last night as i busily baked my little heart out, i got thinking about 2 things.
1) why is it that every time i bake, every cupboard is open, every dish is dirty, and it looks like a wild raccoon broke in and found my stash of...everything?
2) what makes a secret recipe "secret?"
the second thought really resonated with me as i made my Grandma's secret recipe of chocolate-peppermint cookies with cream cheese frosting. i've eaten a lot of chocolate cookies in my day. and i've eaten a lot of peppermint (peppermint happens to be one of my favorite things). but this mix of chocolate and peppermint is the PB+J, the Simon + Garfunkel, the spaghetti + meatballs- basically the bomb-est combination to exist. i remembered times when Grandma baked this cookie- dressed in her adorable hand-sewn apron, with red lipstick on and a perfect beehive do' and i get a little teary eyed. funny how a cookie can bring back a flood of memories that make you happy and sad all at the same time.
so i have really wanted to share this all-powerful-emotional cookie recipe with you, my friends. but i couldn't do that while she was alive because she would disown me. this was NOT my recipe to give. and now that she has passed away, i have been tempted a half a dozen times to share it again- but i'm even more afraid now that i might lose a guardian angel or something. and then all of a sudden a bunch of mysterious crap might start happening to me (no, i'm not superstitious. why do you ask?). i personally think recipes are like books- the more to read it, the more to enjoy it. but i guess i will keep this secret recipe locked up a little longer in honor of my Grandma...along with wearing red-lipstick while i bake.
the other night, we went to a friends' house in our stake who does this awesome little Christmas Village display. it takes 40 hours to set up- but it is amazing. it's one of our favorite December FHE traditions- and the picture below is one of my pride and joys- i love when she flashes a peace sign.
also, we went into San Francisco the other night to see all the festive stuff with M's parents and brother. we went in with the purpose to see the biggest Gingerbread House at the Fairmont Hotel. we parked a little above the fairmont right next to the Grace Cathedral. the architecture was stunning- i sorta love old cathedrals. i'd always stop and admire them in NYC when i lived back East years ago... i love how they make you feel like you step out of 2011 into another era. inside the cathedral, this guy was playing really creepy organ music, and there were lots of crucifixion depictions...so we didn't stay too long. but we enjoyed our little stumble across such an amazing building.
and ended up at the Fairmont- where the decorations were amazing- and the Gingerbread house was even better (though i was kind of disgusted watching 9 year old little girls eating the nerds-rope off of the house. where on earth were their parents?). Ellie loved it.
and then Alice got something in her eye- Ellie assured us not to worry and to keep smiling for our rare photo op- and she'd help Alice get it out. such a concerned sibling.
walking back to our car, there was this little park that Ellie insisted on playing at- while Alice insisted upon eating the sand. nothing like some inner-city sand to bring in some good Vitamin C mixed with feesies.
after the Fairmont/'park affair, we headed to Union Square to visit the iconic Macy's and Union Square Christmas Tree. we also saw amazing shops all decked out for Christmas, had cigar smoke blown in our faces, saw a really huge castle made out of sugar icing and other stuff, and herded with the rest of the cattle along the busy streets of SF. it was madness. and so fun. thanks Chapmans for such a fun evening of city-craziness.
and now it is the 23rd of December. and the sun is shining, my house is a disaster- and i'm ready to sign off for a few days.
Christmas is wonderful, isn't it? and while we've been doing all this fun, crazy holiday-ish stuff, we've also had time to really talk about and think about our Savior. my grandpa on my mom's side had this wonderful tradition that my mom kept while we were growing up. each of us had a box, and in that box was blank paper. on that paper we'd write one thing that we were going to give as a gift to the Savior that year. maybe it was to speak kinder to those around us. maybe it was to pray in His name more often. maybe it was to be a better friend and serve more. whatever it was, we'd write it on the paper and put it in the box as our Gift to Him- to remind us whose day it really was. i love this tradition and am looking forward to doing it with my family this year- because i know that all i am is because of Him.
Merry Christmas everyone!
love you to the moon and back.