This morning I woke up raring to go!
It was caramel making day but I thought I would get some Cinnamon Applesauce ornaments into the oven first. They will be part of our neighbor/friend gifts this year.
On days like today, this is one of the many reasons I LOVE to homeschool, because I can stop the kids and ask them to help me out.
Curly Cook helped me mix up the dough. Cooking happens to be one of her gifts and talents, so it went perfectly with her schooling assignments that day. Then Joy Boy and Curly Cook both helped me to cut out the ornaments for the neighbors. When we made enough ornaments, each kiddo made their own ornament with the leftover dough. Joy Boy made a “HLJ” Shield (CTR ring symbol in Spanish) and a small present. Curly Cook made some bananas.
Even El Gringo joined in on the fun and made his own ornament, “The Impossible Triangle”, after GingerSnap made a candy cane and a tiny heart.
After the ornaments were finished baking, I started on the caramels. The smells in the house were already amazing, so adding the sweetness of caramels brought the familiar feeling of Christmas into the air.
Curly Cook had a bit of fun with her Jenny Phillips art assignment and decided to paint her ENTIRE HAND with black paint. What a silly girl.
While two pots of caramels were boiling simultaneously, I buttered the many pans that would be used that day.
I decided to make 3 pots of caramels this year, a batch and a half in each pot. That came out to be 4 and a half batches of caramels. The first 2 pots were made on Thursday and then the 3rd pot was made Friday morning. We came out with 7+ pans of caramel. (Are you drooling Kori?)
Ironically, all 3 pots came out with a different type of caramel.
The far left pan is smooth, creamy caramel. A bit too soft for my liking. The two on the right got a hot spot that created some speckles in the caramel. BUT out of all the other pans, they tasted the best to me!
And then this pan is a mix of the first pot with the second pot but with a twist. Paul thought adding root beer extract to the caramels would be yummy. I mixed some up in a small bowl but I didn’t taste any difference, so I added it to a shallow pan of caramels and it made this gloppy mess. But Joy Boy said that if you sucked on the caramel a LONG TIME, you could finally taste the root beer. Nice. But was it worth it? I don’t think so.
The next day was “CARAMEL WRAPPING DAY!!!” The kids look forward to this day the most each Christmas because it means that they get to wrap caramels while they watch a Christmas movie. They also get to pop a caramel into their mouth every 15 caramels that they help wrap. By the time the caramels are all wrapped, they have each eaten about 5 -8 caramels. They are stuffed and satisfied.
But this year the power went out RIGHT BEFORE our big event! The kids started to panic but they IMMEDIATELY remembered the generator. I really didn’t want to turn that thing on again but after 30 minutes, I felt I had no other choice. Thankfully El Gringo was up for the challenge, so he had everything up and running in a matter of minutes.
This year’s movie was my FAVORITE Christmas movie – “Christmas Story.” (Not to be confused with “A Christmas Story” – check it out.) Since Paul was at his company’s Christmas party, being held at the amusement park, I didn’t think he would be home in time to help out (especially since we had 5 people being baptized that night at 7 p.m.). So I decided to tackle this experience on my own.
NOT as much FUN as I had HOPED!
I spent the ENTIRE movie running up and down the stairs either cutting more caramels or sitting for a few minutes as I cut more wax paper wrappers. I was so exhausted once the last pan of caramels was cut and ALL the wax paper had been used up, that I sunk deep into the couch and almost fell asleep. Ironically Paul came home, just as we were finishing up. I was sort of melancholy that I hadn’t waited to see if he came home early, but I realized that I needed to do what I needed to do this year, especially with how busy Paul is these days (dual Bishop and Stake Presidency counselor/Tithing Settlement & New Stake/while being the General Manager at work).
On a happy note, the kids did wrap over 800 caramels and Paul was home early enough that we could weigh and bag the caramels he is going to give out at work. All in all, it was a VERY productive week, despite having the power go out for 3 days (Monday, Tuesday and Saturday). It has been strange weather too! As fast as the cold front blew in, it blew right on out. It is still chilly at night but it is bare feet weather during the day again.
Got to LOVE Costa Rica!
Thanks for listening,