Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Feeling frazzled, how about you?

Today, I am not doing a thing!!  Well, maybe baking.....but that's it.

Well, maybe a little menu planning and grocery list making....but that's it!

Well, maybe doing a bit of laundry, cleaning the kitchen, cleaning out the fridge and wrapping presents.....but that's it!

See even when I try to do nothing, I just can't help myself.

Hope you are all having fun and into the holiday spirit!!

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies for Santa

I am not a big fan of sugar cookies, because after all, if chocolate isn't involved, what's the point?

So, I really don't make them or eat them, and for that, my jeans are thankful!!!

However, I thought it might be fun to try to make them, and ice them, and let the boys do all the dirty work.

So we did it, we made the cookies and I just had to eat a couple.

I mean, who am I kidding, butter and sugar just calling my name like that!

Besides, I am weak and have no willpower.

I am a firm believer that willpower is for January, not December!

Here's a photo of how ours turned out.

One question, how much red food colouring does it take to get red icing?

Vanilla-Almond Sugar Cookies

3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter
1 egg
3/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine flour and baking powder in a bowl and set aside.  Cream butter and sugar, then add egg and extracts and mix.  Gradually add flour mixture and beat until just combined.  Dough will be crumbly, so knead it together to form a ball, for rolling.  Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut out shapes.  Lay on a parchment lined baking sheet and put in the freezer for 5 minutes before baking.  Bake for 10-12 minutes and cool completely before icing.

Royal Icing

4 tbsp merinque powder
scant 1/2 cup water
 1 lb icing sugar
1/2 - 1 tsp light corn syrup
few drops of a clear extract

Whip together to form not quite stiff peaks, shouldn't take long.  I had to add more water.

Divide icing into bowls for colouring.  Then place some of the coloured icing in piping bags to outline your cookies.

Once the cookies have been outlined, thin the remaining icing with water for "flooding" or filling in your outlined cookies.

Decorate with sprinkles or coloured sugar

Enjoy (your jeans may not be happy, but you will)!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I found this link this morning and thought it was really cute.

I think my boys will love it.

Perhaps even my 9 year old,  non-believer, just might like it!!!


Monday, December 6, 2010

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

Mother Nature not helping you out?

Then give her a hand and create your own.

I am not sure where I found this idea, but I just wanted to share with you a fun and easy decorating project, that the kids will love to make.

Instead of making paper snowflakes for your windows, why not create snow flurries!

All you need is some strands of dental floss, sticky labels and a hole circle punch.

Punch circles from the sticky labels, peel the label halfway and insert the dental floss, press to stick.

Before you know it your strand of floss will be filled with little "snow" circles, ready to hang in your windows.

With the slightest breeze they will flutter and create a beautiful little snowy display.

Just in case you don't get enough of the real stuff that is!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy December 1st!!!!

December 1st this year has two special places in my heart.

The first being the beginning of the Advent Calendar.

The second, being the start of my December Daily album.

I have always loved an Advent Calendar and don't think I have ever had a Christmas without one.

Each year I try something new, searching for the perfect one.

I have had the paper calendars where you lift a flap and there's a picture underneath.  Those remind me of my childhood.

The others have a little chocolate inside.

Then when I had kids of my own I bought  beautiful cloth calendars with tiny pockets to hide a treat, and could be used over and over as the years passed.

Last year I bought a paper house Advent kit from Martha Stewart in which the treats were hidden behind tiny flaps all over little house.

With a few arguments and some tears, the boys assembled the houses themselves and I filled them with candy once they had gone to bed.

This year darling hubby found hockey advent calendars for the boys, and even though I told him I was making a special Advent Calendar, he bought them anyway.

After all, they were $1.69 and filled with hockey shaped chocolate.  Sure to be a hit!

All that aside I still continued upon my quest for something new.

I decided to go completely different and make little envelopes to hang from my mantel.

Each envelope contains a little task for the boys to do each day, no chocolate, just fun things to help build their memories of Christmas.

Today was Day 1.

It began at 6am.

Ciaran woke up and said to me "its December, it's December"  "We get to do the envelopes now".

So there would be NO ARGUMENTS as to who opened the first one, we agreed to flip a coin.

The boys were in full agreement to allow chance to play a part.

Ciaran won the coin toss.

It will be Connor's turn tomorrow.

Today's task is to plant Paperwhites and Amaryllis bulbs.

I thought this would be fun for the boys to get their fingers dirty and watch the bulbs grow into something beautiful.

What do I know!

The sweet words out of my darling Ciaran's little angel lips were, "that sounds boring".

Yes, I know I spent countless hours making handmade envelopes, printing Ali's Advent Boxes, filling out each card making sure there are no conflicts in our schedule so we can actually do the tasks, placing each in the appropriately numbered envelope, looking high and low for my stocking hooks to hang the ribbon from the mantel, cutting the ribbon ( too short), cutting the ribbon (too short, again), hanging the envelopes one by one, distributing the weight of the envelopes accordingly so they don't bring my stocking hooks crashing to the floor, standing back and finally admiring the fruits of my labor and loving the way it turned out......

All for my little darling, angel, sweetheart of a 5 year old say to me.......

that sounds boring!!!

Yes, folks there you have want to start your holiday season with lots of good cheer?


Buy the $1.69 Advent Calendar......Amen!