I am getting so excited for Christmas! It’s my absolute favorite holiday, even though it always seems like there’s so much to do to get ready. But, I’m well on my way this year.
The decorations are up. Tristan and I did the tree together. Actually, mostly Tristan did the tree, and I watched. I have plastic shatterproof balls for the tree so he could hang all the ornaments himself. Which is completely brilliant because had a total blast putting the ornaments up, then pulling them all off again, and hanging them up again, and taking them off, and… you get the idea. The tree has become a daily project for him, but one that he is very proud of. Whenever anyone comes over to our house he tells them, “I have a surprise for you.” He then walks them over to the tree and shouts with great glee, “Look my Christmas tree! I fix tree allbymyself!” (Yes that is one word when Tristan says it.) It’s all really cute.
I have Christmas menus planned, even for my vegetarian diner. Yes that’s Matt, in case you were wondering, and I’m totally thinking to feed him these turnovers. And other stuff. But definitely turnovers. Don’t they look amazing?! I want to eat them and there isn’t even sausage involved.
I’ve finished all my shopping. For EVERYONE, which kinda feels like a minor miracle in and of itself. You know how it is, Christmas shopping is intense. Actually, I’ve gotta admit I do most of my Christmas shopping on amazon.com which is not especially intense. I love Amazon. I get to sit in my bed with my iPad, a cup of hot coco or wine, and pick out what I want. They have everything. I don’t have to go get it or brave the scary-angry-harassed crowds at the mall. Brilliant. Truly brilliant. Though the UPS guy probably hates me… Amazon/UPS has been delivering to our house like three times a day for a week now.
What can I say? I kinda went a little bananas for the boys and my niece this year. But I’m happy about it! It feels really nice to spoil your kids once in a while. I got the boys all kinds of well, boy things, like power ranges, nerf guns, Disney Infinity Star Wars guys, and laser tag. (Who knew power rangers were back in vogue and so expensive these days? ) For my niece, I found a mini trampoline with a safety enclosure that’s totally awesome. I’m pretty confident that I win Christmas this year as I have hunted and killed the most awesome of Christmas presents. I’ve also got gifts done for all the parents, sibs, etc. Which is also awesome because our parents are usually the hardest people to come up with gifts for; and this year I feel like I’ve got something each one of them will really enjoy. Now I just have to get all the wrapping done….eeeep.
I still need to figure out some of the Christmas scheduling. Scheduling is always a little bananas for us around Christmas, we are blessed to have a lot of family to see, which unfortunately live on totally different ends of town. I also want to go to a Christmas Eve service this year, which adds to the busyness. We haven’t been able to make it the past few years because of the busy visiting schedule plus, the church we go to doesn’t usually do a service on Christmas Eve. But I miss it and I’m determined to go this year, even if we visit a different church. It just doesn’t really feel like Christmas without it. But, we’ll figure it all out.
I want to do a few fun Christmas crafts with the kids. The kids love doing crafts of all sorts, but especially for Christmas. You can’t beat painting, drawing, glueing, and making ornaments, mangers, and gifts for people.
And of course there’s the baking. I love Christmas baking (no surprise there right?) and have a mega list of what I’d like to make this year. I like to bake with the kids, make goodies for our family celebrations, for Charlie to take to work, for bringing to church, for gifts…. As you can see from the past few weeks recipes, I’ve already got a head start on the matter. In fact, today’s spice cake recipe was one I was experimenting with as a Christmas Eve dessert! Mini, cute, yummy! Chock full of those wonderful spices that just scream it’s winter, it’s Christmas! And maple cream cheese frosting? Yes! Maple Cream Cheese Frosting is ALWAYS right.
But, I still need to make all our families’ favorite cookies, especially sugar cookies to make shapes and decorate with the kids. And I feel it is an absolute necessity to try making these marshmallows here (so flippin’ cute!), and maybe a batch of my best ever cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning, and… ok so I’m kinda like Tristan with the ornaments, endless. ::shrugs::: What ya’ gonna do? How about you guys? Do you have a favorite holiday goodie? A recipient around the web you really want to try? Leave me a comment and share if you have any suggestions… But, anyway, spice cakes:
Mini Spice Cakes With Maple Cream Cheese Frosting– Yields six mini cakes. Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, November 2015.
Notes: I made these cakes in Mini Springform Pans 4.74″ X 6.25″ X 4.25″, and then sliced each cake in half to frost.
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 and 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 sticks butter, melted,
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
- two 8 oz package cream cheese
- 1 stick butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon maple extract
- a splash of milk
- Preheat the oven to 350* Grease six mini spring form plans with spray oil. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and set the prepared pans on top and set aside.
- In a large bowl stir together flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves. Add butter, eggs, milk and vanilla and stir well to combine. Continue stirring until a thick smooth batter is formed. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
- Bake at 350* for 20-25 minutes on the center rack. When the cakes are done a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake will come out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing. Remove the outer ring, gently turn the cake over in your hand to remove the bottom of the springform pan. Allow the cakes to cool completely before slicing/frosting.
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, cream together the cream cheese and butter. Add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, and maple extract and mix until a creamy frosting begins to form. Add a splash of milk, about 2-3 teaspoons at a time, and mix until the desired consistency is reached.
- To frost cakes, slice each cake in half and frost as desired.