Friday, December 31, 2010

Adios 2010

This week has filled my mind with reflections. .both of the past year and of the year to come.  The year has been mild. .no major milestones. . but no major trauma either! 
My heart has been heavy though with my ponderings. My good friend called on Christmas morning to tell me that his sister in law had been killed in a tragic, one vehicle crash earlier that morning. .and that has provoked a very profound appreciation for the gift of life.  On January 1, 2010. .if you would have told that family. .and countless others. .the events that they would encounter in the next one year. .they would have never been able to imagine! I think also for the people that I have interacted with over the last one year that have suffered devastating loss of spouses, siblings, parents, and even losses of their own good health.  Some of those losses couldn't even have been fathomed on January 1, 2010.  Some days I am just frightened about HOW quickly and profoundly our lives can change.  BUT. .I am quickly reminded of scripture offered to us to calm the soul. . Such as. .
Phillipeans 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:27
 Can any one of you, by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Matthew 6:34
 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Psalm 31:23-24
 Love the Lord, all his faithful people! The Lord preserves
those who are true to him, but the proud he pays back in full.
 Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.

Now, I am not a worry-er by nature, but when I get un-nerved about something. .look out! So this particular passage is very comforting!
Isaiah 41:10
 fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Although I don't know what tomorrow holds. .I DO know who holds tomorrow. . and I know that whatever happens in 2011; God will have my back. .which in turns strengthens me enough to help others in the capacity that he has called me to. . .which leads me to some of my New Year's Resolutions!!
Has anyone ever heard the song What Love Really Means. .sung by J.J. Heller?
I LOVE that song!! If you haven't heard it and you have time. .it would be REALLY worth your while to  check it out here
It talks about people dying for someone to love them for who they are. .and not what they are. .or even what they will be!  One of the things that I want to do better in 2011 is to be an unconditional "lover." I often find it hard to love people where they are at. .especially if I don't LIKE where they are at.  Some people (including my kids. .my husband. .my friends. .my patients. .MEEEE) don't always make good decisions. It puts them in bad positions and rough spots in life. I want to practiceTRULY loving these people ALWAYS. .despite the stupid things they do and say. .and wish for the same mercy for myself from others.

A second goal for 2011 is to increase my reading.  I used to LOVE to read. .but as life happened. .it was a luxury that fell away.  Last summer I tried to start reading the bible on a more regular basis.  I'm not doing too badly. .but can certainly improve on it!  I also have several books that are on my list. I really believe that knowledge is power. .and that we can always find room for improvement in EVERY aspect of our lives. I am just finishing up "the Love Dare," based from the movie Fireproof (which, by the way. .I have never even seen! I hear it is great!!). Also on my list are "the Power of a Positive Mom" by Carol Ladd, "For Women Only" by  Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn and a book on Esther called "Hadassah" by Tommy Tenney.  I bought "For men only" for Jeremy to read too.  I read that book last week and highlighted the things about women (me in particular) that I thought he should read twice. I was pretty impressed with the way that they capture how women really operate. .and the research that went into writing the book. I am excited to read about how men think and operate. .and see if I can figure out that gender difference going on!! I hear stories A LOT in my job from both women and men related to the profound differences in our make-ups. .and hope that I can also share some tidbits and advice for them to use as well!! The books you read play a huge part in shaping the person you become!! I can't WAIT to see who I will be when I finally get grown up ;-)

My perpetual goal of the last 7-8 years has been to stop SWEARING!! I gain. .but I never totally succeed. This is the year. .It WILL happen! I blame my husbands mouth and my children's naughtiness. .but really. . it just boils down to one VERY bad habit. .and poor choices!

We have a few house projects on the list for the new year. .a front sidewalk to adjoin the pond where we ripped out the old rock one. .and a bathroom remodel.
We are also hoping for a few trips this year. We are hoping to spend some of spring break in Houston visiting my in-laws before they move back to Kansas. .I also found a great conference on contraceptive technology (I know. .something only exciting to ME!!) held in Boston. And. .my friend Cindy and I are hoping to surprise our men with a fun little trip next fall. . .shhh. .it's a secret!!

