Christmas Takes a Turn

For my family’s white elephant gift exchange this year, I was confident we’d have the best gift there.


Whatever could it be? A pony? A donkey? A unicorn?


No! It was a giant pinwheel!


But one thing it wasn’t was the best white elephant gift of the year. My SIL won that contest, and as I’m the one who ended up with the nightmare of a gift, I’m the one who most definitely lost.

So, with no further ado, let me introduce you to Smokey Sue.


Smokey Sue hails from the public school where my SIL teaches. In times of yore, it was used in classrooms to teach kids not to smoke when pregnant. “Smokey Sue smokes for two!”

As horrified as I was to unwrap her, I feel she needs a bit more unwrapping.

Here is her thinning yarn hair.


Her is her grayish mouth hole for putting a cigarette in.


Here is the pump that makes her smoke.


Here’s what happens when you light her up.


Here is the dead wrinkled fetus.


And here is one you can buy $194 on Etsy.


Any questions?

Beef stroganov
Garlic broccoli
One bazillion Christmas cookies

Scrappy Do

Finished another scrapbook! I put these pictures here because my scrapbooks are kind of like the Arc of the Covenant in Indiana Jones, neatly labeled and stored in the bowels of Hangar 51. If not for this blog post, they might never be seen again. Here are a few of my faves:


If anyone wants to see the full set, knock yourselves out.

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Omelet-wrapped quesadillas
Roasted cauliflower
Hard dough bread (which is actually super soft!)
Jamaican black cake

All I Want for Christmas

My kids don’t want anything for Christmas, and it’s ruining my Christmas.

Leo, even though he stopped believing in Santa this year, very much believes in waking up and finding that one exact perfect thing under the tree. The problem is, there is no one exact perfect thing he can think of. He’s as stumped as to what he wants for Christmas as we are.

Puzzles? Nah. Board games? Nope. Arts and crafts? Hates them. Books? We already own them all. Clothes? Doesn’t care about them. Toys? Not into them. Sports? Just soccer, and we already have 82 soccer balls. Personal claw machine? Laser tag? Cotton candy machine? Already freaking have them.

All the people in my family are hard to buy for—except Rocco, who will take just about anything. He is currently my favorite child. But even he doesn’t have anything specific on his list; just a general guideline of “lots of pieces.”

“If not toys, then how about clothes?” you ask. Unfortunately, my boys don’t care what they look like, they don’t care what other people think they look like, and they especially don’t care what their mom thinks they look like, even though she has said much on the issue.

Still, I decided I might treat them to a new set of athletic clothes. Something bright! Something fun! Something different! I scoured all stores everywhere to find that the only options are solid color shirts with a gigantic logo on them and solid color shorts with a slightly smaller gigantic logo on them. Once I eliminated all the colors that don’t hide stains or don’t look good with their red shorts (orange, purple, green, and slightly different red), that left two choices: gray or black.


Somewhere in the world there’s a National Geographic with a picture of me on the cover, holding a gray shirt and a black one, with the caption: In some places, women struggle to buy Christmas gifts for their kids because they already own everything. A lady picks up the magazine as she stands in the check-out line, shakes her head and says, “I wish we could do something to help,” and the cashier says, “It really makes you count your blessings, don’t it?”

I wish I didn’t feel the need to get the kids anything, but Leo is still just nine years old and it’s his first year of not believing, and I don’t want him to wake up to nothing but a note saying Welcome to the real world, kid and a pack of cigarettes. Even kids who don’t want anything don’t want nothing for Christmas.

And so I will continue to scour. I will rack my brain. I will keep trying different search phrases like Christmas gift 9-year-old boy and trendy gift 2021 and WHAT’S WRONG WITH MY KIDS?! I will be brave and relentless, I will persevere, until I find that one perfect thing that will make Leo believe, just for a moment, that magic still exists.

And I will have a happy Christmas.

Berbere spice meatballs (thanks for the recipe, MIL!)
Jasmine rice
Cauliflower with papperdelle, mint, and pepitas
Pineapple upside down cake