Where Whine Meets Wine


Ok, so some of you may remember this year’s Christmas cookies, or my first Gluten Free Christmas cookie experiment. Thankfully there were only a couple of batches that went to the birds (literally). If you are gluten free, then you know sometimes cooking gluten free is a bit of an experiment. Especially if you’re like me and tend to make up your own recipes. Thankfully, in the last year, there’s only been one meal that I would consider inedible. And hubbyman still ate it. After the first cookie flop and my heart sinking to my toes (it’s a yearly tradition that I have done since being a little girl.). I mean like real disappointment. Not only are Christmas sugar cookies a tradition, but the kids and I love to make them during other times of the year. Dinosaurs and trains are not just for Christmas! So I needed to figure out how to make them work! I opened a million and two windows of baking gluten free tips and read and read and read… and picked a couple things and decided to go from there. Thankfully, the next batch turned out perfect. I’m not sure what exactly made them go from flop to perfection, but I am so glad they did! So, if you’ve been looking for a fun cooking expedition to go on with your kids- this is it my friends! If your household does wheat/gluten then by all means use any old sugar cookie recipe! If you’ve been looking for a good gluten free recipe- here you go!

trains, turtles, strawberries, bears, snowflakes... there were some actual Christmasy ones in there too

Ok, let me preface this by saying that these do take up some time, say an afternoon, or an evening. That said, they are not difficult to make. Really, the kids have so much fun with the cut outs and decorating… we made three batches this year!

my sous chefs!


1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 large egg

2 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cream of tartar

  • Beat powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, almond, and the egg. (With an electric mixer or by hand) And then stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. I wrapped it in saran wrap and put it in the freezer for an hour. I put away all the ingredients and did kitchen clean up, by the time I was done and the oven was hot, it’d been an hour!
  • Heat oven to 375. Lightly grease cookie sheet. (I used a spray)
  • Divide dough into sections. I just grabbed a size that looked like a snowball to me (apparently I really am a northern girl). I kept the rest of the dough in the freezer. Roll out until the dough is about 1/4 inch thick, on a lightly floured surface. And then cookie cutter time! Sprinkle with granulated sugar or leave plain to frost and decorate!
  • Bake 7 minutes, or until edges are light brown. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack to cool. (They must cool before frosting!)
  • Repeat!

Note: It really seemed to make a difference that I kept the dough in the freezer in between batches. Especially after being rolled out and cut, the dough then gets really soft and squishy and you don’t want the flat sheets of flop that I made- so keep ’em cold!

soooo many cookies


If you’re needing a frosting recipe, all I do is take about a cup of powdered sugar and add one tablespoon of milk. (That was really technical, I know.) Mix. Add more powdered sugar if it’s too runny and more milk if it’s too thick. You can always add food coloring as well. And then decorate with sprinkles or whatever your heart desires- before the frosting sets!

*Sorry the pictures are not terrific… my lens was dirty and I didn’t know until it was too late! Hubbyman cleaned it, so here’s hoping for some better pictures in 2012!

Leave a comment »


After a much needed hiatus, I am back my dear friends. The holidays are over and life is beginning to go on as usual. They were wonderful, ridiculously busy, and filled. And I hope that yours were too.

Here are some of my favorite things from this last year:

  1. Visits from far-flung family and friends.
  2. Weekend getaway with a girlfriend. (and a stowaway in the form of sweet little(st) E
  3. A summer completely filled to the top with some of my favorite people
  4. Our best anniversary getaway to date. (That started with free champagne and chocolate covered strawberries and ended in a free hotel room.)
  5. An empty hotel and pool fun with my sweet, little family
  6. Cutting down our own little Christmas tree, no matter how Charlie Brown-esque it may have been
  7. game nights with friends
  8. quiet evenings with those I love most
  9. late night Wii fests full of wins and defeats all around
  10. laughter, tears, and everything in between that makes life as challenging and wonderful as it always is that leaves us grateful for everyone and everything in it.


I hope to continue my attitude of gratitude for many years to come, not just 2012. May you find lots of reasons to be thankful for the year passed (even if it’s just it’s passing), and in the years to come.

