Wednesday, December 21, 2011

About Togetherness

We exchanged the cat door in my basement studio door for a doggie-sized door so Sadie could come in and out!  Before ---she could push the door open and come in, but she’d never shut the door…and she’d let the warm air out and the cold air in since the other side of the basement isn’t heated!

This morning Jeff and Sadie came in to visit..I love the look on her face as he stuck his head through the doggie door…like “HEY! That’s MY DOOR --- What do you think you’re doing?!

I was also talking with a friend this morning…about this, that, everything – about how Jason can’t come home for Christmas this year, because he works til close on Christmas Eve, and has to work at opening on the day AFTER Christmas….and a 3 hour drive is just far enough to make trying to drive up here and go home in the same day NOT any fun. 

I’ve done that drive….drive down to Columbia in one day, and back on the same day.  It’s 6 hours in the car.  What's the point of spending most of the holiday on the ROAD?! Not worth it. And I understand.

I’ve really felt “OUT” of it this year.  Not down in the dumps like some struggle when it comes to holiday depression --- just – I don’t know!  The kids are grown, traditions are falling by the wayside due to the age of the kids, their availability to come home or not…and just life in general.

A comment from my friend really struck me this morning.:
“Have a wonderful Christmas if you can ---Remember, it’s about the togetherness, the time with the family”
And I knew that if this was going to amount to ANYTHING I had to make a move TOWARD my family, and they to me.

I’ve been working hard down here in the basement all month.  DH is at work until late --- they’ve got Year End stuff coming due, meetings and staff dinners and all kinds of things that keep him out til later.  Tis the season!  Jeff has been doing what all 21 yr old single guys are doing…guy stuff!  Stuff with his friends, his computer, and is gone quite a bit.

This morning after talking to my friend I went up and talked to Jeff and said….."We need some TOGETHERNESS! I am downstairs, you are upstairs.  We are under this roof together, and yet we are separate.  I want to do some things to spend this time TOGETHER instead of APART."

He nodded, said "Okay ---"  and I’m sure I could see his eyes start to roll to the back of his head, but I MEAN IT!  My holiday is almost over…I’ve got 5 days past Christmas and my 2012 starts in full swing on Dec 30th!  THIS. IS. IT!

Memories don’t really just happen on their own.  Most times we have to MAKE them.

So today….we made COOKIES!  Just like we used to when he was little.  And I know he was probably not thrilled to be drug out in the rain to the store at 9am to go get the few things that we needed that we didn’t have already at home --- but we made COOKIES!  And we talked and laughed and made a mess and tasted and tested and…TALKED.  And it was priceless.

Martha Stewart, I am not! But I donned a fave gifted apron with the darling embroidery and we set to work.  Yes, It's bad when you have to do a bathroom phone pic in a mirror to show you the apron effect-- I know.  But this is how we bake around here!

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These are drop sugar cookies --- and I bought a tub of cream cheese icing, divided it into 1/3s and colored 1/3 yellow, and 1/3 green.  I was out of red or blue!  And I was not going out in the rain to buy any more food colors!  We are past wanting to do the roll and cut out kind…but these are great.  Okay, I know that they are not BEAUTIFUL, I am not a professional baker and never set out to be.  I'm just a mom.  Just a wife.  And we had fun making these:

Drop Sugar Cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter or 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1/2 cup Crisco
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Sift dry ingredients, all except sugar, together.
  3. Cream margarine, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add egg and vanilla.
  5. Beat in dry ingredients until smooth.
  6. Blend in milk.
  7. Drop by tablespoon about 3 inches apart onto a greased cookie sheet.
  8. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.
This recipe works really well as a slice & bake too.
Next Up!
cookies 004
While the sugar cookies were baking, I started up a batch of yummy soft ginger cookies.  These are MY fave---I’ll go for a spicy molasses/ginger cookie over a chocolate chip anything at ANY TIME!

