Posts Tagged ‘Christmas shopping’

The Year of Figgy Pudding

April 16, 2016

In our family, Christmas cooking was territory mainly reserved for the women. Only those of the manly persuasion who bore confidence beyond the garage would dare to enter the hallowed kitchen at holiday time. My Dad was one such warrior.

As a five year old I remember being impressed that my Dad knew how to make popcorn. This was before hot-air poppers and microwave popcorn… real men used oil, kernels, a pot and a stick of butter. Dad also made Sunday morning breakfast to entice us to get out of bed and get ready for church. Every Sunday we were awakened by him yelling up the stairwell, “Breakfast is now being served in the dining car.” This wasn’t donuts from a box or a choice of Rice Krispies, Cheerios or Trix. Dad perfected Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes, Jimmy Dean sausage and scrambled eggs with tiny pieces of bacon mixed in. We knew Dad could handle himself in the kitchen… at least before 9:00 a.m.

It was a surprise to us, however, when Dad decided one holiday that we were going to have figgy pudding… whether we wanted to or not. I think it was so we could sing with meaning, “Now bring us some figgy pudding. Now bring us some figgy pudding. Now bring us some figgy pudding and bring is right here.” Dad had never contributed to the Christmas dessert smorgasbord with the exception of holding the title Chief Taster of Pumpkin Pie. In fact, figgy pudding had never made the holiday menu at our house. Dad figured that we didn’t know what we were missing, and it was time to find out.

figgy pudding

Mid-December, Dad searched the web for figgy pudding recipes finally selecting one that contained a few short cuts. There would be no removal of stems from a pound of dried figs at our house. Instead there would be the sound of cellophane being removed from the Fig Newton cookies. The recipe called for a special glass bowl with a plastic seal-able lid. The week before Christmas while most shoppers were gathering last minute gifts, my father was locating and purchasing the exclusive figgy pudding bowl.

Christmas morning was filled with the traditional stocking opening and cinnamon buns. Shortly after the socks were emptied Dad slipped into the kitchen to start preparing his wonder dessert. As the heavenly aroma of molasses, buttermilk and cinnamon filled the air we began singing, “We won’t go until we get some. We won’t go until we get some. We won’t go until we get some, so bring it right here.” Even with short cuts, it was one of those all-day recipes that had the chef glued to the clock most of the day. Personally, I was salivating by the time dessert rolled around, but my three kids were highly unimpressed with the brown goop that Grandpa had concocted.

The final step before we could indulge in the brown delicacy was the beating of the whipped cream to top off the figgy pudding. As Dad jostled the electric hand mixer, our children began pleading to be excused from Grandpa’s figgy pudding. No way. Everyone at the table would be partaking. It was sort of a bloodline requirement.

Much to our amusement, the hand mixer died mid-whip. Smoke escaped from the slits above the power cord and there were no stiff peaks in sight. If the figgy pudding killed the mixer, what will it do to us? We all wondered in silence. The mixer was thrown in the garbage yet the mission continued.


Not to be defeated, Dad put away the dessert plates and retrieved bowls from the cupboard. He scooped the brown chunky, air-pocketed glop and topped each mound with runny, half-beaten whipped cream and served them with glee.


My children are usually quite fearless when trying new delicacies, but I don’t think Grandpa’s figgy pudding was a contender in that category. In turn, each one took a bite and made the most contorted facial expression possible while trying to swallow without chewing. We laughed until tears dripped off our cheeks into the soupy bowls before us.


My husband, who has a stomach of steel, did finish his serving but profusely refused a second helping… over and over again. My mother wasn’t able to stomach her entire bowl of brown goodness, but smiled sweetly as always. Dad and I were the only ones who LOVED the stuff. We were secretly glad that no one else liked it, all the more for us. For the next five days Dad and I sang together with gusto, “Now bring us some figgy pudding and bring it right here,” as we enjoyed his extraordinary holiday dessert.

Thanks, Dad, for that happy Christmas memory!

figgy pudding song.png

On the Second Day of Christmas

December 14, 2008

What could be better than chocolate TURTLES and DOVE bars?  I can’t imagine anything better either.  In the Bob and Doug McKenzie-warped-Canadian version of the 12 Days song, on day number two Mr. Truelove brings two turtlenecks, which is really quite feasible and practical in the Great White North.


