Sugar Cookie Overload

We are elbows deep in Christmas cookies right now. I can’t help myself, Peyton is having SO much fun sticking her hands into flour, cutting shapes, and decorating the cookies (read: eating frosting and sprinkles by the handful). 10868072_10102275196150695_4855009451145907718_nWe made a few batches Monday and Tuesday, and decorated them ALL. In call seriousness, we made well over one hundred cookies. Fortunately, they won’t be sitting around our house long, as we plan to give them as gifts to her teachers and a few neighbors and friends!

FullSizeRender10724883_1511966642408356_934053086_n 10846220_10102275425481115_7342286898344052575_nJOY cookie cutters

Peyton took a less traditional approach to her frosting technique:

IMG_1612My favorite recipe couldn’t be easier:

Mix together 1 cup of sugar and 1 stick of butter

Add 2 eggs and a splash of vanilla, and mix

 Add 3 cups of flour and a bit of baking soda and mix well. (mixing with your hands is always better)

Wrap the dough in Saran Wrap (with a bit of flour) and refrigerate for about 2-3 hours

Use an obnoxious amount of flour when rolling and cutting. Seriously, on your hands rolling pin, AND cookie cutters!

Bake at 350 about 7 minutes, until the edges turn golden brown

Let them cool entirely before frosting

And my favorite frosting recipe:

2 cups of powdered sugar, one spoonful of butter, a splash of vanilla, and add splashes of milk as you mix, until you get a consistency you like! I prefer it thicker, so I use less milk, or add more powdered sugar. I find it hardens up better on the cookies! Add food coloring as desired!

I like to pack them up in mason jars before giving them out:

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Eek! We get the new puppy tomorrow!!! Getting so anxious. I hope the girls and Jazzy love him!

Our Weekend

Another December weekend means another Santa Brunch. This time, held at my favorite West Michigan store, AK Rikks. Complete with a hot cocoa bar and a mini shopping trip, it was fun for us and for Peyton. London was just along for the ride.

Peyton did not warm up to Santa in her second sighting. It went something like this: me bribing her with M&Ms to get on his lap. Trying to get her on his lap with her little friends. And eventually, scooping her up and sitting on Santa, as she screamed bloody murder:

10868029_10102271219649635_3021476385559507339_nAnd then, I kid you not, she ran and hid in a coat rack.

Daddy and London had a much better Santa experience.10599662_10102271135593085_2717023448247244804_nThis Solly Baby Wrap is a serious life saver when it comes to events and parties, and even just getting things done at home. London is a little too big for the newborn carry, but still a little lumpy for this stage, but she falls right to sleep in it. I’m translating that as she loves it. And how cute is David wearing it? I mean, seriously.

We tried to snap a group shot before our friends left, but Peyton was still hiding in the coat rack from Santa, she was pretty mad at me, so our friend Rebecca got her out. As she was getting Peyton, her 1 year old took off, so I scooped her up. Rebecca says, “I have yours, do you have mine? Good. SMILE!” Truly beautiful moment:

10847878_10102271140153945_1153609308248437396_nBoots: Aldo (on sale!!), Peyton is wearing amazing leggings from American Apparel

Sunday, we headed across the state for a family Christmas party.  We seriously have Christmas coming out of our ears for the entire duration of December.

Growing up, we were very close with my Dad’s side of the family. It’s just him and his brother, who each had two kids. Very small family parties. However, each of us cousins are 4 years apart, my brother and I being the younger two. There is nothing better than growing up with cousins that are the same age as you! We were trying to explain this concept to Peyton on the way over, she finally understood it as they are friends who are family. Now everyone is having babies, and Christmas is an adorable bundle of chaos.

10849899_10102273400514165_4018942504032355076_nFive kids, all five and under!

Peyton had met her cousin Sam (the one in the tights in the front) at Thanksgiving, and remembered her as her cousin. Before they got to the party, Peyton and Grace (in the back) were comparing families (so cute), and got into an argument about who was Sam’s cousin. Hard concept to grasp. They got over it and had a blast playing together. It makes me a little sad that we live across the state, we don’t have any family by us, except for my brother now (yay!)

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London is wearing a set from H&M. P’s vest is from Target, and dress from Old Navy

Gearing up for hosting Christmas this weekend, and ohhh man, we are getting a new puppy Thursday!

Santa Brunch

This weekend was our Country Club’s annual Brunch With Santa (aka. Santa and mimosas!). Peyton and her best friend talked some biiiiig talk about sitting on Santa’s lap and what they were going to ask for. Topping Pey’s Santa list are: a rainbow wand (because one color just isn’t enough), a dollhouse with a big door (to accommodate Barbie-sized Anna and Elsa), and a new play kitchen. However, when it came time to see the big guy, this was the result:10154967_10102260529383015_3905189930336576386_nShe wouldn’t sit on him or stand in front of him, she lurked behind him, but refused to walk away. The line behind us just kept growing and growing. Finally, we had to send in grandma to air-lift her out of there. At least she looked cute.

