Christmas Cut-Out Cookies

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My cousin Kelley has reminded me from time to time that the only cookies I would eat at holiday get-togethers were my own mom’s cut-out cookies. I never touched any other cookies that were present.

What can I say?! I like what I like!

I’m happy to share this recipe with you today because this is the most delicious and light sugar cookie recipe for cut-outs. If you like a crunchy cookie, roll the dough thinner, and if you like a softer cookie, keep it a little bit on the thicker side.

They only take 5 minutes to bake so the frosting can start happening pretty shortly thereafter (as long as they are cool!)

I envisioned a sweet family time of making the cut-outs with the boys one evening, imagining us all laughing and enjoying one another while baking perfectly shaped cut-outs. As it turns out, they pretty much massacred the dough and hacked away at the shapes they used with a spatula, so I quickly decided I would make the cut-outs that we would actually frost later that evening, and we could frost them together!

That went much better, the boys loved shaking the sprinkles over the frosting and David kept “accidentally” breaking the arms of the ginger bread men and eating them! It was a fun time and I hope it becomes something we do annually!

So let’s get onto the recipe!

Christmas Cut-Out Cookies // makes 24 -30 cookies, depending on size of your cookie cutter

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup butter

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 egg

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cream of tartar

–Preheat oven to 375.

Mix powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract and egg together in a mixer until combined. Stir in flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Refrigerate dough for at least 3 hours (do NOT skip this step).

After the dough is completely chilled, generously flour the surface you will be rolling the dough out on, flouring the rolling pin or pastry roller as you go. It’s okay to work a bit more flour into this dough. Work quickly, the colder the dough the easier it will be! The thickness I like is about 3/16th of an inch, which leaves me with a soft cookie that holds its shape well.

Using cut-outs of your choice, create the cookies and bake on parchment paper on a high rack in your oven for 5 minutes. Let cool on the baking pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

After they are completely cool, it’s time to frost!

Christmas Cut-Out Cookie Frosting 

3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

about 2-3 tbsp milk

Mix sugar and butter until it resembles small rocks, like a pie dough. Add vanilla and at least 2 tablespoons of milk, mix on high until the frosting comes together. Add more milk for a thinner frosting, or leave it on the thicker end by not adding additional milk. Generally, I add 3 tablespoons of milk to my frosting.

Add food coloring, and enjoy frosting the cookies! My tip is to shake the sprinkles onto the cookies over a large baking sheet so you aren’t vacuuming up sprinkles for the rest of your life!

Enjoy!

p.s. Check out my gift guides for him and her!

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Having another baby: things I’m looking forward to

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My kids will be 4 and 3 years old, respectively, when the baby arrives in May, of course assuming this baby doesn’t come early. While the baby stage feels like an eternity ago in a lot of ways, I can still remember so many moments of that 0-1 year of each boy that were the essence of newborn and infant life.

Spit up, teething, first foods, wearing the baby in a wrap, watching them sleep, first words, adorable outfits, first steps, and so much more.

David was only 6 months old when I shared the news that I was expecting Luke. He was then 14 months old when we brought newborn Luke home from the hospital. The first few weeks were blissful and lovely. Then colic struck and it was a hard few months. In general I would say that entire first year was a blur, but despite the challenge I would do it again in a heartbeat. I love, LOVE having these boys so close together. Love. It.

I’m looking forward to the newborn smell and the little noises the baby makes while he or she eats. I’m looking forward to wearing the baby again and when he or she is big enough, putting him or her in a carrier on my back. Life was still slow when Luke came because David was still napping 2 times a day, but this time it will be significantly different.

I’m truly happy that we have a pool in the backyard (and I can’t always say that because the pool also contributes greatly to my stress level due to the dangers that it can present) because I think we will live in it next summer. We practically lived it in last summer, and it’s the perfect thing to do with two active boys in sweltering 100 degree heat.

I don’t know what life will look like, and I imagine juggling work and motherhood will continue to be an uphill battle, but I can truly say I’m looking forward to nursing again, and having a sweet little baby to care for.

When Justin and I talk about what we guess the baby will be, neither of us can imagine a girl. It’s funny, I thought I would feel hopeful that this baby would be a girl, but I can honestly say I don’t feel a leaning one way or the other. The idea of a girl sounds so foreign yet fun, and another boy would be so fun as well!

We had the anatomy ultrasound earlier this week but choose to NOT find out the sex of the baby. I was really wresting with the decision, and even in the ultrasound room while the tech was checking everything out, I said to her, “OKAY I don’t want to know, but I kind of really want to know, but DO NOT tell me, but I’m so curious. . .” Poor thing did not know what to do, but she kept her lips sealed! Justin and I looked away while she was looking at the bladder just in case anything obvious popped up on the screen.

Beyond learning the sex, we were deeply thankful to learn everything looks healthy and normal with the baby. That is such a gift. I’m feeling the kicks more and more, and now I cannot WAIT until May to meet my son or daughter!

p.s. Check out my other post detailing a few pregnancy notes + thoughts!

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An Easy Knotted Half Up

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A half up is always my go-to for pretty styles that aren’t overly dressy, and I love how pretty this knot looks in the hair. Check out the video below to see how to recreate this style!

These are my favorite bobby pins! They hold so well and don’t snag the hair. I styled my day 2 hair using a 1.5 barrel from the T3 Convertible Collection.

Post any photos of this style that you recreate over on Instagram and use #smallthingshair so I can come check it out! And follow me on Instagram to find 60 second hair tutorials as well!

p.s. For more recent hair tutorials, check out here and here!

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