Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas cookie hack





Hold on tight, folks.

What I have to say today about Christmas cookies may change your life forever.

Honestly, which of you have not done some inner groaning when the kids start dancing around the kitchen asking:

"When are we going to make REAL Christmas cookies....you know....the kind that you make into all different shapes and decorate with icing and sprinkles!!!??? When, Mom, when?? Can you tell me when we're going to make them? When????!!!"

Um. I'll think about it........

What I really mean is, I hope you guys totally forget about the idea of cut-out-sugar-cookies-with-sprinkles because:

-I don't even like sugar cookies

-They take forever to make

-I don't like detail work with food (at all!)

-I'll lose a week of my life on this project
      -half a day rolling out the dough
      -half a day cutting out the cookies
      -one day baking the cookies
      -3 days icing the cookies
      -2 days cleaning up the mess


Really, kids.

Do you want a semi-sane mom or a totally insane one???

Well. It would appear that my kids prefer having sugar cookies over a semi-sane mother because they convinced me to try it again this year.

Saturday was the much anticipated day.

Mother made sure that she slept later than usual that morning, had several cups of coffee and spent a half hour alone getting groceries and played peaceful Pandora Christmas music all in a brave attempt to prepare herself for Sugar Cookie Episode 2014.
















The step that I always dread the most is icing the cookies because everyone wants to help and none of us really know how to do it very well.

It's so disappointing to work for hours to make sugar cookies only to find the end results displeasing to the eye.

This is what our cookies were looking like



Truly. They were struggling. The kids and the cookies. Not to mention the mother.

That's when I had my moment of enlightenment.

I pulled out  a freezer bag, stuffed it full of frosting, cut off a corner and started squeezing

















To say I was pleased with the results would be the understatement of the year.

Mother was now the one doing the happy little jig.

Easy

Quick

Kid friendly

Cute



 
 




































I am sure that this hack saved us several hours of work.
 
And now for my second hack of the day


 
















 We simply rolled all our scraps into a rectangle and cut out small square cookies.  I thought our little square cookies turned out darling and they saved us a ton of time as well.






 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
And now for the last hack of the day-
 
How to quickly empty your icing bag
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Folks.
 
The future looks bright.
 
I can keep on doing cut-out-icing-sugar-cookies-with-sprinkles with my kids.
 
And you can too!!!

 
And now I can't help but add a few pictures of my littlest cheerleader and helper




 
 

 
Cheers to sugar cookies and big messes and happy people



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Of glue guns



It is hard to know how to break this blogging fast. So pardon me as I talk about hot glue guns for a while. After I get back into better shape maybe I'll be able to write about more important issues but for now, meet my friend....
 
 




Some people preach Christ plus culture.

I preach Christ plus my glue gun. 

With these two, I can take on the world.

Seriously, this glue gun is one of my very best friends.

We have been through a lot together.

Mr. Glue Gun has been a good and faithful servant from lunch exchange creations to healing broken pumpkin stems to hair bows to pennant banners to gift wrapping to boxwood wreaths.

 I love my glue gun.

Only once has he failed me.

That pennant banner that I mentioned. Well.

Last winter I carefully and painstakingly handstitched all these letters.
It was a fun project. When it came time to assemble the banner I was having issues with sewing the fabric on to the twine, so I pulled out Mr. Gluey Gooey.
 
Presto.
 
Problem solved.

I even hot glued the twine to my wooden mantle. It worked like a charm.


















I was excited about adding my banner to my Christmas decor again this year.

 I pulled it out of storage, ironed out the wrinkles, pulled out the my trusty gluey friend and once again hot glued it to the mantel piece.

And now here comes the failure part.

Last winter our fireplace was basically an empty bomb shelter for mice and other small critters.

Until....

My wonderful husband made one of my wishes come true by purchasing a natural gas log insert to fill that empty space.

{this was not the failure}

I love it.
we all love it as you can see!!
 














 Fast forward to December 2014 -banner is hung, fire is blazing, the kids are having quiet time... 

"What just hit me on the head??" asks the startled son.

What!!??? Oh, help. Oh bother!!!

The hot glue is melting. Pieces are falling off my banner.

TOTAL HOT GLUE GUN FAILURE.

Any lesson to pull from this story???

Well....she says, stroking the few hair on her chinny-chin-chin....

1. Quick fixes are not always the best fixes
2. You should never become dependent on one tool or product as your savior.
3. Once hot glue has cooled, it's not a good idea to heat it up again.
4. I totally forget how to bring a blog post to an end.

