Tuesday, December 20

One Crazy Weekend: A Cat, A Concert and A Cookie Party!


A crazy, hectic weekend was had by all in the Porter Family! It was exceedingly busy and physically tiring. Packed full of  wonderful new memories that will be filed away in our minds to enjoy another day. We hit the ground running this past Friday and barely looked up until yesterday afternoon.
 

Elizabeth hosted her annual Christmas Cookie Decorating Party. This was E's 5th year to host this particular party. We all have our assignments. I am the baker and general overseer at this sugar loaded shindig.  Greg is the chauffeur and sanitation duty officer, he takes out the trash, and if Jared  happens to be home he eats what has been left behind. Ha! Yeah right! Like that never happens! I love listening to the girls laughing and talking about their teachers, boys.."Oh man did you see that awesome-looking new guy on the Fear Factor?", talk of the latest fashions, the top forty and the latest drama  unfolding at school, "did you hear about ___and___? They broke up again. That's like the 3rd time", "well I knew it wouldn't last", "they fought all of the time".  They do all of this while decorating their cookies and singing along with the Christmas music that's playing on the stereo. They are fantastic at multi-tasking!! In years past the girls have gone out caroling in our neighborhood.


On occasion they have been given money {which they LOVE}, hot cocoa, candy and more cookies. The girls have even played Santa's Helpers for the little old man around the corner who dresses up like Santa Claus. Our neighborhood really does Christmas proud.  Ninety percent of the houses here in our little corner of the world are covered in Christmas lights, from the chimney tops all the way down to the side walks. We actually have "traffic" in the neighborhood every weekend in December. Cars, limos and even buses, it's really insane! The girls enjoy walking around looking at lights, singing and generally being silly. Do you remember being 16? This year they dressed up and went to the all night Walmart to find some amusement. Don't ask. 


Saturday was a joy....E had a Deb event. The girls were asked to meet and greet people that were coming in for the Symphony's Christmas Concert. If you have a daughter you already know these kinds of events are a family effort. It is not just an evenings obligation to be met by E. It was more like mom and dad putting on a full scale Broadway musical! I spent the majority of the day sewing flowers on her formal. Then she had to get the big hair to go along with the big make-up, mani-pedi and then  we helped her in to her formal.


By the time we left for the symphony hall I was warm. I'm a mother, Elizabeth's mom, she is a sweet and giving young lady who just happens to be a Debutante this year. We have enjoyed her Deb year so far. Looking forward to the Cotillion and presentation of all these beautiful young ladies. All of our efforts with the Deb program have been well worth our time. The girls looked beautiful and the music was a much needed boost of Christmas Spirit. The evening was magical and we all had a wonderful time. 

Sunday is ALWAYS busy around here, church, lunch and of course a Sunday nap. Jared happened to be home...cookies were ALL gone at this point. He had to work from 12 am to 8 am on Monday so he headed back to Denton in the middle of the night. To our surprise he decided to come back home after work instead of  going to his apartment. He was home by the time E left for school Monday morning. I love it when he is home.

 We finally found ourselves settled back into our usual routine. It's raining this morning and that's no fun. There are pies to bake and candy to make, gifts to be bought and wrapped, stockings to be stuffed and not a lot of time left. Greg and I are SO ready to sit back and enjoy just being...you know what I mean? Being with each other, being with our kids, being with our family and friends. Just enjoy being still for awhile. How do you type the sound of a sigh? Christmas. Visiting. Laughing. Reminiscing. Playing. Loving. Being. So bring it on I say....the P's are ready!

CHRISTMAS SUGAR COOKIES
Here is the cookie recipe I use for E's Cookie Parties. It's Martha's. They make THE best base for royal icing. I have tried many recipes over the years and I find this one to be sturdy, crisp on the outside and tender in the middle, and not too sweet. You really don't want a sweet cookie, 
Royal icing is  sweet enough on it's own. This cookie makes the perfect pairing for icing.
MAKES 7 to 8 DOZEN COOKIES
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INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Royal Icing, assorted candies, sprinkles, or colored sugars for decorating
WHAT TO DO
  • In large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. 
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in egg and vanilla. 
  • With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; mix until combined.
  • Divide dough in half; flatten into disks. Wrap each disk in plastic; place in fridge until firm, at least 20 minutes, or place in a resealable plastic bag, and freeze up to 3 months (thaw in refrigerator overnight).
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Line baking sheets with parchment. 
  • Remove one dough disk; let stand 5 minutes. 
  • Cut shapes with cookie cutters. Using a spatula, transfer to prepared baking sheets.  
  • Re-roll scraps; cut shapes. Repeat with remaining dough.
  • Bake, rotating halfway through, until edges are golden, 8 to 10 minutes (depending on size). You do not want them brown.
  • Cool completely on wire racks. 
  • Ice cookies. Let the icing harden, about 20 minutes, before stacking.
To make icing Royal Icing: Sift 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar into a small bowl. Whisk in 3 to 4 tablespoons milk, water, or lemon juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, until smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If too thin, whisk in more sugar; if too thick, add more liquid. Divide into small bowls and add food coloring. I use Wilton's cake icing color.       

TIPS

  • I use Betty Crocker's Cookie Icing for the basic colors. NOT cake icing..there is a difference. Cookie icing hardens, cake icing does not. I do however make the icing for the colors you won't find in the store.....orange, hot pink, turquoise and so on. It saves me huge amounts of time and stress. BC's icing actually tastes as good or better than Martha's and less messy! I don't skip the cookies though. Using a roll of store bought sugar cookie dough will lead to disappointment. They do not hold their defined shapes. Just my opinion, do as you wish and ENJOY!
  • Best if you pop your cut cookie dough  straight into the oven from the fridge. 
  • I usually always triple this recipe, freezing the dough not used. I pull it out to make Cookie Hearts for Valentine's Day. One less thing to take care of in February!! 
YUMMILICIOUS!

Here they are on their way to the all-night Walmart, with Mr.P in tow. I blissfully took a hot shower and went to bed! Girls Just Want To Have Fun!!!
 MERRY, MERRY!!

~THE DOMESTIC CURATOR~
RONDA

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