Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday Favorites - 12/19

This week it's all about cookies.  One of my favorite things about Christmas is baking.  I love how the smell of certain cookies can bring me right back to my childhood.

My biggest holiday baking tip is this: bake and freeze.  I bake all of my cookies the first week of December.  Once they have cooled, I put them in Ziplock gallon freezer bags and put them in the freezer.

Throughout the month, whenever I need them - we're going to a party, an event at work, filling treat boxes for coworkers - they are ready.  The cookies stay fresh and defrost in minutes. It is such a huge time-saver during the crazy fun month of December.

Like most people, I have traditional cookies that I make every December.

Dip and Decorate Cookies

My mom used to make them when I was a kid and I still make them every year.  They are so good.  They are also a great cookie for gifting - they're sturdy and don't break easily.  The best part of these cookies is you can make them for any holiday - just change up the color of the sprinkles and you have a Valentine's Day cookie, Easter cookie, baby shower cookie, birthday party cookie, 4th of July Cookie, Halloween cookie - the possibilities are endless!  Change up the chocolate you use - milk, semi-sweet, dark, white - and you have a different cookie each time.  You can find the recipe HERE.

Everyone knows (and loves) the tradition peanut butter blossom cookies.  We haven't made them in years because my daughter has a peanut allergy.  I was so excited to stumble across this recipe last year on Pinterest. They were an instant hit in my house.

These are made with cookie butter (found at Trader Joes).  If you don't know what cookie butter is, you should.   It is delicious.  If you don't have a Trader Joes near you, you could substitute Biscoff Spread (usually found near the peanut butter in your local supermarket).  
You can find the recipe for a new family favorite of ours HERE.

Rolo Cookies
Another family favorite at Christmas time are Rolo Cookies.  They are a chocolate cookie with a Rolo hidden in the middle.  They are absolutely delicious.  

These are a great cookie for gifting because they are sturdy, not crumbly or easily breakable. Make them today.  You will not be sorry.
Rolo Cookies
- adapted from Hugs and Cookies 

2 sticks butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
bag of Rolos, unwrapped
sugar in a dish for rolling cookies

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Beat butter and sugars with a mixer until well combined.
  • Add the eggs and vanilla.  Continue mixing until blended.
  • Add in the cocoa, flour, salt, and baking soda.  Mix until blended.
  • Once dough has formed, take about a tablespoon of dough and wrap it around a Rolo so the Rolo is hidden inside.  
  • Roll the cookie in sugar and place on cookie sheet. 
  • Bake for 9 minutes.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

November Little Things

November was a whirlwind.  There are so many moments and little things I want to remember.  

Annie has been go-go-GO!  Once she started walking, she was off and hasn't stopped since.  She's also a climber, so we have to watch her like a hawk.  One night I guess she finally exhausted herself, because she feel asleep in her exersaucer.  Too cute.
 Every 3 months Maddie and Lily get checked by our ENT.  They always get their ears checked to see if they have fluid, and every other time they get a hearing test.  Lily was completely independent this time.  Usually I go in the booth with her and she sits on my lap.  This time she told me she would do it all by herself.  And she did!  So proud of her!
Then, when we saw the ENT, Lily had a lot of hard wax that needed to be broken up.  They put something in her ear to soften it and she had to sit still for about 5 minutes like this:
She didn't move a muscle.  So proud of her - she is definitely our best behaved kid when it comes to doctor appointments.  As nutty as she is at all other times, she takes doctor visits, dentist visits, and haircuts very seriously and is super still and focused.  

Some days I get texts from our babysitter during the day with pictures of the girls.  Here they are enjoying a nice day at the Ecology Center:
Here they are enjoying a music class at the library:
Early in November, Fizbo, our elf. made an appearance and surprised the girls with tickets to see "Frozen On Ice".  The girls were so excited!!!!
 It was an awesome surprise and we had the best day.  The show was amazing - we all loved it.  
 Love their faces while watching the show:
I love my my little errand/shopping buddies:
A late afternoon at the park.  I hadn't been to the park in a few weeks with the kids and quickly discovered that now that Annie can walk and loves to climb, she is all over the place.  She loves to climb up the slides (and she's quite good at it too!)  Our little girl who used to want to sit in the swing and swing for hours now wants to be on the go.  She likes the swing for about 2 minutes now.
 One of Annie's favorite things this month was tearing up tissues.  Oh boy.  This girl would climb on the chair and take the tissues off the table and then just sit there and rip and rip and rip.  Once night I was cooking dinner and I found her covered in tissues, having so much fun.
 Lily is our late sleeper.  There are some days she sleeps until 9:00.  One morning, Maddie went in their room and took a picture of her sleeping:
I raked a lot of leaves.  I didn't get to as many as I usually do because life, work, and rainy/windy days got in the way,  but I filled about 50 bags.  Maddie and Lily liked playing in the leaves:
 Maddie and Lily were also great helpers.  They liked hauling the bags to the curb:
 and raking:
 The day after Thanksgiving, Maddie lost her 5th tooth.  She was still rocking her pilgrim hat as well. 
I spent a lot of November writing report cards and trying to get ahead on Christmas prep so that I would have more time for fun in December.  I was able to get my Christmas cards ordered and prepped to be mailed, and had 95% of my shopping done before December 1st.  

November was fun and productive around here!