This recipe is the easiest and it will fill your whole house with the most wonderful smell of the holidays. For me this smells like Christmas because my Nana always had some going on the stove all around the Christmas season. When I make this and lean over the hot pot to fill my cup up I take a deep breath and it feels like Nana’s house that she could walk into the room any minute. I can close my eyes for a second and long for her to be with me. Meanwhile my son is tugging on my leg wanting to try a sip and I say a quick prayer that I can pass this simple Christmas tradition down to him and make it a smell full of memories for him as well.
6 cups Apple Cider
6 Cups Cranberry Juice Cocktail
5 sticks Cinnamon
1 teaspoon of Whole All Spice
1 teaspoon Whole Cloves
Slice one Orange, peeling and all and simmer for 10 minutes
Let’s just start by saying I saw a thousand perfectly decorated flag cookies in my pinterest search for red white and blue cookies for the 4th of July and in my pre-two year old days…yes maybe, but nobody has time for that with a two year old so I figured I would just wing it and go with a loose version of the flag cookies I saw… and… I love it! It turned out perfectly messy and my two year old was able to help with the entire process from baking them to decorating them. This is a simple butter cookie recipe and while I would usually go with a thicker cookie, this one is the easiest recipe I have with minimal ingredients needed so the kiddo could help and we could get it done fast. These are not gourmet, these are everyday! It’s supposed to be easy quick and fun for the kiddo so while I know it could be more luxurious that’s not what I was after. We had fun and it was our cooking adventure for the day and we moved on in life to coloring because two year old attention span. I have included the Butter Cookie Recipe in case you want to give it a go. The icing is store bought and they actually turned out delicious and far exceeded my expectations. If you try them let me know.
**MOM Tip** Please note I put the exact recipe below but we really just throw everything in a bowl at once (even the unbeat egg) except flour and mix it up till fluffy and then add flour in a bit at a time and it turns out fine every time. What can I say we are rule breakers and usually short on time.
BUTTER COOKIE RECIPE:
Preheat Oven to 350 and cook time 10-12 minutes
• 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature (salted will work if that’s all you have, I have done it but I’m a rule breaker)
• 3/4 cup of sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon salt (if you have to use salted butter use a little less salt here)
• 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
• 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
• 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1. Beat the butter and sugar in until creamy ** I recommend a mixer**
2. Mix the salt, vanilla and egg yolk slowly into butter and sugar mixture
3. Add flour and mix just enough to incorporate
4. Put in refrigerator for aprox an hour ** you can skip this step if your in a hurry but they might be a bit sticky so I suggest dusting a surface with flour and pressing out or rolling out also grease your baking sheet
5. If you opted for the one hour in the fridge take out dough, roll between parchment paper and with floured cookie cutters cut out as many as you want to bake. I have also just plopped them out on a greased cookie sheet in balls and pressed them down with the bottom of a cup
6. Bake 10 to 12 minutes at 350 or until golden around the edges
Thanks a lot mom for just telling me now on my almost 42 birthday about curing the roux. Basically let’s break this down. Your going to make a roux or your going to buy a roux (lawd help your soul) and then your going to add your seasoning mix (onions, celery, bell peppers) to boiling water or add water and heat till it boils. Now the only simple thing you have to do is keep it boiling till the foam is gone. It’s called curing your roux. It basically boils off the flour if you listen to what my great grandmother told my mom who just got around to telling me. You just wait to add your meat till it’s gone. That’s it folks. I hate long post that talk for 12 days to tell you what you need to know. Make that gumbo y’all, you can do it!!
Me in college: the days are calm but the nights are wild
Me as a mom: the days are wild but the nights are calm
I love my life in all its stages but I love this stage the most as a mom even if I set the world on fire in my youth what is it but a flame that will die or fade …oh but if it has an ember passed on! A piece of me left on the earth to do Gods Will, what a true and ordained blessing that will be. If it can be accomplished it is truly life eternal, it is the fountain of youth, it is love and legacy and blood of my blood in Jesus everlasting. What bigger gift could be given? Oh how I understand the divine love of our God for humanity when I look at my son. When his precious smile partitions my heart in any request how it’s pricked also so deeply by the love of God for his Son, for humanity, an unworthy soul screams out it’s “thank you” over the innocent smile of a child. Oh Love the simplest of things, the hardest of things what a puzzle you are. Oh divine what a snare you laid for your foe so simple and so complex. Unless they come with the heart of a child, how easy and how hard?