Do any of you have this K-tec mixer? I’ve had it about 10 to 12 years---have loved it.  But the start/stop button no longer works.  I have to hold down the pulse button to get it to run…what a pain.  There may be a new Mixer on my list for my birthday next month!  I like this one because it is small.  I can put it AWAY after use in the bottom cabinet. I don’t want something that lives on the counter, I don’t have that much counter space. It has a gazillion attachments…even a blender sits on it and whirrs like a champ.  That is --- IF you stand there and hold down the pulse button >_<

cookies 005

Here’s the dough after I took the beater bar off the top…ummmm…..can you see the two “Let's taste the dough!!” finger marks in there!  One is Jeff's-- one is Mine! Yummy!  Yes, I am a cookie dough lover…raw eggs be danged!

cookies 010

Dough balls are dipped in sugar and baked…these stay soft if you keep them in an air tight container!
Soft Ginger Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup margarine, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

The house smells WONDERFUL.  We had a great time.  We’ve also got plans for some Chocolate Chip ones for DH – and Jeff requested my Oatmeal/Pecan/Craisin cookies…so we’ve got that coming maybe tomorrow.  And I love Pecan Sandies – they are always a holiday tradition.  I think that’s IT for the holiday baking extravaganza--- the reason I don’t bake a lot?  I EAT IT!

But Hey, it’s the holidays!  And it feels good to feel like it!


  1. holiday plans and traditions do change as the kids get older and on to their own life's. We don't have near the activity that we used to at this time of season and it isn't all that much fun anymore. One daughter is in retail and luckily only lives 1 hour away so usually makes it the other other one that has my grandchildren :) lives 14 hours away - only see them a couple times a year and Christmas is not one of them.
    You just adjust after awhile.

  2. Glad you got your holiday togetherness going! It does make a difference, doesn't it? Those soft molasses cookies are a favorite of mine, too, but I don't make them often. No one else eats them, so I EAT THEM ALL!

  3. My Christmas is different this year too. I was married for more than 20 years, spent 3 Christmases as a single, and I'm now with a new man.... with his own family and traditions. So, we are getting rid of some traditions, adopting others from one another's families, and creating our own.

    My Mom and I used to bake cookies together. She is gone now, and I carry on the tradition alone. This year, I made dozens of roll and cut sugar cookies and invited a friend with a 3-yo daughter over to help decorate them. We played Christmas music and decorated the whole lot of cookies in no time at all. Maybe it's a new tradition :).

  4. Bonnie, hun, those sugar cookies are pitiful looking !!! I'm glad you had fun making them... and that they were good... But I can sure tell this isn't the blog of a world-famous chef!!!! Too funny, girl. Glad you are having a good holiday. Glad your son was willing to play along. Blessings all.

  5. Ah just in time, I commented on someones blog yesterday about how I love sugar cookies, I just hate to chill, roll, and cut. I am more of a drop cookie person. Here comes Bonnie to the rescue with drop sugar cookies! You know what I will be making tomorrow!!! Thanks!

  6. What ever happened to "IF YOU CAN'T SAY ANYTHING NICE?!" I never said I was a world famous chef. I'm just an average wife, an average mom, trying to make Christmas happen here. :((

  7. I hope you will share your oatmeal/pecan/craisin recipe too, that sounds so yummy! I am going to try the ginger cookies recipe asap. Thanks Bonnie!

  8. It's a shame everyone can't meet 1/2 way between home & Columbia, if nothing else but to have a cup of coffee and talk...But visits during the year work also...

  9. Hey Bonnie! Those cookies look great!!! Did you know that if you put the cookies in a ziplock bag or a tupperware bowl and put a piece of bread in there, they will stay soft longer. My sister told me that! Sis usually made all the cookies and sweets for Christmas for the family. But now that she is gone, no one carries on that tradition. I try, but baking is not my forte! My kids are all grown and they all have other families that they spend part of the day with. However, we have started having Christmas breakfast together and then everyone is off to their day with the in-laws, etc. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

  10. My son is 18 hours away and will be working on an oil rig as a geologist this year. It's his first grow up job and we will really miss him., I LOVE that you insisted on together time with your son. Have a wonderful Christmas.