Our lives will be what our lives will be. .and what God intends them to be.  God willing. .I will be able to stick to my resolutions and become a better person because of them. .God willing. .my family and friends will remain healthy and happy. .God willing I will be able to make a difference in someone's life weekly. .if not DAILY!  God willing. .YOU all will be equally blessed throughout the next year.
Wishing everyone an abundantly BLESSED New Year!!
Adios 2010. .Welcome 2011!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Few of Our Favorite Things

Hope that everyone had a great Christmas holiday!! We enjoyed ours. .and find ourselves pretty spoiled!!
My boys started peeking early this year. .as I had to start hollering at them to get back to bed by 2:45 A.M.! Then around five and again at 6! Yikes! Cami and I were finally pryed out of bed at a little after 7 to see what the big guy had left! Oh, and what mom and dad might have left too!
The older boys were more than thrilled to find some new clothes, hoodies, and cologne from Aeropostle. .
So much, that they took turns striking model poses with their new duds!! They've been out of smell good for a while now. .and I forgot what it was like to smell them before seeing the whites of their eyes. EEEK!
My "Justin Bieber" look-alike kid is just a crazy nut. .plain and simple!
And what little girl doesn't like sparkles. .and lip gloss?? Sequined jeans and shirts, along with a new pink sparkly belt were at the top of this girls list!
And the fishin' kid. .got loaded up with a stringer for a shark, a fish scale that would weigh Camille, and some extra large toe-nail clipping string cutters. Hee haw. .he was in heaven!
It always impresses me how Santa just KNOWS what will bring smiles to little faces!!
Some kids I know found some really cool scooters. .
And our house hasn't been the same since. .hurry warm weather and new sidewalk!! My walls can't keep it up much longer!
Now, Santa also brought strawberry lip gloss to one little girl. And that was the best gift EVER!! If you look closely. .you may think she has chapped lips in the above photo. .Nope. .just a good smear of lip gloss. At one time she actually had lip gloss R-U-N-N-I-N-G off her C-H-I-N!! She applied lip gloss to me. .to her dad. .and even papa got to sample some!
We spent Christmas day with Granny and Papa and the greats, and granny's brother and his family.  Lots of food and visiting went on. Granny made these great aprons for the boys. Yesterday I took the four kids and we traveled to Wichita for the fun of it. D and Cami had birthday money I told them they could spend after Christmas. .and the big boys like to shop too!  Everyone was quite well behaved and we really did enjoy our day! We came home with some new fish for the fish tank.  The aquatic frog even came out from his hiding place to see all what all the commotion was about!
As one countdown ended. .a new one began!
The countdown to 2011!!
Enjoy the last week of 2010!

Friday, December 24, 2010

O Holy Night

O Holy Night. . .
The stars are brightly shining. . .
It is the night of our Dear Savior's birth!!!
Long lay the world. . .
In sin and error pining. . .
Till He arrived and the soul felt its worth!!
A thrill of hope. . .
the weary world rejoices. . .
for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!!!
Fall on your knees. . .
Oh hear the angel voices. . .
Oh night Divine. . .
Oh night. . .when Christ was born!!

That's my favorite Christmas carol. . .EVER!!
The second verse, which I don't hear often goes on to say
"led by the Light of faith serenely beaming. .
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand"
I hope that your hearts are glowing as we celebrate His birth this year.

We have baked, and played, we have sang carols to the babe, and have listened to the Christmas story, we have sipped cocoa, and enjoyed the Christmas lights in our town.
Our stockings are hung. .the milk and sugar cookies have been carefully selected and placed where Santa won't miss them. . .and their heads are nestled while visions of a joyous Christmas dance in their heads.
The house is warm. . .and snug. . .and peacefully and serenely quiet. . .
My mind is clearing and breathing deep. . .
and I am thankful!!
I am thankful for that 'thrill of hope'
For yonder. .breaks a NEW and GLORIOUS morn!!
Blessings to you all!
From my family to yours. . .
Wishing you and yours a VERY merry Christmas. .
Love. .Melanie

