My favorite part of the holidays is putting the tree up. Every year, I get mine up as soon as possible after Thanksgiving and I usually spend a couple hours putting on lights and making sure the ornaments are perfect. This year was a little different because I have a toddler, so I had to strategically arrange ornaments and exchange out my beautiful glass ornaments shatter proof ones! Leighton loves to redecorate the tree every few hours! One of our family traditions is to get an ornament that reminds us of that year, like our pineapple ornament we got on our honeymoon, or the ornament signifying Leighton’s first Christmas last year. This year we got a mickey ornament while visiting Disneyland to signify our baby’s first trip to one of our favorite places.
Russell and Bode Family Dentistry
A new Holiday tradition since being married is going Black Friday Shopping with our oldest niece Emily. The last 5-6 years we enjoy going through the Thanksgiving Black Friday adds. We map out our plan, grab coffee and head out bright and early for all the crazy good deals. Ironically Emily and I don’t enjoy shopping with crowds, but we find ourselves year after year still going for the best deals that we can’t live without. Last year we completed our Christmas shopping in one day! I look forward to many years of finding great deals.
I love making snickerdoodles around the holidays. The smell of them baking puts me into the holiday spirit. I recently found a recipe on allrecipes.com for Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles. I don’t like cooking mine all the way, love them nice and soft in the middle. Yum!
Ingredients you’ll need:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup white sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar (packed) – I used dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
¼ cup white sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon milk, or as needed
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
- Place flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar in a mixing bowl. Add cinnamon, ginger, allspice, clove, and nutmeg. Whisk until thoroughly mixed, 1 or 2 minutes.
- Place butter, sugar, and brown sugar in a separate mixing bowl. Cream together with a spatula or wooden spoon until mixture is smooth, 2 or 3 minutes. Add vanilla and egg. Stir until thoroughly combined.
- Pour flour mixture into butter mixture. Stir until just combined or until the flour disappears.
- Wrap bowl in plastic wrap. Chill dough in refrigerator for about 1 hour.
- Stir cinnamon and sugar together in a shallow bowl or plate.
- Scoop dough into 2 tablespoon balls. Roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat all sides. Roll into smooth ball and place on prepared baking sheet, 3 to 4 inches apart. Flatten slightly.
- Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes; sprinkle with additional cinnamon-sugar mixture, if desired. Transfer cookies to cooling rack to cool completely.
- If you’d like to add a bit of shine to your cookies, you can brush them with a simple glaze. Mix confectioners’ sugar with milk or lemon juice to achieve brushing consistency. Brush onto cookies. Sprinkle with more cinnamon –sugar or pumpkin pie spice, if desired.
- And you’re done! Enjoy!
I am thankful this holiday season for the wonderful memories that I have of my mother-in-law Sue Hatch making pies with my children several years back. One of her favorite pies to make and share with her family was pumpkin pie. Below is a simple recipe that she used every time she made it. Please enjoy.
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz) pure pumpkin
1 can (12 fl. oz) evaporated milk
1 unbaked 9 inch (4 cup volume) deep-dish pie shell
Whipped cream (optional) Instructions
Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
Pour into pie shell
Bake in preheated 425 degree F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving.
Happy Holidays from my family to yours.
Jennifer Hatch CDA
As the year comes to an end I have the privilege of reflecting on an amazing year full of family and travel. The Summer of 2017 will be one I will never forget, as it marks the first time I have travelled out of the country. As a born and raised Washingtonian I’m sad to say that means that I have never traveled 3 hours north to cross the U.S/Canadian border.
My husband Stephen and I took a 16 day European vacation this summer. We started in London, England where we spent 6 full days with one daytrip to Bath, England. After England we flew to Italy. These are the cities we visited, in order, while in Italy: Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre, Sienna, Tuscany wine country, and Rome.
People always ask me what my favorite part of our trip was. Each place we visited was so unique and full of so much history that it is hard to pick a favorite. Because it is so hard to put it into words, I’ve attached some pictures of our trip below.
My favorite activity as a kid was building things – especially Legos. This pirate ship was the last Lego project I completed before middle school and sports took over. It survived in the back of a shelf in my old room in my parent’s house since 1989. My oldest daughter, Ava, enjoys building with Legos. This spring, we took my old bin of Legos and the pirate ship from my parent’s house to our house. To my surprise, my Mom had also saved the instructions to the pirate ship.
We disassembled the ship, cleaned off almost thirty years of dust from the pieces, and put it back together. It took us six hours over two days. I assembled the ship the first time by myself. The second time with my daughter was way better. Thank you Mom for saving the instructions.
My husband & I recently vacationed in Hawaii to celebrate our anniversary. In Maui, our most memorable experience was seeing the sunrise from the top of Haleakala; it was well worth getting up at 3 am & trying to stay warm at 10,000 feet. We also enjoyed a luau and learned a little bit about Hawaiian traditions.
On Oahu, we visited Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona memorial. Viewing the names of those entombed was a very sad and moving experience.
One of the most enjoyable experiences was exploring the magical north shore of Oahu. This is the windward side so full of surfers, big waves, and beautiful beaches.
We are hoping to go back someday and look forward to visiting the other islands.
We really enjoyed our first summer as parents and because of the beautiful weather we were able to really soak up every last minute outside with our little girl. We went on a couple little vacations this year and even took Leighton on her first camping trip. She loves being outdoors just as much as we do, so we are nurturing that love. We got her a hiking pack and she loves being up high on our shoulders where she can see everything. She has gone fishing with us a few times now and we are excited for the day she will get to hold her own little fishing pole. Along the way I took way too many pictures because I’m the mother of a one year old and that’s what we do!
I love being outside, especially hiking. I’ve been blessed to hike some amazing places over the years. I’ve had the opportunity to do a great deal of hiking up in Alaska and Upstate New York in the Adirondacks which are a couple of my favorite locations. I’m happy to say that after being here in Washington for 13 plus years finally this summer we made it up to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympics. A trip that was well worth it…. broad sweeping vistas, deer were plentiful, wildflowers were out in force, and there was even little bit of snow left over to add to it all. Of course the best part is doing it with family and friends. I look forward to adding more amazing spots in the years to come.