Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Yuletide Frolicking

Portland, November 28th, 2008
Pioneer Courthouse Square

This is a year of new traditions for our family, of reevaluating our priorities, of stopping to enjoy our children in the midst of all the hustle and bustle. I finished my Christmas shopping by the end of November and promised myself we'd have time to actually have FUN in December. But we went ahead and started early with a trip to Portland for the lighting of the Christmas Tree in Pioneer Courthouse Square. I picked Ryan up at work and we were lucky enough to get to the square with about thirty seconds to spare.
We made our way over to Starbucks after and stood in line with about 100 other caffeine seekers. It's embarrassing a little, but I have to tell you, even my kids love Starbucks and every time we go into one they order their little sugar-free vanilla, nonfat mocha steamer with whip. It's adorable. Here's a picture. Note the red cup. And yes, I know it's out of focus. We're having camera issues...just bear with me.

This was, no kidding, one of my best memories of all time. If you haven't been to the square on this occasion, I'm telling you, you're missing out. The kids had a blast drinking their 'coffee' and we loved wandering through the mall and shops that were still open for Black Friday shoppers.

The following Sunday my woodsy/hunting/outdoorsey brother conned us into hiking into the Mt Hood National Forest and cutting our own 'wild' tree. This is now a new tradition in the Kendall household as well, as we totally loved it! Plus, the tree permit costs $5. LOVE that. Here's a few pics of the tromp through the woods...

*well, no one can say he goes unprepared. I didn't ask what he had in that backpack.*

Ah, choices, choices.

Our tree.

It did NOT look this big a minute ago.

We ended up cutting two feet off the bottom of the tree as we'd slightly overshot the height of our ceilings when we chose the elected evergreen. Oops. But it looks nice now, see?

We have also visited Santa in Hood River, been to a Christmas parade, made dozens and dozens of cookies and batches and batches of holiday fudge and now we're practically ecstatic because we woke up this morning to several inches of snow! What could be more Christmasy than that? The kids had a snow day, during which I took the opportunity to make, you guessed it, more cookies. My waistline will not thank me, undoubtedly. But I'm telling you people, I have discovered (from an undisclosed source of course) the best sugar cookie recipe OF ALL TIME. I'll tell you honestly, I abhor sugar cookies. They're tasteless, sugary things with no texture or pride. bleck! However, I found this recipe which assured me they would turn out a lot like shortbread (which I love) and darn it if they weren't telling the absolute truth.I'll include the recipe at the bottom. It's amazingly versatile and works as a cut out cookie (if you do it between two pieces of wax paper there's virtually NO mess) or in a cookie press. Give it a go- it's truly simple, I promise you.

At any rate- thats a brief snapshot of the Kendall house this holiday season. There's more of course, but it's taken me HOURS to put this entry together in between batches of cookies, loads of laundry (did I mention the washer quit working last week and I had to have it repaired? I'll tell you about that later maybe.) and dressing and redressing and undressing and so forth, the children as they went in and out and back again to play in the snow. I'm heading off to my lovely sofa to collapse! Hope you're all having a truly merry Christmas and we wish you the best this season!!
Here's that recipe for ya:

Sugar Cookies

1/2 CP salted butter
1/2 CP sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 CP flour
1/8 tsp salt

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on med. until smooth. Add sugar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occassionally. Beat in egg yolk until combined. Add vanilla. Beat until combined.

2. Add flour and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occassionally.

3. Between two sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap and using a rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/4'' thickness. Cut out shapes until all dough is used.

4. Bake 8-10 minutes depending on your oven. Do Not Let Cookies Brown. Cool completely and decorate as desired.

*These cookies can be made through step three, wrapped well, and refridgerated up to 1 week or frozen for up to 6 months.

*consistency of cookie after step 2 will be very short and crumbly. This is normal. Using your hands, shape dough into a ball before rolling.

Merry Christmas!


Jodi said...

What a fun Christmasy post! Your house looks so beautiful, Melissa. I absolutely love your tree, and after I read that you'd found the perfect sugar cookie recipe I was hoping that you'd share the recipe. ;) I've been looking for a new one.

I miss you and hope we get to see you guys soon.

meliken said...

Oh, Jodi, we miss you guys too! We so wish were going to be able to make it on Sunday!! I was looking forward to meeting my niece!
Enjoy the sugar cookies...but be warned- you won't be able to stop eating them!

Happy Holidays to you guys. Drink something fun for me ;)