Recent Holiday Moments

Hello out there! I miss you!!  Just like everyone else, I’ve been so busy with Christmas and lots and lots of people in my house that I haven’t had a chance to post anything. Where did a week go?  It’s still the holidays around here… Michael is home from work, the kids are  home from school, we’re eating and visiting and avoiding most of the every day routine.  I thought I’d just check in and post a few photos from the past few weeks.

Uncle Mark was here a few weeks ago… he’s a fun uncle. My kids think he’s part jungle gym. I’m always a little bit worried for his back and my lamps when he’s around.

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These two were dancing angels on Sunday morning then became soldiers, gumdrops and polichinelles in the afternoon. They are busy, busy girls!

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My Magi’s Assistant (I love the hat)…

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Prepping for the Christmas pageant… our church has a wonderful collection of costumes, so much glitter and gold.

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Our beautiful church during the pageant. I love this place.

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Winter at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston. We had never been there and really enjoyed a walk one day.  I suspect that you’ll be seeing more Arboretum photos in the future.

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Is this not the most patient sixteen year old sister in the world? Really. I think she was trying to read something.

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Probably the biggest gift hit this year… he loves it!!

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Yes, that is the computer and I in the sunroom/office! It still needs furniture and shades and decorations, but it’s almost there. I love, love, love it!!

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I won this, along with a basket of other baking goodies from Amy at A Healthy Life for Me. We kind of like to bake around here so it was a great surprise!

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We made Linzer cookies for the first time (very fun and surprisingly easy)… along with Gingerbread and Christmas Tree sugar cookies…

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Life has been sweet…

Hope it’s been for you too.

Love,  Michele

Gingerbread

There’s nothing like the smell of gingerbread. Yesterday one of my friends came home to the  scent of gingerbread baking and posted a thank you note to her husband on facebook. I thought that was so cute! It really does welcome you in.  We love to make gingerbread in our house and my oldest daughter has taken our gingerbread recipe to new heights.

Here she is baking a batch last Christmas.

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These days she uses a very simple confectioners sugar and water icing and pipes designs on each cookie. If we make them this weekend I’ll try to share some photos. They are simple and delicious!

Here they are a few years ago with lots and lots of buttercream frosting…the younger the kids the more frosting and sprinkles.

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This is last weekend’s creation….

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Piping is big right now, Buddy Valestro does lots of this…
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We love this gingerbread!  Here’s the recipe:

Gingerbread Boys

4 Cups flour

1 Teaspoon ginger

1 Teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 Teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 Teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 Teaspoon allspice

1 Cup molasses (or 1/2 cup molasses and 1/2 cup honey, that’s my preference)

1 Cup sugar

1 Cup margarine, softened (we often substitute butter)

2/3 Cup boiling water

1 Teaspoon cream of tarter

1 Tablespoon baking soda

1/2 Teaspoon salt

1 Teaspoon vanilla extract

Sift the flour with the spices, set aside. Blend the molasses, sugar and margarine in a large bowl. Add the boiling water, cream of tarter, baking soda, salt and vanilla.

Add the flour mixture gradually, mixing well after each addition. Add enough additional flour to make a soft dough. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill for 8 to 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut with a cookie cutter. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until lightly browned; do not overbake.

Remove carefully from the cookie sheet and place on a wire rack to cool.

Combine powdered (confectioners) sugar with a few drops of water to make icing. Then use a plastic bag with a pinhole to pipe decorations if you’d like to. Or eat without icing, or you can go crazy like my younger kids did in the photo above and embellish away!

Enjoy Everything!

Michele