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Friday, July 9, 2010

Happy National Sugar Cookie Today

Today, July 9th,  is National Sugar Cookies Day, a little known holiday which I find a bit strange plopped into the middle of summer.   After all, cold winter days and rainy days cry out for cookie baking....sweltering hot days in July cry out for ice cream!   Nonetheless, today is National Sugar Cookie Day, and if you've followed my blog at all, you will know that we are rather fond of cookies around here.  Most of our cookies involve chocolate chips, but every once in awhile we detour from that.   And, no I actually didn't make these today.  Hot July days, without central air conditioning don't make me inclined to want to spend my time in the kitchen baking cookies.

However, I just couldn't let the day pass by, without at least  mentioning it.   So, in honor of National Sugar Cookie Day, I thought I would share my favorite, "healthier" sugar cookie recipe.  But, before we talk about the cookies, let's discuss frosting.  After all, what's a sugar cookie without frosting, or at least colored sugar?  We greatly prefer frosting in our household.  With the exception of the Pater Familias who is a bit weird in the fact that he doesn't like frosting (nor chocolate for that manner!!??)...the rest of us merely view cakes as a conduit to hold the frosting,  

Frosting is actually quite easy to make yourself.   We try to stay away from artificial colors, so we just keep it white (or brown for chocolate) unless it happens to be fall and we have lots of red beets and can use red beet juice to color the frosting pink.   Try it, the next time you have beets.  It really does work, and doesn't change the taste at all.

Cookie Frosting (works for cakes too!)

4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter
5 tablespoons milk  (decrease this slightly if using red beet juice for coloring)
1 teaspoon vanilla.

Cream the butter and sugar together.  Beat in the vanilla, milk and beet juice (if coloring pink) until smooth and thick.

"Healthier" Sugar Cookies
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 cups white-whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Cream butter and sugar.   Add egg, vanilla and milk.   Stir in baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour.   Shape into 1 inch ball and place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Flatten each cookie slighltly with a fork.   Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake!  Frost when cool!  Enjoy!

Monday, July 5, 2010

New Year

Well we've started our school year.  Our first official day was June 29th.....Social-Butterfly is now 3rd grade (or so...homeschoolers don't really have grades) while the Fairy-Princess is kindergarten(ish).  Yes, we start in the summer and go year-round!  I like being able to be more relaxed all year....there is no pressure to fit school in 4-5 days a week, and if we don't finish one day, we just finish the next.

So far, things have gone just swimmingly.  I am LOVING our phonics program...Alpha-Phonics Primer and Phonics Pathways for the Fairy-Princess.  It is SO MUCH easier than what we had been using before (Teach your child to read in 100 Easy Lessons).  Fairy-Princess seems to be picking things up well!

Lesson Pathways is working out find too.  The kids love it, since it is so much more fun and interactive than just a textbook.  Social-Butterfly is loving learning about time lines and helping dogs.  She had a lot of fun making a family timeline, and  it helped her visualize the passage of time easier and realize that mommy and daddy actually lived lots of life before she was born!

All About Spelling seems to be working very well too!  The Social-Butterfly likes it better than just plain lists of spelling words anyway.

We'll see what the rest of the year brings!