For us this big, crowded, happy month held a hard punch. Last week we had to send our sweet, sweet Homer over The Rainbow Bridge. He went out of our lives as gently as he came into them. He was always our no-fuss, no-drama boy. Kind-hearted, laid back and loving. Twelve years ago this coming spring, I crouched among a litter of frisky, excited pups, wondering how I would ever pick The One.
And all through the house, kids are on a sugar high. That’s what happens here when we have our annual cookie-baking extravaganza.
It’s a day for fun and for not worrying about the dentist or caloric intake. Besides, I planned to hit the gym afterward, knowing my gang had to leave by three as my oldest grandson had a basketball game.
I mentioned to my granddaughter I’d make the sugar cookie dough early so it would have its time in the fridge before rolling. She immediately objected–but, but, but, we like making that dough, too.
Sugar cookie dough starts the day, with everybody taking turns. You got to put in the butter, I get to put in the sugar! Many years of experience has taught me how to manage all this, down to supervising how a five-year-old cracks an egg. (Messily.)
While that dough’s chilling, we opt for a double batch of the crowd favorite–chocolate chip. It’s an assembly line from the measuring and mixing to the dropping and the baking. And then to the most important element.
The taste testing. We all agree we can’t inflict inferior cookies on the world, so we will throw ourselves on our sword and sample.
They passed the audition. More than once.
It’s onto a new-for-us cookie. Kayla had asked if we could do the Hershey Kiss Blossoms. Sure we can, so BW was tasked with getting the kisses. He initially brought home the mint ones by mistake. So now we’ll make two new kinds. There’s a lot of fun here rolling dough balls in colored sugar, unwrapping kisses, putting them on warm baked cookies.
These, too, passed the test.
Onto the more traditional peanut butter blossoms, and we rolled these in gold sugar or white sugar.
The mess by now is awesome.
We must break for lunch–even an indulgent nana has to get some actual food in these kids. I’m amazed when the five-year-old wants seconds of actual food. Where is he putting all this?
An extended break for another tradition in our house on baking day. The early Christmas gift. I held this off until after actual food, despite many pleas. That single gift–always something relatively small–causes near desperation.
Then it’s time for the crescendo.
Out comes the sugar cookie dough and the cookie cutters, and the little plastic bowls along with the food coloring Kayla has purged and organized. We mix the paint–it’s just that food coloring and evaporated milk.
I roll, they cut, they paint. Much discussion on which they HAVE to eat themselves. I bake. Multiple times. We have color, weird art, festive shapes, and–of course–a taste test.
We’ve done it all, in the five hours allotted, and my gang heads off with a big bag of cookies, early gifts and happy faces for the basketball game. I tin up a variety for our Christmas visit with BW’s family on Sunday.
BW and I clean up the awesome mess. Awesomely happy mess. I, however, wonder what I was thinking when I planned to workout after the marathon.
I have a really big glass of wine instead, and a cookie.
That’s a happy holiday tradition!
I hope you all enjoy your own.
And while his litter mates all but did handsprings, he walked over, easy and quiet, put his paw on my knee. Just looked at me as if to say: I’ve been waiting for you.
It’s a moment I’ll never forget.
I’m grateful for the many distractions of the season–they help. We had a fun and festive holiday book signing earlier in the month, and our Kayla’s holiday chorus concert.
This past Friday I held my annual Christmas party here for our (female) managers. Just girls, fun, a little food and a lot of bubbly!
The weekend was packed with at-home tasks (my favorite). I finished all the wrapping–bring it on, baby! Made a kind of kitchen-sink ham and veggie soup with beans and pasta, then prepped some ribs, marinating them in zingy sauce overnight for Sunday dinner. Baked my annual raisin bread, finished proofing galleys and generally put my house in order.
Left on the list: Cookie baking. We’re set with grandkids on that fun time forSaturday. Then it’s party here, party there, party everywhere.
Oh yeah, bring it on.