Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Cookies

This year, I thought Jon might be old enough to help me decorate Christmas cookies. (More on that later). So I invited some friends to a casual Christmas cookie decorating open house.

Then Jon was diagnosed with a respiratory virus, and all of our friends stayed home. I don't blame them, since who wants to expose their kid to germs four days before Christmas?

But we still had the party all to ourselves, and I think I will give my neighbors all of the cookies!

(My Memphis friends may notice the Swanky's cups holding my icing bags).

So Jon didn't quite get the concept of decorating. He ate one un-iced cookie that I set in front of him, and then ate another cookie immediately after I had iced it and offered sprinkles for him to add. Oh well...maybe he just needs to be a bit older. One of my friends told me that her almost-3-year-old licked off the icing on all of the cookies she tried to get him to decorate! Is this a boy thing or a toddler thing??

Jonathan decides to join in on the fun!

The finished product!

I also think I have finally found my go-to sugar cookie and icing recipe! I have been searching for one for years - most everything I try is dry, tasteless, and not very appetizing. When I made snowman cookies for Jon's first birthday, they were adorable but nearly inedible. The cookie recipe I used this time around is from America's Test Kitchen - the roll-out butter cookie recipe. It is basically a shortbread recipe, but it has a little cream cheese for better flavor and texture. Then for the icing, I made the basic royal icing recipe from the Wilton meringue powder container, but added vanilla. The end product was a sweet, lightly flavored cookie and icing that I can definitely see myself making again. I am interested to try them flavored with citrus (maybe zest in the cookie and juice in the icing) or cinnamon/cardamon.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


I titled this update simply "Jon," because that is what I hear a lot of these days. Jon has his name down, and he also understands possession. So this is a taste of his ramblings:

"Jon plate, Jon sippy cup, Jon fork" (at meal times, pointing to everything on the table)

"Jon ball?
"No, sweetie, not your ball."
"Jon ball?" (now reaching and grunting a little bit)
"No, sweetie, that is the store's ball."

He has also fused the words "please" and "Mama" into one, so whether he is talking to me or not, this is what he says:

"More Elmo pleasemama?"
"More banana pleasemama?"
"Up pleasemama?"
"Come pleasemama?"
"Go in Daddy car pleasemama?"

At least the kid is hopefully learning some manners : )

Speaking of manners, we are definitely in full-on testing mode at home and at school. The past week or two at school, Jon has been put in time out for not following directions or trying to wake up his friends during nap time. The teachers always say that he is not be malicious or mean, just doing his own thing and not following directions. At home, Jon responds pretty well to time outs, although sometimes it does take two in a row for him to either follow directions or discontinue negative behavior. I know he is too young to have rewards or consequences at home for his behavior at school, but I'm looking for suggestions to help him follow directions when I'm not around. We talk about obeying teachers like we obey Mama and Daddy, and his teachers are on board with counting/timeouts like we do at home. Thankfully his teachers have kids of their own and (at least to my face) tell me that they understand that testing is age appropriate and he is not really a trouble maker.

To end on a funny note, we thought maybe Jon didn't understand what "No" meant, because he would answer "No" for questions which it seemed obvious the answer was "Yes," for example:

"Jon, do you want to come inside?"
"No." (always said in a nonchalant, 'I'd really rather not,' tone of voice)
"Jon, do you want to stay outside?"

But the other day, Jonathan and I were trying to figure out who would change the last diaper of the day, and this made us laugh:

"Jon, do you want Mama to change your diaper?"
"Do you want Rar (the name of his dinosaur stuffed animal) to change your diaper?"
quick head turn and smile "Yes!"

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Moms are awesome!

Get through the first paragraph, and you will see why I think moms are awesome : )

So this time last week, I was a bit of a wreck. I was emotionally checked out because I felt like everything I did was a failure: trying to raise my son, trying to keep my apartment in working order, trying to get my actual paying part-time job done, etc. My husband was a huge encouragement, but I was just feeling bad and he couldn't help me snap out of my funk. The sermon on Sunday was wonderful - about Jesus' genealogy and how anyone who was in the midst of the Old Testament may not have understood how certain unpleasant events would lead to redemption...but they did! Moral of the story: God has the long view, and we need to trust him even when we might not understand what is going on in the present. I was basking in the glow of being reminded of God's love and faithfulness, then I fell (while trying to step over a baby gate holding my 30+ pound not do this) and twisted my knee. I kind of lost it. I was in pain, Jon was screaming and crying, and I started crying and just could not stop. Monday I was doing a little better, but still felt a bit of a cloud hanging over me. mom called : ) And suggested that she come visit : ) So she came down for about 24 hours, just Thursday to Friday afternoon. She helped me put up Christmas decorations, made some chicken noodle soup, entertained Jon in the cart while we went grocery shopping, helped me rearrange some furniture, and just all around made me feel loved. It's sometimes just nice for someone to come in from out of town for the day and spend time with you. Especially your mom.

Jonathan noted on Friday afternoon that I was in a much better mood than I had been the previous week. I agreed, knowing that it took some good reminders from Scripture, a little time to myself, and a visit from Mom.