Trees & Cookies

I am one of those individuals who carries on the traditions that were set upon me as  a child.  The ornaments on my tree were the ones my mother made when I was a child so I didn’t cut myself on the glass ones that she had (in an interesting twist of life, when I moved out, as I began a search of wooden ornaments similar to the ones my mother had on her tree, she told me she was going to split them up between my sister and I.  My sister doesn’t have the best track record of keeping things so I called her and told her she never had to get me anything for Christmas ever again if I could have all the ornaments…. she said sure, she didn’t want them [this still puzzles me to this day, but good for me!], added with some that I made, or some that just naturally fit with my theme… I like think that my Christmas tree’s theme would be an old fashioned as the painted ornaments have homes, churches, dogs, rocking chairs, Wise Men, the 3 Bears, Raggedy Ann & Andy, ice skaters, carolers, snowmen and Santas.  Mixed in are ornaments from my youth… ones with my names on them, ornaments given to me by my maternal grandmother, a cherished one from fifth grade where my room mothers made us ornaments with our names on it along with the bands that were popular in 1983 (Van Halen, The Who, Billy Joel, Pat Benetar, Journey, Def Leppard and Quiet Riot), some NY Giants ornaments, a few NY Yankees,  and added in recent years are ornaments reflecting the birth of my children (the infamous “baby’s first Christmas”… my daughter has 3, my son just 1, can you tell who came first???) and ornaments they have made in school or purchased for me as gifts.

My husband dislikes my tree… or at least he mocks me all the time stating that there are too many ornaments on it.  I think it’s just the right amount as I don’t lessen the ornaments on the tree, and I have branches with nothing on it.  See for yourself.

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And the ornament that I always have on the tree first and take off last… poor Fido.  As a little girl I always felt sorry for poor Fido being stuck in his doghouse on Christmas.  So to make him feel special I started having his as the ornament on the tree the longest… and the tradition continues…. sometimes I envy Fido in his doghouse… filled with peace and quiet.

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Another tradition in my house is baking Christmas cookies.  As a mother with a full time job, my mother helps me out by baking the Peanut Blossoms (peanut butter cookies with the Hershey Kisses on top) and Russian Tea Cakes (aka Snowballs) with my daughter while I work.  I get to do the fun ones, the cut out cookies. I use to get quite extravagant with my decorating – and use to even use my mom’s gingerbread boy to make NFL players…. the official Matt Bahr cookie was made for several years… One of these days I really need to ask her for that cut out… I haven’t found one like it when I’m out and about.

The problem with some recipes though is that they don’t always pass the test of time.  I think they change the way they make items, honestly, so where a recipe was made perfectly 20 years ago, doesn’t necessarily get the same consistency now.  So finding a good sugar recipe was my task.

First I tried using the Pilsbury Sugar Cookie dough and just cut out my cookies, these were good, but at times very frustrating.  For a few years I made these and then made my Great Grandmother’s Drop Sugar Cookie recipe which had sour cream in it.

Which leads me to the recipe I discovered on Taste of Home last year when I thought… maybe I should see if a cut out sugar cookie recipe exists with sour cream in it.  It does.  And they are WONDERFUL.  They stay nice and moist and the icing recipe with it is what I used and is incredible (I don’t even add mint flavoring to the green or banana flavoring to the yellow).  I split the recipe in half as last year I had a ton leftover and felt guilty wasting so much.

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Above are some of my children’s masterpieces (2 of which have disappeared since this picture was taken 10 minutes ago). Here is the recipe:  Sour Cream Sugar Cookies, if you try it I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

For all who celebrate – have a very Merry Christmas!  If you don’t, enjoy the peace and quiet and hope you can still seize the day to spend it with someone you love!

Peace!

 

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Being Crafty

So tomorrow I get to be “Room Mother” to my son’s fourth grade class. He is so excited for me to be there and I hope I am not super nervous getting up in front of his class to show them how to do a craft for their winter party.

My son had a plan I think over a month ago… instead of the usual “juice box” for this years party, he wanted us to do a craft.  I wasn’t overly thrilled and tried to talk him into cookies or candy… ya know, easy stuff… but he stuck by his “I want to do a craft”.  So we sat down on Pinterest and found crafts that could be done with paper plates and construction paper.

