my haste, I broke the platter. Dang. I have been working on my annual family recap in form of a 2 pg poem that gets inserted in our cards. Last night was the official reading where fam members are encouraged to speak up if they prefer I not share specific info. So, almost done.

    Having a hard time trying to find time to buy a tree and decorate or bake since all we do is attend basketball and volleyball games!

    It will get done. It might not be pretty.

    Btw- love your tetris game reference. I am in that same boat!

  2. I am beyond frazzled at this point. If I can just make it to Friday (the beginning of vacation), I might just be able to pull this Christmas thing off…maybe.

    I love that your son follows directions to the tee – to the point of pulverizing the candy canes and the cutting board! So, did you have to smash more? Or did you just go with the powder?

  3. bibliomama2 says

    I suppose just postponing the dental appointments to January is out of the question? You don’t want to hang with the Slummy Mummies just yet? Fine. And yes, as soon as I read “hang around for the afternoon waiting for a furnace repairman”, I thought “just bake, silly”. I cleaned and decluttered like never before in November, so I feel a little less anxious than usual. I have most of the gifts that need to be sent away wrapped and I made bark and cookies tonight. Christmas cards are late as usual. It’s all good. And wholly agree about Canadian Tire – going in gives me a panic attack and I can never find anything from the fliers or anyone to help me, but I got a gorgeous new wreath for the front door yesterday and their camping supplies are awesome. I can’t quit them for good.

  4. Oh, I have one of those direction followers, too. I bet you can guess which one.

    You just go crazy, Nicole, and use whatever damn cinnamon you want.

    My Christmas preparation stands thusly:

    Cards about 2/3 addressed and mailed
    Presents mostly bought (except for two, one because I either lost it or hallucinated buying it)
    Presents that need to be mailed, all wrapped and mailed (well maybe, depending on if I buy the outstanding presents online or not)
    Presents that don’t need to be mailed mostly unwrapped
    One batch of cookies made, two more to go, plus buckeyes
    Lights up
    No inside decorating done

  5. While I am very impressed by your son’s strength and peppermint pulverizing skills, I am distracted by questions like, “Is there a way Nicole can photograph the hot plumber for blog posting purposes without creeping him out?” and “Should Nicole start a mail-order cookie business yes/no?”

    Also, I thought of you this week because I was at Target and someone had placed a shopping cart sideways in front of the parking lot cart return. Not IN the cart return. In front of it, so that you had to move the cart into the cart return before you could access it for the purpose of returning your own cart. ARGH.

  6. Your gingersnaps look exactly perfect. Would you share your recipe? Thanks!

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