Monday, December 14, 2015

That's what January 2nd is for!!

{So.. I had planned for this post to go up on Wednesday, but it's going up today, because my whole computer is on the fritz.  I want to get this up before I loose all this work.  I am taking my computer in to be fixed tomorrow.  I am typing this in blogger which I never do.  I always use a program called Live Writer which is not working, and I use a host for my photos; so lets just hope they look sharp and crisp.  If they don't you know why?  Oh, Computer, computer; you makin me mad.  Anyways... here is Wednesday's post today.  I also posted about these adorable Christmas sacks today.  Check that out here; if you missed it.}

The ten pound effect/That's what January is for:

I always say that I won’t gain weight over the holidays, but…

we have this silly tradition of making treats together.

Our kids look forward to it every year.

We spend a few evenings making several delicious treats.

Then we spend an evening packaging them all up.

…And then we spend an evening delivering them to family and friends.

Sometimes we even package them up and mail them to family and friends that are far away.

Yes!! this may seem like a lot of work.  It is!!
…But, it is the kind of work I want to do.
It’s teaching my kids so many valuable lessons.  They are learning to cook.  They are learning to clean up.

They are learning to organize.  They are learning to give. 

They have an opportunity to give to others.  The best part is that they are learning that homemade gifts can mean so much.  We don’t always have to give what we buy at a store.

…and we are spending time together, having fun while we do it.

This year, we put together 97 boxes of candy.  This is our most yet!

I thought it would be fun to share some of the different candies that we make and a link to the recipe; just in case your family would like to try to make one of these.
…and because I wish I could bring treats to all of you; this is my way of sharing them.
These are all kid friendly recipes, and I assure that my kids had a hand in making all of them.
Our family favorite is a recipe that I make every year.  They are called
Christmas Caramels 

I have been making them every year.  This year Stella made them.  She is 11, and she handled the whole process.  She was even able to determine when it got to the soft ball stage.

This is our recipe:
1 C. butter
2 1/4 Cups Brown Sugar
1 C. light corn syrup
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
dash of salt
Combine ingredients into a heavy sauce pan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon.  Keep at a rolling boil and cook till soft ball forms in a cold bowl of water(this takes between 10-15 minutes of rolling boil.) It will begin to get thick.  When it does, spoon a small amount into your bowl of really cold water.  Touch with your hand and see if you can roll it into a soft ball.  If it becomes really hard, you have let it boil to long, so check it consistently.  Once it hits soft ball, pour it into buttered 9x13 pan.  Cool, and then cut.  Makes about 75 pieces.

We also tried a new recipe that we added our caramel recipe too:

Christmas Turtles

We followed this recipe and idea, but used our own family caramel recipe; taking it to soft ball stage again.

The little kids had the job of laying out the pecans, while Stella made the caramel.

Another family fav, is molded mints:

Molded Christmas Mints

I got this recipe from my friend Krysta.

It’s super simple.  Melt a whole bar of almond bark.  You can do this in a double broiler, or slowly in the microwave.  Once it’s melted, add food coloring of choice, and a peppermint flavoring.  I buy mine at our local cooking store.  It’s not the regular peppermint that you buy at the grocery store.  It has more of a butter mint taste.  Then you will need some Christmas molds. I also bought these at the local cooking store.

Lay out your molds and spoon the chocolate into the mold.  Then place the molds in the freezer.  Once they have hardened, pop them out. The kids are big helpers when I am making these.  They love to pop them out, and help me rotate them through the freezer. When we make these, we like to make 2 colors.

We must really love mints, because we also like to make:

Cream Cheese Mints
You can find a link for those here.

This year we tried a new treat:

The kids enjoyed breaking up all the goodies that went in the bark.
Then they enjoyed breaking it into pieces when it had hardened.

When we were done with the Cookie Bark, we used the left over Oreos and made:

Chocolate Dipped Oreos

This is so simple.  You use what’s left of your white chocolate from your almond bark, and dip your leftover Oreos in it.  Then sprinkle on some pretty sprinkles.  This is certainly a kids job.

My kids favorite treat to make are:

This is something that the kids can do completely on their own.  It does require the use of an oven so it would be hard for smaller children when it gets to that step.  Stella is 11, and made these with the kids when I wasn’t home.

We also tried out these yummy:

this year!! Yummy in my tummy!

Isaac even made the cream cheese frosting all on his own.

We normally just make Ginger Snaps, but we tried them with frosting this year.  I thought they were yummo!! The kids are used to the traditional gingersnap and they want me to go back to that next year.  Some traditions just stick, making change hard.

Then we made some:

Christmas Bar Cookies

We just like to use our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, but then we spice it up.

The kids love dumping in m&ms, and toffee bits, and chocolate chips, and our secret ingredient?

Carmel bits.  Yep!! they are little bits of Carmel for melting.  We use them when we make Carmel apples.

We love how they taste in the cookies.

A few sugar crystals on the top of the cookies, and they look very festive.

The last and easiest cookie we made were:

Red Velvet Peppermint Cookies

Isaac mixed these cookies all on his own.

It’s so simple, he dumped these 3 ingredients into the mixer:

A red velvet cake mix

2 eggs

1/2 cup of oil

Then he mixed that up.

We then scooped out cookie size portions with our cookie scoop.

We baked them at 350 for about 8-10 minutes; just until they crack.

We let them cool some, and then we stuck that peppermint kiss right in the middle.  They are delicious!  These would also be so good with white chocolate chips.

Happy Baking friends.

WARNING: Christmas baking has the ten pound effect.

If you make these recipes, you may put on ten pounds during the holidays!!

Want to know what I say about that?

That’s what January 2nd is for.


Enjoying this beautiful life we've created said...

Oh wow, all of these treats look amazing! I'd love to be one of your neighbors =) This is such a sweet tradition and lesson you are showing your children! Merry Christmas to you and your sweet family! -Jen

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