January 24, 2014

Holiday Traditions -- Christmas Baking

I know it's almost the end of January but, as it's still in the teens outside and I'm wearing multiple layers and snuggling with my loved ones to keep warm, I think we can forgive a post that references Christmas and the holiday season without being too random!  (Hey, at least I finally took my Christmas tree down...the weekend of Epiphany, as it should be!)

One of my favorite holiday traditions that I hope continues well into my life is the tradition that my sisters-in-law, Cristal and Rainy, and I have of getting together one Saturday in December and just binge-baking cookies and treats.  We started it on a whim back in 2008, right after my husband and I moved back to Texas and got married.  My stepmom gave us all funny, dollar-store Christmas aprons to wear, and we spent the day snacking, baking, and connecting with each other:


We decided to do it again the next year, and the next year, and the next year...

2009 (we still don't know why there's no photo! sad)

2010 (horrible quality photo, but documented the day!)
Each year, we dig out the aprons and the messy recipe cards/printouts and gather at my sister-in-law Rainy's house (it's always been at her house...God bless her for hosting every year!) and dig in for a long, productive day.

Rainy makes a darn fine pot of coffee.

We take turns and help each other mix, roll, sprinkle, fill, chop, etc., and someone is always watching or stirring our lunch (usually a warm, comforting pot of soup) on the stove or making an extra pot of coffee.

Prepping the soup! Zuppa Toscana this year! SO GOOD.

2013 was no exception!  We limited ourselves a little bit this past Christmas...we each only baked our "staples" and maybe only threw in one or two new additions (we've gone a bit overboard in the past...).  With busy schedules, the addition of little ones to the mix, and colds/stuffy noses, we wanted to make sure we still enjoyed ourselves!

The results were, as always, delicious and plentiful:

Sugar cookies
Andes Mint chocolate cookies
THESE from Bethany
Finished apricot cookies
Peanut butter cup cookies
FLOWER? Really, self?!
Cranberry almond biscotti

I love seeing how much we've changed (you can really see it when you look at my niece, Caitlyn, from year to year!) over the years....

I love this tradition because a) it's tradition! I love traditions! and b) I love these women, and I'm glad they're my sisters. I have always been known for pretty much thinking that my two brothers hung the moon.  They are fantastic, hilarious, pain-in-the-ass, smart men, and God gave each of them a woman perfectly suited to them...who will love them more than I do (which is a lot!) and put up with them and challenge them and make them into even better men.

I'm so glad this tradition started six years ago, and I can't wait to continue to add recipes and memories for years to come.

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