Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Cookies and Caroling

Sugar cookies are practically the bane of my existence. Is there a mother out there that actually enjoys making sugar cookies with her children? I don't believe it. Or maybe I'm just too uptight.

Yes, you may roll the dough.

Very nice. Now it's my turn again. 

You can choose any shape you want...of the Christmas cookie cutters. 

Don't put your cookie cutter in the middle of the dough (like Benjamin just did—Benjamin, stop)!

Work your way around the dough putting the cookie cutters as close together as possible.

Don't mangle the dough like that. Jiggle the cutter a little. There you go.

We're not going to fit very many cookies on the tray if you plop them all over the place. Three in a row, people. Three in a row!

Stop eating the dough.

Seriously. I need to take a mega chill pill before I can bake (sugar) cookies with my children. It's always an exercise in patience; and I didn't even have to make the dough this time because Andrew made it the night before (because mixing dough (with children) is another activity that takes a lot of deep breathing for me). Alas, rolled sugar cookies are the dream cookie for children to make.

I know because they were for me (and I'm pretty sure my mom hated making them with us) and they are for my children (and I'm not going to lie—it's not my favourite activity).

Anyway, here are the kids working on cookies on Sunday evening:

I'm not sure where Benjamin is at this point but you can see Zoë screaming in the background, which probably added to my stress level. She's sick with something and is teething and miserable. But we survived baking cookies.

I even whipped up a batch of ginger-spritz after the kids went to bed. I was that ambitious.

And then Zoë stayed up screaming all night long. Seriously. She screamed until 3:00 in the morning and then she slept fitfully. I nursed her all night long and woke up groggy and cranky. But we had sugar cookies to decorate, so that's what we did. And I think I only really lost my temper with Benjamin once. That boy simply wouldn't listen. And I think he ate an entire bottle of sprinkles.

Here's a picture of Rachel saying, "Benji! Don't eat the sprinkles!"

And here she is sneaking a few sprinkles into her mouth:

And here's Benjamin not-so-sneakily shoving a handful of sprinkles into his mouth:

We survived decorating the cookies.

Here's Miriam's bell with a sprig of holly on it:

And here's Rachel showing off a polar bear (while Benjamin sneaks more sprinkles in the background):

And here are all the kids hard at work:

Once those were out of the way we still had to make Christmas tree cookies (otherwise we wouldn't have enough cookies to fill the plates we were planning on making up). That was a complete disaster. I thought I could do it before Andrew came home from work. I was both right and, oh, so very wrong.

I made up the dough and pressed the cookies, let the kids decorate them with sprinkles, and threw them in the oven. Then I turned my attention to Zoë, who by this time was going ballistic, and forgot about the cookies—completely ignored the timer that, yes, I set—and burned two whole sheets of cookies. I was so upset!

I made more dough and pressed more cookies and threw them into the oven without sprinkles, set the timer and this time I paid attention. The timer went off and I checked the cookies and they weren't remotely done. They were a little gooey-melty but they weren't cooked through at all.

That's when I noticed I'd turned off the oven when I took the trays out after burning that first batch.

Flames. Flames, on the side of my face.

I was practically crying when Andrew got home and at least half the children were, too. Zoë was crying for sure and I think Rachel was because I'd snapped at her for not helping when I asked her to. Chances are Benjamin was also crying. Miriam, by some miracle, was not.

But we got those plates of goodies slapped together and went out to spread some Christmas cheer, dagnabbit. Family Night must go on!

As we all know, "the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear," so we carolled as we went. Really, it was just me and the girls running up to every house while Andrew stayed in the van with Zoë (who screamed the entire time) and Benjamin (who fell asleep before we'd even made it to his nursery leader's house (and he so wanted to get out for that one (he only sang at one house with us))).

We delivered eighteen plates of cookies, which was probably a little ambitious but, truthfully, it was a great way to raise our spirits. We were all admittedly a little glum when we left the house (when momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy) but by the first house we were feeling much more cheerful.

Our first house was actually a complete stranger. I guess not complete stranger, just a neighbour we hadn't ever met. He does a great display in his yard every year. It's different every year but he always puts up a Snoopy. Benjamin loves Charlie Brown right now, so this has been his favourite house. We stopped by to give them a plate of cookies and a certificate.
This neighbour was so happy we stopped by that he actually got a little choked up.

We stopped by another house down the street that also does a spectacular display. We've been taking a walk to their house nearly every day to look at all their blow up lawn ornaments. They have several, including a Darth Vader and a moving "whack-a-penguin." Benjamin loves this house as well.

Delivering these "prizes" was certainly a fun part of our evening, but it was also fun to deliver goodies to friends and ward members. We hit up a few of Rachel's school friends, the kids' church teachers, our visiting and home teaching families (oh, and our immediate neighbours as well). We were out for quite a while, without anything but burned cookies in our tummies for dinner, but we were all remarkably cheerful (considering the day we'd had).

I always find it magical how the best was to turn your day around is to stop thinking about making yourself happy and start thinking about making others happy, a good lesson for us all (especially me).


  1. And now I remember why I'm done having kids. I got this little itch today when I was buying baby clothes for a friend but let me just punch myself in the overy. Ha-ha! And this is why I thought I was crazy for four years ;). I burned two pans of bacon this week too. I don't know why I thought I could go upstairs with the timer on. It was super annoying. I'm glad your night ended better than it started :)

  2. I can count on maybe one or two fingers the number of times I've made sugar cookies with my kids. And I'm sure it wasn't just for fun, but because we had to for a church activity or something like that. A coworker was telling me about the cookies she was making for her neighbors and all the work and trouble but that she enjoyed it anyway and I said we didn't even have a single cookie cutter. She audibly gasped in disbelief. I think it's too much trouble. Good for you for braving that trouble!