Category Archives: Christmas

Merry Christmas Cookies!

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 Sam’s second playdate was a success!  Our friends Jess (the mama) and Cayden came over this afternoon.  First order of business: lunch!  The boys had quite a feast- eggplant fries courtesy of Jess- yum!, cheese, chicken, roast acorn squash, and tofu- the mom’s had sandwiches!

Sam was in awe of Cayden’s ability to walk- he’s so close to crawling!

See!  Crawling is so close, yet so far- finally getting that belly off the ground.  Go Sammy, go!

Then they played pass the pacifier (ew, but funny) and tease the doggie!

Next up- tissue paper shredding!  Who knew we had so many fun things to play with at our house?  They were so sweet with each other- Sam definitely needs to hang out with other kiddos more often.  Mama is old news- other babies are so fun to poke and be poked by!

While the boys crawled, cruised, walked, and fell over, Jess and I got busy decorating!  I’ve mentioned my 1st edition Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book before- I still love it.  It’s just so…of the times.  It suggests broiled grapefruit, peanut butter-bacon canapes, and jellied bouillon for appetizers and has a three page spread on table service.

Considering how much I enjoy keeping house, I think I was born in the wrong era.    Though I’m pretty sure my Where the Wild Things Are t-shirt would not have been considered appropriate mommy attire for a playdate…or ever.

I followed the recipe for the light dough:
1/3 cup soft shortening (I used unsalted butter)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
2/3 cup honey (I used half honey, half maple syrup)
1 tsp vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour (I used King Arthur White Whole Wheat)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Mix together thoroughly: shortening/butter, sugar, egg, honey, and vanilla.  Sift together and stir in: flour, baking soda, and salt.
Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes (I baked for 8 minutes and they came out perfect!)
These have a definite honey taste and are super sweet, but isn’t that what you want in a iced sugar cookie?  Besides, I think people who say things are “too sweet” are bonkers.  
Rather than dealing with homemade frosting, I bought the Betty Crocker cookie icing.  It worked perfectly and was pretty much mess free- love!  The taste isn’t half bad either…I love how I’m being so non-committal about the taste- I’ve eaten like 7 cookies!  They are delicious. 
Must give them all away NOW.   
 

This one is clearly my favorite- that white blob would be a shout out to my hometown!


Oatmeal Raisin Cookies in a Jar

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In an effort to have a more homemade (and affordable) Christmas, I decided to put together some cookie mixes to give away to friends and family.  My sister did this last year and it was lovely!  
I wanted to make these cookies super simple so I decided to use melted butter in the recipe rather than softened butter.  I can’t make it any easier than melting, cooling, dumping, and stirring- if you can’t handle that, you oughta pour yourself a Bailey’s and take a holiday hiatus.  

I bought my jars at Stop and Shop where I got 12 quart jars for $10.  While you’re buying the jars, let me also recommend that you buy a funnel.  I didn’t and well…let’s be honest.  There was a lot of spillage.  Pretty sure I’ll be sweeping up flour and sugar for days to come.  Don’t be like me!  

This is not a quick project, but I did enjoy it!  I made 8 jars in total- if you’re gonna go through the steps, you might as well make a bunch!  I put How I Met Your Mother on Netflix and measured away!

Directions!
Layer the following ingredients in 1 quart jar starting with the raisins on the bottom and ending with the flour on top.  See picture above!  Each jar makes roughly 36 cookies.

1 1/4 cups flour (I used a whole wheat/white blend)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup raisins

Attach the following directions to each jar of cookie mix!  To make it extra special, you could also include a cookie scoop like this one.  Cookie scoops make perfect cookies attainable for everyone!


Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Preheat oven to 350.
Empty contents of jar into large mixing bowl.  Stir to combine ingredients.
In a separate bowl, melt one stick (1/2 cup) of butter and let cool.  To butter, add two eggs, and 1 ½ tsp of vanilla extract.  Whisk to combine.
Add butter/egg mixture to dry ingredients and stir until just mixed.    Drop tablespoonfuls of batter 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes.
Ingredients: white and whole wheat flour, old fashioned oats, raisins, baking powder, baking soda, salt, white sugar, brown sugar

A little Christmas party

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A little Christmas was had by all tonight! Nick and I wanted to have a Christmas party this year, but usually people get so busy before the holiday that it’s hard to find a day that works for everyone. We solved this problem by having a Little Christmas party. Friday was Epiphany or the Feast of the Three Kings. Several cultures actually exchange gifts on Epiphany instead of December 25.

