family

{beginning}

beginning Lots of new things happened for us this Christmas season.  The brand spankin'-ness of the holiday is always there to me. Finding pockets of space blessed for different is most cherished & anticipated even. And I like that.  I enjoy the opportunity for fresh to snuggle right in with the traditions we so very much call our particular family's own.  That's the neat part about family. Traditions and most coveted memories are so very unique to each families' composition.  Beginning really is about building on the best of your people.

advent tree

The boys and I created our very own advent ornaments to co-inside with the scripture readings of Christmas.  Each day we have been reading, discussing and creating.  I cannot think of a better gift to give them as well as myself this holiday.

Christmas celebrating is chock full of sparkle and pizazz.  Holiday warm hot chocolates sprinkled with glistening peppermint flakes, twinkling Christmas light scenes to drive by on cold winter nights, gobs of goodies to munch, crunch & enjoy and really fun tacky Christmas sweater parties where you dress as a life sized tree are, without a doubt, eminent reminders of this season's joy & jolly. But as a Mom, I want to make sure that my boys know that Christmas is the most natural of gifts.  One heavenly created and given with a most unselfish kind of holy. One that lights up our insides not just our out.

I plan to share with you in the new year an advent ornament tutorial along with the daily scripture verses that match to each ornament.  It is my hope that this tutorial will swirl-wake the inner creative of your family.  Much like this new gifting tradition we began on December 1st, the love of together is very alive & real.  Sometimes it just takes a little re-invention to be reminded of this great joy of life. From our family to yours, we wish you a wonderful Christmas Eve full of building on the best of your people!

bringing to christmas 850

To read all posts from this {bringing to Christmas} series, visit here.

{baking}

baking Baking.  Manipulating ingredients magically from one-dimensional elements separate & of themselves to 3 dimensional blends of delicious.  I like it.  I look forward to it every Christmas season.  There's something so very happy about taking a break from the sewing studio only to step into the kitchen and create.

cookie book

Each year the boys and I read this book before we begin our baking day.  This book was gifted to us by Ma & Pa.  It's a must have in your holiday library.  The content is full of wonderful life skill lessons all based upon the characters baking Christmas cookies.

book open

I love that the characters are a happy mix of humans & animals.  My boys still enjoy having it read to them at 9 & 7 years old.

blossoms

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Ingredients

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 cups Bisquick
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • granulated sugar to roll dough

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Beat condensed milk & peanut butter until smooth.
  • Add Bisquick & vanilla. Mix well.
  • Shape into 1 inch balls.
  • Roll in sugar.
  • Place 2 inches apart on baking sheet
  • Bake 6-8 minutes
  • Once removed from oven, place Hershey Kiss in center of cookie.

casey & nana chocolate

A couple of years ago I baked all by myself.  It was a much needed time of reflection & thanksgiving in my kitchen of one. This year I wanted to have one of my most favorites in the mix with the boys & me.  Nana came and stayed all day. Having her with us was such a treat.

clusters

Crock Pot Candy

Ingredients

  • 1 large block of white almond bark
  • 24 oz. dry roasted peanuts
  • 2 bags of milk chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Place almond bark in bottom of crock pot.
  • Put 2 bags of chips in next.
  • Lastly, pour nuts on top.
  • Place lid on crock pot for 1 hour on high.
  • Remove lid and stir ingredients once hour is up.
  • Drop on wax paper in clusters & let cool.

eli chips

The boys milled in & out of the baking process.  Eli was so attentive & kind to help.  He has always loved doing things with Nana.

nana & eli oven

george

kp & case

And would you look who just happened to show up for a surprise visit all the way from South Carolina?!  Aunt Tee-Tee!

kp & nana

Oh, it did my heart good to be with these 2 faces.

 

nana & boys

nana & casey

choc chip cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar 
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soday
1 teaspoon salt
1 bag of chocolate chips
1/2 bag of white chocolate chips {optional}
 

Directions

Cream shortening & sugars until creamy; add eggs and flavoring and mix well.  Pre-mix dry ingredients and then add to wet mixture.  Stir in chips.  Make small balls of dough and place on cooking stone.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. {yields 4 dozen}

This is my most favorite recipe.  I made them here & added white chocolate chips for a girls' weekend away.

pb fudge

Peanut Butter Fudge

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 1 1/2 stick of butter
  • 7 oz. jar of marshmallow creme
  • 1 small can of evaporated milk {5 oz.}
  • 1 1/4 cups of peanut butter

Directions:

  • Bring sugar, butter and milk to a roaring boil.
  • Cook for 5 minutes. {be sure to stir so as not to burn}
  • Add 1 1/4 cups of peanut butter to mixture and marshmallow creme.
  • Stir well and place in 9 x 13 pan to cool.
  • Cut as desired.

sprinkles

mitten

Nana made the sugar cookie dough, so I don't have her family recipe. I do have a recipe that I use that works wonderfully for these cookies.

sugar cookies

Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  • Mix butter & sugar until creamy.
  • Add eggs one at a time.
  • Then add vanilla.
  • Mix thoroughly.
  • Add remaining ingredients.
  • Mix thoroughly.
  • Cover & chill at least one hour.
  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Roll out dough about 1/4 inch thick onto floured surface.
  • Cut into desired shapes using cookie cutters.
  • Place on baking sheets {stone ware lined with parchment paper}
  • Bake 7-9 minutes until set.
  • Let cool about 2-3 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to cooling racks.
  • When completely cool, decorate & enjoy!

candy cane fudge

White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter
  • 1 small can of evaporated milk {5 oz.}
  • 7 oz. jar of marshmallow creme
  • 1 bag of white chocolate peppermint chips

Directions:

  • Bring sugar, butter and milk to a roaring boil.
  • Cook for 5 minutes. {be sure to stir so as not to burn}
  • Add 3/4 of white chocolate peppermint chips to mixture and marshmallow creme.
  • Stir well and place in 9 x 13 pan to cool.
  • Place 1/4 remaining bag of chips on top of fudge.
  • Cut as desired.

cookie plate

Our day was a full one as these goodies were made with love and meant for sharing.  In bags & bundles, they made their way into the homes of our friends and family.  To me, this baking day was just one of the gifts I was given this Christmas. It serves as a memory I can hold in close to my heart when I think back on my kitchen filled with some of very best blessings.

christmas baking

Ready for some baking of your own?  There's still time!  Ole St. Nick doesn't come for 2 more sleeps!  Gather up the ingredients and pile into your kitchen to make some memories with the ones you love.

bringing to christmas 850

To read all posts from this {bringing to Christmas} series, visit here.