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Cookies & Kids = Messes & Memories

Well, the holidays are over. Kids are back to school, which means I am back to school. As I sit here pouring over holiday photos, I can’t help but feel (for the 20th time today) that I really don’t have time for a job.

I mean, really. What are bills and grading papers compared to sunny beaches and snow-capped mountains? I have decided that I am far happier in my pajamas, curled up in a chair with a good book and a hot cup of coffee.

Unfortunately, we are not independently wealthy, so back to school it was.

My teacher life did afford me the opportunity to travel to upstate New York to visit my family in the heart of the Adirondack mountains.

If you follow us on social media, you probably saw some of our pictures, including these from the front yard.

The snow-covered woods were beautiful, and our boys were born for frigid temperatures.

I preferred the warm kitchen, and time spent baking cookies with a few of my nieces and nephews.

Growing up, I was the family Christmas cookie baker. Each year, I’d spend hours digging through family recipes and holiday issues of Good Housekeeping. Each recipe was carefully selected for maximum Christmas-y-ness, ingredients were purchased, and a weekend set aside for a baking extravaganza.

I’ve grown pickier over the years, and Jeff and the kids have their favorites that must make the cut – peanut butter kiss cookies, pecan chocolate chunk bars, and raspberry bars are the first to hit the list. Once and awhile I’ll toss in some shortbread because who doesn’t love these buttery bundles of goodness?

We missed out with the Christmas in Mexico this year, so I needed a baking fix, and Chase and Quinn were more than happy to help me get it.

Me? I was thrilled to be able to share something I love with my munchkins.

As we worked, my mom and I began chatting about the fact that too many of our young people do not have basic skills. YouTube has become the go-to resource for everything from changing a light bulb to making pasta sauce, replacing the knowledge once handed down from generation to generation.

Who needs Grandma when you have Siri?

Families live farther apart, which makes Google an easier source of answers than Mom or Dad. In fact, last August, when Good Housekeeping answered the 10 most searched food queries on Google, the number one search was…? Can you guess it? How to hard-boil an egg. Make of that what you will.

I am so thankful our family makes it a point for little ones to help in the kitchen. In fact, these two are huge helpers in the kitchen, and were all over making hot chocolate cookies from Preppy Kitchen‘s yummy collection of recipes. If you haven’t checked out this blog by former teacher and father of twins, John Kanell, you are definitely missing out.

One of the things I loved about this recipe was that many steps were perfect for little hands. While I measured and cut, they poured and stirred.

I think Quinn’s favorite part might have been breaking the bars of chocolate into small squares. In retrospect, a white shirt was probably not the best choice!

We assembled ingredients and filled bowls with chocolate pieces and cut-up marshmallows.

And then we dug in, scooping heaping spoonfuls of cookie dough onto the parchment-lined sheets.

In the end, we had dozens of gooey, chocolaty cookies, warm from the oven.

But what we really had were memories. Don’t get me wrong, there’s not a lot that tops the feeling of biting into a chocolate cookie fresh out of the oven.

Watching my niece’s face as she peered into the oven, her repeated “Are they ready yet?”, showing her the timer countdown, and her pursed lips as she carefully blew on the steaming marshmallow has to be right up there, though.

As we grow older, we are supposed to grow wiser. And part of the responsibility that comes with that wisdom is ensuring we pass it on, so the next generation can benefit from a lifetime of knowledge – not all of which can be found on Google.

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