Without donning a turtleneck today, I braved the bitter 68* and hit JC Penney for a hot-commodity Christmas gift for a child of mine.  The special ended at 1:00 p.m.  I hit the parking lot running at 12:45.  I didn’t want to scan the store on my own, so I parked by customer service and went straight and asked where the gold was located.  With a phone call and a three-way conversation on walkie-talkies, I was sent to THE RED BOX for the desired item.  THE RED BOX is an area in JC Penney near the mall entrance that was wrapped in red paper before all the merchandise was put on the shelves.  The red walls made me want to buy.  Not really, but I’m sure that’s what corporate office hoped for. 

I grabbed said gift and immediately got in line…. 12:54.  With only one lady in front of me and four tellers serving the line, I was assured of my pre-1:00 p.m. success.  As lady #1 moved to a till, my cell phone rang.  NO ONE was going to interrupt my RED BOX deal…. well, unless it was my husband, which it was. 

Seems he locked his keys in his car and was currently stranded by said locked car with three youngsters in his watchful care.  He didn’t seem concerned of my whereabouts.  At all.  “HI!  I locked my keys in the car at Walgreens.  Can you please drive up here right now?”  Walgreens is 5 miles north of our house.  If I was at home, it would’ve been an 8 minute trip.  I was not at home.  I was in the RED BOX line with now four minutes to spare to purchase my 60% off desired item at JC Penney which is 18.56 miles southeast of our home.  Sweet Jesus, Cashier #3 was waving me over… 12:57. “I’m at PV Mall,” was all I said.  Then I hung up.  It was a rational decision on my part.  I could do nothing to aid my key-less husband at the moment and my pre-1:00 purchase pre-empted his situation.

Christmas shopping really brings out the best in people.  Thinking of others.  Saving money.  Holiday cheer.  Love for all mankind.  I was back in the van by 1:04 p.m. with my prized box and Rick was safely home when I arrived.  Another successful day of Christmas shopping and all is well.

Stocking Stuffers

December 11, 2008


In my highly organized Holiday Planner (that I finally opened today….) I came across a list of stocking stuffer ideas  that I thought I would share.  Nothing on the list is over $10 and some of these are such creative ideas!  It makes me want to skip gifts and just stuff stockings.  Huge stockings!  So, to aid you in your stocking stuffer buying ideas, here you go, with complimentary comments from yours truly:

1. Chocolate (Bring it on!)

2. Mandarin oranges or exotic fruit such as star fruit (This would be a for sure eye-roll from my kids.)

3.  Lipstick (Hot pink or Bright red!)

4.  Mittens or gloves (leather ones are great for the hockey rink)

5.  Personalized coffee mug or tea cup (or a Christmas mug, or a funny any-time-of-the-year mug)

6.  Tire Gauge (OK, I’m going to get this one for Rick.  He never has one when needed… and he’s too busy right now to read my blog…)

7.  Small Picture Frames (I did this last year in silver with baby pictures of the kids at Christmas time…. ahhhh)


8.  Silly Putty (Don’t wash your sheets with Silly Putty in them… a word from experience)

9.  Baseball, golf ball, rubber ball, tennis ball (or gumball)

10.  Night Light (for the travel case… a necessity!)

11.  Christmas Ornament (duh!)

12.  Unique kitchen gadget like an egg slicer, grapefruit spoon, garlic press, etc. (or wooden spoons without stains or burn marks)

13.  Deck of Cards (do they make hockey team playing cards?)

14.  Hair Accessories (like a magnifying glass!)

15.  Book or Magazine (I just saw these darling little books shaped like toilet seats…. with short games for potty time… how thoughtful.)

16.  Magnifying Glass  (see #14)

17.  Gum or penny candy (find the kind that you ate as a kid… pop rocks, pixie stix)

18.  Stamp pad and stamps (these are in the clearance bin at Michaels!)

19.  Batteries (THAT is practical!  We should get the 24 packs of AA from Costco for $11 for each kid!  Keep ’em out of our closet for a few months!)