Leave a comment »

A Very Berry Christmas

I am  getting to the point where I’m almost ready for Christmas to be over. That  said,  I know I’ll still feel the normal letdown when it’s all over. Such a fun and exciting and busy time of year.  We have hubby’s side of the family’s Christmas done and this next weekend will be my side of the family… I know I posted a picture of the kids’ tree  already, but it’s been a little more decorated lately. (I feel a little like this tree- like  Christmas threw up on me,  and left me there to be pointed and  stared  at.)

There is more stuff on this 2 foot tree than most 6ft ones! And who knew shoestrings were so versatile as to also be Christmas decor? Can't forget all the pipe-cleaners strewn about!

While I was running around like a crazy person, my children were enjoying each other, Christmas music, and  a Christmas movie.

During the chaos there was lots of:

Collective Gift Opening

cuddling on Grandparents while they napped

putting new toys together

And all of that left us oh so exhausted

even puppy is exhausted

Have yourselves a very Berry Christmas!


Christmas Magic

Despite yesterday’s post about Santa, (and the fact that I’ve admittedly been a little grinchy about Christmas-time growing up) being a wife and mom, with a home of my own, has changed things. And for those of you who are on the fence about Santa and what to say to your kids, know this: Christmas is a magical time with or without Santa. We never said one way or another about Santa, until directly asked. And then we shared, and also shared the story of the “original story,” and talked about families who don’t have all the things that they are so accustomed to. Which prompted them to show great signs of heart. After talking with my Miss E about it, I gave her a dollar and said she could use it to buy gum or something (she looooves gum), but on the way in she asked about the man ringing the bell next to the red bucket. I told her what it was and what the money went for. And that’s right, my three year old decided she’d rather help out a family in need than get some gum. And Big E has helped pick out a toy for a boy who would possibly not get any others. They frequently go through their toys and leave me with a pile they say they don’t love anymore, to give to kids who are in need of some toys to love. (Granted if I don’t get them out of the house quickly enough, eventually they’ll be rediscovered and magically back in love with…but c’mon, they’re under 5!) As I was saying, there is magic in the season, even without Santa bringing it. There’s magic in their faces watching the snow, watching them decorate their own tree (it’s just their size!), hearing the oooohs and aaaahs (And “Mooom, look! They’re just so bootifull“) over houses and trees lit up with lights. Hearing them recount to each other all the special traditions and meanings of Christmas. Listening to them reenact the Christmas story with the nativity set. Baking cookies, making fun crafts… there’s magic in all of that. Even without Santa.

Here’s some of our magic that’s very easily duplicated…

This was really easy and the kids thought it was really fun. I found a book of Christmas stencils among my decorations, but you could easily hand draw some simple, Christmas-themed things (tree, bell, star, santa outline, stocking outline- they’re all pretty basic) and then had the kids color them in. Next they’ll get cut out and used as gift tags for grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. You could do this on green or red paper and make it even more festive! I didn’t think about that until after!

I got the idea for these from pinterest, which lead me to this lovely blog. Mine is a little different, but definitely the same premise. I just filled 8 clear bulbs with some white glitter, stuck an index finger from each of them into some glue and them put it on the bulb. Then we covered the finger prints in glitter! After they dried I used a permanent marker and made little black hats for their heads and three black dots for buttons on the belly. I also added a red scarf with a red permanent marker. These were so easy and turned out really cute.

And these gems were really just because. I’d gotten some ornament shaped…I don’t even know what to call the material, kind of like a thin foam, maybe? Anyone know what I’m talking about? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?  Whatever, they’re cute and they were on sale. I figured these could either be gift tags, or I could glue pics of the coordinating kids on the back and make them into ornaments (probably payback to our parents for all the child-made ornaments my grandparents had to have!) This was another glitter and glue project. Dip the whole hand in, put it on the “paper” and shake the glitter! Easy-peasy. Oh, I did Littlest E’s feet instead of hands because on anyone under 2 years old, this is the easiest way to go without doing it in their sleep. (When the kids were babies I’d use a finger paint and sign footprints on all their cards- to daddy, grandparents, uncles, etc.) I don’t even care that these are blatantly “chintzy,” I like ’em!