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Home for the Holiday's

It seems that this week has been one party after the next.
As the week winds down, and the quietness of the season's biggest blessing fills my heart, I thought that I would share some photos from our family Christmas last weekend at my folks'.
My mom has gotten us into the ritual of attempting a WHOLE family picture each Christmas before opening gifts. Often times we gather together on the couch. .however it is getting to be a wee bit small for all of us. .So this year, she decided that it should be done outside. Mind you, it was around 30 degrees with a chilly breeze.  Here is part of the family milling around waiting on someone to decree where they would stand.
With my new Canon perched atop my mom's tripod, and the timer button pushed. .
This was the best photo of all 23 of us that we could muster. 
The new baby was swaddled like baby Jesus.  Notice everyone has a coat on except yours truly?? (everyone that is, except my sis in law Steph. .she was trying to make me feel better!) That's because MY gift from my folks included a new black jacket. .so I didn't bring another coat. .and we had to take pictures BEFORE we opened gifts. .that was the stipulation to get everyone to smile nice!
We took 3 timed pictures before everyone suddenly deserted me. .
And I mean sudden. .one second they were there. .and the next second they were gone.
HAHAHA. .always a wise guy. .or several around this place!
The photo ops went south from there. Out of numerous grandkid pictures. .this was it!! Someone is
crying, or looking the other way, or even running out of the picture
Maybe someday. .maybe someday!!
And then to get grandma and grandpa in. .
SOME kids were ready for presents. .PERIOD!
It's much like a very NOISY ant den here anymore. Children everywhere. Amazingly, EVERYONE waited patiently for their turn to open their gifts up.  We start with the youngest and work our way up. It's always nice to send the children to another room with all their goodies before the big kids start in on gifts.
As always, everyone was well spoiled!!
Here's our "share the love" photos. .
my little sister Kristi and her hubby Chris
(or Kris and More Chris. .as Tristan used to call them when he was little)
My little brother Brendan and his wife Tina
(or Aunt Peanut. .as Grant used to call her)
And my baby brother Nick and his wife Steph
to this date. .no one has ever screwed up their names.
THIS one. .always the comedian.  Jeremy's gifts included some antique shop stuff. .like a COOL motor oil can with a perfect paper label sporting an elaborate Indian Chief. .and this oil can with a rotating spigot. .that faintly resembles a beer bong. .Brendan was just checkin' the logistics of making that one work out!!
We spent two great evenings hanging out, sipping cocktails, eating WAY TOOOO much, and visiting.  The kids played well and the fights were minimal! We used to play pitch. .and then moved on to different board games. .but NOW there are SOOO many kids. .and the interuptions are so frequent, that we have nearly given up. .I will be excited if we ever get to that game playing stage of life again. We can play a mean game of balderdash or scattegories!! And it gets pretty crazy!
And while these two love nothing more than for all their kids to be in one place at the same time. .
This is how they looked when everyone went home!!
No. .Seriously!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gift Baskets Deluxe

Over the last few years, it has become a custom for me to do some gift baskets to give as Christmas gifts.  As you have probably noticed, I really enjoy making lots of Christmas treats.  When I first started, everything was packaged pretty plainly. As I have evolved, I have changed the little things. .which ultimately amounts to a beautiful looking basket. 
The first thing I do is create little labels on my computer. .printed off on cardstock and cut with fancy scissors. I like to use different fonts, sizes, print colors, clip art and stickers.  They can be as plain or as elaborate as you have time for. I then save my labels and copy and repaste as necessary the next year. .which saves me time!
I'm always looking for something to put the goodies in. This year at Target I found the plain tin pails for $2.50 in the dollar bins.  I also tend to recycle tins that I recieve or that we get at work.  Hobby Lobby and Walmart usually have tins very reasonably priced too. .anything goes! I also use little ziplock bags sold in the hobby stores next to the jewelry beads used to store jewelry pieces. I have found other small cellophane bags and cones on-line and in cake stores.  I bought several kinds about 5 years ago. .and they last for nearly forever!! These come in lots of sizes. .good for holding larger dip mixes, homemade candies, and other sweets.
Check out the after holiday sales for ribbons, tissue paper, and paper shreds. .or anything else festive to put in the bottom of the baskets. .like holiday hankies or Christmas fabrics.
I used tissue paper to fill a larger area and then my paper shreds went a little farther.
After that is done. .you just arrange the goodies into the baskets as you wish.  Little sacks of colored holiday candies or candy canes add a little extra color and are good fillers too.
I stole my friend Becky's idea for cutting holiday paper to go on top of the lid of a canning jar to dress things up. The ring lid holds it in place nicely!!
I usually do snack mixes and homemade candies in the baskets.
This year I made some hot tea mix and added it to a muffin mix.  My homemade pear jams went right along with the theme. Other baskets included salsa, pomegranate jalepeno jelly, jams, dip mixes, and sweets.
Enclose a little gift card. .and there you have it.
Perfect for teachers, church volunteers, bus drivers, neighbors and friends.
'Cause, let's face it. .who DOESN'T like to eat??
Be sure to check out those post-holiday sales to snatch up some things that you can use next year to try out some of your own baskets!! 3 more days until Christmas!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Memories

