On Saturday HRH and I had a treat: we got to drop the boy off with his local grandparents early on, and go out all day by ourselves!
It was a shopping day, mainly. We hit the big Chapters on the West Island and found gifts for seven or eight people in one place, which shortened our day impressively. We were thwarted in our attempts to obtain the new TMBG kids’s album yet again and told them to correct the damn inventory already so we’d stop asking them to find it for us, and to prevent other people from going through the same exasperating exercise. (Seriously, people: stock’s been at three since September. Are they actually in the store? No. No one’s been able to find them any time we’ve asked for it.) Thsi time they gave us a coupon that gave us 15% off a book as an apology, which impressed us. And when we got to the cash I discovered that I had a 25% off coupon in my wallet, so the camera we bought for the boy was less than we thought it would be, and we had the swipe-twice card as well. It was a good experience; always nice to be told at the cash that you’re paying substantially less that you expected to pay.
We picked up what we needed at Omer de Serre and Best Buy with little to no pain and stress, and would have gone to the dollar store for the usual socks, mittens, pencils, and Christmas cups for the boy’s stocking except the lines were positively ugly, so we picked up our groceries instead and went home. I wrapped what presents I could, having discovered that somehow all our tags, ribbons, and bows had been thrown out in on of the several garage clean-ups this past year. Fortunately, we still had a bunch of gift bags and some usable tissue paper, and I cut up some of last year’s Christmas cards for tags.
At home I made lemon meringue pie for the co-coven Yule gathering later that afternoon. We will never again buy the No Name pie shells (in the interest of full disclosure, I do have to say that I usually buy the Tenderflake shells if I buy shells at all HRH picked these ones up). I baked the first one and it came out of the oven in pieces, although it had gone in as one unit. I rescued the second shell before it did the same. Homemade lemon pie filling is delicious, especially when one uses brown sugar instead of white; it has a lovely butterscotchy undertone. Piles of meringue, thanks to the stand mixer. In fact, the recipe made so much filling and merigue that I layered the pieces of the first shell in a baking dish, poured the remaining filling over it, and covered it with the rest of the meringue. Of course, this means we have a lemon pie here, and I have no idea when we’ll eat it.
We packed the upstairs neighbours into the car and got to the hosts’ home for the co-coven party, and it was just lovely. Good company, good food (sushi! Chinese fondue with the best broth I’ve ever tasted! duck and bison meat! an absolutely fabulous hot spinach and cheese dip om nom nom!), lots of laughing, very social cats, a great simple but important ritual, and an all-round wonderful time. Our gift exchange was reduced from the usual baked item and a gift for our Secret Santa exchange to a single “make or bake” item (money’s tight all around), and as luck would have it I drew HRH’s name. On Friday I knit him a striped cup cosy for his take-out coffee (he always forgets his reusable travel mug at school) from the leftover yarn I used to make his Gryffindor scarf last winter, then I hand-felted it so it could be washed without a problem, and it was a hit! (I was told later that it also fit beer bottles, which amused me.) I was the only person who made my gift instead of baking it! I got a tin of very excellent Rice Krispie squares (no cat feet were involved in the making of them, I am assured). We had to scurry away to collect the boy so that his bedtime wouldn’t be too insanely late, but it would have been wonderful to sit and laugh some more.
The boy was sitting quietly in his grandparents’ living room looking at a book when we arrived, all bathed and in his pyjamas. They’d had a wonderful day together, decorating the tree, baking cookies, and playing. We also collected the turkey for the next day’s festivities, and a lovely evergreen swag that my mother-in-law made for our front door. Back home we curled up in bed and read the first chapter of Prince Caspian together, and then it was bedtime. Everyone needed sleep, because Sunday was to be our local family Christmas celebration!