Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas 2012

Our beautiful tree on Christmas morning. My beautiful husband watching our beautiful son taking presents out from underneath.

After getting out of bed on Christmas morning, Capt. Adorable wanted to wear his footie pajamas to open presents, like last year, but discovered they were too small. I suggested we cut off the feet and then they were perfect. Last time he wore them was last year! (We sleep under plenty of blankets and down comforters so super-warm pajamas are overkill. Plus, cotton is much more comfortable to sleep in.)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Cookie Extravaganza 2012

Together with Captain Adorable, I made cookies. Dozens and dozens of cookies. Only 3 kinds--ultimate sugar cookies, rugelach, and almond spritz--but it took a lot of time and was a lot of fun! Here are some photos of our creations. I make cookies because I love making them, but also to send to my father-in-law (this is actually the third time now).

Carefully cutting.

Removing the individual cookies from the dough.

Transfer the cookies to a baking sheet.

On the baking sheet.

Out of the oven, cooling on wire racks.

Ornament shaped ones are decorated with colored sugar.

Rolling rugelach.

Painting rugelach with milk before they are topped with cinnamon sugar.

Rugelach (plain) cooling on wire racks.

Sugar cookies ready for decoration.

Finished Ornaments!

You can see the tin for my FIL on the top right. A layer of rugelach is already packed.

The first snowflake--icing and sugar!

Lots of snowflakes. We learned about how the icing works with these cookies.

Capt. Adorable wanted the tops of the stockings to be white. 

Waiting for the icing to dry. We decided to decorate the trees in two ways.

Ready to go!

The green sugar on top of the icing adds extra sparkle!

The three iced cookies.

The plate of cookies we kept. About the same amount was sent to my FIL.

Almond spritz cookies! Cooling on wire racks.
Capt. Adorable just saw the photos of cookies above and began asking if we could make more cookies!!!

The is the first year I've made spritz cookies and the last batch I made was miraculously easy, so for this batch I decided to make almond ones. They were not easy at all. First I had to toast the almonds, then let them cool, then grind them to meal, then make the cookie dough. Then the dough was too stiff to squeeze out of the cookie press, so I had to trouble shoot, and eventually had to add more butter to soften the dough enough...or was it the time spent in the mixer? All in all it took 2 hours from start to finish. I think they taste fabulous--light and rich--and decided not to decorate them because I like them just the way they are.

The only problem with making cookies is that way too many of them end up in my mouth. I might not make cookies next year...or at least not so many...we will see. I recently learned that another family member has started sending cookies to my FIL so it seems a bit redundant for me to continue. How many cookies does one man need?!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hanukkah 2012

We thoroughly celebrated Hanukkah 2012! Captain Adorable and I shared the first nights with Oma and Opa, and had The Best Potato Latkes to kick off the holiday. Everything tastes better when you have help in the kitchen and an appreciative audience! Mmmmmm!

One afternoon I surprised Captain Adorable with a gingerbread house project--icing, chocolate candies, gum drops, and chocolate snowmen. Amazing how much of those building materials ended up in my mouth! Here's a photo of our house behind the menorah.

I bought Captain Adorable his own menorah this year (at his prompting) and he really loved everything about that--getting to have his own menorah, getting to light the candles twice, and having two menorahs going at the same time. He can sing the Hanukkah prayer in Hebrew now.
Both menorahs on the last night of Hanukkah

We celebrated the next 7 nights with Captain Obvious. I rolled and baked rugelach on the eighth night (I say "rolled and baked" because of course I acutally made the dough the night before--it has to be refrigerated overnight). Here are some of those amazing pastries for your viewing pleasure.
Ready to go in the oven
Ready to eat
For a final celebration (which was the night after Hanukkah ended, but who wants to be limited to only 8 nights anyway!?) the three of us made churros con chocolate (our second year making this Spanish treat) .
Me squeezing the churros dough into the hot oil. Capt. Obvious at the ready with tongs. 

Capt. Adorable could not wait for me to take the photo and dove right in!

Oh what a Happy Hanukkah I had this year. Taking the time to sit down together, to ready the menorah, to sing the prayer together (even Capt. Obvious sings), to sit--even for a few moments--in the candlelight and look into each other's faces--these are the moments I treasure. I love to be with my family, to make and do and share: together. We are so lucky to be able to share this holiday season with people we love--family, friends, and neighbors.

Life is so beautiful.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Calling For Gun Control

I got a text from Captain Obvious which read "Omg school shooting" and my heart sank as I ran to the computer. I wondered aloud, "Is today the worst day of my life?" I searched our county school web site for information. I also texted back to ask for more information of course but there was no response. After finding nothing about a school shooting locally, I went to CNN and there I found the news about the shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut. Today is the worst day of some parents' lives. I texted back "Ok we're never sending him to school again."

I mourn for the children and adults who were shot. I mourn for the children and adults at the scene. I mourn for the hundreds of families (the school had over 600 students) and thousands of people who are affected by this tragedy.

There was a police officer at pick up at Captain Adorable's school this afternoon and there will be one on Monday as well. But neither keeping our children home nor sending police to school is the answer. We need gun control. No more mass shootings at malls and movie theatres and schools.

Get the guns out of my country.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Spritz Cookies

I made spritz cookies to take to my friend's cookie exchange this year. I bought a cookie press last year to make churros after my icing bag failed at the task of squeezing out the stiff dough, and so I thought I'd try using it to make cookies. They were easy and fun to make! Then I iced them (with a simple confectioners' sugar and milk combination). I dressed up the icing with different colors and extracts (vanilla in the white, almond in the green, and maple in the red). I could not prevent Captain Adorable from helping me (smile) but was really surprised at his careful work--he placed all the nonpareils on the wreaths! My platter won me the Martha Stewart prize for the second year running! (Honestly, the other guests don't give me much competition.) They tasted good, too. 

All three designs together.

Just the wreaths.

Just the snowmen--the one in the center was Capt. Adorable's favorite.

The candy-canes.

Next: rugelach. :)

Friday, December 7, 2012


Captain Obvious is out of town on business. I always miss my beloved husband when he has to travel for work, but this time of course, I miss him even more because it is difficult to take care of a sick boy all alone; Captain Adorable has a sinus infection and a double ear infection! So I am very, very pleased to have my parents here to visit.

We celebrated Sinterklaas together on December 5. It is such fun to make our plans and surprises for each other, and of course to watch those surprises unfold. It is fun to give gifts and continue traditions. We don't celebrate on as grand a scale as my mother did when she was young (something like what is described on this web site) but we make each other earn the presents!