Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Best Homemade Sugar Cookies You Will Ever Make

One of the things I love to do every holiday season with Landon is make Christmas cookies, so thought I'd finally get a good recipe up on the blog for reference. After trying many different recipes and making a few alterations, this is definitely my 'go to' recipe for sugar cookies & icing now. Trust me, you will love these! They are great for any occasion and fun indoor activity to do with the kids, and you likely already have all the ingredients in your house already. I definitely recommend making your own icing too because that's probably the best part about these. This recipe is really easy to follow and practically impossible to mess up, and the cookies come out absolutely amazing, & especially great for cookie cutting or cookie bouquets. 

20 minute prep time, 8 minute bake time, & yields about 5 dozen cookies.

What You'll Need:
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cup coconut oil (or 1 1/2 cup butter)
- 5 cups flour (I've done this with half almond flour and they came out amazing)
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract (ran out of vanilla extract in the past and these still taste amazing without it)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt

For the Icing:
- 4 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 cup coconut oil or vegetable oil (or softened butter)
- 5 tablespoons vanilla almond milk (or regular milk, but the vanilla almond milk tastes awesome)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional - I've done it with and without)
- optional food coloring

1. In a large bowl, cream together butter or oil and sugar until smooth.
2. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract.
3. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
6. Roll out dough on floured surface about 1/4 inch thick.

7. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters & place cookies an inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

8. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

For the Icing:
1. In a large bowl, cream together the confectioners' sugar and oil until smooth, the mix in the milk and vanilla extract until smooth.
2. Add in food coloring or sprinkles.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Zoolando Xmas 2013: the best day ever

Went to the Brookfield zoo last weekend for the first time and think I can safely say it was the best day of my 2013. Well, second best day. Got there early in the morning before the crowds and pretty much had the whole place to entirely to ourselves. Blair slept through most of it, and Landon for the first time ever was so excited to see all the animals we read and talk about on a daily basis. He was most excited about the zebras, dolphins, and tigers, and his very own hot chocolate and dippin' dots (first timer). And I loved being able to take the time to read all the interesting fun facts and not feeling rushed or overwhelmed with losing my kid in the crowds. We stayed just until it started to get dark when the entire zoo was lit up with Christmas lights and it was so beautiful. Really hope to get back there again soon and make it a more regular weekend occurrence. A few photos I managed to capture:

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Delicious Mulled Wine Recipe

Hosting Christmas this year? Get ready to wow all your friends & family with this delicious, hot mulled wine. My mom used to make this all the time for the holidays and it fills the house with an awesome aroma and tastes AMAZING! & guess what else -- It is GOOD for you! All the healthy properties in the spices give you a holiday drink you can actually feel good about drinking, loaded with vitamins & antioxidants. So bottoms up! ;)

The following recipe serves 2-3 if you just want to cuddle up with your honey in front of the fireplace, but whenever I make this I typically double the recipe to serve 4-6. 

Prep time = less than 5 minutes and cooking time = 25 minutes.

What You'll Need:
- 1 (750 ml) bottle of red wine (I prefer cabernet sauvignon. You can also try merlot or Zifandel. Honestly, cheap red wine is the best for this).
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 1 sliced orange. keep orange rinds on for zest.
- 10 whole cloves
- 2 tsp ginger
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 2/3 cup sugar, honey, or agave syrup. I would recommend sugar or agave because they dissolve much easier than the honey, but whatever your preference. The agave is an all natural sweetener made from agave nectar and 25% sweeter than sugar, so you can use a little less. 

1. Puncture/stick all the little cloves randomly into the orange slices. They stay in the orange the whole time it cooks to add flavor...and so no one chokes on a clove.
2. Combine all ingredients into a crock pot or slow cooker.
3. Warm ingredients on low to medium heat. AVOID BOILING or else you will lose the alcohol content.
4. Cook for roughly 25 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally to dissolve all the sugar/honey/agave. You want to mull the spices & wine for a minimum of 20 minutes for all the ingredients to infuse together, and can keep it mulling on low heat for up to an hour. (It will give your home an absolutely amazing aroma!) Don't mull it for over an hour though, or else the spices may start to turn a bit bitter.
5. When wine is steaming it is ready to serve. Garnish with a cinnamon stick. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

DIY Handprint Wreaths

Another fun and very quick (under 5 minutes) Christmas craft, these adorable handprint wreaths. All you need is a green stamp pad (make sure you have the washable kind for easy clean ups), a small stretch of red ribbon, and paper. You could also do this on a canvas or a handkerchief or whatever else you have in your little craft stash. I used a thick card stock letter paper for Landon because his hands were too big for my 6x9" canvas, but using paper will also allow you to hole punch the corners and tie some red and white twine to hang and display. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

