Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Cookies and Other Fun!

This past weekend, Connor and Merasia helped me make homemade sugar cookies! I have never made these before, even as a child, so I was super excited! I was also really looking forward to the twins helping me. It feels like I have waited so long for them to be old enough to really help me with things like this, so it was exciting to finally have that time come with their age now.

I found a recipe for homemade sugar cookies that included 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 5 cups of flour, 2 cups of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 1/2 cups of softened butter, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and 4 eggs. It was SO easy to make too! 

First we had to cream together the butter and sugar until it was smooth, and then beat in the eggs and vanilla.

After that, we had to stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt and get it all mixed nicely together.

The kids had fun helping with this part and mixing it all together.

After the dough was made, it had to chill for about an hour in the fridge before we could cut shapes out with the cookie cutters. Chilling the dough allowed it to harden up some so it wouldn't be so fragile or sticky.

While we waited for the dough to chill, we made some reindeer ornaments for our Christmas tree!

To start this project, I had to trace one hand of each of the kids and cut it out. A lot of this project was for me to do with the cutting out the hands just right and punching holes, etc. We chose not to decorate our hands afterwards, but this is something the kids can definitely have a part in if you chose to decorate them after cutting them out. Either way, they still loved the project and had fun doing it and seeing what mommy was going to make the final outcome look like. 

After tracing and cutting out the hands, the kids chose what kind of bobbly eye they wanted on their own reindeer and we glued those on. Then we glued on red glittery pom poms for the noses. For Mason's, I used tiny pieces of pipe cleaners and just curled them around in a tiny circle and glued it. Using a pom pom on his would have weighed it down too much, as his hand is smaller and the pom poms are pretty heavy, even on card stock paper like we used. After the noses and eyes were glued on, I punched a hole for the antlers to thread through. For the antlers, I used pipe cleaners as well, and the kids chose what colors they wanted. Merasia chose pink, Connor chose blue, and we did gold for Mason. I cut a small piece to thread through the hole, and twisted it around itself to hold it in place, and then cut off the tips of the excess pipe cleaner, and twisted those pieces around the longer pieces to make the antlers branch and look real. After that was done, I punched another hole in and thread ribbon through, tied it in a knot, and voila! We were done! I think they came out so cute!

They are a great addition to our tree, too! 

While the directions for the reindeer ornaments may sound complicated, they really aren't! It's a quick, fun project to do for any age, really!

After we were done with the reindeer, the cookie dough was chilled enough for us to roll it out and start cutting out shapes! We had a bunch of Christmas themed cookie cutters and the kids really enjoyed picking which shapes to do and cutting them out and got so excited after cutting out each shape!

We made SO many cookies with this recipe! There was about 40 cookies made, and even enough dough left for a few more cookies if I wanted to keep rolling it out and cutting out more!

We baked them for 6-10 minutes in a 400 degree oven and they were just perfect!

They came out soft with a tiny bit of crunch to them, which was just perfect, I thought! Most even rose and plumped up nice and thick in the oven, which made for some yummy, filling cookies!

That afternoon after after the kids woke from their nap, I mixed some food coloring and homemade sugar cookies frosting together for some different colors, and we got down to getting them all frosted!

We had different sprinkles and m&m's to decorate the cookies as well. In the end, these are some of what we came up with:

Can you tell which ones the kids decorated? ;) I wasn't picky with them frosting or decorating their cookies. They poured sprinkles galore on some, and only put a dab of frosting on others instead of covering the whole cookie. Sometimes they mixed frosting colors, but I didn't care. It was about the experience and something we don't do often throughout the year, and I wanted them to have fun and pleasant memories of this experience, not of mommy being picky or correcting them on how THEY wanted to frost THEIR own cookies. 

It's been a few days since we made these cookies, and most of them are gone. I think it's safe to say they were a hit! ;)

This is definitely a fun, new tradition we have started for the holidays, and I can't wait to do it again and hopefully involve Mason next time too since he will be older! What are some of your favorite holiday traditions? Feel free to comment and share below!

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