I then found out a few days ago that along with the whole “let’s do a craft” thing, they assumed I was coming into help.  Mind you I work a full-time job so despite wishing I could be a room mother for both children would be awesome, but the reality is I work.

So I texted his teacher in a hope that I didn’t have to go in.  The teacher said I didn’t and claimed she would show the class what to do and was happy I was sending in supplies and directions to do things.  As I continued to annoy her I’m sure on her evening time “off”, I discovered that the classroom had no room mothers.  It was just going to be her.

How sad is that???

So lucky for me I have a wonderful boss who has the holiday spirit and is allowing me to take my lunch and hour early tomorrow so I can go and assist my son’s class during his Winter Party.  My son is so excited he could burst.  At his bowling banquet today a few of the kids were telling me that they’ll see me tomorrow.  Here, he’d already told everyone I was coming.

So adventure time for me… let’s hope paper plate reindeer, Christmas trees, angels and wreaths are festive enough for this group of fourth graders.

 

Oh No! It’s Sunday!

Sunday – it’s such a bittersweet day.  I love it because it’s a day off of work, it’s filled with Giants football which can be good or bad for me (today it was good, I got to watch the game on television AND they beat the bills 24-10), and today in particular I got a great deal accomplished.  I got up, I water walked, I went grocery shopping, I switched out my beachy theme that I have in my home most of the year and put out my fall decorations (or most of them as the football game came on), I then went on a hike as I participate in the Fall Hiking Spree that my area Metro Parks offers each year, I came home ate chili for dinner that hubby made (oh, wait, it’s award-winning chili now – he won a cook-off with the Boy Scouts and is the official chili master now) and then started laundry. And now I’m writing my blog.

What do I dislike about Sundays?  What everyone dislikes about Sundays – having to go back to work tomorrow.

Last week I was nominated for The Sunshine Blogger and the Sisterhood of World Bloggers – not sure I am really all that deserving with my very new blog but I am very appreciative for Evgenia of Living on Annette for nominating me for this honor.  Now, part of this is suppose to include me nominating 11 others – and I know so many blogs I follow have already had people winning various awards so if you want me to choose you – let me know and I’ll be happy to assign questions for you!  Here goes the questions Evgenia asked me.

  1. What is your favourite thing to do for yourself? This is a tough question to start this all off.  As odd as it sounds I like to be able to enjoy sitting back and reading a book – uninterrupted… I seldom get to do this.
  2. What season do you like the most and why? Late spring, because early spring here in Ohio is still cold and icky… but late spring is warm and full of the world once again coming back to life… everything is full of new beginnings.
  3. Describe yourself in three words? Mom, Wife, Quirky.
  4. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now? I would like to see myself as a successful entrepreneur, fingers crossed!
  5. What is friendship to you? Friendship for me is an elusive thing.  It’s having a friend who I can turn to in good times and bad and rely on that person to have my back through the thick and thin and always be there with a smile or a hug.  I so wish I had one of these people in my life but I royally suck at choosing friends!
  6. What makes you happy? Seeing my kids happy, the Giants winning a game, accomplishing a goal.
  7. What is your fav holiday and why?  My favorite holiday is Christmas, I love to decorate my house using all the ornaments that I use to hang on the tree when I was little (as my mom gave them all to me – they are wooden ornaments and she handpainted them with my aunt as she was afraid glass ornaments could break and my sister and I could get hurt – when my mom mentioned when I moved out of her decorating her tree with glass ornaments as she had always wanted to do – I told my sister she never had to get me another Christmas present again if she would let me have all the ornaments – and they are all mine!  Now I love that these same ornaments (along with a few others) are hung on my tree by my own kids… however I don’t see myself giving my ornaments away to my own children – they can fight over them when I die.
  8. What do you do to make this world better place? I try to amuse people with my blog and I’m trying to raise two children to add to the goodness in the world – which seems to be harder and harder to find each day (the goodness in the word that is).
  9. Fav person to be around? I have to plural this as they are my kids.  I find them both to be so amazing – if only they really understood how much I adore them both!  And they can make me just sit there and smile.
  10. Fav quote? My favorite quote is the following – I read it the summer of 1989 and has always stuck with me:  “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” by Charlotte Bronte, from Jane Eyre.

Thanks for reading and I wish you all a happy Sunday!