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australia, ocean

Detours off Britta Blvd

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the holiday season begins
australia, ocean
brittadotcom
Thanksgiving is always chock-full of non-turkey tasks for me. The day after Thanksgiving has been our tradition to go up to Apple Hill by Placerville to McGee's Tree Farm to pick out our Christmas trees & get free greens scraps (sometimes full mini-tree size!), get some fresh-pressed unpasteurized cider on our way back down, then we usually make the giant batch of Swedish meatballs for Christmas season afterwards, which takes forever to roll the bite-sized meatballs. Also for Christmas use, I usually make my grandmother's recipe of Scandinavian-style pickled salmon from the salt fish my dad has prepped for me. For the past 8 years now, I always make Ashlyn's birthday cake for her Saturday-after-Thanksgiving birthday party (Snow White & Minnie Mouse being recent cakes), so I carefully drive a painstakingly-decorated cake in my Honda Civic with my Christmas tree lashed to the roof, stopping in Davis for the party on my way back to the Bay Area. Throw in some computer troubleshooting that always seems to come up, and squeezing this all in Thursday to Saturday is always a challenge!


This year we mixed it up a bit. Not only did I bring Kylie the Kitty with me since I didn't have anyone to check in on her for the weekend, but the housecleaners were coming Friday morning, so my mom wanted all the mess finished before then, including fish mess, cake mess & meatball mess, so she asked me to come up earlier so we had Wednesday to tackle things in advance. She also wanted to make a "how to make lefse" webpage (still under construction), so I was the photojournalist for the process Wednesday morning. We hit a couple stores, with me scoring nice Christmas decorating deals for my new house at the giant JoAnn superstore & Wishing Well, then we came back to make the meatballs. With my dad finally helping to roll them in flour, we were finally finished by dinnertime! I baked the spice cakes for Ashlyn's birthday, then made the pickled salmon, finally finishing after 1am since around 11pm we had another Kylie the Kitty issue since my mom had left her bedroom door open! Thankfully the noise of the power drill going into the wood on the other side of where she wouldn't come out of the headboard unit finally flushed her out, so no 6-hour waiting game this time around...whew!

Since we were just our immediate family for Thanksgiving, there was time before dinner for me to make the frosting, rice crispy treats & assemble the cake structure, frosting a crumb coat to continue decorating later. Dinner was delicious as ever, then I kept decorating the cake that night. Since I didn't know where to acquire cake-decorating chalk, the soft shading effect is finely-ground leftover royal icing spiders from Halloween! ;) I made the gum paste birthday hat, eyes & nose, plus my attempt at cat-shaped sunglasses even though I knew they were risky since they'd be so fragile. Those all had to dry thoroughly before painting, but that was the only kitchen mess left for post-housecleaning = success!



The finished cat cake!


No wind this year so the tree stayed on the car, and with traffic between Davis & Fairfield being so slow, Kylie was calmer on the way back, so I unloaded the car - no simple task untying all my dad's knots in the dark! - and started getting out my Christmas decorations. Yesterday it was raining & I slept in, so I was less motivated than I should have been...but I did get my tree chopped off with my reciprocating saw (ahhh power tools!), and it's small enough that I had to get creative with some rubber matting so it would fit in the tree stand where Kylie cannot drink the water. Guess with my shorter ceiling I'll need to invest in a different tree stand for ongoing, even though this one is staying straight so far. I got over 400 white lights on it yesterday & my angel on top, but I got the red candles out & other decorations, so no ornaments on the tree quite yet.

An additional bonus is that I weighed myself this morning & even after the yummy food, cake-baking & party food, I have still maintained since I lost weight on vacation! Hope I can continue that through the holiday baking that begins officially tomorrow! ;)