Ho-Ho-Oh-No

Several years in the past we have made homemade peppermint marshmallows. It has been fairly easy and they turn out really cute.

However, this year it was different.

It was cursed from the beginning and I ended up throwing away most of the marshmallows, sans a few that I saved for Lily who loved them.

But let me start from the beginning.

The recipe that I used I have used in the past and it worked really well, so I don’t blame the recipe at all. The recipe from Ashley Marie can be found  here.

dsc_2717

You start the recipe out by basically making a simple syrup by dissolving sugar into water on the stove.

You also have to grease your pan (13 x 9) and cover it with a mixture of powdered sugar and corn starch.

While you are making the syrup you will have to “bloom” your gelatin in cold water for 10 minutes. Once the 10 minutes is reached you add it to the syrup.

This is when everything started to take a turn.

Here is my PSA: use a pot bigger than you think you will need. It will bubble over. You will have all of this syrup spilling over the edges. You will end up scraping off burnt sugar for an hour.

dsc_2722

So once I cleaned this mess up I got a bigger pot and it seemed to work out well, but I had lost a lot of my syrup and gelatin which I think is what resulted in the marshmallows being a giant fail.

After it is done boiling for about 15 minutes you have to let it cool to a lukewarm temperature. Given I was ready for this to be done with, I maybe didn’t let it cool completely that led to my next fail of the project.

Once it cools you add it to your mixer and adds the extracts to give it flavor and you whip it up until it is really thick and white.

dsc_2726

Once it was thick enough, I poured it into the pan and had to let it cool overnight because it wasn’t solid enough.

Next came the part where Lily could get involved. Because there was so much hot and sticky liquids and stoves involved, she really couldn’t help with anything. So, when it came time to cut the shapes out of the marshmallows, I wanted her to help.

We used small cookie cutters that I found at Target earlier this holiday season.

dsc_2721

Lily helped by cutting out the shapes, she would hand them to me and I would dip them in powered sugar to prevent them from sticking together.

When she started cutting them, I noticed that the bottoms were still wet and not the right consistency. They were more like wet clumpy sugar. I ended up letting Lily cut some out and then threw the rest away.

To be honest they were pretty terrible. Lily loved them. I just couldn’t see having these floating in my hot chocolate so the rest ended up in the trash.

But most importantly Lily enjoyed cutting the shapes out and it gave us something to do this evening.

I will just remember to use a bigger pot and then all of this will be avoided.

Did you have any holiday fails this year? Leave a comment below.

Christmas Traditions: Baking Cookies

One of my favorite things to do with Lily, any time of the year, is baking cookies.

It becomes more special when it is Christmas time.

One thing I have learned about baking with toddlers, and now a preschooler, is to try and not set your expectations too high and to save yourself as much aggravation as possible.

I know in our house we will not be making Martha Stewart sugar cookies, or any recipe that involves a bunch of ingredients or steps.

So enter my life and time saver:

dsc_2698

My mom saw this rolled out, sugar cookie dough at Walmart and got it for us to try and I will say that I was pleasantly surprised with it.

When you open up the bag you have two sheets that are floured so that it doesn’t stick to your countertop when you use it.

dsc_2699

Lily had so much fun using the cookie cutters to cut out the cookies. I would place them so we could get the most cookies out of the sheet and then she would press down and cut out the cookie.

You could take the extra dough that you get from in between the cutters, roll it out and make more cookies. (I couldn’t find my rolling pin so I threw the scraps away.)

We were able to make 14 cookies using this method.

dsc_2710

After the cookies were done I asked Lily what color cookies did she want, she said green and I made the easiest icing ever.

The icing was made out of 1 cup of powdered sugar and about 8 tsp of milk. (The recipe said 4 tsp of milk but I had to add more.) I added about five drops of green food coloring and whisked it together with a fork.

I poured the icing into a shallow bowl and dipped the front of the cookies in the icing and let it drip off before they were put on a cooling rack for the icing to harden.

dsc_2711

The cookies turned out really great. I heard that there is also sheets of gingerbread just like these sugar cookies and I am anxious to give them a try.

But the biggest test is from our little Cookie Monster.

dsc_2714

She gave them two thumbs up.

Do you have any special cookies that you like to bake during the holidays? Leave your comments below.

dsc_2715

Turning Faults into Thanksgiving

It’s the day before Thanksgiving. As I am writing this our Lily is rolling all over our bed covering me with her most prized possessions, her two favorite blankets. She had just kneed me in the head and gave me a kiss to make me better.

She is also asking if she can write for my blog when she gets older, which is just the sweetest, while she is holding her new Duffy Bear that we got her for her birthday.

While this is pretty close to my idea of perfect, my day didn’t start out this great.

The morning included scrubbing poop out of not just one pair of underwear, but two, the house was an absolute mess and I had only a few minutes to get ready for work. With all of the stress of the morning and other situations taking place in our lives a meltdown happened. Not a meltdown for the toddler, but a meltdown for me.

I was sad because I felt I wasn’t measuring up as a mom. I was sad because we used store bought decorations for Lily’s third birthday party last Saturday instead of me going Pinterest crazy and making everything. I was sad because we can’t find a bigger house to accommodate our family as we are exploding out of this one. I was sad because no matter how hard I try I feel like I just can’t progress in life.

While fighting with my computer at work I felt absolutely hopeless.

But, then I came home to this:

photopass_visiting_mk_7841701488

And I realized that it was the day before Thanksgiving and there are bigger things out there than paper Mickey decorations and iMovie troubles at work.

For me, feeling like I am never doing my best, is a demon that I have to face and realizing all the blessings I have, is the antidote.

This morning, my wonderful husband reminded me that Lily was so excited for her party that she won’t remember that I didn’t sew her a Minnie Mouse costume to wear to her party. She will remember the Happy Birthday banner from Walmart that hung in our kitchen all week long in honor of her “birthday week” that made her so happy.

And you know what this is true.

Children don’t know that things can always be better. They are just excited with how things are now. She might have an accident in her underwear and be upset one minute and in the next minute is running around the house yelling about “Paw Patrol.”

So this Thanksgiving, in addition to being thankful for the usual food, roof over head and good health, I will also be Thankful for the things that drive me almost to the edge. These are the things that challenge us to be better people. These are the challenges that really call us on the carpet to appreciate the simple things in life and to realize that we are only human. We will mess up and life will disappoint us on more occasions than we would like.

But, in the end it will work out. Maybe not the way we want, but the way we need it to.

And for that, I am thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Love,

The Mousekatot Family