A Cozy Baking Day

Operation “lean into the Christmas joy” was in full effect yesterday. Even the weather cooperated. After Finley’s cloudy morning walking, it settled into a cool and cozy pattern of rain, mist, and heavy clouds for the entirety of the day. It was wonderful. I love sunshine, but a day of baking really partners well with soggier conditions.

My main mission was to make sugar cookies to freeze. I’ll pull them out in a couple weeks when my nieces are here for us to decorate. I tried this recipe for the first time and was really pleased with its simplicity and results. The real trick though is with the icing. I want to try royal icing, the kind you can flood. Any recipe recommendations for that one?

While we bopped around to Christmas tunes making dough, both girls begged to make their own creations and I had a mental back and forth with myself about it. On one hand: no. You can’t just make up baked good recipes and expect them to turn out. It’s wasteful. On the other hand, it’s joy-filled fun, creativity, and the season of yes!

I went with yes and mentally reminded myself this is why I used to have a baking basket that was all theirs full of cheaper ingredients so they don’t use my fancy flour in a failed science creation. Though neither of their experiments turned out all that delicious, they had a lot of fun and put real effort into it. I loved hearing them debate whether baking soda or baking powder would create more of a rise (baking soda is about 3x stronger by the way).

We filled the morning in the kitchen and I hung wreaths over a bunch of my downstairs doors while they decorated cakes. I got these wreaths for $5 at Michaels and some thick ribbon. I wrapped the ribbon around the wreath, tied the ends, then secured it on the backside of the door with an upside down command hook. I love how they turned out!

Piano lessons and lunch faded into the afternoon. Hailey curled up to work on her story. She’s on chapter 7 on a book she’s writing about a girl named Holly and a Christmas baking competition.

Kaitlyn played a little dress up and asked for me to curl her hair. It was a day of cozy yesses, so I agreed and welcomed her into my salon (the kitchen). Side note: are you familiar with these story orchestra books that play snippets of their famous tunes? They’re wonderful and we love pulling out The Nutcracker version near Christmas time.

There was laundry and gift wrapping and selling stuff of marketplace, and the afternoon slipped into the evening. Lest you imagine it’s all sugarplums over here, there was a parenting lesson on gratitude and thinking of others that I had to dole out in the afternoon to my youngest. Straddling the line between wanting to give your kids the world and also keeping them grateful and grounded can be tough sometimes.

Back to the baking… it’s neat that the kids are now old enough to roll, cut out, and bake cookies on their own. I oversaw it but they really took the reins and ran the show while David and I sat at the table and caught up on the day’s happenings.

I served marinated chicken and noodles family style. I used Wildgrain pasta which absorbs sauce so well. Maybe one day I’ll venture into trying to make our own pasta? I’ve seen people on IG use this pasta making machine, but I don’t have a spot to put yet another appliance. Ha.

We chatted and ate and settled into an evening of movie watching. We watched A Christmas Story and Home Alone. The kids stayed up a little later than usual, but so many Christmas movies and so little time!

Today is our last co-op for the year. We’re on day 3 of our “no official school lessons” and no guilt has surfaced yet. I consider that a win. I want to do more baking, too. I went to find the cream cheese thumb print cookies link to share with you; they’ve been my favorite since I was a kid. But just realized I don’t have them on the blog! They deserve a dedicated post; maybe next week?

I’m curious, what are your favorite Christmas cookies or a dessert you must make during the holiday season? Links welcomed, please!

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