Holiday Traditions: Cookie Day

Our annual cookie day was this past weekend. My family has been getting together the Saturday after Thanksgiving for over forty years.

Each year, we spend more and more time catching up, eating and drinking wine, and less time baking. It’s great fun! I love the camaraderie, in spite of all the strong personalities, viewpoints and lifestyles coming together.


jam thumbprints

dipped pretzels

mint bars


chocolate mint surprise

peanut butter bonbons

rolo inside

sugar cookie cutouts

kung fu cookies

pecan cookies


triple chocolate chunk

candy bar spritz

pretzel kisses

Usually a different person each year volunteers to host Cookie Day, someone who has enough kitchen space and countertops for us to spread out, someone who is willing to let us take over and make mess.ingredients

The rule for the little kids is you can eat up to 100 cookies! One year, someone tried… and got sick. ~hehehehehe~christmas subway art

The ladies (and little kids) usually have soup for lunch while the guys go to a bar. At the end of the day, we take turns filling our tins with cookies to take home and enjoy throughout the rest of the holiday season.

Do you have any holiday traditions in your family or extended family?


Thankful Friday, Family Edition

Thank goodness it’s Friday! At the end of the week, it’s nice to stop and take a moment to share the things I’m thankful for from the past week. It’s a great way to appreciate the big things and the small things.

1. I am thankful for the great week I just had with my family at my parent’s lake house. It was wonderful to spend time with my parents, my sister, my brother and their families.

2. I am thankful to have access to Lake Michigan so we could go swimming, boating and kayaking.

3. I am thankful for all the beautiful sunsets we saw over the water.

4. I am thankful for beach bonfires and s’mores.

5. I am thankful for the woods around my parents’ house so we could explore on our hikes and bike rides.

6. I am thankful to be home, after being away for nine days.

7. I am thankful to have cell phone and Internet access again, after being without for nine days.

Inspired by this ongoing series of posts.

Hope you have a few things to be thankful for this week.

At the Lake

I’ve been a little quiet around here lately, enjoying the past week at my parent’s house on Lake Michigan with my family.

We’ve been boating, swimming, kayaking, hiking in the woods, biking and spending time together.

sunset at dinner


hiking in the woods

beach bonfire

I haven’t seen my brother and sisters’ families much this year, so it’s been great hanging out together. I’ll be back on Friday with my list of things to be thankful for this week. Hope you’re enjoying some family time these last days of summer too.

Think Good Thoughts

We could use all the prayers and moral support you can spare this week.

My husband is having surgery on both eyes on Monday morning. (eye muscle surgery to correct double vision.)

And then our beloved cat Angel is having surgery on Wednesday.

Think good thoughts for smooth surgeries and healthy recoveries!

Christmas Celebrations

We celebrated Christmas with lots of fun festivities!

We went bowling… for the first time in years. It was fun, although ugly at times, making it even more fun.

We soaked up some fresh air with a hike along the mighty Mississippi River.

We did a little antique shopping, finding all sorts of old treasures to marvel over.

We did a lot of cooking, including trying these fabulous cheese straws for the first time.

We baked cupcakes, hence the necessity for the above-mentioned hike.

We had fun eating surprise chocolates, which required a workout at the local gym.

We admired the neighborhood Christmas lights, which we heard was a project by the electrical students.

We enjoyed a peaceful Christmas Eve service, surrounded by beautiful luminaries and lots of singing.

We chilled out to a very important Christmas football game.

We shared presents, told stories, laughed and relaxed!

Hope you enjoyed your festivities too! Next up, I’m looking forward to the New Year’s Eve festivities… still to be determined.

Art Cards – Week 24 – A Trail and A Cousin

For the first time in awhile, I managed to keep busy and on-task last week, thanks to the to-do list I made. Since it works well for me, that will be my new weekly routine, to make a list on Sunday night of the things I need to accomplish for the week.