Christmas is definitely my favorite holiday. .but not just Christmas day. .the whole season.  I love the decorating, the goodies, the shopping, the church services, and the preparation.  The last few weeks have found me doing a little reminiscing in my mind about Christmas seasons past. 
I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite Christmas memories.
And I'd love to hear everyone else's favorite memories too!
I think that the first Christmas that I really remember was the one when I was in first grade.  My youngest brother was born on the 21st. .and to this DAY, I remember vividly my big, tall dad walking into my primary school all dressed in his cow-feedin' coveralls. We were all lined up getting ready to go to lunch and so EVERYONE was there. He announced to me that I had a new baby brother. .and I wanted to crawl under a desk.  I was mortified. .and without further adue, he walked back out the door.  A few days later as we all came home with my mom and new brother, we discovered that Santa had come. .in the MIDDLE of the DAY!! I was totally amazed. .apparently to this day still.
I don't really remember any specific presents that I ever got, other than clothes I got to choose when I got to high school. But I do remember the fun that we had making peppernuts and listening to Perry Como's White Christmas album in that big huge record playing box in the living room.  My siblings and I had actions for each of the 12 days of Christmas. .and I can still see Brendan milking the cow as he squatted and danced!! My mother has NOOOO recollections of this record album. .we discovered this a few years ago when we were reminiscing. .but I can totally get how the stress of 4 young, noisy kids could make a person forget things like this. .I'm sure that we were so wild that she has amnesia out of necessity!
I also remember as a senior in high school, my best girl friend and our 2 favorite guys from our church youth group were in charge of cutting down a Christmas tree to decorate the activity hall. We piled into Tim's pickup and went out to a farm pasture and found one that was perfect.  We all thought so. When we got it back to the hall, we found it to be at least 12 feet tall (it was getting dark as we loaded the thing onto the pickup). It wouldn't stand up in the holder. .so the guys got a ladder and some baling wire and wired the sucker up to the rafters of the building. .It looked great!! We all thought so :-)
I remember Jeremy and I trying to get home to MY home in a snowstorm the first Christmas after we were married.
I remember my friend Kayla and I getting together to bake my mom's famous sugar cookie recipe, and breaking the mixer because the dough was so thick. .and how we had 6 dozen cookies spread out on my tiny kitchen table and we thought we had SOOOO many cookies!!
I remember Jeremy and I developing carpal tunnel in our wrists and breaking the electric knife we got as a wedding gift in an attempt to cut the homemade caramels I cooked up.
I remember that first Christmas with a one year old who was more excited about the papers then the present inside.
I remember each Christmas that we added a new little body around our tree!!
I remember going to church on Christmas eve, midnight masses, and taking my own kids to Christmas eve services. .always driving home in the crisp, starry darkness. .wondering about the night of Jesus' birth, gazing at the stars and trying to imagine that one bright star that led the way to that tiny little stable.
But mostly, I remember feelings of love. Love toward family. .love toward friends. .love toward people that I didn't even know.  There is something so magical to me about that Christmas spirit. .I wish I could capture it in a vessel to pull out through the rest of the year.  I know that not every one has good memories like mine. .and that for some. .Christmas is a time of complete desolation, disdain, disappointment, and dispair. .and my heart breaks for them.  I encourage you to reach out to someone this week. .and show them that Christmas spirit of love. Reach for that really grouchy co-worker. .the neighbor down the way that lives alone or has no family. .or someone that seems completely un-loveable or totally miserable in their life. .
1 John 4:9-12
God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

If you have time TODAY. .I encourage you to read the rest of the passage in 1 John 4. .I hope it inspires us all to spend the next few days looking beyond our lives "in the box" and reaching out for those in our paths that need an extra dose of LOVE. I assure you that I was convicted as I read those words on the page!
Blessings to all this final countdown to the birthday of our King!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Thumbprint Cookies

