Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Different Kind of Christmas Eve

This year Christmas Eve was spent a little differently than every other Christmas Eve I can remember. Most Christmas Eve's we are with my parents. We typically spend the night on the 23rd and then celebrate as a family on the 24th. We finish our little trip off with a Hartley Christmas & then drive back to KC to set out milk & cookies & we tuck the boys into bed as we try to get everything ready for Santa's arrival--if we make it to bed before 1, we are in good shape.

Christmas has a number of reasons to celebrate & at the top of my list--family. So when we found out that my brother had to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas day working, there was no question about figuring out a different day for us all to be together. & since we wouldn't be traveling on Christmas Eve, we decided to spend the day baking. Baking with family--Justin's family.

Now, I may not cook, but I can bake with the best of them & wanted to try out some new recipes from Pinterest & my all time holiday favorite of my Grandma Dorothy's. & since we would have SOOO many different treats, we figured why not share them with our neighbors & lucky for us, Grammy, Becky & Colton were all for helping out and bringing some of their favorite recipes too.

Justin and I both did a little prepping--we made dough for our Rolo stuffed Snickerdoodles, dough for our Sugar Cookies & the Oreo Fudge ahead of time. I had all the ingredients ready to go so we could just plow through everything. I truly had no idea just how long all of this would take but I was fully prepared for an all day baking extravaganza.

My two little guys were starting to get a little impatient and needed something to do so I put them to work on their first baking project--lining up their pretzels for our Chocolate Covered M&M Pretzels. For every one pretzel they placed on their cookie sheet, they ate two. Same thing happened with the kisses...

Next up, Rolo Stuffed Snickerdoodles--and Becky & Colton rocked these out. & as an added tip--don't use the regular rolos, that would be a nightmare to unwrap but buy the minis they are slightly smaller, already unwrapped & you don't have to use as much dough for each cookie which means more cookies! After Becky and Colton stuffed each cookie, all three boys and Grammy took to adding a little color to the cookies…

As you can see, Logan LOVED the red sugar sprinkles, a little too much.

& while the Rolo Stuffed Snickerdoodles were being prepped for the oven, I took on my Grandma Dorothy's bite size Smore's--my favorite holiday treat. & no one can make them like she could but just making them makes me feel as though she is right there beside me.

Next up on the baking agenda, sugar cookies. It was time to let the boys ice their cookies for Santa so we went to Pinterest to find the perfect icing recipe. We were wanting something that was a little thicker, not so messy so the boys could possibly ice them all on their own but everything we found looked somewhat runny--i.e. Royal Icing. Just not what we were thinking, so we kept looking and finally ran into a fluffy white icing that had crushed candy canes in it & luckily for us Justin actually had marshmallow fluff on hand and Janet had brought some too. We were in business & in the end, the Candy Cane Sugar Cookies ended up being my favorite cookie that we made, totally festive.

Grammy Janet made peanut butter balls--with a touch of paraffin & Justin's Grandmother Ruth's Peanut Butter Fudge--both of which the boys did flips over!

Oreo Fudge

& after all the baking was over, all that was left was to deliver them to our neighbors. The boys, along with Colton, walked up to each of our neighbors, handed them the Christmas goodies & wished them all a Merry Christmas. We might not live in the "youngest" of neighborhoods but it doesn't bother me one bit because although we aren't the only one with kids on our street, our neighbors just adore our boys. Then again, who doesn't!

And although this might not turn into a Christmas tradition that occurs each Christmas Eve, it will certainly not be the last time that we have a holiday bake-a-thon as a family. It was so great to be around family & to be able to just enjoy our time, sure we were making candies and sweets, but it didn't seem like work. It was enjoyable. It was one of those many reasons to celebrate Christmas that I was talking about--family. There's nothing better.

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