One day last week, I made a spontaneous decision to go for a long bike ride. It was one of the highlights of my week, so I thought it was good inspiration for my first art card, which turned out to be a dreamy image of a trail with a cool quote I found.

At the end of the week, I went to visit my cousin Kim who has been going through some difficult times. It was really great spending the afternoon with her and my mom. We are the same age and were the closest of friends growing up, like sisters. We still remain close, but live farther apart these days, so we don’t get to see each other as often. I thought it would be fun to use an old photo of us from our high school graduation party to illustrate side 2 of my card, which turned out to be a goofy little image of us.

Check out the art my creative buddies Michelle and Sandra have been adding to our Flickr group – I love seeing our variety of styles, inspirations and techniques.

Here’s to another productive week!

Winding Down

After a weekend full of entertaining, my brother, my niece and I decided to go skiing today. It was a fun, exhilarating, and relaxing way to spend a winter day outside.

Did I ever tell you that my all-time favorite thing to do is ski? I LOVE to ski! I learn how when I was about five years old, so it’s in my blood.

I didn’t take any pictures over the holiday weekend because we hosted a Christmas Eve dinner and a Christmas Day dinner. Things were quite busy in our kitchen! After all those guests and meals, I can’t believe we don’t have many leftovers. Just enough for one meal.

I have a lot to catch up on, so I’m happy to have a quiet week ahead of me. Hope everyone had a wonderfully festive holiday weekend too!

Cookie Day

Every year since I can remember, my family has gotten together to celebrate Christmas with our annual Cookie Day. UPDATE: I added the recipes to my Favorite Recipes tab above.

(Chunky Triple Chocolate Cookies)

We pick a day around Thanksgiving when we all get together, cousins, aunts and uncles, for a marathon of cookie baking. Well, okay, the guys go out for lunch and watch a lot of football. But some of them help with the baking and decorating. It has been a great tradition for all these years.

(English Toffee)

One year we made over 20 different varieties! Our recipe book has grown into a 3-ring binder. This year, I think the family made 12 different varieties.

(Peanut Butter Blossoms)

When I was a kid, my mom used to keep the cookies in the freezer so we wouldn’t eat all of them before Christmas arrived. We snuck them out of the freezer anyway! Imagine her surprise when she wanted to set out a plate of cookies for a party. (seriously, I’m sure she knew about our shenanigans all along!)

(Chocolate Mint Sandwiches – recipe pending)

I think I might have a couple left, but they are definitely not going to last until Christmas!

These Three

These three lovely ladies arrived on US soil over the weekend!

That’s my 13-year-old niece, my 6-year-old niece and my sister, arriving at the airport. We had a great time over the weekend, shopping, eating, and catching up.

We spent a day at the Milwaukee Art Museum with my dad, and got to see a quilt exhibit. How lucky for me! All of the quilts were from the mid-1700s to mid-1800s. Sorry, no cameras were allowed in the exhibit.

I thought this sculpture was really beautiful.

And then I got closer to see what it was made of – buttons!

The coolest thing about the Milwaukee Art Museum is the actual building. If you time your visit right, you can watch the wings open above the building. What’s that, you say? Check out these two pictures:

Here they are closed:

Here they are almost completely open:

Next weekend, we are hosting the annual family reunion at our house, so I have about four days to get caught up and get ready.

Believe it or not, I have been sewing a lot lately!

I finished two custom orders for customers of my shop, so I hope to share more on those later this week.

– – – – –

Sign-ups for the Ornament Swap in July are closed. My sister and a friend of hers from China have joined in the fun! (Don’t worry, if you get their names. You can mail your ornaments to my house in the US to avoid shipping costs to China, and I will just hand them to my sis. Easy peasy.)

I hope to email your partner information to you by the weekend. Stay tuned, if you are participating! Hope everyone enjoyed a fabulous summer weekend, if you were in the US celebrating Independence Day.