Not so festive.

I used to love Christmas. I was one of those annoying over-bakers and made all my gifts. I started sewing in July and my children always wore matching, homemade flannel pajamas to sleep on Christmas Eve. 

Gingerbread houses, homemade marshmallows in three flavors, chocolate dipped everything while carols played from thanksgiving to Christmas. It was my favorite time of year. Then my son left, and it’s been difficult, since. Holidays change when you’re missing someone you love. Everything does, really… but especially the days that you’re supposed to be filled with joy and love. 

I am pushing through my reluctance and exhaustion to get it done for the Dumpling. She deserves the same holiday magic her siblings had, but some things have had to shift. The jammies and gingerbread house are store bought because I’m not a stay at home mom anymore and have had to let some things go. 

I’m working crazy hours, into the weekends… and haven’t even started shopping yet. I sort of love leaving it until the last minute and I’m enjoying not stressing about it. Ish.

But I’m a slave to that motherfucking Elf on a shelf. I hate it so much that I wish our dog chewed things up because I’d leave Hallie on the floor in a bowl of dog treats. If the damn thing doesn’t move,  it means your child was naughty and devastation ensues. (Whoever thought this up really hated their parents) I have moved the damn thing on the fly so many times, it’s a miracle I haven’t been caught. Also, to hell with all of you who make your elf do spectacular shit. Chill out. You’re making my lazy, relocating elf, look bad.

I have high hopes for the baking today. I bought all the stuff. I got out the aprons. The kitchen is clean. The Dumpling has a Christmas playlist picked out and it’s going to be a magical day of doing the stuff that makes Christmas feel a little more recognizable to me. I’m trying to find the happy, and that’s the best you can do when you’re just not. 

My gift to you: our family sugar cookie recipe. They are the very best. ♥

Grandma Afton’s Sour Cream Sugar Cookies 

425*  for 8-10 minutes or until lightly brown.

  • 1/4 c Shortening
  • 1/4 c Butter
  • 1 c Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 2/3 c Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/2 c Sour Cream

Preheat oven to 425*. Mix shortening, butter, sugar, egg and vanilla thoroughly. Sift flour and blend dry ingredients into a separate bowl. Add to sugar mixture alternately with sour cream until combined. Divide dough, roll out to 1/4″ thick on well floured surface and cut with cookie cutters. Place on greased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. (Omit sprinkling with sugar if you intend to frost them)

Bake 8-10 minutes or until the edges lightly brown. These are MUCH better under than over cooked.

Jenni’s Heirloom Marinara

The funny thing about being a gardener is that the vegetables don’t care how you feel. When they’re ripe, it’s time to can them or throw all your hard work away. It was a horrible year for my garden, so I am a slave to canning any and everything as soon as it’s ripe.

Yesterday, it was the marinara I’ve perfected after 20 years and I’m going to share the recipe with you in the hopes you will enjoy it as much as we do.

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Also it means I won’t lose my recipe again. 🙂

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Enjoy ♥