Thursday, December 23, 2010

Smells of the Season

I tried to get away with not making cutout cookies this year.


I had plans to make other cookies, but not those. I mean, gosh, they’re so time-consuming. And messy. You roll out the dough onto a flour-covered mat, press, unveil, scoop, repeat. Plus, with counter-space being a rare commodity these days, I justified we’d go without. Instead, I’d fill our cookie trays with other favorites. Even with two busy 19-month olds, I’ve been able to use their sleep time to create three other kinds!

But when I asked my husband which cookies he’d like, those were the only ones he mentioned. So guess what’s in the oven right now?

You know what, though? I’m so glad I did!

Rolling out the dough brought back so many memories of Christmases past. My two sisters and I would roll up our pajama sleeves and sit at the kitchen table where my mom had prepped a great spread of flour, cookie cutters and dough. We’d play with the chilled dough, adding flour like a pro, and prepped our trays, picking out our favorite cookie cutters and puzzling them together so there was little waste. When we finished a tray, we’d proudly parade our masterpiece to the oven and Mom would excitedly lift the oven door open after admiring our work. We’d go back to our station and continue the process, each time becoming better and better at lifting the frail dough without it falling into a million pieces.

As we’d bake, we’d sample our work, laugh, tell stories and talk about how excited we were for Christmas. We peeked into the oven to see if each batch was ready, getting hints from our mom to know when they’re just perfect. We decorated each cookie with painstaking effort (and sometimes, put a few aside to save for ourselves.) It was the only time we could throw flour into our sister’s hair without getting in trouble! Looking back, I know why so many of my friends wanted to come to my house, especially around the holidays. “Maybe your mom would let us make cookies!” Gee, whose friend are you anyway? But those were memories specific to my house. My kitchen. My mom.

So Mom, as I pull my first tray of cutouts out of the oven – with a touch of brown on the bottom, just how they’re supposed to be – this one’s for you. (Well, you and Andy :) Thanks for teaching me how to create the smells and magic of home.

It is going to be a very Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Perspective in a Photo

And suddenly, nothing else seemed too important.
Jonathan and Benjamin, 19 months old

Terragnoli Twins

My cousin Amy brought her kids to the city for a photo shoot. Frankie and Gianna just turned four years old - aren't they adorable? It was cute to see them with MY twins. When Frankie got to the house, he asked his mom where the girl was. "Oh no," she answered. "Mindy has two boys." He looked puzzled and then asked, "Did she get rid of her girl?" ;) You may not be able to tell from the pictures, but it was FREEZING outside!