Month: November 2010 (page 1 of 3)

Stained Glass Cookies

Oh, stained glass window cookies. They’re the prettiest cookies on the plate. They’re so pretty, you can use them as ornaments. And, they’re easy to make. But! They’re hard to make pretty.

Sheet after sheet and mistake after mistake, we learned just how hard.

Too thin. Too thick. Too crispy. Too soft. Where’d the window go? What shape is this one supposed to be?

Still, we had fun. And you can, too. Who knows? Maybe you can even make them pretty.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Refrigerated cookie dough
  • Flour
  • Rolling pin
  • Hard candies (like Lifesavers or Jolly Ranchers)
  • Sandwich bags
  • Parchment paper
  • Cookie sheets
  • Assorted cookie cutters/Knife

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Remove the wrappers from the candies and sort them by color into sandwich bags.
  3. Stained Glass Cookies 1

  4. Crush the candies with a rolling pin.
  5. Stained Glass Cookies 2

  6. Roll out the refrigerated dough on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thickness. (You can make your own dough or use store-bought to save time, like we did.)
  7. Stained Glass Cookies 3

  8. Use cookies cutters or a knife to cut the dough into shapes.
  9. Transfer the shapes onto parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
  10. Use a smaller cookie cutter or a knife to cut shapes into the center of the cookies.
  11. Stained Glass Cookies 4

  12. If the cookies will be used as ornaments, poke a hole in the top of each cookie with a straw or a toothpick.
  13. Stained Glass Cookies 5

  14. Sprinkle crushed candy into the hollowed parts of the cookies. Fill them all the way to the edges.
  15. Stained Glass Cookies 6

  16. Bake approximately 8 minutes.
  17. Place baking sheets on a wire rack to cool at least 10 minutes.
  18. Eat them, hang them, or store them in an airtight container for later.
  19. Stained Glass Cookies 7

A few tips:

  • Don’t want to use cookie cutters? Roll your dough into strips about 1/4 inch thick and use them to make outlines on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Fill with candy and bake per the directions above.
  • Keep your cookies thin. If you make them too thick, your stained glass window will nearly disappear when the dough puffs up as it bakes.
  • It’s easy to overbake these cookies, so check them often. They should just be starting to brown when you remove them from the oven.
  • Be sure to let the cookies cool completely before removing them from the sheet, otherwise the candy will separate from the dough.

Originally written for and posted on the now-defunct My OH! Momma website.

Someone’s Got a Case of the Mondays

On Thanksgiving evening, Dave killed my turkey buzz with the declaration that he’d be returning to a regimen of healthy eating and exercise on Sunday. I was feeling full and a little reckless, so I agreed to join him and ate another piece of pumpkin cheesecake.

Sunday morning, I found him in the kitchen measuring out some cereal. I said “Good morning,” and he invited me to go for a run with him.

Turns out, he was serious. And since I’m a game player, I held up my end of the bargain. I weighed in on the Wii Fit and let it call me obese. I went along for a run. (A mile and a half, yo!) I even pulled out a new notebook and wrote down my calories. I told myself I’d be back in my favorite jeans by New Year’s.

That was day 1.

Day 2 – that’s today – is a bunch of crap. I hate diets. And my legs are sore. When Dave gets home, I’m going to punch him. Hard. And a lot.

Also, a tip: it doesn’t matter if you only eat 1500 calories a day, if that 1500 calories came from Muddy Buddies and sugar cookie dough, you’re not going to feel very well. Even if you go running.

My Aspiring Songwriter

The only thing I do more than change diapers is breathe. (And the two don’t necessarily go so well together). Julia made up a song about it.

My heart is full. And soon, my belly will be, too.

The empty places
at our Thanksgiving table
look a little sad.

I’m done shedding tears.
I have my girls and that means
I have everything.

My girls on Thanksgiving 2010 (1)

My girls on Thanksgiving 2010 (2)

My girls on Thanksgiving 2010 (3)

My girls on Thanksgiving 2010 (4)

Of Cakes and Family Photos

Yesterday was my father’s birthday. We decided to celebrate with cake because meatloaf didn’t seem very festive. Normally, I would make one. Because I like to make cakes. A lot. But I just didn’t get it done. (Sorry, Dad!) Instead, we decided to pick one up at the store.

Lucy was in charge of choosing the cake. After I talked her out of the $30 sheet cake featuring a John Deere tractor and the Dora the Explorer fake-cake cupcake concotion, she made her selection. Since Phoebe’s car seat was already taking up the official kid seat part of the cart, I had to put the cake next to Lucy in the big basket part. I explained that she must be very careful and look out for the cake. “We don’t want to squish it,” I said. She heeded my words and sat next to the cake patting the plastic top gently as she informed passers-by that it was her Grandpa’s birthday and that was his “wonderful, wonderful cake.”

