You guys know so many of my dirty little secrets. Like, the fact that donuts are my absolute most favorite food. And that I’m always late…always. And that I despise cleaning with every fiber in my being. You guys know my many flaws. Another flaw being that I can sometimes be…feisty. So that is my prelude to the story of how I spoiled the biggest Christmas surprise.
It was Saturday morning…the Saturday before Christmas and I had packed up the girls and I while Mr. P recovered from a late night out with his friend (let’s pause to note here that sleep deprivation and my husband are a lethal combination). The morning was moving along smoothly and we were on schedule to depart for Chicago…on time. With a newborn, 3,123 pounds of baked goods, a dog, and gifts galore, you can imagine how impressed I was with myself. Per Mr. P’s instructions, I was piling everything by the back door so that he could assess the packing situation before beginning to pack. He started loading the car as I finished up a few last minute things around the house.
Lending a helpful hand, I brought the last few items stationed at the back door out to Mr. P in the garage to pack into the car…at which point I discovered a chaotic web of our CRAP filing the entire passenger seat, floor to ceiling (let’s pause here to also recall the DEER RACK that is on the back of the car with Tupperware containers bungee corded on). I gave Mr. P the side eye as he was playing a game of Jenga to maneuver the baby’s Rock-and-Play over the stroller…in the passenger seat. At this point, Mr. P expressed his displeasure over my side eye and asked me to walk away, reminding me that he said he’d make everything fit and that’s what he’s doing.
So, I go inside. Baby wakes up, I am nursing baby…Mr. P comes in and we begin talking about the packing situation. He shares that he got everything in and why did I have to question his packing, et cetera et cetera…I go on to express my opinion that while successful in getting eveeeeeeeeeerything into the car, it didn’t look safe to drive. No side mirror visibility…Chicago driving…baby on board…no bueno. Let’s just say things escalated and we were both holding firm that we were “right” in the situation. My proposed solution was that we distribute our packed items into both of our cars and travel with 2 cars. Mr. P was adamantly against that idea, just as adamant as I in not driving in the over-packed car, and accused me of “just wanting a new car!” (this was never mentioned in the heated moment, but I have been oogling over a larger family vehicle that we can safely and comfortably travel in with the baby and the dog…something like the Ford Explorer or similar 7 passenger SUV). I’ll spare you the details of the following 10 minutes but it involved a poopy diaper, unpacking the car of Mr. P’s and Lily’s belongings, about 50 buckeyes falling on my garage floor, a few 4-letter words, and some tears. You get the jest.
So, Shea and I are then driving to Chicago. The next 24 hours were pretty uneventful, me in Chicago with the baby and Mr. P in Michigan with the dog. There are some other details and intricacies of the story, but long story short, Mr. P and Lily arrive in Chicago. Mr. P comes inside and gives me a gruff, “Hi” and a kiss as we are walking out to unload…a brand new Ford Explorer with a big bow on the hood, just like the commercials. I got a “Merry Christmas” and a big I-wish-you-weren’t-so-darn-stubborn face. My jaw hit the ground. Apparently, he had purchased the car over 3 weeks prior and yeah…I royally ruined a WONDERFUL and generous Christmas surprise. Perhaps someday, I’ll put the key into the ignition and not think of how I ruined the surprise…and hopefully someday we can laugh over this one.
Ironically, the point in which I lost my cool completely in the situation was when the buckeyes were strewn across my garage floor. This was the tin of buckeyes that was specifically put together for my buckeye-loving father-in-law. I was so upset. Is now when I admit that we’re adhering to the 5 second rule? Don’t judge us!
I think my father-in-law would be as sad over not having buckeyes during the Christmas season as I would be not having English Toffee during the Christmas season. Right behind donuts (and arguably king crab legs), English Toffee is topping the list of my favorite foods. There is absolutely positively nothing not to love about butter, sugar, and chocolate. Mmmmmm. To me, toffee is so very “Christmas”.
- 4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter
- 2 cups white sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup pecans, finely chopped
- Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper; set aside.
- In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Allow to come to a boil, and cook until the mixture becomes a dark amber color, and the temperature has reached 285 degrees F (137 degrees C). Stir occasionally.
- When toffee reaches the proper temperature, pour it out onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the chocolate over the top, and let it set for a minute or two to soften. Spread the chocolate into a thin even layer over the entire surface and sprinkle the nuts over the chocolate.
- Place the toffee in the refrigerator to chill until set. Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container.
Merry Christmas to all!