20.  Journal or diary (This is how my book started!)

21.  Modeling clay (Fimo is awesome!)

22.  Yo-yo (with safety glasses)

23.   Toque or scarf (that’s a knit ski hat… for those who don’t speak Canadian)

24.  Wallet (with money in it or a Starbucks card!)

25.  Business card holder (the portable kind… who has a desk these days?)

26.  Candles (Don’t forget matches)

27.  Long Matches for the Bar-B-Que (or candles from #26)

28.  Slinky (like friends who are only good for bringing a smile to your face… when you push them down the stairs.)(I’m joking, mom!)

29.  Nail Polish (clear is so practical…. but hot pink is so fun!)

stocking30.  Toothbrush (A tradition in this house… with toothpaste)

31.  Hot Chocolate Packets (with candy canes to stir with)

32.  Note Cards (Another tradition… thank you cards!)

33.  Bath beads, bubble bath or scented soap (Dollar Store!)

34.  A copy of their favorite recipe (with some of the ingredients)

35.  Keychain (with a cute little plastic Gumby or Pokey…)

36.  The hottest hot sauce you can find (for adults only….)

37.  Fishing lures (I hear you can make jewelry out of these.)

38.  Glasses Case (for those over 42)

39.  Coloring book (and crayons… duh!)

40.  Coasters (another practical gift…)

41.  Mouse Pad (these come in all shapes and pictures… makes me want to get a new one)

42.  Craft Supplies (paints, brushes, wooden cut-outs, embroidery thread, beads, kits, etc.)

43.  Snow Globe (they have them with scorpions in our Walmart!  How festive!)

44.  Christmas theme costume jewelry (OK, this makes me laugh!  The bigger the better!)

45.  A tool (hammer, screw driver, pliers, etc….. this is great for moms and boys!)

46.  Harmonica (because we don’t have enough hillbillies in the family already)

47.  Sewing, knitting, woodworking, needlework patterns (I LOVE this idea!)

48.  Calculator (can you ever have enough of these?)

49.  iTunes Gift Cards (these are on all three kids’ lists this year!)

50.  Fingernail clippers, files, lotion (I added this one as I noticed my hands……)

There you go.  You’re welcome.  Feel free to add your own creative ideas in the comments section.  :o)

The Chips are Down, but the Bags are UP!

October 14, 2008 has some real beauties up this week, if I do say so myself.  In fact, I just did.  There is something for every gal on your Christmas list, young and old.  For those new to MSJ, this is an adoption fundraiser to bring our daughter home from Colombia.  It started as a family project and has blossomed as we found more people to call family. :o)

The bags and/or purses go up for auction on Tuesday and the highest bidder on Saturday night at 9:00 pm has a little bit more of their Christmas shopping completed.  Purses are the rage, in case you haven’t been out of the house lately.  Big bags, handy bags, cutesy bags and just plain versatile bags are IN.

BFZ has also become an addiction for many, but especially my mother.  I truly don’t know what she used to do all day long before she was designing award-winning bags… and checking the comments for every single bag dozens of times each day.  She took a sewing break last week, which we have all done in turn, but she had a difficult time knowing that she wouldn’t have as many comments to read.  Dad even put a computer in her sewing room, right next to the Singer, for easy access while stitching and ripping out and stitching the beautiful bags.  Such dedication

Seriously, how easy are we making your Christmas shopping for you?  It couldn’t get any easier.  You don’t even have to stay up on the auctions, if you choose not to.  Just pick out a dazzling Bag for Zaza for that special someone on your list, bid $175, and you will read your name up in lights on Saturday night.  It’s that easy.  (The bidding starts at $25….. shhhhhh!)

Thanks to all those who have donated fabric, trim and buttons.  Thanks to all who have bid and bid and bid, and STILL don’t have a bag.  Thanks to all of our models across North America for showcasing BFZ when you wear your bag.  Thanks to those special women who are spending their not-so-free-time sewing for Zaza.  Blessings upon you ALL!    (Only 72 shopping days until Christmas!  Don’t get caught in the MALL on the 24th!)