Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Grandma's Christmas Cookies

5 pounds of flour
2 1/2 pounds of sugar
2 pounds of shortening
1 dozen eggs
6 heaping tablespoons of baking powder
...and a handful of other ingredients.

Mix them all together and what do you get? A family tradition and wonderful memories of Christmas' past. Oh yea, and about 30 dozen Italian Christmas Cookies.

Growing up with an Italian grandmother, no recipe was done on a small scale. Obviously. In fact, I think that my grandmother probably doubled this recipe when she made it. We're talking cookie-making on a grand scale!

Making Christmas cookies as a child is what I remember most about the holidays. Cookies filled every counter of the kitchen, covered the entire kitchen table, and a few extras spilled over onto the dining room table. I'm not sure that I really made any them or even helped to make them--more than likely I just put glaze and sprinkles on a few. I do remember eating them though! I thought they were the yummiest cookies in the world. I still do...especially the ones with the sprinkles.

I haven't made these cookies in probably twenty years. I decided to make them this year because, now that I am a full time mom, I have oodles of extra time with nothing to do-right! Actually, there were a couple of reasons why I sacrificed an entire day to this holiday tradition.

First, I now have my own daughter. I want her to be able to smell the sweet orange scent that fills the house for the entire day as batch after batch bakes in the oven. I would love for her to have fond memories of cookies overtaking the kitchen each Christmas. Like me with my sprinkle cookie, I want her to have a favorite cookie that she wants to share with her children. For any of this to happen, we need to be baking (and eating!) these puppies every year. Darn!

The other reason that I wanted to make these cookies this year was for my Dad and Mom. These cookies were my Dad's before they were mine. His mother made them for him long before she and mother made them for me. They are part of his childhood holiday memories, too. Although my mom didn't have them as a child, she certainly made these cookies plenty of times as an adult. I'm sure that she has fond memories connected to them as well.

So today I loving wrapped 12 dozen cookies, packed them into a big brown box and sent them off to my parents. A total surprise for them. I hope they get as much joy from them as I think that they will.

Isn't it funny? It's not so much the cookie itself that is's the memory. In fact, Tony informed me today that they are just okay. Okay? HELLO! These are the best cookies in the world (especially the ones with the sprinkles)! What was he thinking? Geesh! I guess if you don't grow up with the memory, they just don't taste the same to you.

The only problem now is that I still have 18 dozen cookies (and only 1/3 of those have sprinkles) and the chief cookie-eater thinks that they are just okay. If you know where I live and want a little slice of Italian heaven, bring over a plate. I'll fill it up for you. Just back away from the ones with the sprinkles, and nobody will get hurt.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Miracles

We Wish You a Merry Christmas!

We Wish You a Merry Christmas!

We Wish You a Merry Christmas...

And a Happy New Year!

Miracles do happen. This Christmas was magical for our family. In the past, we could only dream of spending the holidays with our precious daughter. This year we finally get to celebrate it with her. Our hearts are overflowing with joy. She is our miracle!
Molly's best gifts this year.

Mommy and Daddy's best gift this year (and every year to follow)!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tis the Season to be Busy....

Holy Moly! I haven't posted in 19 days? How did that happen? The Christmas season, I guess. I've been busy decorating, shopping, wrapping, packing, shipping, stuffing envelopes and baking like a woman possessed.

Pre-baby, I foolishly thought that I would be able to take all of these things in stride. Hahahahahahaha. Molly is a GREAT baby and has been a real trooper, but wow, has it been hard. In and out of the car seat a million times, juggling packages while pushing a stroller and drinking a Diet Dr. Pepper, and keeping an almost-two-year-old entertained while I hunt for the perfect gifts is basically an Olympic sport. Next year I must train a little harder for the holidays!

Molly had a couple of noteworthy events in her life in the past few weeks:
She saw snow for the first time in her life. Of course I bundled her up, grabbed the camera and headed outside to frolic about in the flakes (One of those Hallmark Card Commercial Moments again...when am I going to learn that they are not reality?).

In true Molly fashion, she absolutely refused to go play in it, touch it or be anywhere near it. Not gonna happen. Every time she would see it she would point and say cooooa (Mollyspeak for cold). The best we could do is get a picture of her looking at the snow from the window.

Molly's dislike of cold and snow is fine with me because I now have the 2/3 majority vote needed to move the family to Florida. I've been waiting for this day for a very long time. Poor Tony, he's getting outvoted 2-1. I am calling the moving company!

Another milestone for Molly...the first time she refused to sit on Santa's lap. I really thought I had this one covered. I read books to Molly about Santa , talked to her about what Santa does, had her wave at Santa every time we were at the mall, and told her how lucky she was because she was going to be able to sit in his lap. I thought I had the bases covered.

When the day for our Santa visit finally arrived, Molly was so excited. We donned our gay apparel, took pictures in front of our tree and then headed for the mall. When she saw the Santa display she squealed with delight (I love it when she does that!). We waited in line and watched other kids get their picture taken with Santa. I reinforced for her just how easy it was..."See, all the other kids just love this,"..."Boy, this is going to be great!" When it was her turn, I unbuckled the seat belt in the stroller and she jumped out with glee. I foolishy thought I was Mother-of-the-Year (again). My kid was going to sail through this. Man, I'm good!

The ever elusive Mother-of-the-Year trophy was snatched from my grasp mere seconds later. Molly took one look at Santa's outstretched arms and went ballistic. Not the "I don't want to do this" cry. Nope. We got the full on "Help, I am being abducted by a fat guy in a cheap suit" cry. Let's just say the people in the parking lot could hear her. Ho hum...there's always next year!

And in closing today's, here a cute picture just because I am shameless and love will take every opportunity available to show the world my beautiful baby girl. Good Golly Miss Molly!