Friday, November 14, 2008

Saving Sanity with the Holidays

Making Cookies with the Kids
I know, baking, now don't get scared! I will make this as painless as possible. I LOVE to bake so this is an easy one for me. My son loves to help Mommy and Daddy make cookies with our stand mixer. He pushes the top down and helps us add ingredients. It makes him feel really important. I believe that the things we do with our families around the Holiday Season should invoke memories for years to come. Traditions are also great! This idea encompasses both of those ideas! Here's what you need to do:
  • Make sugar cookies (or you can even do Gingerbread if you are really brave)! You can make them from scratch or use a bag mix that you only have to add 1 or 2 ingredients to or you can even just buy the dough! Have your kids (your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or even neighbors) help you make the cookies. It can be as simple as stirring or dumping in the ingredients you measured or as complicated as actually measuring out the ingredients themselves. If you are using pre-made dough, have them help open the package or place the pre-made shapes on the pan.
  • Use fun cookie cutters! My family has always made trees for Christmas. We've made bells and other shapes, but the trees were always our favorite, so all other shapes have been dropped and trees are all we make anymore. If you don't have any fun shaped cookie cutters, use a regular dinner glass to cut circles to make Christmas ornament cookies!
  • Bake the cookies. While the cookies are in the oven sing Christmas Carols or read Christmas books or talk about what the holiday means to you. THIS is the important time for the day. The down time when you have the cookies in the oven or you are waiting for them to cool. THIS is where the memories are really made! Next year they may only remember that you made cookies, but this is the reason they will remember it. You are taking time from your day to make them special.
  • Decorate the cookies! You can buy pre-made, colored icing, or you can make your own. Use sprinkles and candy, or anything you can think of! Let the kids get as creative as they want, use put some wax paper down on the table or counter for their workspace and clean up will be a breeze! Get creative! Nothing is off limits! Even if your kid makes the weirdest cookie you have ever seen, it's his/her cookie and they will LOVE it!
  • Take pictures! You can take pictures of the kids stirring the dough or cutting the shapes or staring at the oven practically willing the cookies to bake, take pictures of them decorating the cookies and take pictures of the finished product. You can compare pictures to pictures of cookies for years to come (and this is GREAT bribery material when they are in high school).
  • Have fun! Forget that you are making a mess all over the kitchen! It will be clean again, it just doesn't have to be clean now. This is a specific time that you are spending with the children in your life and neatness doesn't count!

Happy Savings!

(This is part 2 of the Saving Sanity with the Holidays series, click here to see part 1.)