In the spirit of the holiday season…

I give you my favorite sugar cookie recipe as a holiday gift. I swear it is THE BEST recipe. I roll the dough out to about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick and then cut into the shapes you like best!

Happy Holidays from my kitchen to yours!

Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup sour cream

Directions:

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt & nutmeg.
In large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.
Beat in the egg, vanilla & sour cream until well blended.
Stir in the sifted ingredients.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap & chill overnight.
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C)
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shaped with cookie cutters.
Place cookies 1 1/2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Frost with your favorite cookie icing.

Not mine, because I don't have any closeups but they look JUST like this. Sooooo good!

Old traditions, new traditions…

When asked to write a blog on family traditions I sat and pondered which one to write about.  Since I was small my family has always put up our Christmas tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  I remember those moments fondly as an adult.  The rainbow glow of the lights and the way it all shone off the silver and green glass ornaments.  I’d lay under the branches (it was a fake tree and not too low to the ground), slide my moms headphones on and listen to the likes of Mannheim Steamroller while I let my mind drift to snow covered streets and hot cocoa.  In the end, however, I decided to go with a new holiday tradition.  The one I chose started the year my husband and I moved our little family out to Colorado from Kansas.  That was the first Thanksgiving my aunt, uncle, and Gran came to visit and the first year we made a mess of my kitchen in the attempt to make enough sugar cookies to feed all Santa’s elves.

Since that first year we have made a habit of making the Saturday after Thanksgiving our tree decorating-cookie baking-holiday movie watching-carol singing extravaganza.  We stay in our Christmas pajamas all day and start the morning with a nice big breakfast.  The table is full…bacon, eggs, biscuits, gravy, hash-browns.  You name it, and we’re eating it.  When we’re done and stuffed, we start the movies.  I wish I could say we were ready to tackle the tree decorating or cookie baking but we’re all fairly tired by then and just ready to chill for a bit.  At some point in the late morning we find the energy to put lights on the tree–a feat in itself–and then decorate it.  There’s always movies in the back ground, lots of chatter, and it’s likely that you’ll hear someone break out their favorite holiday carol and start singing.  

The day before I prepare the cookie dough, from scratch of course, so that it’s ready for uncle Steve and my middle daughter Olivia to roll out and bake.  While they’re busy doing that and Gran is supervising, the rest of us finish the tree and sit around telling stories and watching more Christmas movies.  By the time all the cookies are baked, so are we.  Did you know you can overdose on televised holiday cheer?  You can, though it’s not all bad.  

I digress, AFTER the cookies are done, I make icing and we start dipping.  It takes a bit but everyone gets into the act and eventually the counter is covered in white coated sugar cookies.  At the end of the night we have a plethora of colorfully decorated cookies that are divided and given to friends and family both in Colorado and away.  The kids have fun, the adults have fun, and the teenagers brood in the room upstairs.  

Even now I laugh when I think of the clean up of both the kitchen and the kids…royal icing is a bear to get off of tile, not to mention out from under little finger nails.  I think I might have just found a stray silver decorating ball as well the other day.  I’m surprised the dog didn’t sniff that one out first.

All in all, I can’t imagine a better kick off to the season of lights and love.  Spending time with my family is always wonderful but there is something so magical about the time we take to pull together on that special Saturday.  When my aunt, uncle, and Gran leave the following day to head back home I always feel like we’ve made memories.  Perhaps when my daughters are all older they’ll think fondly on these times.  It might not be twinkling lights on a tree and the sounds of the seasons in their ears but I hope it’s still as magical to remember.
Why don’t you send me your favorite holiday tradition or memory for a chance to win one of two e-book copies of my book A Banshee’s Tale! Be sure to include your email, twitter, or facebook information so I can contact you if you’re a winner!  
Happy Holidays to everyone!

Cookie Bakers to the King...gotta love the Iron Chef pose!

Just a sampling of this years batch(es)

Be sure to write down what ornament or symbol you see for a chance to win a prize on TWCS PH!

Aside

TWCS Holiday Blog Hop!

