Christmas Eve in the kitchen

Happy Christmas Eve!  If you are still in the kitchen whipping up all your favorite family traditional goodies, you may try one of these recipes.  I spent my morning making Jam Thumbprint Cookies and Pretzel Hugs.  These are two of our family traditional baked goodies.

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Jam Thumbprint Cookies:

2/3cup butter/margarine (I like to use slightly softened unsalted butter)

1/2 cup sugar

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 slightly beaten egg whites

1 cup finely chopped walnuts if desired

1/3 cup of strawberry preserves

1. Grease a cookie sheet; set aside.  In a large mixing bowl beat butter or margarine with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, for 30 seconds.  Add the sugar and beat till combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.  Beat in eggs yolk and vanilla till combined.  Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer.  Stir in remaining flour.  Cover and chill dough for about an hour or till easy to handle.

2.  Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll balls in egg whites, then in walnuts.  This recipe can be done without the walnuts.  Place 1 inch apart on the cookie sheet.  Press your thumb into the center of each ball.  This is a good time to get the kids involved and allow them to press their thumbs into the center of the ball.  Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit or till edges are lightly browned.  Transfer cookies to wire rack and let cool. Once cool fill centers with jam.

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Pretzel Hugs:

Simply place pretzels on a lined cookie sheet (lined with wax paper.) Place a piece of chocolate on pretzel.  I like the Bliss white chocolate.  Place in oven on 350 degrees for 10 to 20 seconds.  Just long enough for the chocolate to glisten.  This is the start of the chocolate softening.  Take out of the oven and place a second pretzel on top of soft chocolate and push down.  Let cool and enjoy!

Share your family favorite Christmas recipe!

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Fingerprint Christmas Ornament

One of our family traditions is making and giving Christmas ornaments to our family.  It is such a nice way to capture the essence of the year.  My daughter loves painting the inside of the clear balls and making pretty swirls.  We have made this ornament for about 8 years now.  After realizing that our family had enough to fill a whole tree, we decided to try something new.

This year we made fingerprint Christmas ornaments.  They are so much fun and easy for children of all ages.

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What you will need:

self hardening clay- We used Crayola (takes a few days to harden at room temperature.)

straw to make hole

yarn

letter stamps

rolling pin

wax paper

cookie cutter (shape of your choice)

black crayon

glitter spray

silver sharpie

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Roll out a ball of clay with the rolling pin on wax paper.

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Using a cookie cutter press down on clay and cut excess off around the cookie cutter.  Remove cookie cutter.  Using the end of a straw make a hole for the ribbon/yarn for hanging purposes.

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Have your child press their thumbprint on the clay.

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Using a letter stamp press the initials of your child’s name on the ornament above the fingerprint.

Lay out the ornaments on wax paper to dry.  This will take between three and five days.  Once the clay hardens  you take a black crayon and lightly color over the thumbprint.  This makes it easier to see the lines in the fingerprint.  Spray the ornament with silver glitter spray.  Let topside dry; flip and spray underside with glitter spray.  Write the year with silver sharpie on backside of ornament.  Thread ribbon or yarn through hole for hanging.  And voila’!  You have yourself a timeless piece that you can hang on your tree year after year.

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A Thanksgiving Tradition

This year marks the 6th year for the Annual Cousin Parade.  Every year the young cousins in our family transform shoe boxes into parade floats.  The Cousins Parade is one of our Thanksgiving Family Traditions and one of my favorite activities on Thanksgiving Day.  Here is a sneak peek of the floats my kiddos made this year.

A beautiful swan

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Superhero’s

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Frosty the Snowman

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UniKitty

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Tips for no mess easy clean up pumpkin carving

If you haven’t already carved your Halloween pumpkin this tip will be a time saver!  I tried this lil trick this evenin’ when my chicklins and I carved our Halloween pumpkins.  It is so super easy that you will wonder why you never thought of it!  Normally we line our table with newspaper and clean out the guts of the pumpkin while making this huge mess that we are stuck cleaning up afterwards.  This year I thought why not do the guttin and carvin over a trash bag?!  So I spread open two large (yard rubbish size) trash bags on the table leavin a rounded area in the middle of the bag, in which to set each pumpkin in.  This acted as our workin area.  We cut the top off of the pumpkin and gutted the pumpkin right inside the trash bag.

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When we were done carving out the pumpkin, we closed up the bag and there was nothing left to clean up. This was the fastest Pumpkin guttin clean up ever known to man!  And the kids enjoyed the extra time to be ghoulishly cute and to enjoy their Jack O’ Lanterns!

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