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Cookie Challenge

Alternate title: The Time I Had A Nervous Breakdown About Cookies

Alternate alternate title: I Have Too Many Kids

Last weekend was the annual holiday bazaar at my kids' school. It's a great fundraiser for the school. One of the more popular bazaar events is the cookie room. One can go into a classroom FULL of cookies, purchase a bag, and fill it up to the top with whatever tasty wares were donated by the parents at the school. In order to encourage participation in the baking of these cookies, each class enters the Cookie Challenge. The class with the most cookies baked wins a prize.

I have participated in the Cookie Challenge every year since my oldest was in Pre-Kindergarten. Unfortunately, (& I'm blaming this full-time job at a turn-around school, here) I forgot all about the damn cookies this year. Thursday morning, I received a reminder email from one of the kids' teachers about the cookies. It reminded us of the rules for the Cookie Challenge which are as follows:
  • In order for a class to try to win, there must be 100% participation.
  • Each family must bake 3 dozen sellable cookies, brownies, cupcakes, etc. *Store bought products are STRONGLY discouraged.
  • Desserts must be brought in by Friday morning.
Oh, sweet mother of pearl. I forgot all about the damn cookies. I had been in work until 7:20 the night before, so I wouldn't have been able to make them on Wednesday even if I'd remembered. And I don't get home until after 5 as it is. Not only that, but I had already volunteered to make a cake for my son's teacher for her cake-stand raffle. On top of all of that, PJ and I had plans to go out on a date at the movies for the first time in months.

Have you done the math, yet? I was freaking out because I barely had time to make 3 dozen cookies. That's not the real problem, though, is it? Because EACH child is responsible for bringing in 3 dozen. I have 5 children in the school.

3 dozen x 5 children = dear God in Heaven, there's no way I can make 180 cookies (and a cake) in one night!

I wrestled with it all day until I finally decided that there was no way possible that I could make all of those cookies, so I was just going to let it go. I got home from work around 5 and baked the cake. PJ & I then went out for our date. While we were at the theater, I posted a picture to Facebook because the theater was TOTALLY empty and I was so surprised. Later, at dinner, I noticed that the picture had a bunch of comments. Two of them were from fellow moms at the school who were joking about why I was at the movies when I should be baking. These moms happen to be friends of mine. And every rational part of me knows they were only joking. But, they got me right in my Mommy Guilt bone. (It's located next to your funny bone - it grows in right around the time of the arrival of your first child.) I started freaking out about how my five kids would be solely responsible for all of their classes not winning the Cookie Challenge. I felt terrible. PJ was pretty well convinced that I was insane. He kept insisting that I either buy cookies at the store or forget about them altogether.

Instead, I set my alarm for 3:48 in the morning (I have OCD and my alarm times always have to be a multiple of 4.) I made my chocolate cookie dough and put a batch in the oven to bake while I was decorating the cake. All the while cursing the fact that I have so many kids. When I was done, I had made 60 cookies. 5 dozen. Not even close to the 15 dozen that was expected of me, but it was all I could muster before getting ready for work. 

I went to the cookie room on Saturday to buy a bag and fill with cookies. We went later in the day and the room still had tons of cookies. I think if I had made another 10 dozen, it would've been obscene. Next year, I'll remember to start on the cookies earlier in the week. (No, I won't. I don't remember anything, anymore.) At the very least, I'd like to propose a family cap on the cookies required. Can we say no more than 5 dozen per family? Either that, or PJ is going to have to learn to bake!

I was trying to find an image of "hundreds of cookies" and came across this blog post about a family who made 300 homemade cookies as a fun activity. These look amazing. And tasty. I'm going to have to hire this family to make our cookies next year.
1.) Apparently, my sad attempt at reaching the cookie participation amount still worked because the 4th grade (my oldest son's grade) won the pizza party for the cookie challenge. Go figure.
2.) I should reiterate that the moms I referred to were NOT at all trying to guilt me into baking. They were being funny. I was being psychotic.
3.) Now I can let you in on the fact that I lied a little. My batch of chocolate cookies only turned out 44 cookies. I broke a few and the batch usually makes four dozen. I order to get it up to an even 60 (1 dozen per kid), I rifled around in my pantry and chose the Market Basket sugar cookies. So, there that is. I made 44 cookies and stuck 16 random store-bought sugar cookies in with them. Wtf. 

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-->Do you run out of time, too? Feel free to share your story in the comments below...


Karen Champagne-Mchugh said...

Aunt Karen would love to bake brownies for the cookie challenge next year, just let me know and I can produce 5 dozen!

Lissie said...

That sounds perfect! I'm officially farming out Cookie Challenge duties for next year! ;)