Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Of all the Christmas cookies I bake,

molasses crinkles make the house smell the most wonderful.

And they taste the best with a glass of milk.

Molasses Crinkles~
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/3 cup white sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large bowl, mix together brown sugar, oil, molasses, and egg. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger; stir into the molasses mixture. Roll dough into balls and then roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8-9 minutes for a soft cookie or 10-12 minutes for a crisp cookie.

Cool on wire racks.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I think I am going to do...

a little of this today.

Hoping you have a wonderful weekend as well.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's So Much More Than Just Baking Christmas Cookies...

It's going back to memories of my childhood. I can remember sitting closely by my Mom and Nana as they would endlessly turn page after page of cookbooks deciding on which Christmas cookies were going to be made. Once the planning had taken place, I remember seeing the ingredients piled up in the pantry and cookie tins waiting to be filled. Afternoons coming home from school seeing all the cookies cooling on the racks or as I went to bed, listening to the timer go off as Mom was finishing the last batch. I grew up tasting and knowing that there was a whole lot of love in every single cookie.

I learned that even though you can always have your favorites like Chocolate Crinkles, Snickerdoodles and Buckeyes, it's really important to try out at least a couple new recipes. I also learned to always add a little variety to your cookie list because it just wouldn't be right if you ended up with everything being chocolate.

Baking cookies began within days after Thanksgiving and now I do the same. I pull out the recipes of cookies that have been made year after year. I set aside several days that will be my baking days and as I mix, stir, and drop dough by the spoonfuls onto cookie sheets, I think of Christmases past and what will be in store this year.

I would like to think that Christmas baking means the same thing for my children. I suppose this is just one another area when I am just down right sentimental. I want them to remember the familiar smells and knowing exactly how a cookie is going to taste even though it's been a year since they had it last. I hope they know that every cookie has been made with love. And lots of it.

Monday, December 07, 2009

First Snow...

Waking up this morning to a dusting of beautiful white snow on the ground...

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A New Look...

This was our dining room shortly after we moved into our home, which is also the parsonage on the church campus. It was really important to us that when we moved in here that we had a place where we could be together as a family when we ate. The kitchen really wasn't conducive to having a table in it, so we sectioned a part of the great room off as the dining room.

As you can see, this room was lacking in curtains and the chairs around the table are two different styles - wrought iron and wood. The table at one time belonged to my grandparents along with the wrought iron chairs. I also have the wrought iron table that goes with the chairs and it is still one of my favorite pieces of furniture that has passed on to me. I can remember sitting at the table as a little girl on their screened in porch and as I grew up, the table and chairs were passed onto my parents. Many meals, conversations, celebrations, and memories were made sitting around that table.

The best thing about this table that we currently have in our dining room is that when the leaves are put in the table, there is room enough for 12 people.

I felt it was time though to give the table and chairs a more updated look and one that looked like a matching set. All it took was some sanding, black paint and new fabric to give this table and chairs a whole new look.

It was also time to add some curtains to those windows. I didn't want to spend an excess amount of money on curtains for these windows so, I was thrilled when I started seeing people using drop cloths for curtains. To add a little more color, I simply attached a panel of the fabric I used for the chairs at the top. No sewing here... just a little fabric tape for that hemmed edge.

I am so pleased with this project because it was done on a limited amount of money (around $100) and we have a place where our family can gather together with friends and family having Saturday morning breakfasts, simple dinners and holiday meals.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Tradition Continues...

The day after Thanksgiving means one thing in our family... going to Fulton Farms to cut down the Christmas tree. 

I think what I look forward to and love the most about this day is that I know how it will be. We will bundle up (even though some years it's been warm enough to not even have a coat), have lunch on the way, listen to Christmas music on the radio and see who can guess the singer first, and once we pull into Fulton Farms, the adventure for the perfect tree begins.

Every year the children take turns picking the tree and this year it was Sam's turn. I knew that we wouldn't leave that farm without making sure that we had scoped out the entire farm to find the tree he was looking for. I honestly think that we covered more ground this year than ever before. 

The last section we went to was where Sam found the tree. Big and tall - just like he was looking for.

Jessica was working so she wasn't able to go with us. I missed having her there because she always has a way of making it an eventful time. I know she didn't miss walking all over the farm though. 

Each year, the children receive Christmas ornaments from us and my parents. This is a tradition that began when my sister and I were little and one that I love carrying on with my children. The ornaments are usually something that signifies something special about that year or one that represents something they love. The timing couldn't have been better because when we arrived home, the package with this year's ornaments had come. 

Sam with his General Chamberlain, his favorite Civil War hero...

Jessica's ornament definitely represents something she loves... cupcakes. A girl after my own heart I tell ya!

Ben (and his hat hair), along with a Navy sailor since Ben has aspirations to be a Navy Seal one day.

My parents have even continued giving my husband and I an ornament each year. The one we received this year is definitely one of my favorites. I'm telling you Mom, you need to go into business (hint, hint!).

Now it's time for to turn on the Christmas music, sip hot chocolate and sit by the lights of the tree. I love this time of year.