This are easy to make, with soft and delicious results. When you’re tired of sweet Christmas cookies, try this stronger flavor. The other options is white sugar and sorghum in place of the brown sugar and molasses. My research tells me the molasses version is more typical of Detroit area moms and grandmas and bakers.
An encore presentation: it’s all still true. I just got back from a short shopping trip that included Half Price Books and a local dollar store. I can finish the wrapping now.
Folks, you know me. You know I gave up buying wrapping paper several years ago. You know I plan ahead for gift shopping because of all the birthdays that mingle with Christmas. You know I love Christmas music and listen to it – well, I love to listen to holiday music, new or classic.
But do you recall – of course you do. Creative wrapping, frugal gift planning, and finally, the shopping, take a little thought. And then, with a little thought and planning, the fun begins.
Thrift stores! By carefully perusing the racks, I have often found good buys on brand name and quality clothing. Lands’ End, GAP, Old Navy, and my favorite jeans just take a quick cycle through the wash and then look good as new – or better. Better how? Because they’re already worn in, but not worn out.
Thrift stores again – baskets. I enjoy filling baskets with my own canned goods for special people like extended family. My favorite place to find baskets? Goodwill and other thrift stores.
Stores that specialize in vintage. This angle requires good knowledge of the gift recipient. If you’re considering that rabbit fur coat that’s marked 20% off, you’d better avoid buying it for me or for La Petite. But if you see a lovely scarf or classic cameo pendant, go for it.
Stores full of repurposed and crafty pieces. There’s a shop near my workplace that sells wonderful creative and useful household pieces. I look at their wine cork frames and trivets and think “I could make these.” Then I realize no, I don’t have the time or the talent. I’ll buy it from someone who does have the time and talent.
And finally, last but never least, I thoroughly enjoy shopping at Fleet Farm. Don’t bother with Toyland; just stick to my standard departments. Friends and family know that they can buy anything for canning and preserving and I’ll be thrilled. They might even find gardening tools and toys there, despite the weather outside being frightful. We’ve also discovered that the foodstuffs designed for hunting or camping are also good pantry staples. Bear Creek soup mixes, anyone? Yum.
No one fumbles around with the tree in a Green Bay Packer fan household. Diminutive though they may be, these little delights are like prize jewels of the family ornament collection. This roly-poly guy is a jingle bell decked out in Green and Gold and a football uniform.
These two came from a student (oh, she knew me well). They look fragile, but they aren’t. You won’t see them on injured reserve. Tiny and shiny, the crystal snowmen are small enough to fit in a teacup, but they’re prettier near a string of lights that can reflect on their glory.
Sometimes the closed captioning is wrong, and it becomes humorous.
Sometimes it’s the announcer.
There is a media program for the folks who call a football game. It’s a team roster with phonetic pronunciation of the player’s names. Brian Bulaga, for example, is listed as Brian Bulaga (Boo’lahgah). Today’s play by play guy didn’t study the roster before the game. He called him Brian Beluga.
Readers, you’re way ahead of me, I’m sure. We turned it into song, of course. To the tune of Raffi’s Baby Beluga, I give you – Brian Beluga, from the O.K. Chorale.
Brian Beluga on the great green sea.
Block so wild, and you block so free.
Snowfall above, and the turf below,
Just a green and gold guy on the go!
Brilliant, it’s not. Memorable, kinda maybe. But we do have fun watching football.
Husband and I have a different perspective on the Packers and their post-season. He’s a Packer fan in a way, but he looks at their success from a slightly different angle because he works in television.
Television news in a major NFL market is a whole different, well, ball game from working at a station with no football to cover. For him, an extended post-season is both a blessing and a curse. It means more work, and it means more work. More work means overtime, and more work means overtime. An extended season can also mean travel…unless the Pack manage to earn home field advantage.
Who cares? I hear you wail. To answer that question, I share the transcript of an Actual Conversation at the O.K. Chorale. The script is the type that gets repeated annually. This one is funny because the Super Bowl was in Arizona the year I first blogged the topic, just like the one coming up in early 2015.
Me: It’ll be great if they keep winning and get home field advantage through the playoffs.
Husband: No, no, n-n-n-n-n-no!
Me: What? I thought you’d like it because you wouldn’t have to travel!
Husband: I don’t want to work outside on the sidelines in the freezing cold!
Me: Okay, then you want (insert NFL team in southern U.S.) to win so that you can work a game in (insert warm locale), instead?
Husband: No, No, n-n-n-n-n-n-no!
Me (confused): Huh?
Husband: I have this fear that the news director is going to look at us engineers and say, ‘Erbert, Gerbert, load up the satellite truck and drive it down to (insert southern NFL market). and when they win? Turn right.’ I could be on the road for three weeks! (editor’s note: he said “IF they win.” I changed it.)
