1. Cookies (the Kind You Eat!)

    When you work at a place called CookiesKids.com, it’s hard not to think about cookies at least occasionally. While we don’t sell cookies (yet!), there are several self-proclaimed cookie experts around the CookiesKids.com office, including our founder, whose lifelong nickname is Cookie. Since the holidays are the best time to make and eat cookies, here’s the scoop on some of our favorites. Check out these recipes and ideas!  

    Every year around the holidays, we welcome back some seasonal cookies we forgot about, like gingerbread cookies and sugar cookies with all kinds of festive icing and decorations. These are wonderful, and if your family loves them, by all means make them. But when making holiday cookies, it’s important to keep two things in mind: longevity and moisture. Sugar and gingerbread cookies may look awesome, but they tend to dry out and harden quickly. This can be a problem if you’re trying to make cookies in advance for a holiday gathering; they’ll keep, but they won’t keep tasting good. This year try out these shortbread cookies instead. They keep for a long time, and the buttery taste is superior to both sugar and gingerbread cookies. Plus, you can decorate them just the same.    

    Moms and dads who make cookies for the holidays know that having a wide variety of bite-size cookies is a good idea. It seems like everyone who comes to your home pops them in their mouth – while they last, at least. The debate rages on as to which of these perfect popables is the best, but a perennial favorite seems to be the peanut butter blossom (above). Peanut butter and chocolate meet up on many occasions, but in cookie form they form an unstoppable bond. Pro tip: if left by a warm place, like by the fireside, the chocolate kisses get all melty – all the better.   

    Of course, just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you can’t break out the classic chocolate chip. It seems like every family has their favorite recipe. All these people on Pinterest claim theirs is the best – and it’s pretty difficult to pick a winner. But you have to factor in just what style of chocolate chip cookie you and your family (and Santa) prefers. The soft kind? The crispy kind? The thin kind with a caramelized crust on the bottom? The kind that’s 90% chocolate chunks held together with a mere 10% dough? The kind with potato chips and coffee grounds in it?

    The choice is yours. Viva la cookie!  

     

  2. New Traditions for the Holidays

    Whether religious or secular, your family’s traditions are what make you unique – and they’re what your kids will remember most. But if you tried to sing “The Twelve Days of Christmas” with the kids last year, and they lost interest around “three French hens,” it might be time to consider some new traditions. Don’t be afraid to break with the old – traditions you create yourself can be even stronger than traditional…traditions.

    First, try getting rid of traditions that either aren’t fun or don’t make sense for your family. Write up a list of current holiday activities and ask all family members which activities should stay and which get the ax. Don’t forget to take your children’s opinions into consideration; they’ll be home on school vacation, and likely to overindulge on TV and cookies if they don’t have lots of fun activities to divert them. So give them diversions galore. The best are fun, inexpensive activities that involve the whole family. They can be as simple as a family board game – if it’s fun enough, the family will want to do it next year, too. Here are a few more ideas:  

    Ride around together on a neighborhood tour of lights and decorations – go by bike if the weather’s mild, by car if not. If your family likes to judge, make up some signs, 1-10 or A-F, to evaluate your neighbors’ festive displays. Will the Joneses beat the Smiths this year?

    If your family is not particularly religious, but looking for a way to celebrate the holiday season, the winter solstice – December 22, the longest night of the year – is an opportunity for festivities. Cultures around the globe observe the solstice in different ways, but many celebrations involve giving thanks for light. Why not celebrate with a family game of flashlight tag?

    Or, if you want to show some generosity as a family, give a present to someone who won’t be expecting one. Who should it be? The mail carrier? Arnie down at the town dump? That old woman with the cats? Whoever it is, make the gift meaningful. The same goes for your holiday traditions: only your family can decide what traditions are meaningful to them. And if you’re looking for meaningful gifts for the kids in your life, look no further than CookiesKids.com!       

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  3. A Cute Way to Say “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

    This Valentine’s Day, show your love by getting crafty with your little one!

    This fun project from Frame Fanatic is easy for little hands and makes a great gift too. Check out the super-easy instructions below and submit pictures of your finished products!

    What you need:

    • Cardstock paper in white, pink, & red
    • Black ink
    • Rub-on numbers
    • Scrapbook glue or other adhesive
    • Frame (optional)

    Step 1: Trace the outside of the hands with a pencil. I really only needed to trace one hand, cut it out, flip it over and trace it the cut-out template to have 2 hands cut out. This is key when trying to keep a busy toddler still while tracing tiny fingers.

    Daughter’s hands cut out in red card stock

      

    My hands cut out in pink cardstock

    Step 2: Ink the edges of all the hand cut-outs. Once both hands are inked, glue both hands together to make a heart shape.

     

    Step 3: Adhere the heart-hands onto the page. I tried to layer them slightly so that they both fit onto the 8 x 10 white cardstock. Place rub-ons anywhere you like. I put “2011” to date how tiny my daughter’s hands were this year.

    Step 4 (Optional): Place artwork inside a frame. Voila! Two hands, two hearts, one very special project.