The 12 Cookies & Candies of Christmas (Part 2)

Surprisingly, I was able to make two of the candies I mentioned in Part 1 of this series.  I’m still not sure how that happened given that James, my youngest, only napped for about 35 minutes today, but I’m glad it did!  I think I’ve found two new recipe favorites that are going to be made year after year.

First I made Crockpot Christmas Crack, which are just as addicting as the name implies!  I love anything with chocolate and peanut butter so I of course loved these.  All of my kids loved them too.  My husband even said they were good and he usually doesn’t like anything with nuts in it.  :)

I didn’t quite follow the recipe because I didn’t read it carefully enough before I went shopping earlier in the week and I didn’t buy enough of the vanilla candy coating.  I only bought one 12 ounce bag instead of 2 – 1 pound bags, but I had a package of white chocolate chips in the pantry and I added them in.  The candies are probably slightly softer than they should be, but who cares!  They still taste delicious!

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Next I made the Cream Cheese Mints.  My original plan was to make these mints, but honestly I didn’t want to take the time to roll them into balls and flatten them with a fork.  I opted for a recipe where I could pipe them onto cookie sheets.  They are less time consuming and prettier!  And just as addicting as the Christmas Crack above!

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Two down, ten to go.

Did you make any Christmas cookies or candies today?  I’d love to hear about them!

The 12 Cookies & Candies of Christmas (Part 1)

For as long as I can remember, I’ve made hundreds and hundreds of cookies and candies each year for Christmas.  I give them out as gifts to friends, neighbors, co-workers, bosses and employees.  I serve them for dessert on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and send all of our relatives home with dozens of them.

Back before I had children I would start making dough the weekend after Thanksgiving, freeze it and bake all of the cookies the week before Christmas.  Now that we have 4 children, I have very little room in my freezer for cookie dough.  This year, I’ll be making the candies first because they keep longer and then I’ll be making the cookies closer to Christmas.

Every year there are few cookies that always make the list.  Then I try a few new recipes that I’ve gathered throughout the year.  Finally, I’ll pull out a couple of recipes that I’ve made in years past, but not every year.

What’s on the list for this year?

The favorites that I make every year (I’ll post the recipes as I make them):

  • Sugar Cookies
  • Gingersnaps
  • Biscotti
  • Peanut Butter Blossoms
  • Swedish Almond Butter Cookies

The repeat offenders that I’ve made several times over the past 15 years or so (I’ll post the recipes as I make them):

  • Chocolate Mint Creams
  • Church Windows
  • Chocolate Walnut Fudge

The newcomers that I can’t wait to try (click on the name to find the recipe):

  • Crockpot Christmas Crack
  • Hot Chocolate Cookie Cups
  • Cream Cheese Mints
  • Poinsettia Cookies (This one isn’t really a newcomer to our family, but I’ve never made it before.  My grandmother used to make them when I was little.  My husband was describing a cookie that his mother used to make which sounded similar to my grandmother’s cookies, so I decided to give these a try this year.  I’ll post the recipe when I make them.)

What is your favorite Christmas cookie recipe?  Leave the recipe in the comments or post a link to it.  I would love to try them!

Happy Baking!

The Kind of Blogger I Can’t Be

When I decided to start a blog, I thought I would write posts encouraging my readers to use the parenting, homemaking, and money saving/get out of debt strategies that have worked for me. You see, those are the types of blogs and posts that I’m drawn to. I love knowing that someone had a parenting issue, came up with a solution and is now reaping the benefits of that solution. Knowing that someone else has been in my situation and has come out on the other side gives me hope.

However, I have come to the stark realization that I have no advice worthy of dispensing. Pretty much everything that I try to make my life and my family’s life better, backfires on me.

My house is a mess. No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to keep up with the laundry and cleaning. I’ve attempted to enlist the help of my family by creating chore charts, but it each day ends with me nagging and all of us angry.

I’m as disorganized as they come. I create lists and meal plans, but then I can’t find them and something important is forgotten and I’m ordering take-out because I didn’t remember to take anything out the freezer for dinner.

Our finances are a mess and we are drowning in debt. Despite our best efforts to increase revenue, our business does not provide enough income for us and the new business I’m trying to create is stuck at square one.

My kids love each other, but they fight all the time. All. The. Time. This year we had hoped to instill a little bit of gratitude and a sense of giving in them by using an Advent Calendar with 25 Random Acts of Christmas Kindness, instead of using the Lego Advent Calendars we have in years past, which teach nothing about the spirit of the season. They could care less about the calendar. They are not excited about making someone’s day by giving them a compliment or by leaving a surprise on their doorstep.

Other bloggers seem to have it so easy. They come up with recipes and solutions to problems. They take great photos as proof of their accomplishments. The create fabulous graphics to market their solutions. And they make money for doing all of this.

It sounds like I’m jealous and maybe I am a little, but many of the bloggers I read say things like, “God has given me the answers.” or “I asked God for help and he provided.” Well, I ask God for help all the time and I don’t hear any anything from Him. I think I’m listening, but maybe I can’t hear Him. I don’t know why He won’t help me, but I do know that I’m spinning my wheels and I have no traction in any area of my life.

Please don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for all that I have; a great husband, 4 healthy children, food on the table and a roof over my head. This is not a pity party. It’s simply my reality. What I’ve stated above are facts.

What’s my point for rambling on like this? Well, I’ve tried to be upbeat and encouraging on this blog and it’s just not working for me. So I’m going to be real which means you may not get any of the answers you are looking for on this blog because I don’t have any answers. I only have my current situation and I’m going to continue to write about it. I just hope that someone finds it interesting or entertaining enough to read.