This will be the last post on some of my favorite holiday treats, although there are many, many more I'd love to share sometime!! This cookie is another very colorful one, which is one of my favorite reasons to make it. It also happens to be Jeremy's MOST favorite Christmas goody.
Once again, my trusted helper is assisting me in our cookie making session. .And doesn't she look to be taking her job so seriously!!
These cookies get rolled into little balls just like the peppermint kiss cookies. Then rolled in slightly beaten egg white and covered in either shredded coconut (my favorite) or chopped nuts. .I love using pecans in my cooking, but I have always used walnuts in this recipe, take your choice.
Bake for 5 minutes and take them out long enough to make a crater in the top of your cookie with your thumb. .or multiple fingers (cause your thumb gets pretty warm after several cookies). This crater will hold your icing when they are done, so be sure not to poke a hole through the bottom. Bake for another 5 minutes and then cool them.
Watch your helpers. .the candies can rapidly and unexplainedly make their way into little mouths instead of on the cookies. .causing them to forget that they were working.
This year I tried a different icing from a similar cookie recipe. I really liked it better than my
normal powder sugar glaze.
Combine 1/4 cup butter/margarine with
1 cup sifted powdered sugar and mix until blended. Add 1-2 tsp milk until thin enough to pipe into the hole, making a little star design. We placed the candy on top of the star of icing and the results were really pretty. In the past, when using the thinner confectioner sugar glaze, I drizzled lines of frosting across the cookie and candy, which made it look a little fancier (with fewer dishes to wash and less hassle. .if that suits you better)!
I've included the recipe for anyone that needs to try them out!

Thumbprint Cookies
1 cup butter or margarine
½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
½ tsp salt
chopped nuts and coconut
Peanut M & Ms

Cream butter and sugar. Stir in egg yolk and vanilla extract. Stir in flour and salt to creamed mixture and mix till well blended. Using about 1 tsp of dough, roll into 1 inch balls. Dip each ball into slightly beaten egg white. Roll in chopped nuts or shredded coconut. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and quickly press thumb gently on top of each cookie. Return to oven and bake 5 minutes more. Cool on rack. Fill each thumbprint with icing (mix confectioners sugar with vanilla and milk to make a glaze). Top with M & M Yields: about 2 dozen. .I normally double the recipe. .they freeze well, though if frozen with the candy on them. .the colors change subtly. .but not enough to bother me or our cookie plates. .and it's easier to pull them out of the freezer in the quantity you need to add to the plate without having to stop to decorate them up.
We're havin' a little Christmas this weekend with my family (provided we missed the epidemic of stomach flu in the area. .I'm typing this on Wednesday) and are looking forward to the Christmas countdown next week! Wishin' you all yummy cookies, great sales, a never ending scotch tape roll, and many twinkling thoughts as Christmas continues to march closer!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Peppermint Chocolate Candy

The amount of different goodies that we make at our house for the holidays may seem a little obscene to some. . .Generally 4-5 kinds of cookies, toffee, peanut brittle (I've made 4 batches of that so far this season), caramels (a new treat here this year), several kinds of chocolate. .not to mention numerous kinds of dip mixes and snack/nut combinations.  Most of these get stored away to use on cookie plates and in goody packages for teachers, Sunday School and youth group leaders, co workers, family, and friends.  People that show up at my house around the holiday baking episodes are very likely to find themselves headed out the door with a plate of yummies!
A few years ago I saw a picture in a catalog of some peppermint bark that they were selling for a very steep price. .and as I am prone to doing. .I raised an eyebrow and said "Hey, I can do that!!"
Here's what we came up with!!
These huge chocolate bars were found at Sams club.  The double chocolate is actually a darker chocolate. I have never used it before, because it is not readily apparent that it isn't milk chocolate. You can use chips. .but sometimes the chocolate wouldn't stay melded together well (meanin', when I broke it apart. .sometimes the layers would pop apart too!) These chocolate bars worked much better than using chips!! Just sayin'!
Melt the dark chocolate. I use the microwave and heat for 45 seconds and stir, repeating that process until smooth. This is where you would add the peppermint extract. .but you wouldn't have to, if that isn't your thing. Pour chocolate onto a baking sheet covered in foil or parchment paper. Using a spatula, I drag the chocolate out into a rectangle about 12 inches by 8 inches. Let set up until hardened.
Follow the same melting steps with the white chocolate. If you cut the bar up into smaller pieces, it tends to melt better and faster.
Pour the white chocolate right over the dark chocolate, again using spatula to scoot it to the edges.
Go ahead. .Lick your fingers!
Put the candy canes into a small chopper and chop. If you chop too long, you get peppermint powder. .and it is pink. .not red.  You can also put the canes into a baggie and beat them with a mallet or your rolling pin. I still haven't come up with a good, fast way to crunch up the canes into small, lovely pieces.
I get. .
A nice combination of pink powder
and coarser chunks of cane. .When eating this chocolate, I prefer the finer pieces in my mouth, so I tolerate the pink color.
Pour those pieces over the top of the melted white chocolate and lightly push them down using a piece of foil or even your hand. This helps the candies to stay in the chocolate after you break it into pieces and package them.
MMMMM. . .Delish!!
These are so cute packaged in a small clear bag with a holiday ribbon tied on!
The best thing about this chocolate???
Total work time is less than 30 minutes!
Does it get any better than that?
(other than it's awesome flavor??)