Dec. 12 Veronica Breville http://veronicabrevilleauthor.wordpress.com/

Dec. 13 Kathryn Gayle http://kathryngayle.com/blog/

Dec. 14 JD Watts http://jdwatts.blogspot.com/

Dec. 15 Michele Richard http://michele-richard.blogspot.com/

Dec. 16 Jennifer Schmidt http://jleeschmidt.blogspot.com/

Dec. 17 Sophia Duane http://sophiaduane.blogspot.com/

Dec. 19 Sherri Hayes http://sherri-hayes.blogspot.com/

Dec. 20 Michelle Birbeck http://apps.michellebirbeck.co.uk/Blog/

Dec. 21 Lindsey Gray http://lindsey-gray.blogspot.com/

Dec. 22 C. M. Smith http://cmsmithauthor.blogspot.com/

Dec. 23 E. L. James http://blog.eljamesauthor.com/

TWCS Author Blog Hop – Our authors are sharing holiday traditions Dec. 12 – 23. Each day an author will post on their blog a personal holiday tradition or a holiday tradition of their characters. They will also post the blog hop icon. You will notice in the bottom right hand corner of the icon a holiday/winter object. You will need to write these objects down and keep the list handy. In addition to great giveaways happening each day on the authors’ blogs, we will have a grand prize drawing on TWCS’s website (http://www.thewriterscoffeeshop.com/publishinghouse). To enter the grand prize drawing you will need to have collected all 11 objects.

What is the grand prize? An ebook of Season of Love, your choice of paperback (Connected, Take This Regret, Slave, or Fourteen), TWCS coffee mug, bookmarks (many are signed by the author). TWCS pen and notepad.

Some of my favorite things…

No, I’m not talking about rainbows on roses or cream colored ponies, though I’m positive those are indeed AWESOME! I’m talking about some of the things in my life that just make me happy to be where I am.

These are in no particular order:

Friends…those wonderful people who stand behind you even if you haven’t showered in three days and shake you out of whatever funk you’re in. Including the cloud of funk following you after the lack of personal hygiene;)

Family…the crazies that you share DNA with. The people who will bail you out of jail or a really bad date at a moment’s notice. Those amazing individuals that taught you how to hock a luggie and the art of “See Food” *Looks at Aunt Jo and smiles wide*.

Books/stories…a new adventure is but a page away. The written word is both powerful and soothing. It’s capable of bringing tears to your eyes or making your heart pound out of your chest. There is simply nothing like it without leaving the comfort of your favorite quilt.

Dreams…we all have them and even if they’re terrifying the fact that you’ve dreamt makes you feel alive.

Below are some of my favorite images. They might make me a little weak in the knees or simply elicit a giggle. I hope they can at least bring a smile to your face.

COME ON! Who didn't swoon when this man came on screen? I mean even the theme music made me all gooey!

Just because it's pretty:)

There is no denying that RPatz's brooding perfection isn't swoon worthy but his smile makes me melt...and dream of sitting him down to a home cooked meal. Sorry, it's the mama bear in me.

Do ya get it? Huh? HUH?! LOL! Always a crowd pleaser.

Their grace, beauty, and endearing familial relationships make elephants one of my very favorite animals. I've always been intrigued by them and that feeling only grows with age.

A Banshee’s Tale now available for pre-order!

Just a quick update to let you all know that ABT is available for pre-order on TWCS PH. http://www.thewriterscoffeeshop.com/publishinghouse/books/detail/42

So sorry for the delay in updates. Though, in all honesty, there isn’t much to update. I’ve yet to have time to work on book 2 of my Banshee series due to out of town visitors, birthdays, and general running around. My youngest celebrated her birthday yesterday with a party and she had a blast, as did her guests. It was a lot of work but you gotta love the look of happiness on a child’s face. All warm fuzzies aside, I’m partied out and considering the next birthday is my own I’m asking for a weekend of mommy down time! Cheap, awesome, and I get to sleep in for two days straight! YAY!

Here’s my parting image. I thought it was fitting as my daughter had a Princess and Pirates party and the pony looks quite princess-y.

No rest for little ‘ol me…

Remember how I was hoping that I might get a nap in today after a marathon of soccer games? Yeah…didn’t happen. As a matter of fact, I still haven’t eaten dinner, though I did break for a beer.

Let’s recap, just because I’m in the mood to whine…got up at 8 am, showered, dressed myself, and two children…then we left the house at 9:45, with snacks, chairs, and camera bag in tow…came home for lunch at 11:30 but I didn’t get to eat because I *insert any number of reason & you’ll be on the right track*…left the house at 12:20, not returning again until 5…upon returning home my husband and I moved his office around, and I reorg’d my old desk to turn it into a message center & craft area for the girls, while also moving my desk to husbands office.

*Looks around* You still with me? *Shakes head at woman in the back who has fainted and mutters “Newby”*. Now I’m getting ready to have a little something to eat and then I’m going to collapse into bed and not move until someone pulls me from the downy comfort of my favorite spot.

I should mention that ultimately today was rather nice. We had a great time watching the girls play and I felt like I accomplished a lot. That doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t feel exactly like the picture below:)

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