Sunday, December 23, 2007

Failed Holiday Experiments

This holiday season has been chalk full of well meaning attempts at holiday cheer. But it's also been a series of one failed experiment after the next. I already wrote about the Gingerbread House Experiment, but my craft-like failures don't end there. I am many things. But a Martha Stewart competitor is not one of them.
For example, I really wanted to do my traditional sugar cookies with the kids. Casey is finally old enough and has good enough listening skills to help make and decorate them. But I couldn't find my recipe. I fear it got tossed in one of my many manic cleaning sprees over the past year, and my mom and my sister were both out of town for the holidays, so I couldn't ask them for the recipe (I could ask, but who carries their cookie recipes with them when they travel?).
So I decided to take a short cut. I bought two bars of Pillsbury sugar cookies. I left one refrigerated and let the other sit on the counter for a couple hours before I gathered the children to begin baking. I mixed the two rolls so that the consistency was right to work with. Casey did a fantastic job rolling the dough, and both kids helped press the cookie cutters into the dough. After we filled a cookie sheet, the kids each decorated half the cookies. So far, so good, right?
Until I pulled the cookies out of the oven. With my homemade ones, there is no stretching and no growing. Things look pretty much exactly as they did when I put the pan in the oven. Not so with these Pillsbury cookies. They look all swollen!
Luckily, they taste just fine.
Never one to give up easily, I joked about my failed sugar cookie experiment with two friends whose families had joined ours for an afternoon of play time for the kids (and grown ups), and dinner. Weeks and weeks ago, I purchased a couple crafts for us to do with the kids. One was penguin beanie hats. I thought it would be fun to make these hats, then get some photos of the kids wearing them while we went to look at the Christmas lights. Three of the four kids seemed relatively interested (Casey wanted nothing to do with it). We followed the directions, gluing all the pieces on. And this is what we were left with:

Um. Yeah. Not so good. And of course I'm not entirely sure where my hot glue gun is. I'll figure it out eventually and get the beanies to my friends' kids, but . . . well, . . . it was just one more failed holiday experiment. Fortunately, my friends don't have very high expectations of me when it comes to my crafty endeavors.

So next time I'll plan ahead to get the sugar cookie recipe (as well as recipes for the other cookies I like-- this year it's just fat sugar cookies and MnM cookies). And I'll have my glue gun handy. Some things you just can't plan for. And because the season is about spending time together as family and recognizing all the wonderful things we have to be grateful for, it doesn't really matter that my cookies look funny or that the hats fell apart. What matters are the memories we made. And really, if everything went exactly according to plan, what fun would that be?

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