I saw a few posts about 25 days of crafting, where you do a new and different craft with your kids each day. I am not going to be doing that. I’d be digging myself out of the glitter by day 4. But I liked the idea, and we are doing lots of crafts. Today will be chocolate-covered strawberries, made to look like Christmas lights. They are gonna be cute!! (And delicious) Unfortunately, MissE has been unable to help herself, and she’s already eaten half the strawberries I bought for this, so we’ll just have enough for a post dinner snack. I’m really excited about them anyways (I always get excited about food!) and look forward to posting pictures of our work after!

I have no idea what's on his face... but he looks happy at least!

This is not craft related, or maybe it is… I can’t remember what he’d gotten into! I just like it! And since he wasn’t really a part of the pictures or post, there you go. And here is his contribution into today’s laughter:

Our dog is a huuuge baby. (Have you ever heard of a lab who gets tired of playing fetch after maybe 5 throws? And he’s only a year!) When I’m diligent about it, he gets better, but normally, anytime he hears a noise, he sits at the window, with his head stuck behind the curtain. Barking and/or growling at all the little old ladies that go a-walkin’ through our neighborhood. (Obviously, they are the most threatening of the passerbys.) Today was no exception. Lady walks by, puppy begins to growl. I turn around, tell him to Stop that! And then shoo him to go lay down. A moment later, I hear more growling. I find myself rolling my eyes as I head back to the window, only to find that the growling I heard was coming out of my sweet, littlest boy! The dog, of course, quickly sidled up next to him. And there they stood, growling in unison at the sweet neighbor-lady (that they both know). *Sigh*Headshake*Eyeroll*

1 Comment »

Santa: The Good, The Bad, and The Creepy

Santa-lovers beware, this post is not for you. My husband hates Santa. Simply put, he creeps him out. I’ve tried to reason with the man, but for some reason my arguments never seem as valid once they become audible. None the less, these are a few of the statements we’ve each spouted to prove our own thoughts’ validity.

  • He watches them while they’re sleeping! I’ve always wanted a way to watch them when they sleep and actually get some sleep myself- now I have that! Now I’ll have someone awake and watching, in case some old creep would try and break in. (hey, wait a minute…)
  • He knows when they’re awake- I’m pretty sure neighboring countries know when our children have awoken. So really, the North Pole isn’t that much of a stretch.
  • You can get your children to behave by spouting a simple, harmless lie. Behaving children? Check. Tricking them? Check! Lying to them? Double check! All the parently attributes I’d hoped to pass down to my young, impressionable children.
  • Bringing your most precious gifts (your children) to sit on the lap of a strange old man with a beard, who may or may not smell like a liquor cabinet is not weird at all. It’s flat out creepy.
  • Santa (and his consumerism) helps the economy! Your kid whispers what they want most in this world to a “santa.” Leaving you to buy every toy it could’ve possibly been, just so you can keep the faith alive.
  • I’ve always wanted my children to find good role models in life, you know someone that will teach them useful tools for their life. Santa does that. If you want your kid to have the best teacher for B&E’s- he’s your guy. Same goes for if you’d like your children to reach expert-level in the Peeping Tom world.  (Seriously, all the facebook status updates in the world are not enough, he actually has to see you.)
  •  I googled Santa and came up with TONS of websites dedicated to pictures of creepy Santas. And they were definitely creepy. I think I could smell rum on a couple of them.
  • There’s a Santa and Mrs. Clause speedo run all over the country every year. I think we can safely add Mrs. Clause to the do not watch list.
  • He turns sweet, wild reindeer into prancing, flying slaves who perform his manual labor.
  • When asked if he’d like to meet Santa, this was Big E’s response: He’s not real. Me: So you don’t want to meet him? Big E: It would be kinda creepy to meet someone who’s not real. (He’s got a point.)

Case adjourned.

If Santa would just hook up with social media things could be different. We’d be way less freaked out by someone who just twitters your tweets and pokes your posts… eh, maybe not.

photo credit: ilovecoffeeyesido