DIY 12 Days of Christmas

A fun idea and pretty decoration to have hanging in your home for the holidays -- The 12 Days of Christmas filled with your holiday traditions/fun stuff you do during Christmastime. You can really make this however you want, I made ours on a canvas (as an alternative you can use large card stock paper) and only other supplies you need are: some festive holiday craft paper, stencils, ribbon, hole punch, glue, & photos.
Our activities:
1. Open presents!
2. Kiss under the mistletoe
3. Watch Alvin & the Chipmunks
4. Game night in :)
5. Put up the tree!
6. Meet Santa
7. Make an ornament with the kiddos
8. Watch Elf
9. Bake Christmas cookies
10. Hot cocoa in front of the fire
11. Watch our wedding video
12. Have a pajama party 


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

DIY Salt Dough Christmas Ornaments :)

I haven't been wanting to leave our warm toasty house in this brutal, brutal cold front we've been having, esp with a newb + tot in tow, so I'm planning our week of hibernation with a bunch of different Christmas crafts to keep my busy little guy occupied. I'll be posting them up on the blog as I go but first am sharing a repost of these DIY salt dough Christmas ornaments. This was originally published last November and quickly became the most re-pinned image from my blog so I'm throwing it up here again for anyone who missed it, or anyone who maybe didn't have kids or kids old enough to do this with last year. This batch yields a ton of ornaments (about 25-30, depending on the size of your cookie cutters) so I have a few hung up on our tree and then gifted most of the rest out to L's friends & relatives. Cause we're all about home-made gifts with love :)

Here's What You'll Need:
- ½ cup salt
- 1 cup flour
- ½ cup water
- Rolling pin
- Cookie sheet
- Toothpick
- Miniature cookie cutters: stars, Christmas tree, hearts, whatever your heart desires. We also made baby elephants.
- Acrylic paints: Whatever colors you want your ornaments to be
- Glitter glue or glitter paint (optional)
- ribbon


1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
2. Mix together, salt, flour, and water until dough is formed.
3. Knead the dough on a floured surface until the mixture is elastic and smooth. If dough is too sticky, sprinkle with flour, continue to do so until stickiness is gone. Do not add too much flour, this will dry out the dough and will cause it to crack before you get a chance to bake it.
4. Roll out the dough to about ¼'' thick with a rolling pin that has been dusted with flour.
5. Use cookie cutters to cut out your ornaments.
6. Use a toothpick to make a hole toward the top of the shape. Poke the toothpick into the shape, then holding toothpick straight up and down, make a circular motion as if you were stirring something.
7. Place all shapes onto an ungreased cookie sheet and place into the preheated oven.
8. Bake for 2 hours.
9. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
10. Paint!
*Tip: Use the handle end of the paint brush to paint dot ornaments on your trees.
*Optional: When paint is dry, use glitter glue or glitter paint to put a sparkling cover coat on your ornaments.
11. When dry, thread ribbon through hole and tie in a knot in the back.
Happy Christmas Crafting! :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

la la la links to love

Things have finally started to get back to normal & settle down, just in time for the craziness of the holidays :) L is back on his nap/bedtime schedule, eating better, speaking better, & acting like the little gentleman we all know & love him to be. & little B is ... well, basically continuing to be the little angel baby that she is. I've made it out solo on several different occasions with both kiddos while Chris has been in New York for the past 4 days & started to feel like I got this whole mom of two thing under control. I know this blog has not been getting very much love & attention lately so thought I'd drop in & share a few sites I've been perusing & links I'm loving lately.. Happy Monday!

- I've been really enjoying lots of quiet, skin-to-skin time with my precious little bundle, but holy crap, I never knew all the amazing benefits of it. Check out this easy to read one-pager from nuroobaby & get that baby against your chest!
- This post from MelVfit's blog about 'faking' body transformation, and particularly loving Jen's post from mamalionstrong, on post-partum body image and the toll, and beauty of, motherhood. 
- & in honor of "Small Business Saturday"this past Saturday, sharing a few small etsy shops I adore: Oanabefort, Ohnorachio, & thelilcupcake.
-  I've been thoroughly enjoying breastfeeding my little Blair bear, (something I wasn't able to do with Landon, & man was I missing out), & love always learning new facts about why Breast is Best
- Blair's nursery was featured on the well known and very well loved Apartment Therapy site this past Thursday - check it out!
- Receiving some incredible feedback from my Extract shop and thrilled that almost all of my customers have been back for re-orders of my custom facial oil cleanser. Thinking about ways to actually advertise, promote and get out there now. If you are a blogger and would like to host a product review, let me know! (mummascorner@gmail.com)
- Loving Rifle Paper Company, just ordered this iphone case for myself (a close runner up). Also obsessed with her stationary and beautifully illustrated note cards...I found these "B" notecards on clearance bin at Anthropologie, & made a beautiful keepsake for Blair's baby prints :)
-& lastly, This post by Matt Walsh on SAHMs, love. 

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