Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Month of December- Blog 4: Letters from Mom & Mimi

2 More Days Ellie!!!

Merry Christmas my Darling Daughter!  

This week has been so much fun, as I have had the past few days off and we have been spending every second together (except for one evening that your Dad and I got you a babysitter so that we could catch some of these awesome movies that are out!)!  

We had a play date with my co-workers and their babies on Tuesday (that included a visit from Santa!)

And then, we had a play date with Jaclyn and Rilynn on Wednesday.  You are definitely blessed to have such wonderful children around you (and I am blessed to have the friendships of these awesome moms).  But best of all, your Mimi and Poppy finally flew in yesterday!!!  But I am going to save their visit until next week’s blog.

Because of all of the socializing and making time for friends and family, food is definitely important this time of year (both for eating it and entertaining with it).  I already made a batch of Gram Mundy’s cookies and oatmeal raisin (and they are already gone!).  But my favorite cookies are Peanut Butter Cups. I didn’t make them this year because I am the only one in the house that eats them (so when the whole batch disappears, I don’t feel very good about myself!).  So you need to develop a taste for these bad boys so you can help me!!!  Here is my delicious recipe:

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

½ cup butter
¾ cup peanut butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Extra sugar
24 Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
24 White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees
-Beat butter and peanut butter in a mixer until well blended, then blend in sugars until fluffy and light, then add egg, milk, and vanilla and beat.
-Stir together flour, baking soda and salt and gradually mix into peanut butter mix
-Shape dough balls so they are about 1 inch in diameter, then roll in the extra sugar
-Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned
-Immediately place a peanut butter cup on each cookie and press down slightly

And because tomorrow is Christmas Eve, how perfect is this famous poem?

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
By Clement Clarke Moore

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.
And Mama in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap.

When out on the roof there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
tore open the shutter, and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
gave the lustre of midday to objects below,
when, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles, his coursers they came,
and he whistled and shouted and called them by name:

"Now Dasher! Now Dancer!
Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid!
On, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch!
To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away!
Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky
so up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
with the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
the prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head and was turning around,
down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes--how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
and the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
and filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, 'ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

And on a silly note, you and I had a really great time cleaning out your toy boxes, closet, and drawers to see what we can donate to get ready for new gifts that will come.  I think at one point, you had three hats on your head and two different slippers on your feet.  You make me laugh baby girl!!!  Dress up time with you is the BEST! 

So Miss Ellie, I wish you sweet dreams.
I love you and Merry Christmas!

And now from your Mimi…

Hi Ellie!
I can’t believe we are here with you now!  Seeing your beautiful face and that surprised expression when Poppy and I walked through your front door today was truly one of those “forever memory moments!”

Now we are looking forward to the giggles, playtime and the magic of Christmas!

The Christmas recipe I chose to share Ellie is a dessert.  When your mommy and Uncle Ryan were small, come Christmas time we would settle into the kitchen to roll out homemade sugar cookies dripping in icing!  We started by getting out mixing bowls, a rolling pin, spatula’s; measuring cups, all the sugar cookie and icing ingredients along with sprinkles, colored sugars, and candies for decorating.  And then we would start the process of making our cookie cutter sugar Christmas cookies in the shapes of a bell, a Santa, a star, a Christmas tree and a gingerbread man!  Sometimes I think we had more flour on the floor than in the mixing bowl… but we always had fun!  Here is the recipe Ellie:

Ultimate Sugar Cookies
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 cup (1 stick) Butter Flavor Crisco (or regular Crisco)
2 eggs
¼ cup light corn syrup or regular pancake syrup
1-tablespoon vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour (plus 4 tablespoons divided)
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Decorations (your choice) – frosting, colored sugar crystals, candies, raisins, decorating gel

1.     Heat oven to 375 degrees
2.     Combine sugar and Crisco in large bowl.  Beat at medium speed until well blended.  Add eggs, syrup and vanilla.  Beat until fluffy.
3.     Combine 3 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add gradually to creamed mixture at low speed.  Mix until well blended.  Divide dough into 4 quarters.  TIP- if dough is too stick or too soft to roll: Wrap each quarter of dough with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
4.     Spread 1 tablespoon of flour on large sheet of waxed paper.  Place one-fourth of dough on floured paper.  Flatten slightly with hands.  Turn dough over and cover with another large sheet of waxed paper.  Roll dough to 1/4 –inch thickness.  Cut out with floured cutters.  Transfer to ungreased baking sheet with large pancake turner.  Place 2 inches apart.  Sprinkle some with granulated sugar or colored sugar crystals, or leave plain to frost when cooled.
5.     Bake on baking sheet at a time for 5 to 9 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies.  (smaller thin cookies closer to 5 minutes; larger thick cookies closer to 9 minutes)  DO NOT OVERBAKE!  Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet.  Place sheets of foil on countertop.  Remove cookies to foil to cool completely, then frost if desired.
6.     Makes about 3-4 Dozen Cookies

Butter Cream Icing
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened (not melted.)
1 ½ tsp vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
Food Coloring

Mix powdered sugar and butter, stir in vanilla and 1 Tbsp milk… gradually add just enough of the remaining milk to make frosting smooth and spread milk… if too thin, add a little more powdered sugar.
Put a scoop of icing in a few cups.  Add different colors of the food coloring.  Ice cookies and decorate!

Now for my poem.  I chose a Children’s’ Christmas poem written by Shel Silverstein Ellie as it just seems so appropriate for this year!  Enjoy reading!

By Shel Silverstein

I made myself a snowball,
As perfect as could be,
I thought I’d keep it as a pet,
And let it sleep with me.
I made it some pajamas,
And a pillow for its head,
Then last night it ran away,
But first – it wet the bed!

All right Angel Baby….. We have a very busy weekend ahead of us!  A visit to see Denver’s Zoo Lights, another visit to see Santa Claus… last minute shopping, a traditional pizza and wine dinner with your mommy and daddy, Christmas mass, a mouth water Holiday dinner made by your Daddy, and the best most relaxing day spent playing with you!  And in next weeks blog your mommy and I will revisit the week’s precious moments with you and our favorite memories.

Love you El!
Merry Christmas!
Till next time,
Love Mimi

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