Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Lessons of Motherhood Learned in the Kitchen: The Melted Snowman Cookie Tale

To shake up summer, we've been doing some fun Christmas in July themed activities. The boys helped me bake these fun melted snowman cookies yesterday. They are pretty easy to make. The boys had a blast, and I learned a wonderful lesson along the way. 

In our Pinterest/Instagram inspired world, it's easy to get caught up in the beauty of wanting things to look perfect. When it came time to decorate our snowmen, I found myself taking over. "Let me try the first one," quickly turned into five cookies. I immediately put my piping bag down. What was I doing? I wanted my boys to have fun and love baking with me, and I had quickly began to take over so things would look "just like I wanted them to look." I took a seat and told Cooper to start decorating. He quickly got into melting the marshmallows and piping the icing. Judson came over and jumped right in too. I sat back and watched as they were enjoying decorating the cookies. I loved watching Judson's cute face as he concentrated while placing the eyes, nose, and mouth just so. I loved seeing their faces light up in delight with their finished creations. I loved hearing the stories about each cookie. Jack explained that the green sprinkles represented the grass that the snowman was standing on as he was melting in the sun. "Brilliant!" I'm so proud that he was using his imagination and creativity to come up with his own back story to the entire "melting snowman"saga. Something that I hadn't even thought of. I was making each cookie the exact same way! As I sat back and watched, I was captivated with the beauty of motherhood. Watching my babies using their hands, problem solving, and finishing a project without me stepping in to help at every turn. It was pure JOY for me to witness. I would have missed it all if I would not have stopped myself from taking over, and forcing myself to put the piping bag down.

Cooper at one point commented that his snowman wasn't going to turn out right. I was able to encourage him to continue on and that his new finished product may turn out better than he originally planned. I talked to him about all the inventions that have occurred because of a happy accident, when something turned out differently than originally planned. The first practical implantable pacemaker, the microwave oven, penicillin, the ink jet printer, x ray images, post-it notes, potato chips, Coca Cola, and chocolate chip cookies, to name a few.  These inventions have either changed how we do things, had a big impact on life, or are just delicious; all thanks to happy accidents. 

These special moments came from something as simple as decorating a cookie. I'm amazed at how much I took in just by watching, and what I was able to share with their little hearts, just simply practicing the ministry of presence and enjoy being their mom. I learned a valuable lesson in my kitchen yesterday, sometimes it's best to step out of the way and watch the beauty unfold rather than charging ahead trying to make things turn out just the way you want them to. I love that valuable life lessons are waiting for us everywhere, particularly when we quiet our hearts and our minds to simply enjoy the moments. So, really the bottom line is to just have fun with my boys with no agendas! 

For the Melted Snowman Cookies I used my favorite Sugar Cookie Recipe (for cookie cutters). This recipe is what I've been using since I was a little girl.

Sugar Cookie (Cookie Cutter)

3/4 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla or 1/2 tsp lemon extract
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Blend shortening, sugar, eggs, and vanilla and then add flour, baking powder, and salt. Chill at least 1 hour. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Ungreased baking sheet for 5 minutes.

 You want a decent size circle cookie cutter. My was a little over 2 inches in diameter which was a little small so we rolled the dough thicker and cut the circles. Then we took a rolling pin and rolled them to create appoximately a 2.5 inch cookie.
You could use any icing recipe. A thicker icing turns out better so it doesn't run off the cookie.

 Icing Recipe:
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 c. milk
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar, sifted

After mixed, place in a piping bag or zip lock bag and cut the tip off to pipe a melted look with the icing.

 Decorating Ingredients:

Large Marshmallows
M&M's (regular or mini)
gel or icing pens

Microwave each large marshmallow for 5 seconds (it works best to microwave one marshmallow at a time). Place on top of cookie. Pipe eyes, mouth, nose, arms, scarves, etc. You can use regular or mini M&M's for the buttons. To give a melted look don't line the M&M's up perfectly.

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