  11. Love the picture of your son surprising Sadie!

    oh my goodness, those ginger cookies look fabulous.... I am going to try them this afternoon! I would LOVE those, and I'm with you, they'd win over a chocolate chip any day! Just my preference!

    Your drop sugar cookies look yummy! My hubby loves sugar cookies second only to choc chips.... I am going to try those too! Thanks for sharing with us, and I'm glad you located your holiday spirit!! :) Mine's been hard to muster up this year too, and I think for me it really is just a matter of things changing and traditions being affected by those changes. Anyway, Thanks for all you do Bonnie! Happy Holidays to you!

  12. p.s. The word "average" and the name "Bonnie Hunter" do NOT belong in the same sentence. Just say'n!! There's nothing average about you, Ms. Bonnie - you are talented and sweet and generous, and the list goes on. I'll shut up now!! :)

  13. I'm having the same sort of feelings as my oldest is now married and they have their own holiday, then usually they spend the rest of the day with her parents. This year we are invited to their big family Christmas dinner and I'm seriously thinking about going so our whole family can be together, even if usually we spend Christmas with my husband's siblings. Some traditions can be put aside for one year I think, yes? I really miss my oldest over the holidays since they usually spend them with his in-laws.

    On the upside a drop sugar cookie recipe YAY! I am a drop cookie person for sure. I think they look awesome, will have to remember the grab some frosting while I'm in town getting the stuff for cinnamon rolls. I used up all my yeast and totally forgot to get it while I was getting everything else so I'm in a for a trip to town.

    Have a great rest of the day!

  14. Sounds like a perfect way to spend time with your son. My kids are only 11 and 13 but I still feel the holiday traditions slipping. I always work so hard that the holidays can't live up to what I put in to them. This year will probably be no different but I have a lovely family, lovely home, and I am able to quilt so all is right with the world and I will be thankful!

  15. I think that your sugar cookies look BEAUTIFUL !! and made with love and laughter..how much better can it get?
    Have a wonderful Christmas!

  16. Baking cookies is a great way to connect with older kids. My oldest daughter and I baked cookies together this year. She wanted to give tins of cookies to her friends and this was her way to give a gift that she could afford. We also got help from her Grandmother and Aunt that live near by. Cookie baking makes for lots of fun conversations. Happy Holiday!

  17. Our daughter who is 35 came home for Christmas the other day (She lives in Florida, we live in Ohio). I got home from work one day and she, her dad and younger brother were sitting at the table playing cribbage...I sat down and played too...we had a blast...we laughed until we cried. Not one Christmasy thing got done, but it was so much fun! I miss her so much and when she's home I want to spend every minute with her. I love it when all three kids are in the same room with me and my husband...I cherish those moments. They are few and far between these days! Enjoy the time you have with the son that's home. I know it's hard having one away. My daughter couldn't always come home for Christmas either. I tried not to let her know I felt blue because she was so far away. And very grateful for the friends that would take her in so she wouldn't be by herself for the holiday. Have a great holiday! Karen in Ohio karrie0208@gmail.com

  18. It will cycle around again when the kids get settled.......even better I get to go to my sons house and he does all the cooking.....yummy and I get to play grandma :0).
    So glad your son would come bake with you....maybe I'll try that at the end of the week my daughter comes for a visit :0).

    I also think that your men folk are pretty use to NOT having you at home much....they've had to adjust too.

    Merry Merry

  19. Anonymous3:52 PM EST

    I will be home alone for most of Christmas day for the first time I can ever remember! The grandchildren are coming the day after Xmas though and that sugar cookie recipie looks perfect for those snowman cookies that were on your fb a few days ago! Xmas will get to be more fun when you have grandch. Best wishes!

