Tag Archives: Christmas cookies

Life is Short…Eat Christmas Cookies!

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Oh, how December has flown by, and I know that I’m not the only one reeling from the rapid pace of this festive month. The lateness of Thanksgiving left everyone a week short of the typical four weeks we usually have to make Christmas happen, and we all seem to be scrambling this year to fit it all in.

By the time December 19th rolled around I realized not a cookie had been baked and we were less than a week from Christmas. Typically we bring a large cookie platter to my mom’s house on Christmas Eve. In the past this responsibility was easy to follow through with thanks to our annual co-op cookie exchange. Our co-op no longer meets regularly so this tradition didn’t happen. I knew that we needed to have something sweet to plate for Santa, so we decided to just focus on Christmas cut-out cookies.

On Thursday, following Molly’s exciting journey home, I began baking dozens of Christmas cut-out cookies for us to decorate on Thursday night. My delinquency worked to the family’s advantage, as Molly was home and able to take part in this family tradition.

Thursday afternoon I received a call from Grace asking if we had any plans. Zach had school on Thursday night and she was eager to see Molly! We invited her to join us for dinner and an evening of cookie decorating.

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After dinner was all cleaned up we gathered in the dining room. Frostings, sprinkles and trays of sugar cookies were carried in and we got to work.

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Like pumpkin carving and Easter egg dying, cookie decorating is a favorite activity as it pairs family time with individual creative expression.

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It is always fun to see what designs everyone comes up with…

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And the fact that the artwork is deliciously edible is a huge perk to this fun, family tradition!

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By the end of the evening Grace, Rusty and I were the only ones left at the table as we pushed through the last few dozen cookies on the tray.

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Braden and Tyler lost steam after frosting a dozen cookies, and Molly and Toby were feeling icky and left to go lay down, so my two standing soldiers helped me knock out the last of the Christmas cookies, allowing us to assemble two beautiful trays for our upcoming Christmas celebrations.

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We are one step closer to being Christmas-ready!

 

Christmas Cookie Decorating

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This past weekend was filled with opportunities to make some SWEET memories!

The fun revolved around Christmas Cookies,

And it began with 21st Century Cyber Charter School’s December activity… “Cookie-palooza!”

Last Friday we drove out to Murrysville where Molly, Rusty and Ozzie joined other 21st Century students and teachers for a day packed with fun.

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Molly was touched by the unexpected surprise of one of her dearest school friends surprising her by driving 4 hours from his home in Gettysburg, PA to join her for a day of Christmas fun.

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At “Cookie-palooza” the students enjoyed all things sweet; with cookie dough making, cookie baking, and cookie decorating.

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Along with all the cookie fun, the students also enjoyed playing Minute-to-Win-It games, making Christmas cards for elderly residents at a local nursing home, and feasting on pizza.

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The best part, however, was connecting with friends and enjoying the company of teachers outside the virtual walls of the online classroom.

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And Molly enjoyed experiencing it with Irvin.

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After the activity Molly and Irvin took advantage of his trip to Pittsburgh by heading over to Barnes and Noble to hang out for a bit before his 4 hour drive back home.

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The cookie fun continued over the weekend with Christmas baking. As we sat down as a family at the start of the holiday season, and everyone shared with the family which Christmas tradition was most important to them, Brandon shared that his favorite tradition revolved around Christmas cookies. He told us of the sweet memories he had of holiday baking with his adoptive mom and the joy of getting to eat Christmas cookies for breakfast on Christmas morning. He expressed that the tradition that he most hoped we would make time for this December was cookie baking and decorating. So his wish, along with the other kids’ Christmas wishes were made priorities on the calendar and this past weekend we got busy in the kitchen.

Saturday was spent baking and Sunday we gathered to decorate our pile of cut, cooked, and cooled sugar cookies.

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It was so much fun coming together as a family and enjoying time around the dining room table as we spread and sprinkled to our hearts’ content.

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It was a SWEET time with my very favorite elves.

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Reindeer, and Rabbits, and Robin…Oh My!

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We all have our own favorite holiday traditions.

In fact, it sometimes feels as though the Christmas season doesn’t last nearly long enough to fit in everyone’s favorite holiday activities amid the busyness of everyday life that continues to march on through the month of December…

despite everyone’s wish that we could just “play” all month long.

We have learned that we must prioritize.

We begin the Christmas season with a family meeting where we discuss the family’s vision for the upcoming month and each family member gets to weigh in on what family traditions are most important to them. Using this “Top 7” list we begin to pencil in some of the activities on the December page of the calendar. Many of these traditions take place at our weekly Family Night when everyone is home together. Because of Ozzie’s absence this holiday season we have worked hard to reformulate the way we do some of these beloved traditions so that he wouldn’t have to miss out. It isn’t the same as him being home, but it is the next best thing.

Christmas time is about unconditional love, service, sacrifice, giving of oneself, and family, and we have tried to bring those key values into our visits with Ozzie.

Sunday was our cookie decorating day. Having baked 4 dozen sugar cookies on Saturday, Sunday was freed up to enjoy the fun part of the project which was the decorating. Knowing how much Ozzie loves this particular Christmas tradition we brought to our weekly visit a container of homemade sugar cookies, icing, and lots of sprinkles and glitter so he could decorate, share, and of course eat his fill of cut-out cookies.

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When we returned home (after a great visit with Ozzie) we proceeded to do it all over again with the other four kids. Supplies were gathered and spread across the plastic tablecloth as everyone took their seats around the dining room table.

