18 December 2006

In Sickness and in Health

Saturday night we went to see The Big Guy. The line was and hour and a half long.

Santa chatted with every child for 3-5 minutes. He had a wonderful, deep voice -- as soothing as Jim Weiss, but lower. He exuded calm.

He's telling Kid1 that she has a very important role in the family, that of big sister, with a little sister who looks up to her. And then he discussed the true meaning of Christmas with the kids.

Kid2 put it all together -- the Old World look, his demeanor, the attitude he radiated, the way her feet and legs (which hurt from standing on bricks for an hour and a half) stopped hurting as soon as she stood next to him, possibly the way the elves were still cheerful after hours of dealing with the public. She whispered to me, "This is really St. Nicholas! That guy back in Ohio was just dressing up as Santa Claus to help him out. This is the real thing."


Sunday morning the red velour Christmas dresses debuted in all their glory. Except I forgot to take pictures.

Sunday night Kid2 put hers back on, Kid1 dressed in white on top/black on bottom, and we went to the Christmas Concert at our church (Kid1 was in it; her choir sang with the adult choir and orchestra, who were all in Black Tie). It was startlingly good. Really.

Afterwards was a cookie reception. My contribution was Peppermint-Chocolate Chip Meringues (naturally gluten-free!):

4 large egg whites (if they have any yolk at all they won't whip well; just sayin')
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
pinch of salt (I used coarse)
1 cup granulated sugar
6 candy canes
1/2 cup mini-chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 225F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Unwrap candy canes and place in large ziploc bag. Beat with pan until they're crushed into small pieces (ideally, assign this task to children and insert earplugs).

Beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt with a mixer until soft peaks form (about 2 minutes). Reduce speed to low and add sugar 1 tblsp at a time, beating a few seconds after every addition. Increase beater speed to high, and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form. Fold in crushed candy canes and chocolate chips.

Drop by well rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets, about an inch apart (these don't spread while baking). Bake both sheets for 1 hour, then switch positions in the oven (top rack to bottom rack) and bake 1 more hour. Turn off oven; allow oven to cool completely before removing (I left them until the next morning since I was busy and didn't need the oven). Store airtight. Makes about 32-36 crunchy, sticky mouthfuls of peppermint and chocolate.

And this morning? Small child with sore throat and 102F temperature. I think the late nights and sugar intake might've had something to do with that. So today's agenda includes lots of chamomile tea, snuggling up for stories, and watching Miracle on 34th Street.

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