  20. Ok I may get some eye rolling this weekend, because I am going to get my 29 year old brother who still lives with me in the kitchen on Saturday morning!!
    Neat mixer, and especially since it has the different attachments, have you inquired if it can be fixed by an appliance repair person?

  21. Oh, that's so great that you baked with your son! I would have thought you'd make some melted snowmen! :)

  22. Anonymous5:11 PM EST

    Bonnie, as reflected in your posts, you are a wonderfully warm, caring and generous person and I am so thankful I found your website a few years ago. Like you, I have 2 grown sons, (one named Jeff)! and miss the days when they were young. My only grandchildren, 6-year old twins, live in California and its incredibly difficult to have them so far away during this time. But my other son and his wife are here, and my wonderful husband, so I have many blessings. And now you have given me a recipe for DROP sugar cookies! My DH loves sugar cookies but I dislike the chill, roll and cut out process so never make them. But now I will make the drop version tomorrow! He will be thrilled! And your cookies look so good! And I'll bet they taste even better!
    You are such an inspiration to me, both in your quilting and in the way you live your life. I feel blessed to know you, even if it is only through a blog. Merry Christmas to you and yours!


  23. Sara in Nebraska5:19 PM EST

    The baking of the Christmas cookies is a tradition in our family I refuse to let go--even when the kids are not here for whatever reason. The timeline begins in early December and by Dec 15, the freezer is full. This year we are going to the kids as none of them can come here, and yep, you guessed it, I am hauling DOZENS of cookies with me! I am sure TSA will "enjoy" seeing all the cookies!

    Merry Christmas to you and yours

  24. Empty nesting can be a hard time at the holidays for sure. We suffered a lot when we moved away from our kids. But now we have new traditions that are just as special and heart-warming, and I'm learning to be open to those morphing into even newer traditions as our situations demand. Like you said, it is all about "togetherness" - and sometimes that requires a little creativity on our part, but it is SO important!!! I've found that even when we can't be "together" physically, there are always little ways to be together in our hearts and minds and spirits. I love the way you reached out to Jeff and made your own lovely Christmas "together" memories for this year!

    And by the way, I am SO making those ginger cookies tomorrow!!!!!

    Merry Christmas & a truly wonderful New Year to you and yours Bonnie!!!!

  25. Hi Bonnie--I know what you mean; holidays are kinda blah here, too. What with going to see my Mom in the Nursing facility and the kids (I also have a Jeff!!--who just had a darling little girl) going to the spouses' houses for Christmas, I've been feeling kinda "bah-humbuggy". But, I baked my fudge today and gave half of it to neighbors and feel a whole lot better.....have a great holiday...Julierose

  26. Anonymous8:21 PM EST

    1. Did you have fun? 2. Do you feel good about it? The answer to both is YES = a great experience! This is the first year that our 28 year old daughter will not be joining us for Christmas- she and her hubby and my 2 granddaughters moved out of AK this year and it is just too expensive to fly home. My oldest son works 2 jobs and is working both Christmas eve and Christmas day so we will have Christmas with him on the 27th. That leaves our younger daughter who will fly home from MI tomorrow and the 16 year old son who is still at home. The faces at our table change as we often have church elderly or other "onsies" over for the Hollydays- but the love in the house is always there. Guess I better get off my rear and make cookies.....and wrap presents.........and sew more HSTs to little squares- almost caught up with Orca Bay. Merry Christmas and thanks for sharing yourself with the rest of us! Joy in AK

  27. Now that's the way to make it happen! Right on. :) This makes me happy, happy, happy for you. A side of you I didn't really know about. Thanks for sharing. You're an amazing woman.

  28. Anonymous8:39 PM EST

    I didn't think Kate's comment was very nice either! It was obviously about the time spent and memories made! Who cares what the cookies look like? They looked great to me!

