Friday, December 16, 2011

'Tis the Season

It’s that time of year again!  ‘Tis the season for all things Christmas: Christmas cards, Christmas carols, and Christmas cookies.

Okay, those are just a few of the things going on.

First things first, this year we took the route of least resistance for our Christmas cards.  I knew that the chances of getting a good portrait of all four of us was pretty slim when you have one person who habitually blinks whenever a flash is present, a control freak who wants the card to look perfect, a young preschooler who thinks that he needs to hide from the camera as if it were a game, and a baby who is cute usually all of the time, but doesn’t necessary understand he needs to look at the camera.

So we kept it casual, and in the days leading up to Thanksgiving I kept the camera near me at all times hoping a good photo opportunity for the boys would present itself.  We had wonderful weather this fall, and one afternoon at my parents’ house we decided to rake up some leaves to jump in them.  What kid doesn’t love that?!

We had a great time, but this is the only decent photo of the boys together that I could get.

Meet baby Levi, owner of the perma-pout lip.  It is pretty cute, but if it starts quivering you know you are in for a meltdown.

However, I was able to get some great photos of the boys one-on-one, so we just used individual photos of each of them for our Christmas card.

If you didn’t get a card, we apologize!

We have really enjoyed getting everyone’s Christmas cards too!  I love seeing what everyone has been up to.  And it is way better than getting junk mail or bills in the mailbox everyday.

We also love listening to Christmas music!  I have been trying to teach Charlie some of the classics, but he keeps reverting back to his favorite: Jingle Bells…belted out at the top of his lungs.  When he was in daycare last Christmas they had a recital and his age group sang and played the bells to that song.  “JINGLE ALL THE WAAAAAYYYYY!”

I especially enjoy listening to Christmas music in the car (gotta love the stations that play only Christmas music during the Holidays!), or while baking or making dinner.

Speaking of baking, Christmas would not be complete with out the cookies!

Since having children my cookie making experience has drastically decreased.  Prior to children I would make chocolate chip cookies almost weekly.  I think the 20 extra pounds I was carrying around may have had something to do with it, so it was another good reason to have kids!  However, my (former) co-workers still give me flack about where “their” cookies are…

Charlie is getting to the age where he can get involved in the baking, so we decided to make a couple of recipes.  Plus, the measuring allows him to practice his counting skills.

To aid us in our baking adventures, Santa brought me my present early this year as he knew that he would benefit from the goods.  (He also likes to shop on Cyber Monday when you can get things 63 percent off after rebate!)  It is all in an effort to make me become more domestic…hardy har har.

I’d like to introduce you to my new KitchenAid Professional 600 6-Quart Stand Mixer.

So far I have used it everyday since the box was opened.

First we made these Holiday Lime Cooler Cookies.

It is best to make these while listening to Kenny Chesney’s "All I Want for Christmas Is a Real Good Tan” album, and drinking a margarita…if you are in to that sort of thing, and you have margarita mix and are not caring for a 2-year-old and 10-month-old baby at 10am…sigh.

We added green and yellow food coloring to the frosting instead of using the recommended decorative gel in the instructions (one less step when trying to prevent your child from snitching all of the cookies while you are not watching).  Charlie helped to lick up the extra frosting, because he needed more sugar after eating a handful of cookies.  Needless to say he really didn’t have an appetite for lunch that day.  These were for a cookie exchange, so we got lots of other types of cookies in return.  Yum!

Next up were some traditional M&M cookies, in red and green of course.

I used the trusty Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe and swapped the chocolate chips for a half bag each of milk chocolate and dark chocolate M&M’s (“What is it about the green ones?!”).

I don’t know why this cookie dough is so addictive.  I just may have consumed a few ten large spoonfuls of the uncooked dough.  Let’s hope I don’t gain those 20 pounds back, or get salmonella poisoning.

Aside from watching the mixer and helping with the measurements, Charlie was very adamant when it came to the M&M’s.  Thankfully, I had taken the mixing bowl off of the stand to fold the M&M’s into the dough, because Charlie kept trying to stick his little fingers in there whenever he saw a loose one.  To resolve the problem I just dumped a bunch of the extra M&M’s into a bowl and set it in front of him to keep his hands (and mouth) busy.  These are my parenting skills at their best.

We switched gears for our third recipe to make Cake Batter Chocolate Bark.  It has sprinkles, so it qualifies for the cookie category.

Oh, so good!  It was really easy to make too.  Charlie helped with the sprinkles.  He pretended he was the Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher and tried to gather and eat any of the sprinkles that did not go directly on to the chocolate.  He really wanted to dump the entire container on it at once, so I gave him plenty of assistance had a death grip on his wrist.

I had plans for a fourth cookie recipe, but I think that I am losing motivation.  Maybe I am just coming down from my sugar high.  Must. Eat. Another. Cookie.

How did this post become so dominated by cookies?


Doesn’t everyone’s inner Cookie Monster come out this time of year?!

We will have one final cookie baking session right before Christmas Eve so Charlie has cookies to leave out for Santa…I don’t think that the others will last that long around here.  We are probably just going to make cookies out of the leftover Funfetti cake mix we used for the cake batter chocolate bark.

That, and the mix and pre-made frosting have sprinkles.  We all know how much Charlie enjoys sprinkles!

Covered in flour and singing “Jingle Bells,”

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