Nick custom designed some lovely invitations and we mailed them out with our Christmas cards to pretty much everyone we know. We hosted the party at the faculty dining hall where Nick works- it was a great space!



My mom sent me these tablecloths a year ago and I finally got to use them! They really added a nice touch.

We had a potluck- I love them because everyone we know has good taste in food! We had lots of delicious dishes: two kinds of macaroni and cheese, a huge antipasto plate, shepherd’s pie, 7-layer dip, pesto chicken pasta, ziti and meatballs, chicken fingers, calzone, chili, and more that I’m forgetting.

This is after we ate- it was all so good! For dessert there were cookies and trifle.

We stocked the fridge with beer and soda.

After dinner, we had a Yankee Swap.


There were some crazy gifts- one family brought a live lobster on ice with a gift card!! I had to hold it up for all to see- should’ve gotten a picture. Other gifts included a mini-sewing machine, a 4-cup coffee maker, some limoncello, and a few sets of lottery tickets. It was a pretty good selection for a $20 limit. I got the game Catch Phrase- so fun- and Nick came home with a digital clock.




After the festivities, it was time to clean up. It’s a school night after all so we wrapped up early.


Thankfully, we had some help!

It was a fun night and hopefully a new tradition was born. There were a few wee ones there this year, but next year our parties will be crawling with babies. Fun times!

Christmas Recap

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The husband is in the middle of his biggest home improvement project ever- he is completely renovating the kitchen. He took last week off work and gutted the entire room. Essentially, we’re combining the dining room and kitchen for a more open floor plan- no small feat considering we live in a 900 square foot bungalow.

Since the kitchen is officially closed until further notice, I wanted to take a few posts to catch up on the last few months.

First up- Christmas!

We considered not putting up decorations this year because of the construction, but I caved! I needed some holly jolly.

We finally found a Gilligan ornament at the Fryeburg Fair in Maine- check out the resemblance! Labradoodle paraphernalia is tough to come by so we were extra excited when we stumbled upon this gem!

Christmas eve was hosted per usual by Nick’s Aunt ReRe. Looking a little mischievous, I’d say.

Nick’s dad, Jack, bought a totally awesome hat- it sings and dances. A very silly photo shoot ensued.

My lovely husband.
Jimmy.

Nana.
Papa.
Aunt Kath.
Joey.
Mary.

We ended the evening with a sing-a-long and dessert.

Next, we went to Nick’s Aunt Nancy’s house for more merriment. There aren’t any pictures of this gathering because I was too busy making googly eyes at an 11 day old baby- so sweet- and playing with a totally awesome 18 month old. Christmas is so much more fun with kiddos!!

Midnight mass was lovely- and I especially appreciate that it starts at 10:30 pm instead of 12 am.

Christmas morning always starts with a celebration just the two of us. We wake up early and exchange our presents and then eat breakfast.


Santa brought Nick a nerd starter kit- included was a Star Wars t-shirt for the wee one, Star Wars Legos (for Nick), and a Star Wars DVD. If we want our little boy to love all things nerdy, we gotta start him young.

Santa brought me a Giada cookbook and a griddle. Cannot wait to make millions of pancakes! My mom also got me a cowboy boots charm for my bracelet- can’t wait to meet my very own cowboy in May!

Our little family.

After our small celebration, we head over to Nick’s parents house for the rest of the day. We were thoroughly spoiled by them- I think my mother in law bought every maternity shirt that Old Navy sells! Nick got an awesome winter parka that I have stolen on several occasions- so warm.

The cousins showed up with their Bruins pride.

Nick’s childhood bear Ben obliged for a photo op with his newest friend.

And my father in law kept our teapot obsession alive with these adorable teapot ornaments. We’ve been teasing each about teapots for years- it all started when Nick stole Aunt ReRe’s Irish cottage teapot Christmas Eve 4 years ago. It has since been returned, but teapots have a funny way of showing up at all family functions now.

It was a lovely, low-key Christmas- cannot wait for the fun and excitement our little Nugget will bring to the celebration next year.