                                      Holiday Peppermint Chocolate Candy
                                                16 oz dark chocolate (bittersweet) bar
                                                      16 oz white chocolate bar
                                               ½ tsp peppermint extract, divided
                                           4 oz (8) peppermint candy canes, smashed
Line sheet cake pan with foil. Melt dark chocolate in microwave until smooth. Stir in ¼ tsp extract. Spread onto a sheet cake pan covered with foil into a thin layer. Cool till set. Melt white chocolate and stir in ¼ tsp extract. Spread over dark chocolate layer. Sprinkle with candy canes and top with another piece of foil pressing gently down on candy. Let set completely before removing foil (an hour or so.) Break into pieces. Very pretty!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Candy Cane Blossoms

I LOOOOOVVVEE to cook. .and bake. .and try new recipes. .and make things with my hands that make people sing in their tummies.  The past 2 weeks have been filled with lots of those things. I will be sharing several recipes with you all this week. Hope you have some time next weekend to try them out. .they are our tried and true, treasured family favorites. .and I promise, they WILL be worth it!!
Yesterday, Cami and I fixed these yummy treats we found a few years ago to try at the cookie exchange. They've been a favorite ever since.
First, find the peppermint candy kisses made by our friend Hershey!! 
Unwrap about 48 for the recipe. .and a few extra to snack on while you work.  I don't typically like Hershey kisses. .but these. .ARE GREAT!! And beautiful too!
Mix up the dough and make little balls. .about 1 inch in diameter. Ours are a little bigger than that. .and out of a double recipe. .we were like 2 1/2 dozen short. .oops!!  It must have been the great helper. .causing me to forget how to add.  Anyway. .roll 'em in any kind of holiday sprinkle you have. .we used red and green sugars, and some little holiday jimmies.
It really doesn't matter if they are balls. .or if you squish 'em into little mishapen logs as you pinch them together instead of rolling them neatly in the sugar. .they all eat the same. .ugly or otherwise!!
And if your hands start to look like this. .add a little extra flour. .
OR. . .
Just lick 'em when no one is lookin'!!
(I promise, if anyone gets gifted these cookies. .I did make her wash again:-)
Bake 'em up.
When you take them out, work quickly and top each with a candy cane kiss, pushing down slightly.
The kisses will melt down, and some melt into little tiny puddles of white chocolate bliss. .It's all good.
And there you have. .one of our favorite holiday cookies. They are just gorgeous on a gift plate surrounded by chocolates and other little fancy cookies!!
Cooking all these wonderful treats for your family and friends is a tough job. .
But SOMEONE has to do it!! And I'm never at a loss for a volunteer or two!
Have a great week. .Hope you enjoy those cookies!

Candy Cane Blossoms
48 Mint candy cane kisses
½ cup butter, or margarine
1cup white sugar
1 egg
1 ½ tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2 Tbsp milk
Red or green sugars
Beat butter, sugar, egg and vanilla in bowl. Stir together dry ingredients and add to butter alternating with milk. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in colored sugars and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cookies are set. Remove from oven and cool for 2-3 minutes. Press a candy into center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to rack and cool completely. Yield: about 4 doz.