We made it out of the store without incident. Ha ha! We did it! I thought and I broke into song as I wheeled us up to the car. I was so busy celebrating our success that I didn’t notice Lucy starting to stand as I made a sharp right to pull up along the passenger side. I was reaching for the car door when I heard a crunch and a gasp. My body stiffened and I turned to Lucy. Her wide eyes met mine for a second. I looked down to the cake and back to her face. Her shocked expression crumbled into tears.

“Gwandpa’s cake is bwooookeeeennnnn!” She covered her head and sobbed. I reached down and popped the dented plastic back to it’s regular shape. The damage to the cake was minimal, but Lucy’s heart was clearly broken.

“Look, honey. It’s not that bad. Look. You can hardly notice.”

She looked down at the cake and cried even harder.

“Lucy, Grandpa won’t care. Come on, honey. I’m not mad. Grandpa won’t be mad.”

I tried to hug her and pat her shoulders, but she was fraught with grief. So, I said what I had to say.

“Grandpa will probably like that piece best! It’s like you decorated it with your butt.”

She giggled. “Butt” works every time. It’s like a magic word.

We made our way home and later that night, we had Grandpa’s cake, butt dent and all.

Happy Birthday Grandpa

I thought it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get a picture of my dad “surrounded by women” as he explains it to waitresses when we all go out to eat together. (He also likes to say, “I won’t smoke, but I may smolder,” when they ask for our seat preference. And he determines their tip by holding up his “Presidential flashcards” and asking them which one they like best.)

Here’s the best shot. I think.

Our family on Grandpa's Birthday 2

You can see the rest here.

Me and My Bad Ideas

I need a new blog header. I love the current one as much as I love doughnuts. But it’s out of date. I mean, look up there and know that now Lucy is big enough to come up with words like, “princessable” and Julia doesn’t even have some of the same teeth. Not to mention Phoebe, which is exactly what that header does: not mention Phoebe. It breaks my heart to let it go, but it’s no longer an accurate representation of my life or this blog.

Maybe we should observe a moment of silence.

This week, I intend to create a new header. I may even add a tagline. (I was thinking of “…full of bad ideas.” But I don’t know. Maybe that’s just a bad idea.)

If my family will make themselves available for a photo session, I have a few ideas I’d like to try, but that doesn’t mean I’m not open to yours if you’ve got any. So, what do you think? KISS make-up? Mad scientist mom with heads on platters? Our version of Abbey Road? Give me what you’ve got. Because my ideas? You know, what I said earlier about them.

*Edited to add:
Okay. I’ve got a new banner up. Let’s live with it a while and see how it goes. If you miss the old one, you can see it here.

**Edited, once again, to add:
Trying another new banner. You can see the first new one here. Which do you like better?

***Edited one more time to tell you:
I put the old new banner back up. Here was the new new one if you wanted to see it. I may not be done switching things around, yet.

The Sound of Hurry

Julia has been making it a habit to get up various times through the night and check in with me. Last night went a little like this:

11:46 p.m. – Julia comes downstairs to remind me to turn off the lights before I go to bed. (You know, to avoid a fire.)

12:26 a.m. – Julia comes downstairs to tell me a story about a chocolate fountain. She wants to live in one.

1:47 a.m. – Julia wakes me up to ask me if she can shut the door to her room.

2:27 a.m. – Julia wakes me up to tell me her room is too hot.

3:49 a.m. – Julia’s room is too cold.

4:46 a.m. – Too hot again!

5:11 a.m. – Julia comes in to te- you know, at this point, I don’t really even care what she wants, if that kid wakes me up one more time before my alarm goes off, I’m going to duct tape her to the bed.

Despite her incessant wakefulness, Julia is always fast asleep and difficult to rouse when it’s actually time to be awake. This makes us run late, which means if one little thing goes awry during our morning routine, it all unravels into chaos.

Now, I’m not trying to brag, but I’m pretty good at keeping us on task. I’ve learned I have to tell Julia to brush her teeth at least seven times before she actually does it. I know Lucy is going to find a way to get sticky before we have to head out the door, so I equip my tool belt with a washcloth and an extra shirt. I realize Phoebe will only stay in her bassinet for 3 1/2 minutes before she freaks out, so I’ve learned to jam all the things I need two hands to do into that timeframe. Now and then, I’ll get tripped up by a marker face tattoo or a poopy explosion, but for the most part, we are a well-oiled machine – a fast machine that runs to the beat of “Henry the Eighth, I Am” by Herman’s Hermits.