Dress from Gap, headband from Etsy

London is still young enough to be blissfully unaware of the [apparent] horror of Santa, an we managed to get a few cute photos of her:10849981_10102260528350085_7803443855389390518_n

10488364_10102260527561665_2694757567590744256_nDaddy and his girls! 10390217_10102260531548675_7131246711221372185_nMy parents came across the state for the brunch; always fun to get together with them! Peyton is white-knuckling a ring pop. She had about 4, which is more sugar than she has in a normal week. She was a sugar-crazed, sticky mess. But it helped her get over “that Santa guy” as she called him.

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Funny tidbit: Santa’s beard was REAL. Trust me, I always check. We were one of the last groups to leave the party, David and my brother take London and go to get the car for me and Peyton, as we get our coats from the coatroom. As we were walking out, Santa strolls out of the bar (no judgement, I’d be throwing back moose mugs of eggnog if I had to deal with multiple kids on me!!) Anyway, the lap portion of the brunch had been done for well over an hour, and this Santa is STILL in costume. He sees us and gives us an extra jolly “ho! ho! ho!” and calls Peyton by name. Sure, maybe he remembered her specifically because she was a hot mess when we were there, or maybe he was the real deal. THEN. He throws his Santa sack over his shoulder, and does the finger to the nose wink just like in The Night Before Christmas, and says he has to get back to feed Prancer. Peyton and I are standing there, mouths open in awe. I manage to tell him to fly safely back to the North Pole. We walk out, just as Santa is hopping into his BRIGHT RED Ford F250. And as if that wasn’t enough, as he pulled away, we caught a glimpse of his license plate. MRMRSC.

Coincidence? I think not!

You can be the judge, but I’m 95% sure that he was the real deal.

‘Tis The Season for…Hot Chocolate

I’d like to introduce you all to our newest houseguest, Anna Sparkle:

B4Xa1DiCUAMO3_1At best, I am guessing Peyton picked her name based on Princess Twilight Sparkle and Anna from Frozen, two of her biggest obsessions. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Elf on a Shelf backstory, read about it here. We attempted the game last year, but it went over Peyton’s head. This year, however, she gets the reporting back to Santa part! She always enjoys looking for Anna Sparkle when she wakes up in the morning — which means I have to remember to move her before I fall asleep. Parenting is hard.

When you wake up to your held swimming in a mug full of marshmallows, asking for homemade hot cocoa, you go with it!

FullSizeRender FullSizeRender_1I don’t have a certain recipe I follow, but here is what I do:

In a saucepan, on low heat, warm together milk (depends on how many people you are serving. Pour until it looks like enough. You can always add more later), about a half cup of cocoa, and one/two tablespoons of sugar (depends on how sweet you’d like it! I don’t ever let it reach a boil, but stir pretty regularly until it’s as hot as I want it. I add a pinch of salt and a bit of vanilla extract. I lower heat to a simmer as I divvy it up into cups. We go all out when it comes to toppings. Our favorites are: whipped cream, marshmallows, crushed peppermints (they sell these in the cookie decorating aisle, if you’re too lazy to crush your own), sprinkles, candy canes (even better when dipped in dark chocolate!), and I always finish these babies off with a few sprinkles of cinnamon!

It doesn’t get better than that on a chilly Monday night!

I Go Nuts for Donuts

IMG_0948TGIF! Very quick hello this morning! Nothing starts a day off like a donut. And there’s no donut like a gourmet donut from a shop downtown! I just can’t even. I picked up these skinny jeans on Black Friday from Hollister (I know, I know) for $12. You cannot beat that, though. I wanted to keep a neutral pallet for my outfit today, and let my vest stand out. It has so much detail. If you only buy one faux fur vest this season, please let it be this one.

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FullSizeRender FullSizeRender_2 FullSizeRender_2I am wearing:

Vest: Cynthia Vincent | Sweater: Forever21 | Jeans: Hollister | Boots: Steve Madden | Sunnies: Versace (old) | Bag: Celine | Ring: ℅ Katie Dean Jewelry (tip: I have a small size and wear it as a midi ring!)

Hope you have a fantastic end to you week! Another tip: end it with donuts!

Decking the Halls

B3jfkoQIUAALX6fThanksgiving is over, which means it’s time to get holly jolly and rock around our Christmas tree! Here are a few photos of how we get our Christmas on:

10505368_10102244996590855_3903696853737298527_n B3tSfQ2CcAAW78hGarland, stockings, glittery feather, owl ornament, monogram ornament, feather ornament, faux fur tree skirt, Mrs and Mr Old Fashioned glasses, oversized mug, jumbo candy canes, squirrel nutcracker, ceramic pitcher

We also got this felt mistletoe and mounted it above the hallway. It took a few attempts at explaining it to Peyton, but she is now obsessed with standing under it and doing what I am referring to as her “kiss me dance” multiple times daily. It’s not annoying, yet!

How about you? Have you decked your halls yet?