Saturday, December 10, 2011

Gingerbread, Cookies and Lights

This holly jolly time of year gets busy, but we get things done early, turn down all but a select few activities, and put a lot of snowy white space on the calendar.  Then we hunker down as a family to watch Christmas movies, make presents for family, serve others, play games, light Advent dinner candles, imbibe loads of hot drinks, unwrap books by the tree, soak cold toes in the tub... and it's nice.  For us, Christmas is the least frenzied, most cozy time of the year, because that is what we intentionally choose to make it.

 Today, we made our gingerbread houses.  I love that our local grocers offers this--it saves us from stocking up on candy we really don't need.  And can I just comment on how fabulously creative Lorelei is?  Her gingerbread houses are always remarkable.
 Gryffy's are generally more sparse, and not for any lack of creativity on his part, either.  That boy just can't stop snacking long enough to keep candy frosted to his gingerbread house (can you see the sugar high on his face?).

We also went skating... roller skating, actually, because it's much easier on our backs (and bottoms) than the icy variety.  It was Gryffy's first trip.  He did one lap around the rink, and then settled on the ledge with Daddy to laugh and point everytime another kid wiped out.  Not a very nice thing to do, I realize, but it was pretty cute watching him get so tickled.

 I love these little walkers on wheels.  So do the kids.
 We made sugar cookies and decorated them.  I found this recipe on Clover Lane, and while the cookies expand a bit in the oven and don't keep their shape entirely, they are scrumptious! 

Butterscotch Rolled Cookies
2 2/3 cup (or one bag) of granulated brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Mix sugar, salt and butter in a large mixing bowl.
Beat eggs and vanilla into mixture until light and fluffy.
Sift together flour, baking powder, soda and cinnamon, and gradually blend into sugar ingredients.
Chill well. (About an hour at least.)
Roll dough out on well floured surface. Cut into shapes.
Bake on lightly sprayed cookie sheets at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

The kids had fun rolling out dough, wielding cookie cutters and pouring on mountains of sprinkles.  What I love most is the way they work together and help one another.

 But their favorite holiday treat?  Snow, of course!  Just not the yellow or brown variety, they like to remind us.  Of all the things we've taught them, I'm glad that one stuck.
 And so far, the nativity animals have not wandered off.  We stopped by Outdoor World's winter wonderland last night and picked up some tent stakes to secure them.  And the lights, we decided to do them ourselves this year.  They've already been insulted (to which I say bah, humbug, and go bark up someone else's Christmas tree), but we had fun doing them together, we think they're lovely, and putting them up ourselves saved half our Christmas budget!

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