Friday, December 23, 2022

Cookies, cookies, cookies!

I have done zero holiday baking, but that's been okay because Rachel baked gingerbread and spritz cookies and Andrew made sugar cookies. I didn't have to lift a finger (until it came time for decorating)!

But to start off this post, here's a picture of Phoebe and Alexander helping me make dinner on Sunday. We made a French toast casserole and they were such proud helpers!

Phoebe especially enjoyed being up on a stool so she could grab everything on the counter and explore the top drawers and so forth.

Now that she knows about stools, she loves when we leave them out for her to push around the house and get into mischief. Here she is taking all the silverware out and piling it on the counter:

And here she is moving tools out from the "junk drawer" behind her and picking out new homes for the tools in the silverware drawer:

Looks like we need to move a few tools to the garage for a time (including this box cutter, which was rapidly confiscated from her). Baby-proofing is never done (sigh):

It kept her occupied while we decorated cookies, though, so I guess we can't complain.

Let's see...on Monday night we made gingerbread houses. Rachel had made up some gingerbread dough a few days prior, so she baked a house for herself, and then Andrew, Miriam, and Benjamin cut out graham crackers to make houses for everyone else. 

We've hit some sort of sweet spot with the kids where we've managed to work ourselves out of a job and we hardly had to do anything for these houses. I mean, sure, it took some doin' to get Rachel's roof to stay on long enough to dry in place, but otherwise the kids were rather independent. Miriam helped Alexander with his house, and everyone else did their own. They all made very thoughtful decisions about their designs and carefully considered their candy consumption (Benjamin, for example, mused that it would be wise for him to put a hard candy in his mouth so he could suck on that one candy rather than inhaling gumdrops...and...I mean...that's really quite an excellent way to show self-control).

Here's Alexander's house—and tree!—coming together:

Here's Zoë's roof showing a very orderly pattern:

Here's Phoebe saying, "Pick me up, Mommy!"

Here's Benjamin's house coming along:

I love the little "chaos" wreath that Alexander made:

Here's Zoë, Benjamin, and Alexander working, working, working:

Noticing that all the kids were pretty much self-sufficient, Andrew decided to let Phoebe in on the action. He pulled her onto his lap by an empty house, squirted some icing on the roof, and showed her how to put bits of Chex Mix on as tiles. She thought this game was delightful!

She placed a piece of cereal on the roof:

Clapped for herself:

Placed a piece of cereal on the roof:

Clapped for herself:



Cereal, clap, cereal, clap, cereal, clap, cereal...

And then she noticed the roof was full of cereal, which must mean the game is over and needs to be she clawed all the cereal off the roof and they had to begin again. This time Andrew held her a little farther away from the project and didn't let her help so much (because, as it turns out, clawing cereal off the roof is just as much fun as putting it on!). She was kind of bummed about that.

When Benjamin finished his house—complete with an outhouse in the yard—he put together a little graham cracker sled, which he decided was a toboggan, only...we don't use that word very often around here (no reason to, on account of...we don't get much snow). It's true that in some places in the south, Southerners call what I call a "toque" (and what many Utahns call a "beanie") a "toboggan." 

Still, he hasn't had much opportunity to listen to Southerners talk about cold weather gear (on account of (1) he's homeschooled, and (2) it's not that cold here), and I don't talk about toboggans as sleds much (on account's really just not that cold here), so he simply hasn't heard the word "toboggan" used very frequently. So...

"Look at my toe-baggin!" he proudly announced.

"Tuh-BOG-in," we corrected him. 

"That's what I said!" he said. "TOE-bag-in."




"That's what I"m saying!"

He'll get it one day!

Anyway, it was a (surprisingly) wonderful evening. Surprising not because we didn't think it wasn't going to be wonderful, but because it simply more wonderful (less chaotic, less contentious) than we were expecting.

We ended up taking a break before Miriam and Rachel finished their houses so that we could put the little ones to bed, so I didn't end up taking formal pictures of their finished houses. But I did snap a few photos while we were decorating cookies yesterday. They're not the best shots and I thought maybe I'd get some better shots (but people have been picking at them already, so who knows).

Here's Zoë's with a lovely candy cane archway:


Benjamin's is in the middle here—you can barely see his outhouse in the back:

Here's Alexander's with the candy cane leaning on the roof, and the Christmas tree to the side. Benjamin's outhouse is to the left of Alexander's house. On the right is the house that Phoebe, Andrew, and I made together:

Here's Miriam's masterpiece, with a wrap-around porch, and check out those Christmas lights on the tower (they took her forever):

And, lastly, here's Rachel's gingerbread house with melted Jolly Rancher windowglass:

And that brings us to cookies! Rachel used the rest of the gingerbread dough to cut out Christmas-shaped cookies, the majority of which she (and to a lesser extent, Miriam) decorated using flow icing technique.

The little kids decorated some gingerbread with piped buttercream as well, though: 

Andrew and the kids also cut out some sugar cookies to decorate (and by "some" I mean "several dozen"):

The kids had fun decorating those, too!

Miriam had to decorate a few really quick before heading off to her organ lesson:

Here's Rachel joining us to do a little buttercream piping (even though she still had several more cookies reserved for flow icing).

These cookies also turned out looking beautiful and delicious:

Rachel also whipped up a recipe of spritz cookies with Miriam:

It was a very busy couple of days for our kitchen! We delivered plates of goodies to various neighbours (and gave some to Grandpa) and had plenty of cookies left over to enjoy for ourselves. I'm hoping some of them survive until Christmas Eve...but we're a household of cookie monsters over here, so I'm skeptical. 

I suppose if push comes to shove I could make some cookies since, you know, I didn't do any of the baking this year!

1 comment:

  1. I love all the decorations. So cute that Benjamin included an outhouse. :)