Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mama's Elves

Sigh. You know that sigh, the one you may suppress each time your children follow the question "What are you doing, mommy?" with "Can I help?". The sigh that suggests the indicated task just might get done in less time, with less mess, if you could just do it yourself...

I've done a lot of sighing this Christmas season. Untangling lights. Decorating the tree. Making gifts and cards. Wrapping said gifts. But I almost always say yes. This is what memories are made of, after all.

My older sister, wise woman that she is, told me to let myself off the hook when it comes to baking this year. She suggested I go and BUY cookies! They're cheap, they're good, and my kids don't really know the difference yet. I may follow her up on that suggestion, but it just wouldn't feel like Christmas here without at least one batch of sugar cookies.

You can tell that I copied this down as my mom dictated it to me over the phone! Here it is in clearer language:
Cream together 1 cup Crisco shortening and 1 cup white sugar. Then add 1 egg, slightly beaten, and 1 tsp. vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups flour2 tsp. cream of tartar, 1 tsp. soda,, and 1/2 tsp salt.
Mix two bowls together. Roll to about 1/4 inch thick, cut, and bake at 325 degrees F for 10 minutes. Cool on rack, then decorate with icing sugar/water glaze (add colour if you wish). Go crazy with the sprinkles!

While you bake, allow your toddler to hang off the pockets of your jeans.

And allow your preschooler to "paint her nails" with the icing, then lick it all off.

Finally, give full creative license to your little decorators!

A memory we'll cherish in years to come, because once again, (albeit through gritted teeth), I said yes.


  1. What fun! I am finally off work for the holidays and plan to get into the spirit of baking with my girls. I shall try to keep the big YES flowing freely. Thanks for inspiring...

  2. It has taken me 11 years and 6 kids, but I am really getting much better at saying "Yes". I hate a mess, and I think my firstborn was over 2 before I let her attempt feeding herself, but now I just tend to say, oh what the heck, and I deal with the mess later. Kids grow up so fast, after all, and each day is full of opportunities to make memories or not. Enjoy your elves!

  3. I have a 13-year-old who does all of the cookie and cake baking here now. As a big sib, she has the ability to say a carefree YES to her little sibs, thereby sparing me the gritted-teeth version. It's brilliant as the littles turn into bigs.

    I love the picture of M. hanging off of your pockets. I KNOW that perspective!

    Much love...

  4. Oh, what I would give to decorate Christmas cookies with my child. What I would give.....

  5. I love the photo of M hanging off your pants! Priceless.
    Looks like fun and although sometimes frustrating, so precious.
    We did our sugar cookies this weekend, too, and there were more sprinkles on the table and floor than on the cookies!
    But, we are writing our children's holiday memories in doing this and so it is worth it.


This space is a creative outlet for a busy mama; I warmly embrace your comments and feedback, as well as questions/requests for details. I do check them daily and will respond where appropriate! Thank you for visiting the Knitty Gritty Homestead!