It was a Performing Arts weekend in our house. My son participated in his first Solo/Ensemble Festival in Michigan. He did a great job and scored a I (the highest level) and earned a blue ribbon medal. He was so very proud of himself. He was playing his piece and suddenly lost where he was and the accompanist kept going and he was back on in 2 measures and finished the piece perfectly. His second piece was also wonderful. The judge praised his poise and ability not to bring the performance to a halt but get right back into it. She loved his emotion and drama while playing. He was so very happy with doing well in something.
For a child with Autism that he didn’t have a complete meltdown when he lost his place was HUGE! He was able to keep it together and keep going. This is a child who has trouble dealing with change and things going wrong. It was great to see him use the skills he had and how well he was prepared musically so that he was able to keep going when things went awry. We are hoping that this will begin to transfer to his life skills. That when he is prepared he can keep going and move on. Life doesn’t and can’t come to a complete halt every time something changes or something unexpected happens. This gives us great hope for his future.
My daughter was singing in a version of the Nutcracker called “A Steamed Christmas.” It follows the general story line of The Nutcracker only with a Steam Punk twist. It was interesting. But, what do you do when your children are in the show and have to be there an hour early? You are the first people into the auditorium. Each and every show they are in we are usually around the first people in. But, they were playing Christmas music before the show so that was really nice.
If you were a child growing up in the 1970s you had one of these ceramic trees in your house or you knew someone who did. My Grandma had this one on the table in her house for as long as I can remember. There were a few things I wanted from Grandma’s when she died. This tree, a bread box and her coffee table. Those sound like weird items as I list them but they are the biggest reminders of my grandmother. Every time we went to her house she would have a treat waiting in the bread box for us. It could be cookies, a donut or a cupcake. We never knew what would be in there and we had to ask for permission before we went and got something from the bread box. The coffee table is nothing special. Just an old, plain table that sat in her living room for over 30 years. I would clean it off and polish it for her whenever I visited, which was often. Grandma’s was a place to play and have fun. Be away from family and just be with my Grandmother. She taught me to do crossword puzzles, play tons of card games and just laugh and laugh and laugh….
These cookies are another from my childhood. These can be made into the round balls, similar to an Italian cookie, as I have made them or into cut outs. These puff up quite a bit so you want to do simple shapes with them such as stars, trees and candy canes. A good Cream Cheese frosting or a Butter Cream frosting is best for frosting these cookies.
These are simple and old-fashioned. These are the kind of cookies that I picture they made long ago before we started stuffing cookies with tons of candy or turning Christmas Cookies into works of art. These remind me of a simpler time and place. They remind me of my mother and grandmother baking cookies at the holidays when we were little.
The flavor is light and not an overly heavy cookie.
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 1 cup shortening (no butter)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- lemon or vanilla extracts (your choice) start with 1 teaspoon and increase to your taste preference
- 4 cups flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cream together the sugar and shortening until well combined.
- Add eggs and beat well.
- Add salt and baking powder to the flour and mix well.
- Add the milk and extract to the egg mixture and beat until thoroughly mixed.
- Add flour and mix well. Dough will be stiff.
- Roll out onto lightly floured surface – handling the dough as little as possible, for cut outs. Or roll into teaspoon sized balls for round Italian like cookies.
- Bake 10-12 minutes until bottoms are golden brown and cookies are set.
- Allow to cool completely before frosting. Frost with your favorite Butter Cream frosting or Cream Cheese frosting if desired.