That’s actually what we listen to in the van as I put the pedal to the metal and it clamors down the road. Julia and Lucy shake their heads back and forth in a sort of reverse headbang in between shouts of, “Henery!!” And when I remember Julia’s first grade year, it will be in the form of a stop-motion video set to that song.

A Footprint On My Heart

Julia absolutely loves the stars. She’s gotten quite good at identifying constellations thanks to a glow-in-the-dark night sky book, one of the most thoughtful gifts she’s ever received. The funny thing? The woman who gave it had never even met her face to face.

I met Judy two years ago at the walking place. She was a great-grandmother – her children were my age – but she had the vibrance of a teenager. She had joined me for “just a few laps” around the track during the Senior Citizen Walk & Talk to admire Lucy. Next thing I knew, we were blazing up the track with our hot air every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning.

Judy and I talked about everything. Everything. She told me her stories and I told her mine. We made each other laugh. I so enjoyed her company and I felt she understood something about me. I found myself confiding in her the kind of things I’d never said out loud before, things I’ve never told another soul. During the time we spent together, she came to know my daughters better than people who saw them every day. It’s amazing how much you can share in 8 miles each week.

I once read an article called 7 Friends Every Woman Needs, one of which is the friend who’s been there. Judy was my friend who’s been there. We had so much in common. To call this woman a kindred spirit would be an understatement. We were so much alike, it wouldn’t have taken much to convince me that “Judy” was a time traveler and I was actually walking around with Future Leslie.

When Julia finished preschool, I could no longer justify the expense of going to the walking place. Judy didn’t come to walk the last day I was there. I didn’t know her address or phone number. Hell, I wasn’t even sure about her last name. So, I haven’t seen Judy since. But I think of her. And I feel thankful for the incredible gift she gave me every time Julia grabs that book and gazes up at the sky.
——————-
Come watch Julia’s cooking video and leave a comment for a chance to win $100!

Thanksgiving Traditions (and a chance to win $100)

This is a compensated review by BlogHer and Pop-Tarts.

Some families make it a tradition to watch the Thanksgiving Day parades. Others watch football or get a game going in the backyard. My family makes videos. Not just regular videos. Silly videos. We’ve elevated the personal home movie to a level of hilarity – well, we think they’re hilarious – that rivals anything we could watch on television.

It always begins innocently.

“We should make Amy a birthday video. We’re all here…we haven’t seen her for a while. It’d be better than a card.”

“Yeah. Hey, wouldn’t it be fun to make it a rap video?”

And that’s how it starts.

One year, we were inspired by Julia’s extreme sock monkey play and spent nearly the entire holiday making a “sockumentary” about my sock monkey-making hobby (with Jules starring as my product development department).

So, our plan for this post was to show you how to make the baked apple recipe we cooked up last week. Then Julia suggested that we make it a cooking show (starring her, of course). A few wouldn’t-it-be-funny-ifs later, we made this.

What are you family’s Thanksgiving traditions? Tell me in the comments and you’ll be entered to win a $100 Visa giftcard from BlogHer!

If you’d like to earn additional entries, you can tweet (@mymommysplace) about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment and/or blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment. Also, go and comment on last week’s Thanksgiving Pop-Tarts post (if you haven’t already) where your comments will earn you another entry for this giftcard.

The giveaway runs until 11/25/10.

Some Rules:

* No duplicate comments.
* This giveaway is open to U.S. residents age 18 or over.
* Winners will be selected via random draw, and will notified by e-mail.
* You have 48 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

You can find the official rules here.

Be sure to check out BlogHer’s round-up page for more videos and 9 more chances to win!

Tehnical Difficulties

This morning, My Mommy’s Place was no place. My blog was just gone. There was no here here. I freaked out, of course, and declared that the world was ending. Then, I ate a handful of cookies, shotgunned a Diet Coke and embarked on the painstaking enterprise of figuring out how to fix it, like I always do.

This stuff has happened before. So far, I’ve been able to figure out what do to do fix things, but I don’t know WHY what I do fixes things. That makes me very dangerous. You know those moments in movies when there’s a bomb about to go off and they’re not sure whether to cut the white or the blue wire to stop it, so they close their eyes, hope for the best and CUT? They never blow up – that’s just how movies go – but damn, it’s a tense situation. That’s what fixing my blog feels like. Except there’s a very real chance that I’m going to blow it up. It’s only a matter of time, really. I’m just thankful it wasn’t today.

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