  29. Bonnie, ifI send you my addy, will you send me some cookies...working, I don't have time to bake and they'll lookmreally good!!!! Who loves ya kiddo? We do!!

  30. You really feel old when the grandchildren start to drift away with their friends. I used to make cookies with my granddaughters but they are too busy with teenage stuff. I'm glad you and Jeff found time to make memories this year.

  31. I'm glad to see you both in the spirit. The smile on his face in that doggie door is priceless.

  32. Yeah for you dragging your son into the kitchen one more time. This is my last Christmas to work and I am trying to pack my house at the same time. Have to be out in two weeks. So, I attemped to bake yesterday and ran out of time. No one here to help. College kid took off to the cabin with his rifle for deer.
    So, I am jealous of your baking with Jeff. Next Christmas, I plan to have both grandsons in their little aprons, standing on their stools helping me bake.
    Merry Christmas, Bonnie.

  33. Anonymous11:47 PM EST

    The picture of your son in the doggy door is so cute. I haven't been much in the Christmas spirit this year. It made me smile thinking of you and your son baking and talking. That time is something he will always have with him, and it is priceless. Merry Christmas Bonnie.

  34. Pam Mamon momof6b@hotmail.com8:07 AM EST

    Bonnie, you are not "just" a mom or wife. Those are the Best titles to have! You have worked hard to get those titles! Enjoy those silly times with your son, no matter how old they get. Our youngest son died almost 3 years ago and I would do anything to make more memories with him! He was 9. Enjoy your holiday! I enjoy checking on your blog everyday and seeing what you're up to! Thanks, Pam

  35. Awww...so glad you two had a baking day - that had to feel great!!

  36. This looks like so much fun. I use to tell my kids that they could eat the "ugly" ones, and we'd save the pretty ones for company....do you think that worked? Three boys...cookies...they'd inhale them...and I love the memories we made. The heck with company they can eat store-bought! They still ask for the same plain cookies and you know they still remember making them.
    (don't laugh)...I've never tried coloring bought frosting!

  37. You are right. Making memories takes some effort and initiative on our part. And sometimes we have to make older kids participate ;) I'm glad you did! I need to corral some of my teenagers and do something too! (BTW, love that apron!) And I love that pic of your son coming in through the doggie door :)

  38. I took a quiet minute to finally comment on this post. That half one color cookie/half another is SO Bonnie Hunter! It reflects you as a quilter and I love it!! Never one to waste anything, she pieces the frosting together to form a beautiful dessert.
    It really just cracks me up! You go, girl!

  39. I found your blog from a recommendation on Ravelry and I'm so glad I did! I LOVE the fact that you made cookies with your son. Yes there mayt have been eye rolling but you KNOW he'll remember those moments with his mom. Love the pics of your quilts as well.


  40. I love your cookies, and am certainly going to try the ginger ones. Have you ever eaten them with a piece of cheese? It's a tradition in Yorkshire, in the North of England. It has to be a cheese with a bit of taste so we use a mature Cheddar - perhaps Jack for you. Happy Christmas, and thank you for all the pleasure you give us quilters and blog-readers through the year.

  41. I hear you on making it happen. Not having children I've had to make the magic myself.. for myself.. all my adult life. Fun and memories don't just happen.. you have to plan and make them. So glad you did!! Big Smooch!!! I'm off sat to spend time with Gregg's family in PA... then back to VA xmas morning to my family that lives here

  42. I'm going to have to try those ginger cookies. Yum! Thanks!

  43. I made lemon cookies with a cake mix this year - yummy and easy! now I am thinking spice cake mix... The lemon cookies were simply cake mix, eggs, oil - NO WATER, I did add 1 tsp. of lemon extract for added zing. Mix, roll a teaspoon of batter in powdered sugar and bake 6-9 minutes. Yep I may have to get a spice cake mix

  44. Anonymous5:50 PM EST

    Thanks for sharing - those soft ginger cookies are delicious!!!! I think they're going in the annual Christmas cookie list :)


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