Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Recap-We Survived!

This year was a particularly monumental Christmas for me.  As many of you know it was my very first Christmas married, which is amazing, but the Holiday pressures can also amplify when its your first Christmas together.  We spent Christmas Eve over at Mr. Love from Scratchs' parent's home, which was lovely.  We were there with his siblings and their spouses and kids, so it was a crowd.  In my own family I like to think of myself as the "fun" or "cool" aunt.  My nieces and nephews all tell me I am too, not sure if they are sincere or buttering me up for a treat, probably the latter since I am a total pushover with my  nieces and nephews who I adore.

As I have mentioned before I have all brothers, and I love having all brothers.  When I was little I used to always ask Santa for a baby sister, I got a baby brother instead, thus ended my fascination with Santa.  No really I used to always want a sister, but my mother told me as a little girl that it just wasn't in the cards.  I went on for years totally happy in my "only girl" status, (yes I was indulged and well-loved)  my brothers say spoiled, but really what do they know?  As we all got older it occurred to me that someday my brothers would get married and my "only girl" status would be obliterated as new daughter in laws joined the family.  As the first got married I still got to stay on my pedestal for awhile, and enjoyed that status, though I was fiercely protective of my brothers and didn't want just anyone joining my family, mercifully so my brothers have excellent taste so I didn't have to go "Mommie Dearest".  However as soon as grand kids came into the mix, I fell completely off the pedestal, there is no competing with a beautiful grand baby, so I don't even try.  I do however try very hard to be a favorite Aunt.  One of my greatest joys in life are actually watching my brothers with their children.  I never would have expected them to be the great fathers that they are.  My brothers who made fun of my dance lessons and girly stuff, I now see playing with their own daughters and actually enjoying it.   I have been very blessed that as my family expanded it only got better and better, and I adore every niece and nephew I have, and am very blessed to have them in my life.

So onto my new family that I have joined into.  Mr. Love from Scratch has all sisters, no brothers, so the total opposite of me.   I was a little worried about how the transition would go.  After all it's kinda like being the new kid at school again, you never really know how its going to go. This was my first Holiday with the family and it went really well.  We all brought side dishes and desserts to add to the turkey and ham that was the main dish.  I brought several things including a spinach artichoke dip (always a crowd pleaser), a green salad with berries and red wine vinaigrette, fudge, and a strawberry cheesecake dessert.  I also made gingerbread dough and royal icing so I could make gingerbread cookies with my new little nieces.  Maybe with the oldest of the bunch only being four, it may not have been the smartest idea I have ever had, but it was a lot of fun, messy, really, really messy, but a lot of fun.  The girls were excited to leave their creations out for Santa's Visit.  We had fun, and the girls loved decorating, and also having the dog lick the icing brush between cookies (It took me a few minutes to realize that was going on), so Santa's cookies are indeed very special this year.

Christmas is always a time of food and family, and I am very blessed with the family that I have.  I wish I had taken photos of the finished cookies, in all the mess I forgot to, but this recipe is a definite keeper and will help you create as many memories as we did with it.

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup shortening, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup molasses
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 cups flour
Sift together the flour, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon; set aside.

  Mix together the shortening, molasses, brown sugar, water, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients, until they are completely absorbed. Divide dough into 3 pieces, pat down to 1 1/2 inch thickness, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Then roll & cut into desired shapes.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven @ 350 F. Enjoy the memories to come!


Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

Christmas is such a fun time and as a newlywed it's a great time to discover new traditions for your own family. Love the gingerbread story with your nieces. My boys and I always do a gingerbread house each Christmas, although they're more excited for the tradition of destroying it after Christmas with the air guns and bows and arrows. But, it's fun for all of us!

2 Kids and Tired Cooks

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...
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