I’m tired, I’m really, really tired. I’m in upper management at a major shipping company and it’s Christmas. By the end of the day I’m exhausted. I get home and all the way home I think about getting in bed and just going to sleep for the night as soon as I hit the door. I’m really tired but I’m a mom and that’s not really an option. So, as soon as I hit the door there are immediate concerns that need to be addressed: There are cardboard castles that need to be built and imaginations that need to be watered and books to be read and food that needs to be fed to growing little bodies. So that nap, yep, it just keeps getting pushed back and by the time its time to put this little growing child of mine to bed I always think I’m ready and I’ll have some “me” time and then fall asleep or just fall asleep and make that my “me” time. But something weird always happens when I’m rocking him in my arms to sleep. It’s our little quiet time of the day. This full of energy, non-stop boy is still for a minute in my arms and we smile at each other and I rub his head and hair and when he’s finally drifting off my to sleep soul never screams YES, (like an hour ago I thought it would) it always whispers, “just a few more minutes.” This bitter sweet flood comes over me where I want a little more time. I hope he opens his eyes just one more time and smiles before I have to lay him down or pass out on top of him from exhaustion. Sometimes I’m so tired my eyes are rolling and sinking right along with his but, there is always that feeling. So many times in these quiet moments I think of my Nana and I hope its because she’s somehow surrounding us. Sometimes I think of the veins at the back of her legs and sometimes I think of her hands or her clavicle bones at the base of her neck. Sometimes I just try to remember her smell and her hugs and the type of hair spray she used but shes always in these sweetest stillest moments lately. Maybe I’m sleep deprived and half sick and delirious but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I would however trade it for a few more less tired moments exactly like these but that’s about it. Maybe its been so much like this the last two months because she always made Christmas time special and she’s in my mind always this time of year. I don’t know but for some reason it seems to make a special moment of the day even a little more special with thoughts of her after my son is pure passed out in my arms and I have to make myself lay him down when I really want to just sit in that chair and cuddle him all night. (run on sentence, I know, but lots of run on feelings in that sentence.) I don’t want to forget these moments. I’m tired so I might not remember my purse or keys in the morning but I don’t want to forget this. Moms all over the world are tired and lots are probably a lot more tired than me, so I count my blessings. I know no matter how tired we are its clinging to little moments that get us through. Moment present or past that make us better, that make us keep pushing. Clinging to moments of quiet or moments from years ago that are giving power to our everyday, the metaphorical coffee for tired moms everywhere, little moments that renew and refresh a tired body and spirit.
Merry Christmas just in case I don’t get back before then.
I have several church cook books from growing up – if you don’t know what I’m talking about your probably not from the south. That’s ok darlin, but your missing out on the best of life if you don’t have a few because they have everyone’s grandmas best recipes out of some church and they are all delicious comfort food kinda stuff. I was flipping through a few for a soup recipes and most of them have neat quirky little bits of advice or stories. I’m usually knee deep in cooking by the time I pull one out so I never took the time to notice before but her are some awesome tips I found today when scrolling through a few of these cook books:
Happy 1st Heavenly Birthday to my Nana. I turn 40 tomorrow and today the only thing this grown woman wants for her Birthday is to be able to put her head in her Nana’s lap. I guess when I was younger I thought heaven would be quite a boring place and then you get old and all the best people are there. Its where half your heart is. Today all I want is a glimpse of heaven with her there. I’m not ready to go but I’m a lot closer to understanding how far from a boring place it could be. Happy Birthday Nana. I hope today was your best Birthday Ever.