But someone was missing.

Tyler was hiding once again.

These last two weeks have been fraught with high anxiety and hard emotions. I think the combination of the holiday season, and all the hard emotions that come with the holidays when you have had the past that Tyler has, as well as the realization that Ozzie is coming home in a few days (which brings with it feelings of excitement and joy but also feelings of anxiety and fear) has led to an increase in his already noticeable facial tics ,as well as an increase in his tendency to hide in closets or small spaces…a regression that occurs when he is afraid.

I knew he was struggling and knew it was better to not push, so we began decorating cookies with Tyler hiding behind the Christmas boxes in the corner. My hope was that as he listened to the lightness and laughter of our activity his anxiety would decrease and he would emerge when he was ready…

And he did.

Eventually everyone was seated at the table enjoying this favorite Christmas tradition.

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I loved the creativity shown as family members took traditionally shaped cut-out cookies and found within the familiar lines less familiar objects…

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Gingerbread men were turned into reindeer:

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Stockings transformed into bunnies:

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Trees became clocks:

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Presents were turned into snow globes:

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Tyler turned his gingerbread boy into Batman’s sidekick, Robin:

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And Toby took a deformed stocking and found within its distorted lines the Statue of Liberty:

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The end result was 3 platters of the most creative Christmas cookies EVER,

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And a night filled with special family memories.

A “Snow Day” Sabbath

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This past Sunday was declared a “Snow Day” at Patchwork Farm.

Our driveway situation left us stranded with no way to get to church, so we had to declare it a Sabbath Day at home.

We made the best of the situation, enjoying spirit-strengthening activities and a family devotional/scripture study time together, since we couldn’t get any of our vehicles out of the driveway to get to church.

It ended up being a restful day at home. After months apart it was kind of nice to have forced stay-at-home time as a family, despite the driveway frustrations.

Our day was spent listening to Christmas hymns, participating in #Light the World service activities, and reconnecting as a family.

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Molly wallpapered my door with Post-it notes of encouragement for the #Light the World challenge. Love that girl!

 

The kids spent the afternoon finishing their homemade Christmas gifts. I love seeing the thought and love they put into their gift giving.

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In the evening we sat down as a family and decorated Christmas cookies. Earlier in the week I had baked sugar cut-out cookies for the cub scouts to decorate. I baked extra and put them in the freezer, waiting for Toby to arrive home so we could decorate them as a family.

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It was wonderful.

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With the sound of the Tabernacle Choir singing Christmas carols in the background, we talked, laughed and decorated cookies.

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It is always fun seeing the creativity of each family member come out during activities like this one.

In the end we ended up with MANY trays of decorated cookies…enough for our family plus plenty more to share with neighbors and those who could use a Christmas pick-me-up.

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It wasn’t a “typical” Sabbath Day, and we missed being able to worship with our church family, but it ended up being a blessed, holy day, and just the thing our family needed.

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Baked with Love

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Tonight we had the joy of having a few young visitors spend the night and join us in some messy, merry, holiday fun.

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You just can’t beat an evening spent playing with sprinkles!

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 It was sugar cookie night at Patchwork Farm and we had a big platter of plain cookies that need bedazzled, and a lot of willing little helpers that were ready to put on aprons and get creative.

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We had a large selection of decoration materials to work with and we got right to work. Everyone had fun creating edible art work.

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 It felt like Christmas. Outside the first snow of the season was coming down and covering the farm in white. Inside the dining room was filled with the sound of Christmas carols playing in the background and the noisy chatter of happy children. Is there anything better?!

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When I was dropping Grace off at her slumber party I stopped to snap a picture of the winter wonderland.

 Rusty, Molly, Derek and Ozzie thoughtfully worked on cookie after cookie, trying out many different techniques and combinations of ingredients.

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Tyler and Q went for quantity, not quality, believing that the best Christmas cookies are the ones covered in the most icing and the greatest variety of sugary toppings.

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Rusty and little Q

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Tyler and Ellie May

 

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Toby is the opposite, believing the best sugar cookies have little to no frosting. 🙂

We decorated enough cookies to send a plate of cookies home with our visitors to share with their sister who was home with the flu, as well as enough for our Christmas Eve party and a plate for Santa.

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Everyone also got to pick a cookie or two to enjoy with their eggnog as a before-bed snack.

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Just in case the eggnog wasn’t sweet enough, Q added sprinkles. 🙂

We saved 6 cookies for Grace to decorate when she gets home tomorrow. She was at a sleepover so we made sure we saved some messy/ yummy fun for her return.

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Before bed we gathered in the living room for a Christmas story and devotional. Derek, as our visitor, was allowed to unwrap tonight’s book and Q got to pick the Christmas song we would sing before prayer time. He picked “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” I suppose it is sort of a Christmas song given the important role the star played in the Nativity story. 🙂

He liked our rendition of it so much he encored us with, “Again, again!”

Then it was suggested that we leave some of our decorated Christmas cookies out for Buster, our Elf on the Shelf, to enjoy. We left two cookies for Buster. I wonder if he will leave anything for us? 😉

We will see!

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I went to bed pondering sweet 3-year-old Q’s Christmas song choice for the night. It brought to mind this powerful quote:

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It isn’t by chance each of us has been placed where we are. May we all shine a bit brighter this holiday season.  May our lives reflect the light of the Savior, lead others to Christ, and warm them as well…

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,

Shine for Christ

Right where you are!