Today I thought I would share one of the cookie recipes we made for Christmas- Candy Cane Kiss Cookies. These cookies feature those seasonal Hershey candy cane flavoured Kisses. Now might actually be a good time to make these as you'll likely find the Kisses on clearance :). These cookies are a little like a peppermint shortbread (crumbly texture). If you like shortbread and peppermint/candy cane flavour these are definitely worth a try. The Kisses and the rolling of the cookies in some sugar also make for a very pretty cookie.
I had fun taking pictures of these cookies on my favourite vintage Iittala "kastehelmi" plates and the new Aino Aalto glasses I ordered recently as a Christmas gift to myself :). The blue glass really popped when placed on top of a blue book.
I also had to have a few pictures with the Christmas lights bokeh. :)
The recipe is as follows:
Candy Cane Kiss Cookies
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 1/4 cups butter softened
1/4 - 1/2 tsp pure peppermint extract
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup of Hershey's candy cane flavoured Kiss candies chopped
granulated sugar for rolling
approx. 40 unwrapped candy cane Kisses
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Make room in fridge or freezer for your cookie sheets
2. Sift dry ingredients together in a bowl and put aside.
3. Blend butter and icing sugar together until light and fluffy
4. Add 1/4 - 1/2 tsp peppermint extract (depending on how much mint flavour you would like) and the vanilla extract.
5. Blend in the egg until well combined.
6. With your mixer on low blend in your dry ingredients.
7. Fold in your chopped candy cane Kisses.
8. Roll your dough into 3/4 inch balls and then roll them in granulated sugar to coat. Place sugar coated balls of dough on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. When you pull the cookies out of the oven allow them to cool slightly and then work quickly to place an unwrapped Kiss on top of each cookie (the cookies will crack a little). Then immediately place your cookie sheet in the fridge/freezer to cool to prevent the Kisses from melting.
When we had Little Pilot we didn't have a proper camera until he was closer to a year old. Although we have a lot of pictures of him as a newborn, the quality is not that great. So this time around with Co-pilot I had my dad's old DSLR and just recently was given his newer Nikon D7000 which inspired me to start shooting in manual mode. I can really see a big difference with the pictures (like the pictures from this year's Christmas posts found here, here and here).
Anyway, when Co-pilot was born I wanted to make sure I tried to do a little photo shoot every month to see how he changes. The first zero month photos (you can see them here) and his one month photos(shown below) were taken on auto with the old Nikon D200. The pictures are not terrible, but definitely not quite as sharp and vibrant as with the new camera in manual. So, in short, I'm having a lot of fun lately learning how to use my new camera and hopefully will be able to capture some better images of my boys.
Before I digress any further, let's take a look at my beautiful baby boy (I'm allowed to be a proud mamma, n'est pas?) :). Isn't it great that a camera is a new thing for a newborn because they'll look right into the lens for you (unlike a busy little 2 year-old over here at Nalle's House) :).
For the monthly photos, I am trying to take one of Co-pilot showing all of him and photoshopping the month on his shirt. I know it has been done all over the place, but I think it is fun to see how he changes. I put him on a Marimekko unikko baby blanket that was given to me by my sister as a shower gift when I was expecting Little Pilot.
I also wanted to try and include another photo that I might later use in his baby book that would highlight some of his developmental milestones. Here's my first go at it:
I have Co-pilot's 2 month photos already taken and waiting to be edited (it's crazy how time flies!). So I hope to be back soon to share those.
I've been so busy/tired with two little ones (that don't sleep through the night) that I am continuously behind with this blog. It's Boxing Day and I am still writing about our Christmas stuff (and may still be writing about Christmas in the New Year at this rate) :). I'm glad that I'm getting to at least a little posting though :).
One of the DIY/crafty things I made this year were a couple of peppermint candy wreaths. They are nice and colourful and really fun for Little Pilot who is really into candy as of late (unfortunately, he has developed a sweet tooth like his mom).
Here is one of the wreaths that I hung on a door in our kitchen. I tied it very simply with some reindeer felt ribbon that I had from years ago. It worked nicely as it was quite stiff and sturdy and just the right red.
If you would like to make one of these wreaths yourself, here is what you'll need:
- 10" foam wreath (I got mine from Michaels)
- around a 150 round peppermint candies
- cinnamon hearts
- glue gun and hot glue.
To assemble your wreath simply glue your peppermints in tight rows and fill-in the gaps with cinnamon hearts. You can see in the next two photos the details and how imperfectly I glued the candies :). I kept telling Tech Guy that my mistakes were "crafty". I'm also showing you 2 pictures of essentially the same thing because I like the Christmas light bokeh on the table in the first one and in the background of the second.
Little Pilot woke up from his nap as I was working on one of the wreaths and wanted to help out. We placed candies on without the glue and he felt very important while instructing his mommy on where to place the candies. I love how he looks like a sleepyhead in the pictures.
I had too many candies so I made a second wreath that I propped up on our living room shelf and it added a little bit of Christmas to that corner.
I hope you enjoyed our wreaths (I know Little Pilot and I enjoyed making them) :).