** This is written like my mind thinks. It’s not always perfect punctuation.**
I’m driving home form Walmart and my kids tired and cranky and has generally not been happy the entire time we were at Walmart. I missed a call as I was trying to force an unhappy toddler and all my groceries into my vehicle and a Topo Chico bottle rolled off the front seat and broke into a million pieces on the ground passenger side of my truck. Ughhhh I’m just ready to be home. My kids strapped in and I call my cousin back ==Backstory == M.’s B-day is next weekend and she’s coming and I’m excited because my kids turning one and I live away from family and I cherish every moment I get to spend with them, plus I really love my cousin and we have a blast together. So I call her back. Its hectic on the phone with her, it always is on her end because she lives around family, her kids are busy, everything is always moving and tonight is my other cousins Birthday, her sister. She’s telling me about the dinner they are going to and my heart is just longing to be there and then really quickly like she said she just cant come this weekend and she’s sorry – her sons in band competition, … of course she needs to be there. I’m totally like “its ok.” I’m thinking in my mind its OK, its totally ok but I literally feel every emotion of the past year slide all over me. I’m saying…I’m so ok with this. Of course its too far to expect her to come and I’m thinking …oh my gosh I gotta get off this phone I’m fixing to loose it. “ok goodbye” and. I. loose. it. Loose it completely. I start crying and feeling sorry for myself big time and I know its selfish and I really don’t care. My feelings are hurt and its not logical and I don’t care. I am talking my self through this thing out loud and I start bawling. Its not fair, I hate living away from family … I’m robbing my son of family experiences, his party is ruined, he’s going to grow up never really knowing his family and I’m really letting myself go on a pitty party at this point … its not fair to my son, its his first Birthday and no one is going to be there – I don’t have any friends with kids … I don’t have any friends at all, because I go to work at 4am and come home at 2pm and my husband goes straight to work and I take care of my son, cook, clean and then go to bed – no time to make friends. I’m really going off on this thing and I’m crying really hard at this point and ugly crying and I start making that crying noise when you can’t breath. Its awful and it’s a spectacle and I don’t care. I am having this moment and my life sucks and right now I’m the worst mom and wife and daughter and employee and all the sudden I here a belly laugh from my almost 1 year old in the back seat. Oh hello baby in the back seat, I remember you. He’s looking at me in the little back facing car mirror and he can see me in my rear view mirror and apparently he thinks these noises I’m making to catch my breath between sobs is me laughing. My twisted up face with mascara smeared from my lip to my hairline is apparently hilarious. He is belly laughing so big I see little tears running down his face and all six of his teeth. I feel like this gives me license to no longer hold it in and I really let go and start sobbing (as if I had really been holding back before or something). I mean my chest is heaving I can’t hardly see where I’m driving, the neck of my shirt is literally getting wet from tears running down my face and he is laughing even harder. The harder I cry the more he laughs and now he can’t hardly catch his breath either and we are quite a pair. I drive around the block to calm myself down and start talking to him and he’s got his giggle box turned on and he’s sill laughing but not quiet as hard and I’m still crying but not quite as hard. Hes throwing his legs up over his head and and laughing, at one point he puts his whole foot in his mouth. My child. I pulled into the drive way and took a second before I got out. I really wanted to call the whole party off I was so heartbroken. I look at him and he’s still smiling. He doesn’t have a clue. He’s not going to know his family isn’t there. He not going to know his mommy dosen’t have any friends, he’s not going to care that the party is at a park… cause we too dang Po’ to rent a venue. He not going to know his cake is home made and his decorations are hand me downs. Hes just going to see me and his dad and be happy. This is the best time because he doesn’t know he can feel all those things, his feelings aren’t getting hurt. He just knows joy when we have joy. He just knows wonder and excitement in every turn and the most curiosity in every unfolding little thing. That little hysterical moment was for me. Because my life isn’t how I would like it, but his life is perfect as far as he knows and its my job it make sure he doesn’t know any different for as long as I possibly can. So I’m sucking it up because I’m a mom, a good mom, and who cares if I turn 40 and not one person celebrates. (my Birthday is the same week) because honestly it doesn’t matter and me being all up in my feeling won’t change one thing except the perception my little boy has one life. Right now he gets to see the world as I portray it to him and that’s a gift and one thing I will not be portraying to him is sadness. So I’m sitting here at the end of this very long day tying to list my blessings. Praying for a little guidance and a lot of Joy.
Accountability post: today I had a plan. It was a good plan. I was mentally prepared and everything was ready for me to do my workout at lunch. Then 30 min before lunch my boss called a meeting that lasted 2 hours. My plan was shot. I was down about it but decided as soon as I walked in the door at home I was going to work out. I got home. My kid was tired my husband had to leave for work his diaper was full (not my husbands obviously my kids) and he needed a bottle and a nap. Again I was determined as soon as I got him down for his nap I would go do my work out. Well.. I fell asleep with him trying to get him to sleep. Because this momma goes to work at 4am and she was tired. I woke up discouraged and knew I just had one more shot at getting a workout in before starting supper feeding him and bathing him and getting in bed. I got 15 min done before my almost 1 year old demanded my attention. Two hours later after another bottle a bath and getting him in bed I finished my workout. Today didn’t go as planned and I would usually just say I’ll try again tomorrow but I pushed through it and I feel so much better. life right now……
I drew this after the workout. My son literally sat on my head and pulled my hair and or banged me in the head with a block the majority of the workout.
Disclaimer: run on sentences and strangely placed punctuation because there is a one year old running around the house and I don’t have time to proof read – sorry in advance. This is a note for me so it talks like my brain thinks…
I used to get up every morning and make coffee, froth my creamer and have my coffee just perfect before i ever started getting ready. I don’t have an automatic coffee maker it a peculator, because I think it taste better, i don’t just use creamer i like it frothed so it mixes together just perfect. I buy my own bean I grind my own beans. These things are important to me, i love a good cup of coffee. I though, I just cant drink that stuff at work. I thought i just cant do anything until I have my coffee. I go to work at 4:30am. I don’t feel this way anymore. I have a one year old I cherish my sleep. I need that extra 20 min that i used on coffee and guess what… I found out i can get dressed without a perfectly brewed cup of coffee in my hand, I’m actually totally capable of waiting 30 min and throwing on clothes with barely any make up and speeding to work to hurry and get a cup of Kurig Starbucks brewed pod coffee – yuck. I lived. I sleep 20 more min and I don’t have to clean a coffee pot except two days a week. A lot of things in ,y life have gone this way since I became a mom. Guess what, I think its better. I was wasting so much time on so many little things I never felt caught up. I still don’t but I let stuff that are time killers slide. I use one pot to cook an entire meal because I’m too exhausted to cook a sink full of dishes. This coffee story is to remind me when i get bogged down with a ton of little details to step back take a breath and just drink some Kurig coffee. (I still hate the idea of it) Milam’s one year old birthday is coming up and I feel my self getting bogged down, i want the perfect cake, perfect party location, popcorn machine, party tray. I step back. I’m getting a sheet cake from a lady I know at work and a little small smash cake for M. It will probably be better than the 250.00 one we were looking at, when i say we I mean me, Nick never entertained the idea. I step back. I wanted to have Milam’s Birthday at the Knock Knock children’s Museum in Baton Rouge – its fabulous the parties are fabulous and its $300.00 😦 We decided its too much for a one year old’s birthday party we don’t have that many people we know local and im not even sure how many kids are coming. We are having it at the park down the road. When I tell you this is the most perfect age park int he word it is just that. Its in a quiet neighborhood and its small and its age appropriate for M. with artificial turf so his wobbly little walking and falling don is perfect there. Its going to be perfect. I step back. I have an popcorn maker from the 70’s my parents passed down to me. Im not renting a machine I’m decorating the outside of the 70’s popcorn maker and popping my own popcorn. Free. I already have everything to do it. Dollar Tree popcorn bags -$1.00 – way easier. I love details I love pretty things and love doing all those things but I get bogged down with them. When I let them go I find more time for the things that matter – really matter – like dancing in the living room with my son. Playing drums on the pots and pans and singing at the top of my lungs. This is it. This is my reminder that I can still have my cup of coffe on the weekends and live my best life. Love Me –