How to Keep Cool…

If I hear one more person (myself included) say “It’s so hot”, I may spontaneously combust. Yes, yes it is. I’m hot, you’re hot, we are all hot. What does my family do? Heck, we head into the city where it is REALLY hot..because we’re bright like that. The real reason? I had a hair appointment (with the same wonderful stylist I’ve had for 14 years) and brought tweens and teens with me, also because I am mean. I thought…How bad could it be? Umm…pretty bad. We were all a little quiet and a little cranky by day’s end.

While I was getting my hair done, the girls wandered into Alex and Ani – their bracelets are a teen trend right now. It was so hot that they came back to the salon (Jerel @ 119) where I was still in process. So I sent them to the Roxy’s Gourmecapability mom at georgetown cupcaket Grilled Cheese food truck for lunch (it’s parked in front of the Boston Public Library). I ordered a straight up grilled cheese (just in a purist state of mind) but the menu is inspired. Next time I’ll have one with guacamole and also get the truffle fries. Yum. We inhaled our sandwiches in the salon, it was too hot to hit the pavement with a grilled cheese in hand and then headed to the newest cupcakery, Georgetown Cupcakes.

It’s a cute place but there aren’t many seating options so we were back on the hot, hot street. On the way back to the car we ducked into the always sweet Sugar Heaven. Who knew they had an ice cream shop in the basement? We cooled off there at the cute counter seats and then braved the heat once more. Next the shops at The Prudential Center – sure, they have nice stores but the air conditioning was our goal. We hung out in Barnes and Noble for a bit – love their book selection but always find the staff hard to, well, find. Once you locate one they are super nice and helpful, though.

A quick stop into Vera Bradley for some gift ideas…vera bradley at prudential capability momand back home to play cards and eat delicious cupcakes in our air conditioned family room.

kickin' it old school to beat the heat - A/C, card games and some cupcakes capability momIf I didn’t have the kids with me I would have stopped at the Copley Square Farmer’s Market -especially because Sofra and Siena Farms are there but they were done in by the heat. Next time!

Last Minute Gifts – Lest Panic Set in – Day 11

Has it happened to you? You forgot about the hostess gift and it is T minus 30 minutes (or whatever countdown/military thing goes here – you know what I mean). Anyway, you are late and frazzled and uninspired and have only time to go to the nearest supermarket. Not to worry!

Almost any supermarket will do – I went to Whole Foods (super score), Roche Brothers and Trader Joe’s – They have gift things year round anyway but even more now. Flowers, plants, greenery, a given. How about a cinnamon broom? The one pictured is from Trader Joe’s but Whole Foods has them, too. You can decorate it on the fly if you have ribbon and an ornament in your car (don’t laugh, sometimes I do).

There were packages of candy (chocolate covered graham crackers, nonpareils – on sale) in Whole Foods that would be great poured into a mug from the kitchen section (you can do this while you are running down the aisle to the checkout, I tried). Add to it package of drinkable chocolate and marshmallows or some divine coffee or tea. Great housewares in Whole Foods in general and also at Roche Brothers which has a nice Stonewall Kitchen section (I almost bought myself a brightly colored bowl, some sweet wooden spoons and pretty dishcloths but then I calmed down and didn’t. Sometimes, I do buy myself gifts like my new Smartwool socks. Sometimes I use my secret cache of gifts for last minute gifts…shhh).

Anyway, it’s also pretty easy to put together a gift basket at any of these markets – they even have baskets. Something edible is always a welcome gift. What to choose? A case of clementines, some pomegranates, some nice cheese and bread, a jug of cider (or wine if your store carries it) and some mulling spices (either sold pre-packaged or head over to the bulk section and mix your own). Don’t forget the health and beauty aisle and my local store even has toys (my standby gift for kids is Melissa and Doug’s triangle crayons and a notepad) and they have CDs and plants (great rosemary trees)

Here are some tips from the Whole Foods blog on greening your holidays.

  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 small whole nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup whole cloves
  • 1/2 cup whole allspice
  • Grated peel of one whole orange

Chip the cinnamon, nutmeg, and all spice with a hammer. Place with other ingredients in a storage container. To use, place two tablespoons of mixture in a small muslin bag and add to four cups of beverage. Simmer. This recipe makes one and one half cups of mulling spice.


Mulling Spice with Cardamom

This is a slightly different mulling spices recipe, with the addition of cardamom seeds. The cardamom adds a warm, faintly citrus taste to the mulled beverage.capability mom finds mulling spices on lovetoknow

  • 1 tablespoon cardamom pods, slightly crushed
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice
  • 1 teaspoon orange rind
  • 12 whole cinnamon sticks

Combine first four ingredients. Put two teaspoons of the mixture into a small muslin bag and tie two or three cinnamon sticks to the top. Simmer in four cups of beverage. This makes a beautiful gift. Go to Pragmatic Mom’s site to see what great gifts she found at the gourmet market. She has exceptional taste and I am so looking forward to seeing what goodies she comes up with.

The 12 Days of Shopping

Dec 1: Make Your Own Gifts GRANOLA, Amazing Granola from Nigella Lawson versus Amazing Granola Bars from The Barefoot Contessa

Dec 2: Kids Make Gifts CRAFT (ModPodge versus Clove Fruit)

Dec 3: Personalized Gifts (Fancy Address Stampers versus Pretty Papers Giveaway)

Dec 4: Father-in-Law/Dad and Mother-in-Law/Mom

Dec 5: Tutors/Teachers

Dec 6: High Tech/Low Tech

Dec 7: Hostess/Gifts That Give Back

Dec 8: Sanitation Engineers, Mail Carriers, Hairdresser, Delivery People, Babysitter, Cleaning People, Dog Walker/Dog Trainer, etc. (a.k.a. who else did I forget?)

Dec 9: Husband, Me (Our Own Wacko List); Capability:Mom Husband/Wife

Dec 10: Dog/Cat

Dec 11: Quick Gifts from Whole Foods versus Gourmet Food Store

Dec 12: ’Cause I Am So Together, Last Minute Home Made Gifts: Cookies & Personalized Holiday Tags

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