We took Little Pilot and Co-pilot to see Santa. We were able to skip the line up by registering online ahead of time which was well worth it when you have a 2 year-old and 2 month-old in tow. We tried prepping Little Pilot for his Santa visit this year by talking about Santa, watching him during previous visits to the local mall and letting him know that Santa would give him a candy cane (a big selling factor for our little guy :) ). He was very excited initially, but we couldn't avoid a few tears when he actually went over to Santa
Here are a few photos of Little Pilot and co-pilot as we waited in line.
Little Pilot watched Santa very closely :).
I love this one where he is peaking around the post.
Co-pilot was happy watching all the lights while Dadddy held him.
Little Pilot's tears came once he actually had to sit beside Santa. It was pretty close to his expression in last year's Santa photo (you can see it here). He was able to settle a little once Daddy sat with him and we got this sad-faced photo. It's too bad they don't let you take your own photos as well.
Little Pilot recovered quickly once he got his Santa ball and candy cane - the most important part :).
Hopefully Santa will be a little less scary next year!
This is the last of my Christmas posts for this year, I promise... well I still have to post Co-pilot's 2 month photos that are a little Christmassy since it was in December and then I will be done :). My apologies if you are completely over Christmas by now!
As you can probably guess from the above photo this post is about our Christmas tree. We went to the same place as last year to get our tree (you can read about that here). The photo below is the only decent one I got during the outing as I had Co-pilot in the baby carrier and wasn't able to take many photos. I like all the texture in the wood and hay (might make a nice black & white photo).
Co-pilot slept like a baby during the whole trip :). Don't mind the weird crop, but you can see the Co-pilot was in his baby carrier. We really haven't had to use the baby carrier much with Co-pilot. He seems to prefer his stroller or crib.
Most of the fun pictures I got were once we came home. Little Pilot got out his tools to help his daddy prep the tree. He sawed...
He also drilled (in the first photo above) and tightened the screws on the tree stand...
...and when he was all done he took a look at his accomplishments.
Co-pilot slept through the above, but was awake for the actual tree trimming which he viewed from his trusty bouncy chair.
Below are some highlights from the decorating. I seem to be really into these collages lately :).
If you'd like to see more of our Christmas decor and the entire tree checkout our Christmas house tour.
Here's one last picture.... Little Pilot was sniffing the gingerbread ornaments to see if they smelled good - "Haisee hyvalle!"
Little Pilot is really learning to anticipate Christmas this year. He's very excited about the presents and that his doggie cousins are coming. He's also beginning to learn about the real meaning of Christmas and singing Happy Birthday to baby Jesus is now included in his daily solo. Little Pilot loves to sing Happy Birthday to all family members and friends. His song tends to go something like, "Happy Birthday mommy, daddy, nalle, etc. etc." (he lists everyone he can remember) :)
So to help Little Pilot countdown to Christmas, we started doing an advent calendar with him. It's a tree with little hat, mitt and stocking decorations that have the advent numbers embroidered on them. It's actually a decoration I picked up several years ago on Boxing Day. It's perfect for our 2 year-old in that it is not too fragile. It sits on the coffee table amongst his wooden train set and all his cars and planes. It has survived several rambunctious little boy swipes off the table too. :) You can see below that Little Pilot added his Fisher Price fire engine decoration to the tree (he hung it all by himself).
The numbered decorations are kept in the basket of the tree. Little Pilot has to find the number of the day and hang it on the tree. So how do we get our 2 year-old, who doesn't yet recognize numbers, to do this? We play find the treat hidden in the stocking/hat/mitt!
Here is Little Pilot searching the basket for decorations. He takes this task very seriously! :)
He feels the pieces to find out whether there might be something inside. This too is hard work according to Little Pilot, "kova homma!" (tough job).
I love his expression when he showed us his find (a little chocolate egg)! We've just put little treats inside the decorations this year, but I think it would also be fun to put some small toys inside them.
So that is our simple advent calendar this year. It would also be pretty easy to make one of these for yourself using a small tree and little numbered bags for decorations or if you're extra crafty you could knit little hats, stockings, etc. or make them from felt.
I hope you're all having as much fun as Little Pilot with your countdown to Christmas!
This year, Little Pilot was much more excited this year about the local Santa Claus Parade. He loved looking at the pictures from last year's parade and when we told him about the candy canes that are given out, he was asking to go for days. I never knew that candy could motivate a two year-old so much :).
Here's how we arrived with our three boys. The Bugaboo Donkey stroller has been the best baby gear we have bought. Little Pilot was excited to have his Co-Pilot beside him (sleeping away). Nalle was just interested in socializing = looking for the next person to give him a belly rub.
They were handing out the candy canes already before the parade started which gave Little Pilot something to occupy his time while he waited.
He held onto that candy cane very tightly. I was surprised that he didn't ask me to open it right away.
Here's another picture of the boys in their stroller. I turned co-pilot's bassinet to face out so he could see the parade I could take a photo. This stroller really is very handy like that.
Our parade isn't anything spectacular, but just right for Little Pilot. I love his expression here as he watches a float go by (I'm not sure why there is a random, budget, Donald and Daisy Duck there?).
The cars and trucks were definitely Little Pilot's highlight. I am including a couple pictures for Little Pilot to look at. :)
This one was funny... a lawn tractor pulling some pooches :).
Uh-Oh, Little Pilot! Here comes the Mustang!
Co-pilot also woke up during the middle of the parade and we headed off for a feeding. Good thing Daddy and Mummu were along to stay with Little Pilot.
Co-pilot and I did, however, make it back to see this guy: