Monday, December 26, 2011

Baking Monday - Christmas Cookies

I spent last week baking for our family cookie exchange.

First up: Peppermint "Pinwheels", in quotes because this was a bit of a baking fail. I was rushing and mixing at the same time - a bad combination for me - and while the pink dough turned out well, the white dough was all crumbly. So, instead of making a perfect cookie swirl, the white cracked and crumbled, and ended up looking quite sausage-like. I tried to cover it up the best I could with icing, but they're still not terrific looking. Good news is, they still taste great!

These are one of my favorites - Candy Corn Shortbread. Just flour, sugar, and butter - SO yummy.

Chocolate Cutouts - I think I like you most of all.

Clark helped me make cookies for his preschool sing-a-long. It was a nice change of pace to not care so much about how the icing looked on these - also to frost a batch of cookies in 15 minutes instead of two hours! He chose the lovely colors and did the tinting himself, so they are a little intense, but still cute and delicious.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Baking Monday - Tree Cake Bites

Bonus Baking Monday today! I was too excited about these to wait until next week. Today's post inspired by these hi hat cupcakes (someday my pics will look that nice!) and Bakerella's tree pops.

These were the original design, and then I started playing around with other sprinkles for fun (and to save time ... )

Green sugar - I really like these.

Nonpareils - not my favorite.

Green jimmies - cute!!

A little forest of trees!

Inside: chocolate fudge cake and frosting. Mmmm.

Cute new mini cake stand - it makes me happy.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ornaments 2011

Amazingly, I have never made salt dough ornaments with my kids before this year. We've been spending Fridays with my grandma, and I was looking for a craft that we could all work on together a few weeks ago. This was a GREAT project - everyone loved it from sculpting to painting, and we ended up making lots and lots of ornaments.

Here they are, cooked and naked!

These are Clark's creations. He's usually not an arts & crafts kid, but he got really into this project, and did a fantastic job. Rudolph and the red heart are my favorites.

Dora's work. I love the details she added to the snowman - I never would have thought of adding a scarf. She made the zebra striped candy cane for a friend who likes zebras. I tried to paint a tie dye heart that turned out not so great - it ended up in the trash - but she took the idea for her own and made it fabulous!

Theo really took his time and did a great job, too - I love the multicolored star. His was the inspiration for my failed heart which then turned into Dora's terrific one! It was neat how we got ideas from each other, but everyone made them their own.

Grandma's sweet ornaments! I kept the tree for myself - so cute - and she took the others home to use for gifts.

And these are mine. I was quite pleased with the happy face bells, since I never know what to do with bells. The red cocoa mug is my favorite.

They look so cute all together. Fun project!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Is It Wrong ...

... that I find Theo's edits to the children's mass page so funny?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Baking Monday - Gingerbread Whoopie Pies

I bought this book as an early Christmas gift to myself and am going to have a lot of fun mixing and matching the cakes and fillings. First up: Gingerbread cakes filled with cinnamon buttercream.

The gingerbread cakes themselves are yum-mmy.

The filling is a little sweet for me, but so delicious.

Big and mini sizes!

These were a big hit!

Friday, December 16, 2011


My mom has a tradition of buying Christmas ornaments as souvenirs whenever our family visits a new place. I try to do the same, but typically encounter the problem that 1) ornaments are not always easy to find and 2) they're usually really big and / or really ugly.

However ... guess what you can always find a LOT of? Keychains. Which makes no sense to me, because you really only need one, maybe two keychains, but people who collect Christmas ornaments have hundreds! Happily, a little work with a pair of pliers turns cute keychains in to adorable Christmas ornaments.

These are some of my favorite travel souvenirs - the Lego Santa and Disneyland figures are my new ones this year. Perfect!

I love miniature ornaments - they get displayed on our little tabletop tree.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Kindness

I put together this quick little project at the beginning of December, we've been having fun with it.

The jar has little slips of paper with daily assignments. The older kids and I pick one in the morning and talk about how we accomplished our task at the end of the day. Just a little nice something to do this month.

Download kindness list here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

He's On To Me

Clark: Can I get dressed then watch a show?

Me: We'll see.

Clark: Mom, it has to be yes. Because "we'll see" is useless!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Baking Monday - Peppermint Refrigerator Cookies

This is another recipe from my oldest and favorite cookie cookbook, but one I've never made before. The recipe recommends wrapping the chocolate dough around the peppermint dough, which I kind of rushed through, so they didn't look as cute as I thought they could.

Also, did you notice the extra layer of chocolate chips? Last week was just the kind of week where extra chocolate seemed like a good idea, KWIM? Verdict: yummy cookies, but I wanted to try again to make them cuter. Happily, a cookie exchange later in the week became a good opportunity to try again.

I layered the dough this time, and took my time so they were much neater, but I think I may prefer the dough wrapped all the way around, because the peppermint dough spread a bit more than the chocolate. Oh, and I skipped the extra layer of chocolate chips this time, because ...

... the bottoms of the cookies were dipped in chocolate instead. Score.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Baking Monday - Chocolate Cookie Pops

Today's post inspired by Starbucks ... I spotted their snowman chocolate dipped cookie pops over the weekend and thought, I could make those ...

First up, the snowmen. I had a bit of a "duh" moment with these. When pulling out cookie cutters today, I also got out my number 8 because I have an order for birthday cookies this week. Then I went through the winter jar and realized that I didn't have a snowman. I thought, rats! I'll have to go to the store and get one ... and then looked over at the cutters on the counter ... and, um, guess what? A number 8 looks a lot like a snowman. DUH.

Also some snowy white trees. Would also be awfully cute in green.

... and a few sparkly snowflakes. What's inside?

Yeah, that would be a chocolate cookie.

I didn't have enough chocolate to dip all the cookies, so some got the drizzle treatment instead.

Super yummy. I think I'm going to have to dip more things in chocolate!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sweet Tweets

(Please forgive the lame pun, it was hard to resist.)

I've never really been a big fan of birds until recently. Partly from admiring Geninne's beautiful artwork, and partly from feeling like I've been seeing birds everywhere lately! I had my first bird cookie order this week and am thrilled with how they turned out. There are also some birdhouses and leaves thrown in, too.

I think this is one of my favorite sets yet!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Baking Monday - Turtle Bark

This recipe for Turtle Bark involved something I've never made before - caramel from scratch!

It was much easier than I thought it would be, and I was quite proud! I served the leftover sauce to the kids with apple slices, it was goooood.

For the recipe: the chocolate was a little thick for my taste, and overwhelmed the caramel. I would use less next time - maybe 12 oz instead of 16 - and use much more of the caramel sauce than the recommended amount - probably almost all of it, because that was the really delicious part! However, no leftovers came home, so I guess it was still pretty good.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Clark's Puppy Birthday

It's birthday time again! Clark celebrated his fifth birthday this month, with an appropriate number of parties ... five!

He's got puppies on the brain lately, so the theme this year was puppies, puppies, puppies! (I haven't posted much design work lately, but I have been busy. Updates can be found at Spotgirl Gallery.)

First up - puppy cookies for school snack. I made a multigrain cutout recipe, which are a favorite for me and Clark.

The birthday child gets to pass the snack at preschool. So cute!

I made these beanbag toss games as favors for our family and friends. I went to buy fabric to make Clark's birthday shirt and the patterns were soooo cute, I had do something more with it. The beanbags went into plastic dog dishes. When I bought the dishes at the store, the cashier asked if I had nine dogs. Um, no .... not even one!

There were presents ...

... and bowling, at the birthday boy's request.

... and more puppy cookies (chocolate cutouts, another favorite!)

... and one happy birthday boy!