Christmastime

We are finally getting fall weather in Des Moines. After a chilly November we are enjoying temperatures in the forties. It is beautiful out, but not what I think of when I think of Christmas.

We are ready for Christmas in our house. Yesterday we went to see Santa. Elliot had been telling us he wouldn’t be afraid of Santa this year. That wasn’t the case. The poor kid is so scared of Santa he wants Santa to bring him “nothing”. Audrey, on the other hand, wants an alarm clock and stuffed unicorn. She cannot tell time and never has to wake up for a specific time, so an alarm clock is an odd request (can you remember a time in your life when having to be awake at a certain time for something is a novel idea?). Because Elliot was terrified the Santa picture is a family picture this year. It’s also the only family picture we have taken this year (yes, more family photos is on my new years resolution list).

After our trip to see Santa I told Audrey I would take her ice skating if she slept at nap time. She fell asleep quickly and when she woke up she was very excited for her first trip to the rink. She had never skated before and did a great job. She is already a better skater than her father, but that isn’t saying much (the one time we went skating he pulled me down when he fell. I decided romantic ice skating dates don’t have to be a thing).

I love ice skating, and I’m happy to have someone to skate with. I don’t think any of my siblings skate, so I’m not sure how I was lucky enough to learn. My Dad is the best ice skater I know. He can stop on a dime. I can’t do that, but I don’t fall when I skate, which is good enough for me.

Today my sister Kathleen came over for a baking day. We were busy making Christmas treats all afternoon. We tried some new treats: hot chocolate mix from Cooks Country, butterscotch hot chocolate mix from Cooks Country, and Nutella Oat Crunch No-Bake Cookies. I look forward to finishing this post so I can try the butterscotch hot chocolate. I can’t stop eating the Nutella Oat Crunch No-Bake Cookies, so I might have to have John hide them from me if any are going to make it to my book club on Monday.

We also made sugar cookies that I told the kids we could decorate tomorrow. I really hope I find the patience to decorate the cookies. After baking all day I’m not really interested in decorating cookies tomorrow. The good thing about this cookie recipe is the cookies are delicious on their own. You don’t have to soften the butter or chill the dough before rolling, so this is a great cookie recipe for when you really want to make cut out sugar cookies but you don’t want the process to take all day.

I made one of my new favorite breads: Pumpkin Ginger Braid. I increased the crystallized ginger to 1/2 c because 1/3 c ginger isn’t gingery enough for me. I like that this recipe makes two loaves, which is great for when you want to bring a loaf of bread to a friend, but you also want to eat a loaf of bread.

My favorite thing we made was my Aunt Patti’s Party Mix. I don’t remember a family reunion growing up where we didn’t have party mix. Munching on this takes me right back to childhood. 

Aunt Patti’s Party Mix

  • 1 12 oz box rice chex
  • 1 12 oz box Crispex
  • 1/2 small box Cheerios
  • 1 7.5 oz bag Bugles
  • 1/2 bag pretzel sticks
  • 1 bag cheese balls (I never add these)
  • 1 8 oz bag Gardetto’s garlic rye chips
  • Can of mixed nuts (I often forget this)
  • Can of cashews (If I remember the mixed nuts most likely I forget the cashews)
  • 3 sticks butter
  • 1/3 c Worcestershire Sauce
  • Garlic Salt (1 teaspoonish)

Melt butter and Worcestershire sauce in a large pan (I’m talking huge, like the biggest roasting pan you have) in an oven set at 225 degrees F. When melted take pan out of oven. Add pretzels, rye chips, and nuts. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Stir well. Add Crispex, Chex, and Bugles. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Stir.  Add everything else. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Stir well. 

Put it in oven for 1/2 hour. Take it out and stir it. Put it back in the oven for 30 minutes. Take it out an stir it. Put it back in the oven for 30 minutes. Cool and enjoy.

Audrey and Elliot’s favorite treat of the day was Elephant Balls. Growing up this was my favorite Christmas treat. I hate making them, so I was extra thankful Kathleen was baking with me today. She even let Audrey help.

When I told Elliot he couldn’t eat any more treats he promptly licked one. At least he didn’t eat it. 

Elephant Balls

  • 1 stick butter (melted)
  • 1 lb powdered sugar
  • 2 c chunky peanut butter
  • 2 c rice krispies
  • chocolate almond bark

Mix butter, powdered sugar, and peanut butter together. Stir in rice krispies. Shape into balls. Dip into melted almond bark. Top with a rice krispie if you are fancy and/or need something for a 4-year-old to help with.

Are you making any holiday treats? What are your must make items?

4 thoughts on “Christmastime

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