Me: Then you should cheer for the Packers to keep winning. They’ll earn home field advantage, and you won’t have to travel.
Husband: (speechless, waving arms in air)
Me: I suppose it’s a lose-lose situation for you.
Husband: Yes! Yes! Yes!
Everyday decor – I looked over this post and realized, as usual, that not much has changed since this piece first hit the Interwebs in 2011. Read on and find out what little did need updating.
Win or lose, run or pass, Cheeseheads never lose their class.
Ironic, isn’t it? I posted this several years ago. My boss at the time has been bumped up to an office in the same building in which my virtual school makes its “home”. My current cubicle is in a drafty part of an aging building, so the blanket style jacket is, well, perfect. The more things change, the more they stay the same – in Packers country, anyway.
There’s too much on my to-do list to allow a relaxed Sunday afternoon in front of the TV. But when you have green and gold running through your system the way we do at the O.K. Chorale, the game will be on and will be central to our existence for a few hours. We do a little multi-tasking, though, just to keep life from collapsing around us. For example:
- Make ice cream. Mix the ingredients, turn on the ice cream maker, and then watch the game until it’s done. Note to self: watch the real clock, not the football clock, for timing.
- Laundry. Turn on the bedroom TV while folding.
- Bake. I baked angel food cake today – just the thing to go with our Eating the Opponent dish, Norwegian Fruit Soup. Yum.
- Clean a bathroom. Seriously. Apply cleaning solutions (or vinegar-water mix) during one commercial break. Scrub and rinse during the next break. Not recommended during a Super Bowl when the commercials are part of the entertainment.
- Shop online.
Readers, can you add to the list? As the Packers keep winning, I want to watch every minute. But in reality, life intrudes. What other tasks can be multi-tasked during a Packer game?
You know you’re a Green Bay Packers fan if:
- Your favorite starting quarterback has a streak of incomplete passes – 3 in all.
- You buy Christmas gifts at the Packer Pro Shop for out-of-state relatives.
- You imagine the visiting teams saying, “We came, we saw, we lost” on their way out of Lambeau.
- Your favorite field goal kicker is considered in a slump if he misses. That’s misses one field goal.
- Your weekly superstitions continue, even though you know the team doesn’t need your help.
- You have a cheesehead that sports the words “NFL Owner.”
- Your decorative ceramic seagull wears a Barbie-doll size cheesehead.
- Instead of rushing into laundry to prepare for game day, you just take out another piece of Packer-wear because you own enough to last through the playoffs — and indeed, the Super Bowl.
For newcomers: We have a fun culinary tradition in our family. During the NFL season, we look at the Packers schedule, see who they are playing, and then plan to “eat the opponent” by serving local fare – the other team’s local fare. It’s a little tougher for our North Division opponents because our Packers face them twice every year – three times if it happens again in the playoffs.
The Minnesota Vikings are probably settling in for a nice long nap downtown in my fair city right now as I’m blogging. Consider the following: It’s about a 45 minute drive from our downtown to Lambeau Field, Green Bay hotels often fill up as soon as the schedule is released in the spring, and what opponent wants to stay in Packerland City surrounded by cheeseheads, anyway? The jokes on them, really. We have as high a percentage of Cheeseheads as Green Bay itself. But I was talking about food.
My go-to default for Minnesota games is wild rice. I can cook it as a side dish, stir it into a hotdish, or just about anything. Wild rice is delicious. When former Packer Brett Favre donned the dreaded purple and played for the Vikings, we served turnovers for breakfast. Long time fans will understand. This time around, I was searching. Simply making wild rice on the side didn’t feel like enough.
I did a quick Internet search for Minnesota game – hunting game, that is. I printed a list of game animals that are hunted in Minnesota, tucked the list in my purse, and headed to a nearby corner meat market. Everyone should have a corner meat market. It’s just an awesome little place. But I was talking about Minnesota.
I bought a pound of ground elk meat. It was pricey, but can you put a price on a Packer victory? Never mind. Don’t answer that. I pondered the possibilities, and by the time I pulled in the driveway (5 minutes later) I’d decided: Elk chili.
At this moment, while the Vikings are staying in a hotel with a restaurant called Vince Lombardi’s Steakhouse, I’ve browned the elk meat and I’m cooking a pan of home grown tomatoes for sauce. It’ll simmer in the crock pot all day long while I’m in school. If I do this Wisconsin style, Amigo will add noodles to it late in the afternoon. And there you have it: Eating the Opponent — Minnesota, with a Wisconsin twist.
Go! Pack! Go!