December 28, 2017

A White Christmas

-  Featured:Motherhood Moment  -

We are still shocked, amazed, and pinching ourselves over the best Christmas, ever.

A white Christmas!

It was my first white Christmas and, of course, Abby's. So it's no surprise that this years ho-ho-holiday quickly turned into a three-day celebration! Thank you mother nature for deciding you actually like us here in the Pacific Northwest by gifting us tiny, icy fluffs.

This post is short and mainly just an over-sharing amount of photos. You have been warned! : ) Although I'm eager to share with you one of the best things that could of happened to me this holiday season besides the snow fall and that is, I stopped.

Stopped folding, cleaning, moving and doing all because a million little snowflakes danced in front of our windows. I just froze.

To say that I was stressed these last few weeks prior to Christmas would be a major understatement.

My husband and I were hosting family at our home for the entire 48 hours surrounding Christmas, including a feast for 13+ family members on Christmas Day. The prepping and planing was more than stressful, and my husband and I swore that we would simplify in the coming years.... (I set aside tons of notes for hosting holidays to share next year!).

So once those fluffy pieces of pure joy fell from the sky, we were crying. We were sooo grateful. Beyond excited! We felt incredibly lucky to witness a snowfall from Christmas Eve to Christmas night.

Allllll the windows were open downstairs Christmas morning as we tore apart paper, smiled, laughed, hugged and sipped on mimosas. Our house decorations were no match for the crystal clear snow flakes hugging every leaf, tree, yard, and roof in our neighborhood. That morning was a dreamy daze of bliss, especially when Abby's eyes fell upon her DIY present from Santa (I promise to share more soon!)

Almost immediately after opening gifts, we stepped out as a family into our quiet snow covered neighborhood to create a humbling looking snowman. We strolled, hugged, laughed, and watched our daughter delight in the winter wonderland. I couldn't ask for a better way to close our year.

It was truly one of the most magical days I've ever experienced, next to marrying the man of my dreams (love you Steve!).

So, thank you mother nature for sprinkling your tiny, icy fluffs upon us. And now, without further ado...

A photo dump:

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and I wish you and yours a happy and healthy New Year!

XO - Steph

December 17, 2017

Soft & Flavorful Gingerbread Cookies

- Adventure Of Baking With A Toddler Included -

Cinnamon, ginger, and baby babbles spilled into our kitchen as Abby helped fulfill my dream of baking with my little girl. Yet it was my hands that were on the dough. And Abby's? Her little fingers, as well as her nose, cheeks, and toes, were completely covered in flour!  
Our mother-daughter bonding activity quickly turned into Abby creating flour art on the floor, while I measured, stirred and whisked away! I tried having her help me gather ingredients from the pantry and dump them into the bowl. She did stir, though girlfriend really just wanted to play! So, in that moment I decided to be the "yes" mom.

Yes, you can touch that.

Yes, you can make a mess.

Yes, you can taste. Eat. 

Yes, You can just be.

Surprisingly, I loved seeing her mess flour art unfold before me. Watching those chubby fingers pat repeatedly in flour bowls was really entertaining! She worked on her creation for 25 minutes straight, right in her own little spot.

I got my baking groove on. She got playtime - it was a win-win.

Last year, being in the kitchen with baby Abby was simple. A quick nap and milk snack was all I needed to do before placing her in the swing. I could do everything in one segment.

But as a toddler, things are a little more eventful! Sensory play was the only thing on her agenda when the flour, frosting and peppermint are around. Even after I had researched on how to help teach your toddler to bake in the kitchen, my girl just wanted to play and eat!

When it came time to decorate, Abby was a little more interested. That is, until I brought out the icing tube. Then she was done.

So again, I choose to be the "yes" mom.

Whether your kid is a baby or toddler I say bake! Especially if it's an activity you enjoyed before kids. If you take delight in baking, your child will too, even it's just in making food art.  : )

I got this recipe from three years ago, but I've made it my own personal collaboration by taking inspiration from four different sources. This year, I decided to add on the peppermint, which is now my favorite touch! 

It may sound prideful when I say my version is better than the originals (okay, it definitely is prideful!) but that's the sort of the fun I get out of baking -being able to add my own ideas!

If anything, hopefully this posts helps remind you that moms all across the globe are trying to bake with their little one's and wheather it looks a lot like our version or Martha Stewart's, in the end, taste is all that matters! Well, that and fun. Happy Baking Mamas!

Gingerbread Cookies

What You'll Need:
3 cups of flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

14 teaspoon ground cloves

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar

1/2 cup molasses

1 egg

2 bowls


What To Do:
1) Stir the first six ingredients in a large bowl.
2) In a separate bowl, beat on high the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy for 2 minutes.
3) Add in molasses and egg. Beat for 1 minute.
4) Add flour mixture. Beat on low for 1-2 minutes.
5) Mold into single mound.
6) Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.
7) Preheat oven to 350.
8) Roll out dough and cut out cookies in 1/8 inch thick.
9) Space on cookie sheet about 1 inch apart.
10) Bake in oven for 12 minutes (Time in the oven is key! Be careful they don't over bake) 
11) Transfer cookies to cooling rack.
12) Let cookies completely cool, then decorate!

Royal Icing:

What You'll Need:
2 egg whites

2 tsp fresh lemon juice 

3 cups of confeciosnsers sugar (powder sugar), shifted

What To Do:
1) Mix egg whites with lemon juice.
2) Add confectioners sugar and beat on low speed until smooth and shiny
3) Beat on high for 5 minutes till stiff and flossy.
4) Transfer to pasty bag to pipe cookies (or take a zip lock bag and cut off one corner to create your own pasty bag).

Wishing you and yours a very happy holiday season!

- Steph