So, it occurs to me that we know only one neighbor near the country house and that it's about time we met the people around us. The country is a quiet, desolate, dangerous, wild animal-dwelling place. I need re-enforcements.
So, if I'm going to scream for almighty help when a crazed, rabid raccoon corners me in the garage and tries to eat my left ovary for a snack, I want people to come running. Best to get on the neighbors good side from the get-go. Lest someone need to stand over my withering, blood-spurting body and give me CPR as I utter my last, choked words through all the gurgling in my throat, "My husband made me...buy this...damned c-c-country house".
Thus, Operation Christmas Cookie. An effort to woo my new neighbors.
This strategic operation also doubles as a project with the kids. And what a project it is. Making Christmas cookies is an unendurable act of torture. The CIA should retire that tiresome water boarding they do and focus on making convicted terrorists make dough, let it set, roll it out, cut the cookie shapes, decorate with sprinkles, bake and then, make scratch frosting, after they've been forced to go to five supermarkets searching desperately for the ever-illusive mernegue powder, and then delicately drizzle said frosting on the cookies, so that the little trees look they have wafts of snow on their branches.
You want these guys to give up Bin Laden? Well, I have four words for you: HOMEMADE CHRISTMAS COOKIE HELL.
That said, the end product turned out pretty great. But still, not so great as to justify all that work. You bakers out there, I am in awe of you. Really.
And we made labels.
And bought pretty boxes.
And pasted the labels on.
See? This stuff is grueling. I have no idea how Martha Stewart does this.
I packed up the kids and the boxes into the red wagon and we went house to house offering strangers our cookies and begging them to call 911 if ever they hear screaming from inside our house.
This whole endeavor, this wrestling with dough and sprinkles, cost me, like 36 hours of my life. And I still have six mounds of dough in the fridge, ready to be fashioned into my next big idea - which sounded pretty good when I dreamed it up, but now seems like driving hot wooden spikes through my eyeballs and into my brain - which is, gifts of cold, hard dough in wax paper, tied up with ribbon like a tootsie roll, with packets of sprinkles and little Xmas cookie cutters.
I am a glutton for punishment.
PS: If you get a chance, head over to visit the very talented Jennifer Perrillo and donate to her cookie campaign to end childhood hunger, "The 12 Days of Sharing Virtual Cookie Jar". Here's her post on what inspired her to get the cookie jar started and how you can participate. Although I haven't gotten a chance to meet her yet, Jennie's reputation is golden in these parts and if she's involved, it's a good cause. Also, there is still time to post your own cookie recipe and help get the word out.