 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Things that make me smile


handmade presents from my kids



sibling comradery (something rather rare these days)




sending my 3 oldest kids off to a good school where they are learning and growing under the most excellent teaching



my enthusiastic first grader



celebrating 10 years with this young lady


 
fun times with neighbors


baby girl's first spindly pig tails



those adorable crocs



and the cute little feet that fill them



No caption needed.

autumn air

Friday, September 12, 2014

when the mountains loom high


I lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? -Psalm 121:1-2

So. I lifted my eyes and what did I see???









So. What do I do on days when dirty clothes and dirty dishes and dirty floors and crabby kids loom like mountains? Lofty mountains. Mountains that I will never conquer once and for all.

Well. I like to complain and grumble.

And sometimes throw a massive pity party for myself.

Complaining and pity parties have only made me a miserable wretch and they sure haven't been very efficient companions in conquering the mountains.

I'm a slow learner. Very slow. But my Father is faithful. He keeps working with me and pushing me to higher heights.

Two things that bring me courage and joy when the mountains look formidably high:

1. Knowing that He sees me and what I am doing right now matters to him. It is a worthy sacrifice. He is my helper!!!!! (Read on in Psalm 121)
 
2. Tuning my heart to sing his grace. His song becomes my song. And I give thanks.

And this is what giving thanks looks like on some days:

-thank you for the mountains of laundry I have to do today. It means I am surrounded by 6 active people who play and work hard. It means that you have provided us with more clothes than what we even thought to ask for.

-thank you for all these dirty dishes. It means an army is dining well at this house.

-thank you for modern conveniences that make my life so easy. The washer churns away as I load the dishwasher. Running water, hot and cold, pours into both at the push of a button. Thank you.

-thank you for granting me health and energy again today. Thank you for giving me the strength to care for my family.

I haven't found the magic of Mary Poppins to make my work disappear, but I have a mighty Helper!!!
When I tune my  heart to his I find joy and rest even as I work.

"Every time your hands toil, rest your soul into the rhythm of prayer. Your work can lull you into the rest of God." A. Voskamp



surely my cup overflows




Tuesday, September 9, 2014

the day I {almost} resigned from photography





I have been wanting to do a 1 year photo shoot with Miss Cassie Jo for several weeks now.

I was waiting for the magic moment because I know that one year old photo shoots can turn volatile with one small wrong move.

So. I was waiting for the perfect mood, perfect weather, perfect time of day, perfect outfit...

Yesterday afternoon I thought the moment had finally arrived.

With much fear and trembling, I got her dressed and got my equipment out.

We were all set.

Well. Mostly.

All except Cassie, who underneath her charming public face, was actually in one of her most impish moods ever. 

Our time was filled with Cassie:
 
-tearing her hat from her head and throwing it across the lawn. It was cute the first 21 times.
 
-eating flowers

-salivating over the flowers, which produced unusual amounts of drool which was very unbecoming on her feminine chin

-standing on the suitcase instead of sitting on it as a fine lady should do

- not only planting herself in the standing position, but also jumping off the suit case and landing on the ground in one big rumpled pile of grins and giggles
 
-looking away from the camera with a most mischievous grin and then turning towards the camera with the most innocent and sober look ever

So. We walked away from the photo shoot with some good memories and a few candid shots that captured the essence of Cassie.
 
Hey!!! Who threw that hat at me!!!??

What?? Me crack a grin for you??? Never!!! And don't even think of putting a bow in my hair. I'll yank it out pronto!

 
If I'm not careful my mom might actually be successful

First mistake of the day. I paused long enough for mom to catch a meditative moment.

Did someone say 'flower'...(drool pool)

Look at me now!!!!

This is so much fun, mom....we should play this game every day!!!

You didn't say I couldn't eat the stem

wheeeeee......here I go!!!

Of course you should document me eating flower stems at 1 yr.

Here we go again.

Mommmmmmmmmyyyy....I'm a com'in to get you!!!

Funny....mom thinks she is going to get me to sit still and look at her and smile all at the same time!!!! She's crazy!!!


 
oops. mistake 2. She got another charming shot.

 
I was going to resign.
 
But this is just too much fun.
 
And besides. I'm not a quitter.
 
And besides besides I'm not going to let someone else have the joy of capturing and documenting my baby girl's sweetness at one year old.